The Energetics of Psychopathy

Picture: Anna Bal (CC)

Do you remember the scene in The Green Mile when death row inmate John Coffee is touched by murderer “Wild Bill”? After feeling some powerful negative energy, he says, “You a bad man.”

Are you like John Coffee? Would you know it if you brushed up against a cold-blooded killer? You might if you’re what Dr. Judith Orloff calls an “intuitive empath“.

I began to sense energy emanating from people when I was around 20 or 21 years old.  An interesting thing happens when a person turns 21: The prefrontal cortex of the brain matures. I think that I had always sensed energy around me unconsciously, but at this time I became conscious of it and began to investigate these experiences analytically. When I learned about Chi or Qi energy  in practices like reiki and qi gong, it was not simply an idea I accepted intellectually or on faith: It simply put a name to what I had already experienced.

People have energy emanating from them and this energy circulates around. Most people are somewhat suspicious of strangers, and in a strange environment their auras contract. When they become more comfortable and familiar with the people around them they open up.In addition to contracting ones aura as a self protection mechanism, others adopt a different strategy when in a strange place: They project hostile energy.

Some people may start out hostile at first but then warm up.  It’s natural to be somewhat suspicious of strangers. Historically people lived in tribes, and the men of the tribes would be protectors and outsiders would be the enemy. This has kind of broken down a bit now that people are organized more and more into mass societies, but often in isolated areas or among other other insular groups, this is the stance people adopt to outsiders. With people like this, some relatively simple cue might cause them to open up, like for example if they learn you are a friend of a friend or a know one of their relatives. Often I can feel people’s energy change in these situations.

A conversation is an exchange of energy. It circulates between the people. Ideally its an equal exchange. There is a basic reciprocity.

This exchange of energy between two normal people having a friendly conversation is for the most part unconscious. This exchange of energy is a mysterious thing. For example, imagine heading to go home for work,after a stressful day. You feel tired and worn out. Now, imagine that at the last minute your boss tells you “Hey, good job today! We really appreciate all the hard work you are putting in here.”

Suddenly you feel energized. Your feet are no longer dragging. You have a spring in your step. Somehow you have been recharged. It’s almost like you ate a candy bar or something. You have received a boost. Where did this energy come from? Medically, it would be easier to trace energy received from a candy bar than a compliment, but it is energy all the same. It was given to you by your boss, but not in such a way that his or her energy was depleted. The compliment probably led to positive energy on their part also. It was an even exchange. Its a very subtle thing but it is very real.

Psychopaths are a tribe of one. They are not open and friendly, but rather see themselves as being utterly alone in an extremely hostile universe. Their energetic stance is one of hostility, but they have a strategy of appearing friendly. They often mimic friendly behavior, but it’s a ruse, and no free exchange of energy is really possible with such people because they lack a basic trust toward the whole of humanity. They trick people into opening up their auras with charm, humor and conversational skills.We are conditioned to be friendly to friendly people, so the ruse tends to work. Were everyone a psychopath it wouldn’t work; there would be no society. It would be every man for himself.

The unease that most people feel when talking with a psychopath is mostly unconscious, but one thing some people often pick up is that their smile does not match their eyes. The eye is the window to the soul.

Most people don’t continuously make strong eye contact because it can be deemed threatening. In the course of a conversation they look away and check back once in a while to connect. I recall once having a conversation with a person I later determined to be a psychopath:  It was a friendly conversation about some topic I enjoy –  travel, or the outdoors or something –  and when I made eye contact I noticed that his eyes were hostile. His voice was totally friendly, slightly musical, even; he told jokes and little quirky anecdotes. It was jolting to see these cold eyes. They were eyes you would expect to see if we were squaring off to fight.

To him it was a fight.: He was measuring me up, because he had no trust toward me at all. Ours was a hostile exchange based on power, and was probably  like every other exchange he has  had with every other human being on the face of the Earth.

Our exchange felt like vampirism: I was drained of my energy. While there has been much written about “psychic vampirism”, I find most of it to be fairly inadequate because the authors usually fail to point out that people are exchanging energy all the time. It’s a subtle thing this energy, and it doesn’t exactly belong to you. We aren’t really even completely discreet entities: It is as if  there is energy all around us and we are simply patterns within this energy.

You give energy to people and they usually give energy back. There is a yin and yang to it –  something like resonance. You pass energy back and forth and come to resonate with each other more and more. That is what romantic intimacy is, and it can culminate in sexual intercourse. Most relationships don’t rise to that level of intimacy, of course, but we all participate in some form of intercourse in the general meaning of an “exchange” between two people.

Normal people experience this intercourse – this exchange – during daily interactions. There’s a reciprocity here. However, a psychopath always want to get the better of the other person in these exchanges: It is never a two-way thing. Everything about them is a lie.

Psychopaths lie to everybody because they are predators.When you interact with them you come to really feel like prey, or a deer caught in the headlights of an incoming car. Their gaze can feel physically hot; You can feel them probing you for weaknesses, to see if you can be put to some self-serving use or if you are a threat to be neutralized. Once again, everyone to them is the enemy. They have no friends.

I believe they have a different type of consciousness than other people, and they’re are actually feeding on other people’s consciousness. Consciousness is attention and attention is energy. They gravitate to positions of power because they is where people direct their attention. People “look to” leaders, and in an ideal sense of this social contract between the leader and the led it becomes mutually beneficial.

Unfortunately, psychopaths don’t go in for that.

It’s hard to understand their motivations: Do they become corrupt? Why can’t they be more honest?  Those questions are meaningless. If psychopathic leaders were honest and used their position of power to help others they wouldn’t be psychopaths. This is not just a weird personality quirk, it is central to who they are. I am saying this as a tautology: They “have to” be dishonest and lie and take advantage of others, just like the sun has to shine. The sun isn’t motivated to shine. The sun has no choice.

Researchers will continue to come up with materialist rationalizations for psychopathy.  there are plenty of theories about genetics and environment, and brain scans offer some clues into the biology of psychopaths, but I look at it simply like this: Everyone is a Star and the Star Psychopaths are black holes. It’s more or less just the way things are. In this world there are bunny rabbits as well as rattle snakes.

There are ramifications when a person does not give a wink about anyone else in the world but themselves.When psychopaths get into positions of power they wreak a lot of mayhem, but even if it was possible to round up all the psychopaths in the world and put them in padded cells, I suspect that  the world would be poorer for it. I wouldn’t want to live in a world with no dangers. Like rattle snakes, lions and tigers, psychopaths have some mysterious role to play. Also, I think its perfectly fine in terms if the balance of the universe that many of them end up in jail.

So how do I deal with psychopaths? First, as Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test, pointed out, it does no good to see psychopaths all over the place, on every corner and under every rock. However,if you find your self in a situation of being fed upon and drained of energy – continually gazed at like a pork sirloin – then you obviously need some type of self-defense. Politely ignore them. don’t give them your attention. Don’t engage them any more than you absolutely have to do. Don’t sit near them if you have any choice at all, don’t strike up conversations with them. Stop being so goddamned friendly to them like you probably are with everyone else!  Friendliness and the normal positive regard for others’ well-being is the currency you use in your normal intercourse with the rest of humanity, but it’s lost on them: Withdraw it. It will all just be drained away and then you will have less for those who can appreciate it.

Note from the editor: If you’re interested in hearing more about Jon Ronson and his exploration of psychopathy, then you might want to check out his appearance on the DisinfoCast. Click here.


114 Comments on "The Energetics of Psychopathy"

  1. mannyfurious | Mar 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm |

    There’s a lot of food for thought. I’ve never quite thought of things in such terms, but maybe there’s something to it. My wife, who is far more intelligent than I am in most things, is always pretty amazed at how quickly I can catch a read on people. I can give a pretty thorough rundown on a person’s “character” and/or personality after speaking with them for 10 minutes or so. I keep this talent mostly to myself, because people have a tendency to think of it as being smug or condescending or judgmental. But I’m rarely wrong.

    • yeah, you are probably very intuitive and empathic. I mean isn’t your job helping kids? It would make sense.

    • yeah, you are probably very intuitive and empathic. I mean isn’t your job helping kids? It would make sense.

      • mannyfurious | Mar 19, 2013 at 8:13 pm |

        Yeah. I also worked in the Department of Corrections of a couple of years as a therapist. That was really an interesting place to experiment with that skill.

    • Matt Staggs | Mar 19, 2013 at 5:51 pm |

      Have you read Gavin de Becker’s “The Gift of Fear”? I suggest it, if not.

      • mannyfurious | Mar 19, 2013 at 8:06 pm |

        No. But thanks for the tip. I just looked it up. Gonna queue it up on my ILL list.

        • Matt Staggs | Mar 20, 2013 at 10:37 am |

          It was kind of popular a few years ago – sort of a “pop psychology” thing – but it really is a good book. Cliff’s Notes: Trust your instincts. Your animal brain picks up on danger long before your conscious self can.

        • Matt Staggs | Mar 20, 2013 at 10:37 am |

          It was kind of popular a few years ago – sort of a “pop psychology” thing – but it really is a good book. Cliff’s Notes: Trust your instincts. Your animal brain picks up on danger long before your conscious self can.

          • yeah its a really good book. The problem is people try to rationalize why some people make them feel scared, when the reason is because they are getting ready to get jacked!

    • I can relate. Perhaps a dormant aspect of our consciousness is ascending concomitant with enhanced danger due to psychopathic parasitism?

      • Calypso_1 | Mar 19, 2013 at 11:16 pm |

        And if the ‘psychopath’ is truly a ‘culture of one’ would not the true danger be the parasitism of the dominant group consciousness upon the ascendance of individuality maintained within the singular survival of such potent human speciation? Why assume that the ‘energy’ perception available to the more sensitive substrates of standard affect are not as equally malleable to such a creature as this. Alas, we are speaking of psychic vampires, should we not elevate the boogeyman mythology beyond our paltry skills of illusory perception? Or perhaps you lift your talismanic towers & the denizens of darkness flee before your illumined discharge.

        • Dude, that’s what sage is for. DUHHHH!

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 11:09 am |

            Like this?

          • Oh and lemongrass too. WHere’s the palo santo?

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm |

            Everything else is on me mesa.

          • No sacrifices to Chango?

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 5:43 pm |

            Sacrifice is an ongoing process. At most times of internal locus, others external.

          • It appears that you have put the work into having the authority. I do not say this to stroke the ego, just to note that I can tell a fraud from the real deal.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 8:19 pm |

            I’m afraid my own ego is too harsh of a mistress to allow stroking beyond the lash of work yet done.
            Let it off leash & it does tend to seek amusement amongst those that can take a few licks….oft to the ire of others I know.

          • If said licks fall upon false flesh do they fall at all?
            May as well prick the skin of pudding for the sake of resistance.

  2. I disagree w/ what you said about not being friendly to psychopaths. Sometimes, even most of the time, its best to ignore them, but sometimes you can disarm them w/ kindness. A kindness that isn’t a denial or ignorance of their psychopathy, but rather let them know you know, without outright accusation. Per,haps acknowledge evil in a subtle manner, and denounce it. Also show you are faithful and courageous, but not ignorant or naïve.
    Yeah, I’ve traveled and sometimes you encounter psychopaths, especially where there’s a lot of meth.

    • Well you are pretty much guaranteed to have your signals misinterpreted as weakness. Unless, of course you aren’t dealing with a psychopath.

      • in terms of a little background, I could talk for a long time on psychopathy, Its been something I’ve kind of geeked out on, for several years. I don’t use the term lightly. I didn’t really define what I mean in the article. But I feel like I have a sense of what one is, from experience as well as research. I don’t simply mean “thuggish person” by the term.

        I think they have a unique flavor. A unique energy signature. Charles Manson, is a colorful celebrity example. But I recognize him as a psychopath and see those traits in others.

        The foundation of their psychology, I believe is that of a complete lack of trust. Therefore they manipulate everyone in their environment. So when you come into their purview, they will immediately begin to manipulate you. Its pretty automatic and reflexive. So as far as ‘disarming them with kindness’ it doesn’t really work. Water is wet, fire is hot, regardless of how kind you are to fire and water. You will be viewed as a mark. Because in their worldview you are a mark or else another psychopath. They don’t just need a hug, it goes deeper than that.

        • not saying they need a hug. that would be naïve. I’m talking about confronting them. kindness is a natural expression of someone who has faith, the kind of faith that builds courage. in fact, I think the technique you propose, to ignore them, is more likely to be interpreted as weakness. Also, aggressive posturing could be interpreted as weakness, too. Both actions stem from the fight or flight response, which is only natural, so I wouldn’t condemn either response.
          But if you can maintain your connection to the Source, and walk by Faith(which takes a lot of practice), you can confront the darkness, and expose it to Light. The psychopaths weaknesses will be exposed, which of course may cause a reaction.

          • as for your comparison of psychology w/ elements, that’s pretty good. but if you study alchemy and herbal medicine ya learn there is a way to spark balance in an imbalanced “system”( I hate using the word system like that) but if a living system is plagued by excess fire, or excess dampness, there are remedies. in some cases, like cures like. that is the principle of homeopathy. in other cases, if yer too hot, ya need to drink a glass of cool water, not too cold, though.
            It takes a certain type of tactfulness and/or instinct to be an agent of healing in the world. it’s best not to assume someone is a lost cause. there may be lost causes, I don’t know, but it’s best not to assume, and treat others accordingly(w/ much tact)

          • Monkey See Monkey Do | Mar 20, 2013 at 5:34 am |

            ‘It takes a certain type of tactfulness and/or instinct to be an agent of healing in the world.’ -totally agree – Most are just trying to heal their own ego. – The other beings are just distractions…

            I went to a party with all these occult types a few years back and I brought my friend along who is a really nice person with a genuine and kind heart. Anyways, after some rituals and divination’s one of the witches in the group started to accuse my friend of being possessed by a demon, (cant remember the exact words) but she was saying things like he had psychopathic energies, and he was conducting psychic vampirism on the group, etc etc all this really nasty vitriol. She didn’t say it right too him either she just spread it around to other people and then it eventually got too him. It really affected him badly so just be careful who you throw those accusations around at. he was a gentle soul and it sent him into a deep depression to have those things rumored about him because people looked up to this fucking ego-whore that thought she had ‘special powers’. That witch discarded the symbiotic nature of the perciever and the percieved and in an instant it was all of her dark shit being spilled onto him, probably just because she couldn’t face it within herself. We all have yin and yang within ourselves unmanifested.

            I’m not saying you can’t pick up on ‘malicious energies’ from people, because in my experience I know that you can, but the tools used for energy perception do need a lot of refinement and can’t be taken lightly.

          • I’m talking aggressive narcissistic type people, not gentle souls.

          • Monkey See Monkey Do | Mar 21, 2013 at 3:03 am |

            But that’s my point, She thought she was too. He was a gentle soul but aggressive in nature, he tried to pick-a-part people, he just needed some patience really. I think of the psychopath in the frame-work of the ‘hungry ghost’, otherwise it begins to sound a bit mythological, as if the psychopath is somehow a separate entity from our environment and human experience.

          • I believe my above post the essence of resistance, which should mostly be non-violent, though not limited to it.
            (now it has changed to the post above the above post)

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 19, 2013 at 11:22 pm |

            The essence of resistance is rebellion – violence or the lack of it is secondary and primarily tactical.

          • what do you mean by “the essence of resistance is rebellion”?
            a synonym for resistance is rebellion.
            I don’t understand what yer implying by saying the essence of resistance is rebellion.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 12:28 pm |

            The kind of resistance you implied was rebellion. If the state resists your non-violence that is not rebellion.

            Resistance to injustice is an affirmation of inherent rights & solidarity outside of oneself, a recognition of imbalance in attribution of force & meaning. Resistance against this imbalance is rebellion. But you may not even be able to resist. You may be overwhelmingly struck down. So it is the mere act of internal defiance, saying NO, which is rebellion against that which claims superiority. Rebellion invokes value and brings forth that which must be defended in all men.

          • Jin The Ninja | Mar 20, 2013 at 12:59 pm |

            for what it’s worth, i totally agree with you here and the above comment.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 1:34 pm |

            welcome back
            as to the above

            you’re just agreeing with Camus
            ; )

          • Jin The Ninja | Mar 21, 2013 at 11:39 am |

            you must have resonated with my ‘my inner summer.’;)

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm |

            long canadian winter eh?

          • Jin The Ninja | Mar 21, 2013 at 12:48 pm |

            snowing and -5 right now:S

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 21, 2013 at 1:38 pm |

            64 & my peach trees are in full bloom.

          • Jin The Ninja | Mar 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm |

            i hate you:P

            and i love peaches too. particularly just barely under ripe with chili-salt-lime juice.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm |

            I have a dwarfed lime tree in the greenhouse. Chilis will be out about the same time as the peaches.

          • Jin The Ninja | Mar 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm |

            better keep it on the DL or every thai, vietnamese and singaporean in TN will come knocking on your door;)

          • Matt Staggs | Mar 20, 2013 at 3:47 pm |

            Nice to see you back, JtN.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 19, 2013 at 11:39 pm |

            Aggressive posturing would be interpreted as a chew toy…. Unless you are able to enter the same realms. Then you might get enough pause & intrigue to negotiate a temporary ‘treaty’ which is merely preliminary to assessment of mutual goals & gamesmanship. After that all bets are off.
            Ignoring is absurdly transparent & trite & will only aggravate the most narcissistically deprived individuals and primarily serve to cultivate an act of standoff brinksmanship that any cultivated predator thrives on. Your only hope in doing so is that there are more readily available or interesting targets. You might as well bury your head in it.

          • actually ignoring them is the only thing that actually works. Which does not mean giving them the silent treatment, but rather withdrawing your attention from them.

          • actually ignoring them is the only thing that actually works. Which does not mean giving them the silent treatment, but rather withdrawing your attention from them.

          • well, perhaps each case is different and not all psychopaths need the same reaction. for example, you mentioned psychopaths gravitate towards power. if you add to this that sympathetic individuals gravitate towards live and let live, you will end up w/ mostly psychopaths in power. when you have many psychopaths in power you get what you see today.
            what is the proper reaction?
            if by non-attention you mean a sort of apathy, I would disagree. perhaps you mean something else by non-attention. like back in school when there were bullies. during lunch they’d take yer money and anyone else’s who is vulnerable. what’re ya gonna do? give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. but afterwards when all the kids are playing, the bullies are naturally left out of real interaction. they suffer loneliness, cause they won’t put themselves on the level.
            in the end they punish themselves.

          • Yeah, good points. I think looking back what has been effective with me has been comparing notes with other people and taking effective action. Exposing abuse and malfeasance. But what I mean is, acting friendly and allowing them to groom you and feed on your energy requires you to disengage in order to regroup. Trying to love bomb them or be extra nice and “loving” isn’t really a smart strategy.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 1:20 am |

            Most ‘psychopaths’ by clinical definition end up no where near power. They are woefully inadequate individuals who do more harm to themselves than others. As equally distressing as the real spectrum of pathologies that are defined under psychopathy is the pop culture demonization of an ‘other’ that is an easy target for grafting a mythological continuum that lends itself to the extrasensory perception of equally pathological persona.

          • Psychopaths w/ power own the clinics who define psychopathy, also they are subtler and not so base. In my opinion, anyone who wields power over others is a psychopath

          • mannyfurious | Mar 20, 2013 at 11:19 am |

            Ehh… I disagree. I think this statement is true of sociopaths. But psychopaths tend to be better at “playing the game” than sociopaths. My own experience tells me psychopaths are often in charge. Hell, I knew a manager of a local Taco Bell who I felt was a tried-and-true psychopath.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm |

            As i said – clinical. The problem here is the notion that people are ferreting out what is a complex & changing medical concept by their ‘feelings’, of which of course these same individuals of which they ‘sense’ are supposed to be master manipulators of. This leads us to the need for individuals who are supersensates (yet another popular attributed notion to psychopaths themselves). We have a problem of both sample size & rate basing these ideas on such impressions, as most such anecdotes are of sparsely encountered persons who are not studied in follow-up.
            What we have are people interacting with their feelings about a modern day pop-myth, which though informed by a clinical picture is not the truth.

          • mannyfurious | Mar 20, 2013 at 12:53 pm |

            That’s a good point, especially re: sample sizes and rate-basing. Although, keep in mind that when I say I “feel” someone is a “psychopath” it means I feel that person meets the standards of such a diagnosis as defined by the DSM-IV. It doesn’t solve all the problems you may have had with my post, but hopefully it shows that I’ve at least got some kind of criteria for making these sorts of calls.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm |

            I understand you have a background that allows you to qualify your feelings. I took the opportunity to make a statement which was meant to be a more generally directed thought towards the concept of ‘feeling’ these things out in others.

            Of course even the most well-trained pro is going to be using their feelings, as you said within a criterion. What is so remarkable though about the literature provided by the professionals is how utterly useless their own feelings are in guiding them in encounters with such individuals – they fool everybody, especially if you use your feelings.

            So now we basically have claims of feelings that transcend normal perception.

            I understand that there are remarkably sensitive individuals in the world, and I don’t even discount the idea that there are elements of human perception that exceed the known. However, my experience has taught me to be extremely cautious about such thoughts within myself & such claims by others. I don’t know the level of clinical immersion you have had but certainly you must at some point have encountered the wide variety of manifestations belief in such perceptions can take.

            I believe that the vast majority of highly perceptive people can have their experiences explained fully within the realm of normal sensory perception. That it may be interpreted through a different conceptual framework may or may not be a problem depending on how it affects the individuals actions & ability to cope with reality.

            Finally, as to feeling something “off” about somebody – Yes, people should go with their gut. If it helps you avoid danger or becoming involved in a relationship that is detrimental by all means trust those feelings. But for most people applying labels that are of dubious origin only serves to play into a culturally authored role. It is similar to the P. Emerson article that was on here the other day – it’s a trope that is pushed onto us in film, TV & pop-psych books. It allows us to create a true pariah, an inhuman, almost superhuman, arch-villain.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm |

            You are betting the whole house on the assumption that it was your ‘attention’ they needed or where going to ‘vampirically’ drain you. Even with narcissistic types attempting to withdrawal supply can provoke violent outbursts.

  3. Oh man, being empathic is kind of a pain. Sometimes it seems my body will react even before any thoughts register. That is, I’ll get jittery, uneasy, sweaty or vaguely stressed before I realize what is happening.
    There is a certain judge where I sometimes work who is a total psychopath, no question about it. The dude totally freaks me out on a deep visceral level; creepy, disturbing and wrong does not even begin to describe this thing. The description above, about the eyes not matching the rest of the face when the psychopath is smiling begins to hint at what it’s like to be around one of these, deeply disturbing.

  4. “Where did this energy come from?”


    I recall once having a conversation with a person I later determined to be a psychopath: It was a friendly conversation about some topic I enjoy – travel, or the outdoors or something – and when I made eye contact I noticed that his eyes were hostile. His voice was totally friendly, slightly musical, even; he told jokes and little quirky anecdotes. It was jolting to see these cold eyes. They were eyes you would expect to see if we were squaring off to fight.

    To him it was a fight.: He was measuring me up, because he had no trust toward me at all. Ours was a hostile exchange based on power, and was probably like every other exchange he has had with every other human being on the face of the Earth.

    Are you willing to accept that what you experienced was a delusion, and that you may have been sizing them up?

    • well I think it is useful to examine myself and determine if I am projecting or not. as far as categorically saying there is no such thing as a psychopath that is not my conclusion.

      I am not referring to people I simply may not like but people I encounter from time to time with a specific type of energy signature. From research I have correlated this energy signature with the outward traits on the Psychopathic checklist.

      • There are definitely psychopaths and sociopaths.

        I am aware of some of their techniques. They are likely to assert their dominance, or play the victim. They may also play head games or encourage bad habits to break down the persons defenses. Some are unconscious of it while others are conscious.

        I appreciate that you did not get offended by that question. What I posted is what arose while reading. I too am interested in the topic.

  5. Zampano Poniatovii | Mar 19, 2013 at 9:12 pm |

    When I read the line “Researchers will continue to come up with materialist rationalizations
    for psychopathy” I made sure to put on my tinfoil hat.

    Fortunately, I did this just in time to read the next sentence: “…there are plenty of theories about genetics and environment, and brain scans offer some clues into the biology of psychopaths, but I look at it simply like this: Everyone is a Star and the Star Psychopaths are black holes. It’s more or less just the way things are. In this world there are bunny rabbits as well as rattle snakes.”

    Fundamentally, the world is just bunny rabbits and rattle snakes. A pox on your quack materialism; we’re all either good stars or bad stars… and you can feel the difference if you have the special intuition skills?

    I LoL’d IRL

    • Some people play psychically “dumb”, as the weight of such a reality as glimpsed through gnosis or experience has the interesting side effect of flattening ego constructs like trade towers.

    • Daniel Gill | Mar 19, 2013 at 10:34 pm |

      It’d help this person to actually read the ethnographic literature out there about the cultures influenced by daoism who still practice ancestor veneration. He’s on the mark about some of what he is writing, but don’t try to write about topics you don’t understand. Keep it within acceptable parameters in the future. He is describing something that does exist, empaths do exist, and our time is now . The internet has done wonders for shamanism and mediumship.

      • care to clarify a bit? what is the connection to ancestor worship? What is not understood and by whom?

      • > Keep it within acceptable parameters in the future.

        New here?

      • > Keep it within acceptable parameters in the future.

        New here?

      • Matt Staggs | Mar 20, 2013 at 12:57 pm |

        Hey Daniel, we love to share information here. Hook us up with some links or publication titles.

        • Daniel Gill | Mar 28, 2013 at 2:53 pm |

          Sorry for the late reply check your notifications,

          With respect to Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, Victorian Spiritualism… Ancestor and general spirit placation is practiced via channeling, offloading or sacrificing ki to attendant numinous spirits. This often can cause a manic psychotic episode, commonly known as kundalini krazy, or qi gong deviation (“Catching Fire Entering Demon”). the Location of the numinous is the nether-world or, Chaos. In English we say the liminal, or beyond the veil . This is how someone becomes a medium, around the world. The empathy connected to channeling in this way is lament, because the offering of spirit (see -> Maussian idea of Reciprocity) and wishing for a better world releases tears and etc.. Example : When the mariner in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, lets fall the albatross from his neck, the mark of his shame, that falls into the ocean as an offering (See -> Mauss) and becomes the mark of his power. It is a sacrificial offering that coincides with both an emotional empathetic and physical reaction, his body sighs, and laments, that accrues the mark of Cain – a sacrifice to another God.

          Yoga Hakwon (2009)
          The Unseeable (2006)
          Secret Sunshine (2007)
          Lifeforce (1985)
          Mushi-Shi (2005 – TV series)
          Lucifer Rising (1972 -Short)


          the DSM-IV TR -> “Spiritual Emergence as a religious or spiritual problem”

          The Idea Of The Holy by Rudolf Otto

          The Varieties Of Religious Experience by William James

          Coleridge And The Daemonic Imagination by Gregory Leadbetter

          When God Talks Back by T. M. Luhrmann

          Korean Shamanism Muism by Dr. Kim Tae-kon & Dr. Chang Soo-kyung

          Kut: Happiness Through Reciprocity by Hyun-key Kim Hogarth

          Shamanism In Korean Christianity by Jang Nam Hyuck

          The Lovelorn Ghost & The Magical Monk by Justin Thomas McDaniel

          Ghosts Of War In Vietnam by Heonik Kwon

          Spirits Without Borders by Karen Fjelstad

          Sinister Yogis by David Gordon White

          The Darkened Room by Alex Owen

          The History Of Spiritualism by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

          The Demon’s Sermon On The Martial Arts by Issai Chozanshi

          Occult Japan by Percival Lowell

          The Essence Of Shinto by Motohisa Yamakage

          • very cool…

          • Daniel Gill | Mar 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm |


            Although yeah I would like people to begin studying east-asian medumship and ancestor veneration, as a kind of distant cousin to spiritualism that uses the same operating principles.. the Kyballion by Three Initiates is another good book but I wanted to post sources that were scholarly and academic to say listen look this is where this stuff is being practiced TODAY, this is official and good data, and this is what we should be reading as occultists to better understand consciousness and magick. but I understand that this scholarship is like brand new only in the past decade or so have these books even been published.

        • Daniel Gill | Mar 28, 2013 at 3:02 pm |

          Forgot to mention,
          Shamanism In Korean Christianity makes the fascinating suggestion that Korean Christians understand the infilling of the Holy Spirit as ki.

          because, this is what Shamans of Korea do. They channel, offer up and sacrifice, their ki, tied to their empathy similar to theories of orgone by Dr. Wilhelm Reich, and yeah this triggers the self-loss, which through a law of causation (see, Mauss and reciprocity) triggers manic psychosis.

          This is testable and repeatable. and there is data collected on this.

          its ignored by religious groups, and shied away from by many people from embarassment. in Korea it is a mark of pride. so to speak. they dont hide it. and it is explicitly talked about in many of the books i posted below in bibliography

          but has been studied by the psychiatric profession for a long time. many people go on meditation retreats or whatever, and wind up in psychiatric emergency

      • Zampano Poniatovii | Mar 22, 2013 at 3:41 pm |

        That’s all fine and good, everyone has the right to decide which perspective they want to skew their explanations toward. Some people like magic crystals, some people like auras, etc. But some people actually debate the empirical validity of what gets written in the DSM too.

        It’s just a little funny when the spiritual/religious types out there try to appropriate terms that have meaning almost exclusively within the boundaries of scientific discourse, and empirical thinking, then use those re-purposed words and ideas as if to bolster the “science credentials” of their non-scientific perspectives. That’s what this kind of article seems like it’s trying to accomplish.

        Why bother with psychiatric concepts at all? Why talk about neurology when you don’t believe in materialist views? Doesn’t it make more sense to talk about energy using terms that actually reference the philosophical perspectives that underlie energy work and whatnot? Why embellish it with scientific mumbo jumbo?

        *I stress the word “seems” to give the author the benefit of the doubt: obviously, there’s no way I can KNOW that kind of thing.

  6. Fascinating. Having just survived a surreal 6 months living with an honest to jah,rah,black madonnaaaahhhh, psychopath I can attest to the reality of blackhole souls/ agent smith provocateur, cia, chaos agents having a (siriously) extended bad trip and wishing to tear the set to shreds. Mythically and archetypically where do we encounter historical examples of this parasitic presence? Agent Smith immediately came to my mind as well as a few old “friends”… Any experts on the “Hypostasis of the Archons” want to throw in on this?

    • There does seem to be a trans personal element to it at times.

    • ya know what I try to do? I bless them.
      I can’t judge who can be redeemed or not. I do know, though, that the fuckheads in my life have often taught me more than anyone else. and so I bless them for it. a part of me hates them, but in all honesty, no matter how much I believe suffering is unjustified and irrational, I become more committed to Good through my sufferings, which are largely caused by said fuckheds.(in collusion with my ego)

      • I agree that they teach you things.

        • especially about our own psychopathic and selfish inclinations. who hasn’t abandoned others’ well-being for their own well-being, no matter how minor? essentially, that is what psychopathy(and perhaps SIN) boil down to.

          • I think basically if ones ego came to completely dominate the psyche, to the extent of killing everything else off, you would have, basically, a psychopath. extreme ego centrism is one of the characteristics. And we all have an ego. The ego entails the concept of being separate from others. Taken to the extreme you get the idea that hurting others will not effect you because you are completely separate from everybody else.

          • I think basically if ones ego came to completely dominate the psyche, to the extent of killing everything else off, you would have, basically, a psychopath. extreme ego centrism is one of the characteristics. And we all have an ego. The ego entails the concept of being separate from others. Taken to the extreme you get the idea that hurting others will not effect you because you are completely separate from everybody else.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 1:26 am |

            In the psychodynamic tradition the ego is essentially dead within the psychopath, replaced w/ a false self.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 1:26 am |

            In the psychodynamic tradition the ego is essentially dead within the psychopath, replaced w/ a false self.

          • many many contradictory definitions of ego out there.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 8:38 am |

            If you are wanting to lay claim to this particular arena of ideas, I am pretty sure the definitions all stem from the conceptions of Id, Ego & Superego. Though there has been much elaboration on these concepts, I would hesitate to say contradiction in fundamental usage.
            If we are not talking about the psychological tradition but rather black hole souls that emanate bad vibes & have devil eyes, I suppose it can mean whatever you want it to.

          • The ego itself is a false self that is only relatively true.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 12:37 pm |

            From where are you drawing this concept of the ego? It seems of a metaphysical base. I would like to know so I have some basis for understanding your line of thought.

            Psychologically, you can have a hypo/hypertrophied ego, one that is damaged or pathologized & needs to be properly integrated but saying it is False Self is like saying your Torso is a False Self. It’s just part of you that’s all.

          • mannyfurious | Mar 20, 2013 at 11:13 am |

            Yeah, I was thinking the exact same thing. Psychopathy and sociopathy essentially occur when the feeling of separation of one’s “self” from the rest of the universe has reached such a point that the person’s “self” out of fear, desires to conquer (psychopath) or destroy (sociopath) all that is separate from it. I have long noticed that psychopaths share a lot in common with narcissists.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm |

            Malignant narcissism is a concept that ties into this.

          • Yeah, I think pretty much all psychopaths are narcissists but not all Narcissists are psychopaths.

  7. MoralDrift | Mar 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm |

    very interesting but what do we do with psychopaths? Cast them into a lake of fire?

    • Give them no choice but to look into the black pit of their own souls.

      LSD and psilocybin can be quite effective for this.

      • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm |

        It is an interesting idea given some of the attempted psychotherapeutic modalities attempt to recreate an entirely new ego. Using adjunct holotropic techniques for regression might be worthwhile.

      • didn’t work for Charlie manson or spooks

        • Calypso_1 | Mar 23, 2013 at 12:08 am |

          Manson typically did not take sid. He just directed others to. He would then manipulate their experience. Funny thing about that…you should look into the folks he says he learned to do it from.

          That & he was not diagnosed as a psychopath (adding even more confusion to this notion of energetic signature our sensate perceives as he was held up as an example).

    • Matt Staggs | Mar 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm |

      That’s a good question. I think that there are quite a few functional psychopaths wandering around.

      • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm |

        As Ted pointed out the world might be a poorer place without them. Once you begin to see the possibilities of a spectrum of variance only the worst of pathologies need be treated with harsh measures so readily adopted in current correctional psych testing. Others could be guided to awareness that could lead to desire for enhancing there more normative selves. The lowest levels & most functional can be viewed as part of the neurodiversity we accept in other high-functioning variances. Much work has already been done on defining these characteristics as an adaptive stratagem for successful gene transmission in an extremely hostile enviroment where one’s own survival chances are low. Ideal for a well integrated society – no, but certainly a direction that deserves study. It might be an adaptive trait worth suppressing but not losing.

  8. Psychopaths are just a part of human nature like autistics, get over it.

  9. Psychopaths are just a part of human nature like autistics, get over it.

    • Matt Staggs | Mar 20, 2013 at 10:38 am |

      Should being interested in a topic and discussing it be interpreted as a problem? Sharks are part of nature, too, but I love reading books about them.

      • Daenerys_Targaryen | Mar 21, 2013 at 1:51 am |

        Not really but when people speak about gays the way they do about psychopaths (where the presumption is that gays are inborn), the accusation is hate speech. Yet there’s a double standard in general society where its allowable to speak freely of eradicating psychopathy, based on sensationalist popular media full of wrongful notions such as ‘psychopaths are incapable of morality’, ‘psychopaths don’t respond to rehabilitation’ and the rest of it. It is also a myth that the ‘one percent’ are psychopaths, no evidence suggests that the majority of CEOs etc would be diagnosable by the PCL-R, the Levenson self-report or any other operationalisation..

        If one looks at the infamous Madoff scandal in particular, whether or not Madoff himself was actually a psychopath (he has never been diagnosed!) its actually a clear case of Jewish ethnic networking. Psychopathy became an acceptable scapegoat and, in the wider context, abuse of the sociopath concept outside of strictly psychological context is beginning to be abused politically.

        More disturbingly, and reminiscent of ‘slow-onset schizophrenia’ in the Soviet Union, is the way in which people with moral judgements reflecting lower empathy are increasingly likened to ‘sociopaths’ in certain media. (This is related to the ’empathy card’, which only some people get to use.) When in fact people will naturally have different levels of six moral foundations, with only some of them relating to higher empathy. The subtext here is that society is shifting towards ‘normal’ people’s ethical judgements being likened to something perceived as a mental illness or disorder.

        Mostly this is just online idiots but remember what they tried to do with Brevik, politically labelling him as a paranoid schizophrenic. we’re going back to the days when Ezra Pound and others were diagnosed as insane for their opinions, and as psychopaths are by nature free of delusions and able to wear a ‘mask of sanity’ only a few people can see through, a purposeful, politically-motivated misdiagnosis of anyone sane as a psychopath will be very easy to pull off.

        Ther is something very dangerous, and not just for psychopaths themselves, with the idea that psychopaths are uniquely dangerous, powerful and in control of society whilst ‘walking among us’ and that they can be diagnosed (witch hunted?) only be a few qualified people with special authority to do so, to keep us all safe.

    • Calypso_1 | Mar 20, 2013 at 12:45 pm |

      One aspect that is perhaps relevant in your comparison: As the underlying pathology is actually understood better it will become more common to see psychopathy as a spectrum of disorders such as autism, as opposed to the penultimate human monster that media myth likes to serve up.

      • Daenerys_Targaryen | Mar 21, 2013 at 2:00 am |

        Its already understood to be heterogeneous, but people keep pushing the Hare line. Not that Hare deserves all of the backlash he’s been getting but, yea, the popular notion of the psychopath already out of date.

        • Calypso_1 | Mar 21, 2013 at 11:40 am |

          That Hare’s work was designed for criminology is fine. But it has been used outside of that setting. The unfortunate reality that the observed population has largely been among the incarcerated has of course biased the underlying concepts. That his work is used on a daily basis by the penal system to make very real decisions about people’s lives & continued incarceration blurs the lines between medical science and penology. These tests are not administered under the premise that the person is a patient; it is solely to determine the acceptableness of their presence in society. You can buy books on how to beat the Hare PCL-R. Any psychopath with a modicum of intelligence is going to be finding out what they need to know to beat the system. It is not a highpoint for the collaboration of scientific study & government power.
          In no way am I saying that such determinations do not have to be made. They just need to be made better. We need new metrics. Progress is slow.

          However, when a leading expert in a field writes a pop-psych book referring to the ‘patients’ he studies as Snakes, I take some offense. He is capitalizing off of and feeding the cultural mythos & it is not something that would be tolerated with other disorders. I don’t think an expert on MR would get a good reception for a book titled ‘Retards In Uniforms: When the Mentally Handicapped Enter the Workforce’

  10. 🙂

  11. Here’s an excellent example of sociopath in this dark comedy

    Bad Boy Bubby

  12. Psychopaths are also deeply motivated by frustration. They ease that frustration caused by lack of control by forcing control upon others.
    Catch with ignoring psychopaths, is that frustration can build up and you can become the random victim of it.
    If a psychopathy phone charger breaks down out an inconvenient moment when their frustration levels are high, they could brutally kill you to ease those frustration with out a second thought.
    Life is not boring when you don’t play Russian roulette, in fact it is far more enjoyable, there is no place for psychopaths in human society, they are a genetic defect to be cured and eliminated.
    Think you would be bored, there are still huge numbers of narcissist floating around pretty much as destructive but you avoid that random homicidal frustration rage.

  13. Alan Morse Davies | Apr 1, 2013 at 5:16 pm |

    I have worked for two psychopaths, when I was unconvinced by their charm or supposed intelligence I was immediately sidelined, they are quite black and white about people, also very black and white about ideas, which I think may be their achilles heeI. I worked for several Fortune 500 companies and there are proportionately many more psychopaths there than in the general population.

    A lack of empathy is really at the core of a publicly listed company. Really they have only one objective: to build the share price (“shareholder value”), that’s it. They have only two limitations: the laws of the countries they operate in and the need to appear nice without spending too much.

    Corporations largely love and reward psychopaths.

    The anonymity involved in investing in a public company is quite close to being a psychopath. You’ve invested in a business who’s sole goal is to make you richer and you don’t really pay attention to how they do that, unless they get caught out.

    I think all of us become psychopaths when we don’t have to face the consequences of our actions.

    You can use FaceBook or Twitter as a case study on this.

    I have had a hard time with two psychopaths but I believe they are not the the primary people causing problems. I believe we should also be really fucking careful about branding people this way or that and then treating them as a homogenous group like gays (which I am) or Jews (which I am not).

    I think insecurity may be a bigger problem than lack of empathy. If someone is so insecure that they build a mental bubble to protect themselves they have put themselves in stasis. They don’t read people well, they think themselves incapable of change but like who they are in the bubble, they view the world as hostile. They have become someone that acts like a psychopath but is less charming.

    Whilst I am somewhat chilled by psychopaths, they don’t seem to have been involved in most of the major catastrophes of the last 100 years. For that I would point to the insecure. Grew up poor/immigrant/underdog ethnic group/left-handed/bowel problem/third nipple/weak chest = driven, get power.

    Psychopaths are kind of obvious, they get caught out easily, the insecure have a more relatable story which most people find more palatable.

    If I could, I would prevent anyone that wants wealth and/or power from having it, for their benefit and ours.

    I share none of your views on aura etc… I see this as a form of religion but I accept it as your perception because that’s how you’ve chosen to see the world.

  14. as a psychopath I agree-we are black holes, not stars, what is needed is a suitable methodology so we can exist with causing the least damage possible. living life on the event horizon is not much fun realkly…

  15. methylene blue | Nov 19, 2013 at 10:32 pm |

    there’s already so much stigma accompanying the label ‘psychopath’, that I have to think that it is unwise to add any more mystique regarding this disorder. but if auras are your ‘cup of tea’ then who am I to tell you otherwise? I just think that this condition needs to be studied further and people should refer to actual studies before they make such claims. Imagination is a double-edged sword, it hampers practical scientifically-based progress by playing on people’s fears.

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