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‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 8 The Greatest, Most Heroic Story Ever Told
Chapter 8:16D The dysfunctional, extremely narcissistic ‘Power Addicted’ state
Another dire consequence of terminal levels of alienation emerging in the world, especially in the materially so-called ‘developed’ world, is the development of extreme egocentricity, especially in men. As will now be described, the effect of this egocentricity on children has also been catastrophic.
All around us are expressions of the punch-drunk egocentric state, this end play situation of the development of communication technology-fuelled upset in the world of having to get a win, a victory, success at any cost. We see parents on the sideline of sports fields, watching their children play and projecting their embattled need for a win onto those children, yelling, ‘win, win, win’! These lyrics of Alanis Morissette’s song Perfect describe how conditional love from parents passes the upset, embattled, soul-insensitive state of the human condition on to the next generation: ‘Sometimes is never quite enough. If you’re flawless, then you’ll win my love. Don’t forget to win first place, don’t forget to keep that smile on your face. Be a good boy, try a little harder. You’ve got to measure up, and make me prouder…I’ll live through you, I’ll make you what I never was. If you’re the best then maybe so am I…I’m doing this for your own damn good…What’s the problem, why are you crying?…We’ll love you just the way you are if you’re perfect’ (1995). The effect this pressure has on their children is one of psychological devastation because, as I will now explain, it produces a new generation who are either psychologically crippled by that conditional reinforcement or turned into must-win ‘power addicts’, both of which are extremely dysfunctional states.
An article by the journalist Miranda Devine, truthfully titled ‘Face it, we are all narcissists now’, described how poor parenting is producing extremely narcissistic power addicts: ‘“Parents are becoming increasingly self absorbed [believing] ‘the single most important thing in the world is for me to work like a dog and get the house, the car and the holiday house’ and don’t realise all their kids want is to be loved and to have one-on-one time with their parents.” He [the adolescent psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg] says [and part of this quote was referred to in par. 950] an “epidemic of poor parenting” is to blame for a drastic rise in psychological problems in young people. “Generation Y is being ravaged by depression, anxiety disorders and stress disorders”’ (The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Sep. 2009). In the article Devine discussed the development of the narcissistic personality disorder in which adults develop ‘a grandiose sense of self importance; preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance…a need for excessive admiration; a sense of entitlement; exploitive personal relationships; a lack of empathy; envy and arrogant, haughty behaviour…Everyone’s a potential narcissist these days.’ The article mentioned ‘a long-term study of…American college students [that found]…the incidence of narcissistic personality traits increased on a scale rivalling obesity’. The reason, the article reported, for this recent explosion in narcissism is, to repeat Carr-Gregg, ‘poor parenting’. What Devine has written here about ‘the incidence of narcissistic personality traits’ ‘rivalling obesity’ in American students is more than backed up by the aforementioned TIME magazine story, ‘The Me Me Me Generation’, which detailed the ‘narcissism epidemic’ in the present ‘80 million strong…biggest age group in American history’ Y-generation (see par. 951). This article even wondered if the Y-generation’s ‘self-centeredness could bring about the end of civilization as we know it’, a very real concern that will now be explained.
As just described, having lived in denial of the truth that our species once lived in a cooperative, unconditionally-selfless, loving, harmonious state, there has been almost no recognition of the importance of nurturing children with unconditional love. The truth, however, is that children come into the world instinctively expecting to receive unconditional love and when they don’t get it—receiving conditional love instead—they are so innocent, so trusting in a true, all-loving, upset-free world that the only conclusion they can come to for not being unconditionally loved is that for some reason they don’t deserve it and are therefore a worthless, unlovable, bad person. Children are so naive, they are born so instinctively unaware of the existence of the upset state of the human condition, that they can’t believe it is the adults’ fault that they are not being given unconditional love; they are so trusting in the world around them, so codependent to it, they can only presume it’s their fault. Again, ‘codependent’ describes someone who is ‘reliant on another to the extent that independent action is no longer possible’; in this case, children are so trusting of, and thus ‘reliant on’, the adult world they are incapable of thinking ‘independent[ly]’ enough to know that they are not at fault, and trust in that knowledge. This conclusion by children that they are, in effect, bad either hurts them so deeply that they block all the pain of it out of their mind and become a psychologically detached, immensely alienated, crippled person—in the extreme, autistic—or they try desperately to prove they aren’t bad or worthless, spending the rest of their lives obsessed with the need for reinforcement.
As already mentioned, the psychologist Arthur Janov developed the technique of ‘primal therapy’ in which adults seeking to lessen the hold their psychoses have on their lives are helped to work their way back to memories of the original (primal) hurt to their soul that occurred in their infancy and childhood as a result of growing up in the overly upset, insecure, have-to-somehow-establish-your-worth, massively egocentric world of today. In the following extracts (which come from—and serve as a condensation of—his famous 1970 book, The Primal Scream), Janov describes how children blame themselves for their parents’ inability to love them and the dire consequences such recrimination has on their emotional development. He wrote (the underlinings are my emphasis): ‘Anger is often sown by parents who see their children as a denial of their own lives. Marrying early and having to sacrifice themselves for years to demanding infants and young children are not readily accepted by those parents who never really had a chance to be free and happy [p.327 of 446] …neurotic parents are antifeeling, and how much of themselves they have had to cancel out in order to survive is a good index of how much they will attempt to cancel out in their children [p.77] …there is unspeakable tragedy in the world…each of us being in a mad scramble away from our personal horror. That is why neurotic parents cannot see the horror of what they are doing to their children, why they cannot comprehend that they are slowly killing a human being [p.389] …A young child cannot understand that it is his parents who are troubled…He does not know that it is not his job to make them stop fighting, to be happy, free or whatever…If he is ridiculed almost from birth, he must come to believe that something is wrong with him [p.60] …Neurosis begins as a means of appeasing neurotic parents by denying or covering certain feelings in hopes that “they” will finally love him [p.65] …a child shuts himself off in his earliest months and years because he usually has no other choice [p.59] …When patients [in primal therapy] finally get down to the early catastrophic feeling [the ‘primal scream’] of knowing they were unloved, hated, or never to be understood—that epiphanic feeling of ultimate aloneness—they understand perfectly why they shut off [p.97]’.
To reiterate, if a child is not given unconditional love, and is instead intimidated, frozen out and made to prove themselves all the time by arrogant, tyrannical, authoritarian, tough, extremely egocentric, overly self-worth-embattled, ‘My way or the highway’-type parents, then that child will either be psychologically crippled by the situation, or made into a narcissistic power addict who has to win at all times and at all costs—where only success can keep at bay the terrifying conclusion that they are somehow unworthy. To gain power, the upper hand, these powerpaths or psychopaths, as they are otherwise known, will say anything, do anything, no matter how immoral—conduct that has been variously described as ‘ruthless’, ‘manipulative’, ‘belligerent’, ‘bullying’, ‘totally self-centred’, ‘egocentric’, ‘amoral’, ‘cold’, ‘cruel’, ‘obsessed with wielding power over others’ [in other words, controlling and dominating], ‘deceitful’, ‘self-important’, ‘lacking any ability to empathise with others’, with a mindset that is ‘quick to blame others for their mistakes’ (Robert Matthews, ‘Are you living with a socialised psychopath?’, Focus, May 1994 & The Sunday Telegraph Review, Apr. 1997; see <>). As Morris West put it, ‘brutalise a child and you create a casualty or a criminal’ (A View from the Ridge: The Testimony of a Pilgrim, 1996, p.78 of 143).
Regarding the power addict’s inability ‘to empathise with others’, the truth is, they are so preoccupied—in fact, utterly consumed—by their own pain that instead of empathising with and being considerate of others as our instinctive self or soul is designed to be, they impose their condition on the world around them; they intimidate and frighten everyone with their angry, often silent embattled state; indeed, a common description of how they operate and their impact on those around them is that they have everyone ‘walking on eggshells’. The psychiatrist Frank Lake articulated this problem of adults who, as a result of being under attack as infants and as children, treat everyone and every situation they encounter as if they were still under attack, writing that such an adult ‘complains as if it remembered the bad times it had been through. It reacts to the world around it as if it were still in the bad place, still having to “feel its keenest woe”. It reacts defensively as if the attack were still going on’ (‘Supplement to Newsletter No.39’, Clinical Theology Newsletter No.39, Dec. 1981). Basically, the power addict’s life is stranded or arrested in the childhood state of needing reinforcement.
You can quickly extrapolate just how absolutely desperate the power addict’s mind is for reinforcement—how they aren’t able to truly care about anyone or anything other than getting that reinforcement, how every moment of every day their mind can’t afford to be anything other than singularly focused on how they can get that power or glory or attention or any other form of validation—if you imagine a child fighting with all their might to avoid the devastating conclusion that they are an unworthy, bad person. When all the evidence from the way that child is being treated seems to unequivocally indicate to that innocent, trusting, naive, ideal-world-expecting child that they are unworthy and bad, the child naturally fights back with all their being to resist that soul-destroying conclusion. If, however, that evidence is overwhelming, the child has no choice but to give in to that criticism and conclude that they are indeed worthless and bad. And then, to cope with that terrifying, absolutely unbearable conclusion, all the child can do is determine to never again allow their mind to connect with that conclusion that they are an unlovable, bad person, and since that core issue of their worthiness is where their true self is preoccupied, avoiding that issue amounts to separating or dissociating or splitting off from their true state and thus true self. This is the split, false, psychologically crippled state that was the focus of the previous sub-chapter (ch. 8:16C). If, however, the evidence that they are an unworthy, bad person is immense but not quite overwhelming the child will be stuck in a lifelong battle to avoid surrendering to the psychologically crippling conclusion that they are an unworthy, bad person. And that is where power addicts live—stranded in that state of terrible fear that they are unworthy, fighting with all their might to ‘stay on their feet’ and defy that implication. As mentioned, the actress Mae West famously articulated this situation of arrested development, within males in particular, when she said, ‘If you want to understand men just remember that they are still little boys searching for approval.’
Another of the many extremely dysfunctional features of the embattled power addict mind is its extraordinary ability to accumulate grievances. The narcissistic power addict is so unable to accept any criticism, so extremely insecure, so desperately preoccupied with ‘searching for approval’ and avoiding any implication that they are unworthy, that all day, every day, they seek out only reinforcement, only ‘wins’, such as power, fame, fortune and glory. There is no room to accept any criticism and since most situations in life contain a spectrum of positives and negatives, of reinforcements and criticisms, of ups and downs, such minds are simply unable to fairly assess any situation because they cannot tolerate any of the negative, criticising aspects of a situation. In fact, the power-addicted mind will find a way to avoid all criticism, no matter how much there is or how legitimate, and instead search for and find some fault or flaw in the situation, imagined or real, that brings reinforcement to them. Their totally defensive mind locks onto these ‘grievances’ as being all-significant at the exclusion of all other aspects of the scenario. Over time, any interaction with a power addict, no matter how fair or generous, will leave them harbouring a mountain of grievances and totally incapable of recognising the unfairness and irrationality of their view. The desperation of the power-addicted mind to avoid any threat to their power base is extremely difficult for the more balanced mind to comprehend. For instance, I have watched documentaries showing the former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt being overly cordial to the Russian dictator Joseph Stalin in the futile hope that Stalin would be fair-minded during their negotiations over the future of Europe at the conclusion of the Second World War. In public, Stalin always presented a benign, open and fair-minded countenance when underneath he was, in fact, a furious monster who, out of paranoia, oversaw the murder of millions and millions of his own people—including even his closest friends out of fear that they might one day challenge his power. Power addicts learnt to disguise their extraordinarily defensive mindset, but their behaviour could often be absolutely, unbelievably selfish. Indeed, psychologists have learnt that it is all but impossible to reform power addicts because they are so desperate for success, so desperate not to fail, that they use what they learn in therapy to better disguise their weaknesses—for example, they learn to pretend they don’t lack empathy and consideration of others to hide the fact that they are totally self-centred, ruthless and manipulative. As the article by Robert Matthews referred to above states, ‘no amount of counselling seems to change them…Many people unwittingly try to change the behaviour of the psychopaths in their lives…Yet, as many psychiatrists have learned, it’s almost invariably temporary. The psychopath’s promise to mend his ways is usually just another pack of lies. Within a few months, the same traits will be back as strongly as before. The sad truth is that, if there is a psychopath in your office, your home or your bed, it will be you that has to change.’
It has to be remembered, of course, that after 2 million years of the development of upset in the world, all adults are unavoidably stranded somewhere on the spectrum of insecurity of self due to the lack of reinforcement/love in their upbringing. The power addict state and, beyond that, the psychologically crippled state are simply the extreme states of the human condition. And again, it has to be emphasised that it is at last safe to admit this because we have now found the redeeming, dignifying understanding of how all the upset in the human species started, and, as will be explained in chapter 9, how it can be transformed and eventually ameliorated. All the upset in the world is now defended; the basis for our insecurity about being upset has gone.
I have drawn this picture of the narcissism-producing and psychologically crippling situation to help children understand the world we live in. Since adults own the world there has been very little focus on the wellbeing of children. They can’t fight for themselves. They can’t write books. In fact, in their bewilderment children can’t even tell adults what they are going through. If children were able to express themselves and be properly heard—for instance, if they were able to vote, if they had some power—the care and concern and respect for their wellbeing would have been much greater than it has been. As just emphasised in ch. 8:16C, unable to explain why humans have become so embattled, parents in the ‘developed world’ haven’t been able to cope with any criticism of their inability to adequately nurture their children, but that incapacity to cope with any criticism of their inability to properly parent their children overlooks, indeed disregards, the fact that children in turn also can’t cope with not being loved unconditionally. Parents have had it all their way. The powerlessness of children has made them the victims of the adults’ powerfulness. The truth is, we live in an anti-child world today where ‘kids’ are irritants—and yet children are the next generation and to have no regard for them is to have no regard for the future.
The drawing shows a tyrannical father and the damaging effect his behaviour is having on his child—the truth of which my professor of biology at Sydney University, Charles Birch, recognised when, after discussing with me the destructive effect power addict fathers have on their children, he made the extremely succinct (if somewhat blunt) comment: ‘Haven’t you heard Jeremy, the best thing that can happen in a man’s life is that his father dies when he is born’ (WTM records, 12 Nov. 1998). Birch was homosexual and I think this comment is very revealing of the origin of the particular psychological upset that made him homosexual. (The psychological reason for homosexuality was explained in pars 802-804.) Some fathers claim it is necessary to toughen their children, kill off their inspired, truth-filled, happy, excited, nothing-is-too-difficult, loving original instinctive self or soul. A newspaper cartoon depicted this appalling point of view with the following exchange between a father and son: ‘Son you’re a liar, you’re a bully, you’re greedy, you’re manipulative, you’re self serving. You’ll go far’ (Alan Moir, The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 Sep. 2009). Alienation is a tragically lost, dark, effectively dead state that the whole human race has been working desperately hard to escape from, not stay in! The real issue in the situation where parents want to toughen up their children is the extent of the upset anger, egocentricity and alienation in the parents, because it is their extreme upset that causes them to project onto their children the need to be a success at all costs. It is their need for glory, not the need to turn their children into ‘survivors’, that is the real motivation. So, no—parents saying they ‘Want to toughen up their kids so they can face the real world’, as though they are doing their children a favour, is just a convenient excuse to get away with ‘poor parenting’ because all parents do intuitively know how critically important it is that children receive unconditional love if they are to grow into truly creative, functional and successful adults. As has been well and truly explained in this book, how to nurture children is one of the most ancient instincts in humans.
Earlier (in pars 493 and 974), reference was made to Ashley Montagu’s 1970 paper, ‘A Scientists Looks at Love’, in which Montagu bravely admitted the importance nurturing plays in a child’s well-being and future functionality, and the horrific consequences caused by a lack of unconditional love. His account is so powerful I am re-including some of what he wrote here, as well as some parts of the paper that weren’t included earlier that refer to the ‘psychopathic’ consequences of not receiving unconditional love: ‘love is, without question, the most important experience in the life of a human being…The newborn baby…wants love. He behaves as if he expected to be loved, and when his expectation is thwarted, he reacts in a grievously disappointed manner…If it doesn’t receive love it is unable to give it—as a child or as an adult…Criminal, delinquent, neurotic, psychopathic, asocial, and similar forms of unfortunate behavior can, in the majority of cases, be traced to a childhood history of inadequate love…children who have not been adequately loved grow up to be persons who find it extremely difficult to understand the meaning of love…they tend to be thoughtless and inconsiderate. They have little emotional depth…they often seek ways of achieving power…Occasionally, when they attain prodigious political power as in the case of such unloved creatures as Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, they commit horrendous atrocities and subject humanity to irreparable damage. It is quite evident that the tragedy these men brought to the world was principally due to their incapacity to love…If one doesn’t love oneself one cannot love others. To make loving order in the world we must first have had loving order made in ourselves…love is demonstrable, it is sacrificial, it is self-abnegative [self-denying]. It puts the other always first. It is not a cold or calculated altruism, but a deep complete involvement with another. Love is unconditional…Love is the principal developer of one’s capacity for being human, the chief stimulus for the development of social competence’.
As the epidemic of the psychologically crippled state of ADHD and autism shows, what happens as upset anger, egocentricity and alienation increases is that eventually a threshold is reached where there is so much anger, egocentricity and alienation in the population that the great majority of children can no longer cope with the extent of the upset they encounter and a dysfunctional generation appears where there is a predominance of individuals who are either narcissistic power addicts or psychologically crippled. And it is this threshold, this terminal level of alienation, that Devine and the TIME magazine story have described as having now been reached at the forefront of human progress, which is mostly in the ‘developed’ Western world.
So yes, under the duress of the human condition there have basically been three varieties of resigned, alienated humans: those who received unconditional love; those who received conditional love (basically, non-love) and are still trying to resist the implication that they are unworthy and bad and as a result have become power addicts; and those who received either no love or so much conditional love that they were unable to resist the implication that they are unworthy and bad and as a result have had to dissociate from that terrifying, unbearable conclusion and, as a result of that, are psychologically crippled. The first category are those that our society has recognised as being ‘functional’ while the second and third categories are those that have been described as ‘dysfunctional’. Another honest description we have had for these three states was, respectively, ‘relatively secure’, ‘very insecure’ and ‘extremely insecure’. However, with the world reaching end play states of upset, the proportion of the population that is dysfunctionally alienated is becoming near total.
As a result, finding a secure, well-adjusted, functional ‘soft handed’ manager in a company now is almost unheard of, for they are nearly all power addicts. And once power addicts gain control of a company it really is the beginning of the end for that company—it will become dysfunctional because, as emphasised, power addicts are tyrannical and find anything that resembles criticism unbearable, such as criticism of their own ideas or having their mistakes pointed out. They are simply not effective free thinkers, which good business leaders need to be. And nor do they tolerate any perceived threat to their power base—as the adage goes, ‘A’s employ A’s and B’s employ C’s’, with A’s being those who have been nurtured and are, as a result, relatively secure and therefore not threatened by talented people and eager to employ other A’s. Insecure B’s, on the other hand, will only employ C’s because once in power they don’t want anybody more functional than themselves usurping them. As a result, the company becomes dysfunctional.
And as with individuals in households and companies, the same process can be applied in the context of entire countries, just on a larger scale. What happens in this case is that when the proportion of power addicts in a country increases to a certain critical point ‘right’ suddenly no longer has the clout to win out over ‘might’, at which point dysfunctional tyrants are able to take control with terrifying consequences for both their country’s population and, as history has shown, that of neighbouring countries. Yes, just as children and wives of tyrannical men in family situations are unable to fight back and are crushed, tyrannical dictators can crush entire populations; the rise of Mussolini’s totally ruthless, fascist ‘Blackshirts’ in Italy prior to the Second World War, and Hitler’s ascension to power and invasion of eastern Europe are obvious examples. Tyrants such as these, and Napoleon and Stalin, have only been able to seize control when the number of power addicts in a population surpassed a critical point where the remaining soundness was no longer able to withstand their extreme intensity and defy them. As will be described shortly, the reason England has so often in the history of Europe been able to defeat tyrants there and elsewhere can be put down to its island isolation, which meant it was still sufficiently sheltered from much of the upset in the world, still sound enough, still free enough of power addicts, to stand against those tyrants who had taken over control of countries on the continent where, by inference, the tipping point of too many power addicts in the population had been surpassed.
Of course, it follows that the same process of a threshold of dysfunctionality eventually being reached within individuals, families, genders, generations, companies, ‘races’ and countries also applies to entire civilisations. When history books talk of great civilisations, such as the Greek and Roman Empires, and many others, becoming decadent, the main feature of that decadence was the dysfunctionality that resulted from having a majority of overly egocentric, insecure power addicts; there was simply not enough sound, functional, soulful generosity, fairness, honesty, sensitivity, humility and equanimity left in the system for it to remain functional. Once everyone wanted glory at all costs and there was no interest in truth or fairness—no interest in others, no moral strength—the system simply collapsed. And it is this threshold of power-addict-produced, decadent dysfunctionality that has now been reached in modern Western civilisation, having, as our history books describe, already been reached in older civilisations around the world. So we can now understand exactly why and how the ‘self-centred’, ‘narcissism’ of ‘The Me Me Me Generation’ of the present ‘80 million strong…biggest age group in American history’ Y-generation that was described earlier ‘could bring about the end of civilization as we know it’. The dire situation for our species has been reached where there are now no countries left that don’t have a predominance of power addicts. Yes, recall the title of Miranda Devine’s article: ‘Face it, we are all narcissists now.’ God forbid, but it has come to this, a world of power addicts and cripples; a planet of chronically insecure humans; a complete madhouse. And since communication technology has shrunk the world in the sense of making it one civilisation, the whole world has, in essence, reached the end play state of terminal alienation. This breakthrough understanding of the human condition and the transformation of the human race it makes possible has truly arrived without a moment to spare!
Yes, while, as mentioned earlier, psychologists have learnt that it is all but impossible to reform power addicts—that ‘no amount of counselling seems to change them’—the new Transformed Way of Living that is made possible by the finding of understanding of the human condition enables all humans, even power addicts, to let go of their old competitive, power-fame-fortune-and-glory-seeking existence and transform their lives to a state free of that preoccupation. Having found understanding of the upsetting battle humans have had to wage against the ignorance of our instinctive self as to the fundamental goodness of our conscious self, preoccupation with that battle can at last end. Amongst the Founding Membership of the World Transformation Movement there are power addicts who have freed themselves of their affliction by taking up the Transformed Way of Living. The affirmations of the Transformed State given by WTM Founding Members Jοhn Bіggs, James West and Nick Shaw, for example, that can be viewed and/or read at , provide confirmation of this wonderful potential.
Again, the all-important fundamental truth that understanding of the human condition reveals is that upset is a heroic state, not a bad, evil, unworthy one. While all humans are variously upset as a result of their different encounters with humanity’s heroic battle to overthrow ignorance, all humans are equally good and worthwhile. Understanding the cause of the upset state of the human condition eliminates the possibility of the prejudicial views of some people, genders, generations, ‘races’, countries or civilisations being good and therefore superior and others being bad, evil, unGodly and therefore inferior and unworthy. It is a simple and obvious truth that the longer and/or more intensely a person or a gender or a generation or a ‘race’ or a country or a civilisation has been engaged in humanity’s great battle to overthrow ignorance, the more upset and ego-embattled they unavoidably will have become. As mentioned, more will be said about the differences in alienation between ‘races’ and countries next, in chapter 8:16E.
So the power addict state is really only one of the extreme, end play results of the human condition, of 2 million years of generation after generation of humans trying to prove that they are good and not bad. Of course, any lack of reinforcement—and it has to be remembered that humans’ original instinctive expectations are of receiving complete reinforcement during their infancy and childhood—can cripple or egocentrically embattle a person; for example, children who are exposed to extreme ill-treatment, such as sexual abuse, are obviously likely to become horrifically psychologically crippled. But the biggest crippling influence on all children everywhere has been mothers’ alienation from their natural nurturing instincts, and oppression from egocentricity, especially the extreme egocentricity of fathers. Yes, the upset state of the human condition in both mothers and fathers has had devastating psychological effects on children—especially mothers during their infancy, and fathers during their childhood. But again, this is all only another product of the end play state of terminal levels of alienation in the world.