by Andrew M. Lobaczewski

from Ponerology Website

Spanish version






"In the author’s opinion, Ponerology reveals itself to be a new branch of science born out of historical need and the most recent accomplishments of medicine and psychology. In light of objective naturalistic language, it studies the causal components and processes of the genesis of evil, regardless of the latter’s social scope.


We may attempt to analyze these ponerogenic processes which have given rise to human injustice, armed with proper knowledge, particularly in the area of psychopathology. Again and again, as the reader will discover, in such a study, we meet with the effects of pathological factors whose carriers are people characterized by some degree of various psychological deviations or defects."

(Lobaczewski, 42)






With very few exceptions down the ages, discussions in moral philosophy - the study of right conduct - have failed to systematically investigate the origin, nature, and course of evil in a manner free from supernatural imaginings.


Evil was often considered something to be endured rather than something that could be understood and eliminated by rational measures.


And - as Lobaczewski demonstrates - the origin of evil actually lies outside the boundaries of the conventional worldview within which the earlier moral inquiries and literary explorations were conducted. Evil requires a truly modern and scientific approach to lay bare its secrets.


This approach is called "ponerology", the study of evil, from the Greek "poneros" = evil.

The original manuscript of this book went into the furnace minutes before a secret police raid in Communist Poland. The second copy, painfully reassembled by scientists working under impossible conditions of violence and repression, was sent via courier to the Vatican. Its receipt was never acknowledged - the manuscript and all valuable data lost.


In 1984, the third and final copy was written from memory by the last survivor of the original researchers: Andrew Lobaczewski.


Zbigniew Brzezinski blocked its publication.


After half a century of suppression, this book is finally available.

Political Ponerology is shocking in its clinically spare descriptions of the true nature of evil. It is poignant in its more literary passages revealing the immense suffering experienced by the researchers contaminated or destroyed by the disease they were studying.

Political Ponerology is a study of the founders and supporters of oppressive political regimes. Lobaczewski’s approach analyzes the common factors that lead to the propagation of man’s inhumanity to man.


Morality and humanism cannot long withstand the predations of this evil.


Knowledge of its nature - and its insidious effect on both individuals and groups - is the only antidote.












"Experience has taught the author that evil is similar to disease in nature, although possibly more complex and elusive to our understanding.


Its genesis reveals many factors, pathological, especially psychopathological, in character, whose essence medicine and psychology have already studied…


[A] comprehension of the essence and genesis of evil generally makes use of data from [biology, medicine, and psychology]. Philosophical reflection alone is insufficient."

(Lobaczewski, 98)

Like a color blind man incapable of distinguishing red from green, a small minority of the human population cannot experience or fully comprehend the normal range of human emotions.


And like those color blind who may conceal their condition by using the correct words while not understanding their meaning (e.g., the top traffic light is "red", the bottom is "green") - so does this minority conceal their condition by playacting an emotion's exterior signs (facial expressions, exclamations, body language).


However, they do no actually experience the emotion in question.


Their deception is revealed in the laboratory, where they respond to words like DEATH, CANCER, DISEASE, as if they were DAY, CREAM, or PAPER. They lack the ability to comprehend the emotional "punch" that certain words contain. They use others’ emotional reactions as cues, and they adjust their behavior to portray the correct ‘emotional’ behavior. (Hare, 129-30)

These individuals are known as psychopaths.


Not only can they not feel the pain of others, they often seem to deliberately cause others pain. Lobaczewski refers to this disorder as an "essential psychopathy" to distinguish them from others with deficits in their genetic/instinctual endowment, essential psychopathy being the most severe and disturbing.

Many so-called "antisocial individuals" acquire similar characteristics in their life-time, whether caused by brain damage to certain areas of the brain, or functionally, because of close contact with and influence by such individuals. Lobaczewski terms such individuals characteropaths. The vast majority of both these groups cannot change.


The acts that we call evil (especially on a macrosocial level) can be traced back to this deviant minority of human beings and the effects of their actions on their family, friends, and society.



A. Paranoid Characteropathy
B. Frontal Characteropathy
C. Drug-induced Characteropathy

"Regarding pathological factors of ponerogenic processes, perinatal or early infant [brain] damages have more active results than damages which occur later [in life]."

(Lobaczewski, 105)



"This [character anomalies developing as a result of brain-tissue damage] opens the door to the influence of other pathological characters who most frequently carry some inherited psychological deviations; they then push the characteropathic individuals into the shadows and proceed with their ponerogenic work.


That is why various types of characteropathy participate during the initial periods of the genesis of evil, both on the macrosocial scale and on the individual scale of human families."

(Lobaczewski, 120)


Certain brain lesions and their effects on personality play an important role in the genesis of evil.


While well-known results of such lesions, like epilepsy, are easily observed early in life, many brain lesions only affect their bearers’ personalities over time. The effects of these lesions will vary depending on the location of the brain damage, the time of its origin, and the lifestyle of the bearer after the damage occurs.


Lobaczewski calls these character or personality disorders "characteropathies".

Undamaged brain matter retains our species’ natural instinctive and emotional responses. These include, for example, the ability to form emotional bonds with others and to empathize (what Lobaczewski calls intuiting a psychological situation).


However, characteropathic thought processes differ, and are characterized by heightened emotional violence and pathological egotism. Their narcissistic self-importance and deviant psychology have a traumatizing effect on normal people, greatly diminishing their victims’ common sense to the point where they become infected by pathological thinking.


The younger or more naïve the individual, the more readily these traits can be transmitted.



"It is characteristic of paranoid behavior for people to be capable of relatively correct reasoning and discussion as long as the discussion involves minor differences of opinion.


This stops abruptly when the partner’s arguments begin to undermine their overvalued ideas, crush their long-held stereotypes of reasoning, or forces them to accept a conclusion they had subconsciously rejected before.


Such a stimulus unleashes upon the partner a torrent of pseudological, largely paramoralistic, often insulting utterances which always contain some degree of suggestion."

(Lobaczewski, 110)


  • Spellbinding: While cultured and logical people tend to avoid paranoid individuals because of their vulgar and violent language, paranoids have a remarkable capacity for enslaving less critical minds. Among those susceptible are young people, the psychologically deficient, and those who have been victimized by pathological egotists.


    For example, those reared by characteropaths will have some degree of psychological damage preventing them from critically analyzing the paranoid’s ideology and false logic. Such a victim finds himself agreeing with a skewed worldview, and any disagreement is limited to minor points.


    This pattern of thinking affirms that the skewed premises and corresponding paranoid ideology are ‘correct’ even though they may be seriously flawed. Paranoid individuals are well aware of their ability to enslave others, and take full advantage of this early in life.


  • Rigidity of Beliefs: Paranoid individuals are similar to psychopaths in that they are incapable of feeling self-doubt, or of seriously questioning their beliefs. Any such inner conflict occurs without self-control, self-awareness, or a hierarchy of values. In short, while they may encounter moments of inner tension caused by some confrontation of their own beliefs with contradictory data, in their own minds, they are never wrong

  • Physiological Cause: Lobaczewski traces the cause of this characteropathy to brain tissue damage, usually in the diencephalon region of the brain. Their paranoid view of reality can range from relatively naive to violently revolutionary, as was the case with the Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin.

  • Behavioral/Functional Cause: Those without brain tissue damage often develop paranoid characteristics as a result of psychological induction by a paranoid characteropath. A terror-filled upbringing gives rise to rigid and stereotyped thinking, and makes it hard for such an individual to develop a healthy world-view.



"The pathological character of such people, generally containing a component of hysteria, develops through the years.


The non-damaged psychological functions become overdeveloped to compensate, which means that instinctive and [emotional] reactions predominate. Relatively vital people become belligerent, risk-happy, and brutal in both word and deed."

(Lobaczewski, 114)

Damage to the frontal cortex at or near childbirth (especially among premature infants) has been the most common cause for this characteropathy.


As a result of modern advances in medical care for pregnant women and newborns, the spectacular role this disorder plays in ponerogenesis is more characteristic of past generations.


These individuals are impulsive, irritable and aggressive, have a low frustration tolerance, shallow emotions, and demonstrate socially inappropriate behavior.

  • Inhibited Thought Processes: This type of brain damage does not impair memory, intelligence, or the ability to accurately intuit a psychological situation. It does, however, inhibit the ability to mentally visualize and manipulate pieces of information in the characteropath’s field of consciousness, or working memory. This inhibits the so-called "executive system" which manages thought processes. As such, frontal characteropaths are characterized by abnormal levels of reactive aggression (as opposed to the instrumental aggression which characterizes essential psychopaths).


  • Impulsivity and Poor Long-Term Planning: Because of this inability to manipulate information in short-term memory, individuals with frontal brain damage must develop mental short cuts. This results in split-second decision-making, and hasty actions and words that are deemed absolute and irrevocable. They even view their ‘spontaneity’ (really just poor decision-making) as a sign of their superiority over normal people, when, in fact, these oversimplified decisions are ultimately self-destructive.


  • Spellbinding: Such ruthless and egotistic beliefs traumatize and spellbind normal people, diminishing their ability for common sense. Some even come to view frontal characteropaths as having special powers. If a parent possesses this disorder, all their children will usually show evidence of this fact in their personalities. Lobaczewski characterizes Joseph Stalin as typifying such a characteropath.

  • Confusion with Psychopathy: An individual with frontal brain damage shows some behavioral similarities with essential psychopathy, which has led to the erroneous conclusion that psychopathy is caused by frontal brain damage.

  • A typical description of an extreme case may include the following: brutal, charismatic, snake-charming, issuing of irrevocable decisions, inhuman ruthlessness, pathological revengefulness, an egotistical belief in their own genius.



"Character anomalies developing as a result of brain-tissue damage [from medications] behave like insidious ponerogenic factors... their influence easily anchors in human minds, traumatizing our psyches, impoverishing and deforming our thoughts and feelings, and limiting individuals’ and societies’ ability to use common sense and to read a psychological or moral situation accurately.


This opens the door to the influence of other pathological characters who most frequently carry some inherited psychological deviations."

(Lobaczewski, 119-120)

With the rise of modern medicine came the use of little-understood drugs which leave permanent damage to the nervous system.


Some tumor treatments (i.e., cytostatic drugs) often attack the more primitive portions of the brain, leaving such individuals emotionally dull, unable to empathize. While retaining their intelligence, they become vengeful and praise-craving egocentrics, indifferent to the pain they cause others.

Certain viruses (e.g., mumps, diphtheria, polio) and toxins like heavy metals, pesticides, food additives and household chemicals can have similar effects. Such individuals are usually psychologically naive and unable to comprehend the crux of a matter.



A. Schizoidal Psychopathy
B. Essential Psychopathy
C. Other Psychopathies

"The tragic role played by hereditary hemophilia among European royalty is well known. Responsible people in countries where the system of monarchy still survives are anxious not to allow a carrier of such a gene to become queen.


Any society exercising so much concern over individuals with blood-coagulation insufficiency or other serious and life-threatening pathology would protest if a man afflicted with such a condition were appointed to a high office bearing responsibility for many people.


This behavior model should be extended to many pathologies, including inherited psychological anomalies."

(Lobaczewski, 120)

The early appearance of psychopathic behavior in children, and the similarity with some forms of brain damage, are evidence of the genetic and biological basis for psychopathy.


Certain inherited, and thus irreversible, psychopathies play an important role in the genesis evil on the macrosocial level, while others play lesser roles. These include many commonly known personality disorders.


According to Lobaczewski, the study of psychopathology was further advanced in Eastern European than in current Western psychiatry.

While current personality inventories may be useful in accurate diagnosis, they are not useful in differentiating between various personality disorders.

As such, using Western terminology, a schizoid may be diagnosed as schizoid and/or paranoid personality disorder.

An essential psychopath may be diagnosed as narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder.



Keeping this in mind, we here present Lobaczewski's descriptions of the various psychopathies, along with the closest Western diagnosis.




"[Schizoids] are hypersensitive and distrustful, while, at the same time, pay little attention to the feelings of others. They tend to assume extreme positions, and are eager to retaliate for minor offenses.


Sometimes they are eccentric and odd. Their poor sense of psychological situation and reality leads them to superimpose erroneous, pejorative interpretations upon other people’s intentions. They easily become involved in activities which are ostensibly moral, but which actually inflict damage upon themselves and others.


Their impoverished psychological worldview makes them typically pessimistic regarding human nature."

(Lobaczewski, 123-4)


  • Emotional Unreality: The main features of schizoidia (or schizoid personality disorder) are dull emotions and a lack of feeling for psychological realities, and it is probably inherited autosomally. Their lack of emotion allows them to develop their speculative reasoning, which is useful in non-humanistic disciplines (e.g., economics and political theory).

  • Psychotic States: Under experiences of extreme stress, schizoids collapse into a state closely resembling schizophrenia, stifling their capacity for thought.

  • Schizoidal Declaration: Schizoids often betray their characteristic view of human nature in their statements and writings.

    • "Human nature is so bad that order in human society can only be maintained by a strong power created by highly qualified individuals in the name of some higher idea."

    Ironically, normal people, under the influence of schizoids and their twisted view of reality, will tend to fulfill such a view of human nature. Such open schizoidal declarations are apparent in the works of Marx and Engels, Hobbes, and various leading neoconservative intellectuals.



  • In Relationships: Schizoids often cause their families much trouble and are often poor parents. They are easily manipulated for the benefit of more clever individuals, often playing the role of quo-at-quo. Their simplistic "black or white" view of human reality often turns their good intentions into bad results.

  • On Humanity: If schizoidal views are published and widely distributed (like the writings of Marx, or of Leo Strauss), they can play a large role in the origin of evil on a mass scale. When normal people read the work of a schizoid, they are often unaware of the true nature of the author they are reading. Due to their richer psychological worldview, they tend towards a ‘corrective interpretation’ of writing which is, in fact, pathological.


    In this way, the deviant psychology can also be accepted by naïve individuals. Only with a proper understanding of the pathological nature of this material can one effectively read through it and immunize oneself against infection.



"Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets.


Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, the selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret.


Their bewildered victims desperately ask, ‘Who are these people?’ ‘What makes them they way they are?’ ‘How can we protect ourselves?’ "

(Hare, xi)

"Psychopaths have what it takes to defraud and bilk others: They are fast-talking, charming, self-assured, at ease in social situations, cool under pressure, unfazed by the possibility of being found out, and totally ruthless."

(Hare 121)

A typical description of a psychopath, from an article on Canada’s most notorious criminal, Clifford Olson:

"He was a violent man with a hair trigger temper. But he could also be charming and smooth-tongued when trying to impress people … Olson was a compulsive talker… He’s a real smooth talker, he has the gift of gab… He was always telling whoppers…


The man was just an out-and-out liar… He always wanted to test you to the limits. He wanted to see how far he could go before you had to step on him… He was a manipulator … Olson was a blabbermouth…


We learned after a while not to believe anything he said because he told so many lies… He has never shown any guilt or remorse for his depredations; on the contrary, he continually complains about his treatment by the press, the prison system, and society"

(Quoted by Hare, 133)

During his trial he dramatically posed for the cameras and while in jail, even wrote to numerous criminology departments offering to help start a course devoted to studying him.

Essential psychopathy ranges from barely noticeable ("subclinical psychopathy") to recognizably diagnosable by professionals ("full clinical manifestation").


The former play the greatest role in macrosocial phenomena, while the latter (about whom Cleckley wrote his book The Mask of Sanity, and of which Charlie Carewe in Mary Astor's novel The Incredible Charlie Carewe is an example) do not manage to avoid frequent periods in prisons or mental institutions, often rotating between the two.


Those who manage to keep their masks of sanity more consistent in their quest for power, and who are thus more successful in their endeavors, are dealt with in Paul Babiak and Robert Hare’s Snakes in Suits.



"Psychopaths are generally well satisfied with themselves and with their inner landscape, bleak as it may seem to outside observers. They see nothing wrong with themselves, experience little personal distress, and find their behavior rational, rewarding, and satisfying; they never look back with regret or forward with concern.


They perceive themselves as superior beings in a hostile, dog-eat-dog world in which others are competitors for power and resources.


Psychopaths feel it is legitimate to manipulate and deceive others in order to obtain their "rights," and their social interactions are planned to outmaneuver the malevolence they see in others."

(Hare, 195)


  1. Talkativeness:

    The most noticeable feature of essential psychopathy is a talkative stream, easily blending truth and fiction. Not feeling any guilt, they will effortlessly deflect attention away from previous lies with more lies.


    They can talk for hours on end and appear extremely knowledgeable regarding any number of subjects. However, they tend to ignore what most consider as important issues, and will avoid speaking of abstract values and feelings unknown to them. When one does speak of such things, anomalies arise.


    At one moment a psychopath may speak of his profound love for his mother; the next, how a woman he once knew as a child was the woman he loved the most, even more so than his mother!

    • "They know the words but not the music; they exhibit a facility with words that mean little to them, form without substance"

      (Hare, 128-129).


    Under careful analysis, these displays of emotion are shown to lack any actual understanding of the emotions in question.


    It is almost as if they believe that the weak impulse or base emotion they feel is representative of the true emotion felt by a normal human being. Similarly, their streams of thought are ostensibly logical, but again, careful analysis shows them to have suggestive paralogisms.


    For example, when confronted about his lack of empathy a psychopath may evade the issue and say,

    • "What about empathy for me? Do you have any idea what I've had to put up with?"

  2. No sense of guilt:

    The life of the normal people they hurt is incomprehensible to them.


    Conscience, to a psychopath, is merely "intellectual awareness of the rules other people make up", and nothing more (Hare, 132). For essential psychopaths, life is the pursuit of immediate attractions, moments of pleasure and temporary feelings of power. They often act on a whim and achieve their goals at the expense of others, with complete disregard for their victims.

    As an analogy, imagine having a slight urge for a snack. However, the door to the kitchen door is locked and hooked up to an alarm system.


    Seeing that the door is locked, you pick up an axe to knock down the door (you were going to replace it soon anyway). As you chop the door, the alarm annoyingly rings until you destroy it, too. After demolishing the door, you enter the kitchen and eat your snack. Now imagine you are a psychopath and the door was a human being, the annoying alarm its cries of pain and agony.


    After slaughtering the human, stifling its annoying and petty cries, you can sit down to enjoy your snack!

  3. Inability to love:

    Essential psychopaths view ‘love’ with a partner as a fairytale from the ‘other’ world of normal humans. Similarly, religious or moral concepts like ‘love for one’s neighbor’ are seen as childish naiveties.


    For them, love is merely an ephemeral phenomenon aimed at sexual adventure. While they may convincingly profess to love in the most romantic and meaningful of ways, these displays are soon replaced with selfishness, arrogance and hedonism.



"Natural human reactions… strike the psychopath as strange, interesting, and even comical. They therefore observe us… They become experts in our weaknesses and sometimes effect heartless experiments."

(Lobaczewski, 90)



  • Non-psychotic: Psychopaths are not emotionally disturbed, delusional, or out of touch with reality. They are completely rational and aware of what they are doing. As such, they are judged sane by current legal and psychiatric standards (Hare, 22-3).

  • Prey on weakness: They can easily perceive deficiencies in normal people’s knowledge of psychological and moral concepts, and exploit these weaknesses for their own use.

  • Low intelligence: Psychopaths are slightly below average in intelligence, with no instances of the highest intelligence or creativity. While they can be skilled in certain sciences not requiring a humanistic world-view, according to Lobaczewski, they lack technical or craftsmanship skills. They also test low for "social wisdom" and "socio-moral imagination". Academic or business success is often the result of fraud, coercion, or the use of others’ work.

  • Self-destructive behavior: Psychopaths have an inability to learn from experience and lack skills for realistic planning for the future. James Weiss, quoted by Hare, describes possibly psychopathic GIs:

    • "Completely unresponsive to interests of their fellow GIs and more attuned to instant gratification than to the fundamental rules of caution in combat, these fellows had a much greater chance of getting shot".

      (Hare, 26)


    The ability to feel emotional responses like fear and anxiety is directly related to conscience and the ability to control one’s behavior. The fear or threat of punishment means nothing to a psychopath. While they can vaguely picture what will happen to them, this contains no emotional content. The desire for immediate self-gratification outweighs any ‘fear’ of getting caught.

  • Stimulus transformation deficit: Just as the normal world of color is incomprehensible to a color-blind man (i.e. there is a deficit in sensory stimulus transformation), the normal world of human instinctive reactions (e.g. emotional-bonding, pro-social responses), concepts, feelings, and values strike essential psychopaths as incomprehensible and with no obvious justification.


    These are viewed as foreign conventions invented by some external power. Ted Bundy called guilt "an illusion… a kind of social-control mechanism." They are incapable of treating other humans as thinking, feeling beings.

  • Thought Fragments: Psychopaths’ contradictory statements seem to be related to their inability to accurately combine ideas into a coherent whole. For example, one psychopath, when asked if he’d ever committed a violent offense, said,

    • "No, but I once had to kill someone"

      (Hare, 137)


    Psychopaths frequently change topics, go on tangents, and refuse give direct answers to questions. Dramatic and distracting hand movements, "close-talking," and intensive eye contact, all of which tend to confuse the listener, often accompany their long-winded speech. Most of their victims are taken in not by what they say, but how they say it.

  • Genetic nature: The presence in psychopathy in a much larger percentage of men than women suggests an X-chromosome-linked heredity. The scope of essential psychopathy ranges from barely noticeable (even to experienced observers) to obviously pathological.

  • Special knowledge: Essential psychopaths possess an ability to recognize each other in a crowd. They are conscious of being different and view normal people as ‘other’. A camouflage-like ‘mask of sanity’ accompanies this knowledge.

  • Mask of sanity: As essential psychopaths are physiologically incapable of incorporating a normal person’s world-view, they can only copy or ape normal human behavior. Normal humans, unaware of the psychological differences between psychopaths and themselves, assume that these displays of emotion are evidence of the actual emotion.


    Cleckley hypothesizes that psychopaths cannot distinguish between their pseudo-intentions, pseudo-feelings, pseudo-remorse, and their normal human counterparts. Instead of thinking that normal humans have something that psychopaths do not (i.e. conscience), they perceive normal humans’ reactions as strange and childish reactions. They are like a color-blind man who thinks everyone else is crazy for responding differently to so many shades of the same color.


    Their pathological egotism prohibits them from finding fault in themselves, thus projecting all blame to an external cause.



  • Antisocial Personality Disorder: The American Psychiatric Association equates antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) with psychopathy. However, ASPD refers specifically to a cluster of antisocial behaviors. As such, many criminals are labeled as ASPD who are not, in fact, psychopaths. Conversely, many psychopaths are never labeled as ASPD

    (Hare, 24-5).

  • Bad Childhoods: While many believe psychopaths become the way they are from abusive childhood experiences, there is no evidence to suggest this is true. Most children who suffer abusive childhoods do not become psychopaths, and many psychopaths grow up in healthy families. Some attachment difficulties in infancy are a symptom of psychopathy, not a cause.

    (Hare, 170, 172, 175)

  • "He can change!": Psychopaths cannot change, nor do they want to. One violent offender was forced to take group therapy. While he dominated the group, the therapist eventually said he saw improvement and regret in the subject. Later, when interviewed by one of Hare’s staff, the patient revealed,

    • "I can’t believe those guys. Who gave them a license to practice? I wouldn’t let them psychoanalyze my dog! He’d shit all over them just like I did!"

      (Hare, 197)


    On the subject of mandatory prison therapy, one psychopath said,

    • "These programs are like finishing school. They teach you how to put the squeeze on people."

      (Hare, 199)

  • Serial Killers: A negligible number of psychopaths are also serial killers. While there are perhaps only 100 serial killers in America, Hare calculates that for every psychopathic serial killer, there are 20 to 30 thousand psychopaths who do not commit serial murder. His estimate of the total number of psychopaths in America (2 to 3 million) is a conservative projection.

    (Hare, 74)

  • A Nature/Nurture Model of Psychopath:

    • "The position I favor is that psychopathy emerges from a complex - and poorly understood - interplay between biological factors and social forces.


      It is based on evidence that genetic factors contribute to the biological bases of brain function and to the basic personality structure, which in turn influence the way the individual responds to, and interacts with life experiences and the social environment. In effect, the elements needed for the development of psychopathy - including a profound inability to experience empathy and the complete range of emotions, including fear - are provided in part by nature and possibly by some unknown biological influences on the developing fetus and neonate.


      As a result, the capacity for developing internal controls and conscience and for making emotional "connections" with others is greatly reduced.

      "This doesn’t mean that psychopaths are destined to develop along a fixed track, born to play a socially deviant role in life. But it does mean that their biological endowment - the raw material that environmental, social, and learning experiences fashion into a unique individual - provides a poor basis for socialization and conscience formation. To use a simple analogy, the potter is instrumental in molding pottery from clay (nurture), but the characteristics of the pottery also depend on the sort of clay available (nature).

      "Although psychopathy is not primarily the result of poor parenting or adverse childhood experiences, I think they play an important role in shaping what nature has provided. Social factors and parenting practices influence the way the disorder develops and is expressed in behavior.

      "Thus, an individual with a mix of psychopathic personality traits who grows up in a stable family and has access to positive social and educational resources might become a con artist or white-collar criminal, or perhaps a somewhat shady entrepreneur, politician, or professional. Another individual, with much the same personality traits but from a deprived and disturbed background, might become a drifter, mercenary, or violent criminal.

      "In each case, social factors and parenting practices help to shape the behavioral expression of the disorder, but have less effect on the individual’s inability to feel empathy or to develop a conscience. No amount of social conditioning will by itself generate a capacity for caring about others or a powerful sense of right and wrong. To extend my earlier analogy, psychopathic "clay" is much less malleable than is the clay society’s potters usually have to work with.

      "One implication of this view for the criminal justice system is that the quality of family life has much less influence on the antisocial behaviors of psychopaths than it does on the behavior of most people."

      (Hare, 173-4)



"He will choose you, disarm you with his words, and control you with his presence. He will delight you with his wit and his plans. He will show you a good time, but you will always get the bill. He will smile and deceive you, and he will scare you with his eyes.


And when he is through with you, and he will be through with you, he will desert you and take with him your innocence and your pride. You will be left much sadder but not a lot wiser, and for a long time you will wonder what happened and what you did wrong.


And if another of his kind comes knocking at your door, will you open it?"

(quoted by Hare, Without Conscience, 21)

"When I’m on the job the first thing I do is I size you up. I look for an angle, an edge, figure out what you need and give it to you. Then it’s pay-back time, with interest. I tighten the screws."

(quoted by Hare, 147)


  • Glib and Superficial: Psychopaths are often articulate and charming conversationalists. They expertly tell "unlikely but convincing" stories about themselves, and often attempt to appear well versed in any number of subjects, using technical language that will fool most laymen (but not an expert). To experienced observers, the psychopath’s dramatic displays seem too slick and superficial, as if the psychopath were simply reading lines from a script.

    (Hare, 34-5)

  • Eccentric and Grandiose: Hare writes,

    • "Psychopaths have a narcissistic and grossly inflated view of their self-worth and importance, a truly astounding egocentricity and sense of entitlement, and see themselves as the center of the universe, as superior beings who are justified in living according to their own rules… Psychopaths come across as arrogant, shameless braggarts - self-assured, opinionated, domineering, and cocky. They love to have power and control over others and seem unable to believe that other people have valid opinions different from theirs. They appear charismatic or ‘electrifying’ to some people"

      (Hare, 38).


    One psychopath, when asked to rate himself on a 10-point scale rated himself,

    • "an all-around 10. I would have said 12, but that would be bragging. If I had a better education I’d be brilliant."


    He also said his only weakness was that he cared too much!

    (Hare, 38)

  • Lack of Remorse or Guilt: Psychopaths have a complete lack of guilt for the immense harm they do to others. When it suits there needs, they may proclaim to feel remorse, but unknowingly contradict themselves in words and actions.


    They may say, for example,

    • "Sure, I feel remorse… but I don’t feel bad about it."


    They are also extremely skilled at rationalizing their behavior, often seeing themselves as the victims (and blaming their real victims). One psychopath said that a man he murdered had benefited from this, learning a hard lesson about life.


    Another said,

    • "The guy only had himself to blame. Anybody could have seen I was in a rotten mood that night."


    One woman psychopath who had murdered her children complained that no one cared about she felt having lost both her children.

    (Hare, 40-3)

  • Lack of Empathy: Psychopaths are unable to construct a "mental and emotional facsimile" of another person. They view other people as objects for their self-gratification. A violent psychopath can, as Hare puts it,

    • "torture and mutilate [a human being] with about the same sense of concern that we feel when we carve a turkey."

      (Hare, 44-5)

  • Deceitful and Manipulative: Lying is as easy as breathing for psychopaths, and they are proud of this ability to put one over on others. Not only can they lie effortlessly, they are completely unfazed when caught in a lie. They will simply rework their story with more lies, to the shock and amazement of those who know better. Psychopaths view themselves as predators and their victims as prey, and their ability to lie allows them to cheat, con, and manipulate without the slightest inhibition. (Hare, 46-9) This allows them to easily fool traditional ‘lie detector’ tests.

  • Shallow Emotions: While psychopaths will often use highly expressive and emotional language, further observation shows that they do not, in fact, understand what these emotions really entail. They know the words, but have no understanding of the emotional content behind the words. Even their violent outbursts of "rage" are carefully controlled displays. The psychopath has no emotions to be in control of; any display of emotion is an act.


    One psychopath revealed,

    • "There are emotions - a whole spectrum of them - that I know only through words, through reading and in my immature imagination. I can imagine I feel these emotions (know, therefore, what they are), but I do not."

      (Hare, 52-3)

  • Impulsive: In the pursuit of self-gratification, psychopaths make impulsive decisions with minimal foresight and planning. They often live day-to-day with no serious thought for the future. (Hare, 58-9) However, they are also capable of elaborate planning.

  • Poor Behavior Controls: Psychopaths have a hair-trigger response to perceived insults or the slightest of provocations. They respond to frustration, failure, discipline and criticism with violence, threats, and verbal abuse. However, these displays lack the emotional arousal that normal people feel in such situations; they are in full control of "getting angry". In other words, their aggression is ‘instrumental’.

    (Hare, 59-60)

  • Need for Excitement:

    • "Psychopaths have an ongoing and excessive need for excitement - they long to live in the fast lane or ‘on the edge,’ where the action is. … Some psychopaths use a wide variety of drugs as part of their general search for something new and exciting."


    One psychopath, when asked if he ever felt physical effects of certain emotions responded,

    • "Of course! I’m not a robot. I really get pumped up when I have sex or when I get into a fight."


    Otherwise, psychopaths are easily bored. They cannot tolerate dull or repetitive activities, or anything requiring extended periods of concentration.

    (Hare, 54, 61-2)

  • Lack of Responsibility:

    • "Obligations and commitments mean nothing to psychopaths. … They do not honor formal or implied commitments to people, organizations, or principles."


    While claiming to love their children, they see them as an inconvenience. One psychopath showed more anger when her car was impounded than when her children were taken by the authorities for child negligence.

    (Hare, 62-3)

  • Early Behavior Problems: By the age of 10 or 12, most psychopaths exhibit serious behavioral problems. For example: persistent lying, cheating, theft, fire setting, truancy, class disruption, substance abuse, vandalism, violence, bullying, running away, precocious sexuality, cruelty to animals. One psychopath smiled when he reminisced about tying puppies to a rail to use their heads for baseball-batting practice. They are also often cruel to other children, including siblings.

    (Hare, 66-67)

  • Adult Antisocial Behavior:

    • "Psychopaths consider the rules and expectations of society inconvenient and unreasonable, impediments to the behavioral expression of their inclinations and wishes."


    While an estimated 20% of North American prison populations (and 25% of young male offenders) are psychopaths, these psychopaths are responsible for more than 50% of crime.

    (Hare, 67, 87)


In Their Own Words:


  • Glib and Superficial:

    "What is negative about articulation skills?"

  • Egocentric and Grandiose:

    "How can I attain something if I don’t reach high?"

  • Lack of empathy:

    "Empathy toward an enemy is a sign of weakness."

  • Deceitful and Manipulative:

    "Why be truthful to the enemy? All of us are manipulative to some degree. Isn’t positive manipulation common?"

  • Shallow Emotions:

    "Anger can lead to being labeled a psychopath."

  • Impulsive:

    "Can be associated with creativity, living in the now, being spontaneous and free."

  • Poor behavioral controls:

    "Violent and aggressive outbursts may be a defensive mechanism, a false front, a tool for survival in the jungle."

  • Need for excitement:

    "Courage to reject the routine, monotonous, or uninteresting. Living on the edge, doing things that are risky, exciting, challenging, living life to its fullest, being alive rather than dull, boring, and almost dead."

  • Lack of responsibility:

    "Shouldn’t focus on human weaknesses that are common."

  • Early behavior problems and adult antisocial behavior:

    "Is a criminal record reflective of badness or nonconformity?"

  • Lack of remorse of guilt: No response.

    (Quoted by Hare, 69-70)



"After shooting her children [Diane Downs] had an affair with Jason Redding, and wrote, "But Bert was in the past, and Jason was in the present. True, I was writing letters to Bert telling him how much I loved him, that he was the only man on earth for me…


When he began to refuse the letters, I started saving them in a notebook, making an entry each night, most of them a paragraph of two, a page at most.


They entries were the same, just with different wording: ‘I love you Bert, why aren’t you here, I need you, you’re the only man for me.’ … I mixed a drink and wrote my hollow words of love to Bert as I sank into a hot bubble bath. … I thought about Bert…


Minutes later Jason knocked at the door, and as I flew down the stairs to meet him, my thoughts of Bert flew as well." Diane’s "hollow words of love" were a source of pride for her, as if their use was entirely intentional, designed for a particular purpose."

(Hare, 132)



There is a group of psychopathies occurring two to three times that of essential psychopathy (which Lobaczewski calculated as 0.6% in Poland), at approximately 2-3% of the general population.


These individuals also attempt to mask their different world of experience, although they may attempt to play a role in the world of normal people; this is not a typical "Cleckley mask".


The less extreme cases manage to adjust to social life, often taking advantage of normal people’s appreciation of the arts with their deviant and often sadistic literary creations.


They manage to insinuate that their world of ideas and experiences is self-evident, thus enslaving less critical minds. The most frequent of these psychopathies is asthenic psychopathy.

Other psychopathies which play a lesser role in macrosocial ponerogenesis include anankastic (obsessive-compulsive), hysterical (histrionic), and skirtoidal psychopathy.


While dependent personality disorder may have arisen from the older classification of asthenic personality disorder, as noted above the diagnoses may have drifted far enough apart that they no longer apply to the same specific disorder.



Like essential psychopathy, asthenic psychopathy presents at every possible level of intensity.


Such individuals lack vigor and are hypersensitive. They typically emote a shallow nostalgia and can show superficial pangs of conscience after faulty behavior, showing that they do have some ability to judge a psychological situation.


They are usually less intelligent than normal people, and demonstrate inconsistent and inaccurate reasoning abilities. The most severe cases are very anti-psychological and contemptuous of normal people, and are more active on a large scale (e.g., the literary world, or the political arena) than in personal relationships.

As a result of their falsified world view, their opinions of others can rarely be trusted. A mask of sanity covers their deviant personal aspirations and capabilities, and while friendly to those who do not notice their fault, they are hostile to those with accurate psychological knowledge.

These individuals are less sexually vital than essential psychopaths, often repulsed by normal human sexuality. As a result, they can easily accept celibacy as a way of life (perhaps inspiring the viciously anti-psychological attitude of the Catholic church).

Accompanying their shallow affect, asthenic psychopaths have idealistic dreams of reforming the world. However, they cannot see the results or implications of their plans. For example, they may become staunch communists (like Dzerzhinsky), and in their wish for a better world, kill millions.


More naive individuals may see poor social conditions as a justification for such a radicalized worldview.


"If that were the case [i.e. that skirtoidism is a biodynamic phenomenon resulting from crossing widely separated ethnic groups], North America should be full of skirtoids, a hypothesis that deserves observation."

(Lobaczewski, 136)

Skirtotymic deviants, in contrast to asthenics, are vital, egotistical, and thick-skinned individuals.


As such, they make good soldiers. They possess high endurance and psychological resistance to turbulent times, making them more at home in the battlefield than with a family.


These individuals are still a mystery.


How do we classify these hired mercenaries and professional killers who are quick to take up arms and perform a duty as directed? No feelings inhibit their performance, and yet none of the descriptions of psychopathies or characteropathies apply to them. They lack the talkativeness and impulsiveness of essential psychopaths or the false idealism of the asthenic.


They are possibly hybrids of the other psychopathologies (e.g., schizoidia and essential psychopath or skirtoidism).













A. Psychopathy: The Cause of Evil
B. Ponerology: A New Science

"Oversimplification of the causative picture as regards the genesis of evil, often to a single easily understood cause or one perpetrator, itself becomes a cause in this genesis...


Any attempt to explain the things that occurred during the first half of our [twentieth] century by means of categories generally accepted in historical thought leaves a nagging feeling of inadequacy.


Only a ponerological approach can compensate for this deficit in our comprehension, as it does justice to the role of various pathological factors in the genesis of evil at every social level."

(Lobaczewski, 144, 109)

Our modern Western culture lacks an adequate framework to understand the causes and processes of what we commonly refer to as evil in our history.


The Third Reich, the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalinism… Our body of literature, social sciences, and our common sense of morality only scratch the surface of a true comprehension of the nature of evil. Thus, the very people who are, in fact, the initiators of the greatest ponerogenic activity pass undetected. Our lack of understanding will inevitably lead to the very problems that the majority of humanity seeks to prevent.

In literature and film, evil is romanticized; portrayed as mysterious, yet beautiful; dark, yet conflicted. There is always a heart of gold beneath a cold-blooded exterior.


The Hollywood psychopath, rarely depicted accurately, evokes both our disgust and our sympathy; war heroes slaughter their enemies ruthlessly, yet live loving lives as husbands and fathers. If the villain did not have a rough childhood, or does not show any signs of a struggle of conscience, he is seen as "two-dimensional" and "unrealistic".

Leading social scientists and psychologists promote a similarly narrow view of evil, dealing only with its social and moral aspects. In other words, they study effects; not causes.


One such researcher argues that,

"most evil is the product of rather ordinary people caught up in unusual circumstances that they are not equipped to cope with in the normal ways that have worked in the past to escape, avoid or challenge them, while they are being recruited, seduced, initiated into evil by persuasive authorities or compelling peer pressure."

According to this researcher, the line of distinction between a sadistic torturer at Abu Ghraib, and a non-violent peace activist is simply one of chance.

These somewhat naive views on evil are not entirely wrong. Movies can accurately portray psychotic, or even psychopathic, serial murderers; the common view of evil can accept that human frailties and ambitions often degenerate into bloodthirsty madness. However, both of these views demonstrate a complete ignorance of the causal role of psychopathology (especially essential psychopathy) in the genesis of evil, or ponerogenesis.


Film ignores an analysis of the psychopathic parent that creates the traumatized child; social sciences ignore the influence of psychopathy on the minds of normal humans and the specific processes that give rise to ignoring one's conscience.

More so, the common view of evil still partly justifies the blood-stained solutions of past, present, and future politicians.


In such a way is the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the firebombing of Dresden, to the present day occupation of Iraq and Palestine justified. And without an understanding of the role of psychopathy, any attempt to objectively evaluate such symptoms of macrosocial evil, no matter how accurate, can be co-opted by spellbinders.


In such a way, a partial truth can be used as justification and as a rallying point for further destruction.



Inherited and acquired psychological disorders and ignorance of their existence and nature are the primal causes of evil.


The magic number of 6% seems to represent the number of humans who either carry the genes responsible for biological evil or who acquire such disorders in the course of their lifetime.


This small percent is responsible for the vast majority of human misery and crime, and for infecting others with their flawed view of the world.

The scope of evil does not respect any boundaries of race, doctrine, or ideology. All races carry the genes, and all schools of thought are susceptible to their influence. These pathological factors that influence behavior form a complex web. It is only in such a web that the "environmental evil" wherein circumstances can influence a normal person to commit harmful acts can be understood.

Of 5000 psychotic, neurotic and healthy patients, Lobaczewski identified 384 (7.7%) who caused serious harm (physical and/or emotional) to others. Some of these had been penalized for their actions and some had been protected by Communist government of the time.


Contrary to the common moralistic interpretation of evil actions ("evil consists of making evil choices"), and also contrary to legal systems which views psychopaths as sane and thus responsible for their actions, the vast majority (85%) of these 384 individuals showed psychopathological factors influencing their behavior.


It is likely that, without these factors present, the harmful actions would not have taken place. These psychological factors limit the subject's ability to control their actions. In this sense, a moralistic interpretation to psychopathic behavior is fundamentally flawed.

While a moral sense (lacking in psychopaths) can be seen as necessary to be held morally responsible, that is not to say that psychopaths should have free rein to destroy lives. Psychopathic individuals can have a number of effects on normal people: they can fascinate, traumatize, cause pathological personality development, or inspire vindictive emotions (a result of viewing evil as simply a "choice").


An example of this variety can be seen in the host of groupies, pen pals, supporters, and love-struck fans that flocks towards dangerous serial killers like Richard Ramirez and Ted Bundy.


One fan of Ramirez said,

"When I look at him, I see a real handsome guy who just messed up his life because he never had anyone to guide him."

These effects and the confusion they engender can then lead to, and reinforce our collective ignorance of such individuals.


We rarely hold responsible the individual who influences another to commit evil, but instead moralistically punish only the agent of an act. The true cause of 'evil' actions goes unpunished, much like an Army Private punished for the crimes of his superiors.


In fact, the true source of 'evil' may be separated from a specific action by both vast stretches in time (i.e., in literature and tradition) and by large distances (i.e., by mass media).

"The practical value of our natural world view generally ends where psychopathology begins."

(Lobaczewski, 145)



No matter how eloquently and accurately authors (novelists, dramatists, poets, historians) describe the occurrence of evil, a disease cannot be cured through description alone. Our natural language cannot adequately explain the concepts surrounding such phenomena.


Only a scientific understanding drawing from psychological, social, and moral concepts can approach the understanding necessary to prevent the emergence of mass madness seen so many times in the history of our planet.

Ponerology describes the genesis, existence, and spread of the macrosocial disease called evil. Its causes are traceable and can be repeatedly observed and analyzed.


When humanity manages to incorporate this knowledge into its natural worldview, it will have defensive potential as yet unrealized



1. Reality-Deforming Tendencies
2. Life Conditions
3. Unconscious Processes
4. Good Times, Bad Times: The Hysteroidal Cycle

Many factors contribute to the development of our personality.


Our natural world view and our behavior are conditioned by our society and family upbringing, and by our individual and collective genetic endowment: our instinctive substratum.


While the emotionally active instinctive substratum of animals is the main dictator of their behavior, ours is more receptive to the control of reasoning. Its emotional basis forms the foundation for our feelings and social bonds which allow us to perceive psychological states, human customs and morals. In short, it is designed to support social cooperation and the survival of the group, sometimes in contrast to the equally strong instinct of self-preservation.

Differences between individuals and between nations are thus similarly influenced, giving rise to the rich and varied cultures of the world.


Significantly, similarities among cultures show certain universal characteristics which obviously derive from the genetic nature of our species. Interracial differences in the instinctive substratum are much less striking than the difference between normal humans and carriers of certain defects of the instinctive substratum of the same race.

While objectivity is possible in tracking the causes of our personality, using the same logical and methodological principles as in other sciences, we have a natural tendency to affirm that we freely choose our own intentions and behaviors.


We reject the external conditions that influence our actions and form our personalities. Thus, our natural world view is not perfect. It does not always mirror objective reality, and we are often illogical in our beliefs and decision-making as a result.


Luckily, the better our understanding of human causation, the better we can liberate ourselves from the conditioning the hinders our comprehension and decision-making.



  • Emotional Reactions: As a result of our instinct and errors in our upbringing, our emotional reactions (some of which are explained below) are rarely appropriate to the situations that spark them. A common example would be taking offence to objective criticism, and making a rash decision based on a temporary emotional reaction.

  • Moralizing Interpretation: Humans naturally and instinctively fail to distinguish between moral evil and biological evil.


    We often endow our opinions with moral judgment, as if our way of thinking were best simply because it is our own. We then apply this mode of thinking to others whose behavior we see as improper.


    Thus we deem such individuals "bad", inferring that they have negative intentions, rather than attempting to understand the psychological conditions that are driving them and which convince them that they are doing what is right. Often these conditions include brain damage or hereditary psychopathologies.


    The common 'moralizing' approach can be summarized as follows:

    "Unless one is simply incapable of making moral choices, evil consists of making evil choices."

    Psychopaths have little to no real choice in how they act as they cannot empathize or sympathize; they cannot view other humans as anything other but objects to be used for their advantage – they "lack the hardware," so to speak. We should offer token sympathy, because they literally have no choice in the matter. Their very genetic code predisposes them toward predatory behavior.


    They are, as Robert Hare terms them, an intraspecies predator.

    A moralizing interpretation often leads to erroneous behavior, such as a desire for revenge, which itself opens the door for further ponerogenic factors.


    Often, exaggerated displays of such emotionally loaded interpretations (such as those of Bill O'Reilly or Glen Beck, for example) are themselves indications of pathological egotism.

    "Nothing poisons the soul and deprives us of our capacity to understand reality more objectively than this very obedience to that common human tendency to take a moralistic view of human behavior."

    (Lobaczewski, 149)

  • Critically Corrective Interpretation: As opposed to a pathological acceptance by one psychological deviant of the work of another, normal humans often apply a critically corrective interpretation to such material.


    Because of their richer psychological worldview, normal people will often trivialize glaring errors and project their own understanding onto the work of someone who lacks such abilities. This can cause an individual to accept material that is actually contrary to their morals or beliefs, e.g. to the work of Marx or even Adolph Hitler.

  • Self-Protection Reflex: Our near-reflex quickness at controlling anyone that poses as a threat to our group is encoded at the instinctual level. This reflex is accompanied by a moralizing interpretation to human behavior.

  • Normal Psychological Types: Among normal humans, the dynamism of the instinctive substratum differs. For some, reason easily overpowers the emotional instinct; for others, the instincts overpower the intellect. Some seem to have a richer and more developed substratum than others. These differences must be taken into account when attempting to achieve an objective look at reality.

  • Lack of Universality: The natural worldview only applies to the vast majority of humanity. There is, however, a statistically small segment of the human population who have quite a different worldview. These individuals are discussed in the Psychopaths: Almost Human section above. As such, the natural worldview has limited applicability. We manage to live our lives with only our emotional thinking and the pursuit of happiness, but these are insufficient tools when dealing with psychopathology.

  • Egotism of the Natural World View: Some people with a highly developed natural worldview of psychological, societal, moral aspects tend to overvalue their own worldview, seeing it as an objective basis for judging others.


    While this is the least pernicious form of egotism, being based in humanistic principles, the refusal to admit to the possibility of error can have a stifling effect on counteractive measures against macrosocial disease.


    For example, a strong belief that all humans are born equal and created in God's image can lead to an "egalitarian" acceptance of pathological individuals and their distorted world view.


    Similar dynamics occur with strong beliefs in freedom of speech, freedom to pursue happiness, the "goodness" of humankind, etc. An objective world view must be practical and rooted in biological realities.


    However, it must adequately explain what biology does not. It must take into account the "reading errors" of the natural worldview.



Besides inner psychological processes, other conditions contribute to ponerogenesis.


For example, intellectual deficits, whether as a result of age, education, or natural endowment, and moral failings contribute substantially to ponerogenesis.


These can include ignorance of psychological differences, an inability to recognize manipulation, and the tendency to realize one's own desires without consideration for the well-being of others.

  • Socioeconomic Conditions: Regardless of the quality of such conditions, psychopaths, as a rule, reach the conclusion that society is forceful and oppressive. However, if such conditions actually exist, these pathological feelings of unfairness can resonate with those who have actually been treated unfairly.

  • Psychopathic Trauma: Subordination to a psychopathic individual has severe effects on a normal person. It engenders both trauma and neurosis, depriving one of autonomy and capacity for common sense. Emotions become chilled and a sense of psychological reality is stifled. This leads to a feeling of helplessness and intense depression.



"Unconscious psychological processes outstrip conscious reasoning, both in time and in scope, which makes many psychological phenomena possible...


Those people who use conversive operations too often for the purpose of finding convenient conclusions, or constructing some cunning paralogistic or paramoralistic statements, eventually begin to undertake such behavior for ever more trivial reasons, losing the capacity for conscious control over their thought process altogether.


This necessarily leads to behavior errors which must be paid for by others as well as themselves."

(Lobaczewski, 152, 3)


  1. Blocking out conclusions:

    • "We speak of blocking out conclusions if the inferential process was proper in principle… but becomes stymied by a preceding directive from the subconscious which considers [the conclusion] inexpedient or disturbing."

      (Lobaczewski, 152)


    A normal person has all the necessary tools and data to solve a problem or to logically reach a conclusion, but if the solution holds ideas contradictory to firmly held beliefs it is ‘blocked’ from conscious awareness. This type of denial can be extremely harmful, leading to intense feelings of tension and bitterness.


    For example, a wife may reject the conclusion that her husband is cheating on her, even when all the evidence logically points to this being the case (e.g., friends' testimony, strange phone calls from an unknown woman, lipstick on the collar).


    When a supporter of the current war in Iraq is confronted with the fact that nearly a million Iraqis have been killed as a result of his support, this fact may be subconsciously blocked.

  2. Selection of premises: Rather than affecting the acceptance of a disturbing conclusion, this process blocks out the piece or pieces of data that lead to the formation of a conclusion. When determining the morality of the occupation of Palestine, many reject that the Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in the Nabka of 1948. Accepting this datum would lead to a correct, albeit disturbing, conclusion regarding the morality of Israeli military occupation.

  3. Substitution of premises: This is the most complex process and consists of substituting other data for those already rejected, making for a more comfortable conclusion.


    This process is often effected collectively, usually in verbal communication. In the case of Palestine, some groups have convinced themselves that there is no such thing as a Palestinian: Palestine was empty when the Jews found it, they say. This could also be called a "self-lie", or a lie that we consciously tell ourselves, and then come to believe as true.


    Conversive thinking is highly contagious and acts a dangerous infection entry for truly pathological material. People who have lost their capacity for logical thought (and thus the ability to distinguish between truth and lies) are thus more prone to accepting the paralogic and paramorals of psychopaths and characteropaths.


    For example, observe the behavior of the "Christian Right" and their uncritical acceptance of war propaganda.



In the search for a good life, humanity first used the power of animals, then turned to exploiting their fellow humans.


In such a way, the seeds of suffering and inequality can be found in our hedonistic pursuit of "happiness". In this way good times give birth to bad times. The knowledge learned by the suffering in bad times leads to the creation of good times, and the cycle repeats.

When a society is hedonistic and the times are "good", the perception of the truth about the real environment, and in particular, the understanding of what a healthy human personality is and how such personalities are nurtured, ceases first of all to be the highest social priority, then ceases to be generally understood, and finally ceases even to be remembered as a part of the inventory of human knowledge.

Understanding and accumulation of knowledge may seem to be a "done deal" (e.g., The "There’s nothing left to be discovered in physics" pronouncements at the end of the nineteenth century or "We are the end result and final goal of evolution").


The search for truth is then considered to be a pointless activity for the very reason that the times are good.


This, unfortunately, is a confusion of the effect (the good times) with the cause (the dedicated effort to understand and the reality-matching social organizations created by that understanding which brought the good times into being). In-depth understanding may become "unfashionable" or even despised. For example, studious upper class Victorian youths were labeled "grinds"; today in America, such studious ones might be advised to "get a life."

Having arrived at the very top of the wheel of fortune, many people forget that, without evolutionary transformation to another level, it is a wheel, and there’s nowhere to go but down.


Here are the bare bones of the hysteroidal cycle with specific emphasis on the mental processes involved.

  1. The search for truth reveals "inconvenient", that is, morally embarrassing facts. For example, Christian slaveholders being reminded that holding slaves was not a very Christian activity; or otherwise unprejudiced Americans being informed that their tax dollars are being spent for racist goals, that is, to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians from the land coveted by Zionists. Hedonistic societies repress the fact that they profit on the suffering of others.

  2. At first, when morally embarrassing facts are encountered, they are consciously avoided. For example, the subject is suddenly changed; or a discussion is tabled or concluded without going any further into the matter.

  3. When the avoidance of morally embarrassing facts is done frequently enough, it ceases to be a conscious process and gets relegated to the subconscious; that is, it becomes a habit.

  4. The habit of avoiding morally embarrassing facts is a contagious one. It becomes a socially accepted habit, the "in" thing to do.

    • "The ‘very best people’ never discuss such things, and certainly not in public," is a sentiment expressed innumerable times in the nineteenth century.


    Lobaczewski points out that Kaiser Wilhelm I had a brain trauma at birth, and numerous physical and psychological handicaps which were so completely concealed from the German people, that, for example, it is almost impossible to find a photograph of this emperor with his badly withered arm visible.

  5. Reasoning to draw valid conclusions becomes impossible because of the gaps left by the suppressed "inconvenient" facts. The subconscious compensates by substituting morally less embarrassing "premises" so as to be able to continue to draw conclusions, although the conclusions now drawn are, necessarily, false. This is the chronic avoidance of the crux of the matter.

  6. People grow perceptibly more egotistic, and the society as a whole more emotional and hysterical. There is a great deal of confusion about values and such societies grow to be seen as arrogant and hedonistic.

  7. When the deviation from reality becomes great enough, the person or the society becomes pathological, and murder sprees or senseless world wars and bloody revolutions are in the offing.

In short, during good times, moral, intellectual and personality values devolve to the point where a society is ripe for manipulation by snake-charmers and con-men of Rasputin-like charisma.


Individuals become emotionally volatile, egotistical, and intolerant of other cultures. The resulting suffering necessitate great mental and physical strength to fight for existence and human reason. Slowly, what has been lost is relearned.


Difficult times give rise to the values necessary to conquer evil and produce better times.



  1. Ponerogenic Associations

  2. Ponerization

  3. Pathocracy

The ultimate cause of evil lies in the interaction of two human factors:

  1. normal human ignorance and weakness

  2. the existence and action of a statistically small (4-8% of the general population) but extremely active group of psychologically deviant individuals.

The ignorance of the existence of such psychological differences is the first criterion of ponerogenesis.


That is, such ignorance creates an opening whereby such individuals can act undetected.

The presence of such "disease" on the individual level is described in the Almost Human section above. However, depending on the type of activity of psychopathic and characteropathic individuals, evil can manifest on any societal level. The greater the scope of the psychopath’s influence, the greater harm done.


Thus any group of humans can be infected or "ponerized" by their influence. From families, clubs, churches, businesses, and corporations, to entire nations.


The most extreme form of such macrosocial evil is called "pathocracy".



"In any society in this world, psychopathic individuals and some of the other deviant types create a ponerogenically active network of common collusions, partially estranged from the community of normal people...


Their sense of honor bids them to cheat and revile that ‘other’ human world and its values at every opportunity."

(Lobaczewski, 138)

"We could list various names ascribed to such organizations… gangs, criminal mobs, mafias… which cunningly avoid collision with the law while seeking to gain their own advantage.


Such unions frequently aspire to political power in order to impose their expedient legislation upon societies in the name of a suitably prepared ideology, deriving advantages in the form of disproportionate prosperity and the satisfaction for their craving of power."

(Lobaczewski, 158, emphasis added)

"Gangs have always provided great opportunities for young psychopaths.


Their impulsive, selfish, callous, egocentric, and aggressive tendencies easily blend in with - and may even se the tone for - many of the gang's activities. Indeed, there cannot be many other activities that produce so many rewards for violent psychopaths, with such impunity."

(Hare, 176)

Living in a world whose morals and customs are meaningless to them and even seen as oppressive, psychopaths dream of a "happy" and "just" world where their depraved worldview is accepted as reality.


They seek, by any means necessary, to achieve positions in government where their dreams can be brought to fruition. If injustice does exist in a society, their statements regarding the 'unfairness' of their situation can resonate with those who actually do experience such injustice. Thus, revolutionary doctrines can be accepted by both groups for diametrically opposed reasons.

Ponerogenic groups are those with a statistically high number of pathological individuals, to the point that the group as a whole exercises egotistical and pathological behavior. Deviants function as leaders and ideological spellbinders, and while normal people may act as members, they have typically accumulated various psychological deficiencies.


Those not susceptible to such influence are excluded from the group. These groups can either infiltrate existing governments or exert their influence from "behind the scenes."


Bribery, blackmail, murder and similar terror tactics are used to achieve these ends.

  • Structure: The command structure of ponerogenic associations is similar to that of normal groups: members specialize and complement each other's strengths.


    In this way different individuals with varying psychological defects will fill roles in which their particular ‘gift’ is applicable.

    • "The earlier phase of a ponerogenic union’s activity is usually dominated by characteropathic, particularly paranoid individuals, who often play an inspirational or spellbinding role in the ponerization process. Recall here that the power of the paranoid characteropath lies in that they easily enslave less critical minds"

      (Lobaczewski, 162).


    Trauma victims, individuals with psychological deficiencies, and young people often fall into the category of ‘less critical minds’.

  • Ideological Mask: The group's stated goals are often at variance with its true nature. Colorful literature and humanitarian values often mask its true motivations. Take, for example, the disparity between the CIA's stated goals, such as,

    • "Creating special, multidisciplinary centers to address such high-priority issues such as nonproliferation, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, international organized crime and narcotics trafficking, environment, and arms control intelligence", and its widespread use of terrorism, torture, overthrowing democratically elected governments, installing foreign dictators, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, etc.


    Also, compare the public humanitarian front of the Anti-Defamation League with its sordid history of illegal domestic surveillance, character assassination, and collaboration with foreign spy organizations.

  • First Criterion of Ponerogenesis:

    • "One phenomenon all ponerogenic groups and associations have in common is the fact that their members lose (or have already lost) the capacity to perceive pathological individuals as such, interpreting their behavior in fascinated, heroic, or melodramatic ways"

      (Lobaczewski, 158).


    When a group has succumbed to pathological influence its members soon lose the ability to distinguish normal human behavior from pathological. This atrophy of critical faculties in relation to such individuals becomes an opening to their activities. It can also be used to identify potentially dangerous groups.

  • Characteropathy and Psychopathy: Groups dominated by characteropaths engage in fairly primitive activities, and are thus easily broken by normal society. Psychopathic leaders, however, are often more clever, and use characteropathic individuals as subservient tools.


    When arrested, such individuals accept the paramoral ideals of their leaders, acting as the group's scapegoat and accepting the majority of the blame. Psychopathic leaders, when in court, will correspondingly shift the blame to their underlings.


    A large-scale example of this dynamic is the scapegoating of low-ranking military officers for war crimes condoned and/or ordered by higher-ranking authorities.

  • Primary and Secondary Ponerogenic Unions: There are two types of ponerogenic associations.


    Primary ponerogenic associations are those that were originally formed and designed to benefit its founding members using illicit (evil) means.


    Lobaczewski describes them as unions,

    • "whose abnormal members were active from the very beginning, playing the role of crystallizing catalysts as early as the process of creation of the group occurred," e.g. criminal gangs.



    Such groups' antisocial activities and blatant disregard for moral values naturally disgust normal people, and thus their influence does not spread far before they lose their battle with society.

    The secondary ponerogenic associations are groups founded with an independent and attractive social ideal, but which later succumb to moral degeneration.


    This degeneration leaves an opening for,

    • "infection and activation of the pathological factors within, and later to a ponerization of the group as a whole, or often its fraction"

      (Lobaczewski, 160).


    Governments, ideologies, and religions are institutions founded by people whose lack of awareness of specific psychological realities and other moral failings leave them open to covert infection and subsequent take-over by those without conscience. The fact that these institutions have been in existence and have a long-standing tradition has allowed them to acquire a much greater membership and notoriety.


    When such an organization, working towards some social or political goal, is already accepted by a large number of normal people (e.g. American Republicanism or Evangelical Christianity), ponerization of the group provides the widespread influence that primary ponerogenic unions lack.

    After its takeover by psychopathic elements within (e.g. the Neoconservative takeover of American Republicanism), the ponerogenic group is protected by a "mask" of the group's traditional values. This will happen in spite of the fact that these values are obviously distorted and disregarded. For example, such a group will pass legislation and behave solely to benefit those in control, often becoming violent and starting wars of aggression.


    Normal members of such a group naively protect such deviant behavior, not realizing it is the work of deviants. Its pathology remains hidden by those who do not wish to see it objectively. Justifications and prepared ideologies are promulgated; subconscious selection and substitution take place, and the pathology is effectively cloaked behind a mask of sanity. Those who belong to ‘the party’ will label the opposition as pacifists, socialists, liberals or terrorists, or whichever label is most effective in order to invalidate their criticism. Unfortunately the government will only become more pathological in its behavior and egotistical toward other nations until the deviant psychological aspects are either purged or destroy themselves.

    The same dynamic plays out in interpersonal relations. Take, for example, Ted Bundy, who had a reputation as a kind, intelligent, respectable man. When he was first accused of murdering several young women, his acquaintances staunchly defended his character. This situation follows the same pattern as the macrosocial dynamic. Such individuals will often denigrate the victims and accusers of such a previously esteemed individual.


    This not only has a negative effect on the victim, but encourages further deviant behavior on behalf of the perpetrator.

  • Macrosocial Disease: Social disease may be called macrosocial under either of two conditions:

    1. ponerogenic processes encompass a society’s entire ruling class

    2. opposition from normal people is stifled, via the mass use of spellbinding, censorship, and physical compulsion.


    Two general stages of macrosocial disease seem to apply to all its forms and variations: hysteria and pathocracy.


The first step in the ponerization of a group often appears as a moral distortion of the group’s original ideology.


The existence of simplistic concepts (e.g., whether moral or legal) blocks any ability for critical thought in relation to the existence of psychopaths or their possible influence on the initial warping of the group’s ideology. Such doctrinaire concepts are prevalent in the neoconservative ideology.


For example,

"You’re either with us or against us (in the War on Terror)" and the completely arbitrary use of the labels "terrorist," "terrorist sympathizer", and "suspected terrorist."

Just as it is normal in the life of any human to experience a decline in psychological or physiological resistance (thus leading to moral failings or bacteriological infection), groups experience such crises.


The pressure leading to such crises may be caused by the influence of other groups, a heightened hysterical condition, or a general spiritual crisis in the environment.

The resulting weakness in proper reasoning and critical thinking skills leaves an opening for the activity of psychopaths and characteropaths. Their influence then results in a further decline in moral and intellectual functioning.


The absurdity of such a dynamic can be seen in the fact that Richard "Dick" Cheney, an obvious psychopath, is allowed to hold the position of vice-president.







Even when he shoots a hunting partner in the face, the media and public will studiously rationalize his coarse and psychopathic behavior. (See Dave McGowan's analysis of the incident in question.)

When such individuals are treated as normal, more perceptive individuals will leave the group. When the group has become sufficiently pathological, members will either perceive its new direction in moral terms (e.g., "We must kill them all on the principle of justice and democracy"), or as a form of psychological terror.


As more healthy people leave the group, taking on more counter-revolutionary positions, individuals with psychological anomalies join, removing their masks of sanity ever more often.


Without adequate knowledge, normal individuals who have been ejected from such a group will suffer immensely, cut off from their original ideological reason for joining. Infected with unhealthy emotions and pathological material, they can assume positions opposite to those which they formerly followed.

New members are psychologically screened. No one with too much independence or psychological normality is allowed in the group. (Such screening should have taken place to root out psychological deviants in the first place.)


Detractors are treated with paramoral condemnation.


In short, the patients have overtaken the asylum.

  • Stages of Ponerization: When it is first infected by psychological deviants, the group maintains most of its original character. But eventually, the more normal members are pushed into fringe functions and are excluded from organizational secrets; some of them thereupon leave the group.

    • "Individuals with inherited deviations then progressively take over the inspirational and leadership positions. The role of essential psychopaths gradually grows, although they like to remain ostensibly in the shadows… In ponerogenic unions on the largest social scale, the leadership role is generally played by a different kind of individual, one more easily digestible and representative. Examples include frontal characteropathy, or some more discreet complex of lesser traits."

      (Lobaczewski, 162)


    The initial stage of ponerization, where membership is increasingly pathological, requires specific psychological and factual knowledge in order to recognize. The second, more stable and overtly pathological stage, is readily apparent to most normal people, but is interpreted in moral or sociological terms (i.e., without knowledge of psychological differences).

    Over time, as the group becomes more heavily ponerized, the spellbinders who originally led such a group are relegated to the task of repackaging the ideology for propaganda purposes. The leadership roles become saturated with more psychopathic individuals, while the "normal" group acquires more characteropathic individuals.

    As is the case with the Neoconservative ponerogenic union's ostensible "unitary executive" George W. Bush, group propaganda maintains the erroneous overestimation of the ‘leader's’ real power.


    This leader,

    • "is dependent upon the interests of the union, especially the elite initiates, to an extent greater than he himself knows. He wages a constant position-jockeying battle; he is an actor with a director. In macrosocial unions, this position is generally occupied by a more representative individual not deprived of certain critical faculties; initiating him into all those plans and criminal calculations would be counterproductive. In conjunction with part of the elite, a group of psychopathic individuals hiding behind the scenes steers the leader, the way Borman and his clique steered Hitler. If the leader does not fulfill his assigned role, he generally knows that the clique representing the elite of the union is in a position to kill or otherwise remove him."


    In such a manner, George W. Bush is steered and controlled by a group of psychopathic advisors: Richard Perle to name but one.


The first phase of macrosocial disease, i.e. social hysterization, is the opening through which pathocracy manifests.


Such a period of societal spiritual crisis is associated with the exhausting of the ideational, moral, and religious values heretofore nourishing the society in question.


Individuals and groups grow increasingly self-serving, and the links of moral duty and social networks loosen.




Pathocracy = DISEASE





People become concerned with trifling things, ignoring more important issues such as commitment to the future, or involvement in public matters.

The most characteristic feature of such a period is widespread hysteria, like that of the quarter century in Europe preceding WWI. "Happy" times of peace are necessarily dependant on social injustice, and children of the privileged class learn early to repress ideas that they and their families are benefiting from the injustice of others.


Such unconscious defense mechanisms cause these individuals to disparage the values of those whose work they exploit. These processes lead to an hysterical state of inhibited logic and reasoning.


This rigidity of thought then gets passed on to the next generation to an even greater degree.

The hysterical patterns finally get passed from the ruling class to the less privileged classes. This characteristic contempt for factual criticism, for normal thought patterns and nations, obviates the need for media censorship.


A pathologically hypersensitive censor lives within each citizen.


This has been repeatedly demonstrated by the American media in relation to the omissions and distortions of:

  1. the Kean-Zelikow 911 Commission Report (read too The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions And Distortions)

  2. the propaganda leading to the Iraq war

  3. the death toll of Iraqi citizens

  4. the reality in Palestine


"When three "egos" govern - egoism, egotism, and egocentrism - the feeling of social links and responsibility toward others disappear, and the society in question splinters into groups ever more hostile to each other.


When a hysterical environment stops differentiating the opinions of limited, not-quite-normal people from those of normal, reasonable persons, this opens the door for activation of the pathological factors of a various nature to enter in."

(Lobaczewski, 177)

This hysteroidal phase is often followed by a period of war, revolution, genocide, and the fall of empires: pathocracy.