Blog Post

Systems, Spirit & Sociopathy

Todby Tod

I'm a systems geek, and I know how important good systems are, but that doesn't change the fact that fascists and sociopaths also adore systems. Problem is, they adore the system as a tool that can be used to justify their own selfish and anti-social drives, rather than a tool to augment the group's internal synergy.

As a designer of interactive systems and roleplaying games from way back in the days of paper and pencils, I learned long ago that it is important to never let the rules impede the progress and emotional state of the game. It's possible for the participants - especially heavily-invested players and overly-egotistical gamemasters - to forget that this is all made-up. If the system takes over and gets to the point where people aren't having an enjoyable experience as a social group anymore, the rules have become too important. The Left Brain has become inflamed. You have become, in a way, insane.

It is no secret anymore that our society and economy have been structured along lines which are similarly Left-Brain-inflamed. Money counts more than People. Expressing counts more than Listening. Personal Power counts more than Group Solidarity. Rules are more important than Morals. Our culture is a giant pyramid of psychopathy, and the most insane individuals rise to the top. But there are also "secondary psychopaths", and unfortunately they are all around us. These are people who have accepted the "rules" of a psychopathic culture and internalized them, in order to justify their own negativity and selfishness while preserving their ego. Many of them don't consider themselves "evil" at all. A better word may be infected.

Like any other form of infection, secondary psychopathy can spread throughout your entire body if you don't keep yourself clean. Secondary psychopaths are the agents of distribution. The more infected everybody is, the more they like it.

"By their works ye shall know them" - There are people whose efforts increase the group's solidarity, energy, positivity and progress, and there are people whose efforts diminish those things.

The former people are the AG/WG members and the spokes of the council. By their actions and track records they have proven their dedication to the activist community, and their Affinity Groups have accepted each other and agreed to work together as such. They understand that the rules are useful guidelines, but the Spirit of the movement is more important than any rule will ever be. They are Brothers and Sisters.

The latter people make themselves strikingly obvious by their own attitudes and insistence, and it really makes no difference what rules or ideologies are involved. They happen in all sorts of groups. To them, rules are weapons that can be used to leverage their own positions against other people, and the emotional state of the group as a whole means nothing at all. They are Psychopaths, and secondary Psychopaths.

Although some can mask their intentions for a while by mimicking culturally-condoned social behavior, the only thing they're really passionate about are their destructive deeds. Watch the face of a psychopath on the attack. You can literally see the enjoyment they get out of causing disturbances and manipulating others. That's all the proof you need.

The emotional state of the group as a whole, and the empathic bonds developing among sane, fully-developed human beings - these are two things that sociopaths (and their lesser cousins with narcissism and other forms of secondary psychopathy) - can never really understand. Since they cannot understand and will not change, there is no recourse but to shun them, on an individual-by-individual basis.


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"You have to understand...most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it."
- Morpheus; "The Matrix"

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