Monday, September 22, 2008

Conversation with a Friend: "only 50% of criminals are psychopathic"

M.E.: One in 25 people are sociopaths, apparently. Martha Stout's The Sociopath Next Door is all about how to spot them, out them, and/or avoid them.

Friend
: Failure to conform to social norms, being deceitful and manipulating, being impulsive, being irritable or aggressive, being unconcerned about the safety of the self or anybody else, being consistently irresponsible, and being unconcerned and unremorseful for hurting or stealing. You need to have three of these to be sociopath. Okay, you do.

M.E.
: Ha, which 3?

Friend
: Failure to conform, manipulating, unconcerned about safety of self.

M.E.
: :( iz fine

Friend
: It is fine. Those are like the least offensive ones. I mean, are we worried you're going to be a bomber or something? Cause i mean, it seems like bombers are not necessarily sociopaths at all.

M.E.
: At first I was a little excited about the book because I thought it would get the word out that sociopaths are an unrecognized minority with special needs. But I guess people just want to hate the differences.

Friend
: No, it's more like hunt them down and kill them. But I mean, clearly sociopaths must feel love, have families, etc., if there are so many of them. Do sociopaths self-identify? Do they know they can't/dont love? I dont think so. Crucial to her argument is showing what an unhappy state of mind sociopathy is. It's not some Nietzschean imperviousness to the sheep morality of the masses, but rather a stunted, empty, unfeeling disconnection from the human community, a life with a void at its center.

Stout expertly conveys the tedium of sociopathic lives to the point of creating a cautious sense of pity. Sociopaths, after all, live lives devoted to calculations designed to accumulate and manipulate to no conclusive end. For all their possible achievements and grand machinations, without the capacity for any kind of existentially grounded sense of happiness, it's all squirming on the hook of their broken selves. Cautious pity, I repeat, because Stout claims that, in interviews with sociopaths, they cite people's capacity for compassion, especially hard luck tales of childhood abuse, as one of the most useful ways to keep someone embedded in their web.

They are "clinically unsalvageable"? Hmph, you know I love sociopaths.

M.E
.: I know you do.

Friend
: Only 50% of violent criminals are psychopathic.

M.E
.: Yeah, only.

4 comments:

  1. There's a wide range of estimates for psychopathy. If you view it as extreme masculine behavior, alpha male behavior that is, the a lot people in this society could be categorized as such. The lower estimates are talking about more extreme forms. Like 1% is supposedly ttally antisocial, while up to 30% have a functioning psychopath style.

    I learned that sociopathy is a 'worse' diagnosis than 'psychopathy', and that the worst diagnosis is 'antisocial'.

    ReplyDelete
  2. More people need to be on http://sociopath-community.com/

    !!! it used to be connected to this blog but was disconnected over a year ago. We need fresh blood and lots of interesting things have happened recently (relates to kiwifar.ms drama: https://archive.is/M2tXa) that will go down in the forum's history! Be sure to check out http://www.psychforums.com/antisocial-personality/ too, as some of its regulars are regulars on SC too!

    ReplyDelete

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