It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power
Who wants to be a millionaire?
Most people don’t actually. Most people want to have just enough to be comfortable, not to have to worry, not to be in debt, or enslaved in soul destroying jobs, and to be able to treat themselves and their loved ones, every now and again.
But a small minority of people want money more than anything else in life. They want it so much they devote their lives to it, and they’ll do pretty much anything to get it.
It’s the same with power.
Who wants to rule the world? Not most people. Most people are simply not interested in having power over others, being leaders and being in charge. The reality is that most of us have got better things to do and more imaginative ideas about what our lives could be – we’re just not interested in being “top dog”, and/or – most of us have enough humility, and enough integrity, to fear that we’re not wise or selfless enough to take on the mantle of leadership.
Some people, however, lust for power over others and devote their lives to the ruthless pursuit of it. They seek power for self aggrandisement, and for its own sake. These people believe they have gained their positions at the top of the ruling elites because they are somehow superior, or “alpha” – and society goes along with this.
Only a very select few actually take up positions of leadership because they love humanity, and want to make things better – Nelson Mandela is one example.
But the rest of the people in power, almost without exception, are there because they think they’re special, they feel entitled to a superior position and they love to lord it over ordinary people who they see as their inferiors. In other words, most of the world’s leaders, most captains of industry, most of those at the top of the heap – are power lovers.
The line we’re fed tells us that these so-called “leadership qualities” are the mark of excellence, that followers are “sheep”, that those in charge must be in some way better than those they take charge of. But the evidence, globally and historically, is that the opposite is the case.
The evidence suggests that, far from being natural leaders more able to handle the mantle of responsibility than “average” ordinary human beings, most of those in positions of power clearly demonstrate personality traits associated with the pathological condition known as psychopathy.
According to Forbes, there is
really good evidence that the way that capitalism is structured really is a physical manifestation of the brain anomaly known as psychopathy.
The incidence of psychopathy among CEOs is about 4 percent, four times what it is in the population at large.
According to this site:
In our culture, we not only praise psychopaths in the highest positions of power, but in many cases, they became our role models.
There is a fundamental misconception in the idea that psychopathic traits are somehow admirable and “alpha” – cunning, ruthlessness, selfishness, fearlessness (as opposed to courage – not the same thing) – these are not qualities we should be fostering in our society or championing in our leaders.
On the contrary, lack of empathy, compassion or conscience, coupled with self-aggrandisement and ruthless self interest need to be recognised as signs of weakness, instability, poor judgement, immaturity, lack of wisdom and serious mental illness.
Contrary to media impressions, psychopaths do not have to be violent serial killers – although violent serial killers are likely to be psychopaths. But plenty of people without criminal backgrounds tick all the boxes on Hare’s Psycopathy Checklist.
Some definitions of psychopathy:
A psychopath is a person who lacks empathy and conscience, the quality which guides us when we choose between good and evil, moral or not. Most of us are conditioned to do good things. Psychopaths are not. Their impact on society is staggering.
Some of the major traits associated with psychopathy include:-
- High threshold for disgust – not repelled by the aberrant or abhorrent
- Lack of emotion, shame, guilt, embarassment
- Lack of remorse or conscience
- Irresponsibility – they blame others for events that are actually their fault.
- Glibness and superficial charm, untruthfulness and insincerity, outright pathological lying
- Conning others for personal profit or pleasure
- Overconfidence – grandiose sense of self worth
- Narrowed attention
- Pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love
- Parasitic lifestyle
- Inability to plan for the future – “carefree nonplanness”
- Very low tolerance to frustration and low threshold for discharge of aggression
- Irritability and aggressiveness
With psychopaths running the world, you get all sorts of problems.
Psychopaths don’t have empathy. They don’t care about other human beings. They don’t care about the planet. They can lie with ease and impunity. They can be brutal, vicious and cold. They don’t care about causing pain or suffering. They only want one thing – to be number one – and they actually enjoy seeing others suffer while they pursue their goals – it adds to their sense of power.
What would make more sense would be if people with these psychopathic qualities were to be identified and barred from positions of power.
It’s a complete misapprehension that being ruthless, ambitious and single minded in the pursuit of ones own interests is somehow laudable. ANYONE can be selfish and self interested. People who are driven by personal ambition, by the lust for power, profit and personal success are not “alpha” in any way. They are deformed – stunted, greedy, selfish and underdeveloped human beings.
It is true that in every field – business, politics, art, science – these people succeed, but only because healthy, developed human beings recoil from their exploitative vampirism.
It is not the powerful elite who deserve our admiration, awe and respect.
It is the ordinary people, motivated by empathy, and by love for humanity, for nature, for life, who can rise above the petty meannesses, fears and insecurities that beset us all, and give their all for the greater good.
Not psychopaths – they have no self doubt. They take, they grasp, they steal, they bludgeon, they happily trample over others in pursuit of their own satisfaction.
Lets finish with a quote from Robert Hare, researcher in criminal psychology and developer of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, about the destructive force of psychopathy:
In the absence of empathy, which is the definition in psychology of a psychopath, you will always get malevolence.
Society needs to stop putting psychopathic traits on a pedestal, and start exposing them for the ugly, malevolent, destructive, psychological deformity they really are.