[p2p-research] The psychopath as peer?

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Tue Nov 3 08:07:51 CET 2009

It's kind of difficlt to police different styles as this is a mixed list,
ranging from ryan's one line links to paul's link-floods, to stan and andy's
super-thoughtfull mini-essays and many things in between ... one thing is
that is there is no obligation to reply or even to read ...

what about exporting in-depth debates to Ning, and open debates there, for
'limited' periods of time. For example, stan could say, I want to discuss
this particular topic, let's do it this week in a forum on NIng?


On Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 3:34 AM, Stan Rhodes <stanleyrhodes at gmail.com> wrote:

> Paul,
> I do appreciate your enthusiasm, and I appreciate the very broad scope and
> fuzzy nature of the p2p research group, but it's nearly impossible to
> explore issues deeply with these sorts of threads.  I consider these large,
> mostly digressive link-flood replies to be hand-waving that obfuscates any
> attempt at concise and possibly insightful discussion about issues.
> It might be worthwhile to consider using a blog for these long, digressive,
> almost stream-of-consciousness emails, while using the p2p research list to
> explore one or two very closely-related points in-depth.  Until something
> like that happens, I will have to bow out of replying to these sorts of
> emails.
> I only include the list on the reply so that anyone else who feels
> similarly will know they are not alone.  If I am in the extreme minority,
> that's fine too.
> Cheers,
> -- Stan
>   On Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 6:53 AM, Paul D. Fernhout <
> pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:
>> Stan-
>> You are right to be concerned about simple labels, and that's one reason,
>> as a caveat, I mentioned the idea of moving beyond the paradigm of
>> "psychopath" to maybe something more useful, someday.
>> On neural evidence, you are right again that it is not for 100% sure
>> genetic, but genes do affect a lot of how the brain is wired, in interaction
>> with history and current environment, so it could be a factor.
>> To pull another bit from something previously linked:
>>  "Why Do Some People Become Psychopaths?"
>>  http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/30482
>> """
>> Many researchers now believe that the core defect in psychopathy — and
>> what most distinguishes it from other antisocial behavior disorders — is
>> what are called "callous/unemotional traits." [Note the use of the word
>> "callous" and consider the below slashdot article text using the same word,
>> referencing a statement by Peggy Noonan.] A child who kicks another child
>> because he's angry and can't control himself but feels terrible afterwards
>> may be antisocial, but he's not psychopathic. It's the kid who does it and
>> feels no remorse — or even gets angrier because the other child's crying is
>> annoying — who's most worrisome.
>>  What causes this lack of empathy? Many — but not all — psychopaths were
>> abused or neglected as children. Being treated poorly early on can set up a
>> child to see everyone else as selfish and cruel, causing them to replicate
>> that kind of behavior as a way to cope with a nasty, uncaring world.
>> However, the vast majority of abused and neglected children grow up to be
>> caring, and some are even especially sensitive — far from psychopathic.
>>  James Blair, Ph.D., studies troubled children as chief of affective
>> cognitive neuroscience unit in the mood and anxiety disorders program at the
>> National Institute of Mental Health. He says that post-traumatic stress
>> disorder (PTSD), which can be one result of childhood trauma, can be seen in
>> some ways as the opposite of psychopathy.
>>  "There's one core structure in the brain that's over-responsive in PTSD —
>> that's the amygdala," he says. This region is critical for perceiving and
>> responding to threats. In PTSD, the amygdala is hypersensitive to threats,
>> producing fear in situations that wouldn't seem to be frightening to most
>> people.
>>  But in brain scans of people who have high levels of callous or
>> unemotional traits, "We see a reduced response of the amygdala to threat,"
>> says Blair.
>>  That doesn't mean that the psychopaths weren't exposed to trauma — a
>> brain faced with overwhelming stress can respond either by becoming
>> hypersensitive or insensitive, depending on a multitude of factors,
>> including genetics.
>>  Indeed, callous and unemotional traits do seem to be highly genetic.
>> About 70 percent of the variance between people on this dimension seems to
>> be inherited. However, a study of sons of criminals found that those who had
>> a highly responsive stress system were far less likely to become criminals
>> themselves than those whose stress system was less responsive.
>> """
>> Again, what to do about genetic differences socially is another issue.
>> Sometimes they can be adaptive.
>> For example, see:
>> "Slashdot | Bad Driving May Have Genetic Basis"
>> http://science.slashdot.org/story/09/10/29/1615214/Bad-Driving-May-Have-Genetic-Basis
>> "Bad drivers may in part have their genes to blame, suggests a new study
>> by UC Irvine neuroscientists. People with a particular gene variant
>> performed more than 20 percent worse on a driving test than people without
>> it — and a follow-up test a few days later yielded similar results. About 30
>> percent of Americans have the variant. 'These people make more errors from
>> the get-go, and they forget more of what they learned after time away,' said
>> Dr. Steven Cramer, neurology associate professor and senior author of the
>> study published recently in the journal Cerebral Cortex."
>> But, from the cited article on the value of that gene:
>> http://www.uci.edu/features/feature_bdnfdriving_091028.php
>> """
>> The gene variant isn't always bad, though. Studies have found that people
>> with it maintain their usual mental sharpness longer than those without it
>> when neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Huntington's and
>> multiple sclerosis are present.
>> "It's as if nature is trying to determine the best approach," Cramer says.
>> "If you want to learn a new skill or have had a stroke and need to
>> regenerate brain cells, there's evidence that having the variant is not
>> good. But if you've got a disease that affects cognitive function, there's
>> evidence it can act in your favor. The variant brings a different balance
>> between flexibility and stability."
>> """
>> Some other recent slashdot discussion mentioning psychopaths, as an
>> article and two comments.
>> "Nothing To Fear But Fearlessness Itself?"
>> http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/11/01/1713258/Nothing-To-Fear-But-Fearlessness-Itself
>> "In a post last August, Robert X. Cringely voiced fears that Goldman Sachs
>> and others were not so much evil as 'clueless about the implications of
>> their work,' leaving it up to the government to fix any mess they leave
>> behind. 'But what if government runs out of options,' worried Cringely. 'Our
>> economic policy doesn't imagine it, nor does our foreign policy, because
>> superpowers don't acknowledge weakness.' And now his fears are echoed in a
>> WSJ opinion piece by Peggy Noonan titled 'We're Governed by Callous
>> Children.' She writes, 'We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest
>> children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves
>> optimists but they're not optimists — they're unimaginative. They don't have
>> faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are
>> callous [Note the word, and compare with the above on children and how some
>> few become psychopths], and they don't mind it when people become
>> disheartened. They don't even notice.' With apologies to FDR, do we have
>> nothing to fear but fearlessness itself?"
>> One comment on that by someone else, similar to my question at the start
>> of this p2p thread:
>>  http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1426748&cid=29943450
>> "It took me a long time to figure out why things are going to hell. Then I
>> read http://www.youmeworks.com/sociopaths.html and it all made sense.
>> Sociopaths seek power and winning without conscience and this is why banking
>> and wall street leaders are where they are, because they've changed the
>> system of laws to favor themselves. Like terminators, they don't feel
>> remorse or care if their actions hurt other people. These people are now a
>> large proportion of our international corporate leadership. Until our system
>> collapses, they will stay in power, even though they are the reason for our
>> suffering and downfall as a nation. Not sure what there is to do about the
>> situation except have people come to recognize sociopaths for what they are,
>> broken people who should never be allowed to hold power. From the web site
>> the 12 clues to recognizing a sociopath ..."
>> One reply to that comment again by someone else:
>> http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1426748&cid=29944848
>> """
>> The silver lining to this could is that if:
>> 1. the sociopath believes that there is a widespread catastrophic issue
>> that will affect himself as well as everyone else
>> 2. the sociopath is powerful
>> 3. no one else is going to do anything to fix it ...the sociopath will do
>> something about it.
>> """
>> In general, genetic diversity is a good thing. That's why most species are
>> sexual, to maintain a larger genetic pool of variation and recombination
>> than just by cloning. Nature seems to favor a diversity of approaches to
>> life.
>> Again, you are quite right to question how useful a "sociopath" term or
>> paradigm for understanding current politics is. But in any case, it is a
>> meme that p2p needs to think about, IMHO. Thanks for contributing to the
>> discussion.
>> I have a BA in Psychology from Princeton, for what it is worth. :-)
>> Mentioned here: :-)
>>  "Post-Scarcity Princeton, or, Reading between the lines of PAW for
>> prospective Princeton students, or, the Health Risks of Heart Disease"
>>  http://www.pdfernhout.net/reading-between-the-lines.html
>> At least my advisor, when I asked him, said it was OK to talk about his
>> sex life in there. :-) But, he was a past president of the American
>> Psychological Association, so I figured it would be OK. :-) Another advisee
>> that year, I found out only when she came to visit, was the son of Dr. Ruth
>> Westheimer. :-)
>> But we all know psychologists are all crazy, right? :-) For example:
>>  "How To Tell If Your Therapist Is Crazy (Part One)"
>> http://www.ironshrink.com/articles.php?artID=070828_is_my_therapist_crazy
>> "Truth is, I’ve heard some disheartening stories of incompetence, conceit,
>> and meanness among my colleagues. Add to that various tales of boundary
>> violations, diagnostic ineptitude, and goofy, new age therapies. It’s enough
>> to make a guy to wonder: is it true? Do psychologists struggle with mental
>> illness more often then the general population? As is my tradition, I hit
>> the literature in the hopes of scrounging up some facts. ... I’ve heard it
>> said that shrinks aren’t simply screwed up, they’re shrinks because they’re
>> screwed up. Where did I hear that? Why, from shrinks themselves. ..."
>> Still, as another president of the APA suggests, it may be better to focus
>> on amplifying the positive, than diminishing the negative:
>>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_psychology
>>  http://www.apa.org/monitor/jan98/pres.html
>>  http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/
>> People who tend to be sociopathic tend to have certain traits. What is
>> positive about that? :-)
>> Above there was one suggestion, if a sociopath became concerned about the
>> effect of global issues on himself or herself. Consider, even in China:
>> http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/opinion/09friedman.html?_r=1
>> """
>> Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it
>> is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse
>> than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we
>> have in America today.
>>  One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a
>> reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have
>> great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult
>> but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the
>> 21st century. It is not an accident that China is committed to overtaking us
>> in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power
>> and wind power. China’s leaders understand that in a world of exploding
>> populations and rising emerging-market middle classes, demand for clean
>> power and energy efficiency is going to soar. Beijing wants to make sure
>> that it owns that industry and is ordering the policies to do that,
>> including boosting gasoline prices, from the top down.
>>  Our one-party democracy is worse. The fact is, on both the energy/climate
>> legislation and health care legislation, only the Democrats are really
>> playing. With a few notable exceptions, the Republican Party is standing,
>> arms folded and saying “no.” Many of them just want President Obama to fail.
>> Such a waste. Mr. Obama is not a socialist; he’s a centrist. But if he’s
>> forced to depend entirely on his own party to pass legislation, he will be
>> whipsawed by its different factions.
>> """
>> I'm not saying China is a sociopath or run by sociopaths. I'm just giving
>> an example of how "enlightened self interest" coupled with a strong will can
>> accomplish some good stuff. I'd rather we did not have a government run by
>> one or more sociopaths. But, if we did, I'm just trying to look on the
>> bright side. :-) Can we help enlighten sociopaths to see their own long term
>> self interests and act better on them? I don't know.
>> Even if the government was enlightened, consider this:
>>  "Corporation as Psychopath"
>>  http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0218-01.htm
>> """
>> The filmmakers juxtapose well-shot interviews of defenders and critics
>> with the reality on the ground -- Charles Kernaghan in Central America
>> showing how, for example, big apparel manufacturers pay workers pennies for
>> products that sell for hundreds of dollars in the United States -- with
>> defenders of the regime -- Milton Friedman looking frumpy as he says with as
>> straight a face as he can -- the only moral imperative for a corporate
>> executive is to make as much money for the corporate owners as he or she
>> can.
>>  Others agree with Friedman. Management guru Peter Drucker tells Bakan:
>> "If you find an executive who wants to take on social responsibilities, fire
>> him. Fast." And William Niskanen, chair of the libertarian Cato Institute,
>> says that he would not invest in a company that pioneered in corporate
>> responsibility.
>>  Of course, state corporation laws actually impose a legal duty on
>> corporate executives to make money for shareholders. Engage in social
>> responsibility -- pay more money to workers, stop legal pollution, lower the
>> price to customers -- and you'll likely be sued by your shareholders. Robert
>> Monks, the investment manager, puts it this way: "The corporation is an
>> externalizing machine, in the same way that a shark is a killing machine
>> (shark seeking young woman swimming on the screen). There isn't any question
>> of malevolence or of will. The enterprise has within it, and the shark has
>> within it, those characteristics that enable it to do that for which it was
>> designed."
>> """
>> Or as I wrote here:
>> "[unrev-II] Singularity in twenty to forty years?"
>> http://www.dougengelbart.org/colloquium/forum/discussion/0126.html
>> """
>> I personally think machine evolution is unstoppable, and the best hope
>> for humanity is the noble cowardice of creating refugia and trying, like
>> the duckweed, to create human (and other) life faster than other forces
>> can destroy it. [Though I now see social networking like p2p as another
>> promising alternative, to interlink with that, where the social network is
>> much stronger is some ways that the individual and can help reign in some
>> negatives, as it maintains a Manuel de Landa Meshworks and Hierarchies
>> balance.]
>>  Note, I'm not saying machine evolution won't have a human component --
>> in that sense, a corporation or any bureaucracy is already a separate
>> machine intelligence, just not a very smart or resilient one. This sense
>> of the corporation comes out of Langdon Winner's book "Autonomous
>> Technology: Technics out of control as a theme in political thought".
>>  http://www.rpi.edu/~winner/
>> You may have a tough time believing this, but Winner makes a convincing
>> case. He suggests that all successful organizations "reverse-adapt"
>> their goals and their environment to ensure their continued survival.
>>  These corporate machine intelligences are already driving for better
>> machine intelligences -- faster, more efficient, cheaper, and more
>> resilient. People forget that corporate charters used to be routinely
>> revoked for behavior outside the immediate public good, and that
>> corporations were not considered persons until around 1886 (that
>> decision perhaps being the first major example of a machine using the
>> political/social process of its own ends).
>> http://web.archive.org/web/20021004182801/http://adbusters.org/magazine/28/usa.html
>> Corporate charters are granted supposedly because society believe it is
>> in the best interest of *society* for corporations to exist. ...
>> """
>> Anyway, lots of links have rotted in there. :-(
>> But the point is, we have created a social organization form (the
>> corporation, one that is immortal and many are very powerful, and which is
>> driven by only fiat dollar numerical "profit" many times) that may exhibit
>> psychopthic behavior. And, through them, we are not creating physical forms,
>> the artificial intelligence, sometimes but not always embodied in a robot,
>> that may also exhibit psychopathic behavior. Corporations and robots have,
>> so far, no friends or family as entities -- in the sense that they are not
>> yet designed to think that way. (Some work on swarm robotics is being done.)
>> And as one person replied to a question I raised on essentially making
>> smarter corporate sharks with computer technology:
>>  "[unrev-II] Re: Is "bootstrapping" part of the problem?"
>>  (Posted twice by that person, so two sets of replies.)
>>  http://www.dougengelbart.org/colloquium/forum/discussion/2183.html
>>  http://www.dougengelbart.org/colloquium/forum/discussion/2184.html
>> """
>> Paul, I respect your point of view but I do not share it. ...
>>  Desires, intelligence, values, - rings true, up to a point. But it's sort
>> of like id, ego, superego. A way of naming and thus discussing something
>> about mind or personality that seems real to many of us, but not terribly
>> informative about how we function or could or should function.
>>  I suggest that if we are affirming values (widely shared or otherwise) we
>> ought to affirm Respect for Human Autonomy. The idea that one individual
>> may
>> better determine that individual's needs, wants, and means than another.
>> The
>> idea that one may be mistaken, especially about other people.
>>  I believe the evolutionary environment humans have adapted to, is that of
>> other humans. Hence the skill at detecting cheaters, free riders etc. - as
>> well as the adulation for those whose exploits demonstrate both a
>> specialness as an individual and a major contribution to the community as
>> a
>> whole - success in two major areas of human endeavor. I think our great
>> teachers refer to this when they talk about harmony, about finding peace
>> as
>> a part of the whole.
>>  Another related value: voluntary decisions aren't only more whole-hearted
>> than compelled ones, they are more likely to be correct for the precise
>> individual circumstances. Summed over all humanity, these individual
>> decisions - sometimes competitive, sometimes cooperative, are the
>> well-spring of progress, both material and moral.
>> """
>> I don't completely agree with that, because it leaves out the issue of how
>> people negotiate to do collective actions, or how they decide some actions
>> are out of bounds, but there is a lot of wisdom there. There were various
>> replies to the point I made. That thread on values and technology is here:
>> "[unrev-II] Is "bootstrapping" part of the problem?"
>> http://www.dougengelbart.org/colloquium/forum/discussion/index.html#2168
>> That was a great mailing list to be on related to Doug Engelbart's
>> efforts, and I am thankful for a chance to participate on it and learn so
>> much with many very wonderful people. That and the early Squeak list are
>> perhaps my models of healthy p2p communities related to digital tools and
>> surrounding issues. They gave me some hope.
>> Anyway, these are growing issues in our society, framed as a negative,
>> related to decreasing psychothic behavior:
>> * How do we get people to have less psychopathic behavior? Abundance of
>> love and good food and sunlight would usually help (even, in the few times,
>> when that love comes through as authority, as per the above article mentions
>> on what works best for developing a conscience in some, not all, kids.)
>> * How do we get organizations to have less psychopathic behavior? Coming
>> up with better ways to structure their charters and their social/economic
>> surroundings might help, as might be changing the meshworks/hierarchies
>> balance with p2p activities. Even the most benign seeming institutions can
>> have hidden pathologies: (only picking on the UUs as I respect them a lot)
>> http://archive.uua.org/ga/ga99/238thandeka.html
>> http://www.left-bank.org/antiuu/
>> * How do we get the machines and software we build to have less
>> psychopathic behavior? James P. Hogan talks about this in "The Two Faces of
>> Tommorrow". Isaac Asimov talked about it with his "Three Laws of Robotics".
>> Basically, we need to build our ethics into our artifacts. We already do
>> that every day (as Langdon Winner and others talk about) but unfortunately,
>> often in an unconscious or sociopathic way, that often reflects a scarcity
>> ideology (like emphasizing minimum production costs or maximizing fiat
>> dollar revenues or passing external costs to others or ignoring systemic
>> risks). We need Bucky Fuller's (and other's) ideas of a "Comprehensive
>> Anticipatory Design Science".
>> http://challenge.bfi.org/movie
>> Like cancer, sociopathic behavior is probably inherent in any system,
>> because part of it depends on perspective. Cancer is basically one cell
>> saying, "I'm just for me, in a different way, and I'm in it for the short
>> term." Sociopathic behavior is similar. But, ultimately, there is the issue
>> of sense of self. How big is a "self"? A gene? A genome? A finger? A
>> thought? A brain? A body? A career? A family? A neighborhood? A network? A
>> world? A universe? Etc. There are many ways to define self.
>> If we reframe those things above in positive psychology terms, in terms of
>> increasing positive behiviours, they might be:
>> * How do we get people to have more compassionate and joyful behavior?
>> http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/treatment.shtml
>> http://www.dignitarians.org/
>> * How do we get organizations to have more life-affirming behavior that
>> meets societies unmet needs?
>> "William C. Norris: Social entrepreneur founder of CDC"
>> http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/william-c-norris-418405.html
>> (A businessperson I admire; sadly he died recently. But his legacy lives
>> on.)
>> * How do we get the machines and software we build to have more helpful
>> and compassionate and life-affirming and joyful and so on behaviors? Do we
>> focus on "friendly AI":
>>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendly_artificial_intelligence
>> or do we focus on augmenting human communities?
>>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Engelbart
>>  http://sloan.stanford.edu/MouseSite/dce-bio.htm
>> With either affirming core human values, as above?
>> So, you'd be right to question an overly simplistic us/them notion of
>> "sociopath", even beyond formal "diagnosis". But, that still leaves open
>> these deeper questions. Same as researching cancer is ultimately a complex
>> enterprise, involving everything about what it means for a population to
>> live and evolve, so too may be the idea of "sociopath" something that calls
>> to us to think big to understand it, and deal with the situation our current
>> reality calls for in a healthy joyful way. Of course, a sociopath might ask,
>> healthy and joyful for whom? Or anyone else might ask that too. :-)
>> As a graduate professor (Frank von Hippel) taught in a Woodrow Wilson
>> School course I took (a class my grad department in Civil Engineering and
>> Operations Research did not want me to take, and my taking it anyway was
>> part of what cost me my PhD there), paraphrasing: "Cost benefit analysis
>> involves asking, who pays the costs, and who gets the benefits, accepting
>> that the two groups may not be the same."
>> Which pretty much sums up big some major big problems in current and
>> historical global politics.
>> See also:
>> "Citizen Scientist: Collected Essays of Frank Von Hippel (Masters of
>> Modern Physics)"
>> http://www.amazon.com/Citizen-Scientist-Collected-Masters-Physics/dp/0883187094
>> And:
>> http://www.disciplined-minds.com/
>> """
>> In this riveting book about the world of professional work, Jeff Schmidt
>> demonstrates that the workplace is a battleground for the very identity of
>> the individual, as is graduate school, where professionals are trained. He
>> shows that professional work is inherently political, and that professionals
>> are hired to subordinate their own vision and maintain strict “ideological
>> discipline.” The hidden root of much career dissatisfaction, argues Schmidt,
>> is the professional’s lack of control over the political component of his or
>> her creative work. Many professionals set out to make a contribution to
>> society and add meaning to their lives. Yet our system of professional
>> education and employment abusively inculcates an acceptance of politically
>> subordinate roles in which professionals typically do not make a significant
>> difference, undermining the creative potential of individuals, organizations
>> and even democracy. Schmidt details the battle one must fight to be an
>> independent thinker and to pursue one’s own social vision in today’s
>> corporate society. He shows how an honest reassessment of what it really
>> means to be a professional employee can be remarkably liberating. After
>> reading this brutally frank book, no one who works for a living will ever
>> think the same way about his or her job.
>> """
>> Is our very academia, that which should provide our moral compass, and
>> help guide us to a better world, itself somewhat a psychopathic institution,
>> and one that even turns non-psychopaths into psychopaths? :-(
>> Schmidt writes essentially about how one of the reasons many academics
>> become so dysfunction is that they are trying, somehow, to make up, through
>> fame or profit or control of others lives, for the trauma most of them were
>> put through in graduate school and the early years of their professional
>> work, where their hopes to make a difference were squashed, and now they are
>> still trying to get something out of all that. :-(
>> See also:
>> "[p2p-research] College Daze links (was Re: : FlossedBk, "Free/Libre and
>> Open Source Solutions for Education")"
>> http://listcultures.org/pipermail/p2presearch_listcultures.org/2009-October/005379.html
>> But with that said, some graduate advisers are great, many grad students
>> are better than I was at advanced calculus, some good percent of academics
>> make very positive contributions either because they had a great graduate
>> experience or despite it, or even because of it. To echo again the words
>> above about kids:
>> "What causes this lack of empathy? Many — but not all — psychopaths were
>> abused or neglected as children. Being treated poorly early on can set up a
>> child to see everyone else as selfish and cruel, causing them to replicate
>> that kind of behavior as a way to cope with a nasty, uncaring world.
>> However, the vast majority of abused and neglected children grow up to be
>> caring, and some are even especially sensitive — far from psychopathic."
>> Still, before I celebrate how wonderful grad school is, again, on
>> psychologists, part two of the essay cited above:
>> "How To Tell If Your Therapist Is Crazy (Part Two)"
>> http://www.ironshrink.com/articles.php?artID=070910_how_to_choose_a_therapist
>> """
>> As tempting as it is to believe that most mental health workers are wacky
>> and maladjusted, the data tell a different story. For the most part, we seem
>> to be fairly sane. Our downfall, in my sometimes overbearing opinion, is
>> that we have a tendency toward muddled thinking. Our logic chips are
>> frequently on the fritz, and it is our patients who pay the price in time,
>> money, and heartache.
>>  Consider this example. The case is fictional, but it is based on far too
>> many real situations that I've had the misfortune to witness.
>>  Sally goes to a psychologist complaining of depression. Ever since her
>> divorce and layoff last year, she just can't get out of her blue funk. Prior
>> to those events, life was grand for Sally. She was happy and surrounded by
>> friends. She believes that the events of last year sent her into depression,
>> and she simply wants to get her life moving again. The psychologist
>> disagrees with Sally's assessment. After several sessions, he concludes that
>> Sally's problem stems from childhood abuse and that she may be suffering
>> from Multiple Personality Disorder.
>>  Sally thinks she is depressed; the psychologist thinks she is Sybil.
>> Seems illogical to reach that conclusion, doesn't it? Not if you went to
>> graduate school. Reaching that type of conclusion a simple matter of
>> ignoring the facts.
>>  If the psychologist doesn't believe Sally, if he buys into preconceived
>> notions, or if he believes he knows more about Sally than Sally does, then
>> he is free to reach any conclusion he wishes. It is rarely so egregious, but
>> it happens in smaller ways more often than you might imagine. Brain
>> blockages like this one are important to screen for in choosing a therapist.
>> """
>> What are we to say about a social system like academic and professional
>> psychology that turns people who want to care into dysfunctional or
>> disempowered helpers? Would "psychopathic" be the right word?
>> Or, if we should never blame on malice what could be attributed to
>> stupidity, should we merely use the term, "dysfunctional"?
>> At least, there are some examples of functional psychologists out there.
>> Former APA president George A. Miller built and gave away WordNet under a
>> free license.
>>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Armitage_Miller
>> Former APA president Martin Seligman has done a lot of good stuff about
>> learned helplessness ani positive psychology:
>>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Seligman
>> Recent APA president Philip Zimbardo has done work on understanding
>> authoritarianism, shyness, and how one's time perspective affects one's life
>> happiness:
>>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Zimbardo
>> And there are many other contributions various psychologists of less fame
>> have made to improving or healing the world.
>> So, not all psychologists are completely dysfunctional. :-)
>> But, clearly, our entire intellectual system has failed us in many, many
>> ways. Deep and profound ones. As I've outline, we've lost US$100 trillion
>> and untold suffering because academics would not share their information
>> more easily about things like vitamin D deficiency syndrome, its effects,
>> and its cures. And a similar lack of sharing on issues related to
>> psychopathology may have cost the equivalent of quadrillions of US dollars
>> in lost productivity or war cost and war damage (like, where we would be
>> today if Hitler had been able to continue in his original career aspiration
>> as a painter).
>> http://groups.google.com/group/openmanufacturing/msg/32e8fc32c89c96bd?hl=en
>> We need a substantial reordering of those myths and those priorities in
>> relation to sharing and collaboration.
>> http://www.share-international.org/archives/cooperation/co_nocontest.htm
>> As Robert Muller suggests:
>>  http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com/oscomak/origins.htm
>> """
>>    The present condition of humanity was best described by the philosopher
>> Gottfried Leibnitz a few hundred years ago when he said that humans would be
>> so occupied with making scientific discoveries in every sector for several
>> centuries that they would not look at the totality. But, he said, someday
>> the proliferation and complexity of our knowledge would become so
>> bewildering that it would be necessary to develop a global, universal, and
>> synthetic view. This is exactly the time and juncture at which we have
>> arrived. It shows in our new preoccupations with what is called
>> 'interdisciplinary', 'global thinking', 'interdependence', and so on. It is
>> all the same phenomenon.
>>    One of the most useful things humanity could do at this point is to
>> make an honest inventory of what we know. I have suggested to foundations
>> that they ought to bring together the chief editors of the world's main
>> encyclopedias to agree on a common table of contents of human knowledge. But
>> it can be a dangerous idea. Why? Well, when the Frenchman Diderot invented
>> the first encyclopedia, the archbishop of Paris ran to the king of France to
>> have the book burned because it would totally change the existing value
>> system of the Catholic church. If we developed a common index of human
>> knowledge today it would similarly cause a change in our value systems. We
>> would discover that in the whole framework of knowledge the contest between
>> Israel and the Muslims would barely be listed because it is such a small
>> problem in the totality of our preoccupation as a human species. The meeting
>> might have to last several days before the editors would even mention it!
>> This is exactly the point: some people don't want to develop such a
>> framework of knowledge because they want their problem to be the most
>> important problem on earth and go to great lengths to promote that notion.
>>    So that is what I believe to be most necessary for global security: an
>> ordering of our knowledge at this point in our evolution, a good, honest
>> classification of all we know from the infinitely large to the infinitely
>> small - the cosmos, our planet, humanity, our dreams, our wishes, and so on.
>> We haven't done it yet, but we will have to do it one way or another.
>> """
>> To amplify one point there: "some people don't want to develop such a
>> framework of knowledge". Is that related to "psychopathic behavior"? Or is
>> it just "selfish" with a very small definition for size of self?
>> But we can still sing anyway:
>>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_the_Grinch_Stole_Christmas!
>> "However, he learns in the end that despite his success in stealing all
>> the Christmas presents and decorations from the Whos, Christmas comes just
>> the same."
>> I never really got that as a kid. :-) But see also:
>>  http://www.marcinequenzer.com/creation.htm#The%20Field%20of%20Plenty
>> "When the cornucopia was brought to the Pilgrims, the Iroquois People
>> sought to assist these Boat People in destroying their fear of scarcity. The
>> Native understanding is that there is always enough for everyone when
>> abundance is shared and when gratitude is given back to the Original Source.
>> The trick was to explain the concept of the Field of Plenty with few
>> mutually understood words or signs. The misunderstanding that sprang from
>> this lack of common language robbed those who came to Turtle Island of a
>> beautiful teaching."
>> I'm very glad to see that we are building such abundant knowledge systems
>> stigmergically, whether Wikipedia, Debian GNU/Linux, or many other projects,
>> through the internet. Let's hope we can keep it happening using peer
>> production and other means. Individual contributors may fall by the wayside
>> for whatever reasons (politicians, hurry up with that "basic income" for
>> everyone already :-), but the community will hopefully continue to thrive to
>> the point where we see an extensive transformation, as these newly emerged
>> values and capabilities reflect back on our infrastructure in a
>> life-affirming and compassionate wa. Maybe even, someday, with robots and
>> people playing/working together, like at the end of Wall-E :-)
>>  "WALL-E Credits"
>>  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6wgicmUAfw
>> Was "Auto" psychopathic in the movie Wall-E? Or was he just just following
>> his directive, like he was built to do...
>> --Paul Fernhout
>> http://www.pdfernhout.net/
>>  Stan Rhodes wrote:
>>> Paul,
>>> Due to controversy and overlaps between clinial tools, such as the
>>> DMS-IV,
>>> it's hard to cut through the "popular science" fluff and find the meat in
>>> most work on these subjects.  For example, measures of "psychopathy" are
>>> used for research only, and are not in any way clinical diagnoses of
>>> anti-social personality disorder (ASPD).   While psychopathy and ASPD are
>>> correlated, only a fraction of prisoners diagnosed with ASPD meet the
>>> PCL-R
>>> criteria for psychopathy.  In fact, ASPD is almost synonymous with
>>> "someone
>>> in the US prison system" (around 80% of US prisoners are ASPD) and given
>>> the
>>> disproportionately large prisoner population in the US, there's a really
>>> fishy smell to the whole business.  It's important to keep this in mind
>>> when
>>> reviewing research articles written for the public that touch on either.
>>> While I'm not discounting the PCL-R, I have grave doubts about it
>>> representing a distinct taxonomic group.  It's factor 1 and factor 2
>>> measure
>>> very different things.  I've run across studies where one of the factors
>>> will correlate strongly with some behavior, but the other will not.
>>> My warning, as someone that actually studied psychology--and still
>>> does--is
>>> take it all with a salt-shaker of salt.  This tends to be good advice
>>> across
>>> the behavioral sciences in general.
>>> Paul, at some point you said "Some may be genetic too," but the study you
>>> pointed to only tested for neural activation.  Neural activation does NOT
>>> mean genetic evidence.
>>> Cheers,
>>> -- Stan
>>> On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 8:47 AM, Paul D. Fernhout <
>>> pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:
>>> A digression onto a psychopathic aspect of the current system, related to
>>>> my previous post on changing social mythology which seems
>>>> counterproductive,
>>> Here is some more on that theme of psychopath as "peer". :-)
>>>> Some may be genetic too:
>>>> "Bullies May Enjoy Seeing Others in Pain: Brain Scans Show Disruption in
>>>> Natural Empathetic Response"
>>>> http://www.sott.net/articles/show/195629-Bullies-May-Enjoy-Seeing-Others-in-Pain-Brain-Scans-Show-Disruption-in-Natural-Empathetic-Response
>>>> """
>>>> "Aggressive adolescents showed a specific and very strong activation of
>>>> the
>>>> amygdala and ventral striatum (an area that responds to feeling
>>>> rewarded)
>>>> when watching pain inflicted on others, which suggested that they
>>>> enjoyed
>>>> watching pain," he said.
>>>>  Unlike the control group, the youth with conduct disorder did not
>>>> activate
>>>> the area of the brain involved in self-regulation (the medial prefrontal
>>>> cortex and the temporoparietal junction).
>>>>  The control group acted similarly to youth in a study released earlier
>>>> this year, in which Decety and his colleagues used fMRI scans to show 7-
>>>> to
>>>> 12-year-olds are naturally empathetic toward people in pain.
>>>> """
>>>> I'm not saying all violent people are psychopaths, most probably are
>>>> not.
>>>> I'm just suggesting fixing the nutritional deficiencies and vitamin D
>>>> deficiencies may help improve things in general for people who have
>>>> psychopathic tendencies and may otherwise be impulsively violent.
>>>> Likewise, I'm not saying all bullying people are psychopaths, again,
>>>> most
>>>> probably are not. But addressing bullying issues may help improve things
>>>> in
>>>> general for people who have psychopathic tendencies and might otherwise
>>>> be
>>>> bullying.
>>>> Like with any paradigm, likely we will figure out how to move beyond the
>>>> "psychopath" paradigm at some point and see some bigger picture,
>>>> including
>>>> nutrition, helping parents better match their style of parenting to
>>>> their
>>>> child's current needs, and more social supports (including a basic
>>>> income,
>>>> which would give many people the opportunity to just walk away from
>>>> relationships at work or at home to psychopaths and in general any other
>>>> dysfunctional relationship, or alternatively, have the resources to help
>>>> fix
>>>> the relationship).
>>>> Might there be societies where people with the same inclinations just
>>>> could
>>>> not be "psychopaths" in terms of behavior effects because of other
>>>> collective societal aspects? Or where better diet prevents the worst
>>>> part of
>>>> this? Maybe, even if we can't "cure" the psychopath, we can cure the
>>>> society
>>>> that lets him or her run wild, and worse, elevates him or her to
>>>> positions
>>>> of responsibility over others and major resources?
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Work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhurakij_Pundit_University - Research:
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