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Leaders (Scharf)  Lloyd deMause
 Feb 07, 2003 05:28 PST 

From Bob Scharf post: "This is consonant with the idea that "leadership"
is composed of the most backwards psychoclasses".

Question: Why is that? That is, why is "leadership" composed of
the most backwards psychoclasses?

Thank you for your question.

I have written elsewhere (and in previous posts) on the origins of political
power. In the gynarchy (female subculture) women restaged their abuse and
warded off their annihilation anxiety by emulating their abusive mothers.

In the androcracy (male subculture) men, who did not become mothers, had to
restage and combat their annihilation anxiety in other ways. One of the ways
they did so was by developing politics and political power. So power is
pathological. If you want to avoid using medical terms; power is a defense.

It follows then that the people who are more defended (in certain ways) are
more attracted to political power.

In primitive societies, which were more homogenous and had only one mode of
childrearing, there were still slight variations and accidental circumstances
(or biological ones) which produced some people who had a more troubled
Among certain Eskimos, men with a form of epilepsy were chosen to be shamans
because of their ability to dissociate, go into a trance state, or

It is often averred that prostitution is the world's oldest profession. This
is hardly the case. The world's oldest profession is the clergy, or shamans.
They used their supposed ability to perform magic as a way of extracting
favors or privileges. They are the earliest power figures and the prototype
for future secular power.

In our psychohistorical analysis it is important to keep in mind that, though
some privileges may accrue to the powerful, power exists as a defense. A man
who (on his own, so to speak) can dominate a few of his fellows can only feel
so powerful and only combat his annihilation anxiety so much. But a delegate
can "represent" as many as are willing to delegate to him. By submitting to a
leader, the larger the group, the stronger the leader, the greater the
vicarious identification of the subordinates.

If the group can then conquer other peoples, the leader can grow even
stronger. This is the impetus for conquest. A political realm of male power
created by the androcracy helped men combat their annihilation anxiety and
castration anxiety.

As society advanced it became less homogenous. There evolve different levels
of childrearing and different psychoclasses.
If psychoclass progress occurred among those in power, then they would become
less defended and tend to abdicate power while those who were still more
defended would tend to seek power.
The old adage is that power corrupts. I would say that power is
corruption--sadism--and so attracts certain types.

If the powerful class did not have psychoclass evolution, then they would be
inclined to maintain power. Notice that their material advantages did not
necessarily tend to improve their childrearing. So we see among the ruling
classes, some of the worse childrearing, including forms of abandonment.

Once power exists, psychoclass advances will tend to erode it or democratize
As capitalism emerged out of feudalism, we see an increasing tolerance for
private property, or personal prosperity--which is a sign of integration and
greater emotional maturity, as Lloyd maintains. When there are enough such
people, when the new psychoclasses overtake the old, a new, more democratic
kind of power comes forth and republics begin to replace monarchies.

But there is still power and it is still pathological. Once the new
psychoclasses have made a revolution, the same dynamic occurs within this new
framework. If psychoclass progress occurs among the rulers, they tend to
abdicate and the more defended individuals tend to seek power.

There is more to the picture than this. As noted, power involves a symbiotic
relationship in which there is delegation. Those who delegate take their
feeling of power vicariously through "strong" (violent) leaders. As noted in
my previous post, they perceive these leaders as capable of vanquishing
enemies (split off parts of the self), but also as protectors. They then may
become disillusioned when these protectors prove themselves capable of
violence towards themselves.

The leaders, then, tend to be of a certain kind of personality. They may not
be literally from the most backwards psychoclasses. The most backwards
produce anti-social personalities which cannot conform enough to pursue
leadership roles. But the very backwards classes are today fewer in number. I
am speaking of the most backwards psychoclasses which exist in significant
Jimmy Carter was out of place as a leader because he was too altruistic (a
wimp) as opposed to Reagan who was strong (violent).

The more advanced psychoclasses, on the other hand, press for reform and push
a humanitarian agenda. They are able to influence the political process and
humanize it further. If there numbers become great enough, another revolution
(not necessarily violent) occurs. At some point the revolutions cease to be
violent because there is a large enough class of people who are concerned to
see an end to power-sadism, so the struggle is more social at that point.

That is my thinking on power relations, domestic struggle (as opposed to
international conflict), and why the more defended psychoclasses tend to lead.


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