Psychoanalyzing The Patient : Alan Learns to Meditate w/ Dr. James Kaufman

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Today we analyze and interpret episode 2 of The Patient with psychologist Dr. James Kaufman. Dr. Kaufman specializes in 'Malevolent Creativity'.  

From Straw Hut Media 

Psychoanalyzing The Patient
On Psychoanalyzing The Patient Podcast, we’ll take a peek behind the scenes, talking to the cast and crew about what it was like to create these darkly complicated characters. We’ll also play armchair psychologists, talking to experts in the field of psychology, uncovering the themes and motivations of the characters, speculate about their past, and plot their fate. Hosted by Stacey Nye and Lindsay Jones Original Music by Kyle Merritt From Straw Hut Media 

Episode transcripts

Straw media. Hi and welcome topsychoanalyzing the patient podcast. Join me,
stacy and I and me Lindsay Jones, as we try to uncover each character's
dynamics by talking to experts in thefield of psychology, as well as members
of the cast and crew. Sodon't be late. Our session begins now.
Okay, so here's a recap andremember there are spoilers. So if
you haven't watched episode two yet,please turn this off, go watch episode
two and then come back and listento this. So episode two pretty much
begins with Sam admitting that he's theJohn DOE killer and he presents this box
filled with his victims belongings Um andshows this to Alan and Um says that
he took these things because he triedto make the murders look like robberies,
but the task force figured it outanyway. Um. Later on we see
Alan remembering meditating with his wife Beth, thus the episode title, Um,
and he struggles to focus and sheremarks how good it is for someone like
him Um so in their head.And I don't know if you notice this,
Lindsay, he mocks her a bitand I see a little bit of
Michael Scott there. Um, whenhe goes, you know, he like
kind of mocks her. Anyway,later, Alan takes the plastic fork from
his breakfast and tries to pick thelock on his chain when, Um,
Sam has left for work for theday. The fork breaks. In the
process, which I think is alsoa little foreshadowing, the fork breaks.
He tries so hard to get thelittle piece out of the lock. He
does, Um, and later on, when Sam comes home to clear away
the breakfast dishes, he notices thebroken fork and he looks so disappointed in
Allen like basically he's like, I'vedone so much for you and you're trying
to get out of here. Um. And he basically threatens Alan and Alan
really has no choice but to relentand, you know, try to treat
Sam so Um. In in theprocess he makes he asks Sam to promise
that he won't harm him or anyoneelse until he talks to him first.
Sam says he'll do his best.There's also a moment when you hear like
scraping and thudding upstairs. Um,is someone up there? It's unclear.
Next morning we see Alan. I'mtrying to meditate and Um, he in
the you know, in this roomand he has this memory of a dinner
party Um and at the dinner partyas himself and Beth, his son Ezra,
as his girlfriend Hav a and therebby, and Beth is trying to
cut a cake with a plastic knifewhich breaks, and so I think there
was a little foreshadowing there. It'sclear that Beth has attempted to make a
meal that these people who keep koshercan eat. That's why she's using paper
and plastic Um and you know,it's like it's just like awkward. It's
so awkward. And when the dinnerparty is over, you actually see Beth
throw the cake, which is stillon the plate, at the wall with
fury and it's kind of shocking,you know, and I realized later that
the plate breaks, but the platewould have been on paper anyway. So
Um Alan tells her that M aswe is just rebelling and going through a
phrase. So he kind of like, you know, doesn't seem all to
worried about what's happening with Ezra atthe moment. Then later on during the
therapy session, Sam describes this guywho runs this Greek restaurant and Sam,
who's apparently an inspector found some problemsthere. The guys smug and talks down
to Sam, which angers him andis apparently his trigger for killing so Um
and Sam admits he hasn't stopped thinkingabout him. He's trying not to hurt
him, but he admits that heusually can't stop once he gets this idea
in his head. Sam also kindof mentions a wife and admits that that's
one of the things he hadn't toldAlan about previously. Next Day there's more
thoughting and creaking upstairs. Alan startscalling out to the person. The basement
door opens and we see the shadowof someone walking down the stairs with a
cane. Alan calmly says hello andthe episode ends there. So we don't
know who it is up it's walkingdown the stairs. It's quite a good
cliffhanger to leave us on, andI have to say the thing that I
probably uh sort of gloned onto themost in episode two was um the idea
of the plastic fork and trying touse that to escape the lock, and
that even a little, an old, tiny piece of plastic that was missing
from the plastic fork did not goon escaped by Sam like he saw it,
which sort of really highlights Sam's incrediblymeticulous nature and clearly that meticulous nature
is what has allowed him to be, I don't want to use the word
successful, but let's say successful serialkiller. Up to this point. He
continue to not be caught or havehis actions give away who he is because
of that meticulous nature. And Ifeel like that leads us in really well
into the discussion that we're going tohave with our guests today about what kind
of person, how do you haveto think in order to be able to
come up with that level of,Um, malevolent creativity? But really it's,
yeah, creativity. I guess it'swhere it is. It's malevolent creativity.
Absolutely right. Yeah, well,James Dr Kaufman's right. I didn't
invent it, but yeah, forsure. You know Um, and he
says it more than once, Samin the in these episodes, there's there's
nothing that can tie me to youknow, Um, this guy or anybody
else. You know. He's verymeticulous about all of that. So yeah,
yeah, I guess you can't.You can't really be a sloppy or
disorganized serial killer. You really,you really have to have a game plan
and you gotta, you gotta,you can't just make it up as you
go I I would make a terribleserial killer for numerous one I don't really
have any interesting killing people, whichis probably my biggest problem. But other
than that, in addition to that, I'll I'm not great at planning ahead,
and so therefore I would I wouldbe like I would not notice the
plastic four, I would be Iwould be like, you got me already.
I think it's possible now, afterworking with me for a few weeks
and seeing my level of meticulousness,that that that's a that's a plus for
me in the could she be aserial killer column? You know, very
meticulous. No, I've already learnedI can't. I will never cross you
ever, because I'm a I'm amark man. You will slay us all
in our sleep. No, no, okay, okay. There's one other
thing that I want to say aboutthe episode, and I don't know if
this means anything. There's a lotof urinating going on. Is constantly going
into that room and peeing and inthis last episode, the P it goes
on for a long time and there'sjust this cut of Steve Carrell as Alan
and he just like shakes his headand he goes Jesus, you know.
So I thought it was kind oflike a funny thing and I don't know
what it means. Maybe nothing,maybe it's just a red herring, but
it's it's kind of thing. Theother thing I've noticed, based on that
is too, is that, Umuh, what's really fascinating to me about
Sam is that he's clearly a realfan of food, like he really likes
all different kinds of food and comeshome with different types of food all the
time. And what's weird is youthink of okay, you think of a
serial killer right as a person who'sgoing to be a creature of habit,
a person who's going to do specificthings over and over again because those are
things are proven for him to notget caught. And yet he has this
very exploratory nature with food. Andin fact, I don't know if you
know this, but in in NewYork and in Los Angeles, F x
is having this thing where every weekthey give away a dinner to somebody,
like dinner that they serve on theshow. I try to enter that contest.
Not Me, because I don't livein New York or L A.
So I entered it and I dolive in L A, but I did
not win. Okay, if youwin, you have to invite me.
Right, if you win, you'llhave to invite me. It's like,
lucky you, you can eat likeyou're locked in a basement too, ready
to go. Yeah, yeah,you can eat, yeah, with the
serial killer. Ye, lucky us. Well, I think possibly this obsession
with food and different food is oneof the ways in which he is kind
of creative. You know. Um, which is a wonderful segue to our
guest today. So lets why don'tyou tell us about our guest today?
Psychologist James Kaufman is on the showtoday. He is a creativity researcher who
co conceptualized the idea of malevolent creativity. Dr Kaufman will be with us today
to help us understand what is mylevelent creativity and how it might relate to
certain people on our show, namelythe serial killer. Parts we have with
us today Dr James Kaufman, who'san American psychologist known for his research on
creativity. And James, you andLindsey and I talked Um recently and you
were starting to tell us a littlebit about malevolent creativity and how it might
apply to Sam Um. So I'mreally I'm really eager to hear about that.
Tell us a little bit more aboutmalevolent creativity. Absolutely so often when
we think of creativity we think ofsomething positive, maybe even benevolent, like
a new vaccine or any invention thathelps people end. Of course that is
true of a lot of creativity,but creativity isn't always good. Creativity can
sometimes be used for what we callnegative ends, and that's when we're not
talking Sam we're talking figuring out aninteresting way to cheat your income taxes or
figuring out, you know, Icould nobody would notice if I were to
take home some off supplies from work. Then you have what we call malevolent
creativity, and malevolent creativity is whenyou are actively using your creativity for evil
purposes. You are being creative inthis service of bad ends. What is
interesting is that the same rules thatapply to creativity would still apply to malevel
in creativity. So, for example, we think of create tivity is being
something that is new and task appropriate. So if you wanted to have your
drive weight page creatively, you wouldn'twant somebody to use week old Salami,
because it would be new, butit wouldn't be task appropriate. You couldn't
drive on it, it would bedisgusting, it wouldn't last. Similarly,
you could be very, very originalin a very evil way, but if
it doesn't meet its end and meetyour goals, it's not really super creative.
So, for example, if Samhad decided, I know that I
need to figure out a way toget my therapist where I can be honest
with him. But if, insteadof kidnapping him, he had decided I'm
going to invent a truth serum andinjected in him and then asked him,
is it okay? If I'm honestwith you, I mean maybe it might
have succeeded, but probably not andit would have just been kind of a
dumb idea, whereas what Sam did, I mean it was creative. You
know, it wasn't. It wasn'tnecessarily Um, it certainly wasn't good.
And even if he wasn't a serialkiller, even if he just decided I
want a private therapist, kidnapping somebodychaining him. Um, it was done
in a very creative way and itwas done in a very smart way.
I mean, looking at the hefigured out exactly how far can he go
with that chain to access the bathroom, access stuff and yet not get out.
Clearly a lot of thinking went uphere. Um, as well as
being creative. He knew, okay, it has to you know, I
have to find this place where I'ma zooming as his house. But we
will find out, Um, where, even if this guy yells all day
all night, nobody's Inna here.I going to make sure there's nothing that
he could use as a weapon.And you think about it, you know,
the plastic fork, Um, himnot having a paper and Pencil.
This is all stuff that was planningit with some level of creativity. It
was also anticipating potential. I don'twant to say malevel in creativity, but
it was anticipating being fought back against. So it was. It was quite
a variety of Um, interesting abilities, just not kindness. So you're really
giving him an a plus for creativity, but the problem is it's miss it's
misdirected. So if you were gradinghim, it would be a plus for
really thinking outside of the box,but D D minus for actual contribution to
humanity. I think it's what I'mhearing, and that's a very generous grade.
Yes, well, you know,I didn't want to. I didn't
want to fail him on the spot, but that's I think that's totally fair.
So, I mean, what's interestingabout this, right, is that
you're right that we do think aboutcreativity in an intelligence in terms of positive
results, you know, because thoseare the things we admire. But of
course, I'm sure most of theserial killers that have been throughout history have
been pioneers and malevolent, malevolent creativity, because they don't want to get caught,
and that's the probably the most that'sthe biggest priority, is how to
do this thing that is deeply wrongand deeply illegal and still be able to
not get caught and be able todo it again and again. And if
you think about some of the serialkillers who probably come to mind, a
lot of them were specifically creative andagain, Pioneer. It is a strong
word perhaps, but like Ted Bundy'sstrategy of make myself look weaker and less
threatening and use the arminus slang.I mean that's then been used in Snista,
lambs and vanishing and many other mediabecause it was really quite clever,
just as one example. I mean, further creativity involves originality. So a
lot of killers who maybe aren't quiteas original and who imitate other people.
They're the ones who may get caughtpretty early. I mean if you I
mean, I'm thinking about Sam's techniqueof, you know, taking the wallets
so they don't get identified. Me, I don't think I've heard of any
actual killer doing that. I mean, that's maybe I'm rolling, but that
seems pretty creative right there. Andyou know, he said more than once
that he's been really careful to notbe able to be tied like too restaurant
Guy, and I'm assuming he's beenequally as creative to not be tied to
Alan. You know, he useda fake name with Alan and the fact
that he's now given him what wethink might be his real name doesn't bode
well for Alice's future. But Um, but yeah, even just the sunglasses
and the fact you had a totallyeven wardrobe and style, he knew what
he was doing. M Hm.Even the fact, I think, that
he thinks he's being creative, youknow, when he brings Alan like a
stack of books and a paddle balland he appear so proud of himself.
He's got this smile on his facelike look what I brought you. You
know, and I'm sure Alan wantsto whack him over the head with it
Um and he's kind of wounded.You know when like Alan won't eat the
food, or you know when hetried to escape. You know, he
looks genuinely disappointed in Alan, likehow could you do this to me?
I brought you this wonderful food andyou just want to escape. But one
thing that occurred to me, andI should be curious of your thoughts,
they certainly very much set up thatAlan is Jewish and that Sam knows this,
and yet he breathes in pork.I thought about that. I thought
about that. That was that wasthat was a misfire. I think that
was a misfire. Or do wethink that he's is it? Or is
it about control? Or is itI'm bringing you really good food that I
know you probably can't eat? Ah, so perhaps that's creative, malevolent right
malevolent creativity right there. It mightbe, you know. I mean,
I don't know. I'm very curious. Do we see it is the food?
I mean, is this a littlebit of very intentional passive aggression or
control? Or does that angling?James, I think I'm starting to see
a window into what your life islike like when you're in a restaurant and
someone brings you the wrong dish ata meal, you're gonna be like,
is it a mistake, or wereyou trying to get me to do something
by giving me shrimp instead of thePasta? I do forgive much more quickly
than SAM does, however. NowI'll add that I think that Um Alan
is more of a secular Jew.So, and we can see this in
this episode, because his, youknow, his son is really leaning towards
more, you know, being moreof a hastidic Jew, and he's,
you know, he and his wifeare not happy about that. And so
it may be you know that thatAlan does eat pork, but I don't
know that Sam would necessarily know that, um, but yeah, I did.
I did think about that when Isaw that. When you, when
you study creative level, it's malevolentcreativity. I'm sorry, I keep mixing
it up, but uh, it'sthe same thing either way. I suppose.
Um, it's the idea of studyingit so that you're able to decode
people's actions as a way of understandingthem, or is it a way of
being able to figure out how tocatch them? I mean, are you
ever involved in anything where you areattempting to decode someone's malevolent creativity as a
way of being able to predict whatthey might be able to do next.
I am not, but some ofthe people so. The first work on
malevolent creativity was back in two thousandeight Um by myself and Arthur and David
Cropley, a father and son.Arthur is a creativity researcher and David's an
engineer but also also a creativity researcher. There's a number of people who have
done work in this area and whohave contributed some of our books. Some
of them specialize in terrorism, withthe idea of their work and to my
knowledge, them working, although lesspublicly, with counter terrorism units, and
the idea that if you want tofight evil you have to anticipate it.
And one of the things that inspiredmalevolent creativity, and particularly on David Crofts
and was thinking about nine eleven andthe fact that by the fourth plane people
knew about it. It wasn't originalanymore, and so people fought back and
even though, tragically the fourth planewent down, it didn't kill additional people
at a destination. And so ifmalevolent creativity operates these same principles then the
same way that we can do thingsto make anybody less creative, although hopefully
we would want to, we canuse those same strategies in terms of reducing
the originality, for example, orimposing constraints. One of these sometimes frustrating
things is that a lot of theanti terrorism stuff that we've seen it,
are aware of, hopefully, isthe other stuff going on behind the scenes,
responds to what has been and notto what might be. So you
have the shoe bomber and now wetake off our shoes and on one hand
I get it, but the otherhand we already know about that. Yeah,
why aren't we trying to anticipate whatelse might they do? And beyond
planes, I mean the possible terriblethings are are end. Listen again,
I am very much hoping that peoplewho are actually in positions of power are
doing this thinking, but assuming thatpeople who want to do harm are going
to be creative, are going tobe strategizing and maximizing impact and all this
stuff. If we'RE NOT ASSUMING THEY'REgonna be to three steps ahead, then
we're not be matching them and we'regonna be totally overcome. Yeah, I
mean an unseen person that I'm sureexists somewhere in the ecosystem of this show
that we have yet to see.There's one. There's probably a number of
people who are have been assigned tofigure out who the John DOE killer is
and look through all of the cluesthat could have been surrounding that. And
then at a certain point one imaginesthat if Alan starts missing appointments with his
other patients and or doesn't connect withhis family, that someone is going to
observe and going to start to lookfor clues surrounding his disappearance Um and it
seems like they would be tracing thosetwo groups of people might even run into
one another if crewe clues start tointersect. The other thing that approached me
as there weren't that many wallets netbox. I'm wondering, given Sam's intelligence and
creativity, could it be that hehas one set of murders he does in
this way and he has a numberof others? So maybe there's a John
Doe task force and maybe there's atotally ripen task force that's looking at this
other type of killing. I canimagine a number of these people converging and
perhaps realizing they're they're all seeking thesame person. Yeah, I'm wondering if
he did seem he did seem vaguelyirritated of being called the John Doe killer
like that. That seemed like itwas slightly like he felt like that was
a real sort of ghost beneath him. He was looking for more artful,
I think. Well, well,plus, he thought he was being creative
and taking those things that they thatthey would just simply think it was a
robbery. He thought it outsmarted thepolice, but they caught on pretty quickly
that it was the work of aserial killer. So so I think this,
this issue of his of, youknow, being underestimated, is a
potential trigger for him and this issueof him being, you know, talked
down to or someone, you know, like with restaurant Guy Um, talks
down to him or, you know, makes him feel less than you know.
I've already got my ears open nowfor the moment that Allen might do
that, you know, like noteven meaning to. Yeah, so Alan
definitely has his work cut out forhim. It struck me that it out
a creative argument that Alan could use. I was trying to think, if
I'm Alan, how do I tryto figure the way where I could survive
this, because, on one handhe does have it. I don't need
to tell anybody. If you're notplanning on killing somebody, and of course
then Samsa well, but if,which is not what you won't be here.
But if I'm Alan and Michael,look, if I'm as good as
as you think, and I hopeI am, and I can really cure
you, you know whatever that means, then you wouldn't want to hurt anybody,
in which case I would never havethe reason to break your confidence,
because if I can really get ridof your desire to hurt people, then
patient client confidentiality would apply again.That could be the way out. You
know, something that you raise isreally interesting me, which is that do
do motives matter in malevolent creativity?Does that make a difference? So,
for example, in this particular case, Sam is going to seek revenge someone
whom he feels has slighted him ortreated him as less than equal, and
Um that, in theory, that'shis motive. Now, obviously he was.
Clearly he has clearly mental Um issuesthat make him believe that the only
way to address that situation is togo back and kill that guy, which
is not the way to do it, obviously, but when? But when
you're studying malevolent creativity, do thedue to the motivations matter, or are
you merely looking at the creativity beyondthe motive? I think both the motives
and the outcome both matter, becausethey don't always match. I mean certainly
one of my go to examples ispolito mine, which was developed, you
know, as this anti nledge ofD U, including for pregnant women,
and it was developed with benevolent intentions. It was developed to help people.
America did not approve it with theFDA, even though there was a lot
of pressure, but it was usedin Europe and, as you may not,
it caused birth effects and Um,quite extensive birth effects. So the
outcomes, we're quite negative. Itwas quite damaging. Is this malevolent creativity?
I mean I would argue it certainlyis on that spectrum, but it
was not the intentions and from amoral perspective it would be much more Um,
positive and defensible than negative intention negativeoutcome, which is the more traditional
mode. It's also interesting for thereverse, where what happens. I mean
even take the shoe bomber. Malevolent, bad intentions, the outcome one could
argue is that t s a gotmore sophisticated and learn to look for another
area where people could do bad things. I'm just thinking of people, and
this might not be relevant, butpeople who are presuming malevolent creativity, like
when, you know, the vaccinefor Covid came out and there's like a
bunch of people who think that we, or we it's not me, that
that Um that the vaccine contained likea chip to track people like that.
That's that's kind of a cookie idea, I think. You know, and
maybe people would think I'm just beingnaive, but to kind of presume that
level of malevolent creativity was very interestingto me and it speaks to the role
of the society, context culture.It also speaks to how did those ideas
get introduced? Were they introduced bypeople who generally believe this, or were
there a few bad actors who,whether for political gain or for the hell
of it, I don't know,decided to toss out I mean, what
do we do with something like howmany times have we seen a headline from
the onion taken as well as isevidence that the vaccine also turns us into
ostarages or whatever. I mean butI guess my question then is has okay?
We've certainly seen a rise in thelast few years in conspiracy theories and
people who believe in conspiracy theories.It seems like I don't think I've ever
lived in in my life in amore time where that is more prevalent throughout
our society. Do you see aUH congruent rise in malevolent creativity? In
other words, are our people's creativityactually matching these conspiracy theories or are the
theories outpacing the actual malevolent creativity theyexists? Very interesting, I mean I
think some of it, as technologyand social media has grown so exponentially,
it's allowed malevolent creator activity to unfoldin so many different ways, and so
I do think that the level ofconspiracy theory, the ID of all this
stuff happening. I cannot imagine thetype of stuff that like q was talking
about, with etcetera. I don'tthink that level of malevolent creativity has caught
up to our wild imaginations. Ido think that it does reflect how many
new forms of malevolent creativity can take. I mean, and some of it
is a hundred years ago, ifyou wanted to hurt people and you wanted
to do bad things. I meancomparatively, it wasn't all that hard to
get away with stuff. There wasno d n a if you were I
mean there's a great book by ActuallyBaseball Writer Bill James called them. I
think that's a stranger on the train. We're's tracking all of these murderers,
x murderers that we're happening across America. That wasn't very likely in retrospect.
Many of them by one person ridinga train, leaving committee and murder and
going back on. And it wasbefore people could even conceive the idea of
a serial killer. And so theywere just, well, somebody entered town
and is somebody who was not oneof us and they depend on them,
whereas now, with surveillance and DNAall this stuff, if you want to
do evil, you almost by necessityneed to be creative to get away with
it or try to get away withit. Yeah, but I guess my
question to to that is like soit seems almost like everyone has some malevolent
creativity in them on some level,because when we're saying in order for us
to be able to buy into theseconspiracy theories, whatever they are, right,
Um, we need to be ableto believe in the negative uh motivations
that might um create this, thisperception in the first place. And so
does does malevolent creativity exist in allof us? And and is there any
way to understand why other why someare more drawn to it than others?
Certainly there's a model that I've developedwith my colleague Hansica Cup Porn. It
is very complex. I'm not goingto go into it because you would both
hate me for the rest of yourlives. But but there's a couple of
things that they're they're kind of likelevers, are like like dimmer switches,
and one of its the veilance interms of so on one level you have
like benevolent and noble creativity, butthen beyond that you have everything from this
kind of slight negative and I thinkshe would agree. I'M NOT gonna say
all of us, but a lotof us have that, you know.
And even just speaking more from amorality perspective, you know how many of
us, if we were not chargedfor a small item of grocery store,
would go back? Many would,many wouldn't. So you have like level
all the way. You know,you know to the full ledge, full
fledged malevolence. But they are allthese gradations. There's also the level of
action. So there's can you thinkof something bad? Well, I think
nearly all of us can think ofsomething bad, right all the way to
then, well, would you actuallydo it? And there's this huge,
huge, vast line there from likeif I say, Hey, if you
want to kill somebody and not getcaught, what would you do? Well,
you know, if I do startpopping in your head, well,
right there. Do Agree? That'sthe level of creativity. Yeah, that's
very, very different from even thelevel of you bring it up to somebody
else or writing it down or becomingcurious and then googling. You know,
well, what if I do buythese supplies or whatever? I mean.
There's all these levels. And thenbetween actually going out and being a Sam
there are all these different levels.So I think most of us have the
capacity to think this way. Andthere's like a as a fun example,
and not like pure malevolence, butif you want to ask a bunch of
people, like if there was awedding that you were invited to you but
you didn't want to go to,but it's in your hometown, what would
you do? And people will startby someone to say, well, I
just go to it somewhere, seeI get a really nice gift, so
I wouldn't have to go. Buteventually somebody's gonna say something that's a little
not nice, like, you know, whether it's just I would lie or
I would make sure I was outof town. And once it gets going,
you know you'ren't have people saying,well, I would sleep with the
rider groom, I would destroy thevenue, you know, and it's like
wow, what and and, becauseI often do this with my class,
and if you look like people,unless they get twenty of them talking,
once the first person says and itopens the door, I find you at
least three quarters of them will havesomething that they might not immediately admit but
is a little on that malevolent scale. So it's like a slippery slope between
ill advised creativity and malevolent creativity.Like it's just like once you're starting to
start taking steps down that road,next thing you know you'll be at the
end killing people and stealing their wallets. So if you're driving a fifty six
per well, you know, Ithink everybody out there. One of the
testaments, though, is that we'reall like, you know, these wonderful,
nice, benevolent people are so,you know, drawn to these shows
about serial killers. You know,like if we're so benevolent, like,
why are we so like fascinated bylike literally, I will not watch a
show that someone's not murdered in firstfive minutes. Like what does that say
about me? You know? SoI just started. Yeah, so,
any new show and anytime someone says, Hey, have you seen this show,
and I go, well, thatwas someone murdered in it. Is
there any blood that shows up,you know, and if they say no,
I'm like, I'm not really interestedin that. So it's like do
you go house shopping and then you'relike, like what do you think of
this house? Like well, howdid the last people die who were in
this house? Someone murder in it? They just had a heart attack.
I'm not interested. Yeah, alright, I have one other question for you
and then I promise I'll stop.But I I in our last episode with
Frank Summers, we asked him ifserial killers could be rehabilitated through therapy,
is, if there was a waythat a therapist could actually change a serial
killer, and he said to usthat he had no real evidence that he
had ever seen that that someone likethat could be changed through therapy, and
I guess I want to ask yousort of like a similar question to that,
which is, is it possible totake a person who is obsessed with
malevolent creativity and somehow get them tochange and be interested in benevolent creativity instead?
Can You? Can you really rehabilitatea malevolent thinker? I mean,
I admit my gut he's probably not. Wow, what interests us? What
intrigues us? What she fascinates us? I mean there's an old saying that
you know, you can change howyou look, you can change all this
stuff, but you can't change whatfascinates you. You can't change your obsessions.
And even if Sam could get thesame higher kick out of solving puzzles
or, you know, the curingcancer, I mean maybe, yeah,
I think that there's Um Sam isalways going where he might be able to
control the behavior, he's Never gonna, you know, I think, be
able to stop thinking about this personwho slighted him and wanted to get revenge.
You know Um, and you knowFrank Um. The catch me if
you can character Um. He wasn'the wasn't killing people. You know Um.
So I don't think he was.I understand it's still malevolent creativity,
but I don't think he was evil, you know. Um, and I
think he did use a have avery creative solution. You know, that
wasn't even I can't remember if itwas his idea. Who knows, I'm
just thinking of the movie. ButUm, you know, to use his
use his power for good, notevil. So I've been thinking about that
star wars reference since we started talking, you know, using your you know,
the force for good, not evil. Um, but I'm not sure
that SAM would be able to doit. heast way too narcissistic, Um,
and sensitive to being slighted in mymind. Thank you so much,
James. That was really that wasreally interesting and I'm gonna be thinking all
the time now about malevolent creativity.I he really planted that idea now in
my head and I think it's reallyfascinating and really fitting here. So I
really appreciate you taking the time.Yeah, me too, that I was
great. Also. I'm I'm justgrateful that I'm on a podcast with stacy
and I lived through the first fiveminutes, so I feel like things are
going really well and I'm pretty curiousTuesday. What happens next? I know,
like, who came down the stairs? Wow, okay, that was
really cool and I learned a lotfrom Uh James Coffin about this. Uh
I. I want to say thebiggest thing is you always think of creative
people, smart people, as likepeople that you aspire to, want to
be, but he has successfully introduceda new type of person to me,
which is a smart and creative personthat I absolutely do not want to be.
And like, I give him credit. He has made like a new
anti hero for me, which areas people who are so smart that they
could kill me and get away withit. So, like, I,
I don't know, I'm still cometo terms with this Um. But you
know, I think the thing thathe I think that was most important that
he said for me was he confirmedthe thing that we heard back in the
first episode of this podcast, whichis if you are this type of person,
you you will not change Um andyou you can't convert your malevolent creativity
to benevolent creativity. You're basically ona on a highway to hell. You
know, you're you're on a trackUm, but I think it's it's fascinating
and I think the more that wethink about ways to understand the ways people
can be evil and diabolical. Hopefully, the more ways we can figure out
how to, like, if wecan't help them, prevent them from getting
from doing horrible things. You knowwhat I mean by better understanding how to
do it, and maybe we couldcome up with a way. Look,
like we see it, we're ableto flag malevolent creativity early in the thing,
to be like Oh hey, thisguy could actually, you know,
turn out to be the UNI bomberor whatever. Yeah, I think the
phrase was perfect because, like weall know this thing about, you know,
like he said, Ted Bundy,who wore a sling so that women
thought that, you know, hewas, you know, safe, basically.
Well, you know when he wasn't. And so that was like the
epitome of malevolent creativity, right.And so we knew, we knew he
did that, but we didn't knowwhat to call it. And so now
we have this this phrase, thisterm, which I started after the episode,
started thinking about all of the examplesI could think of. Ma level
a creativity, you know, likelike spammers, like spammers are really creative,
you know, like I keep gettingthis like paypal spam, and it
looks just like all my other sin, all my other paypal, you know,
emails. So they get like reallycreative and you know, the good
guys, so to speak, aptto continue to teach all of us ways
to spot this, you know,spam, basically because they get so creative
and that's malevolent. So that's malevolentcreativity in a nutshell. Yeah, it's
true and it's interesting because, youknow, we talked about this a little
bit with Dr Coppin. Was theidea that, um, there are different
shades of malevolent creativity. I mean, obviously, I mean the serial killer
is the most extreme version of thatfor sure, but there is a level
of that that exists in confidence men, people who try to gain your confidence,
like your paypal scammers, who tryand say like Oh yeah, I'm
your trustworthy paypal just here to haveyou send me six dollars in Amazon gift
cards or whatever, you know whatI mean, like some sort of thing
like that. But then there's alsoum even in people who are conspiracy theorists.
Uh, you know that they're they'rehaving to think like somebody who's diabolical
in order to sort of say likeAh, you know, if somebody who
had really terrible motives, they mightdo this thing, and therefore I believe
that thing could happen, and that'smalevolent creativity in itself as well. Yeah,
for sure. It just goes toshow you we're all we're all late
and serial killers underneath. I thinkthat's the lesson of the show, is
that we're all just one step awayfrom cracking and just blowing this pop sty.
Okay, no, that's probably not. I hope not. I don't
think that's true, because because we're. Yeah, because the other thing you
know that I say this all thetime. For some reason it sound like
I'm a Big Star Wars Fan.Is You know, we're we're going to
continue to use our power for good, not evil, right. So,
yeah, so I don't. Idon't think we'RE gonna be serial killers.
But, okay, I need somebodyto say that to me every so often,
just like to give can reset,like a reminder of life. We
are not, we are not goingto be serial killers. We are not
going to be serial killers. We'regonna, we're gonna will solve our problems
in a more productive way that doesnot involve killing everybody, even though that
might sound attractive on its face.No, no, no, and again,
I know I keep making a casefor the encourage. Please do not.
People do not kill people serially orotherwise, or otherwise even occasionally.
Do not. Let's just keep itto reading about serial killers, watching them
on TV and in movies and maybe, you know, trying to catch them.
Let's not emulate them in any way, shape or form. Okay,
alright, thank you. I neededthis refresher I needed to be able to
just recenter myself here and remember,yes, I'm back. Not Well,
Lindsay, I guess now our timeis up, so we will see you
next time. Okay, thanks somuch for joining us. We'll see you
in the next session.