Thursday, September 6, 2012
Are sociopaths psychologically dumb and blind?
First let’s look at the definitions. The operational definition of introspect is to examine and comprehend one’s own thoughts, emotions and actions. I’m broadly defining sociopaths as people who have little to no conscience, who have flexible personality structures and who are emotionally indifferent to social norms. And I’m defining insight as clear and deep perception. I think these definitions, taken separately, would be generally agreed upon by most people. What I don’t see is why any of them, taken together, must also mean that people without conscience have to, by definition, be incapable of introspection and insight. The very people who say that immediately contradict themselves when they go on to say, for instance, that sociopaths disdain those with consciences and are themselves master manipulators. How would a sociopath know that she doesn’t have a conscience without examining her own thoughts and emotions? And how else would a sociopath be able to so effortlessly manipulate people around him unless he had clear and in-depth perception of other people’s psyches? Also, if one needs to be an empath to be introspective and insightful, how do we explain the prevalence of denial, delusional thinking, neuroticism and self destructive behavior in the ‘normal’ population? It doesn’t take a scientific study to see that knowing one’s self isn’t on most empaths' to-do list.
There’s something rotten in the state of Denmark and it isn’t the herring. It’s the stereotype of the psychologically dumb and blind sociopath. It's spread by professionals and laymen alike and it is based on what they think a 'typical' sociopath says and does and not on how a sociopath sees and feels. The uninformed empath believes this stereotype because they can’t imagine that a sociopath could possibly examine his own thoughts and emotions, with depth and clarity, and not condemn himself. It is quite literally unthinkable for them.