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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Peace's picture
Peace on 2012-04-12

Excellent article. I enjoyed reading your wonderful analysis and revelations of life. You have expressed significant insights that have so much deep meaning.

I particularly liked this part...

Money counts more than People. Expressing counts more than Listening. Personal Power counts more than Group Solidarity. Rules are more important than Morals.

I hope I may share a different perspective, my own, from a natural viewpoint. It is your fault. You tickled both sides of my brain with your blog article. ;-)

It seems that human beings generally have three distinct, dynamic stages in life that can be related to functioning.

Youth-> Right brain-> Playing-> Left brain-> Learning-> Self Interest
Adult-> Left brain-> Accomplishing-> Building-> Collaborating-> Providing
Senior-> Left brain-> Accommodating-> Consolidating-> Right brain-> Reflecting-> Sharing-> Universality

Of course, we can call upon either side of the brain for it's own specialization at any time.

At each of these passages are overlaps and adjusting. Some do it better than others. We sometimes fight to not pass to the next stage. We may see it as some scary, or a loss of something we don't want to lose, and we won't go without a struggle. It is a struggle we will lose, in one way or another.

Each stage has its own benefits, gifts and value, as well as challenges and responsibilities. We have to see that in ourselves, as well as others, and embrace the reality.

How can we celebrate people at each stage? How can we allow ourselves to be celebrated for making the passage in grace and in harmony with nature? That is our calling and our challenge. Each stage is a passage of our evolution.

Let me put it another way. We take the final exam at the end of each stage. If we pass, we move on successfully to the next stage. Finally, we graduate. Hopefully we can do this without delays of our own making, or having to repeat the lessons. We have something to learn throughout our entire lifetime.

active_evy's picture
active_evy on 2012-04-13

Thanks Tod and Peace for both posts have given me some hope and strength on a particularly messed up day. I can apply these thoughts right now to things both personal and movement centered.
Personally, Tod, your analysis has made me see some things i wished not to see. But what i wish sometimes, and what is good for me, are often two different things. I am dealing with many in my world right now whose sociopathy and psychopathy have been adding to my own physical and psychological/emotional problems.
Though I am often abject to labeling even when labels apply all too appropriately, this is a time when these labels are helping me sort through what must go and what may stay and what I haven't the control over.
I am working on focus and recovery and when my "death cycle" ends at end April, I am looking forward to revival of Evy.
As one discerns those who are being negatively infectious upon oneself, one can begin to heal. This is where i am. And as my energy returns, I know it will snowball into productivity. Done with the joy and energy of robber barons. And hopefully they are done with me.
Just grateful for the movement and the people I've come to know.

Peace's picture
Peace on 2012-04-13

It take extreme heat and pressure to create a diamond, Evy. Courage and strength are within you.

"Caminante, no hay puentes, se hace puentes al andar. (Voyager, there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks.) "
- Gloria Anzaldua

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