Psychology of Evil – Mao’s Terrifying Vision

Ten years ago, on the one hundred and tenth anniversary of Mao’s birth, a group of dissidents wrote a letter entitled ‘An Appeal for the Removal of the Corpse of Mao Zedong from Beijing’. In it they wrote[1], ‘Mao instilled in people’s minds a philosophy of cruel struggle and revolutionary superstition. Hatred took the place of love and tolerance; the barbarism of ‘It is right to rebel!’ became the substitute for rationality and love of peace. It elevated and sanctified the view that relations between human beings are best characterised as those between wolves.’

As China commemorates the 120th anniversary of Mao’s birth, an examination of Mao’s time in power provides an insight into his pathologically disordered personality, and the devastating impact that Mao’s 27 year reign of terror had on Chinese society.  Continue reading

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Nelson Mandela – The Wisdom of Non-Psychopathic Leaders

Failure of leadership is arguably the greatest curse afflicting our world. Too many countries are cursed still by leaders who oppress their people, make a mockery of the institutions of government, and cling to power regardless of the cost in lives lost and suffering inflicted. As a result, our humanity is degraded by psychopathic leaders incapable of looking beyond their own narcissistic self-importance.

As author Dov Seidman has written, the world craves genuine leadership – leaders with moral authority who have the ability to elevate us and enlist us in a shared journey. Nelson Mandela was such a leader. And he was such a leader precisely because his behaviour was the antithesis of psychopathic leadership.   Continue reading

Nelson Mandela and the Demise of Racism

Racism as the Norm in Human History

I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die                                                                                                                                             Nelson Mandela

Today Nelson Mandela is honoured as a hero and the anti-Apartheid campaign he led is celebrated as having ended an appalling injustice. But for most of history the racist beliefs against which he fought were almost universally accepted in white societies. In the broader sweep of history, Mandela will be remembered for helping to bring an end to the belief that people are inferior because of the colour of their skin.    Continue reading

A Scientific Definition of Morality

We live in an age of moral confusion. Is homosexuality immoral? Can female genital mutilation be justified? Is forced child marriage ever acceptable? Our present confusion is partly a result of the globalised age in which we live. Never before have we been so exposed to the enormous diversity of cultural norms and moral values that exist in different parts of the world as we are today. And never before has it been so obvious that people in different cultures see morality in very different ways.    Continue reading

Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge

Insights into the Minds of Psychopaths

Under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia suffered the loss of the highest proportion of its population of any nation in modern history.

A study of the actions of psychopathically disordered regimes reveals common features which correspond closely with the clinical symptoms of psychopathy, pathological narcissism and pathological paranoia. By examining the regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, we can recognize a number of core features of such psychologically disordered regimes. This in turn can give us some understanding of the nightmarish world they create when their psychology becomes manifest in the societies they control.  Continue reading

Cambodia’s Path to Genocide

In the six decades since Independence, Cambodians have suffered under three governments – the dictatorial rule of Sihanouk, the genocidal reign of the Khmer Rouge, and the twenty five year rule of current Prime Minister Hun Sen.  During this time, Cambodians have suffered unimaginable horrors because of the absence of true democracy and the lack of protection against the rule of dangerous elites.    Continue reading

Understanding Personality Disorders

The following extracts from the World Psychiatric Association and International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders resource ‘Educational Program on Personality Disorders’ is intended to answer some important questions on the complex issue of personality disorders.

What are Personality Disorders?

The Oxford Dictionary defines personality as the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character. For psychologists, personality is the individual’s distinctive pattern of perceiving, feeling, thinking, coping, and behaving. The adult personality is essentially formed by late adolescence.  Continue reading