By Kebour Gnenna
It is not often that we get to use the words “psychopath” or “narcissist”. But this seems to be an occasion for it. If you’re not clear about the words: Google them.
In general psychopathy and narcissism are said to be characteristics of people in position of power. In recent times, psychopathic leaders have been mostly found in less economically developed countries with poor infrastructures and insecure political and social institutions. Psychopaths possess a profound lack of empathy. They use other people callously and remorselessly for their own ends. By advancing their own interests, with little regard for the agony they might inflict on others, they jeopardize the welfare of their citizens.
In short, psychopathy is bad governance.
Those with narcissistic personalities tend to crave attention and affirmation and feel it is right that other people should be subservient to them and that they have the right to dominate them. Their lack of compassion means they have no qualms about exploiting other people to attain or maintain their power, they prefer mindless, non-thinking, adoring and easily manipulated zombies so they can retain their power, control, and strip their country’s from its limited wealth. For them, we the people, only exist for the benefit of the state.
Meanwhile, the kind of people who we might think are ideally suited to take on positions of power – people who are empathetic, fair minded, responsible and wise – are naturally disinclined to seek it. Empathetic people are able to understand the needs of others. It means they’re aware of their feelings and their thinking. They like to remain grounded and interact with others, rather than elevating themselves. They don’t desire control or authority, but connection, leaving those leadership roles vacant for those with more narcissistic and psychopathic character traits. Leaders with empathy have very often been the bedrock of outcomes that changed the course of nations and organizations. Unfortunately empathetic and fair-minded people gradually fall away. They are either ostracized or step aside voluntarily, appalled by the growing pathology around them.
Yet it would be misleading to say it is only psychopaths and narcissists who gain power. Instead, many suggest there are generally three types of leaders.
The first are accidental leaders who gain power without a large degree of conscious intention on their part, but due to privilege or merit (or a combination). Second are the idealistic and altruistic leaders, probably the rarest type. They feel impelled to gain power to improve the lives of other people – or to promote justice and equality, and try to become instruments of change. But the third are the narcissistic and psychopathic leaders, whose motivation for gaining power is purely self-serving.
This doesn’t just apply to politics, of course. It’s an issue in every organization with a hierarchical structure. In any institution or company, there is a good chance that those who gain power are highly ambitious and ruthless, and lacking in empathy.
Narcissistic and psychopaths leaders may seem appealing because they are often charismatic (they cultivate charisma in order to attract attention and admiration). As leaders they can be confident and decisive and their lack of empathy can promote a single-mindedness which can, in some cases, lead to achievement. Ultimately though, any positive aspects are far outweighed by the chaos and suffering they create.
Psychopathy is destructive, no matter whether it roams the back streets of Washington DC or roams on Arat Kilo.
Editor’s note : the article was first published on the personal facebook page of Kebour Ghenna
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