Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Just for Me!" is Just for Psychopaths! - Part II.

In relation to the 'late' trend and shift in commonplace attitude towards Sociopathy, the Danish music video hit "Kun for Mig" (Eng.: "Just for Me" or "Only for Me") by MEDINA.This is a very popular song that focus on self-indulgence.

Apparently it's about a woman who was cheated upon or left, or who left someone because (they cheated on her?) ...! The text is not, like we might expect, about her feelings of sadness or loss or of feeling shame, loneliness or longing, i.e.. Instead it focus on her decision to now indulging only self gratification. The chorus is: "Just/only for Me!, just/only for me!". If it had fit in with the tune the chorus might have been "Just/only about me!", but the rest of the text makes it clear what the message is, and it's portrayed in way that leaves no doubt about it being cool and understandable and the thing to do to indulge in selfishness and cynicism. Most of the visual takes place in discotheques, and some of it pictures the singer riding a cab on her way to the discotheque, to town, to have 'fun', and away from individual commitment and love.

It's a situation many people can relate to, for many have felt that occasional rebellion against being the victim of love that went wrong, feelings that left the person hurt and sad. It's the wish to escape the vulnerable state you open yourself up to when you love and have committed to someone or something.

And here is why it is important: In the last three or four decades a tendency in the normal, empathic, and thus major part of the population in western and industrialized societies, there has been a shift in attitude and mentality. The qualities of character that we consider valuable, which we strive to enhance in the personalities of ourselves and of our children, and in our everyday lives and behavior, are in fact psychopathic qualities.

I will describe in detail...

People who study psychopathy and Sociopathy commonly uses a terminology among themselves which distinguishes between the psychopaths/sociopaths and neuro-typical ('normal') people. These are the two basic groups that is being operated with...One is represented by the Psychopaths, Sociopaths, Antisocial Personality Disordered, etc.(1*), sometimes in casual exchanges for short called 'Socio' (ref. the older 'Psycho'). The other represents the Neuro-typical, or 'normal, Person, and is generally referred to as 'Empaths' - from the perhaps most central of the assumed abilities in 'normal' people to somehow feel what somebody else feels, or literally Feel somebody else's feelings, usually simultaneously - the term for this is 'empathy' (my personal opinion about this thesis or whether such is even practically possible is another matter), and from here stems the term 'Empath' used in the group I'm speaking of here.

I wanted to describe the meaning of the word 'empath' as it is being used among those who study psychopathy because it is important in relation to the trend I exemplified with the pop song and video mentioned above. The term I stick to is 'Psychopath'. It's the oldest and most prevalent, and it has the favor over the other terms of not being affected by an attempt to get rid of the stigma it has acquired by the associations it carries from common experience and knowledge. It doesn't have the tint of being less serious and being more acceptable like the term 'Sociopath'. And it has none of the total loss of well known associations of the term Antisocial Personality Disorder, which very commonly is thought to be en par with f.ex. Borderline Personality Disorder (at worst), or even ADHD, and - like ADHD - being associated mostly with children and youths.

Whereas ASPD in fact may be treatable, at least to a lesser extent, it is also the only disorder that resembles psychopathy which has even the slightest amount of possible treatability, and that's a problem when the term is used interchangeably with Psychopathy and Sociopathy, which are both at present considered non-treatable. - When we hear or see the word 'Psychopath', we know we're not hearing about a person who may have problematic behavior, who may tend use too unacceptable swear words when he gets angry once a month and starts slamming doors. We know this is not someone who's 'crimes' consists of talking back to his boss or that they can't keep jobs. That's what we expect when we hear about someone that they have ASPD. Then there're the one who cheats on his wife and who may be prone to gambling more than he can afford, or who doesn't pay his bills on time and who schemes against his colleagues in order to get a raise instead of them. This is what we may expect from someone we hear is a sociopath. But when we hear someone is a Psychopath we know it's more than that, we know it's (possibly) seriously much more than that. And that is one main reason why I stick with this term.

Another main reason is that I don't like the tendency to include more or less every human trait that just slightly carries resemblance to something which, when really extreme, is psychopathic. Psychopathy is an extreme condition, it is not your average neighbor. I know there're so called experts who are proposing that psychopathy is far more common that we've previously thought, and they propose that a vast number of people who have the 'coldness' it takes to make it in politics and business, are psychopaths. They paint a picture that makes it seem that large corporations are swarming with psychopaths, and the obvious next thought is that The White House is in the same position.

In my opinion there's no doubt that there are psychopaths in such places and which powerful positions. But the vast majority are not psychopaths, nowhere near so!

So why are we seeing this rise in obviously psychopathic qualities being displayed more and more openly and even publicly? ... As I've pointed to earlier, the pop industry may be the one place that pictures most clearly of all where the tendency is going. But my main message is this: The problem is not anymore the psychopaths themselves than it ever was. There has always been psychpaths in the western industrialized societies, and they've always represented a problem. But they've never been a major problem for the prosperity and health of a society as such, and I put forth that they still do not hold any such position.
Here's what I think is the problem:

Empaths, normal neuro-typical people have begun adopting psychopathic values and behaviors. And THAT is a real problem!! - There's a grain of truth to what the witch-hunters are saying: The psychopaths are thriving. It's true, the psychopaths will not be harmed by this change in societal values. In fact the psychopaths don't get harmed by any kind of societal values. They can adapt, because they don't have the central emotional components that are depending upon a certain kind of life conditions in order to thrive. But the empaths themselves will - and do - get harmed.

It's a very sad irony that it's the empaths themselves who are exercising the new psychopathic trend and enforcing it upon their fellow empathic majority of the population.

The realistic estimate of psychopaths existing in a population at any time, is 1% ... and it's probably even a high estimate. I know most experts think it to be slightly higher than I do, but I don't think they have the practical experience that I do. After all, most of them grew up in well functioning middle or high class environments and come into contact with psychopaths via their work. I have lived almost all of my life among that very minority in society where psychopaths are most likely to be - at some point, and at the larger amount of their lives - due to their characters and what their behavior results in, etc..

- I should say though, that when I estimate a low 1%, this is from my focus on what we call primary, or true, psychopaths. Admittedly, there is a larger number of people who's characters are of an overall psychopathic quality, but where the limit is can't be absolutely determined. I think I will agree with Robert Hare: Primary and secondary psychopaths make up somewhere between 2 and 3%.

Another thing I can say with certainty is that under the present conditions it is a small minority of psychopaths who can fit into society. Thus there the majority are likely to be in the part society I have lived in: The criminal and disintegrated part. The second largest part is likely in the opposite end of society: The very powerful. I believe this because I don't think these people would be able to get avoid being put in the same spot as the majority is without exceptional power enabling them to do so.
Whether or not this arrangement should be seen as acceptable is another matter (and in my personal opinion it depends upon how it's being handled by the empaths in power. I know of examples that to me seem to be nearly perfect and perhaps the one model I would wish exercised for psychopaths everywhere. But it's not likely to happen in our time where people can't get to terms with the idea that people being different in between also means their needs in terms of life standards and rules are different. For as long as we believe so firmly in equality - while agreeing that our differences should be allowed voice (free speech) - oppression of minorities will continue to exist).

(1*) = ...are terms that are still subject to some debate and are interpreted differently scholars and experts in between, wherefore the group I'm referring to here generally use these terms interchangeably (a practice I don't approve of, but I can't change it and so I have to accept it).

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