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Manners of Speech
Manners of Speech By Sam Vaknin Author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" Scholars like J. L. Austin and H. P. Grice have suggested novel taxonomies of speech acts and linguistic constructs. The prevailing trend is to classify speech according to nits functions - indicative, interrogative, imperative, expressive, performative, etc. A better approach may be to classify sentences according to their relations and subject matter. We suggest three classes of sentences:...

Is Psychology a Science?
Is Psychology a Science? By Sam Vaknin Author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" All theories - scientific or not - start with a problem. They aim to solve it by proving that what appears to be "problematic" is not. They re-state the conundrum, or introduce new data, new variables, a new classification, or new organizing principles. They incorporate the problem in a larger body of knowledge, or in a conjecture ("solution"). They explain why we thought we had an issue on...

The Future of the Britannica - Interview with Tom Panelas
The Future of the Britannica - Interview with Tom Panelas By Sam Vaknin Author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" Tom Panelas is the Director of Corporate Communications of the Encyclopaedia Britannica Q: Would you agree that the Britannica and the Encarta cater to different market segments and that the Britannica provides more in- depth coverage of its topics while the Encarta is a more complete, PC-orientated reference experience? If so, what is the market...

Organ Trafficking in Eastern Europe
Organ Trafficking in Eastern Europe   by Sam VakninA kidney fetches $2700 in Turkey. According to last month's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, this is a high price. An Indian or Iraqi kidney enriches its former owner by a mere $1000. Wealthy clients later pay for the rare organ up to $150,000.CBS News aired, two years ago, a documentary, filmed by Antenna 3 of Spain, in which undercover reporters in Mexico were asked, by a priest acting as a middleman for a doctor, to...

The Argument for Torture
The Argument for Torture   by Sam VakninI. Practical ConsiderationsThe problem of the "ticking bomb" - rediscovered after September 11 by Alan Dershowitz, a renowned criminal defense lawyer in the United States - is old hat. Should physical torture be applied - where psychological strain has failed - in order to discover the whereabouts of a ticking bomb and thus prevent a mass slaughter of the innocent? This apparent ethical dilemma has been confronted by ethicists and jurists from Great...

The Dying Breed - Healthcare in Eastern Europe
The Dying Breed - Healthcare in Eastern Europe    by Sam VakninTransition has trimmed Russian life expectancy by well over a decade. People lead brutish and nasty lives only to expire in their prime, often inebriated. In the republics of former Yugoslavia, respiratory and digestive tract diseases run amok. Stress and pollution conspire to reap a grim harvest throughout the wastelands of eastern Europe. The rate of Tuberculosis in Romania exceeds that of sub-Saharan Africa.As income...

Healthcare Legislation
Healthcare Legislation   by Sam VakninHealthcare legislation in countries in transition, emerging economic, and developing countries should permit - and use economic incentives to encourage - a structural reform of the sector, including its partial privatization.Private health insurance plans - including franchises of overseas insurance plans - should be allowed, subject to rigorous procedures of inspection and to satisfying financial and governance requirements. Such competition is bound to...

The Debate about Cloning - Part I
The Debate about Cloning - Part I   by Sam VakninHow to cope with your abuser?Sometimes it looks hopeless. There are two types of cloning. One involves harvesting stem cells from embryos ("therapeutic cloning"). These are the biological equivalent of a template. They can develop into any kind of mature functional cell and thus help cure many degenerative and auto-immune diseases.The other kind of cloning is much derided in popular culture - and elsewhere - as the harbinger of a Brave, New...

The Debate about Cloning - Part II
The Debate about Cloning - Part II   by Sam VakninHow to cope with your abuser?Sometimes it looks hopeless. II. Issues in the Calculus of RightsIIA. The Hierarchy of RightsAll human cultures have hierarchies of rights. These hierarchies reflect cultural mores and lores and there cannot, therefore, be a universal, or eternal hierarchy.In Western moral systems, the Right to Life supersedes all other rights (including the right to one's body, to comfort, to the avoidance of pain, to property,...

Coping with Your Stalker
Coping with Your Stalker   by Sam VakninAbuse by proxy continues long after the relationship is officially over (at least as far as you are concerned). The majority of abusers get the message, however belatedly and reluctantly. Others – more vindictive and obsessed – continue to haunt their ex-spouses for years to come. These are the stalkers.Most stalkers are what Zona (1993) and Geberth (1992) call "Simple Obsessional" or, as Mullen and Pathe put it (1999) – "Rejected". They stalk their prey...

Coping with Various Types of Stalkers
Coping with Various Types of Stalkers   by Sam VakninStalkers are not made of one cloth. Some of them are psychopaths, others are schizoids, narcissists, paranoids, or an admixture of these mental health disorders. Stalkers harass their victims because they are lonely, or because it is fun (these are latent sadists), or because they can't help it (clinging or codependent behaviour), or for a myriad different reasons.Clearly, coping techniques suited to one type of stalker may backfire or prove...

Relationships with Abusive Narcissists - Part I
Relationships with Abusive Narcissists - Part I   by Sam Vaknin Question:What kind of a spouse/mate/partner is likely to be attracted to a narcissist?Answer:The VictimsOn the face of it, there is no (emotional) partner or mate, who typically "binds" with a narcissist. They come in all shapes and sizes. The initial phases of attraction, infatuation and falling in love are pretty normal. The narcissist puts on his best face – the other party is blinded by budding love. A natural selection...

Relationships with Abusive Narcissists - Part II
Relationships with Abusive Narcissists - Part II   by Sam VakninMoreover, the narcissist is a man for all seasons, forever adaptable, constantly imitating and emulating, a human sponge, a perfect mirror, a chameleon, a non-entity that is, at the same time, all entities combined. The narcissist is best described by Heidegger's phrase: "Being and Nothingness". Into this reflective vacuum, this sucking black hole, the narcissist attracts the Sources of his Narcissistic Supply.To an observer, the...

Games People Play
Games People Play   by Sam VakninGames and role-playing are as ancient as Mankind. Rome's state-sponsoredlethal public games may have accounted for up to one fifth of its GDP. Theyoften lasted for months. Historical re-enactments, sports events, chess -are all manifestations of Man's insatiable desire to be someone else,somewhere else - and to learn from the experience.Last week, Jeff Harrow, in his influential and eponymous "Harrow TechnologyReport", analyzed the economics of Massively...

The Technology of Law
The Technology of Law    by Sam VakninOne can discern the following relationships between the Law and Technology: 1. Sometimes technology becomes an inseparable part of the law. In extreme cases, technology itself becomes the law. The use of polygraphs, faxes, telephones, video, audio and computers is an integral part of many laws - etched into them. It is not an artificial co-habitation: the technology is precisely defined in the law and forms a CONDITION within it. In other words: the very...

The Internet in the Countries in Transition
The Internet in the Countries in Transition    by Sam VakninThough the countries in transition are far from being an homogeneous lot, there are a few denominators common to their Internet experience hitherto: 1. Internet invasion The penetration of the Internet in the countries in transition varies from country to country - but is still very low even by European standards, not to mention by American ones. This had to do with the lack of infrastructure, the prohibitive cost of services, an...

The Solow Paradox
The Solow Paradox    by Sam VakninThe PRODUCTIVE HARDWARE The world is debating the Solow Paradox. Named after the Nobel laureate in economics, it was stated by him thus: "You can see the computer age everywhere these days, except in the productivity statistics". The venerable economic magazine, "The Economist" in its issue dated July 24th, quotes the no less venerable Professor Robert Gordon ("one of America's leading authorities on productivity") - p.20: "...the productivity performance of...

Turing Machines and Universes
Turing Machines and Universes    by Sam VakninIn 1936 an American (Alonzo Church) and a Briton (Alan M. Turing) published independently (as is often the coincidence in science) the basics of a new branch in Mathematics (and logic): computability or recursive functions (later to be developed into Automata Theory).The authors confined themselves to dealing with computations which involved "effective" or "mechanical" methods for finding results (which could also be expressed as solutions (values)...

The Chinese Room Revisited
The Chinese Room Revisited    by Sam VakninWhole forests have been wasted in the effort to refute the Chinese Room Thought Experiment proposed by Searle in 1980 and refined (really derived from axioms) in 1990. The experiment envisages a room in which an English speaker sits, equipped with a book of instructions in English. Through one window messages in Chinese are passed on to him (in the original experiment, two types of messages). He is supposed to follow the instructions and correlate the...

The Fourth Law of Robotics - Part I
The Fourth Law of Robotics - Part I   by Sam VakninThe movie "I, Robot" is a muddled affair. It relies on shoddy pseudo-science and a general sense of unease that artificial (non-carbon based) intelligent life forms seem to provoke in us. But it goes no deeper than a comic book treatment of the important themes that it broaches. I, Robot is just another - and relatively inferior - entry is a long line of far better movies, such as "Blade Runner" and "Artificial Intelligence".Sigmund Freud said...

The Measurement Problem in Quantum Mechanics
The Measurement Problem in Quantum Mechanics   by Sam VakninArguably the most intractable philosophical question attached to Quantum Mechanics (QM) is that of Measurement. The accepted (a.k.a. Copenhagen) Interpretation of QM says that the very act of sentient measurement determines the outcome of the measurement in the quantum (microcosmic) realm. The wave function (which describes the co-existing, superpositioned, states of the system) "collapses" following an act of measurement. It seems...

Grandiosity Bubbles
Grandiosity Bubbles   by Sam VakninAs one Source of Narcissistic Supply dwindles, the narcissist finds himself trapped in a frantic (though, at times, unconscious) effort to secure alternatives. As one Pathological Narcissistic Space (the narcissist's stomping grounds) is rendered "uninhabitable" (too many people "see through" the narcissist's manipulation and machinations) – the narcissist wanders off to find another.These hysterical endeavors sometimes lead to boom-bust cycles which involve,...

The Depressive Narcissist
The Depressive Narcissist   by Sam VakninMany scholars consider pathological narcissism to be a form of depressive illness. This is the position of the authoritative magazine "Psychology Today". The life of the typical narcissist is, indeed, punctuated with recurrent bouts of dysphoria (ubiquitous sadness and hopelessness), anhedonia (loss of the ability to feel pleasure), and clinical forms of depression (cyclothymic, dysthymic, or other). This picture is further obfuscated by the frequent...

The Psychology of Torture - Part II
The Psychology of Torture - Part II   by Sam VakninSometimes the victim comes to crave pain – very much as self-mutilators do – because it is a proof and a reminder of his individuated existence otherwise blurred by the incessant torture. Pain shields the sufferer from disintegration and capitulation. It preserves the veracity of his unthinkable and unspeakable experiences.This dual process of the victim's alienation and addiction to anguish complements the perpetrator's view of his quarry as...

Misdiagnosing Narcissism - The Bipolar I Disorder
Misdiagnosing Narcissism - The Bipolar I Disorder    by Sam Vaknin(The use of gender pronouns in this article reflects the clinical facts: most narcissists are men.)The manic phase of Bipolar I Disorder is often misdiagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).Bipolar patients in the manic phase exhibit many of the signs and symptoms of pathological narcissism - hyperactivity, self-centeredness, lack of empathy, and control freakery. During this recurring chapter of the disease, the...

The Stalker as Antisocial Bully
The Stalker as Antisocial Bully   by Sam VakninStalkers have narcissistic traits. Many of them suffer from personality disorders. The vindictive stalker is usually a psychopath (has Antisocial Personality Disorder). They all conform to the classic definition of a bully.Before we proceed to delineate coping strategies, it is helpful to review the characteristics of each of these mental health problems and dysfunctional behaviours.I. The Narcissistic StalkerThe dramatic and erotomaniac stalker...

The Psychology of Torture - Part I
The Psychology of Torture - Part I   by Sam VakninThere is one place in which one's privacy, intimacy, integrity and inviolability are guaranteed – one's body, a unique temple and a familiar territory of sensa and personal history. The torturer invades, defiles and desecrates this shrine. He does so publicly, deliberately, repeatedly and, often, sadistically and sexually, with undisguised pleasure. Hence the all-pervasive, long-lasting, and, frequently, irreversible effects and outcomes of...

Sex or Gender - Part II
Sex or Gender - Part II   by Sam VakninThe Encyclopedia Britannica 2003 edition describes the formation of ovaries and testes thus:"In the young embryo a pair of gonads develop that are indifferent or neutral, showing no indication whether they are destined to develop into testes or ovaries. There are also two different duct systems, one of which can develop into the female system of oviducts and related apparatus and the other into the male sperm duct system. As development of the embryo...

Sex or Gender - Part I
Sex or Gender - Part I   by Sam VakninAlan Pease, author of a book titled "Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps", believes that women are spatially-challenged compared to men. The British firm, Admiral Insurance, conducted a study of half a million claims. They found that "women were almost twice as likely as men to have a collision in a car park, 23 percent more likely to hit a stationary car, and 15 percent more likely to reverse into another vehicle" (Reuters).Yet gender...

The Myth of Mental Illness - Part II
The Myth of Mental Illness - Part II   by Sam VakninThat psychoactive medication alters behaviour and mood is indisputable. So do illicit and legal drugs, certain foods, and all interpersonal interactions. That the changes brought about by prescription are desirable – is debatable and involves tautological thinking. If a certain pattern of behaviour is described as (socially) "dysfunctional" or (psychologically) "sick" – clearly, every change would be welcomed as "healing" and every agent of...

The Myth of Mental Illness - Part I
The Myth of Mental Illness - Part I   by Sam Vaknin"You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing – that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something."Richard Feynman, Physicist and 1965 Nobel Prize laureate (1918-1988)"You have all I dare say heard of the animal spirits and how...

Narcissism - Treatment Modalities and Therapies - Part II
Narcissism - Treatment Modalities and Therapies - Part II   by Sam VakninThe fourth edition of the authoritative "Review of General Psychiatry" (London, Prentice-Hall International, 1995), says (p. 309):"(People with personality disorders) ... cause resentment and possibly even alienation and burnout in the healthcare professionals who treat them ... (p. 318) Long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis have been attempted with (narcissists), although their use has been...

Narcissism - Treatment Modalities and Therapies - Part I
Narcissism - Treatment Modalities and Therapies - Part I   by Sam Vaknin Question:Is the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) more amenable to Cognitive-Behavioural therapies or to Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic ones?Answer:Narcissism pervades the entire personality. It is all-pervasive. Being a narcissist is akin to being an alcoholic but much more so. Alcoholism is an impulsive behaviour. Narcissists exhibit dozens of similarly reckless behaviours, some of them uncontrollable (like their...

Narcissistic Personality Disorder - An Introduction
Narcissistic Personality Disorder - An Introduction   by Sam Vaknin NARCISSISM (n. sing.)A pattern of traits and behaviours which signify infatuation and obsession with one's self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one's gratification, dominance and ambition.Narcissism is named after the ancient Greek myth of Narcissus who was a handsome Greek youth who rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo.In punishment of his cruelty, he was doomed to fall in...

Misdiagnosing Narcissism - Asperger's Disorder
Misdiagnosing Narcissism - Asperger's Disorder    by Sam Vaknin(The use of gender pronouns in this article reflects the clinical facts: most narcissists and most Asperger's patients are male.)Asperger's Disorder is often misdiagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), though evident as early as age 3 (while pathological narcissism cannot be safely diagnosed prior to early adolescence).In both cases, the patient is self-centered and engrossed in a narrow range of interests and...

Taming the Beast: Pathological Narcissism and the Quality of Life
Taming the Beast: Pathological Narcissism and the Quality of Life   by Sam VakninQuestion:You seem to be very sceptical that someone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be treated successfully. Answer:The Narcissistic Personality Disorder has been recognised as a distinct mental health diagnosis a little more than two decades ago. There are few who can honestly claim expertise or even in-depth understanding of this complex condition. No one knows whether therapy works. What is known...

A Letter about Trust
A Letter about Trust   by Sam VakninThe narcissistic condition emanates from a seismic breach of trust, a tectonic shift of what should have been a healthy relationship between the narcissist and his Primary Objects (parents or caregivers). Some of these bad feelings are the result of deeply entrenched misunderstandings regarding the nature of trust and the continuous act of trusting.For millions of years nature embedded in us the notion that the past can teach us a lot about the future. This...

Born Aliens - Part II
Born Aliens - Part II   by Sam VakninExpectedly, it is vague in the first four months of life. When presented with depth, the baby realizes that something is different – but not what. Babies are born with their eyes open as opposed to most other animal young ones. Moreover, their eyes are immediately fully functional. It is the interpretation mechanism that is lacking and this is why the world looks fuzzy to them. They tend to concentrate on very distant or on very close objects (their own...

Born Aliens - Part I
Born Aliens - Part I   by Sam Vaknin Neonates have no psychology. If operated upon, for instance, they are not supposed to show signs of trauma later on in life. Birth, according to this school of thought is of no psychological consequence to the newborn baby. It is immeasurably more important to his "primary caregiver" (mother) and to her supporters (read: father and other members of the family). It is through them that the baby is, supposedly, effected. This effect is evident in his (I will...

The Dialogue of Dreams - Part II
The Dialogue of Dreams - Part II   by Sam VakninDreaming (D-state or D-activity) is associated with a special movement of the eyes, under the closed eyelids, called Rapid Eye Movement (REM). It is also associated with changes in the pattern of electrical activity of the brain (EEG). A dreaming person has the pattern of someone who is wide awake and alert. This seems to sit well with a theory of dreams as active therapists, engaged in the arduous task of incorporating new (often contradictory...

The Dialogue of Dreams - Part I
The Dialogue of Dreams - Part I   by Sam VakninAre dreams a source of reliable divination? Generations upon generations seem to have thought so. They incubated dreams by travelling afar, by fasting and by engaging in all other manners of self deprivation or intoxication. With the exception of this highly dubious role, dreams do seem to have three important functions:To process repressed emotions (wishes, in Freud's speech) and other mental content which was suppressed and stored in the...

The Manifold of Sense - Part III
The Manifold of Sense - Part III   by Sam VakninFeeling is a "hyper-concept" which is made of both sensation and emotion. It describes the ways in which we experience both our world and our selves. It coincides with sensations whenever it has a bodily component. But it is sufficiently flexible to cover emotions and attitudes or opinions. But attaching names to phenomena never helped in the long run and in the really important matter of understanding them. To identify feelings, let alone to...

The Manifold of Sense - Part II
The Manifold of Sense - Part II   by Sam VakninTo say that emotions are cognitions is to say nothing. We understand cognition even less than we understand emotions (with the exception of the mechanics of cognition). To say that emotions are caused by cognitions or cause cognitions (emotivism) or are part of a motivational process – does not answer the question: "What are emotions?". Emotions do cause us to apprehend and perceive things in a certain way and even to act accordingly. But WHAT are...

The Manifold of Sense - Part I
The Manifold of Sense - Part I   by Sam Vaknin"Anthropologists report enormous differences in the ways that different cultures categorize emotions. Some languages, in fact, do not even have a word for emotion. Other languages differ in the number of words they have to name emotions. While English has over 2,000 words to describe emotional categories, there are only 750 such descriptive words in Taiwanese Chinese. One tribal language has only 7 words that could be translated into categories of...

The Interrupted Self
The Interrupted Self    by Sam VakninAlso read this - Psychophysics http://samvak.tripod.com/psychophysics.htmlThe fundament of our mind is the mental map we create of our body ("Body Image", or "Body Map"). It is a detailed, psychic, rendition of our corporeal self, based on sensa (sensory input) and above all on proprioception and other kinaesthetic senses. It incorporates representations of other objects and results, at a higher level, in a "World Map" or "World Image". This World Map often...

The Myth of the Right to Life - Part II
The Myth of the Right to Life - Part II   by Sam VakninThe Right to Have One's Life MaintainedThis leads to a more general quandary. To what extent can one use other people's bodies, their property, their time, their resources and to deprive them of pleasure, comfort, material possessions, income, or any other thing - in order to maintain one's life?Even if it were possible in reality, it is indefensible to maintain that I have a right to sustain, improve, or prolong my life at another's...

The Myth of the Right to Life - Part I
The Myth of the Right to Life - Part I   by Sam VakninI. The Right to LifeGenerations of malleable Israeli children are brought up on the story of the misnamed Jewish settlement Tel-Hai ("Mount of Life"), Israel's Alamo. There, among the picturesque valleys of the Galilee, a one-armed hero named Joseph Trumpeldor is said to have died, eight decades ago, from an Arab stray bullet, mumbling: "It is good to die for our country." Judaism is dubbed "A Teaching of Life" - but it would seem that the...

Dreams of Reality - The View, and the Point of View
Dreams of Reality - The View, and the Point of View    by Sam VakninA Dialogue about Art - ExcerptsBetween: Roberto Calvo Macias and Sam VakninRoberto: What's the meaning of it? Its sense? Why did that Altamira Cave man paint those animals, Why? For magical purposes? as a religious act? What was his proposition? To communicate his personal views? Was he mad, as Vincent, did he see something different, that others didn't? Did he see animals in the abstract? was he the first person to think in...

The Basic Dilemma of the Artist
The Basic Dilemma of the Artist   by Sam VakninThe psychophysical problem is long standing and, probably, intractable.We have a corporeal body. It is a physical entity, subject to all the laws of physics. Yet, we experience ourselves, our internal lives, external events in a manner which provokes us to postulate the existence of a corresponding, non-physical ontos, entity. This corresponding entity ostensibly incorporates a dimension of our being which, in principle, can never be tackled with...

Left and Right in a Divided Europe
Left and Right in a Divided Europe   by Sam VakninEven as West European countries seemed to have edged to the right of the political map - all three polities of central Europe lurched to the left. Socialists were elected to replace economically successful right wing governments in Poland, Hungary and, recently, in the Czech Republic.This apparent schism is, indeed, merely an apparition. The differences between reformed left and new right in both parts of the continent have blurred to the point...

White Farms, Black Farmers
White Farms, Black Farmers   by Sam VakninThe Western press casts him in the role of an African Saddam Hussein. Neighboring leaders supported his policies but then succumbed to diplomacy and world opinion and, with a few notable exceptions, shunned him. The opposition in and its mouthpieces accuse him - justly - of brutal disregard for human, civil, and political rights and of undermining the rule of law.All he wants, insists Comrade - his official party title - Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is to...

Narcissistic Leaders
Narcissistic Leaders   by Sam VakninThe narcissistic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies.The malignant narcissist invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and this is further exacerbated by the trappings of power. The narcissist's grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence...

The Disunited Nations
The Disunited Nations   by Sam VakninArab nations plan to table a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly condemning the U.S.-British led "invasion" and "occupation" of Iraq and calling for immediate troop withdrawal. A similar effort at the Security Council last week failed, doomed by the veto powers of both alleged aggressors.This is not likely to endear the organization to the Bush administration whose hawks regard it as a superfluous leftover from the Cold War era. Rep. Ron Paul...

The Roots of Anti-Americanism
The Roots of Anti-Americanism   by Sam VakninThe United States is one of the last remaining land empires. That it is made the butt of opprobrium and odium is hardly surprising, or unprecedented. Empires - Rome, the British, the Ottomans - were always targeted by the disgruntled, the disenfranchised and the dispossessed and by their self-appointed delegates, the intelligentsia.Yet, even by historical standards, America seems to be provoking blanket repulsion.The Pew Research Center published...

The Inverted Saint - Hitler
The Inverted Saint - Hitler   by Sam Vaknin"My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the...

Fascism - The Tensile Permanence
Fascism - The Tensile Permanence   by Sam VakninNazism - and, by extension, fascism (though the two are by no means identical) - amounted to permanent revolutionary civil wars. Fascist movements were founded, inter alia, on negations and on the militarization of politics. Their raison d'etre and vigor were derived from their rabid opposition to liberalism, communism, conservatism, rationalism, and individualism and from exclusionary racism. It was a symbiotic relationship - self-definition and...

The Impeachment of the President of the USA - Part III
The Impeachment of the President of the USA - Part III   by Sam VakninAC : “Dysfunctional partnerships should be dissolved. The President should have divorced prior to indulging his sexual appetite. Sexual exclusivity is an integral – possibly the most important – section of the marriage contract. The President ignored his vows, dishonoured his word, breached his contract with the First Lady.” DC : “People stay together only if they feel that the foundation upon which they based their...

The Impeachment of the President of the USA - Part II
The Impeachment of the President of the USA - Part II   by Sam VakninAC : “Before I do, allow me just to repeat. To me, there is no moral difference between one lie and another. All lies are loathsome and lead, in the long run, to hell whatever the good intentions, which paved the way there. As far as I am concerned, President Clinton is a condemned man on these grounds only. But the lies one chooses and the victims he chooses to expose to his misbehaviour - reflect his personality, his inner...

The Impeachment of the President of the USA - Part I
The Impeachment of the President of the USA - Part I   by Sam VakninIn the hallways of the Smithsonian, two moralists are debating the impeachment of the President of the United States of America, Mr. William Jefferson Clinton. One is clearly Anti-Clinton (AC) the other, a Democrat (DC), is not so much for him as he is for the rational and pragmatic application of moral principles. AC (expectedly): “The President should be impeached”. DC (no less expectedly) ; “But, surely, even you are not...

Earthquakes and Tsunamis  
Earthquakes and Tsunamis   by Sam VakninTsunamisTsunami - a seismic sea wave - means in Japanese "harbor-wave". It is also misleadingly called "tidal wave". It is an ocean wave caused by an earthquake of magnitude 6.5 on the Richter scale (or greater) that occurs less than 50 kilometers beneath the seafloor. Tsunamis can also be caused by volcanic eruptions and by landslides. Tsunami waves are followed by three to five oscillations of the continental shelf waters. These convulsions may last up...

Being John Malkovich  
Being John Malkovich   by Sam VakninA quintessential loser, an out-of-job puppeteer, is hired by a firm, whose offices are ensconced in a half floor (literally. The ceiling is about a metre high, reminiscent of Taniel's hallucinatory Alice in Wonderland illustrations). By sheer accident, he discovers a tunnel (a "portal", in Internet-age parlance), which sucks its visitors into the mind of the celebrated actor, John Malkovich. The movie is a tongue in cheek discourse of identity, gender and...

Does Free Content - Sell?  
Does Free Content - Sell?   by Sam VakninThe answer is: no one knows. Many self-styled "gurus" and "pundits" - authors of voluminous tomes they sell to the gullible - pretend to know. But their "expertise" is an admixture of guesswork, superstitions, anecdotal "evidence" and hearsay. The sad truth is that no methodical, long term, and systematic research has been attempted in the nascent field of e-publishing and, more broadly, digital content on the Web. So, no one knows to say for sure...

An Ambarrassment of Riches  
An Ambarrassment of Riches   by Sam Vakninhttp://www.doi.org/ The Internet is too rich. Even powerful and sophisticated search engines, such as Google, return a lot of trash, dead ends, and Error 404's in response to the most well-defined query, Boolean operators and all. Directories created by human editors - such as Yahoo! or the Open Directory Project - are often overwhelmed by the amount of material out there. Like the legendary blob, the Internet is clearly out of classificatory control....

The Kidnapping of Content  
The Kidnapping of Content   by Sam Vakninhttp://www.plagiarism.org and http://www.Turnitin.comLatin kidnapped the word "plagion" from ancient Greek and it ended up in English as "plagiarism". It literally means "to kidnap" - most commonly, to misappropriate content and wrongly attribute it to oneself. It is a close kin of piracy. But while the software or content pirate does not bother to hide or alter the identity of the content's creator or the software's author - the plagiarist does....

Internet Advertising - What Went Wrong?  
Internet Advertising - What Went Wrong?   by Sam VakninThe decline in Internet advertising - though paralleled by a similartrend in print advertising - had more serious and irreversibleimplications. Most content dot.coms were based on ad-driven revenuemodels. Online advertising was supposed to amortize start-up andoperational costs and lead to profitability even as it subsidized freeaccess to costly content.A similar revenue model has been successfully propping up printperiodicals for at least...

Serial Killers
Serial Killers  by: Sam Vaknin Countess Erszebet Bathory was a breathtakingly beautiful, unusually well-educated woman, married to a descendant of Vlad Dracula of Bram Stoker fame. In 1611, she was tried - though, being a noblewoman, not convicted - in Hungary for slaughtering 612 young girls. The true figure may have been 40-100, though the Countess recorded in her diary more than 610 girls and 50 bodies were found in her estate when it was raided. The Countess was notorious as an inhuman...

What is Narcissism?
What is Narcissism?  by: Sam Vaknin A pattern of traits and behaviours which signify infatuation and obsession with one's self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one's gratification, dominance and ambition. Most narcissists (50-75%, according to the DSM IV-TR) are men. The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is one of a "family" of personality disorders (known as "Cluster B"). Other members of Cluster B are Borderline PD, Antisocial PD and...

The Cyber Narcissist
The Cyber Narcissist  by: Sam Vaknin To the narcissist, the Internet is an alluring and irresistible combination of playground and hunting grounds, the gathering place of numerous potential Sources of Narcissistic Supply, a world where false identities are the norm and mind games the bon ton. And it is beyond the reach of the law, the pale of social norms, the strictures of civilized conduct. The somatic finds cyber-sex and cyber-relationships aplenty. The cerebral claims false...

Narcissism, Substance Abuse, and Reckless Behaviours
Narcissism, Substance Abuse, and Reckless Behaviours  by: Sam Vaknin Pathological narcissism is an addiction to Narcissistic Supply, the narcissist's drug of choice. It is, therefore, not surprising that other addictive and reckless behaviours – workaholism, alcoholism, drug abuse, pathological gambling, compulsory shopping, or reckless driving – piggyback on this primary dependence. The narcissist – like other types of addicts – derives pleasure from these exploits. But they also sustain...

Eating Disorders and the Narcissist
Eating Disorders and the Narcissist  by: Sam Vaknin Patients suffering from eating disorders binge on food and sometimes are both anorectic and bulimic. This is an impulsive behaviour as defined by the DSM (particularly in the case of BPD and to a lesser extent of Cluster B disorders in general). Some patients develop these disorders as a way to self-mutilate. It is a convergence of two pathological behaviours: self-mutilation and an impulsive (rather, compulsive or ritualistic)...

Eugenics and the Future of the Human Species
Eugenics and the Future of the Human Species  by: Sam Vaknin "It is clear that modern medicine has created a serious dilemma ... In the past, there were many children who never survived - they succumbed to various diseases ... But in a sense modern medicine has put natural selection out of commission. Something that has helped one individual over a serious illness can in the long run contribute to weakening the resistance of the whole human race to certain diseases. If we pay absolutely no...

Narcissists And Women
Narcissists And Women  by: Sam Vaknin Question: Do narcissists hate women? Answer: Narcissists abhor and dread getting emotionally intimate and they regard sex as a maintenance chore, something they have to do in order to keep their source of secondary supply. Moreover, many narcissists tend to engage in FRUSTRATING behaviours towards women. They will refrain from having sex with them, tease them and then leave them, resist flirtatious and seductive behaviours and so on. Often, they will...

Intuition
Intuition  by: Sam Vaknin I. The Three Intuitions IA. Eidetic Intuitions Intuition is supposed to be a form of direct access. Yet, direct access to what? Does it access directly "intuitions" (abstract objects, akin to numbers or properties - see "Bestowed Existence")? Are intuitions the objects of the mental act of Intuition? Perhaps intuition is the mind's way of interacting directly with Platonic ideals or Phenomenological "essences"? By "directly" I mean without the intellectual...

The Shattered Identity
The Shattered Identity  by: Sam Vaknin I. Exposition In the movie "Shattered" (1991), Dan Merrick survives an accident and develops total amnesia regarding his past. His battered face is reconstructed by plastic surgeons and, with the help of his loving wife, he gradually recovers his will to live. But he never develops a proper sense of identity. It is as though he is constantly ill at ease in his own body. As the plot unravels, Dan is led to believe that he may have murdered his wife's...

On Being Human
On Being Human  by: Sam Vaknin Are we human because of unique traits and attributes not shared with either animal or machine? The definition of "human" is circular: we are human by virtue of the properties that make us human (i.e., distinct from animal and machine). It is a definition by negation: that which separates us from animal and machine is our "human-ness". We are human because we are not animal, nor machine. But such thinking has been rendered progressively less tenable by the...

Gender and the Narcissist
Gender and the Narcissist  by: Sam Vaknin In the manifestation of their narcissism, female and male narcissists, inevitably, do tend to differ. They emphasise different things. They transform different elements of their personality and of their life into the cornerstones of their disorder. Women concentrate on their body (as they do in eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa). They flaunt and exploit their physical charms, their sexuality, their socially and culturally...

On Empathy
On Empathy  by: Sam Vaknin The Encyclopaedia Britannica (1999 edition) defines empathy as: "The ability to imagine oneself in anther's place and understand the other's feelings, desires, ideas, and actions. It is a term coined in the early 20th century, equivalent to the German Einfühlung and modelled on "sympathy." The term is used with special (but not exclusive) reference to aesthetic experience. The most obvious example, perhaps, is that of the actor or singer who genuinely feels the...

Coping with Your Abuser
Coping with Your Abuser  by: Sam Vaknin How to cope with your abuser? Sometimes it looks hopeless. Abusers are ruthless, immoral, sadistic, calculated, cunning, persuasive, deceitful - in short, they appear to be invincible. They easily sway the system in their favor. Here is a list of escalating countermeasures. They represent the distilled experience of thousands of victims of abuse. They may help you cope with abuse and overcome it. Not included are legal or medical steps. Consult an...

What is Abuse?
What is Abuse?  by: Sam Vaknin Violence in the family often follows other forms of more subtle and long-term abuse: verbal, emotional, psychological sexual, or financial. It is closely correlated with alcoholism, drug consumption, intimate-partner homicide, teen pregnancy, infant and child mortality, spontaneous abortion, reckless behaviours, suicide, and the onset of mental health disorders. Most abusers and batterers are males - but a significant minority are women. This being a "Women's...

Europe's New Jews
Europe's New Jews  by: Sam Vaknin They inhabit self-imposed ghettoes, subject to derision and worse, the perennial targets of far-right thugs and populist politicians of all persuasions. They are mostly confined to menial jobs. They are accused of spreading crime, terrorism and disease, of being backward and violent, of refusing to fit in. Their religion, atavistic and rigid, insists on ritual slaughter and male circumcision. They rarely mingle socially or inter-marry. Most of them - though...

Just War
Just War  by: Sam Vaknin In an age of terrorism, guerilla and total warfare the medieval doctrine of Just War needs to be re-defined. Moreover, issues of legitimacy, efficacy and morality should not be confused. Legitimacy is conferred by institutions. Not all morally justified wars are, therefore, automatically legitimate. Frequently the efficient execution of a battle plan involves immoral or even illegal acts. As international law evolves beyond the ancient percepts of sovereignty, it...

Legalizing Crime
Legalizing Crime  by: Sam Vaknin The state has a monopoly on behaviour usually deemed criminal. It murders, kidnaps, and locks up people. Sovereignty has come to be identified with the unbridled - and exclusive - exercise of violence. The emergence of modern international law has narrowed the field of permissible conduct. A sovereign can no longer commit genocide or ethnic cleansing with impunity, for instance. Many acts - such as the waging of aggressive war, the mistreatment of...

Economics - Psychology's Neglected Branch
Economics - Psychology's Neglected Branch  by: Sam Vaknin "It is impossible to describe any human action if one does not refer to the meaning the actor sees in the stimulus as well as in the end his response is aiming at." Ludwig von Mises Economics - to the great dismay of economists - is merely a branch of psychology. It deals with individual behaviour and with mass behaviour. Many of its practitioners sought to disguise its nature as a social science by applying complex mathematics...

Corruption and Transparency
Corruption and Transparency  by: Sam Vaknin I. The Facts Just days before a much-awaited donor conference, the influential International Crisis Group (ICG) recommended to place all funds pledged to Macedonia under the oversight of a "corruption advisor" appointed by the European Commission. The donors ignored this and other recommendations. To appease the critics, the affable Attorney General of Macedonia charged a former Minister of Defense with abuse of duty for allegedly having channeled...

Narcissism in the Boardroom
Narcissism in the Boardroom  by: Sam Vaknin The perpetrators of the recent spate of financial frauds in the USA acted with callous disregard for both their employees and shareholders - not to mention other stakeholders. Psychologists have often remote-diagnosed them as "malignant, pathological narcissists". Narcissists are driven by the need to uphold and maintain a false self - a concocted, grandiose, and demanding psychological construct typical of the narcissistic personality disorder....

The Wages of Science
The Wages of Science  by: Sam Vaknin In the United States, Congress approved, last month, increases in the 2003 budgets of both the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. America is not alone in - vainly - trying to compensate for imploding capital markets and risk-averse financiers. In 1999, chancellor Gordon Brown inaugurated a $1.6 billion program of "upgrading British science" and commercializing its products. This was on top of $1 billion invested between...

The Morality of Child Labor
The Morality of Child Labor  by: Sam Vaknin From the comfort of their plush offices and five to six figure salaries, self-appointed NGO's often denounce child labor as their employees rush from one five star hotel to another, $3000 subnotebooks and PDA's in hand. The hairsplitting distinction made by the ILO between "child work" and "child labor" conveniently targets impoverished countries while letting its budget contributors - the developed ones - off-the-hook. Reports regarding child...

OPEC's Swan Song?
OPEC's Swan Song?  by: Sam Vaknin Indonesia's Energy Minister, Purnomo Yusgiantoro, is unhappy with the modest production cut, from June 1, of 2 million barrels per day, adopted by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries last week. He intends to demand further reductions at the June 11 get-together in Qatar. The deal struck is so convoluted and loopholed that actual output declines may amount to no more than 600,000 bpd, assuming, miraculously, full compliance. Quotas were first...

Begging Your Trust in Africa
Begging Your Trust in Africa  by: Sam Vaknin The syntax is tortured, the grammar mutilated, but the message - sent by snail mail, telex, fax, or e-mail - is coherent: an African bigwig or his heirs wish to transfer funds amassed in years of graft and venality to a safe bank account in the West. They seek the recipient's permission to make use of his or her inconspicuous services for a percentage of the loot - usually many millions of dollars. A fee is required to expedite the proceedings, or...

The Self-Appointed Altruists
The Self-Appointed Altruists  by: Sam Vaknin Their arrival portends rising local prices and a culture shock. Many of them live in plush apartments, or five star hotels, drive SUV's, sport $3000 laptops and PDA's. They earn a two figure multiple of the local average wage. They are busybodies, preachers, critics, do-gooders, and professional altruists. Always self-appointed, they answer to no constituency. Though unelected and ignorant of local realities, they confront the democratically...

The Ecology of Environmentalism
The Ecology of Environmentalism  by: Sam Vaknin The concept of "nature" is a romantic invention. It was spun by the likes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century as a confabulated utopian contrast to the dystopia of urbanization and materialism. The traces of this dewy-eyed conception of the "savage" and his unmolested, unadulterated surroundings can be found in the more malignant forms of fundamentalist environmentalism. At the other extreme are religious literalists who regard Man as...

Bankers in Denial
Bankers in Denial  by: Sam Vaknin Denial is a ubiquitous psychological defense mechanism. It involves the repression of bad news, unpleasant information, and anxiety-inducing experiences. Judging by the German press, the country is in a state of denial regarding the waning health of its economy and the dwindling fortunes of its financial system. Commerzbank, Germany's fourth largest lender, saw its shares decimated by more than 80 percent to a 19-year low, having increased its loan-loss...

The Narcissist in the Workplace
The Narcissist in the Workplace  by: Sam Vaknin To a narcissist-employer, the members of his "staff" are Secondary Sources of Narcissistic Supply. Their role is to accumulate the supply (in human speak, remember events that support the grandiose self-image of the narcissist) and to regulate the Narcissistic Supply of the narcissist during dry spells (simply put, to adulate, adore, admire, agree, provide attention and approval and so on or, in other words, be an audience). The staff (or...

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