Mesmerised by Sociopaths
the subversion of our consciences
In my last article Are we a chess game? I was opening up the topic of sociopathy. One of my readers, Professor, made the following comment:
There are those who do have a conscience but suspend it for particular issues due to party loyalty or being mesmerized by sociopaths. This allows groups to do things that most members of the group would not do on their own. It also allows for dissolution or evasion of responsibility for certain actions.
So I thought this was a perfect segue into the topic of obedience and why so many seemingly blindly follow the edicts of sociopathic-like leaders. I’ll continue with Martha Stout, from The Sociopath Next Door, who touches on this very topic…
… [in a time of trouble] history shows us … a leader with no seventh sense [conscience] can hypnotize the group conscience still further, redoubling catastrophe. Using fear-based propaganda to amplify a destructive ideology, such a leader can bring the members of a frightened society to see the its [the depersonalised ‘others’] as the sole impediment to the good life, for themselves and maybe even for humanity as a whole, and the conflict as an epic battle between good and evil. Once these beliefs have been disseminated, crushing the its without pity or conscience can, with chilling ease, become an incontrovertible mandate.
Take that statement in for a moment in the context of 2020-2021.
So why do we let leaders, motivated by their own consciouslessness self-interest, corral us like a flock of sheep into less-than-sane thoughts and actions? How is it that the conscience of the masses can be silenced to allow the unconscionable reasonings and actions of a sociopath to define a community?
Simply put, we are wired to obey authority, even if that authority goes against our own consciences. Now what is defined as an ‘authority’ is different for different people, especially when it comes to the morality of that authority figure (I’ll talk about this more in a moment). So how do we know this apart from observing history and intuition? Well this brings us to a very famous experiment every undergraduate psychology student is required to study - the Milgram experiments from the early 1960s.
Here it is…
In a nutshell the experiment was to see just how far a subject would go in obeying orders to hurt someone else. The subjects were delivering shocks to another participant as part of a ‘learning’ study. 62.5% of the subjects took the experiment right to the end where possibly fatal shocks were administered, and in follow up experiments, using peer pressure, even greater percentage of obedience was observed. When the subject was calling out the words, but not pressing the switches to deliver the electric shocks, a stunning 92.5% of subjects continued the experiment to the very highest levels of shock.
The results, as I observed them in the laboratory, are disturbing. They raise the possibility that human nature cannot be counted on to insulate men from brutality and inhumane treatment at the direction of malevolent authority. A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do irrespective of the content of the act and without limitations of conscience, so long as they perceive the commands come from a legitimate authority. If, in this study, an anonymous experimenter can command adults to subdue a 50 year old man and force on him painful electric shocks against his protests, one can only wonder what government, with it’s vastly greater authority and prestige, can command of it’s subjects. (Stanley Milgram)
Authority could override the conscience of many as the responsibility of outcomes are transferred to the authority figure, and not themselves. It’s the “I was only following orders” excuse used by those instrumental in atrocities like the extermination of the Jews in WWII.
However, as I started to mention above, the perceived legitimacy of the authority figure directly correlates with the extent to which personal conscience is suppressed. If you feel you are on equal footing to the one giving the orders, and especially if you feel you are superior to the one giving the orders, then you are unlikely to override your conscience. A case-in-point would be after reading The Real Anthony Fauci by RFK Jr., your estimation of Fauci would have likely come down a few notches, maybe even crashed and burned! The authority that Fauci may have had in your mind no longer holds any power of influence (except that maybe you want to punch him out). You are not going to put your conscience on hold to follow the dictates of someone akin to a mafia boss. The same can be said for other authority figures, from national news channels to world leaders, as true motives and actions are manifesting as totalitarian.
The perception of authority figures is the key to overriding your conscience or not. This is an age when anyone can, through social media, traditional media, websites, documentaries, books, etc., represent themselves as larger than life and with more authority than they actually have. And they are also in our personal space…
…images on television are up close and personal – they are in our living rooms – and another factor that affects authority’s power to overwhelm individual conscience is the proximity of the person giving the commands. When Milgram varied his experiment such that he was not in the room, obedience dropped by two-thirds, to about the same level as when an ‘ordinary man’ was in charge. And when authority was not close by, subjects tended to ‘cheat’ by using only the lower shock levels on the machine.
And think now just how much closer the ‘authority’ is to us through the all-pervasive social media channels.
Being attuned to our consciences and finding the strength to disobey the orders of authority and the agreement of the masses so as not to betray that conscience is what is so critical for us in these days. Based on Milgram’s study, if there were 100 people in a society, and about 4 of them are sociopaths, maybe also in authority, we’d have 96 people of whom 62.5% would obey authority. If it’s an aggressive, totalitarian leadership, that leaves 36 people who will act according to their conscience and resist the leadership and the crowd. That’s about a third of the people who will stay true to their consciences. That may not be the majority but there’s hope in that I believe.
Martha Stout says “If courage is acting according to one’s conscience despite pain or fear, then strength is the ability to keep conscience awake and in force despite the demands of authorities to do otherwise.”
Stay courageous, stay strong!
Update: March 9, 2022 - I’ve just started reading Jabbed: how the vaccine industry, medical establishment, and government stick it to you and your family, by Brett Wilcox. He makes reference to the vaccine sociopaths who peddle the doctrine of the religion of vaccinology. Written in 2018, and I guess researched for a few years prior, it’s looking like a great exposé of what is now blindingly obvious - the religious fanaticism of sociopathic opportunists running the biggest business on the planet - the Church of Vaccines (where salvation is just a vaccination schedule away).
[vaccine-informed people] see that the dangerous practice of vaccination has morphed from a filthy experiment into a pagan ritual in the religion of Vaccinology, complete with its unique false history, false dogma, false priests, and the false promise of salvation from infectious disease. They understand that the pharmaceutical industry has seized control of medicine and government. Big Pharma, Big Medicine, and Big Government function as three seemingly separate but deeply entangled entities that advance a common agenda. Such a relationship is like a bastardized version of the Holy Trinity. (Wilcox, 2018, p. 1)