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Why Madness Rules
“…A lot of research has been done into the criminal, ‘unsuccessful’ psychopath and is now well understood, but the ‘successful’ psychopathic leader remains almost under the radar, because of their high intelligence and high degree of self-control. They are snakes in suits, (Snakes in Suits, Babiak & Hare 2006), the man behind the mask and they are almost elusive, making madness more and more sneaky. Psychopathic leaders can be very skilled at hiding their antisocial behavior behind their attractive leadership facade because of their high self-control and their technique of impressing”

By Peter Van Els

For centuries absolute power and the associated privileges were in the hands of aristocrats, the nobility and the ecclesiastical authorities. Their will was truth and law. That changed when the French Revolution broke out. (1789–1799) Old ideas of absolutism, aristocracy and the power of the church were replaced by ideals, in the following words; ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.’

The individual was central, people had the right to individuality, the right to freedom and choice. The right to be, the ‘I’ became the center. Rene Descrates, French Philosopher (1596-1650) had already given a pass, because he made the following statement: “I think, therefore I am”, in 2023 it is: “I consume, therefore I am.”

‘Freedom’ is a relative concept, because there is no real autonomy, independence. The only true freedom is the freedom within yourself. The freedom and choice to do the right thing.(Lea Ipy) In 2023, ‘equality’ is far from it, the richest are getting richer and inequality is increasing every year. ‘Brotherhood’ is a forgotten concept in these times, where individualization, egoism, narcissism, the ‘I’ and economics, capitalism, neoliberalism are central.

In the past, the nobility and the church ruled – although the church still had a lot of influence until the end of the fifties. My generation still went to church every Sunday – with a strong hand and had absolutism, there were no boundaries for them. Borders were only for the bourgeoisie. Now those walls have been broken down and there is more freedom for the individual, fewer boundaries and boundlessness has increased.

Note: It is mainly about the Western world, but the Western world has largely been world-determining and economy, money, power is still the first priority, because a well-known phenomenon is that power always corrupts.

Man took over from the ecclesiastical institutions and became the universe of his own ‘happiness’, his own individual, his own identity, but that ‘freedom’ also created emptiness, meaninglessness and loneliness, one had to reinvent oneself. And doesn’t this new age create new Psychiatric disorders, new suffering?

The dominant ideology to this day is liberalism (origin: the Enlightenment), politically and socially. The ‘freedom’ of the individual was reflected, among other things, in the pursuit of a market in which the government should adopt a restrained attitude. Postmodernism entered an individualized, neoliberal society, where everyone is alone in the world, with their own responsibility, their own success and where you can buy ‘happiness’ and ‘freedom’.

After the demise of old powers, including the church and especially traditional upbringing (both parents, families and the community were involved in this), norms, values, ethical awareness, morality and boundaries have shifted and become blurred, there are hardly any boundaries anymore, there is no limit. Our new religion has become to consume and consume ‘enlightened’ (to fill the spiritual emptiness within us?), where greed has become a virtue (Greed is Good) and our capitalist society preaches ‘happiness’. Another new commandment is; ‘Thou shalt enjoy’.

Margaret Thatcher; “There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals.”
However, that individual ‘freedom’ also has its downside, namely the increasing degree of loneliness, fear of abandonment, identity problems, emptiness and the loss of meaning. Loneliness, both physical and psychological, is one of the biggest problems of the western world in modern times. In addition, since the 1960s, divorces have increased sharply and people are getting married less. People, children and young people become displaced and detached and search for new forms of meaning.

This puts enormous pressure on people, especially young people, who are brought up under completely different educational, living and environmental conditions. The time of self-development, of self-realization is not an easy road and besides, if you don’t make it, if you are not ‘successful’, it is your own fault, in a world full of lonely souls. However, most of them are not ‘successful’ and thus one creates more losers, more people who drop out, than winners. Fate is often less kind and is also partly determined by their background. Some people are born under good circumstances (familial), but most are born under much more difficult circumstances. (e.g. poverty, divorced parents)

Our young people grow up with the idea that they are at the center of the world and more often grow up without a father figure. When they are raised by both parents, they regularly have to meet high standards and are often spoiled, they always get and want their way, they are spoiled without limits. Attachment has become detachment. It is therefore not surprising that many children, young people and the elderly suffer from separation anxiety, unstable interpersonal relationships, identity problems, mood swings and often a negative self-image. They are impulsive and have suicidal tendencies and self-mutilation. In addition, there is a chronic feeling of emptiness and meaninglessness and a certain intense anger. And there is a high degree of stress/(performance drive) pressure, which affects many. These are all symptoms of borderline disorder, where we’ve gone too far, of “freedom” for everyone. – for one more than for the other of course – to a pretty diseased society. So many damaged children, so many damaged lives. We pay a heavy price for our torn, lonely lives. But it can always get worse, from bad to worse.

From Borderline Times (Dirk de Wachter 2011) to Psychopathic Times
Our primal instinct includes among other things hunting and maternal instinct. The primitive man and today’s modern man are unfortunately not that different, they were hunters then and they are still hunters now and the biggest predator, those at the top of our food chain are psychopaths in leadership positions. It’s eat or be eaten.

Perverse Incentives
A rotten system attracts rotten people. Capitalism, power, greed, ego, stimulate perversity, insanity in man. Looking for successful managers, who are also amply rewarded, creates/nourishes psychopathy and narcissism in man. We ourselves have paved/created the way for this kind of sick behavior, because we are fed with it on a daily basis. In applications for a managerial position, people ask, among other things; Do you dare to take risks? Are you willing to make tough decisions? Are you stress resistant? These are important skills for a managerial position, but is there a sane or a psychopathic manager in front of you? That is a crucial distinction, but is so hard to discern. Debates are held in universities and debate is seen as a true art, whether it is based on truth/facts or not, it doesn’t matter. It is about the debate and when one defends one’s position best and with convincing argumentation, wins. He is rewarded, he gets good grades. Talk for the sake of talking, endless chatter. How do you feed the psychopath? There are also neuropsychologists who guide stock market traders and hedge fund managers in making risky decisions.

The Psychopathic Leader (PL)
They are sellers of confidence, masters of deception, and social chameleons of subterfuge. They are psychopathic ruthless predators and know how to find the defenseless, lonely, vulnerable and naive people and leave them exploited, hurt, bewildered and drained. These people are the food for such hyenas. As malleable as the liberal man thought he was, he can end up completely dehumanized.

A lot of research has been done into the criminal, ‘unsuccessful’ psychopath and is now well understood, but the ‘successful’ psychopathic leader remains almost under the radar, because of their high intelligence and high degree of self-control. They are snakes in suits, (Snakes in Suits, Babiak & Hare 2006), the man behind the mask and they are almost elusive, making madness more and more sneaky. Psychopathic leaders can be very skilled at hiding their antisocial behavior behind their attractive leadership facade because of their high self-control and their technique of impressing. Therefore, the PL is specifically highlighted here.

Robert D. Hare (Canada, 1934, philosopher and researcher) general description is as follows. “They are charming, manipulative and intimidatingly charismatic. A lot of (verbal) violence is used to control others and to satisfy their own needs. They are unscrupulous and do what they want. They do not obey rules or laws because they do not apply to them. They know no regret or guilt”.

“If you are smart, you will quickly try to express your pathological tendencies in a legitimate way: By seeking positions of power and control. Organizations, multinationals, banks, wall street, systems and politics are ideally suited for that. When it revolves around money, power, prestige, you will find them.” (Manfred Kets de Vries, Psychoanalyst). Important addition: a) Power corrupts. b) Power attracts corrupt people. c) We put corrupt people at the top ourselves. d) The corrupt system they work in makes them corrupt. Behind this sympathetic facade of the PL, a lot of damage is often done.

Dissertation Désiré Palmen on Psychopathic Leaders (PL)
There are two types of psychopathy, primary and secondary psychopathy, with the controlled primary psychopathic type being the most ‘successful’ type. This type is defined as a combination of innate fearlessness and emotional shallowness with a high level of social competence and good to excellent executive functioning. Well-controlled, purposeful, intelligent and charming.

Secondary psychopathy, (the criminal psychopath) is more strongly defined by destructive social experiences. Intense feelings. High level of subconscious fear and negative, unstable emotional nervousness and are often more impulsive and hostile as a result. They lack “the mask of sanity” and the charm, charisma, intelligence, and self-control of the primary type.

A PL exhibits immoral behavior, is narcissistic, loyal to himself, lacks conscience and empathy, and has a great desire to control his environment. Characteristics of psychopathic and narcissistic personalities: Are extremely ambitious, obsessed with increasing power and demand admiration. They are convinced that they are entitled to privileges and extra benefits. They surround themselves with people they can dominate. Brilliant at manipulation. Charming and charismatic, ruthlessly humiliate others, lie, intimidate, verbally attack, feign empathy and concern.

The “successful” psychopath uses indirect forms of aggression. They lie, cheat, manipulate and, if necessary, bring others into disrepute. They have the urge to predominate, to dominate. Gaining/having power can lead to anti-social behaviour, such as cheating, fraud, manipulations, workplace harassment and white-collar crime. The consequences are dramatic for companies and in politics. Well-being suffers from PL. Studies show that many PL are not competent for important positions. Often negative outcomes, related to finances, employee well-being (high turnover and low engagement) and ethics.

Take a look at the senate, the lower house, the second chamber and our government, don’t you see and hear them? There are so many psychopaths in important positions and there is a lack of knowledge and understanding of PL. In reality, there are many more PL than are currently known, due to lack of research, these people are difficult to classify (the face behind the mask), precisely because they are so intelligent (in playing people) and have high self-control. They don’t like to participate in investigations, of course, and are likely to out-compete the investigators and easily pass a lie detector as well. They are brilliant chameleons.

In a democratic government, politicians with a high level of integrity and moral values are absolutely necessary. When there is more equality, prosperity, well-being, there is less violence, more contentment and mental, physical health. If we want to heal the world, we must put plasters on the stinking wound. Not feeding insanity, but feeding common sense, wisdom and love. The way forward is that of the heart.

Nothing has been written here yet about the differences between men and women, nor about the role of testosterone, neurotransmitters, pills, drugs and alcohol. (maybe in another piece) That neurotransmitters, drugs, medicines, alcohol play a very important role is a fact and that is also an indication why we are NOW living in times of De-lusion.

“Our main task is to pursue virtue in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only virtuous action can make life beautiful and dignified.” (Albert Einstein)

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