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Dangers on the dark side

2017-5-18 06:27| 发布者: 岁月如歌| 查看: 139| 评论: 0

摘要: Researchers have uncovered a cluster of characteristics called “the dark triad”: psychopathy (cold, callous ruthlessness); Machiavellianism (manipulative game-playing); and narcissism (me-me-me gran ...
Researchers have uncovered a cluster of characteristics called “the dark triad”: psychopathy (cold, callous ruthlessness); Machiavellianism (manipulative game-playing); and narcissism (me-me-me grandiosity). In tests, people who score highly on one of these traits also do so on the other two.

The triad is more common among senior managers and celebrities than in the general population. A study of 200 American senior managers, for example, found psychopathy was six times more common in them, while a British study revealed significantly more narcissism in senior managers than in mentally ill inmates of a prison hospital for violent offenders. The menagerie of charmers and deceivers who were paraded before Lord Justice Leveson in his inquiry into phone-hacking by the British press also illustrated that the triad is endemic in our ruling elite.

The amount of triadic behaviour has generally increased in developed nations, particularly since the 1980s. Narcissism among Americans has ballooned since the 1960s, their egos inflated by the shift from collectivism to individualism. That change was accelerated in Britain by “greed is good” Thatcherism.

Thatcher’s children, the millennials, have a “me-me-me” self-focus, looking out for number one. They are soaked in her market amorality. Debt-laden, faced with a deposit mountain to climb to afford a flat, why would they not be like this?

Yet history has not ended. A person of my vintage (63) was brought up living in the shadow of potential nuclear mushroom clouds and no one predicted the relatively bloodless collapse of the Soviet Union. Equally, when I left university in 1976, the highest-status jobs were social work and university lectureships. Monty Python’s figures of greatest fun were accountants. Graduates going into the City were regarded as having “sold out”.

If you had told me in 1979 that three years later young people would be using the brilliantly funny ethnographic satire The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook — author Peter York’s witty dissection of a tranche of London society — as a manual for upward mobility, I would have laughed in your face.

If changes as massive as the collapse of the Soviet Union or Thatcherism can occur, so could others, like the implosion of America or China. It has been said before that the US is much more fragile than it might appear. It’s not advisable to tell a population that “anyone can be president” while ensuring there is minimal social mobility and making guns freely available to anyone with a driving licence.

Very like the US, China is a mix of ethnicities and cultures; a cobbled-together nation state that has entrenched inequalities. While large swathes of its population live in relative affluence, many still scrabble to survive. China could implode if its increasing affluence slows down too quickly.

Both countries have revolutionary traditions; ours is much more conservative. But it cannot be assumed the British population will put up indefinitely with declining living standards and rising inequality.

Jeremy Corbyn may lack charisma, but under his leadership Labour has become the party with the most members in Europe. His very lack of triadic flash and spin could enable him to become someone who is widely trusted. Few can question his integrity or sincerity, despite concerted media efforts to rubbish him.

When, rather than if, we hit the next economic crash, it is conceivable that the drop in living standards will prove fertile ground.

If Corbyn were to present the electorate with the option of becoming like Scandinavia — equitable, greater job security, widespread renationalisation of utilities — that could have massive appeal.

If so, the triadic would have to go back into hiding.

Oliver James is a chartered psychologist and psychotherapist and author of Affluenza: How to be Successful and Stay Sane


跟普通人相比,黑暗三合一在高管和名流身上更为常见。例如,针对200名美国高管的一项研究发现,他们发生精神变态的比例是常人的6倍,而英国的一项研究显示,高管的自恋率显著高于一家监狱医院中有精神疾病的暴力罪犯。在大法官莱韦森(Lord Justice Leveson)对英国新闻界从事电话窃听展开的调查中,一个接一个骗子和魅力十足的人在他面前“表演”,这也表明,黑暗三合一在我们的统治精英当中很常见。



然而历史并未终结。像我这样年龄的人(63岁)在核爆炸蘑菇云随时可能升起的阴影下长大,当年谁也没有预料到苏联会遭遇不那么血腥的解体。同样,当我1976年大学毕业时,地位最高的工作是社会工作和大学讲师。《蒙提?派森》(Monty Python)中最有趣的人物是会计师。投奔伦敦金融城的毕业生被视为“出卖了自己”。

如果你在1979年告诉我,三年后,年轻人会把非常好笑的讽刺作品《上流社会青年指南》(The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook)——作者彼得?约克(Peter York)对伦敦社会一个阶层的风趣剖析——作为向上流动的指南,我会当面嘲笑你。




杰里米?科尔宾(Jeremy Corbyn)也许缺乏领导魅力,但在他的领导下,英国工党已成为欧洲成员最多的政党。恰恰是缺少黑暗三合一式的光鲜和哗众取宠,可能使他成为一个被广泛信任的人。尽管媒体异口同声把他说得一无是处,但很少有人质疑他的正直或真诚。




奥利弗?詹姆斯是特许心理学家和心理治疗师,著有《富贵病:如何既成功又保持理智》(Affluenza: How to be Successful and Stay Sane)一书







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