Last night, a friend of mine read over the blog post that introduces the series I wrote on a number of topics centered around ponerology. Since that post is rather long, it gave us some time to chat as she read and we were discussing why ponerology is such an important subject. I had just explained to her how pivotal the issue of those with reduced levels of conscience and empathy attaining positions of power is when, just to check the news, I surfed over to Yahoo.com.
I found it remarkably coincidental that, at that very point in our discussion, Yahoo’s homepage happened to be featuring the story highlighted in the image below.
This is not the first time a story of this kind has been prominently featured in the news in recent years. In fact, the frequency with which it seems to be happening has added some validation to my sense of how crucial a topic this is and helped confirm my suspicion that my own dedication of time and energy to learning and writing about it is part of a growing awareness about it in the world as a whole. Each time I witnessed the release of another article or news story or book representing that growing awareness, my desire to document this dynamic and catalog these examples grew.
Seeing this story featured on Yahoo at such a coincidental time in the midst of a discussion with a friend on that very topic rekindled my desire to create a resource to carry out this documentation.
Noticing that the story was going to be about a “psychologist’s book,” I assumed this would be another article – adding to a recent flood of such articles – about Kevin Dutton’s book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths. But when I clicked through and found out it was actually about yet another new book related to ponerology, this was the last nudge I needed to finally create this site.
The headline actually links to the video below and discusses research described in the book Office Politics, which is the latest from the British psychologist Oliver James. James is also the author of Affluenza. Since I have long promoted many of the ideas featured in – and implied by the title of – Affluenza, I was further validated that James’ path, just like mine, has led from concern about those topics to awareness of the role played by these ponerologic issues and the importance of educating people about them.
The video is actually a segment of the “Broken News Daily – a ridiculous take on the headlines” and has a comic tone to it, even as it describes very important information. It also alludes to the comedy film Horrible Bosses, jokingly modifying the title to Psycho Bosses. I think it’s great that information related to ponerology, so often delivered in a serious fire-and-brimstone tone, also be, at times, promoted with some levity. There is a long history of comedy helping make the medicine of potentially disturbing but crucial information go down easier.
The segment focuses on James’ message that an increasing number of white collar workers are displaying traits associated with the “dark triad” – a term referring to psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism – and his identification of what he calls the “triadic person” who displays a combination of traits associated with all three and often ascends the hierarchy in work organizations
Judging from the comments on the piece, the segment seems to have done a great job stirring up discussion and a lot of people relate to the concept of authority figures with psychopathological traits.
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Tags: affluenza, conscience, dark triad, empathy, kevin dutton, machiavellianism, narcissism, office politics, oliver james, ponerology, power, psycho bosses, psychopathy, the wisdom of psychopaths, triadic person, yahoo
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