Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Comparing the Maharishi to a Sociopath

To follow up on the posts regarding the possible symptoms of mental illness one could suspect the Maharishi of, below is a list of the DSM IV symptoms of antisocial personality disorder. Note that the terms sociopath, psychopath, and antisocial personality are all roughly equivalent. The distinction sometimes made is that a psychopath becomes antisocial because of psychological influences (especially abuse), while a sociopath is born that way (genetics).

A. There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:

(1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
(2) deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
(3) impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
(4) irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
(5) reckless disregard for safety of self or others
(6) consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations
(7) lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another

B. The individual is at least age 18 years.

C. There is evidence of Conduct Disorder with onset before age 15 years.

D. The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia or a Manic Episode.

The Maharishi fails to conform to social norms in that he is wanted for tax evasion in Switzerland, the U.S., and India. He was found liable for fraud in the Kropinski trial. He has also been alleged to launder money, as well as smuggle money and material across international borders.

The Maharishi has been accused of repeated lying about the Transcendental Meditation techniques for his personal profit. Note the nature of the alleged offenses in the paragraph above; they relate to deceitfulness as well.

The Maharishi could be accused of a failure to plan ahead or impulsivity. This may at first seem strange, given his constant release of ever bigger "plans" for the world, peace, spiritual regeneration and so forth. But anyone who has worked on staff, as I and others here have done, can relate war stories of his constant revision, addition, and scrapping of one "plan" after another. At the least, the Maharishi could fairly be termed "capricious."

With regard to irritability, I am certainly not aware of the Maharishi being in any physical fights. But there is little doubt that the man has become increasingly irritable over the years. This characteristic of the antisocial personality probably does not apply to the Maharishi.

The Maharishi could be alleged to have shown a reckless disregard for for safety of others, as evidenced by the DeNaro Affadavit, the list of 40 casualties in the Kropinski trial, and other first hand accounts.

The Maharishi may have shown consistent irresponsibility in his financial dealings, such as the tax fraud alleged above. The constant haranguing of followers for funds to save the Transcendental Meditation movement from supposed bankruptcy indicate a lack of responsibility in financial matters as well. It can't be said that he does not work consistently, however.

To my knowledge, the Maharishi has never expressed remorse for any pain, discomfort, or financial ruin that he has had a hand in. The only mistake I have heard of him admitting to was the founding of the Natural Law Party. He has consistently rationalized the effects of his behavior with phrases such as "something good is happening," or stated that a "few" casualties may be necessary to achieve his World Plan.

I know nothing regarding the Maharishi's childhood, and therefore cannot comment about the onset of possible symptoms.


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