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This is truly scary and displays a severe pathology in the investment banking system also as seen from the perspective of the banks recruiting people.

It reminds me of a case in Finland around ten years ago. A new CEO managed to ruin the former state owned telecommunication company Sonera in 3-4 years. At that time I had been reading Dr. Hare's book on psychopathy. I could spot many feature's typical to psychopaths in that CEO. After he had got fired, he got immediately hired by an investment bank in London!

Thomas said:

Corporate competition for psychopathy.  Yup, the more finely honed the skills the better.

Here is a link to that CEO's whereabouts at present:

Probably many problematic leaders are Aspergers. And I sincerely hope that psychopaths as corporate leaders are rare!

An AS type is propably easier to recognize than a talented psychopath. A talented, successful psychopath can socially appear pretty skillful and is outgoing and likes to be surrounded and admired by people, which is not typical to Aspergers. However a psychopath’s social skills are based on skillful manipulation: other people are there for him to take advantage of  to promote his own career, economy, and even a ‘right cause’ etc. He lacks totally conscience, and  doesn’t care, if his using of other people destroys them. Often these people can be recognized only in retrospect by the track record of destruction they leave behind themselves. I can picture a horror scenario of a psychopath as a corporate leader with a lot of dedicated and skillful Aspergers as his subordinates.

Many big businesses have started to recognize this danger, and have become more careful in not recruiting psychopaths as their leaders. The investment banking sector maybe an exception, which is very telltale.

Requirements for leadership are changing. Nowadays social skills are more important than ever. A leader has to be able to bring out the best creativity and capacity to initiative in his subordinates.

Here I have translated to English a section from an article dealing with Relander’s accomplishments as a CEO at Sonera during one year. No company can afford to hire these kind of people, except maybe the investment banking sector!

“Relander accomplished a lot in a little over a year. Big words and no true accomplishments. Instead: Stock market crash for Sonera. Corporate culture destruction. Patent Disputes. Legal proceedings. Abolition of the Management Board. Board of Directors fired. Mass exodus of qualified leaders. The mental and emotional stability of hundreds of employees  severely  shaken. The largest (error) investment in the history of Finnish economy to the German UMTS-license. Record losses of the affiliated companies. Unsuccessful merger negotiations. Manipulating the Finnish government behind the decisions of the error. Antagonizing Telia thoroughly. Sonera's formerly high brand and reputation in the mud.”

I suppose at least in Finland the big businesses have learned an important lesson through the Relander/Sonera episode.


Thomas said:

Incredible.  I have a suspicion that the rise of autism, and particularly high functioning autism, otherwise known as Asperger's Syndrome, is related to the overarching drive to generate profits.  Caring tends to internalize costs, to use corporate language, thus the greater the cost externalization, the better the bottom line.  Our school and educational systems---practically everywhere, but with important differences (hence Finland)---strap students into a sheep-like left-brain learning.  It's well accepted that Asperger's Syndrome involves deficits in both right brain (intuitive, emotional) and mirror neuron (empathetic) functioning, and that with right-brain impairment comes a diminished ability to perceive globally in wholes, to see and act from larger contexts.

AS types generally shun social contact and are very good at focusing on a task without regard for societal or social effects.  I suspect many corporate leaders tend the direction of or have AS.  What's perhaps worse, AS types can be geniuses in their field, the disciplines they inhabit tending to be scientific, mathematical or computer oriented.  Imagine the number of science/math/computer grads, and the best of them, working for Goldman Sachs, literally thousands of genius programmers writing complex algorithms for the derivatives that now haunt the world.  To make today's problem yesterday's, we'll just write more!  A debt parabola nightmare chasing bottom line profits without regard for systemic, global effects.  One could almost eke a horror movie out of that.

Irmeli Mattsson said:

This is truly scary and displays a severe pathology in the investment banking system also as seen from the perspective of the banks recruiting people.

It reminds me of a case in Finland around ten years ago. A new CEO managed to ruin the former state owned telecommunication company Sonera in 3-4 years. At that time I had been reading Dr. Hare's book on psychopathy. I could spot many feature's typical to psychopaths in that CEO. After he had got fired, he got immediately hired by an investment bank in London!

Thomas said:

Corporate competition for psychopathy.  Yup, the more finely honed the skills the better.

I have problems with the term sociopathy in this context. With sociopathy I understand pretty severe antisocial behavior. I don’t think we have true sociopaths in high power positions.

I have learned to differentiate between psychopathy and sociopathy.I see psychopathy more as extreme narcissism. This is how Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen, a renowned professor of psychology in Helsinki University, has defined it. And I think this definition fits at least to so called talented psychopaths, who tend to get into high positions.And that would not be easily possible without pretty good social skills. These people are not antisocial in that sense.

“These monsters of real life often looked and behaved in a more normal manner than their actually normal brothers and sisters; they pretend a more convincing picture of virtue than virtue presented of itself – just as the wax rosebud or the plastic peach seemed more perfect to the eye, more what the plastic peach seemed more perfect to the eye, more what the mind thought a rosebud or a peach should be, than the imperfect original from which it had been modeled.” – William March, The Bad Seed

People themselves often choose psychopaths as their leaders, because these people can be charming, can have a very innocent radiance around them, and they convincingly promise to deliver those big things people dream of. These promises don’t need to be  accumulation of material wealth and prosperity, they can be of spiritual quality too.

So this is not just a systemic issue of societal structures. Individuals and people collectively have to learn better to discern this behavior in others, and not accepting psychopaths as their bosses, national leaders etc. This can be difficult though because these extreme narcissists have a strong need to able to control others, to feel superior, and they are in constant need of admiration. In addition to that they have a competitive edge compared to others: they can without conscience use means to advance their career that normal people couldn’t  do, and they learn skillfully to camouflage these means behind grandiose goals and ideals.

Psychopathy is partly an inborn defect of brain functioning. These people cannot themselves change their behavior. Instead we should learn to recognize them, and not be so easily carried away by lofty ideals and dreams that we let them get into positions of power.

Thomas said:

I've been thinking about the sociopathy issue.  In a growth ethos, where economies actually grow, as in the last 150 years post oil discovery, if one company grows more quickly, it can, by virtue of its greater size, enlarge itself further---then further and further will that positive feedback loop then go.  Because that manner of power accumulation is possible, it necessarily will happen under the truism: if I don't do it, someone else will.  The underlying assumption, here, is that resources are limited.  Thus if I fail to obtain resources (oil, minerals, revenues) at a certain rate of growth, I will die.  Those are the stakes.  This operating modality pays little attention to how much any given person or corporation has accumulated, because no matter how much any such has accumulated to date, one can still lose it all to a competitor.  How many Wall Street companies destroyed excellent, viable companies?  Or better, consider that the largest country has the largest companies that pay the largest salaries to people with the largest bank accounts driving the largest cars living in the largest houses protected by the largest military, the largest police forces and the largest intelligence agencies.  The only safety in a growth-opportunistic limited-resources environment is size: sorry, I'm too big to be eaten, outmaneuvered or to fail.

A growth environment therefore implies opportunism at its OS-base.  I can only conclude that sociopathy is therefore system specified, which is why sociopaths appear to flock to highest-power positions (CEOs of financial entities).  I mean, isn't everything system-specified, even random fliers, long-shots and black swans?

It follows that OWS appeared because it, too, is system-specified.  We're transitioning, so far as I can see, from material and energy growth (which could be called Newtonian and Einsteinian growth) into informational growth (call it quantum growth).  Information growth does not entail the kind of opportunism that drove the financial boondogle now sailing into the fan.  Why?  Because information is not pre-limited like energy and materials.  Therefore, the more and better information we can grow, the simply more and better we all will be.  This implies that information growth will be creative-cooperative, in other words a form of non-opportunistic opportunism---creative-cooperative-opportunistic.  Notice the confluence of polar opposites and the shift to creativity and choice (atoms choose, says Bohr).  Quantum is also socio-economic-cultural.

Tom: Irmeli, is there any distinction between male and female psychopaths from your reading or knowledge?

It was over ten years that I got for a while interested in reading about psychopathy. At that time the topic was quite often presented in newspapers and magazines here, because of some public cases. I read the book “Without Conscience” by Robert D. Hare (a good one), and many articles on the topic, but I have forgotten many details.

This I remember however: Psychopathy is relatively common, in every school class there is likely to be one. It is much more common in men, for 8 male psychopaths, there is one female. There are however doubts that many female psychopaths go unrecognized. This condition may express itself differently in females. I read one article describing how psychopathy would get expressed in women, but don’t remember what was suggested there.

Tom: A new article appeared today on psychopath leaders: Did Psychopaths Take Over Wall Street?  Not having yet read the article, that question looks rhetorical to me.

This is a good one. Pretty much what we have been discussing here. Years ago I read also an article on how companies should do tests for psychopathy for everyone who gets into important positions. Maybe this kind of discussions got activated here because of the Relander/Sonera issue. Maybe it got also mentioned in dr. Hare’s book.

I hope that this type of discussion on leadership spreads, and companies start to better understand the long term danger of hiring psychopaths. In any way the requirements for leadership are changing. It is going to the direction of leaders promoting others instead of promoting themselves. They have to able  to empower people towards creative cooperation and initiative. One aspect of this is supporting the wellbeing of one’s subordinates. This tendency starts to rule out narcissists from leadership positions. People don’t thrive under their spell.

Tom:By the way, do you know that every year leaders congregate in California for "Bohemian Grove," some sort of super-secretive free-for-all?  One ritual they perform there is to burn and bury care and concern.  Shocking.

I don’t know what this might actually mean. But I know, I feel sometimes sick of the discussions of care and concern here. These ideas tend to get  in some respects into pathological forms. If a doctor gives a patient medicine, the proper dose of it is essential. Too much of it becomes poisonous. And the same medicine is not suitable for every patient.


Here's an interview with William Irwin Thompson (from Integral Options) on OWS and the emerging planetary consciousness. In the very beginning he talks about the differences I've recently referenced to a top-heavy theory of everything instead of a more bodily and integrated field of Being. Thompson though uses poetics as the integrating factor, which itself is indicative of sense and feeling.

As an aside, I don't agree with him when he says Wilber is dry, unfunny and not personable. I've been in the audience for several of his talks and he is not like that at all.

I was going to say the same thing as you did in your aside.  I started listening to the interview the other day, as I started listening to another of his talks last year, and both times was turned off by an inaccurate, uncharitable, and rather snarky characterization of Wilber, apparently one of his favorite academic whipping boys.  Or perhaps he's just tired of being associated with Wilberian Integral.  I am definitely sympathetic to an integrative poetics, and will come back probably to listen to his discussion of OWS, but I turned off the video last time when he started to strike me as full of himself and (again) an uncharitable critic.

Just thought i'd drop by and say hi and offer my couples of cents on this one! I loved this interview! I think he is right on in his political assessment of the new green left and new libertarian right; two views that i've come to hold simultaneously. I loved his 'X'ing the quadrants as it pertains to sexuality and agree with his postmodern or post religious ideas on spirituality.

  As for his criticism of Kenny: perhaps this is because he is more fellowship oriented where Ken is more traditional and seems to attract followers? Perhaps he's somewhat contempuous  with Kenny's mode and structure of organization? They do seem to share many of the same influences so maybe it's simply a clash of ego's...I do think Ken should be able to take this criticism in stride without becoming reactive.....

Anyway,recently, i've taken a rather large integral step backwards as of late and started working on graduating my grade 12 so i don't have to be as dumb as Kela anymore!hehehe....Just kidding Mr. AWOL....

I hope everyone here has a pleasant 2012 and best wishes to all......

Yes, I've been following these stories.  There are lots of them all up and down California.  Officials have blamed fireworks and such, but there are other instances of mass fish die-offs happening, too, so I'm thinking something's up...

Here's a Google map of recent mass animal deaths.

Tom: I know what you're talking of there and feel the same sickliness.  My reference to care was less focused on personal caring and more on institutional caring, like where you say:

But I know, I feel sometimes sick of the discussions of care and concern here. These ideas tend to get  in some respects into pathological forms.

Here in Finland the OWS type of movement haven’t got traction. What has got our country in turmoil during the last year mostly is not even the European monetary crisis. It is very homemade, and its roots lie in people starting to perceive pathologies in institutional caring.


This led last year in spring  Perussuomalaiset (True Finns), a formerly tiny party, to get 20% of the places in  parliament , and to become the next biggest party, the right wing party Kokoomus being still slightly bigger. This created a shock wave through our society, as the True Finns are accused of being populists and nationalists. This is partly true, but these ideologies in themselves are not behind the rise of this party.

None of the more established parties are capable to see, or at least to admit the deeper reasons,  and just keep on blaming the True Finns of populism. This on the other hand keeps on increasing their popularity, as their opponents attack false targets. E.g. the popularity of social democrats, that have been for eons the biggest or next biggest party, is falling like a stone.

Timo Soini the leader of the True Finns has coined this pathology pretty well as he says that there is a new ruling class in Finland, which he calls “suvaitsevaisto”. In English it would be something like “toleratrocracy”. It is telling to people what they are allowed to think and say. Soini keeps on remarking to his attackers that people think what they think, and should be allowed to say what they think, try to accept that. I have earlier been calling the toleratrocacy as  ‘ the thought police’.

In integral jargon the establishment here has been taken over by the mean green meme. And they are truly nasty and  in many ways pathological in their approach to care and concern.

In the 60’s blasphemy became legal  here. However nowadays it does not apply to Islam, not even mildly critical expressions of Islam as a religion are permitted. If you write about your critical observations of Islam, there is the danger, that members of the toleratrocracy take you to court because of racism or agitating against a group of people. Many have experience that, and ended up paying not just fines, but also the costs of the trial.

When people try to discuss the problems they perceive in the behavior of the refugees , that gets immediately stopped with accusations of racism and of hostility to immigration. This means that the real problems get swept under the carpet, and don’t get properly addressed. That is not good. E.g. over 40% of the Somali mothers in our country are single parents with many children. Actually they are second wives. Single parents get pretty good support economically, and in this way our society supports  polygamy. However people are afraid of discussing of these types of problems, that are many, publicly and openly, because they get immediately the stamp of being racists on them.

It  has got social status present oneself as caring and concerning especially towards different minority groups. This is however mostly superficial and does not come from the depths of one’s being, and hence remains hollow and takes easily pathological forms. E.g. the same people who present themselves as tolerant, don’t personally do a thing to make it easier for the refugees to integrate  into our society. They don’t make friends with these people, and invite them to their homes. They don’t even want to live in the same suburbs with them, take away their children from schools and daycare centers, where there are plenty of children with refugee background. Their tolerance is superficial, something that gives status to them, and does not touch at all the deeper waters of their being. Suspicion towards  strangers has deep roots in human history. We should be able to discuss these issues openly, and recognize the suspicion in ourselves.

There are also other types of problems in the Finnish approach to institutional care, that have nothing to do with immigration, but are in similar ways not open to discussion from differing perspectives.

This is why I have some understanding for the opposition people may have towards some forms of care and concern. There is of course the danger that the baby can get thrown out with the bathwater.

Here we don’t have big differences between the parties. All of them are behind the present welfare system with free and equal education to everyone, free healthcare, good enough welfare payments and rent subsidiaries to the poor. Even at present the biggest party at the right wing and the party formed from the earlier communists sit both in the Government without bigger problems.

I do hope none of you are fanatically suggesting that this is somehow related to climate change from global corporate environmental pollution? Or even more specific and local pollution? We know that corporate leaders are taking integral seminars that have raised their consciousness to the point of instituting sustainable and humane environmental and labor practices. It simply must be the natural course of species die-off from the usual and occasional planetary and solar fluctuations.

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

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