I grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, just blocks from where Sam Giancanna was killed in his own basement by his own “friends”. These mafiosi would spread themselves out amongst different neighborhoods. Tony Accardo was a neighborhood over in River Forest… Nitti lived in Riverside. No doubt, where these gangsters lived, they attracted lackeys from the local community–people who were seduced by the apparent power these men wielded. However, their entry into the circle of these “men” should stand as reflection of the experience of these gangsters.
They would have to kowtow, any misinterpreted gesture or perceived slight had to be addressed by these men who had to be paranoid at all times. So hierarchy required constant observance and sacrifice of self in order to allay such fears. Ones own life was rendered openly secondary to the position of power the gangster held. And as compensation for sublimation of ones own ego and the attendant humiliation of this… the lackey expected the same kind of obeisance from his own circle of subordinate intimates.
By this route, the entire community was infected with a very specific kind of power worship/lackey dynamic. Navigating this dynamic requires such pretense and sublimation of ones own experience with such high stakes involved that the result is a breeding ground for psychopathy. Indeed, John Wayne Gacy came from these neighborhoods–a friend of mine used to serve him breakfast at a local restaurant, the Paddle Wheel.
There is a telling story in the travels of Marco Polo… about the “Old Man in the Mountain”. He perverted Islamic belief by creating a garden into which he would welcome kidnapped boys. Here they would be drugged and catered to sexually; all the delights of paradise were bestowed upon them. This was proof that the Old Man was the fulfillment of Islamic prophecy; and the basis for his right to command absolute loyalty from these young men–who were then groomed as assassins, the basis of the Old Man’s political power.
Rather than obtaining a sense of belonging and gratification organically through the good feelings of those around them through their own good efforts, these boys were granted a debased sort of gratification, of which they were too young to judge, dependent upon the Old Man’s satisfaction with them. All reality and engagement were ultimately perverted to the point that these boys no longer required the mental capacity for such engagement. They were groomed to be psychopaths.
It is also telling that in our culture, especially in the fifties–a time of wealth and opportunity coming on the immediate experience of the Great Depression and WWII–popular culture became concerned with the quality of “being cool”. A watered down “slouching towards” psychopathy.
The doors to wealth and opportunity had been forced open, but not only were those who were granted entry not sure of what they should feel rightfully entitled to, but that there were butchers at the choke points in the cattle-guides always selecting their cuts with ever accumulating discerning and greed.
The entropy of mixing is equal to the entropy of expansion; and like a gas filling the room, our whole society has been affected, or infected, by these cultural patterns.