Saturday, December 11, 2010

Am I a Psychopath? - (Part II)

Defining psychopaths as being people who have no morals is pretty much straight forward, nothing hard to understand here.

But when we define people, who DO have morals, as psychopaths, when at the same time one of the defining traits of psychopathy is the absence of morals, we have a problem.

So where does this occur? Well Dr. Robert Hare, f.ex., states that some secondary psychopaths can have morals pretty much as committed and deep as everybody else, the difference lies in what morals they adhere to, or rather: Who's morals they adhere to!

It seems this would mean that if your feelings of commitment and loyalty, your sense of identity in terms of what group (or society) you belong to, are every bit as strong as everybody else's but aren't applied to the majority of society, to mainstream society, then you may be a psychopath (if the other traits are present in you)!


Where do I stand in this regard? ... In a way I stand with the classical psychopath because I don't adhere to morals, at least not in the way that I think morals is right and good just for being morals.

What I do adhere to is ethics.

Ethics is in many ways the opposite of morals. But they also have a much stronger behavioral potential. With ethics you can never be convinced killing Jews is good and right just because it's morally right in that society in that historical era. Depending on the kind of ethics you adhere to they can make you stand on your view of what is right even in the face of being condemned to life in prison or being given a death penalty. I don't believe psychopaths would find such a a way of thinking meaningful - as I've said before, psychopaths don't operate with 'Meaning' in the same way that the rest of us do.



I must say that I do agree with Robert Hare when he says that psychopathy is in part neurological, but there MUST be the presence of a certain type of behavior in order for someone to be diagnosed a psychopath.

So ... The fact is that I do encompass both of these parts, even excessively so. ...So how is it that I still do not see myself as a psychopath, even with so much 'evidence' to the contrary? - This brings me to the heart of the matter, I believe: No matter how complete a system is, there are exceptions. And I think that not only am I one of those, I think there may be a lot of exceptions out there, exceptions that are much easier to point out then myself because most of them haven't even committed crimes.

My claim is related to the claim of those who say: "Not all psychopaths are psychopaths, you know!" ... While that is not exactly what I say, it does have a connection, for I say: Not all who fits the description outwardly are in fact what they may seem! ... Like I've said earlier I believe it has to do with how the individual think.

Here is how I think:

I am not selfish in that I don't care what happens to the world around me. I care a lot!! And I want to do what is in my power to help thing go in the direction that is better rather than worse.
My definition of 'good' is what helps our species survive along with the rest of the planet ... along with the rest of planet, because I believe we're best off if we can ensure some kind of harmony.
However, harmony for me is not 'no death' and 'no illness', etc.. I think everything has it's place and every action it's time. Whether it is good or bad depends on how it impacts life as such, the life of our species first, but most definitely life of the rest of all that exists next. Since the two are almost interchangeable, that statement is actually rhetorical.

I try to see things from the larger perspective, and from the larger perspective thinking only about your own immediate gratification without consideration for anything else, big or small, is either a sign of stupidity and lacking in intellectual capacity, or it is: Psychopathy.

The one most defining factor is 'to care' or "caring'. I think the repeated notion of 'self gratification' stems from a lack of care, basically a lack of care even for the individuals themselves. Is it possible to only care about yourself, when one's own survival and wellbeing obviously in various ways depends upon the same for one's surroundings?
Maybe it's true what some researchers think: That the psychopath is in a permanent state of infantile unawareness of others than themselves. But there's the question about instincts, because there are in every living being inherited instincts that determine our further evolution. In that sense it may very well be that the psychopath is neurotically impaired. But if so, it only helps to further my claim that I'm not myself a psychopath.

I don't think we can afford to only view the psychopathy issue from our current cultural viewpoint - and that's what I think Robert Hare is doing, sadly.



I believe I am, with the above text, very clearly showing that I am not ... cannot be ... a psychopath!

10 comments:

ResCogitans said...

i've often wondered if the likes of diogenes were socios...
it seems to me that to be a good cynic or stoic, you can't have much empathy or sympathy.

TheNotablePath said...

Agreed, ResCogitans.

For me, with ethics and morals, I have none. I am however, reactionary. I also have a strong sense of fairness, but usually making sure I'm not at the butt end of injustice.

I have no qualms about taking advantage of someone or a situation, but if it serves me to be righteous or fair, I'll do it. It is better to be admired than hated by both your enemies and your friends. People will hate you for all sorts of rational and irrational reasons. If anything, fear and respect is something to incite.

Zhawq said...

ResCogitans,

That's a very good point you make here.

I am sure that if Diogenes (Nietchze, and others) were living today they would certainly be categorized as psychopaths and sociopaths. I'm absolutely certain of it, and it's one of the points I am trying to put forth with my blog.

.....

Notable,

having a strong sense of fairness is ethical. It's not necessarily moral, but it is ethical.

What you say in your second passage is practicality. I live by that myself, but think I understand ethics too.

I do 'understand' morals, but I don't have it and I don't care to have it.
Morals is not for people such as myself. But it is for most people, and I don't argue that normal people should not have morals for I believe they should.

MrBlake said...

I'm a psychopath and I know it. I have the diagnosis and have done jail time with other psychopaths - they like to keep the more 'dangerous' among us, those of us with high scores on the PCL-R - away from the rest of the jail population, so yes I've met quite a few of my kind.

And I don't mean this as an offense, Zhawq, but you're as psychopathic as they come.

I don't understand why you make such a fuss about it?

Or maybe I do. I think you truly don't care if you're a psychopath or not, but you're using it as a means to get something going here, via your blog.

That's what I would do.

So far you have my respect.

Andreas said...

"thinking only about your own immediate gratification without consideration for anything else, big or small, is either a sign of stupidity and lacking in intellectual capacity, or it is: Psychopathy."

Ironically, selfish gratification is considered normal, when that selfish gratification involves an individual's loved ones.

Psychopaths lack conscience: "an intervening sense of obligation based on affection for others." (according to Martha Stout PhD). So, a person who ignores the world at large for their loved ones, is acting on conscience. Somehow, that is viewed as moral AND ethical, by 'normal people'.

The logic, that I can perceive, is that it is good to care for others, not idealistically, which would include everyone, but what is personal, and emotional.

If that is true, then we are both sociopaths (by my definition), because we too easily dismiss the notion of personal affection even if we are looking out for the good of humanity, we are not human, because humans care for their own.
Fascinating, huh?

(I do not mean to offend, with my careless use of the word human. I have neither great love, or disdain, for that word.)

Zhawq said...

Blake,

"And I don't mean this as an offense, Zhawq, but you're as psychopathic as they come."

Yes yes, Blake, I know you think everybody who fit the diagnostic profile are psychopaths. :D


"I don't understand why you make such a fuss about it?"

I make such a fuss about it because the definition is WAY too narrow and WAY too centered about what society think of as 'bad' and even 'evil. I dislike that I as an individual must drag around with me the notion of being 'evil' and have people shun me merely because of that.

I know I am so much more, and I know I am a good person, basically speaking. - Not saying I don't have some of the traits we're infamous for having, but ... like I said: There's more to me than being a psychopath, but 'PSYCHOPATH!!!" is all people see.

I'll stop my description here because I intent to write an article on the subject.


"So far you have my respect."

Thanks, I'm glad we have an understanding. *S*

Anonymous said...

ummm...just a question here but isn`t one of the criteria for being a psychopath an `absence or lack of morals`?
But, morals can and do differ from country to country, and society to society...so WTF are we talking about here?? WTF are morals anyway? Just sthing viewed as appropriate by the majority and than if someone doesn`t think the same way than those ppl are evil or pathological just because the majority let themselves be fucked with and fucked over? lol

Anonymous said...

ummm...just a question here but isn`t one of the criteria for being a psychopath an `absence or lack of morals`?
But, morals can and do differ from country to country, and society to society...so WTF are we talking about here?? WTF are morals anyway? Just sthing viewed as appropriate by the majority and than if someone doesn`t think the same way than those ppl are evil or pathological just because the majority let themselves be fucked with and fucked over? lol

Anonymous said...

The articles makes me shake my head and laugh. In a good way. We are so a like. The state of infantile unawareness you speak of I know. I am not like that as much these days, quite the opposite really. When I realise there are all these things other people know that I don't, I learn at light speed and become knowledgeable on the new found subject.

I think this is purely a function of our focus driven nature, we tend to forget or ignore things that aren't to do with our goals. It isn't until we begin to mature that we realise how everything in the world is connected and related to us we tend to become the opposite of " state of infantile awareness" and develop a very high level of cognitive empathy. It all requires learning about other people, something we tend to view as unimportant and unrelated to us when we are young and or immature.

If your not maybe I'm not, maybe they just explained it wrong, maybe we want to forget, maybe..

Anonymous said...

Zhawq, I have recently come to the diagnosis of born or pure sociopath. I fail to see how you and I are different on these issues,,,and in this there is a strong indication that you are disconnected from your concious, because you understand it. These things jump out at you and you strive to understand your position and others in terms of practicality and knowing the subjective bias at play. This kind of understanding and disconnection is evident of a very hardcore born sociopath. If you are as extreme as you say you are, while understanding, and learning to better yourself, this says SOCIOPATH and not Psychopath.

The low intelligence you speak of here-
"try to see things from the larger perspective, and from the larger perspective thinking only about your own immediate gratification without consideration for anything else, big or small, is either a sign of stupidity and lacking in intellectual capacity, or it is: Psychopathy - is something that has always jumped out as a difference between me and other psycho's. This is because that lack of learning and intelligence is psychopathy. There is a hardcore inability to learn from stimuli in the ordinary sense of positive and negative reinforcement. You show much intelligence and learning to my mind, and you routinely and articulately relate my perspective on such matters. Have you seriously considered this diagnosis for yourself?
All the best