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Ponerology (not what you think)

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posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 01:37 AM
Get your minds out of the gutter, people.

Ponerology is defined here as "the study of evil." More specifically, it deals with psychopathy and related diseases in high places.

Here's a brief wiki link:

This is probably the most informative source:

I think the identification of "evil" with sociopathy/psycopathy/pathological narcissism is not a perfect fit, but a pretty good one. Psychopaths are people completely lacking in the quality of empathy, and this can be tested on a neurological level. Many of them are shiftless and can't hold down jobs, end up in jail, etc.

But the REALLY scary ones are the "high functioning" psychopaths who can maintain a slick surface appeance of normal morality. These people use their amorality to climb to the top of various institutions: government, law, academia, name it. The author at the first link even discusses about how certain high-functiuoning psychopaths are systematically eliminating books on psychopaty from libraries and discouraging research in this area because they don't want to be "called out."

Psychopaths have basically taken over the government and the economy. There is no reasoning with these people...they are almost another species in a way. Their brains are literally and physically hardwired differenly than "normal" humans. They are like onions...peel away one layer, another appears, but you never reach the core because nobody is home. Cutting a throat is the same thing to them, emotionally, as cutting carrots for dinner.

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 01:43 AM
reminds me of Bernard Madoff.

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 01:57 AM

Originally posted by platipus
reminds me of Bernard Madoff.

As well it should, in my opinion. Along with much of Wall Street and friends.

In another recent ATS thread I snidely defined the Builderberg Group as "The Academy Awards for high-functioning psychopaths."

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 02:20 AM
We are guilty of being evil to varying degrees. Feeding off anything or requiring the sacrifice of another without remorse is this evil. Yes, that includes vegetarians, anyone that sneezes out germs or has an immune system. It's not black and white. We just define the boundaries ourselves and say which level is good versus evil.

The absolute evil is destruction of one thing for the benefit of another. We just have different titrations in our nature.

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 02:24 AM

Originally posted by EnlightenUp
We are guilty of being evil to varying degrees. Feeding off anything or requiring the sacrifice of another without remorse is this evil. Yes, that includes vegetarians, anyone that sneezes out germs or has an immune system. It's not black and white. We just define the boundaries ourselves and say which level is good versus evil.

The absolute evil is destruction of one thing for the benefit of another. We just have different titrations in our nature.

In the broadest sense of the word, I suppose you are correct. "Evil" can be defined in many ways, which is why I said in the OP that I don't think the identification of evil with psychopathy, etc. is a perfect fit.

None of us can stand outside our nature as humans. Being human means we have a human perspective, not the perspective of an animal or a vegitable. And from this human perspective, I belive that causing harm to another human is more evil than causing harm to, say, a cauliflour. Thus, I think its valid to call psychopaths "evil" (or at least "more evil") in comparison with non-psychopaths.

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 02:25 AM
My thread about it:

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 02:36 AM
reply to post by silent thunder

To know what it means to stand outside our nature as humans, we have to know what human is. If awareness is expanded to such a degree past its normal bleeding edges, is that still quite human and can that awareness examine it's previous boundaries more objectively?

I suppose any assigned value to one form over another is just an opinion at it's very core, even if biologically or theologically coerced, depending upon one's preferred ontology. Without such an assignment, cutting a throat or a carrot are basically the same thing.

In both extremes of view they are, but of a different nature of awareness of the act. One being that of a lack of compassion the other being a state of total compassion.

So, the only escape from all degrees of evil is not to be engaged in a world of sacrifical form.

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 02:39 AM
I think we start to get into trouble when we try to claim certain people are "psychopaths" or "sociopaths". The names and the behaviors that these labels supposedly encompass are poorly-defined and arbitrary. They have more to do with current societal values than with any sort of "illness".

There have been studies that have shown that many successful businessmen have psychopathic traits. It is these traits that make them so successful. Not only are these people not considered pathological, we reward them with bonuses and large salaries, social status, etc. It's not just that these people have succeeded in hiding their "true nature". We - society - reward it highly. The very traits that make a person socially ill - a sociopath - are ones that often make him a good businessman. The ability to make choices untroubled by thoughts of decency, guilt, morality, etc., is good for business, if you define "good" as making the most money. A moral person might hesitate before throwing an elderly widow out of her house, for example, which might cost a company some money. A sociopath wouldn't hesitate. She's in the way, she must go, end of story. That's the sort of person who gets results and helps the bottom line. That's the guy who we encourage.

As long as we encourage that sort of thinking and behaving, it will continue. But it's not just these defective people worming their way into businesses, as though the rest of us are innocent bystanders. We participate in this. We call it "Capitalism" or "good business" or "pragmatism", but it's evil all the same. If we reward evil, then evil will flourish.

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 02:46 AM
reply to post by EnlightenUp

This strikes me as similar to the so-called "black is white fallacy" in classical philosophy. That is to say, if you look at a color continuum that runs from black at one end to white at the other, there is no clear demarcation, and a smooth fade through zillions of tones of grey. But even if you can't draw a firm dividing line on such a color continuum, it doesn't mean that the lightest end of it is "identical" to the darkest end.

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 03:05 AM
reply to post by chiron613

I agree with you that many people exhibit sociolopathic or psychopathic traits, and that society rewards these traits. The author at the first link of the original post posits here a difference between "inherited" and "acquired" psychopathy. The former is a sort of inborn neurological characteristic, while the latter is something people pick up as they go through life. The brain is very "plastic" and can change enormously over the course of life based on experiences, etc. But that doesn't mean certain people aren't born psychopaths. Some people are born blind, for example, while others become blind in at some point in their lives due to an accident.

I read this book about a year ago and it contains a great deal of hard neurological and scientific evidence that psychopathy can be quantitatively measured in a laboratory. In many people, it seems, it IS inborn and represents real neurological differences that can be picked up via PET scans and other forms of electroencephalographic analysis.

[edit on 10/21/09 by silent thunder]

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 03:17 AM
I listened to an interview about a book called 'Political Ponerology' and it was interesting despite being boring.
I do not think it is entirely 'hardwired' because many people change into such type of person or are for example, only this type of person at work, not at home.

I think the word you are looking for is cutthroat, they use so often, it describes the 'successful' type businessman who succeeds because he has no morals, will step on and crush friends to get to the top, it is entirely true, the less moral you are the more powerful you become, thus ancient teachings of being humble, meek etc. Ruthlessness > success > money > power > greed > evil. Such is also why people think capitalism is evil. It represents capitalising or 'exploiting' your fellow man.

There is no such thing as pure evil or good, the ying-yang is to show this, even in the blackest or whitest there is a spot of the other. Well said in the Norse Eddas:
"None so good that he has no faults,
None so wicked that he is worth naught"

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 02:40 PM
reply to post by silent thunder

It's only a fallacy under the condition of a single continuum you set forth. It's also not a fallacy under the knowing that extremes have a way of meeting. Such logic only works under a given set of implications. If the properties of the system change, certain assertions lose their truths and new ones become true.

Consider it an inequality in a computer program. If A can range 1 to 100, we can set a threshold if (A =100.

In the extremes of B, not valuing or valuing is total, all are treated equally.

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 02:46 PM
reply to post by EnlightenUp

I would not call eating for survival of animals being evil. You can kill them in humane way and after all all animals that eat meat, have to kill there prey.

Man on the other hand kills and tortures because they want too. That's where the evil in males and females come out.

I am personally sick of these terms as they seem to describe so many people in power, whats the point, why don't we just have a word for people who are not like that, them in the minority.

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 02:56 PM
reply to post by andy1033

You can call it whatever you want to call it by weighing it relative to internal standards. Whether animals do this or that themselves is of no consequence. It's of the nature of saying you'd jump off a bridge just because you saw everyone else doing it.

Since we have a certain knowing that other species may not possess, we cannot use the ignorant as an excuse to emulate them. We should do our best to rise above it. Attaining it absolutely is impossible here. It is the nature of this realm.

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 08:22 PM
reply to post by EnlightenUp

Not many people can transcend their essential humanity and reach the kind of extremely openminded, "meta-human" perspective you are describing. Perhaps a few advanced spiritual types can get close, and perhaps most people experience flashes of transcendence in their lives here and there, but most people must live and function from a more limited, "human-centric" perspective most of the time.

I'm all for exploring and expanding the mind and the spirit, pushing the envelope in the kind of ways you describe. But its simply not practical for 99% of humanity to live that way most of the time. It conflicts with survival, for example. Even monks must eat...

posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 09:10 PM
reply to post by silent thunder

Of course it's not practical and everyone lives somewhere on the continuum. To function in this domain at all requires that a person at least temporarily become more "human-centric". Noone need be irrevocably stuck in either. It would be good for us to view our current affairs from a more lofty mental vantage point to be able to see how silly it looks. Too many are just plain fully engrossed in their dramas.

posted on Sep, 30 2010 @ 03:44 PM
reply to post by silent thunder

Starred and Flagged...........great post and very good analyst of this interesting book.

posted on Oct, 1 2010 @ 05:44 AM
Personally I find it easier to navigate, if I have the various facets of a situation clearly outlined. Presently we have:

1/ 'Reality'.

There doesn't seem to be any fixed reference-point on 'reality'. We have some tools for approaching 'reality' like transcendence, rapture, science etc, byt very few individuals actually achieve any firsthand experience/knowledge/understanding this way. Most relate to 'reality' through second- or thirdhand predigested information in form of doctrines.

There are bids ranging from absolute models (inclusive or exclusive) where ultimate violence is justified as a 'real' part of existence. There's the new-age fabulation of 'cosmic love' and similar, and there's the jain model of approximate 'truth' (R.A.Wilson used it often). Etc.

It can be postulated, that the universe as mankind experiences it, intrinsically contains predation as one of some basic options. Or not.

2/ Semantics.

Doctrines usually degenerate into perverted semantics. Recently I've been hanging out on religious threads on ATS, and it's obvious to me that fringe fanatics support their views by endlessly citing the 'holy book' of their choice. From an extremely narrow and exclusive communication ground messages are pushed. Most of the time this has as much value as reading aloud from a telephone-directory. The purpose seems to be drowning opposition in endless sophistry and possibly to an inner reinforcement of the believer's faith.

But even in upgraded contexts, such as competent and qualified debates, the tendency to resort to categorizing is at work. Language becomes 'reality' instead of just a tool.

3/ Mechanistic genetic/socially acquired sociopathy.

It's easy to see parallels in herd behavior when comparing mankind to other species. We still have strong reminiscences of the leader and the flock at a deep instinctual level. No matter how clever we are, the signal from the leader's bell will often override even basic common sense.

I believe this to be a phase in evolution, and that a solution (in form of an inner harmonizing) only can be found at individual level. This can appear to be a pessimistic and cynical attitude, but my pragmatic observations point me in this direction.

And finally a very speculative and debatable facet

4/ Mankind is not at the top of the food-pyramid.

If any find this option completely off-topic, just ignore it. But I think, that there's some justification for mentioning it. Partly there's evidence of the phenomenon, and partly it could explain some otherwise unexplainable aspects of the almost hysterical human obsession for messing things up.

Sofar this post hasn't added much to the thread, but I would like to propose a constructive attitude. Considering contextual perspectives (as far as it's possible) as a method. An 'answer' is more likely to be 'true', the more criteria it can meet and 'explain'.

edit on 1-10-2010 by bogomil because: spelling

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