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  • Writer's pictureArnold Schroder

#56: Narcissists, Strongmen, and Technocrats pt. 1

(12/23/2022) We examine a scientific case for revolution: that modern societies are forms of dominance hierarchy that grant power to people with extremely narrow frames of awareness, who are incapable of grappling with the crises that beset us. Reading from the unnamed Fight Like An Animal book, we examine a tripartite psychology: that of the Narcissists, Strongmen, and Technocrats, corresponding, respectively, to charismatic, coercive, and technical power. In each case, we also identify an egalitarian counterpart to these hierarchical modes. We argue that a coherent sociopolitical analysis requires six levels of description that exist in a relation of reciprocal influence: 1) ultimate evolutionary causes; 2) proximate mechanisms of trait construction; 3) species-typical behavior; 4) individual variation; 5) environmental conditions; 6) culture and politics. We then apply the first two of these levels to our assessment of the relationship between individual variation and power, examining mechanisms of developmental difference, the genetic regulatory hierarchy, individual difference as continua of reactivity, the cross-species durability of personality constructs, the lack of personality trait optima, and much more.

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