Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fantastic Mr. Fox

This is an old comment from UKan that I've been meaning to give its own post. It describes why psychopathy is not necessarily maladaptive, but rather can be quite fantastic:
See here's the thing that bothers me with people who write about psychopathy. They display all the traits of a psychopath as a weakness. As if all the psychopaths out there are doomed to eternal suffering in a emotional void. In a psychopaths point of view it is quite the opposite.

Its all about perspective really. Robert Hare, which many of you know to be the worlds leading expert on sociopathy said he believes he would find more of a percentage of psychopaths in the cut throat business world than in prison. That doesn't really sound like a disorder to me. The hype over psychopathy is over a small minority of sexually violent predators, most of whom went through serious child abuse.

My lack of impulse control allows me to take risks others could not. In business its all about taking risks. If you don't have what it takes to make quick decisions you are fucked. Especially my business.

Constant boredom is a great thing to have. It keeps you busy and enables you to multi task. It sets you apart from the rest.

Being grandiose can be self actualizing. We belong in roles of power even if we have to creste it from thin air. If you make yourself look great and you are so convinced that others around you believe it to be true, does that not make it so?

A psychopaths temper is quick, sharp, and its also effective. Why not get it all out there instead of bottling it up till you have to go cry to some therapist. If I don't get my way I'm fucking angry. Guess what? Most of the time I get my way. Who wouldn't want that?

Psychopaths don't have shallow emotions they just have different reactions because they lack empathy. Is rage not potent? Is possessing someone not passion? I feel want. I want it all.

Which brings me to this pirate shit. What a cheeky way of portraying a psychopaths constant hunger for more. Some people are satisfied with a mediocre existence. Not the psychopath. This constant need for more gets you more. Funny how that works. Who wants to employ someone who is satisfied over someone who will never be? Dissatisfaction can make one ambitious.

Like I said its all perspective.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Everybody's different

This was an interesting story from an older Mormon prophet, Joseph Fielding Smith, about difference:

We need to appreciate and love people for themselves.

When I was a boy, we had a horse named Junie. She was one of the most intelligent animals I ever saw. She seemed almost human in her ability. I couldn’t keep her locked in the barn because she would continually undo the strap on the door of her stall. I used to put the strap connected to the half-door of the stall over the top of the post, but she would simply lift it off with her nose and teeth. Then she would go out in the yard.

There was a water tap in the yard used for filling the water trough for our animals. Junie would turn this on with her teeth and then leave the water running. My father would get after me because I couldn’t keep that horse in the barn. She never ran away; she just turned on the water and then walked around the yard or over the lawn or through the garden. In the middle of the night, I would hear the water running and then I would have to get up and shut it off and lock Junie up again.

My father suggested that the horse seemed smarter than I was. One day he decided that he would lock her in so that she couldn’t get out. He took the strap that usually looped over the top of the post and buckled it around the post and under a crossbar, and then he said, “Young lady, let’s see you get out of there now!” My father and I left the barn and started to walk back to the house; and before we reached it, Junie was at our side. She then went over and turned the water on again.

I suggested that now, perhaps, she was about as smart as either one of us. We just couldn’t keep Junie from getting out of her stall. But that doesn’t mean she was bad, because she wasn’t. Father wasn’t about to sell or trade her, because she had so many other good qualities that made up for this one little fault.

The horse was as reliable and dependable at pulling our buggy as she was adept at getting out of the stall. And this was important, because Mother was a licensed midwife. When she would get called to a confinement somewhere in the valley, usually in the middle of the night, I would have to get up, take a lantern out to the barn, and hitch Junie up to the buggy.

I was only about ten or eleven years old at the time; and that horse had to be gentle and yet strong enough to take me and Mother all over the valley, in all kinds of weather. One thing I never could understand, however, was why most of the babies had to be born at night and so many of them in winter.

Often I would wait in the buggy for Mother, and then it was nice to have the company of gentle old Junie. This experience with this horse was very good for me, because early in life I had to learn to love and appreciate her for herself. She was a wonderful horse with only a couple of bad habits. People are a lot the same way. None of us is perfect; yet each of us is trying to become perfect, even as our Father in heaven. We need to appreciate and love people for themselves.

Maybe you need to remember this when you evaluate your parents or teachers or ward and stake leaders or friends—or brothers and sisters. This lesson has always stayed with me—to see the good in people even though we are trying to help them overcome one or two bad habits. …

I learned early in life to love and not to judge others, trying always to overcome my own faults.

I think it's interesting the different reactions I have gotten from readers. Often they're positive, they agree that sociopaths are much maligned for just being a mental disorder that people don't choose to have and have very limited ability to change or even modify in themselves. And of course some people see sociopaths as subhumans that should be exterminated. Of course that will usually happen, a split of opinions on something, but the interesting thing is the reasoning. Often religion is used to justify both positions. Efficiency is used to justify both positions. Certain philosophies (e.g. utilitarianism) are used to justify both positions. What I learned in law school is that there are always two sides to every coin. The more you argue that certain people are worthless, the easier it is for those types of beliefs to become acceptable or even desirable as standing on good "moral" principles. The more those beliefs become acceptable, the more likely someone who is willing to act on those beliefs will come into power. The more people in power who are willing to act on those beliefs, the more risky it is for anyone to live in a way that is both different and authentic.

Why don't we just kill off all sociopaths? Maybe because like the horse Junie, the same traits that make them sometimes dangerous, obnoxious, disgusting, or reprehensible are also the traits that will promote survival and success for them and all those attached to them in certain dangerous, obnoxious, disgusting, or reprehensible situations.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Baron-Cohan vs. Fallon

From a reader:

Hi M.E.,

If you haven't seen this, it's an interesting watch and I would be interested hear your take.  Simon Baron-Cohan (Ali G's cousin) is part of the panel and there is some interesting back and forth on Aspie's vs. Socio's and such with folks on the panel.

With all the debate on the forum of "who is what" and what the diagnosis mean and such, it might make fore some interesting fodder as well.

For me it was as much a confirmation of "whatever he is, I'm a lot like that."  Not exactly, but close - as an engineer, I can seen both elements in myself.

There is a funny quote around 45:00 about being the guy, in the case of trouble, "running down the street with two machetes in his underwear."  ...knives out and grinning!  8D~

And the "coming next time" bit on cultural alcoholism is a crack up!  I love the Ausies!

Cheers!


Monday, October 27, 2014

This American Life

I just got around to listening to this This American Life episode on psychopaths:

It's largely more of the same from the NPR articles, but in audio format. More from Jon Ronson about sociopathic CEOs, sociopathic stares, small amygdalas make you "dangerous," and the role that the "predatory spirit" plays in success.

The most entertaining section is the part about Jon Ronson meeting a sociopathic seeming CEO who fired an employee who happened to be bragging about his car thusly: "You may have a fancy sportscar, but I'll tell you what you don't have -- a job." Gasp! Psychopaths can be so straightforward and tactless!!!!!

Spoiler alert, host Ira Glass practically outs himself as a sociopath, but not really, according to the psychologist, because he wasn't malicious enough (is that the hidden PCL-R trait, that only psychologists are privy to?)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pursuer of Potential

This was an interesting comment on an old post (including a lot of traits that many of you will recognize -- but I'm always a little surprised and even a little bit charmed to see them so consistently in so many strangers):

Harvard Student, Wealth Manager, Pursuer of Potential
Parameters for this comment:
I've never publicly shared my ideas on the subject. I won't be proofing this since it's anonymous. I'm sure this comment will be very self-centric, as it will be a break from academic writing. If I offend you, this probably isn't the best thread to cry me a river on so try to enjoy a different perspective.

So I’ve been told that I am compartmental, principled sociopath, extremely objective, a/o very manipulative. In short, I began a career in financial services, study at Harvard, am in a 5+ year relationship and I've never truly confided in anyone. 

It seems the only thing I genuinely recognize as off limits is targeting innocence. Since I was in grade school I would prey on bullies or tough/popular/show-off classmates because I viewed them as being game to compete against others; especially if they unjustly picked on others. Innocence though, goes for most children, naïve house pets, and highly sheltered adolescence/adults. In these cases, I view the subjects/people as defenseless or helpless. I've been viewed as empathetic by my family because at a young age I learned how to read emotions/truth/lie from other people so as to emulate them when I went to "sell," something. This was not crying when I didn't get a desired toy/candy rather, stealing it next time without mention to not raise suspicion or to barter with my mom. I found success at 8 years of age by borrowing a rake, shovel, or lawn mower and going door to door. I had all the toys/candy I wanted by half ass-ing child labor to charge $25. I simply made a poster for a fund raiser and taped it to my mower. I even got called out when parents didn't like that their kids did the mowing for me and took home $7 while I kept the difference. When confronted, I simply told them that they ensured their kid wouldn’t work with me again.

My principles have been established over the years. I realized I needed them when I was in kindergarten. I hung out with high school kids in my neighborhood in exchange for doing things that they needed. This included being the one to get hoisted in to windows to unlock a house from the inside or start fights with other kids when there was a stupid dispute. The worst thing I remember doing was defending my "friends" from another kids' large dog using the chain from my bike. It was at this point when I decided that I would use principles to decide what is "right." For the most part, risk and reward are the biggest drivers. It doesn't matter what it is or at least I haven't met a decision that's made me feel uncomfortable. Is my risk being matched with equal or greater reward? If not than no-go, no matter what. I do, however, enjoy a hero or even god complex. I've saved a person from drowning, dodged a car accident only to pull off and rescue them from a flaming car (which did NOT explode...). I enjoy holding the high level of importance to one's life and then giving it to them so that they feel fortunate. I suppose a sociopath who saves people isn't unheard of, but I'm in no rush to save starving kids from labor in under developed countries. In my opinion, under waged child laborers in those countries are turning a buck for their family as opposed to competing with the other children begging on the streets. In my belief, there is a choice and while companies could give more money to the labor, I know I would choose the most effective option. Until the customer demands it and it becomes as important as the fabric used to make the shirt, then the company should be as lean as possible. (off-topic)

I've come a long since I was in grade school.
I've been in a relationship now for 5+ years and I haven't had any tendency to harm anyone since I was younger. Back then I never went further than breaking an arm or hand in a brawl or fight along side my friends. The rush was good but part of me looks forward to me finding a legal outlet to get a better rush. Growing up, I've experimented with guys and girls sexually and I could honestly go for either. It's really just about the fun of learning how each other tick and triggering that tick. I decided to stick with females for a couple reasons. It's been easier to blend in with a woman, and my fiancé pushes me to do more. Also, I enjoy aiding the damsel in distress act. What's curious to me is while I've never cared about actually helping others, I find enjoyment in taking on that "helping" role in the relationship. Also, I find that I've never truly confided in anyone. This goes for significant others, family, and friends alike. People who know me, know a certain version of me that I've created to best suit my circumstances and appear like a hero or champion. Mentors have identified this characteristic as being my most valuable trait because it will be most useful to me becoming successful professionally as well as managing the personal issues. 

Recently, I've relocated away from friends and family to follow this girl (5+ years) and it's starting to be recognized that I don't keep up communication with anyone. Simply, it's been a relief to not have to be close to these people and have to keep up with what's making them tick. While I recognize that it's been hard for some of those people, I have no urge to change what's been going on. Often times, when my fiancé and I run in to a rough patch I wonder what I would do should we ever break it off. When I met her, I was in the process of opening a bail bonds business so that I could essentially have a license to hunt the ultimate prey when they jump bail. I didn't have a desire to hurt people, but I have always enjoyed the hunt. I think many people share this urge. 

While I've never been religious, my family is Christian/Catholic. As a teen, I opened up to a family friend, and he gave me a copy of "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. I highly recommend it to anyone deciding or refining the principles by which they live their life. This book along with the study of different religions has taught me the power of prayer, habit, attitude, and how to obsess over something to make it happen. This is truly the only use of religion in my opinion. That is, furthering your potential through belief in something bigger than one's self. I am now completing my Bachelor's through Harvard and work in wealth management. Both things that I don't think I would have done without principles and setting goals to align with a woman from a "comfortable style of living." For me, it's since been all about furthering my potential and soon raising a child which will challenge my success. These thoughts and ideas have me puzzled. I live a life which has ALWAYS been positive and "glad." I refuse to let anything get me down, though I fake being bothered to those around me show that I care about something, as it seems that's what's needed to show caring... (makes no sense, and I think it's a stupid way to be...) But what I do seem to care about, even from a kid was one day reaching a point where I've dramatically climbed the socio-economic ladder (increased my class), and having a child (son or daughter) who challenges my success through their own (almost like a worthy adversary). A fantasy of mine would be to meet an exact twin of mine and square off. 

I'm interested in seeing if anyone else shares my views or wishes to challenge them. I'd also be interested in thoughts or replies which challenge my values.
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