Psychopaths in Power

Hosted byJohn B. Wells

Psychopaths in Power

About the show

John B. Wells was joined by paranormal researcher and philosopher, Jonathan Zap, for a discussion on how a disproportionate number of psychopaths in positions of power are creating a culture with little concern for the future. He described psychopaths as people who lack the ability to experience the full spectrum of human emotions while also being drawn to power and high stakes environments. Zap dismissed the common misconception that all psychopaths are criminals. "Those are the Neanderthals of the psychopaths," he said, "the others are world leaders and are running economies."

He contended that psychopaths often rise to power because the lack of a conscience gives them a decided advantage over their competitors. Coupled with heightened charisma and confidence, Zap observed, "they are often the most popular people with men and women." While a psychopath's perspective allows for them to make more detached decisions, he said, this same trait is what makes the condition particularly dangerous, since it causes the general population to be viewed as a resource or, even more chillingly, prey. Zap also noted that a psychopath's overwhelming desire for thrillseeking may overrule their normally dispassionate mindset and result in irrational decision making. This scenario, he surmised, is what was at the root of the recent financial meltdown.

While knowledge of psychopaths and their behavior has long existed, Zap noted that modern technology now allows for scientists to actually screen for the condition. He explained that functional MRI scans reveal that, when shown disturbing images or words, the emotional part of their brain does not activate. In light of this newfound potential to identify psychopaths, Zap opined that public pressure on politicians or corporate leaders to reveal their test results could help shed light on the true nature of those in power and also help in assessing who should be leading our society. Additionally, he suggested that using some psychopaths to help police the financial industry, rather than lead it, could help find a balance that stabilizes the economy.

Society's Stupor

In the first hour, physicist George Hart talked about the stupefaction of society and what may be perpetuating it. One factor which he believes has contributed to the "dumbing down" of our culture is the rise of paranoia and conspiracy theories, fueled by events like the JFK assassination and 9/11. The inability to unravel these events, he said, causes collective cultural confusion where "we start to come unglued as a society." Beyond that, Hart mused that the onslaught of data via modern technology has resulted in people becoming "great information consumers, but our decision making seems to have taken a step into the Twilight Zone." To that end, he contemplated that the envelopment of humanity by technology appears to be causing an inability to distinguish "virtual reality" from the real world.



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