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View Diary: Almost A Psycopath (18 comments)

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  •  Kurt Vonnegut pointed this out already in his book (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mookins, Quantumlogic

    "...psychopathic personalities, or PPs, the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences. To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete’s foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask of Sanity by Dr. Hervey Cleckley, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia, and published in 1941. Read it! Some people are born deaf, some are born blind or whatever, and this book is about congenitally defective human beings of a sort that is making this whole country and many other parts of the planet go completely haywire nowadays. These were people born without consciences, and suddenly they are taking charge of everything. PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose! And what syndrome better describes so many executives at Enron and WorldCom and on and on, who have enriched themselves while ruining their employees and investors and country and who still feel as pure as the driven snow, no matter what anybody may say to or about them? And they are waging a war that is making billionaires out of millionaires, and trillionaires..."
    "Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they don’t give a fuck what happens next. Simply can’t. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody’s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club..."

    Kurt Vonnegut (2005). A Man Without a Country, Seven Stories Press.

    •  well... it is a Darwinian trait that persists... (0+ / 0-)

      it has strong survival benefits and does reward those with it by giving them measurably greater reproductive success.

      The more amoral warriors in some traditional societies ,which have a more violence prone set of norms, have been shown to have more children and women.

      The key thing to realize is that in dangerous times, descents into barbarism, when there is upheaval and disruption, these kinds of people can prosper even more. And in fact their successes and methods can perpetuate these conditions and make it more likely that they (and their progeny) continue to dominate and be rewarded.

      Worse, scary, dangerous dominant men are particularly attractive to a subset of women. Getting the protection of the most powerful male (which comes with its own dangers) helps assure offspring with a better chance of being alphas...

      Of course when rational, more moral, logical empathetic traits dominate a society in more stable and constructive times the Sociopaths are particularly disruptive... and stand out more easily as being that.

      But even then... there is a thin line between dynamic leaders and gangstas... and they can also have creative sides that do contribute something positive... however incidental that is to their own narcissistic nature... and still get a lot of reproductive attention and success.

      So we will always have these people with us... and we all may have some of this in us too... It is an unstable balance with them always pushing against the restraints that a rational society puts in place for the greater overall good.

      We can send the more amoral to war where they prosper compared to normal people who are damaged from the experience... (but how ofter are psychopaths/sociopaths on the battlefield counter productive in the long run when they commit barbaric acts they mostly get away with?) but then back in civilian life we have empathetic people struggling to get back to normal while for psychopaths it is a similar but opposite situation... and they can find it hard in other ways to fit in to normal society.

      I hope in the future these traits can be identified early and redirected and harnessed so the kids learn more empathy, find rewards for being more that way but without losing the competitive and creative components of their personality... so too there are those with just a tendency but early experiences can make them take the more selfish, and even violent path... Just avoiding that poison in society would  be a major help.

      We are shaped by our experiences to become a version of ourselves that has a chance to at least survive if not prosper. If we shape society to be a more fraught dog eat dog existence we will cause more and more of the smarter and effective people to choose a survivalist world view that will give cover and even rewards to psychopaths/sociopaths... the ones born to it and  and those remade into a form of it. The more horrors and un-love a child experiences the more they will reset to a primal survival mode.... Emotions, feelings besides rage, vengeance, greed and selfishness become surplus encumbrances to just surviving if not becoming  the Alpha human in a wasteland.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 04:14:13 AM PDT

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