Part IV—Corruption by Stealth
Originally I wrote this as part of a series for Op-Ed News,* but the ouster of COTO left that site hostile to this article’s content. Rady Ananda, who had been encouraging me, was gone. I have rewritten it for more clarity, to eliminate inappropriate assumptions, one of which is that many people would have been motivated to read Andrew Lobaczewski’s Political Ponerology, and to try to keep Oliver from sounding like such a dweeb. He is the hero of the story and the point of my article is that even very shy, neurotic, average people can make a big difference. What’s important is to spot the signs of trouble and take action.
Because I am describing a real incident which still causes suffering to people who endured it, I must remain anonymous to protect others’ identities.
What happens on a mass scale also happens on the local scale. Key individuals have held the would-be tyrants at bay before in America, but this time, it’s too late. We must ride through the storm of pathocracy in all its monstrous manifestations, like a fever that must be undergone in order to achieve recovery (and it is likely to happen again in a couple hundred years because people forget). On a smaller scale, however, I hope my article might prove useful in preventing a beneficial organization from being hijacked by infiltrators or other people with hidden motives.
Corruption of Religion
I had an opportunity a few years back to meet one of Japan’s elites, the son of a hereditary high priest of a well-favored shrine. I would describe him as highly protected, but in no way pampered. In his late twenties, he’d been sent to another shrine for harsh training which included rising pre-dawn every day to run barefoot over ice in winter to the ocean where the trainees undertook a ferocious sort of baptism called misogi (he says the ocean felt nice and warm). This is a central practice of Shinto.
In a rare moment of candidness, he said that some of the shrine’s customers bringing groups of pilgrims had been particularly abusive, claiming special abilities, and some were downright “crazy.” This sparked a furor as the listeners interpreted “crazy” in personal ways, and one commented that it was these crazy people claiming special abilities that were bringing people into new acquaintance with Shinto. She had a valid point.
Oliver (not his real name), whose case I describe below, was abused by a gang of such crazies, but nonetheless found happiness through his religious order and was able to distance himself from the insanity. Still, he would agree with the young priest: the crazies occur in all religions and pose enough of a danger to merit attention.
“He who wants a rose must respect the thorn,” says an ancient proverb on paradoxes. Religion is a powerful force, bringing wisdom and happiness to many, but is also a favorite province of abusive manipulators. Oliver says he is grateful to the “crazies” because without them he would never have “found the happiness” he says religion brought to his life. But he is also grateful to the people, both foreign and Japanese, who pointed out how he was allowing himself to be abused. With no one keeping an eye on the situation, he says, a cult could have arisen that might have caused serious harm to many.
In Political Ponerology, Lobaczewski described how “secondary ponerological unions” could arise under the guise of humanistic organizations such as religions and political action groups. They are not as commonly encountered as “primary ponerological unions” (gangs and other patently malicious groups) because it takes more talent, stealth and cunning to infiltrate a beneficial organization without people noticing. It requires a person with an uncommon ability to espouse a flawed philosophy, and persuade others of its wholesomeness, that allows psychopathic individuals to move in and find comfortable, secure, advantageous positions from which they can inflict their damage. This involves downplaying increasingly notable flaws. The latter is more easily accomplished than it would seem, because normal people are in the habit (as COTO members find so vexing) of giving everybody, including rank scoundrels and proven liars, the benefit of the doubt.
When I initially wrote this article, I proposed Milton Friedman as an excellent example of the kind of talent Lobaczewski described, but I must admit to lacking extensive information on the man as a person. In Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein describes how over the years, he overcame resistance to economic ideas espoused by the Chicago School, which for decades had been anathema, because those had been the kind of policies–privatization, deregulation and reduction of government–that had led to economic and humanitarian disasters earlier in the century. Gradually, his ideas found proponents who gained advantages thereby, and they ultimately made the “Washington Consensus,” as it came to be called, America’s and increasingly the world’s official economic policy. Under Friedman’s direction, the “Chicago boys” in Pinochet’s Chile did what all good psychopaths do: they ransacked the economy. Never mind the mayhem, Friedman said that if problems remained, it only meant the proponents had not been thorough enough. A normal person would have been horrified at what happened on account of his “big ideas” getting implemented like that. It takes a special kind of person to pull this off.
In Chapter V of Political Ponerology, Lobaczewski describes the genesis of the generalized hysteria in which evil thrives. Of persons who play a key initiating role in pathocracy, he says, “They are generally discriminated against in some way by society, which uses a moralizing interpretation with regard to their failings and difficulties, although these individuals are rarely guilty of them in the precise terms of morality. They would like to change this unfriendly world into something else. Dreams of power also represent overcompensation for the feeling of humiliation.”
He says it is not the psychopaths themselves who play the first crucial role in creating a pathocracy, but rather a class of people he calls “schizoidal psychopaths,” or “schizoids.” He describes this hereditary trait as, “hypersensitive and distrustful, while, at the same time, pay[ing] little attention to the feelings of others. They tend to assume extreme positions, and are eager to retaliate for minor offenses. Sometimes they are eccentric and odd. Their poor sense of psychological situation and reality leads them to superimpose erroneous, pejorative interpretations upon other people’s intentions. They easily become involved in activities which are ostensibly moral, but which actually inflict damage upon themselves and others. Their impoverished psychological worldview makes them typically pessimistic regarding human nature.” http://www.ponerology.com/psychopaths_3.html
The individual Oliver described playing such a role was insecure. He was terribly sensitive to criticism, responding to it with bluster. He also had a flawed sense of morality that easily discounted others’ suffering, as seen in his working life, where he bragged of falsifying test data to save money for his company. Luckily, he was not a good writer, or he would have been more effective, according to Lobaczewski, because most readers cannot question an author directly. What we tend to do is fill in gaps with what we imagine someone means. The jolly cohort of psychopaths see through the gaps where we don’t, and what they see is a golden opportunity to manipulate a morally blind person. They come to him fawning and flattering. The schizoid is delighted. He gathers more of these sympathetic people around him and gives them special consideration.
Brother Oliver’s mentor, Mr. I, was considered a kind-hearted, but nervous geek. Foreigners like Oliver, never listened to his one-sided, long-winded tirades. Even if they understood Japanese, they didn’t follow his line of reasoning very far. They assumed it was just going over their heads. With the Japanese, it is harder to say. They tend to be polite even when they think someone is a jerk. In any case, many people agreed with the basic ideas he presented and they considered the hours he spent alone in the forest with only his thoughts keeping him company to be proof that they were well thought out.
He managed to gather around him a contingent of people, both foreign and Japanese with a variety of personality flaws ranging from narcissism to extreme lack of self confidence to frank psychopathy. At one point, he almost had a cult (of which he was very proud), but that was thwarted by action taken by a few of the elder Brethren. At one point, even the elders had been elbowed out by a newcomer more sympathetic to Mr. I’s wishes.
The story that follows is a fiction based on Brother Oliver’s observations together with my own observations of similar groups. All names in the story that follows are fictional, and their actual genders and nationalities are secret. I will only let on that Mr. I (for “inspirer”) was Japanese because I want to document that his rare talent arises among the Japanese as well as other people. But his gender is irrelevant, and I will not confirm it.
The Divine Heart Sect
The story begins with a mountain-ringed sub-alpine community under duress because a dam construction project was being forced upon it by an insensitive bureaucracy. The reservoir would flood the lower reaches of the valley, including ancestral homes and fields. The highway was to be rerouted through residents’ property. They were told it would bring them more economic opportunities and that new houses would be built for them from fabulous new materials. The problem was many of them had left Nagoya or other major cities to escape these very things which had been ruining their health, and the rest were proud of their community as it was.
So they held a few town meetings to discuss options. Many other places existed where a dam could have been built to help supply Nagoya’s burgeoning demand for electricity, so they scrounged around and scared up a few endangered butterflies living by the river, got some petitions going, documented the unanimity of the residents’ opposition to the dam, presented alternative plans, demonstrated in front of courthouses, and so on, but the project ground ahead “for the greater good” (i.e., palms had been greased, face was involved). So back to the drawing board. A lawyer told them that religious organizations enjoyed various legal protections, including some degree of respect for their property. It was too late to save the lower houses—they’d all been condemned already—but one of the houses in the path of the proposed highway was designated the “Meeting House” (now, alas, abolished and relocated) and a suitable mainstream religious organization was found (the Divine Heart Sect—also a fictitious name) with a liberal enough philosophy to be willing to train a number of residents for certification and grant tentative legal status to their Meeting House. This threw a monkey wrench into the bureaucrats’ plans, which would have to be reworked, taking much time and money and giving the town another shot at opposing the whole scheme.
At this point, most of the people involved were decent, caring citizens, and while they realized their motivation for forming a religious body wasn’t exactly religious, they put forward a sincere effort to learn about the Divine Heart Sect and apply its principles in their daily lives because they were so happy for the help. However, because everyone in the community, regardless of intent, had been encouraged to get involved, a small number of people with less than upstanding character joined in, and neither the Sect nor the community was motivated to discourage them. To the Sect, they were salvageable; to the community they were necessary for political momentum. Furthermore, most people were unwilling to recognize the negative direction these people were taking the community. “Things will work out,” they said with a smile, “Don’t be paranoid.” All the while a process had begun which Lobaczewski calls “inspissation” in which people with certain negative traits become more concentrated within an organization, eventually dominating it, with a “reverse gravitation” to the top. The Sect exacerbated this by making it too easy for the residents to gain qualifications conferring them “religious authority.” The community had been growing as news of the town’s successful stance against the all-powerful bureaucracy brought in new residents and participants to the services. This made the community, and the Sect, all the more attractive to people desiring authority and fame.
The old farmhouse blocking the bureaucrats’ proposed highway was annexed with a brand new meeting hall built to the Sect’s specifications, relying on donations and hard work by residents and non-residents alike. Services were held each Sunday under the direction of Brother Randolph, a long-standing member of the Divine Heart Sect, with the help of Brothers Yoshi and Shintaro, elderly community members with free time. Brother Randolph was the Sect’s emissary from its headquarters in Yokohama. He had decades of experience performing services, preaching and gaining converts. Brother Yoshi (now deceased) was an idealistic, frail elderly gentleman with a Christian background and sincere interest in the Sect. Randolph’s strong personality led him to bully Yoshi, questioning his sincerity. Yoshi could not understand why Randolph was being so unreasonable, but one thing Yoshi did not see was the insidious influence of his friend, Mr. I, to which Randolph was reacting. Randolph was aware that the town had had no real interest in the Sect until it became politically expedient, and, in fact, he was already running into trouble with Mr. I, whom Yoshi respected enormously. Therefore, he questioned Yoshi’s sincerity and, recognizing the danger of letting politically motivated individuals gain religious authority, he was testing Yoshi’s will, as he currently claims. Mr. I, of course, interpreted this to everyone who would listen as mere bullying and a couple of years later he teamed up with a rather sinister character I’ll call “Mr. E” (for enforcer) to oust Randolph in order to “protect Yoshi and other sensitive people in the community.”
Describing the concept of “paramoralisms,” Lobaczewski wrote “any insinuation framed in moral slogans is always suggestive, even if the ‘moral’ criteria used are just an ‘ad hoc’ invention.” This is how Messrs. I and E began to lead the Divine Heart Sect group in their town.
The Enforcers of Degeneration
Lobczewski wrote, “An ideology of a secondarily ponerogenic association is formed by gradual adaptation of the primary ideology to functions and goals other than the original…[Thus] a kind of layering or schizophrenia of ideology takes place. The outer layer closest to the original content is used for the group’s propaganda purposes…The second layer [is] generally composed by slipping a different meaning into the same names…Understanding this ‘doubletalk’ requires simultaneous fluency in both languages.”
Mr. E is what he called a “spellbinder.” Of these people he wrote, “In order to comprehend ponerogenic paths, especially those acting in a wider social context, let us observe the roles and personalities of individuals we shall call ‘spellbinders’ who are highly active in this area in spite of their statistically negligible number. They are generally the carriers of various pathological factors, some characteropathies, and some inherited anomalies.
“Spellbinders are characterized by pathological egotism. Such a person is forced by some internal causes to make an early choice between two possibilities: the first is forcing other people to think and experience things in a manner similar to his own; the second is a feeling of being lonely and different, a pathological misfit in social life. Sometimes the choice is either snake-charming or suicide.
“Triumphant repression of self-critical or unpleasant concepts from the field of consciousness gradually gives rise to conversive thinking, i.e. paramoralism.”
Mr. E had been instrumental all along to Mr. I. He was a good writer with skill at presenting the latter’s ideas in ways the Sect found acceptable. (Beyond that, I know very little except that many of the people who moved away from the town did so because they had gotten into trouble with Mr. E. He had a reputation as a ruthless persecutor.) Even so, the Sect had suspicions from the start and started maintaining a certain formal distance from the town’s affairs. Since Brother Randolph’s ouster, it has sent no further emissaries to the town. More recently, it has tightened up the requirements for qualification of new brethren.
Meanwhile, Shintaro, a clear trouble-maker that I suspect of psychopathy, who at one point nearly bankrupted the town to enrich his cronies, had remained aloof from the political intrigue, carefully placating all parties so as not to make enemies. He had therefore not attracted Brother Randolph’s harsh attention and, in fact, had gained the latter’s praise to a degree puzzling to an objective outside observer. Long estranged from his family, he had a tendency to utilize others for his personal needs. He has been known to brag about using his religious qualifications on a private basis for monetary profit. The services continued under the direction of Brothers Yoshi and Shintaro, joined by the very irreverent Brother Nobutaka, who liked the attention it gained him.
Then the bureaucrats made their next move, or perhaps it was one of their contractors, chafing at the delay. It started with graffiti and progressed to other minor acts of vandalism, with salt poured into the flower beds, supposedly in a purification ritual by a cultist nearby offended by the intrusion of a Christian group. Then early one morning, a drunk driver from another town careened off the road and crashed into the Meeting House’s vestibule. The bureaucrats swooped in to condemn it, but before they could do so, the whole town had come together to rebuild the vestibule and have the entire building certified by an independent contractor.
This episode solidified the Meeting House as the town’s central attraction, and brought in a wave of new supporters. Brothers Yoshi and Shintaro were both quite elderly at that point, and Brother Nobutaka lacked both experience and time. Loss of any of the three would threaten continuity of the services and leave the Meeting House vulnerable to condemnation. Three of the town’s younger men were motivated to join in a show of support. All three had charisma that the initial brethren lacked (including Brother Nobutaka to his chagrin). Mr. I was delighted. Mr. E called in the press.
Brother Oliver was a sincere adherent, having been brought up Christian, but lacked self confidence due to abuse as a child. The press zeroed in on him and, lacking confidence, he tried to turn them away, but failed even at that. It was he with the media circus at hand whom Mr. I first approached with the proposal of creating a new religion. Trusting, bashful, naive Brother Oliver had come to view Mr. I as entirely benevolent (and Brother Shintaro and Mr. E as authoritative, and the hapless Brother Yoshi as a victim). He was puzzled by murmurs at the Sect’s Headquarters that the town was fostering a new Aum Shinrikyo.* The proposal for a new religion stunned him. Of this moment, he recalls, “That was a real revelation. I mean, I was thinking that these people were the greatest. They had this wonderful social movement, and here was this opportunity for everyone to learn about one of the world’s great religions, and we weren’t overwhelmed by all the morality jazz. The fuddy-duddies at Headquarters just didn’t understand what was so wonderful about us. Then I suddenly saw the facade fall away. And it might as well have been, ‘the head priest has suddenly unzipped and is asking you to fondle him.’ That is how shocked I was. My mentor wanted me to fondle his little-bitty ego.”
Despite his shock, Oliver continued to serve, bullied by the narcissistic Nobutaka, who kept him busy with cleaning and other chores while he strutted around in his fine robes talking to visitors and the occasional journalist. Oliver confided in Brother Cho, who’d joined at the same time as he, about what Mr. I proposed and how he felt about it. Brother Cho, also shocked by this, found reasons to return to his home in China for a while, but returned to take an active part later on. Brother Andrew joined a few months later, claiming to be a Buddhist priest who had had a vision which had led him to the town (“Probably a ‘television,’” says Oliver). He took the training course and flunked it, but was brought on board anyway by Mr. I, who saw a lot of talent in the young man. And talented he was! “Talented at acting like a holy man,” says Oliver. (It turned out later he had no training in Buddhism whatsoever, and Mr. E hotly denied it had ever been claimed.) He immediately started reforming the Meeting House to his liking, saying God had come to him in a vision. He accused others of not understanding God—and there was plenty to justify this accusation. At least half of the people involved, including Mr. I, had no faith in God whatsoever. In many cases, he claimed the changes he was making were in keeping with Sect recommendations. Everyone was inclined to take his word, because the details of the service format were easy to forget and everyone at the Meeting House had been way too lax for years. Furthermore, they assumed he had some special source of knowledge which they lacked. When Oliver looked into it, however, he found the changes were not to the Sect’s standards and began to suspect that they were merely for Brother Andrew’s convenience because the latter had a poor memory and did not want to be embarrassed by questions.
Brother Andrew had astutely recognized where the political power in the town lay and befriended Mr. E so lavishly that there were hushed rumors of…oh, never mind. Oliver overheard Mr. I delightfully gurgling in his insipid way that he’d finally found someone to help him start a new religion. The psychopathic Brother Shintaro was all too happy to lend a hand in subordinating Brothers Nobutaka and Oliver to make way for the new star. He used his seniority to endorse the newcomer’s changes. Ceremonial items disappeared, and he accused Nobutaka and Oliver of being careless. One day, Andrew claimed Oliver’s sandals as his own and told him to go barefoot (unacceptable) or get lost. Kindly old Brother Yoshi was carefully kept out of the loop. (At that point, being quite frail, he rarely participated anyway.) Several weeks later, Oliver left, horrified at what was transpiring—it no longer even resembled Christianity–followed by Nobutaka after several miserable months of being publicly humiliated. The services were now a one-man show. The congregation began to fall away, disgusted with all the new holy commandments and burdened by prolonged pompous services. Brother Cho returned on occasion. Despite his seniority (respected as an important rule in Japan), he obeyed orders from the flamboyant upstart, Andrew, rationalizing his subordination as being in line with “less experience.” He reported on developments to his friend Oliver. Dissatisfaction fomented within the community, until Oliver finally took the initiative, threatening to tell the Sect Headquarters what was going on. Brother Cho relayed the threat to Mr. I who responded in turn by threatening suicide. The crisis resolved (and the community learned where the political power ultimately lay) when through negotiation, Mr. I got both Mr. E and Brother Andrew to agree to take their new religion elsewhere (where word has it they are a nuisance) and the Meeting House was restored to its original status and appearance, with the still narcissistic but generally reliable Nobutaka presiding, joined by Brother Cho and two more newcomers.
Interestingly, with regard to the confrontation that ousted Mr. E and Brother Andrew, restoring the organization’s original purpose, Lobaczewski says this kind of confrontation is a typical part of the ponerization process, but more often the psychopathic newcomer proves to be the stronger party, casting out the initiator (Mr. I, in this case), who has finished serving his purpose. Despite the loss of their original venue, Mr. E and Andrew continue to recruit their own cult members at another site, but at least the Meeting House (now relocated) continues with its original community-oriented purpose. For a long time, Mr. I continued to solicit recruits among newcomers with various personality problems, but he has since been persuaded not to involve himself so highly in the town’s affairs. This indicates that communities can learn valuable lessons from such experiences.
One real problem, that was a key factor in the corruption of the Meeting House, was that in past times the Sect had always based selection of its brethren on the recommendations of mentors within the Sect, who would train candidates in the basics before sending them to Headquarters for certification. Because of the urgency and time limitations in establishing the Meeting House in this case, Brother Randolph broke with this tradition, but tried to compensate for it by testing Brother Yoshi. Somehow in the course of this, Mr. I gained the authority to select candidates, probably on the recommendations of Yoshi and Shintaro, for their respective reasons (the former being victimized and the latter being opportunistic). The Sect has not addressed the key problem of ease in acquiring qualifications, but instead has reacted by intensifying its training course, making it more difficult for everyone, sincere and experienced or otherwise, to gain qualifications, including legitimate candidates from other meeting houses.
Of the outcome, my husband (the source of my knowledge on Confucianism and sociopathy in Japanese society) says, “Watch out for anyone involved who has no apparent personality flaws, but sticks around despite knowing that Mr. I is trying to set up a new religion that teaches his ideals. These people are most likely waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of the group for personal advancement. Mr. I may express resignation, but he will never give up his dream of founding a new religion, and until his death will always be sneaking around trying to find a new combination of people that will work for him. He has learned a lesson from his earlier mistakes, but it is not the lesson you or I would learn. He remains a very dangerous man.”
There are a few factors worth noting that have prevented Andrew’s cult of personality from claiming more than a mere handful of devotees so far. One is the fairly recent case of a cult in Japan going berserk, which led people in the Sect to be concerned about possible upstarts and provoked murmurings of “Aum Shinrikyo” among long-standing members (particularly the older women, notes Oliver) long before Andrew made his appearance. The threat of intervention by this august international body is what compelled Mr. I to oust the two worst offenders. For him, his whole reason for living, his dream of achievement within his personal universe, was at risk. Better to let go of a couple of stars than lose it all by having the Sect withdraw its authorization. I’m certain this threat of official disbanding gave Mr. I crucial leverage in the confrontation.
Another factor is the presence of people throughout Japanese society with wisdom from the old scriptures on how to spot troublemakers and what to do about them. My husband could counsel Oliver to get away from Mr. I and especially avoid Mr. E (Oliver was about to move in next door to him) and finally to consider approaching the Sect Headquarters about what was happening, because the Sect’s reputation was at stake and Oliver had a duty to uphold it, because he had benefited from their training and also had high regards for the organization.
I realize the West has similar old wisdom to draw upon, but I lack knowledge of it (Lobaczewski mentions Socrates in the same sentence as Confucius), possibly because of having been brought up in economic good times when society encouraged a considerable degree of hedonism. This is now occurring in Japan as well, and I suspect it will only be a matter of time before the old wisdom is ignored here as well and people start choosing “interesting” leaders. Neither East nor West has a monopoly on ponerogenesis.
A third factor preventing the incipient cult from going too far was the presence of numerous foreigners in the town, who’d been attracted by its success at dealing with the bureaucrats. They came from a wide range of countries, and while most of them saw Mr. I and even Mr. E as benign and friendly, they spotted the fraudulent nature of the roguish Andrew’s leadership right away. Without them, I think (and my husband concurs) the Japanese would likely have been bamboozled by Andrew, unwilling to question his preposterous claims of divine knowledge and encouraged by him and Mr. E to shun or attack dissenters.
This does not mean that people outside of Japan have an advantage in terms of vision, but rather that having moved into a place as different as Japan, they tend to be more open-minded and therefore less authoritarian than the average. (My thanks here to Larry Ogborn for recommending a great reference work on the subject: The Authoritarians, by Bob Altemeyer, a full copy of which can be obtained at http://electricpolitics.com/media/docs/authoritarians.pdf The Japanese residents who had been living in the same town for generations would tend to be more authoritarian and less likely to notice or speak up about corruption among their revered authority figures. Worse than that, Japan’s education system discourages independent thought and produces a very high degree of homogeneity and authoritarian “follow-the-leadership” in all sectors of society. The Japanese are extremely vulnerable to ponerization processes once these get underway.
When I looked into what factors may have led Japan into the disaster of fascism in the lead-up to World War II, the immediate, widely known answer was: victory in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Because of that, opposition to militarization could be easily crushed. In The Enigma of Japanese Power, Karel van Wolferen also noted that once the Japanese get going in one direction they tend to stay stuck in that mode, unable to change course, until a catastrophe finally forces them to change. (But to see the disaster America has blundered into, is this not true of everyone to some degree?) A variety of cults exist in Japan, and some are quite powerful. None has gone as far in their misdeeds as Aum Shinrikyo, and thus are allowed to continue preying on the weak and misfortunate. Hypocritical priests with fancy cars and gluttonous appetites are a galling presence, giving religion a bad image in the minds of many of the people. The press spotlights these issues.
I conclude this series by noting that while Confucianism is no panacea, it can help individuals avoid pitfalls and cultivate healthy relationships with healthy people. (Oliver has moved to Yokohama, where he can participate more centrally in the Divine Heart Sect. He never did bring up Brother Andrew’s case with them, because it never became necessary. He has continued observing Mr. I’s new recruits, and says the most recent have been decent men.) If Confucianism has one fault from Lobaczewski’s point of view, it would be its moral condemnation of people with personality flaws that we now realize they have no control over. The result is a confrontational relationship, in which the oppressed minority schemes to take control as a matter of personal survival. On the other hand, the majority must keep that minority under control, because the latter is unable to observe limits.
Moralization helps the average person grasp normal moral concepts, but to a person with moral blindness, it is nothing but meaningless badgering and only creates determined enemies among them. What we need to do is modify the lessons of Confucianism and other moral systems to take this new knowledge into consideration. Combination with non-confrontational Buddhist philosophy may be of some help here. What is crucial is to realize that a significant percentage of society differs from the norm in its ability to perceive moral issues and that, furthermore, these people can’t help it. From there, we can begin to consider new approaches to solving age-old problems.
**Aum Shinrikyo (see http://www.religioustolerance.org/dc_aumsh.htm for an excellent description of its establishment and tactics) had several parallels to the group I’ve described, including establishment in an isolated rural area, a messianic leader claiming special powers and a siege mentality.