When we speak about ponerology and consider, from a scientific perspective, the conditions that underlie acts of commission or omission that some might term “evil,” it’s easy to get caught up in the one that dominates discussion in this area – psychopathy. We might even focus on psychopathy so much that we forget that other conditions and disorders can also be involved in these harmful situations.
In Political Ponerology, Andrew M. Lobaczewski details an entire process, which he calls ponerogenesis, by which “evil” emerges in human systems. While it’s true, in his model, that various kinds of psychopaths play a central role in that process, he also elucidates how others, including those with what he calls characteropathies – which we would refer to as personality disorders – are essential for it to play out to its destructive potential.
Most commonly, when it comes to this process, those with the Cluster B personality disorders, especially Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder, all of which profoundly impact the capacity for empathy, would be expected to be involved to some extent.
But as disproportionate an impact as people with these disorders can have on their surroundings, they still make up too small a proportion of the population by themselves to bring about a system dominated by the pathological. Thus, Lobaczewski details how a certain percentage of non-pathological people must also be coopted to participate in ponerogenesis if such a system, which he calls a pathocracy, is ever to come about.
Every now and then, however, we are reminded that there are still other conditions – beyond psychopathy and the personality disorders – that can play a role in unnecessary harmful events. (more…)