Friday, February 11, 2011

The Fascination with Psychopaths.

A reader asks:
"Just curious, why would anyone wish to be, or become a psychopath ? Is the media responsible in any way ?"


That's a good question. Yes, I think the media plays a role in this, but the media also reflects what goes on in society.
It's not easy to give a final answer.

But I'll give a few of the reasons that I think have at least a partial role.

In a vast society such as the one we live in (the ones we live in) it can be hard to control and regulate behavior in the population. So we instill rigid laws that everyone must abide by.
However, man's nature is not all good, and there will always be urges towards what we would call anti-social behavior: Egotism, violence, excessive sexual and other kinds of gratification, greed and laziness.

When these urges are being suppressed to the extent where even death becomes 'unnatural' to us, these urges will tend to manifest in other ways, in 'deviant' ways. Psychopaths are good examples of a minority who don't have the inner mechanisms to be self-suppressive (so to speak).

Since we're talking about human nature per se, it is not odd that the few who represent all those things that are not allowed get the attention of the rest of society.

That's one factor, but it can't stand alone since there're lots of criminals who are not psychopaths.


The next thing that comes to mind is 'The Meaning of Life'.

When you live out the majority of your life in the service of someone else, working, learning how to live up to the expectations of society and then fitting in with all those rules and laws etc., it is natural for most to have a 'higher goal' or a 'higher meaning' that'll urge you to keep going and keep abiding by the rules.

We used to find that in the 'higher meaning' of religion. Until very recently - less than 2 centuries ago - there was no such thing as not being religious. Everybody 'knew' there was a Heaven and a Hell, they knew there were angels and devils, and that these helped keeping people's minds on track for what is the 'greater good'.
The angels and gods were the carrot that kept you wanting to be good, and the demons and devils were those who threatened you with pending doom, hell and suffering and all that.
Among humans there were the witches and the sorcerers.

We don't have such scare-crows or witches today. And we need somebody to blame. The choice has lately fallen on the psychopaths because common criminals are so plentiful, so common, they can no longer fill that role. We need something 'exotic'.

That is the fear factor of it all. But fear has two sides and man has always had a fascination for 'evil' and 'bad'. It is linked to what we associate with rebellion because all rebels of all times have been called 'evil' or 'bad' by their representative governments, those in power.

In our culture we can see it with ideas such as the 'lone wolf', in Western movies. But our present time has it's equivalents.

Think of how many movies are made over the theme of the anti-hero?
The anti-hero represents the loner who plays by his own rules and does good that way, we love him especially when we see our governements can't take care of evil in society.

A present day example is 'Dexter', the TV series.

And now we're getting closer to the heart of the matter: Anti-heroes and regular heroes share a lot of traits. They're resourceful, efficient, mentally strong and even physically strong (or tend to be), they don't suffer from common human weaknesses such as fear and self-questioning, remorse or guilt. And they always know what to do, they emanate strong personality and are assured in their righteousness to do what they have to do.

To a lot of people psychopaths represent all of this. Especially for those who are damaged, who have been abused by those who should've taken care of them from early on in their lives. Those who have lost belief and faith in society's ability to keep them safe or in society's goodness. They are the most vulnerable towards falling prey to the false idea of the psychopath's greatness.
They become psychopath wannabes.


Those of us who are psychopaths but who also have a decent intellect know we're not good or special in the sense that we should be seen as the savior of mankind. We know what we are and we have no illusions in that regard.

But a few of us may decide to try and do some good, and we can do so without any problems because we don't have a value system, no morals (wanting to be bad is not less a moralistic way of thinking than wanting to be good is, and to the psychopath it's all the same. We run by what others call 'instant gratification', and there're many ways to gain that. It's idiotic and ignorant to think you can only be happy if you do bad. It's the thinking of a Psychopath Wannabe. So yes, some of us may choose to try something new, to do good f.ex. by joining a forum such as this and tell others the truth about what and how we really are.

But as you can see, people do not like their illusions to be taken away from them, and so they fight back (slander, accusations, etc.).

To a psychopaths that's all in a days' work, of course, and in reality we atually thrive from such 'attention'. That's how 'deviant' or 'sick' our emotional preferences are. We know that all while the wannabes throw mud at us, imagining in their little minds that they're hurting us, they're just showing they haven't understood a single thing and - most satisfying of all - they're hurting themselves, because the point of it all is: You can not hurt me with words!! Why? Because there is nothing here to hurt! My emotions are 'shallow' (for lack of a better word), it takes a LOT more to get to me. I've even been subjected to what some would call torture, and that too didn't deter me. It hurt, physically, sure, but so what? We all hurt SOMETIMES.

Or maybe we don't. Psychopaths are said to have no emotions, and that's not true of course. But we do have fewer kinds of emotions, and those that we do have are apparently both of lower intensity and are much more easily controlled by ourselves than the same kinds of emotions are with the normal human being or the Antisocial.

Psychopathy is nothing to strive for, and it cannot be learned, adopted or created (other than through physically intrusive operational means).

18 comments:

TheNotablePath said...

We are the grown up's version of vampires and werewolves, of tyrants and boogie men.

I know you specifically speak for psychopaths, but as I am not sure which category I sit in (ASPD, sociopathy, psychopathy) I'm going to hop onto this one.

They are morbidly fascinated with what we are capable of ignoring. They don't actually like us, save the odd demented fan. Like tigers at the zoo, or the surly men in shadows at your local dive bar that belongs to a seedier lot. Enjoyed from a distance in flights of fancy.

I don't think they so much envy our lack of empathy or conscience but more our lack of restraint and brazen disregard for the rules they have been enslaved to.

Anonymous said...

If you do good on a regular basis you are not a sociopath FACT.

MrBlake said...

Anon
"If you do good on a regular basis you are not a sociopath FACT."

And what is 'good' in your book? How do you determine?


Notable
I can make most people like me. But yeah, they don't know the real me of course.
I think many of them DO envy our lack of empathy, BECAUSE it makes us capable or acting with less restraints.

TheNotablePath said...

Let's say you are a man with a very difficult wife. You whinge about her endlessly because all of her nagging and heavy handed manipulation. Your Muslim friend brags about his submissive wife and everything she does for him.

Do you envy their culture/religion, or his submissive wife?

That analogy is why I don't think the lack of empathy is important to them, just the fact that we're enabled to do what they can only wish they had the balls to do. If there was another reason we do what we did, it wouldn't matter to them. Just that we can.

Anon. I don't see things as right or wrong, good or bad. I know what they are, but they are not my motivations for my actions. What I want is. If that means doing good, or bad, it doesn't matter. It's a thought process your indoctrinated mind cannot appreciate.

Zhawq said...

Anon 1:30 AM

Hi, welcome to my blog.

"If you do good on a regular basis you are not a sociopath FACT."

No, not a fact at all.

I've known and met several psychopaths over the years (having lived a good deal of my life among criminals), and I can tell you that generally speaking they too do 'good' things on a regular basis.

How else do you propose they'd avoid getting locked up every single one of them?

Your statement is ... well, to be honest ... ridiculous!

Even so, your input in welcome. :)


Notable,

I agree with what you say. This is how I see it too.

"I know you specifically speak for psychopaths, but as I am not sure which category I sit in (ASPD, sociopathy, psychopathy) I'm going to hop onto this one."

In my personal opinion you would belong mainly in the Sociopath category, but with strong narcissistic traits - and I mean this in a good way. Narcissism need not be a bad thing if there's talent and a strong personality to back it up.

I'm not sure what you mean by that Muslim analogy. But for the rest of what you put forth here, I agree with that as well.


Blake,

"And what is 'good' in your book? How do you determine?"

A good question and one I often present for people who identify themselves with the normal mainstream society, or perhaps a sub-group/sub-culture thereof.

Seems our Anonymous reader is not going to answer that question though. But who knows, he may surprise us. :)

TheNotablePath said...

It was an analogy, taking a standard western civilization family home life versus a very different one. It has nothing to do with culture or religion, or social commentary. It was an analogy. You can look up traditional Muslim home practices if you want to. I'm sure it's on the net, somewhere.

As for my narcissism, I can agree that I display a high level of it. However, it mostly has to do with arrogance, and it can be grounded. I'm not stubborn when proven wrong, or inferior. Last i checked, that was extremely rare for the narcissist.

Perhaps you share such an arrogance, no? I can only speculate.

Zhawq said...

Notable,

I don't think your narcissism is your main trait. As such you need not display the traditional aspects.
And yes, I think we share in this respect. *S*

SayTheTruth said...

Maybe you remember me, Zhawq?

I've been following your blog all along. I didn't go away as I'm sure you thought.

Your psychopathy is showing more and more. Or maybe not, it's been showing all the time.

You'll NEVER convince me! NEVER! You have proven everything!

And yes, The Notable Path said it too, but you are not any less Antisocial than Zhawq is if that's what you think!!

You've invited everybody to say what we mean, and this is still what I mean!

Anonymous, 1:30 am
"If you do good on a regular basis you are not a sociopath FACT."

Don't believe him! Just don't. He thinks he can make us think he's doing good things, and that's a laugh!

TheNotablePath said...

Is there a measuring stick for how Antisocial someone is?

How could you know who is more or less psychopathic?

Who is the more vile worm? Which apple is more toxic when prepared to kill?

These are kept in abstract from a distance, and only measured through speculation.

I hypothesize that Zhawq is Antisocial, and may not be so much in denial as he is miffed at how close it borders to "normal", just off enough to matter.

MrBlake said...

Zhawq
"In my personal opinion you would belong mainly in the Sociopath category, but with strong narcissistic traits"

I think she's ASPD also (just like you and me and so many others. Haha).


Notable
"Is there a measuring stick for how Antisocial someone is?"

There is. But it takes lengthy testing to determine.


"Who is the more vile worm? Which apple is more toxic when prepared to kill?"

That's a stupid question, honey. Are you so narcissistic that you gotta measure your worth from how vile you are?


"I hypothesize that Zhawq is Antisocial"

He is.


"and may not be so much in denial as he is miffed at how close it borders to "normal", just off enough to matter."

You think he's in denial? I see you can't have spoken much with him then. But I'll leave it to him to deside what he'll say about his ASPD and psychopathy.

And you think Zhawq is bordering on normal? Interesting. What makes you say that?

MrBlake said...

SayTheTruth
"Maybe you remember me, Zhawq?"

Why would he remember you? Your input is insignificant. You embarrass yourself.

Why you here in the first place? Maybe you got a crush on Zhawq or somethin?

It's your kind of 'normal' moronicness that makes comment threads on blogs like this one so full of shit.

You should go and concentrate on your work. Take extra working hours too, and make your boss proud. That way you'd at least be of some use.

Tell the truth my ass. You wouldn't see it if you hit you right in your face.

TheNotablePath said...

I don't like having to explain my every point. I wasn't trying to be cryptic, or difficult, and yet you misunderstood most of what I said. That, or you're being an ass. I have no patience for it now.

Zhawq said...

SayTheTruth,

You should try it. But then you'd have to know it first, of course.


"I've been following your blog all along. I didn't go away as I'm sure you thought."

I didn't think of you at all, to be honest.


"You'll NEVER convince me! NEVER! You have proven everything!"

You seem to believe I'm trying to convince you?
I wonder, can I, STT? Can I?


"You've invited everybody to say what we mean, and this is still what I mean!"

I gracefully thank you, STT. And you're welcome to continue saying what you think to be the truth. That is (also) what this blog is for.


Notable:

"How could you know who is more or less psychopathic?"

You'd need extensive testing to do that.


"Who is the more vile worm? Which apple is more toxic when prepared to kill?"

Uhm... very poetic. But the point is?


"These are kept in abstract from a distance, and only measured through speculation."

You lost me, Notable. Which ones are kept in abstract?


"I hypothesize that Zhawq is Antisocial"

I never made any claim to not having anti-social traits. I was very anti-social in my youth, there's no a=doubt about that.


"and may not be so much in denial as he is miffed at how close it borders to "normal", just off enough to matter."

Come again, denial about?

And are you saying Antisocial Personality Disorder borders on normal? If it's off enough to matter it is not bordering on normal anymore.

Anyway, being Antisocial and having AsPD obviously go together, but they're are not necessarily the same thing.


Blake:

"Why you here in the first place? Maybe you got a crush on Zhawq or somethin?"

Oh, the horror!

No offense, STT, lol.

Zhawq said...

Oh, and TSS,

"Don't believe him! Just don't. He thinks he can make us think he's doing good things, and that's a laugh!"

This is the kind of statement that is so typical for your type. You like to tell everybody what to believe and what not to.

Who's the laugh here? It won't work with people who have from the beginning decided to not follow the pre sets of society codes of conduct and thinking, mores and all that.

And what's more, many of the empathic people who visit my blog are able to think for themselves too.

You see, you need not be a psychopath or antisocial in order to think for yourself. But your type will never come to terms with that. You will have us all follow your march rhythm.

Take a look at the previous article on this blog: 'All in the past?'. It's about that kind of things also.

TheNotablePath said...

I wasn't trying to contradict you, by calling you antisocial. And I didn't mean it in the clinical sense, per se.

As far as scaling one's psychopathy, no, I don't believe there is a scale. Things like the PCL-R measure danger and criminality, not one's neuro-functions. Unless you were hinting to brain scans.

And even then, you're not finding out who is more psychopathic. You're finding out things like today's SW article about the actual brain construction, and how there is an underlying universal to psychopath (the collosum size/length) and the possibly different hemisphere size (lower/higher functioning psychopathy)

So that means there are different types, the types that are high and low functioning, and that there are scales to measure one's danger level. Not their PD percentage :P

Zhawq said...

Notable:

"I wasn't trying to contradict you, by calling you antisocial. And I didn't mean it in the clinical sense, per se."

I know. But it's a fact that I have Antisocial traits - or did, at least. My history of crime and violence shows this to excess. I wish it wasn't the case, because I could've done good with a clean slate now, but that's the way it is. And hey, I'll manage! ;)


"As far as scaling one's psychopathy, no, I don't believe there is a scale. Things like the PCL-R measure danger and criminality, not one's neuro-functions."

I think you mistake PCL-R for DSM-IV. The PCL-R is exactly that which you don't believe exists. No diagnosis with PCL-R scaling will be made today without a thorough analysis of neuro-psychological functions too.

...That is, there are a huge amount of quacks who do just that, but it was never intended and is rightly being considered outright misuse of the checklist.

In a certain sense you're right of course. Scales will never be more than a superficial attempt to communicate what cannot be communicated, a contract of consensus.


"Unless you were hinting to brain scans."

Brain scans are used to help determine where on the scale someone is, yes.


"And even then, you're not finding out who is more psychopathic. You're finding out things like today's SW article about the actual brain construction, and how there is an underlying universal to psychopath (the collosum size/length) and the possibly different hemisphere size (lower/higher functioning psychopathy)"

Yeah. I also have some other personal theories about the "true" possibility of actually measuring emotional experience by empirically scientific means created within the dimension of consensual causality. But that's another topic.


"So that means there are different types, the types that are high and low functioning, and that there are scales to measure one's danger level. Not their PD percentage :P"

Now that's nonsense. The very reason people find all those differences and variations is that together they can create a picture of the individual and their "level of psychopathy" or whatever it is one seeks to determine about someone.

Anonymous said...

So I stumbled upon your blog, and I know this comment is horribly late. Doesn't matter. I wholeheartedly agree with your theory. It certainly answers plenty of questions. Though you sounded a bit too defensive towards the end there when you stated that you don't have much of an emotion palate to hurt in the first place.

Imo, psychopaths can feel hurt, but they're too rational to dwell on it for too long. So they sweep the hurt aside and begin plotting ways to turn the situation to their advantage. Not before rationalizing away the situation, of course, psychopaths are very skilled at that so it's not really an issue.

Anonymous said...

The notablepath said
I don't think they so much envy our lack of empathy or conscience but more our lack of restraint and brazen disregard for the rules they have been enslaved to.

Actually normal people CHOOSE to follow the rules. It's not enslavement. We believe that, overall, rules are beneficial, and we see no point in breaking them. Breaking the rules leads to misery and heartbreak, for either myself or someone else. Because I have a conscience, I don't want to cause this, even if its to my short-term personal benefit. I use logic to make decisions, but my conscience prevents me from being an a-hole.