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Political ponerology is an interdisciplinary study of social issues primarily associated with Polish psychiatrist Andrzej Łobaczewski. As a discipline it makes use of data from psychology, sociology, philosophy, and history to account for such phenomena as aggressive war, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and despotism.
Andrzej Łobaczewski and early research group
During World War II, Łobaczewski worked for the Polish Home Army, an underground Polish resistance organization. After the war, he studied at Jagiellonian University under professor of psychiatry Edward Brzezicki. Łobaczewski's class was the last to receive an education uninfluenced by Soviet ideology and censorship, after which psychiatry was restricted to Pavlovian concepts. The study of genetics and psychopathy was forbidden.
The original theory and research was conducted by a research group of psychologists and psychiatrists from Poland, Czechoslovakia, and pre-communist Hungary. The group was brought together by Łobaczewski and included Kazimierz Dąbrowski, Stefan Szuman, and Stefan Błachowski, and many other anonymous contributors.
Psychopathology and politics
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Łobaczewski adopted the term "ponerology", which is derived from the Greek word poneros, from the branch of theology dealing with the study of evil. According to Łobaczewski, all societies vacillate between "happy times" and "unhappy times". During happy times, societies enjoy prosperity and suppress advanced psychological knowledge of psychopathological influence in the corridors of power. Though happy, these times are not necessarily morally advanced as the society's prosperity or happiness may be premised on the oppression of a target group. During unhappy times, the intelligentsia and society at large can recover this specialized knowledge to resolve the social order along mentally healthier lines.
A form of government interesting to ponerologists is one they have called pathocracy, in which individuals with personality disorders (especially psychopathy) occupy positions of power and influence. The result is a totalitarian system characterized by a government turned against its own people. A pathocracy may emerge when a society is insufficiently guarded against the typical and inevitable minority of such abnormal pathology, which Łobaczewski asserts is caused by biology or genetics. He argues that in such cases these individuals infiltrate an institution or state, prevailing moral values are perverted into their opposite, and a coded language like Orwell's doublethink circulates into the mainstream, using paralogic and paramoralism in place of genuine logic and morality.
There are various identifiable stages of pathocracy described by Łobaczewski. Ultimately, each pathocracy is foredoomed because the root of healthy social morality, according to Łobaczewski, is contained in the congenital instinctive infrastructure in the vast majority of the population. While some in the normal population are more susceptible to pathocratic influence, and become its lackeys, the majority instinctively resist.
References and notes
- Łobaczewski, Andrzej, Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes (Grande Prairie: Red Pill Press, 2006, ISBN 978-1-897244-25-8), p. 22.
- Łobaczewski (2006), p. 96.
- In Memoriam: Andrzej M. Łobaczewski, sott.net interview, accessed September 15, 2010.
- Dąbrowski, Kazimierz, The Dynamics of Concepts (London: Gryf Publications, 1973), pp. 37-40.