In studying the PTS/SP course, it seemed to me that there was a missing definition, an aspect of human behavior that was not covered in the course.
I felt this way as I had come across people in Scientology who were very destructive, and who yet were looked upon as being fantastic people, people who were valuable, and who seemingly could do no wrong. I found this strange, as I had had personal dealing with such people, and found them bordering on criminal in their actions. I could not understand how other people could not see through their lies, and how they thought that such people were more like heroes, never to be questioned.
It was not just a simple matter of these types of people being supremely 1.1. No, that was not it. And they did not necessarily fit the characteristics of a “suppressive.” No, this was an entirely different brand of evil. And as this is not covered in the tech of Scientology, to me it is a particularly dangerous brand of evil.
Then I came across the following article, and finally knew what I was looking at:
Please don’t make the mistake of saying, “oh yes, sociopath – that’s the same as an SP. And I already know all about SPs, therefore I don’t need to learn anything further.” That’s known as thought-stopping, a phenomenon that deserves its own post. One of the biggest barriers to learning something is thinking you already know it.
In my opinion, “Suppressive Person” has always been primarily used as a political term in Scientology. Sure, there’s a list of “Characteristics of an Anti-Social Personality” in the Ethics book, but come on, really, when was the last time you saw someone methodically going down through that checklist before declaring someone? And when was the last time you saw someone declared SP who actually had a majority of those characteristics? No, it’s a way to label and isolate people who challenge the power and authority of the Church.
Still want to argue with me on this point? All right, consider this: according to PTS Rundown technology one cannot name senior Scientology executives or Scientology principals as one’s item in a PTS Rundown. And you wonder why people “can’t spot” a management terminal as an SP? Because they’re not allowed to. Technically.
My own view is that the reason Scientologists cannot spot some well-known Scientologists for who they are has nothing to do with not knowing how to spot an SP. It’s because they don’t know how to spot a sociopath.
All right. So let’s jump right in here with one of the most-used lists of the characteristics of a sociopath, as developed by Dr Hervey Cleckley, pioneer in the study of psychopathy and author of The Mask of Sanity, and Robert D. Hare, an expert in the field of criminal psychology.
1. Glibness and superficial charm: Glib is used here in the sense of being able to use language effortlessly to beguile, confuse and convince others. The sociopath is able to exude self-confidence and can be very convincing.
2. Manipulative and conning: Sociopaths do not recognize the individuality or rights of others, and so there are no checks on their behavior. They only see two types of people, suckers and sinners. People are either enemies or tools to be used. The sociopath discharges powerful feelings of terror and rage by humiliating and dominating others.
3. Grandiose sense of self: The sociopathic leader always has to be at the center of attention. He has tremendous feelings of entitlement, and feels he is owed money and luxury by right.
4. Pathological Lying: Sociopaths lie coolly and easily. A sociopath in the position of a cult leader will tend to invent a whole belief system about his history and abilities
5. Lack of remorse, shame or guilt: People, to a sociopath, are targets or tools. They are opportunities or obstacles. For a sociopath, the ends always justify the means, because they feel they are the only valid moral arbiter.
6. Shallow emotions: Sociopaths can exhibit violent bursts of emotion, usually rage or anger, but these are usually calculated to produce a result. Positive emotions of compassion, love, warmth or joy are not felt or exhibited, except as a deliberate show to achieve some end.
7. Incapacity for love: The sociopath demands love and admiration from followers, but is skeptical and cynical about any love or loyalty offered. The ‘loyalty” of followers is sometimes tested in cruel and bizarre ways.
8. Need for stimulation: The sociopath will indulge in bizarre behavior, punishments and lies. They get stimulation through unexpected outbursts, verbal abuse and physical punishments.
9. Callousness and lack of empathy: The sociopath makes no real connection with people, and often expresses contempt or ridicule for people’s real feelings. Whatever “people skills” they have are used to exploit others.
10. Poor behavioral controls and impulsive nature: When a child throws a tantrum, it can be annoying or frustrating. When an adult throws a tantrum, it can be terrifying. The sociopathic leader believes he is omnipotent, all-powerful and entitled to indulge any whim. Followers tend to rationalize and justify the sociopath’s behavior and hide aberrant behavior from outsiders.
11. Early behavior problems and juvenile delinquency;
12. Irresponsibility and unreliability: Sociopaths are oblivious to the pain they cause others, or the lives they ruin. It’s not their problem or their responsibility.
13. Promiscuous sexual behavior and infidelity;
14. Lack of realistic life plan and parasitic lifestyle: Sociopathic cult leaders live a luxurious lifestyle while their followers are impoverished.
15. Criminal or entrepreneurial versatility.
Ordinary people, which is to say sane people, who are confronted with a sociopathic personality often do not recognize what they are looking at. The sociopath appears to be powerful, confident and very sure of himself. Having no experience in dealing with people who lack any empathy or moral compass, people will try to rationalize the sociopath’s behavior, to make sense of it. They will mistake his icy coldness and volatile temper for “intensity” or “dedication.”
I know I did when I was at the Int Base. Seeing a grown man throw a temper tantrum like a petulant child, scream and yell and threaten and attack others is a shocking experience. People tend to blame themselves for making the leader mad, or for not doing a good enough job and upsetting him. We tend to take it all on ourselves, and make excuse after excuse for the leader.
By Jeff Hawkins
In addition to the comprehensive list of characteristics Jeff gave above, I have also found the following:
Sociopaths believe their own lies utterly.
They are also skilled at subtly altering the truth so that it is close enough to the truth, whilst painting an entirely different picture, thereby favouring themselves, and black PRing the other party. They do this by, amongst other things, omitting vital data, or by altering it.
Sociopaths can be very successful at what they do, as they PR others and use the resources of others to help them along. However, they grant no beingness to those who helped them, and regard that only they themselves can do anything successful, and that all others are useless, and depend on the sociapath to get any products. They also assume that products achieved by others have actually been achieved by themselves.
Why did L. Ron Hubbard never describe the characteristics of the sociopath? Well, can a sociopath spot his own flaws?