Saturday, September 24, 2011

Psychopaths and Racism.

A Reader asks:

What's a PS stand about racism?

PS... I assume this refers to Psychopath and Sociopath. If yes, then there are two slightly different answers.

I'll begin with the group that is closest to home, and of which I am a specimen: The Psychopaths...

If there was such a thing as a pure psychopath, he would be incapable of acquiring any ideology, politically or otherwise, and that includes Racism.

The core trait in psychopathy, and which sets us apart from other Cluster B. and Antisocial personality types, is the Flat Affect, specifically in terms of absence of the ability to feel Empathy and therefore Remorse(1*).

If you cannot empathize with individuals or groups of other people, you only have logical thinking upon which to base your views. In the case of racism, as with more or less everything in existence, there are pros and cons. I see by far more cons, pronbably because I have acquired some fundamental empirical modern scientific knowledge.

As an example, I think the science of neuro-biology is highly efficient because it fits with all the other natural sciences that I know of. There is too much that speaks against the usefulness (read: possible truth) of a model of reality that says the race defines possible intelligence level and the ethical nature of personality traits in the individual human being.

It is far more useful to stick with the empirical model of natural science which gives us an enourmous amount of data to gain more general knowledge derived from physical differences of every kind. This has given us tools to deal with illnesses and epidemics which used to be deadly - and as we know, these fiends do generally not care about racial differences. Another positive is there's one less synthetic internal conflict to make basis for civil war or revolution. Most of all, we will have far more people who can function based on their personal strengths and preferences instead of their racial heritage.

All of the above are thoughts I can't help but believe in, because my world model has it logically built-in and structured that way.

On the other hand, the emotional aspects of my thinking is almost non-existent. The basis of my ideology is survival. Survival of our species, yes, but our species always begins with me.
And I know mankind is more than logic, I see it everyday. I see it in that most people don't function by logic alone, and many develop a racist ideology in spite of scientific schooling.

If I find myself surrounded by a society that has a racist ideology, I'm likely to use it to my advantage even if it means I will have to lie about what I really think. In fact - and this is where my psychopathy comes in - it is even worse: I may live in a society where the racial ideology agrees with my own thinking, but if I see a Prize of Gratification, but I can obtain that prize only by pretending that I believe in racism, then I am likely to do so.

This is the greatest difference between psychopaths and other antisocial minorities. It's a differences that sets us apart and makes many people - even people from other antisocial and Cluster B minorities - hate us, and for good reason.

Sociopaths(2*) are more likely than psychopaths to acquire a racisist ideology because they are much more likely to adopt the ideology of a social group, but they do it for very different reasons. Because many sociopaths join extremist political minorities, there are quite a few sociopaths among neo-nazi extremists and other racist groupings. Psychopaths almost never thrive in these groups because of their strict hierarchy systems and their very harsh demand for loyalty.

This can sound as if sociopaths are incredibly negative, but lets turn it around and think of another example: In most prisons the sub-cultural code makes rapists very unpopular - no, hated and despised. And it is beyond doubt that sociopaths hate or despise these outcasts just as much, if not more, than the neurotypical groups of inmates do.

There are two small minorities in the prisons who do not hate and despise rapists:
  1. Some of the rapists themselves (not all; many rapists suffer from self hatred to the point where they attempt suicide).
  2. The psychopaths (especially those who's score are high on Factor 1 traits).

(1*) - Some scholars put more emphasis on the factor of Absence of Remorse. I haven't been able to do so myself because I can't understand the importance of Remorse, and I think this feeling, or emotion, depends on the ability to feel Empathy.

(2*) - I should add that what I write about the differences between Psychopaths and Sociopaths are my personal opinions, though not mine alone (ref. Dr. Robert D. Hare, David T. Lykken, and others).


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post Zhawq, I enjoyed reading it. I had been wondering about that and I agree. If no empathy then its impossible to take a stand. I could even think they are against racism, as they don’t understand it. But... I’ve noticed that PS don’t care about racism but they do care about ignorance and naivety (according to some PS comments)… I could be wrong…
Regarding the factor of absence of remorse… I would say: How can anyone feel remorse when they don't feel any guilt? Guilt is the trigger of remorse.

Anonymous said...

I don't think psychopaths would necessarily be 'against' racism - in fact I think many use that feature to their own advantage, seeking leadership positions in right-wing extremist movements or parties. Of course some might get suspicious of them if they sense that there is no real passion behind their motivations. A psychopath always does what is most beneficial to them personally.

ZKM said...

I think it is inaccurate to say psychopaths do not 'use' racism because it is illogical. Racism can be justified logically, people just happen to prefer irrational emotional claims as support for their belief systems.

All races may be equal in potential, but they are NOT equal in opportunity. That may not be their fault, but it does leave us with the ability to rank races based on their cumulative 'success'. Canada is superior to Mexico, Mexico is superior to Nigeria, etc. It's an unavoidable distinction that of course, varies based on your criteria for superiority.

Do I inherintly care about the color of someone's skin? Their culture? Whether they eat with a fork or chopsticks? No, not that in itself. But I do realize, and have observed the presence of cultural characteristics present in the majority of a race. These characteristics can be categorized as beneficial or undesirable by a psychopath which could lead to a sort of 'default' racism.

Just because we are not naturally prejudiced by emotion, doesn't mean we can't be affected by mere observation or experience. I have never met a Korean that didn't irritate me. Do I inherintly hate Koreans? No, but I notice the trend.

Of course, I cannot discount my own belief, that racism is simply fun. I enjoy racist barbs, I consider my use of them not only a swipe against the politically correct 'establishment' but also against the ridiculous right-wing as well.

Do I really believe in it? No. Racist IDEALOGIES, are indeed illogical I won't argue with that. Blind, baseless hate is of course puzzling to the sociopathic mind. Racism is a tool, it is a form of entertainment, the fact that it can and IS taken seriously surprises me daily.

That being said, I've portrayed every level of racial tolerance and intolerance I can imagine short of actually lynching someone or going on a freedom-fight. I just really, REALLY don't care. I don't have an opinion on much of anything. There are at least two sides to everything and I see no logic in only observing one. Racism is good, racism is bad, just flip a coin for me and I'll argue either way.

Anonymous said...

Nice mate, no holds barred.

The core trait in psychopathy, and which sets us apart from other Cluster B. and Antisocial personality types, is the Flat Affect, specifically in terms of absence of the ability to feel Empathy and therefore Remorse(1*)"

It is a funny one. Even when I can cognitively understand another persons position and how I have hurt them , and someone points out how I feel/react to this same type of behaviour, or why it gets a certain bad reaction and why I should act differently, I really am completely incapable of feeling remorse. The closest I can come is to say that wasn't my intention. Even when I do care and have vested interest to the contrary I am incapable of taking it on board in any other sense than improving my understanding so I am better able to control my environment in the future. It sounds so manipulative, but I can't help it. It's not manipulative to me, it's just living and common sense !

In the article, you mention how people hate us for being able to take any position to get what we want.
Just wondering if you could explain for my thick head, why does this make people hate us so much ?
Is it just that they are hurt we don't care? What about people we don't know, why do they hate it ??? Is it explainable by another psychopath, or is it impossible for us to get properly because it is an emotional thing ?

Anonymous said...

I think normal people have a need to identify with others who have similarities while rejecting those who don't. We don't have that need to self identify with and therefore are not bothered with who or what a person is or does.