PSYCHOPATHS by Alan Harrington


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Harrington's study of the psychopath ranks with an alchemist's version of chemistry. Stewing in the cauldron are broad definitions that encompass all goblins rebelling against ""middle-class authority,"" from student trolls confronting their ""harassed deans"" to the more familiar demon who ""violates time and duty,"" ""coldly takes what he wants,"" and ""exploits without guilt. . . regardless of warnings."" Like all bewitched people they flutter around in a guise which only the wizard can uncover: ""beware of a person who walks stiffly about as if prodded by an oversized suppository."" Of greater precision is a citation from a Dr. T. Steele which adds authoritative chrome to Harrington's probing wand: ""They often dress in bright colors. . . you won't usually find them to be drab. Bright red and yellow shirts. . . ."" Following prefatory incantations come nine ""psychotic tales"": an 18 year-old midnight cowboy relates his experiences; a high school teacher is attacked by a student who sends apologies, perfume, and a marriage proposal from prison; a sadistic corporate magnate loves to tinker with junk; and so forth. Much of this behavior is attributed to the ""lack of meaningful rebirth ceremonies within a structure of religious faith."" Harrington turns from alchemy to the call of the robe: we should ""establish. . . a Church of Rebirth by Any Means,"" a ""Spiritual Circus"" to institute ""a kind of Reform Psychopathy."" Rebirth Temples would offer new doctrine, orgiastic ceremonies, ritualistic games. The cure sounds worse than the affliction; as for the amateur psychology, a New York cabbie would have more to say.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1972
Publisher: Simon & Schuster