Buddhists, if at all, seldom look into the dark world of psychopathy; much less a pathocracy, a system of government created by a small pathological minority. Most of us are like some frogs put into a pot of cold water who become used to the temperature of the water as it is raised until it is too late. If you could imagine a conversation among the frogs its basis would rest upon the past when things were much cooler. Finally, the frogs believe such cooler times will no doubt come again.
A former Californian from an old California family, I left the golden state many years ago. As part of my spiritual practice—let me put it this way—the Buddhas told me I would be leaving in ten years. It happened. Looking back, I dare say, California has become a pathocracy run by a few psychopaths. As we might expect, the head frogs see nothing wrong with all the problems. But talk to the people who have left (the smart frogs) and California is slouching towards the third world.
A pathocracy is also a nice way of saying an “evil world.” This is the world of Māra the Evil One who was the adversary that Prince Siddhartha had to defeat in order to become Buddha, awakened to ultimate reality. In this regard, Māra’s world is also the psychophysical body which in Buddhism is the five skandhas consisting of physical shape, feeling, perception, volitional formations and consciousness.
Māra, however, does not include our true self meaning the ātman inasmuch as the self is what realizes nirvana. Māra is always what is not the self or anātman. This is very important to comprehend for it is Māra that we must identify in our thoughts and subdue like Prince Siddhartha. As one Buddhist monk put it so well, Māra is the personification of the forces antagonistic to enlightenment. These forces would include all that is conditioned insofar as the goal of enlightenment is to realize the unconditioned, i.e., nirvana.
Much of our initial Buddhist training, starting from taking the five precepts, concerns contending with dark forces deep within us that are antagonistic to awakening (kenshō). These forces can include mental habits that block intuition which is necessary in Zen insofar as Zen is really about intuition, the sudden seeing of our true nature (kenshō).
But if we happen to live in a pathocracy, what then? Isn’t it going to be much more difficult to overcome the many forces that are antagonistic to our awakening? By the same token, won’t it be far easier to be a religious hypocrite or a pious fraud and do a lot of virtue signaling? Won’t it also be easy just to give lip service to the Dharma as in no deeds are required? Let’s be honest even most serious Buddhist practitioners never get beyond being little more than minions of Māra.
One final note, as regards the pathocracy, the writing was already on the wall with the rise of the 1960s counterculture. The die was cast. We were past the point of return. This was not a revolution but part of a well designed plan the goal of which was to corrupt the human spirit by putting it on a path of self-destruction. The beginning was 1913. The name of the institution was the Tavistock Institute. Coleman’s book is in pdf form. Don’t spend two grand!