A Three illusions poem by me.
THE SONG OF SIMPLY EVERYTHING.
The savage sun, the busy ant.
Stupendous oak, a young green plant.
Gargantuan El Capitan
A ghost of smoke, a baby’s hand.
Fossilised tooth from ancient shark.
Trilobite from Cambrian spark.
Laptop keyboard on which I type.
Sweet aroma of mangoes ripe.
These things are all of atoms made.
Obey the laws of physics played
Out at small scales we cannot see.
Atoms are you, atoms are me.
Atoms are love, atoms are death.
Atoms write songs. Atoms are breath.
Only they are reality.
All else is mere plurality.
Story created by the brain.
Its primitive way to explain
Why things happen and who we are.
A convenient story arc
That tells us we are in control.
And thrusts us down into a hole
Of ego, identity, soul.
The cause of all our pain and grief.
Preventing permanent relief.
Atoms are ocean, wind and sand
And the baby’s head in my hand.
You and me and everybody
Are nothing more, nothing to see.
There is no magic that controls
Our thoughts, decisions and impulse
To laugh and cry, and dance and sing
To love and hate, or work or bring
To life a play or write a verse.
Atoms wrote this and much, much worse.
So when life throws you for a curve
Teach your brain to simply observe
That atoms are what’s happening
And everything else that you see
Faces and names and pain and grief
Are like characters on TV
Who seem so real to you and me
Yet understand that all they are
Is dots on a screen, from afar.
Our brain sees patterns and it tries
To make them things we recognise.
Do we lose sleep when someone dies
On TV? Or do we know
That TV people are just glow-
Ing lights that are not really real?
So too it is with you and me.
Don’t believe the image we see.
Remember what is at the core.
And don’t ask me what it is for.
Atoms emerged from the Big Bang.
Elemental forces that sang
Out when the universe was young.
And ever since then, they have sung
The song of all that is to be.
The song of you, the song of me.
That’s what they do – they sing their song.
And all of us just sing along.
We are the atoms that do sing
The song of simply everything.
We tend to shun the concept of the willing killer because it offends our kinder sensibilities, but a controlled psychopath is an asset on the killing fields. Those who possess such a temperament are natural killers and many have served this country well. The problem lies in identifying these individuals and positioning them where they can be most effective.
A natural killer is a person who has a predisposition to kill—he enjoys combat and feels little or no remorse about killing the enemy. These men have existed throughout the history of warfare, and their feats have often been hailed as heroic. They constitute less than 4 percent of the force, yet some studies show that they do almost half of the killing.
(excerpt from Natural Killers —Turning the Tide of Battle by Major David S. Pierson, US Army)
“My name is Andy McNab and I’m a psychopath.” Author of Bravo Two Zero, the story of his time as part of an eight-man Special Forces operation behind enemy lines in Iraq during the first Gulf War. “For me, I realize the people I’ve killed are human beings,” he says. “But I think, you know, So what? It’s all part of the game.“
“Members of elite or special forces are high functioning psychopaths,” writes CJ Werleman.
He points out that they are sometimes referred to as “compassionate psychopaths” – which seems to be a contradiction. Psychopaths, by definition, don’t have much empathy, therefore would struggle to be compassionate.
He asks the question:
“The question citizens of the US and other Western democracies must now ask whether they wish to have their streets and communities patrolled and set upon by “compassionate” or high-functioning psychopaths, who hold little or no emotional or physical connection to the city to which they have been deployed, on behalf of increasingly authoritarian governments?”
Psychopaths are everywhere in the news today but nobody (except me) is calling them that. Which is part of the problem. We don’t recognise psychopathy when we see it, so we do nothing systematic about handling it.
This story about NZ politicians doing stupid things might be signs of psychopathy. Of course it could just be normal stupid human tricks, but a) we know psychopaths are attracted to power, so there is likely to be a higher concentration of them in politics than in society in general; and b) you would think that people in positions of power and high media visibility would know not to do such stupid things that might be more understandable in people who aren’t so much in the spotlight.
And this story about people not obeying COVID isolation rules after entering QLD is another indication of psychopaths because a) they don’t think the rules apply to them; and b) they don’t care about the welfare of others, so making a bunch of people sick, maybe even dying, and destroying the economy, is something that would hardly register in their minds.
It’s a weird experience to watch your kids break out on their own. Often these days I look at my older boys and think “where the hell did you come from?” They are running around as young entrepreneurs doing things I barely understand.
I’ve got three boys. Taylor Reilly is 19. He’s been getting a ton of media coverage lately about his entrepreneurial adventures. Hunter Reilly is also 19. He’s got over 200,000 followers on TikTok and millions of views. Fox is only 6 and thinks his big brothers are legends. He doesn’t have a social media profile yet but keeps asking me to make TikTok videos of him.
I’m quite sure one of these days they are all going to be far more successful than I am – and that’s a good thing. As a parent I can’t think of anything more fantastic.
I just read this great post by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic (Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup and a Professor of Business Psychology at University College London (UCL) and Columbia University, co-founder of Metaprofiling and Deeper Signals, author of ‘Confidence: How much you really need it and how to get it’, and ‘The Talent Delusion: Why data – not intuition – is key to unlocking human potential’) on Forbes “Are Narcissistic Leaders As Confident As They Appear?“.
He talks about how narcissism often masks a deep feeling of insecurity and how “their confidence is unlikely to reflect actual competence”. So what happens when you get insecure, incompetent narcissists who manage to talk themselves into positions of leadership? As Tomas points out, when you get leaders who “display a type of narcissism that shows no traces of insecurity, let alone self-awareness” and which “coexists with psychopathic tendencies”, this can become “a particularly brutal and toxic cocktail”.
I’ve reached out to Tomas via Twitter to see if he’d be willing to come on my podcast for The Psychopath Epidemic to discuss further.
You can now watch Marketing The Messiah online! Go here to rent or buy. It’s not on Netflix, etc…. yet. You can only get it on our site for now.
The best way to tell if someone is a narcissist is apparently just to ask them. A narcissist will reply “oh yeah, I’m a narcissist”. It’s called the Single Item Narcissism Scale test. I learned this during my recent interview with neuroscientist David Chester for the Psychopath Epidemic podcast.