Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#191 / Ponerology

Until last week, I had never heard of ponerology. Ponerology is most directly associated with Polish psychiatrist Andrew M. Lobaczewski, the author of a book called Political Ponerology. His premise is that most of the evil in the world is caused directly by a relatively small number of individuals (about 6% of the population is his estimate) who are psychopathic:

Inherited and acquired psychological disorders and ignorance of their existence and nature are the primal causes of evil. The magic number of 6% seems to represent the number of humans who either carry the genes responsible for biological evil or who acquire such disorders in the course of their lifetime. This small percent is responsible for the vast majority of human misery and crime, and for infecting others with their flawed view of the world.
Sometimes, I have to admit, it does seem like "psychopaths rule." There is even a whole Facebook page for those who see the world this way. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama make the list, along with Hitler, Marx, Churchill, and Stalin.

Whether or not some of our most celebrated political leaders have really been psychopaths (and I think that this remains a topic open for debate), I think the kind of participatory democracy that I advocate is probably the best antidote we've got.


  1. Since you're new to the topic, perhaps you'd be interested to read more on the subject. There's a very good 200+ page paper in PDF on the net here: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/
    Also, keep your eye on the fb page you referenced. They often post links to other good sources. I think the more you learn, the less you will contest it or maintain your skepticism.

    1. Thanks for your recommendation. I've downloaded "The Authoritarians," and will read it. I immediately noticed in the acknowledgements that Brewster Smith (a favorite person of mine, and a Santa Cruz County resident) is recognized. That inspires a certain confidence in the text!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I'm looking forward to exploring your page - this is very interesting topic and I will have to research it further. Thanks!

  4. All psychopaths should be killed I don't care who they are. I'm sure they can relate to that.

  5. please check out my facebook page: Psychopathy in the Newz.

  6. Gary,

    I'm really glad to see people in positions like yours are learning about ponerology. The subject has had a huge impact on my worldview. I see ponerology not as a conclusion - that psychopaths and those with certain personality disorders - are in charge in our world (ie: that we have a pathocracy), but rather as the scientific field tasked with studying whether this scenario or various others are taking place.

    As I describe on my in-depth page on the subject, I hope to see ponerology become a more established, credible field that conducts serious research in a public health capacity.

  7. I am very appreciative of this new avenue of inquiry! Thanks for providing the link to your page.

  8. Very welcome and thanks for your work, as well. It's great to see someone who has worked in politics and is in the legal profession considering these issues. I actually specifically address how ponerology might influence our approach to law on that page - along with many other angles on it.

  9. Thank you for devoting attention to this very important topic. For a related take on the subject of evil, which includes examining psychopathy, I recommend checking out the book at thevivisectionofevil.com.


Thanks for your comment!