environment & politics

Occupy Psychopaths

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

4 replies on “Occupy Psychopaths”

Huh? Are you taking this wacko serious? If you watch “Occupy Psychopaths 2”, you’ll hear the guy going on about how the Knights Templar secretly run Federal Reserve. Well, I guess  the Templar still have to feature in every conspiracy theory that takes pride in itself. No, seriously: I’m saying that if the Occupy movement wants to get anywhere, it will have to adress the problem that it has all kinds of conspiracy buffs and professional neurotics it its ranks. And that path lies madness.

I totally agree that big business people, power brokers and people like that exhibit specific patterns of social behaviour that are in an almost absurd way egotistic and resemble the behaviour of sociopaths. They are shaped by their environment just like anyone else. It’s basically what Bourdieu calls habitus: in order to successfully integrate into a social group, you have to internalize that group’s typical behaviour. If you aspire to become a big player in global capitalism, you have to adhere to the rules of global capitalism. There’s a German marxist sociologist, Michael Hartmann, who has done a lot of research about this – and that’s exactly my point: This is really about social theory, not about some kind of secret knowledge.

But it really is a totally different thing to fantasize about a “biologically distinct” group of people that includes the proverbial video game guy as well as the big business CEO, a race of parasitic beings who “were with us since the dawn of time” and in myth and folklore reappear as vampires. If you don’t want to think about how global capitalism works or how an economy based on unlimited growth eventually will destroy us all, here’s your solution: Blame all mankind’s problems (and the problems are quite undeniably there) on a mythical scapegoat, add some pseudo-scientific vocabulary and go preach it on the streets. In my view, the two persons in the two videos are not really that different in what they are arguing (although the second one seems slightly more paranoic than the first one). Both state that the blame essentially lies with a group of individuals, not in the system itself.

What I didn’t want to suggest, however, is that the Occupy movement didn’t achieve anything. But like every social movement, it is in constant danger of being co-opted into the system. Discourses like those in the videos might come in handy even for conservative politicians – what might be more beneficial for them than putting the blame for the Euro crisis on the supposedly irresponsible behaviour of a small group of bankers? At least that is basically what is happening here in Germany.

I hope I made myself a bit more understandable this time. As I’m not a native English speaker, sometimes I really do struggle with words. And thanks anyway for your answer to my initial comment!

Re: the myth and vampire thing, I’m not sure he was really saying that rich psychopaths were what vampires have grown into, I’m pretty sure he was drawing on the primitive sensations for our views of people who are vampiric, because, as he says, our understanding of psychology is quite a modern development and we didn’t always have an understanding of this kind of behaviour. It was more a poetic, descriptive term for this behaviour having always existed. 

As for if it is biological, my science is going to be fairly limited on evolutionary psychology and so forth, but I think again he’s suggesting that a behaviour pattern is quite distinct, it’s just that if you’re at the bottom end of society, instead of – say, the top 1% – those kind of behaviour patterns tend to lead to trouble – socially speaking. (Such as murder.) And that’s not the first time I’ve heard of that connection in line with such studies. 

It’s an important part of the discourse and I would all rather have that out there, being watched, and being something for people to think about, than not – and I really think that he’s pretty much just summarising studies, but perhaps speaking in evocative language – which is great for spreading messages. 

For me, that’s all part of the dialogue, too, about behavioural responsibility at the top – something which really is starting to leak into the media’s mentality. All for the good, if you ask me. 

But don’t worry, your English is good – far better than many English people! 🙂

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