CIvgene can be complex and confusing, but if you’ve got an hour, I lay out the basics in a simple way. Good way to get started.
Video explaining how you can derive objective morality from civgene.
You can use behaviours unique to empaths to derive objective morality from science itself. Non-psychopathic behaviours are like atoms which in turn can be used to build rights, much like molecules.
More to come.
Edit 3/25: Updated video. Clearer and more concise edits with clips.
“The chief cause of problems is solutions.” –Eric Svareid
“The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.” –Sun Tzu
Looking at the world through a caloric lens, complexity increases economic cost. To further explore this please see this talk by Dr. Joseph Tainter. Please keep the volume control handy as there are audio anomalies. It is long but well worth your time.
This is important because it deals with what collapse looks like. Rome didn’t collapse as some sort of surprise or in a vacuum. It suffered from growing and unsustainable complexity. Civgene can provide the ‘why’ for this problem. Why did complexity occur? The most obvious answer is corruption. Why does corruption continuously increase? Civgene indicates increasing proportions of psychopaths. Rent seeking correlates to a genetic pool that grows over the life of a civilization and then collapses once that civilization dies.
As corruption increases complexity, economy of scale multipliers provide diminishing returns. Further as rent seeker revenues fall, they add complexity simply for the sole purpose of seeking additional loopholes to graft from. The only mechanism for ending corruption created by adding complexity is adding yet more complexity in the form of additional laws.
If you are familiar with legal distribution you can see where this is going. There needs to be a way to reduce this complexity to spare limited resources. No historical law making process can provide this. The video lays out the need for a new kind of legal mechanism, to cope with the real problem behind complexity.
A growing pool of rent seekers grafted onto the core of the system. The law making rent seekers find marginal problems to combat in public, while their real goal is to seek new revenue from the hidden effects and loopholes of the new law. Instead we should reduce complexity by distributing laws. This should create competition for programs that have grown pointlessly bloated solving small scale locally addressable problems. Naturally reducing the jurisdiction of laws should be under a populist control, since the vast majority of the population are still good economic actors, with the desire to protect the system from the graft at the center in a selfless way. So while overall “the process of increasing complexity is inexorable”, we don’t need to make things more complex than necessary for the time.
Dr. Tainter calls political ideology a faith. He is correct! All politics are based at least in part on faith, because testing political theories on humans is impossible (without an epic immoral cost). Faiths are critical to reason and therefore civilization, but without recognition of the risks of cult that faith brings, they are simply a collar to click a leash onto.
He does equate logic to ethics saying “Everything the Roman emperors did was a logical response to circumstances.” While explicitly true this is not complete. This again proves logic is NOT a panacea. Sociopath stage psychopaths are perfectly logical, to their own needs. Markets need to be protected to provide good data to build sound logic on. Reason (the logical mind + the metamind) is available reliably only from the public, away from the center of power. The public and their subconscious risk management are needed to keep destructive needless complexity from harming those markets. Logic and subsequently reason can’t accomplish good law without good data. Unchecked, complexity and graft slowly smothers true cost.
Some mental illness may no longer need to be diagnosed through social tests. While the United States busys itself with corporate protectionist legislation like the TPP to protect the major drug companies, some of the world is experimenting with the new precise, cheap and repeatable gene editing method known as CRISPR.
In the past gene editing was hit or miss. Practiced more like chemistry, it was more like a million misses to a marginal hit. Identifying a gene was not enough, splicing it became a major endeavor for companies like Monsanto. Experiments on human DNA (except perhaps if you count our GMO diet) was effectively impossible.
As of 2015, the CRISPR technique, takes a precise strand of DNA and inserts it, reliably, in a larger DNA strand, precisely where it is told to insert it. This is the holy grail of both nano scale assembly, and made to order DNA. The mind reels. Designer babies are eminent. Greatly reduced aging is possible. DNA based nanites can built to both manufacture on the table top and enhance human attributes.
These are in the future (AFAIK), but before all that, apparently we have already begun to use it verify genetic disease. The technology is not even a year old and Chinese scientists have already implanted a suspected autism gene in monkeys, to see if their behavior varies. It does.
The implications are huge for all illness from athletes foot to cancer, but it’s important that the first study is on behavioral disease. If the civilization gene is correct and psychopathy is genetic, we could be close to a completely different world. There are no suspect genes (other than the debunked warrior gene) at the moment, but it is possible to find, were the right people to take interest. Now, a new way to verify that first study is readily available.
Conversely should some mental illnesses become officially understood to be genetic, psychopaths should be easier to diagnose. Psychopaths are the highest functioning mental illness. ASPD stage psychopaths are well known for feigning other mental illnesses to evade detection. A narrower field of patients through genetic screening for other disease means less misdiagnosis, and more understanding of the social consequences of widespread psychopathy. That ultimately means real targeted help for the psychopaths.
Lately there have been a flood of articles on what a psychopath vs sociopath is. This seems to coincide with a swell of public criticism of sociopathic behavior in both political and financial spheres. I use the term sociopath here regularly so I think it’s time to address this.
From about 2010 to about 2012, before I wrote ancient breed and started this site, I was hunting around quite a bit for more information on psychopaths. One thing I noticed right away, even in scholarly articles and books was the tendency to bounce around between sociopath and psychopath in the text. This also happened in similar but different texts with the term Narcissist. Conversely I noticed that APD or ASPD was not used in this way but stood alone. I did not really get it until I read ‘Without Conscience’ by Dr. Robert Hare.
Dr. Hare if you don’t know is sort of the Sigmund Freud of psychopathy. He plowed through the many many conflicting definitions of what a psychopath was and created a demonstrable test known as ‘the psychopathy checklist.’ or nicknamed ‘the Hare.’ This test which is used in courtrooms and jails worldwide, was used to vastly solidify the APD standard. Let me repeat that, he has accomplished a court tested body of work used to write the standard on what psychopathy officially is. He is as close as we can come to an authority on psychopathy.
The reason such a concerted effort was put into the relatively new APD definition was exactly because there was no consensus on what behaviors a sociopath, narcissist or psychopath displayed or why they displayed them. APD is a strictly defined guideline of outwardly measurable symptoms, specifically as a legally defensible platform. It is an official admission that there is no agreement on psychopath related labels.
“A term that was supposed to have much the same meaning as “psychopath” or “sociopath” is antisocial personality disorder, described in the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III, 1980) and it’s revision (DSM-III-R; 1987), widely used as the “Diagnostic bible” for mental illness” — Dr Robert Hare “Without Conscience”, 1993
There is something strange about anyone claiming a sociopath CAN’T be a psychopath.
I strongly suggest that there will be a great many ‘diagnosed’ sociopaths who lack the civilization gene once a test is created.
Why is this important to Civgene?
APD is a strictly defined guideline of outwardly measurable symptoms. Some immutable background checking is used, but does not score high enough alone to define someone as a psychopath. This creates a problem. Some psychopaths like to hide, and an intelligent psychopath (they display the full range of intelligence) could simply read the Hare and prepare the needed answers in advance.
This is not a bad thing. In fact it’s the key to the next step. This was the pivot point by which we can extract the development of psychopaths. Outward facing symptoms indicates a lack of awareness of contextual self. This, plus a personal bout with a fit of narcissist rage helped me to realize APD or ASPD refers to the ego stage.
id -> ego -> superego
Here is the the original article. Also I wrote a follow up article here. Just like other humans in Freud’s model, psychopaths are not robots. They all display some behaviors from ALL three groups. THAT’s why the definitions are so vexing. It’s a development model. Narcissist and sociopath define social stages of psychopaths.
It very well may be, the idea that sociopaths are just the most stealthy variation of psychopaths partly originated here. With civgene. From the 2010 versions of what narcissists and sociopaths were and were not. How they all lack conscience, but display different, sometimes dovetailing behaviors.
Language is a moving target and I recognize that the ‘sociopath’ may officially move on from where it was in 2010. I have a solution. The generic self division and progression that covers both empath and psychopath (and possibly others) follows.
Wants -> abilities -> limits.
This self progression of intelligence is wholly original language to civgene and will retain it’s meaning. If the term sociopath is officially redefined from what it meant in 2010, I will cease calling the most cunning and self aware psychopaths sociopaths, and begin to call them Limits stage psychopaths or Limits psychopaths.
I don’t see why it would change and I think this would be a terrible mistake. Sociopath characterizes a subtly self serving and unrelenting psychopath determined to rise above the risk their lack of conscience creates for them, through the accumulation of power and rejection of liability, perfectly. It would be a shame to throw away decades of wisdom and framework for a trend with no new data.
Someone asked what can be done about some ex-military coworkers who where acting in a psychopathic fashion (competing and not cooperating) and failing in their aggressive technical goals.
True psychopathy is genetic. This will be fact one day I’m certain. Psychopaths have only their rational mind to cope with the world. Most people have both a metamind (conscience) and rational mind and when they use both that is reason. If empath vs psychopath behavior where a venn diagram psychopaths behavior would be completely enclosed inside empaths much larger circle.
Military are almost always empaths. They are almost always proto-psychopaths or meta-psychopaths.
Proto-psychopaths are created. The conscience is trained to essentially get out of the way so the person will act like a dutiful psychopath. (They make great but unstable slaves) The conscience is doing some problem solving but it’s main role is to keep the rational mind on the ‘straight and narrow,’ stabilizing the rational ‘psychopath’ part. This is why some ex-mil types are less creative. All the creativity their brain has to offer is reenforcing loyalty to a service they’ve since retired.
Some soldiers create themselves as meta-psychopaths. Meta-psychopaths also suspend their conscience. The difference is who is in charge of the change, their drill instructor, or themselves. Meta-psychopaths are very much like a guru. So they will be MUCH more effective in the private sector later on. They enjoy the full set of human behavior. They can be ruthless like a psychopath and creative like empath. These are the soldiers that go on to become special ops and accomplished technicians in the service. This is the outcome the military increasingly wants.
Actual genetic psychopaths make terrible soldiers. They dutifully follow orders while watched, but are more interested in promotions and self gratification. They are constantly trying to one up their superiors even when it could cost lives. (The psychopath slave always wants to become the master) When faced with battle/real danger they look for any opportunity to desert as survival is the only (selfish) logical choice. BTW they can make great warriors ah la the Vikings but raping and pillaging is about self gratification, not service, duty and strategic progress of the whole group.
I frequently see proto-psychopath ex-soldiers wrongly accuse meta-psychopath soldiers (or any other non proto-psychopaths) of being psychopaths. Their creative process is seen as an attack on their hierarchical superiors. They simply don’t understand and therefore respect their creative use of their metamind. They see self direction as insubordination. This is part of the cost of intentional proto-psychopathy.
‘what is to be done.’
Ideally you want non psychopathic emapths in your company. So the best thing you can do is avoid creating a psychopathic culture. How? Simple. Psychopaths only compete, so reward cooperation. Yes unfortunately those condescending ‘team building’ things do work, at least for the cooperators.
Avoid hiring psychopaths in the first place. Follow up on all references! If HR doesn’t, fire them. Psychopaths lie constantly (to survive) so they will be caught in little lies. It’s less important if they’ve made some mistakes in their past and WAY more important that they don’t lie about them. Don’t accept blank spots in a resume. They can be anything but blank. ‘I went on a kayaking tour across the country for 6 months’ or ‘I just couldn’t find a job’ or ‘my son had cancer’ ‘I was tired of the daily grind’ is way better than ‘personal matters.’ If they lie to you ever, drop them like they’re hot.
Only hire proto-psychopaths for operational roles. Give any ex-military proto-psychopath a goal with enough authority and vigor and she will say, ‘I will accomplish it.’ Even if the goal is absurdly unobtainable. This behavior is usually not helpful in business. Remember creativity and questioning authority are disreputable to them. They have no social mechanism to say no to ‘orders.’ They are cannon fodder for any lurking psychopaths, who are naturally serving their own ends. They should be easy to pick out in the interview process as a little too eager to please.
There are some advantages to having competitive people in sales positions, and to less of a degree operations. The important characteristic is these jobs solve specific, well understood problems. These are good positions for your proto-psychopaths, but never a psychopath. They will usually sacrifice the companies future for personal gain now. They will probably be caught and fired, but at what total cost.
How about the psychopath that is already there but hidden? Create false golden opportunities and watch who takes them. They are your problem. Psychopaths will only be restrained by their short term rational analysis of risk. They will lie cheat and steal as the opportunities are perceived to present themselves.
Creating a false prize to see who claims it is called a honeypot. Keep in mind the honeypot will need to be very clever to outwit the smartest sociopaths (psychopath limits stage) Hand known information to trusted workers and see if their boss takes credit for it. Create false contacts for industrial espionage. Leave company credit cards (with tight limits) and equipment where employees can ‘find’ them. Offer impossibly hard projects (no money, no market, tight deadlines) with a promotional promise and see who nibbles. Feign illness, retreat to the security room, and watch your next in command as she fills your shoes for a few days.
Companies are moving toward a split model of operations and sales (understood problems) as the functional side and dev-ops or creative work on the other. This is a wise move. A small group of people competing with everyone and everything can destroy a company. Jealousy has a very limited scope of risk analysis. Remember ‘everything’ includes your company’s interests as well. Cooperation isn’t a natural choice for psychopaths, only alliance.
How do we stop psychopaths in government? If we ‘kick their ass’ aka: kill them, it won’t solve the real problem and law will be subverted to societal destruction again. The problem is humans are two behavioral sets, and one of the sets seeks power strictly as an end to itself. This is true if it’s behavioral or genetic(civgene).
We need the power of popular citizen veto. The right to fork is basic human right. Why? Psychopaths will take over ANY system we make because making mistakes, even for the smartest or the wisest, is a required part of learning. That’s how the conscience works. No conscience, no concept of risk, half your decision making power is in the toilet. Those mistakes feed critical data into subconscious risk calculator. Yes a wise person will keep their error impact small, but they still must make them. To err is human, ergo, forgiveness is divine.
The problem with the Austerity/Tea Party solution is the Big Bird(PBS) problem. Not all government spending is negative or useless. Even moments before inevitable economic collapse some new laws still reflect use to the society. This solution (sometimes) can throw the baby out with the bathwater. Instead we must reduce the jurisdiction of a law solving the real problem, politicians grabbing power and money for themselves and not sharing aka:unchecked federalization. Psychopaths are adult children, it’s just like taking the toy from jealous children and saying, ‘now I’m going to keep it.’ Likely you don’t want their toy, but now they’ll think REAL hard before not sharing.
This is the essence of legal distribution. The power of popular citizen veto over power politics. If the corrupt abuse their seats to rob the treasury, at least they have to share.
If a law is sane at the largest jurisdiction, it will still be sane at the next smallest (or the next). It lets people closer to a problem separate the wheat from the chaff. Yes you will loose some economy of scale at a smaller jurisdiction, but you will also loose all the corruption in the author’s secret ill intent. That is a choice the citizen of a republic has a right to weigh themselves. The power of the purse strings is gone. Watch the power hungry hem and haw and try to beat the common sense out of your brain on this. National security, they’ll cry. Tyranny of democracy they’ll scream. No. The law will be just as unsafe and unjust as it was when they controlled it directly, but now you know who they are.
Time to let the social ‘marketplace’ of the states or cities shine some sunlight on the dark favoritism of shady republic law.
While psychopaths and other animals share behavioral traits, the smartest psychopaths can be nearly as intelligent as the smartest emapths. Here is the danger in thinking that psychopaths are illogical, hateful or cruel for fun. Every human is different, but for the most part they are using the tools they have, the best they can. They don’t want to lose the competitions they create, they just aren’t as good at deciphering complex or distant outcomes as empaths are. With too many variables, every choice looks like a roll of the dice to them. Logic breaks down with scale.
Fortunately there is a way to express natural long term risk to them in an immediate way. The dead man’s switch. Simply model the predictable negative outcome, and create a switch that with the absence of your attention will create the appropriate response. You have created a contest and won it before they even knew it existed. Now they are allied to you in preventing the negative outcome for them which is a foregone conclusion should you become incapacitated. Don’t feel guilty about this. They have no real concept of how friendship works, and are most comfortable operating as transitory allies. Something that is now possible with less fear of seemingly random aggression.
Here are some examples of dead mans switches for illustration.
An informational dead man’s switch.
A physical dead man’s switch.
A warning. Unlike shunning, reserving judgement, or forgiveness this tool isn’t inherently moral. It can be used in very immoral ways. It is up to you to determine a technically accurate switch, resulting action, and impact should the switch be triggered. As a rule using general moral principles (murder is wrong, envy is usually self destructive, etc…) should minimize collateral damage and create a positive outcome for moral agents left behind. As a good test, should you be incorrect about their intentions or psychopathy, there should minimal negative consequences for them when the switch is triggered. Ideally in the case of a incorrectly aimed switch, any damage should be reversible.
The key to successful use is to implement multiple switches. Do not indicate exactly how many switches there are. That way there is no sudden jeopardy should a switch be discovered, and the existence of some switches can be announced if needed. Informational switches are the best like simply indicating a negative on a web page and that the web page may be removed some day (implying the positive) Remember Narcissists and ASPD stage psychopaths already face a formidable enemy in the legal system (paying taxes in a city with a capable homicide detective is a dead mans switch) so the real problem is sociopaths.
Sociopaths are psychopaths who dedicate themselves to not getting caught (acting like a psychopath) so this indicates a remedy. Presenting clear evidence of their sociopathy or makes an excellent dead mans switch. Also such a switch could create new evidence, for instance, jealousy in your aggressing sociopath demonstrating their nature in public. A well designed situational switch is superior to a static informational one as the fresher the data, the less likely the sociopath has concocted a script, or accumulated the favour, territory, or allies to counter it.