Political Ponerology

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See more information on this seminal book at the blog.

This book is noteworthy in that it documents the scientific studies conducted by the author and many others in the aftermath of WWII during the Stalinist regime in Poland – on the nature of the evil and terror that has just left its mark on history in the tragedies of WWII. The book is important because the underlying dynamics are not specific to WWII, but are general human features that need to be understood because of their profound, often undetected, effects on society. The author produced hard evidence regarding the nature of this evil. His conclusions on the underlying psychosis are sobering. This book is not for the fainthearted, but it is an honest analysis on the self-selection and rise to power of forces in society that lack a critical component – a working conscience. This author is also absolutely optimistic – in that he provides clues of how society could develop immunity to the macrosocial phenomena addressed. Thus, it is also a survival guide for those daring to question the world. As stated in the preface, “…this book is the most important book you will ever read. Unless, of course, you are a psychopath.”


Email to Reviewer

Hi Howard, I have ready your review of Political Ponerology and posted it here -  https://wiki.opensourceecology.org/wiki/Political_Ponerology I read the critical Amazon reviews and don't know what to make of them. The editor of the book is certainly a questionable person. When reading the book, my main impression was that the author promised hard data on the facts, but at the end, the reader was left with less than promised. I excused it at the time as the data was lost as Lobaczewski was persecuted and manuscripts burned, so he could only mention his best recollection of the real data. While the real data may be lost, the general message is profound. Namely - as far as I recall - Lobaczewski the 4% undetected psychopathy rate of the population came from Lobaczewski. Do you have any further insights that indicate the book is not authentic? Have you ever found any other translations of the book other than that by the Red Pill Press? I looked at the Wikipedia comments, and Stanislaw Lem, father of a friend, appears to be a credible source vouching for the importance or relevance of the book, with which I clearly agree. I'd like to find more information on this, as referring to a controversial editor and publisher appears to detract from the authority of the book. In my opinion, this is clearly one of the most important books that one will ever read about how society works, and I wanted to contribute to the further development of the subject matter..  Marcin --

Response, May 31, 2020


Which critical Amazon reviews are you referring to specifically?

I personally just tried to stick to the part of the book written by Lobaczewski and remain very aware that the additions and commentary by who I think you're referring to as the editor were not part of his original work. If the story is true of Lobaczewski's struggles to get the book out to the world on his own, then they did a service by at least getting his work to us. At the same time, instead of just putting out what he said and letting it speak for itself, they added certain thoughts. I just tried to be very conscious that those extra thoughts were not to be taken as part of Lobazczewski's own views.

I don't know about the harder data and exactly what Lobaczewski had before supposedly losing it.

The important thing is that this book lays out a framework and a hypothesis and we don't have to rely solely on its own claims. The reason I became interested in promoting ponerology as a field is that it goes well beyond Lobaczewski and this book. There are many researchers working on the science behind psychopathy, Cluster B personality disorders, the effect of people with those disorders in various types of systems and so on. So we are amassing more and more data from their work that we can use to assess our view of Lobaczewski's hypotheses and ideas. I write more about that on my page on ponerology as a whole ( http://www.systemsthinker.com/interests/ponerology/ ) and I started http://www.ponerologynews.com and its associated social media to document, among other things, the work of these researchers.

I haven't found any other translations, though I haven't really looked for them. And I have no more information about the background than you probably do. For all those reasons, it's important that people not just read this book, but then immerse themselves in the work of others in the fields related to it that provide further support and insight to the ideas Lobaczewski synthesized.

Thanks for getting in touch and let me know if you'd like to talk more about any of this.

Interview with Lobaczewski



MJ Comments

One practical consideration for me is that society would benefit from psychological testing of politicians and CEOs. This is naturally highly controversial, but it appears to be a natural prerequisite for public service. If someone is to serve others, is it not rational for the public to be guaranteed that the individual has the capacity to govern effectively? People do background checks for work. It appears that psychological health should be added to the background check - and not according to industry-standard metrics of psychological competence - but those standards augmented with insights from Lobaczewski's book.

The assumption for the above is that it is possible to create an adequate protocol for testing. Clearly there is no test available today. But it would be useful if effort was made to create such a test, which is simply part of the due diligence done prior to giving any individual a significant amount of responsibility.


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