"The privileged have regularly invited their own destruction with their greed."
John Kenneth Galbraith, The Age of Uncertainty
"Psychopaths have a grandiose self-structure which demands a scornful and detached devaluation of others, in order to ward off their envy toward the good perceived in other people."
“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 on your door, will you open it?"
Robert D. Hare, Without Conscience
The Wall Street Conspiracy
You can also watch the full documentary 'Fishead' here.
I thought the section focusing specifically on Prozac was a bit overdone, as if it was somehow a cause rather than a symptom. At the height of its use, the largest per capita use of Valium was in Japan, probably due to the high tension caused by their close living conditions and a strict cultural system of obligations tied to personal worth.
The point of the film to me is that psychopaths require no such drugs, and if they come to power they order the system to suit their needs. Psychopathic cultures foster extraordinary actions amongst ordinary and feeling people to cope and compete.
High tension cultures live on abusing drugs, whether they be alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, prescription drugs, nicotine, or even sex, sports, or obsessive collecting. People can 'lose themselves' in many ways, including apathy, hatred and ignorance. There was a story just today that says the latest craze on Wall Street is testosterone therapy.
Let's just say that anything can be abused, used for inappropriate purposes, but that does not mean that it is 'bad.' What is more questionable is the set of values and the culture that drives people to such extremes, and their inability to otherwise regulate and restrain themselves that makes a mockery of such idylls as the efficient markets hypothesis.
What has changed in the States over the last thirty years, as best as I can determine based on conversations I have had with a number of people older than myself and extensive reading, is the notion of the 'social norm.' What is considered acceptable, and even desirable, has changed dramatically. "Greed is good" was more than just a line in a movie. And the decline in what was once considered abhorrent, but is now acceptable or even necessary, has been gradually progressing, year by year, slowly and almost imperceptibly. Until over time a people can become hard, almost heartless, even cruel.
"Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen."Always there is a progression of evil. As you may have gathered, MF Global represents an important event, a watershed, a mark along the progression of society which I have been watching. If the US continues along this path, at some point the next milestone will be reached, and the die may be cast. You cannot believe it now, but it can happen. And your grandchildren will curse you for their shame.
Where they have burned books, they will end in burning people.
This film may be especially fitting and useful perhaps, given that it is an election year and the choice is between two well-groomed corporate brands, with messages cynically tailored to appeal to different aspects of their audiences, but with little actual difference between them.
"Lying, deceiving, and manipulation are natural talents for psychopaths...When caught in a lie or challenged with the truth, they are seldom perplexed or embarrassed -- they simply change their stories or attempt to rework the facts so that they appear to be consistent with the lie. The results are a series of contradictory statements and a thoroughly confused listener."
Robert Hare, Without Conscience