Re: memetics-digest V1 #1329

From: Dace (
Date: Wed 14 May 2003 - 17:57:47 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T. Smith: "Re: what if...?"

    > From: Vincent Campbell <>
    > Good God not more interpersonal sparring instead of reasoned discussion?
    > And the same culprits?

    Don't look at me. The only thing I'm guilty of is reasoned discussion on the topic of disorders of the ego.

    > Anyway, on the issue of personality disorders, and their definitions, did
    > nobody spot the the obvious flaws in the first part of that definition?
    > Here's the line:
    > <An enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates from
    > the expectations of an individual's culture>

    The DSM is for people who already have a well-rounded understanding of psychological disorders. For a full discussion of PD's, see *Borderline Conditions & Pathological Narcissism*, by Otto Kernberg.

    > So you have a 'personality disorder' if you do not conform to cultural
    > expectations? Does Noam Chomsky have a personality disorder therefore, for
    > being counter to the prevalent political ideology of the US?

    No. However, I wouldn't be surprised if someone with a personality disorder made just such a claim.

    > Maybe the
    > claim that the likes of Einstein and Newton had Asperger's syndrome,
    > weight in such circles too? Who decides what the 'expectations' of the
    > culture are?

    No one has to decide anything. Such cultural expectations are ingrained. We all expect people to be generally honest and respectful.

    > Where once people were simply locked up as subversives, or
    > and before then burned at the stake for being heretics or witches, now in
    > our post-freudian capitalist democracies people are labelled with
    > personality disorders and given prozac, ritalin or some other drug.

    The witch-hunt is the specialty of the personality disorder. I can guarantee you that Joe McCarthy was suffering from a PD. Unfortunately, no drug is known to cure or even control a malignant ego.

    > I quote Rosenhan & Seligman 'Abnormal Psychology' ,3rd edition, 1995, on
    > definitional problem of the antisocial personality disorder:
    > 'There is often debate about whether or not a person is actually suffering
    > personality disorder, and that debate arises from the very nature of the
    > disorder itself. The antisocial personality disorder is a disorder of
    > and will is not an all-or-nothing matter. One does not either have or not
    > have will. Rather, like most other psychological functions, will exists
    > a continuum: normal people have more or less of it, but those who suffer
    > this disorder have even less. The line that divides those who suffer
    > disorders from the rest of us is arbitrary.' (p.571)

    I have no idea what this person is talking about. A personality disorder can indeed be called a disorder of the "ego" or the "will," but the problem is an excess of ego or will, not a deficit. The personality disorder is as accepted within psychology as any other type of mental illness. All disorders are subject to contention and debate within the psychological community.

    > I guess 'will' here is equated with willingness to conform to society, as
    > opposed to willingness to do what you want to do regardless of others, in
    > which case the deliberately anti-social would seem to have rather a lot of
    > 'will'.

    Exactly. One way to distinguish antisocial from narcissistic PD is that antisocials tend not to care that they hurt people-- or even enjoy it-- while narcissists tend to delude themselves that they're not hurting anyone. It's the difference between overt agression and "passive" aggression.

    > From: "Scott Chase" <>
    > Dace wrote:
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >As Dr. M. Scott Peck pointed out in *People of the Lie*, the very idea of
    > >"human evil" would not exist were it not for "malignant narcissism."
    > >Traditionally, what's evil is things like earthquakes and plagues and
    > >swarms
    > >of locusts. Human beings aren't supposed to be evil. When they are,
    > >Hitler or Saddam or George W. Bush, they probably harbor a personality
    > >disorder. (For a psychiatric analysis of W., see
    > >
    > >
    > If that's what qualifies for a "psychiatric analysis" I think I'll pass.

    My mistake. It's just a list of possible disorders, not an analysis. W. is clearly insane, however, and it's just a matter of homing in on the correct disorder.

    > The
    > speculations about Dubya haing an Oedipal complex, making up a "reaction
    > formation" or identifying with an archetype are pretty dubious.

    I agree. W's a psychopath (antisocial PD). Interestingly, like his fellow-psychopath Adolf Hitler, W. had to be appointed, not elected, to gain power.

    > The usage of
    > DSM criteria for various disorders were not well supported. It's an
    > politically biased smear without much depth or substance.

    No attempt was made to correlate Bush's actions with the criteria for any of the disorders mentioned. So let's see if we can correlate him with the criteria for antisocial PD:

    1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors.

    Bush has demonstrated a total lack of respect for the Geneva Convention, the Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty, the UN Treaty, etc. He and his top cabinet members have been involved in all sorts of illegal "insider" deals that have netted them a lot of money.

    2. deceitfulness, repeated lying

    His whole economic program is geared toward enriching the rich while crippling the federal government, resulting in big deficits and the inevitable cuts in social spending. He lies by telling us his tax cutting plan is to create jobs. He also lies when he says the invasion of Iraq was to protect us from unconventional weapons or promoting democracy.

    3. impulsivity or failure to plan ahead

    As reported by Time magazine, he decided to invade Iraq on the spur of the moment, without any clear-cut justification. This created a big problem for Cheney, who had to come up with elaborate rationalizations for the invasion.

    4. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults.

    Keep in mind that these criteria are intended for street thugs. Bush doesn't like to get his hands dirty. Nonetheless, the pattern of aggressiveness is clearly present.

    5. reckless disregard for the safety of self or others

    Emphasis on "others." Bush not only could care less about the thousands of Iraqis he murdered (when there's no legal justification, it's not war but mass murder), he even exposed his own troops to depleted uranium in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

    6. consistent irresponsibility

    Again, the DSM-IV shows its bias by focusing on failure to hold a job or honor financial obligations. With the president we're more concerned with things like Kyoto and putting nuclear weapons in space.

    7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another

    W. has never felt a twinge of remorse for anything. The guy is an over-the-top flaming psychopath. Case closed.

    Of course, a good biography of W. would reveal all seven of these traits in far greater detail. No doubt an airtight case can and will be made.

    > Don't get me wrong. I'm no big fan of Dubya and think the new tax cutting
    > scheme might be nuts. Asking for hundreds of billions in tax cuts at the
    > same time that almost 100 billion is being slated for the war effort does
    > not seem sane to me, but this is not a matter of individual psychosis on
    > Dubya's part.

    He's not psychotic. Insanity does not require auditory hallucinations, disorganized thinking, etc. The most common source of insanity in the world is the personality disorder.

    > Republicans, as a group, tend to be deluded

    It's the way individual ego disorders tend to become collective ego disorders that makes them so dangerous. What began as McCarthy's private derangement quickly mutated into McCarthyism. Memes, of course, are central to this process, infecting otherwise normal people with the deranged beliefs of narcissists and sociopaths.

    > > From: "Lawrence DeBivort" <>
    > Dace, I was glad to see your response, and it seems to undermine the use
    > the DSM criteria that you offered initially. I would agree that it is a
    > thing to undermine!

    The DSM is skeletal. I wasn't undermining it so much as fleshing it out.

    > And I would agree that no competent therapist should offer a diagnosis
    > on the facts given in my scenario -- but that, of course does not stop the
    > rest of us from trying to do so. <smile>
    > The Soviets and others have tried to equate disagreement with insanity, an
    > execrable response to those who challenge the central power center, and
    > somewhat akin to the Inquisition.

    Inquisions of all forms, including Ashcroft's current witch-hunt against terrorists, are always manifestations of disturbed egos.

    > To turn to a second element of behavior that has confounded this list, the
    > use of invective and dismissive insult...
    > My sense is that email, particularly in a public list where we presume
    > strangers lurk, is a difficult place to explore true differences of
    > Our relative anonymity and disconnect from our list members makes it easy
    > choose offensive words, knowing that we will never have any further
    > with the person we are debating with. So when we reach the decision that
    > other person is not worth debating with, but we may yet wish to persuade
    > other lurkers, we hang in on the argument, though caring little about its
    > impact of the other debater.
    > Clearly, I think, this is not a matter of anyone having a personality
    > disorder, but is inherent in the nature of the situation.
    > What do you think?

    I'm afraid I must disagree. The fact that discussion here is not face-to-face cannot account for the behavior I've ascribed to personality disorder.

    Like you, I want to live in a society characterized by tolerance and interpersonal respect. The more narcissistic, paranoid, schizoid, antisocial, and hysterical we become, the less tolerant and respectful we'll be towards each other. What you're looking for is a world free of pathological egos.


    =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed 14 May 2003 - 18:02:45 GMT