Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cultural morality in action

A friend sent me a link to this Huffington Post article suggesting that the practice of frying a fish and eating it while still alive may be "shocking" and "too graphic for some readers." I guess the Chinese are just a cruel race of sociopaths, because the people in the video seemed to enjoy it immensely.


  1. Fish can't even feel pain. If they didn't have enough semblance of a face to relate to, nobody would give this a second thought.

  2. Has anybody heard of / eaten ortolan bunting?

    "For centuries, a rite of passage for French gourmets has been the eating of the Ortolan. These tiny birds—captured alive, force-fed, then drowned in Armagnac—were roasted whole and eaten that way, bones and all, while the diner draped his head with a linen napkin to preserve the precious aromas and, some believe, to hide from God." - The Wine Spectator.

  3. FD

    have a look at my post on the dandelion thread where i pose the A or B choice. the 4:20 PM one. wonder what you think.

    btw you and The Woman sound like a match. if you cant lie to her anymore and she doesnt need to in the first place you guys might start to really enjoy things together.

  4. Disney -

    I am of the same opinion. I don't know why she can't just accept it, to be honest.
    I should have mentioned - since we broke up, she met someone else. I tend to think he's a little bit too "nice" for her, and she certainly has a mean edge. I saw her a couple of months ago, but it didn't go incredibly well. She had a barrage of insults just waiting for me, and I had a come-back for each one of them. Still, she sends me little messages every day, and ends every message with a small note about how much she cares for me. And she got very angry with me when I had sex with the girl her ex cheated on her with,

    And if I had to guess, right away, I'd say that A) was the sociopath. What he or she is saying could be exceptionally manipulative; making it seem like it's the other person's fault. B) seems rather exasperated by the whole thing.
    That's my guess, but it is just a guess.

  5. FD
    interesting. Thank you.

    Why on earth wouldn't she be angry or upset about that. I don't know the whole story but that naturally doesn't sound like something holistic for the situation.

  6. Oh and A was the woman and B the man btw.

  7. Disney,
    I was testing her. I didn't believe her when she said she didn't find me in any way interesting, so I thought I'd spruce it up a little. To me, her anger and upset that I slept with a woman her ex cheated on her with, says that she views me as someone she wants to be with - it was reminiscent of her ex cheating on her, and how sad that made her. If she had genuinely not cared that I did that, I would believe her that she wasn't interested in me. Her upset told me that she felt somehow betrayed.

  8. Anon:

    There are studies out there that suggest that fish do in fact feel pain:

    Not that it matters. I've seen the PETA videos. I know damn well that some of the meat that ends up on my plate came from animals who suffered. That has never stopped me from enjoying a good hamburger or a perfect T-Bone steak, and never will.

    The video is a good example of the part culture plays in shaping the specifics of morality though.

  9. Not only am I NOT a vegetarian, but I'd say I'm the exact opposite of one. I like to eat as much meat as possible, and I especially like my steak to be blue and bloody. That's not anything murderous, that's just me enjoying eating that animal as much as is humanly possible.

    I know someone is going to make the inevitable comment that I am on here a lot all of a sudden - but I am constantly bored, and have nothing else to do. This provides me some outlet outside of a clinical setting.

  10. FD
    it's not like I haven't been there but honestly has hurting someone to prove that person still cares EVER helped establish something in the long run?
    I bet if you would have given it some time she would have come back to you herself?

  11. FD:

    I Googled Ortolan and found a video of someone preparing and eating some on YouTube. That’s too funny really. Although I don’t know that I’d enjoy eating the bones, I’m an adventurous eater. I’d try it if given the opportunity. When in Rome and all that jazz. Why is it illegal to prepare though, I wonder.

  12. I'm on here a lot recently because I "work" in a cubicle, in insurance no less, and my work has slowed down considerably. So I'm stuck sitting here, surfing the net. Hence my availability for these long ass conversations. :)

  13. I also have a great excuse. I do research, to put it in a general term. Since I need to do and think about at least mutiple things at the same time to actually be able to focus, this works. These weeks I'm not disturbed a lot either.
    Hey BD what's your take on the A or B or both question?

  14. DB - I am delighted to hear that you work in insurance, it's so pleasingly innocuous. I too have a job, but I'm not going to tell anyone what it is yet. I wonder if anyone could guess?

    Disney - regarding The Woman, I knew what I was doing was intolerable. It was another one of those impulses - it was a grand idea I got a bit too caught up in, and I was very enthusiastic it should go ahead. Besides, the other woman had been practically throwing herself at me for years. It's a big weakness of mine. I tried to give her time, but in that time she fell into the arms of someone else. The funny thing is, she and I had been together perhaps a week before she met this other guy. Apparently she couldn't handle me any more, and was forced to move on. I responded to that by trying all manner of things, because I do that. Unfortunately, hurting someone else / using people in order to help myself is something I seem to do involuntarily. It was not long ago she was emailing me telling me how unhappy her boyfriend was making her feel, and reminiscing about how things could have turned out. Shortly after that, her boyfriend told her that she must never speak to me again. Not only did she refused, but she forced him to apologise for "being mean about someone [she] care[s] about A LOT". So now I'm just waiting.

    I have never eaten ortolan, but I come from a French family and it has been offered to me. I just haven't been able to stomach the idea, but I'm certainly not against it. Animals have to die so we can eat them, everything else inbetween is just irrelevant.

  15. - Father Dearest

  16. FD
    it doesn't really matter in these surroundings whether you wanna share what you do or don't do for a living. You are just as special as everybody else...but feel free. How could we have a clue. You're detained so that leaves out every job I ever had.

    I get your story. I think that kinda thing happens all the time. As dr. Phil would say; ' this situation needs a hero'. Hehe.

  17. Disney:

    FD said A, but it could also be B. B’s comments about A having the “answers to everything” might be his way of deflecting her moral and relationship concerns. B might have been complaining about A’s insistence on them experiencing “intimacy” as she defined it, not as he would. B might have seen that as a kind of stubborn adherence to a useless perspective on relationships.

    Of course, without knowing anything else, all we could do is speculate and project. Which was probably the point. Yet another way for the aliens who aren’t quite aliens to reveal themselves, eh? :)

  18. DB
    Very interesting. Thank you.

  19. Disney:

    Was there a "right" answer?


    You were a demolition expert, weren't you? And Disney, you are a... grad student, getting her PhD in sociology. Yes, I'm pulling these answers completely out of my hairy ass.

  20. DB

    you are on the right track but truly I don't feel like revealing to much personal info.

    I guess there was a right answer but it's not what I was interested in.

  21. Disney:


    What were you interested in?

  22. DB

    y'alls interpretations!

  23. Disney:

    You were trying to see if we were all on the same page. Go on. Admit it. Just drop your conscience and join us and together we can rule the galaxy... Wait... I just slipped into Darth Sidious speak. Again. I hate it when that happens in public.

  24. DB

    I already rule my galaxy, but seriously what do you mean. Whether I am on the same page and you and FD? Honestly that wouldn't have helped. I wanted to have several takes on something like this. I really liked your interpretaton, or actually your arguments cause again it doesn't matter to me which one is in fact the sociopath. One is for a fact but the other one not sure.

  25. I KNEW IT!

    DB - Not even close. Gah, I say I have a job but what I mean is I get paid to do very little.
    It's funny, I assumed everybody on here was male. I don't really know any female SPs. Hmm... I wonder how many women are on here, then?

  26. Disney:

    Sorry. I keep making Star Wars references and you have no idea what I’m talking about. Yes, I am a geek like that. (You still have no idea what I’m talking about…) I sometimes tend to slip into movie speak.


    We’ve had several regular female commenters here since I started leaving comments back in April. There was a Jane, Tinker Bell, Sarah, Jasnowflake, Dirty Harriet and for some reason, I assume lurker is a female also. Jane, Sarah and Jasnowflake said they were all of the sociopathic persuasion. Tinker Bell was bi-polar. Others have come and gone.

    Do you work in a cubicle? That’s all I need to hear myself. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Wanted”… I’m Wesley. For now anyway. There I go slipping into movie speak again.

  27. FD

    one: as in 'one of them'

    You assumed I was a man?

  28. FD

    did it cross your mind that the woman might be on your mind because you're detained and have no outlet for anything. Imagine she would move to the north pole. What then?

  29. Unfortunately, I did. The internet confuses me like this. So impersonal.

    Disney - I'm sorry I assumed you were a man, it was a reflex. Also, if The Woman decided to move to the North Pole, I would talk her out of it, or go there too. She almost moved to France sometime last year, and I was up for that.
    True, she is on my mind more than usual in here, but she is always on my mind in some way.

  30. DB,
    Quite the conspiracy. you believe the Loom of Fate and have identified your Sloan?


  31. Lurker:

    LOL! Yeah, my Sloan was me, the Loom of Fate were a few outdated beliefs that needed smashing and Wesley is me before and who knows, maybe one day after, his assassin training.

    I used Wesley as an example because I’m the guy who sits in his cubicle, doing nothing while pretending to work for the benefit of people who only care about appearances, all the while having intermittent daydreams of whacking my fat fuck of a supervisor with my keyboard. (Why are they always fat?)

  32. FD
    Something like:
    “How could you leave me
    When I needed to possess you?
    I hated you.
    I loved you, too.”


  33. DB,
    Well, that's a reinterpretation of the theme. So the "extended vacation" does not, so far, include wetwork. What a relief!

    The whole panic attack/fight-or-flight response thing seemed out of character for you, too.


  34. Lurker:

    Oh yeah. I’d forgotten about that. No, I don’t do panic attacks. But for Welsey, the panic attacks stemmed from a misunderstanding of his nature and a discomfort with his surroundings, which also grew out of his ignorance of what he really was. So the metaphor still works because I too didn’t get me and that ignorance led to my discomfort with the trappings I unwittingly surrounded myself with. See? It’s like a Rorschach test. I can see whatever I want to see, regardless of what the authors of the graphic novel or the screenwriters actually meant.

    Then again, someone going by Guns & Roses accused me of saying I did wetwork in my former life. Funny. I have no idea where she got that from. Just because I wouldn't have a problem with it doesn't mean I've actually done it.

  35. DB

    yeah I dont know any star wars. never saw an episode. not even sure what it is. i used to work in a cubicle though, as a side job next to getting my master's degree. i sold mortgages. i was very successful. also kept everybody around me from their work. weird as an introvert right. people never get that you can be an introvert and a whirlwind at the same time.

    No sweat, i dont mind. Btw I meant if she would fall off the face of the planet. Not exist anymore. What would you be doing. I read somewhere that people always think their hurt or longing or missing will have a big impact on themself while in fact it almost always has a lesser impact than you expect.

    My English sucks right now, a bit tired.

  36. DB
    And I thought your lack of attachment to "sense of self" and other left-brain "cobwebs" made you fundamentally incapable of seeing "whatever [you] want to see".


  37. Lurker:

    No, I can see whatever I want to see. I just don’t want to see any of that normal people stuff. It’s too bourgeoisie. And hey, who’s brain are you comparing to cobwebs?!? I’ll have you know this is a fine piece of machinery sitting atop my head. :)


    Are you not into movies then, or just not into the movies I’ve mentioned, sci-fi and action? If you’re not, that’s too bad because movies are a great way to tell stories. Gotta love those movie "villains" too. :)

    What you say about introverts is true. Introversion is different from shyness, which I define primarily as a "fear of people". As I've said before, I too can turn it (friendliness, even charm) off and on whenever it suits me.

  38. DB,
    Got it. "normals" are blinded by by wanting to see boring "fair-minded" stuff, whereas you are blinded by wanting to see stuff that's more like what you want to see.


  39. Lurker - Something like that. "You had a temper like my jealousy; too hard, too greedy".
    She sent me an email today - "I know how hard it is for you to shake the disease that takes hold of your tongue in situations like these".
    Actually, thinking about it, if she were to not exist any more, I doubt I would long for her quite like this. I would have nothing to long for, it would be impractical, I would move on. When my best friend died a couple of years ago, he had died, that was it. He was gone. I wasn't overcome with feelings of missing him, though we were incredibly close. I just remember thinking - Right, he's gone. That's it. It was hard for me at his funeral, because I really couldn't stand there and weep, as was expected of me. Whilst he was alive, I respected him more than anyone else in the world. He was the only man in the world who had any influence on me, and I used to wonder where I would be without him. When he died, that was it. I didn't really grieve, it was pointless. Why long for something you can never have? Seems a waste of time.
    By the way - someone said something about panic attacks. Yes, I get those. They are horrible. I had one a few weeks ago. And "sense of self" - I vacillate between having a very strong sense of self, and then none at all, but then I have a dissociative disorder too.
    Bully for me.
    "people never get that you can be an introvert and a whirlwind at the same time." Too right, Disney.

  40. lurker:

    Ah lurker. Lurker, lurker, lurker. Honestly I can't tell by that last comment if we're still in joking mode or half-way serious conversation mode. On this comment board I have to deliberately switch modes. My brain is compartmentalized that way. I was being sarcastic earlier, but hey, y’alls know I can get all serious on your asses and break it down and use my big words all that good shit. Because your last comment implied that all views are equal and when it comes to accuracy, they most certainly are not.

  41. I too can turn it (friendliness, even charm) off and on whenever it suits me.
    And therefore get whatever it is you need / want.

  42. DB,
    Not more than half-way serious. Different dictionaries, different world-views. Of COURSE it seems to me living without a conscience would not make me more clear-eyed. And, of COURSE you see that differently.

    You can get serious and break it down with big words, but we are unlikely ever to convince each other.

    (as for the cobweb comment -- turn-about is fair play, isn't it?)


  43. DB
    I really enjoy the hell out of watching movies actually. But not the futuristic kind at all ( I doubt women ever do?). As an example; Im specifically into movies like all the Godfathers ( I know, who isnt) and all the Coen brothers ones. I have seen all of them ( Coen's and Godfathers) many times over. If I like something, whether it be music or a movie I am capable of watching or listening to it over and over until I have taken every layer and ounce of it in.

  44. FD

    About the friend you lost. You never cried a tear for him? Actually crying doesnt necessarily mean anything, wrong example. Lets put it this way, did you ever feel like you felt any kind of pain over his loss, no matter how long. Dont dissect it, just think back whether you had such an episode.

  45. Lurker:

    Ok then, half way facetious I shall remain. It’s more fun that way anyway.

    Naturally we aren’t going to convince each other of anything. Our views are inextricably linked to our natures, which can’t be changed with a snap of the fingers or the taking of a pill. I don’t try to convince people to hold my opinions. I think I told PP this once. I get that convincing people to believe as I do is a Pyrrhic victory half the time anyway.

    Cobweb comment – what are you talking about love?

  46. FD:

    Dissociative disorder? What does that entail, might I ask. Also, it sounds like you were "diagnosed" with a little bit of everything under the sun.


    Haven’t seen many of the Coen Bros movies myself. But I consider Godfather I & II to be 2 of the best movies ever made. Part III is good too, but it doesn’t approach the perfection of the first 2, IMO. So here’s a question. What’s your opinion of Michael Corleone?

  47. DB - You're right. Once you're caught in the net of clinical intervention, they'll diagnose you with everything before they can work out what the actual problem is. But, the pervasive ASPD / SP label has stuck for about ten years, and the dissociative disorder too. I sometimes "space out" of myself, and it can happen intensely for up to about a week and a half. I have no idea who I am, or where I live, or anything. To everyone else it would seem I am a bit "off colour", but to me I am completely unaware of everything around me, and everything becomes unfamiliar to me. I can conduct a normal conversation and everything, and I sort of know who people are, but it's literally like I have temporarily lost my mind and only I know it.
    I had one of these episodes when I was around 17, and I traveled abroad to try to get away from it. When I booked into the hotel, they asked me my name and I didn't know it, so I made one up. I am still called that name now, by my nearest and dearest. I use my actual name for business, but not for pleasure. Having an alias is fun, too.

    So of course these two co-existing conditions don't suit each-other. The panic attacks usually come along when I feel myself slipping away from myself.

  48. DB

    My general opinion or what do you wanna know? If he is a sociopath?

  49. FD and/or anyone:

    One more question. What does a panic attack feel like? Does it feel like you’re literally panicking? I can’t remember the last time I panicked. Now that I think on it, I’m not sure I ever have. I have felt fear to be sure. What’s the difference between nervousness (which I have felt right before speaking in public or singing a solo) and panic? I’m not just talking semantics here, but the actual experience of said emotions.

  50. FD:

    No shit. That’s, excuse this, crazy. So you like almost literally forgot yourself, or the ideas, concepts, beliefs, etc, that comprise the you that you are? Fascinating. I’ve always been interested in DID, even though there’s some skepticism about it actually existing or not. I’d probably panic too if that ever happened to me.


    Both. Do you like him? Do you hate him? Do you love to hate him? Do you think he’s cool? Do you think he’s a monster? None of the above? All of it? You get the gist.

  51. FD

    You said before you never worry. Isnt a panic attack the epiphany of worry? ( very understandable btw, I would think I would def have a panic attack in that situation)

  52. DB

    I dont think he is a sociopath.
    I could relate to him well. I thoroughly liked and enjoyed his persona. I dont condone murder and all of that ofcourse, but in the craziness of the storyline I even understand he killed his brother. I dont think that made him a monster. I think he spend his whole life growing to be capable of such actions. It wasnt a just natural thing for him.
    If I were to pick a man for myself it would be Tom Hagen.

    Whats your take?

  53. DB

    I agree with you on pt 3 btw. Good but not perfect as 1 and 2.

    Have you not seen No Country For Old Men?

  54. Anybody seen "Anecdoche, New York"? ( movie)
    Talking about the slippery slope of identity....
    I didnt enjoy that ride but thought it was interesting.

  55. Disney:

    See, there’s the different perspective/projection coming into play again. For me, it seemed inevitable that Michael would follow in Vito’s footsteps, even as he fought it in the beginning. Although everyone is capable of murder, it is my opinion that you don’t become capable of cold blooded murder. You either are or you aren’t. Michael proved after his run-in with McCluskey that he was capable of making a calculated decision to kill 2 men and dozens more when necessary. I’ll admit, the 3rd movie contradicts this, but I almost don’t consider the 3rd movie “canon” when I think about these characters. Whether Micheal was a sociopath or not… I’m growing weary of saddling people with that label actually. As I like to say, Michael being a sociopath or not wouldn’t bring back Connie’s husband either way, would it? More importantly, that label would tell us nothing about his culture, his generational cohort, his political views, his musical tastes, or even what he felt for his children. I don’t think he was a "monster" either. Smart people do what needs doing, even if it includes murder. He did what he thought needed doing.

    And how could I forget “No Country For Old Men”? Yes I saw that and it was great. Anton Chigurh; now there’s someone you never want to meet. Anywhere. Everyone gave excellent performances in that movie. I particularly liked the “moral”, or lack thereof.

  56. DB
    No country was Coen's brothers.
    Chigurgh was no sociopath, I dont know what he was but he was fascinating to watch, as indeed the entire cast. Every single scene was worth savoring. Lack of moral...I liked that the movie didnt steer the viewer in any direction whatsoever. It just "was", unfolded. Lack of music worked too.

    Michael raised in another type of family wouldnt have killed. But I get your point he would have always been capable. Then again, you have to look at it like this, his ( Michael) life and his family's was in danger/could be and on top of that Fredo stabbed him in the back in the first place, so who wouldnt be able to do a lot if it meant protecting your own life and your family's, certainly when that person hasnt been loyal. So its hardly shows anything. Does he ever enjoy killing? Does he kill out of impulse? And also as you mentioned his conscience does play him when he gets older, pt 3.

  57. Btw I wrote the name of the movie wrong. It was Synecdoche, not Anecdoche.

  58. Disney:

    Are you sure you aren’t a “sociopath”? :) I’m thinking a lot of people would have qualms about offing their sibling, even in the midst of a betrayal and especially one as weak as Fredo. He did a dangerous thing, but Fredo wasn’t truly ambitious or even ruthless by nature. He was a classic case of a man in denial about who he was. Fredo most likely would have been cowed into submission. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have had him killed if I were in Michael’s shoes, merely that it wasn’t absolutely necessary.

    So, are you saying that you think all sociopaths are joyful and impulsive killers? I think you’ve mentioned this before, but tell me again how you define sociopathy. What’s the primary cut off or line of demarcation for you?

  59. DB

    Listen, as I think of this I must admit I didnt think about it as I watched the movie. Well I thought about it but I didnt reach any conclusion. I remember thinking in the 3rd part with the talks with his ex wife; when you reach the end of your life ( most people) and your physical drive or however its called, slows down, your life's fruit really does come back to you one way or the other, whether it be physical as cancer or emotional. Whether you understand its scope or not.

    Anywho. I am seeing this from the character's perspective, which is why I used the word crazy; I would make sure to never end up in such a position/storyline. I would make sure I never had to make those choices. From HIS perspective it was a me or him question. I, moi, wouldnt have had that perspective. Like you I would think the guy is weak, has severe self esteem issues etc and played him like a fiddle and protect him in a sense that way.

    How to define sociopathy. I only have the classic definitions from the books, like you and the rest is the world. So youre asking if I have my own definition? No. I do believe poor impulse control is an aspect to sociopathy. And a certain satisfaction while you play out your game, whether it involves killing or sucking someone into an insurance that person hardly needs.

  60. Daniel Birdick - A panic attack, when you first have one, is terrifying. It feels like you're about to die, that's the only way I can describe it. Your heart races, your vision goes blurred and tunneled, you get a sense of disequilibrium, you start to sweat, and a sense of impending doom just consumes you until you simply can't breathe or even walk any more. These attacks can last anything from 30 seconds to half an hour for me.

    Disney - When I said I don't worry, I should have been more accurate. What I meant was, I don't have anticipatory worry. If someone said, oh I don't know, some guy is after killing you, and he's going to be here in half an hour, I wouldn't spend that time worrying, I would have no worry or no symptoms of worry. I would just be calm, and it wouldn't be a facade of calm, it would just be calm. Stuff like that doesn't bother me, nothing like that does. I only panic when the dissociation occurs really.
    It is scary. It's a bizarre feeling. It starts off with various warning signs - my behaviour might seem a bit weird for a few days, I might start making plans I have no intention of honouring - and then I start to forget really simple things - I'll be walking home and I'll forget which train to catch, momentarily, or I have to really remember what my house number is. After that, I feel okay, but everything seems changed, and I get a sense of panic, like I need to escape wherever it is I am. I have a penchant for hopping on a plane when this happens, it really pisses people off. To others, I seem okay, but inside I am seriously confused.

  61. Father asked about women around here. I am female, but do not have ASPD or any variation thereof to the best of my knowledge. I have, however, been romantically involved with a couple of men who did. I can empathize with "The Woman" of whom you speak. It's difficult to allow yourself to love a sociopath but in the end, love is the greatest and most fabulous of all illusions (it's the magic show that if performed correctly, never has to end) and if sociopaths are truly adaptive creatures, maybe you can show her that you have something to offer that the other guy does not.

    On a side note, I want to thank you (and the others, of course) for sharing your insights here. I am a writer working on an unconventional depiction of a Machiavellian protagonist and I find all of this to be exceedingly informative.

  62. FD

    I do feel for you having those episodes. honestly if they would happen to me i dont know what id do. i dont know if i could live with it. to have lost control over yourself to that extent is truly hard to imagine.

    you never answered the question about your best friend. when he died did you ever at any point (no matter how long or short) felt a sense of pain, and please dont dissect the word pain, just think.

  63. Alphabelle

    "unconventional depiction of a Machiavellian protagonist"

    I am just burning with curiosity, what will be so unconventional about the Machiavellian main character? What layers will you weave into the book?

    As an empath you know love is no illusion. For you it is not. What you feel is fact. What a sad thing you have let yourself be manipulated to the point you have lost your own ideas and feelings about love. Or am I missing something here?

  64. Alpha Belle -
    The Woman of which I speak knows me too well at this point, I think, and if love is an illusion then she sees straight through it. Therefore, it isn't. The act of falling in love can be an illusion, or seduction is an illusion, but love itself is not. When she loved me, she loved me for all of my flaws, and I still love her for hers. But there's no illusion, and I'm not about to pretend to be someone else for her. There's no pretense now. Your ideas of love make me curious. You've loved a couple of sociopaths, you say? From what you say darling, they didn't love you. One of my exes used to compare me to a magician, so it's interesting you use that analogy. I didn't love her, either.

    Disney -
    Without dissecting the word pain, when my friend died, I got a phone call. They told me he'd taken an overdose and left a note. In that moment, I felt physically sick and there was a somatic tinge, like someone had just punched me in the chest, like a small heart attack. Then I set about thinking how I would manage the situation, and what I would do. Not only did I have to work things out for myself but I had to break the news to The Woman, who was in fits of tears. That, too, made me feel sick and in pain. At his funeral, and at his memorial service, I was very uncomfortable, but the sadness had gone. Not that I don't still miss him - I do, but I don't sit here and remember times gone and wish they were still here. I sort of think "When he was here, things were easier. Now he is not, things are harder". It's a very logical thing. I respected him a lot, losing him was difficult in several ways, but I didn't mope and cry for weeks, which I think was expected of me.

    I have cried, in my life, though. Just to clarify that. I cried a couple of months ago, but I wasn't sure why. I was talking about things with TW, and she asked me how therapy was going, and I said I felt weird about it, and then I felt like I needed to cry, which was very embarrassing. I still don't know what that was, I never cry. I wasn't sad at therapy, and I wasn't sad at telling her how I felt. Strange.

  65. FD

    What you describe is very much exactly how I dealt with losing someone I loved very much. I would think that is normal though? Isnt that a defense mechanism, I mean you have to carry on and you want to so what else is there to do. I felt pain too, I felt it physically and spiritually. I still miss that person, I still think about that person and thats that...

    What Im curious about with regards to The Woman is whether you think about what is in her interest ever. Do you sit and think, maybe this would be better for her, nicer for her or she would be happier etc etc.

    I sometimes make people cry in a discussion. That happened to me the other week. I didnt really feel for her. I thought it was weird. I stepped over it and I only think about it for the first time again now. But I do care for her and when I hadnt seen her for a long time and saw her again and when we hugged without any announcement suddenly I had some tears. I sort of loved that feeling and I indulged in it for a few minutes and that was that.

    Anywho. The fact you felt pain when you had to break the news to her says something. You guys dont bore eachother, have proper sex, have learnt some lessons together, cant you two just stop the charade and move in together and take care of eachother? I dont get what the problem is right now. Do you?

  66. Disney,

    You misunderstood what I meant. I am an eternal romantic. I believe wholeheartedly in epic love. But it is an illusion (one you can make real if you believe in it's magical) you willingly enter into. You craft this world around yourself and your beloved that is completely illogical, impractical, and without reason. It isn't real in the normal sense of the word. You can't show it to someone. You can't prove it exists. You can't point to some group of cells or particles that *is* love. You allow yourself to believe in it. Every day you wake up and choose choose that person not in spite of their flaws but because of them. You wrap yourself up in a cloak of impenetrable mutually agreed upon and nurtured illusion. I believe in that illusion wholeheartedly. I've had it. I've loved two different men until they drew their last breath. The illusion becomes real for me because I allow it.

    And I assure you, no one manipulates me (or my ideas) unless I allow it. I am not some whiny little empath who allows others to form my opinions for me. When I offer my throat to someone, it's because they have earned it and I do it by choice. I find that far more romantic than just being compelled by some unseen force to make myself vulnerable to another.

  67. FD--I said I had been romantically involved with a couple. Not that I was necessarily in love. They had their good points though.

    As for the rest of it, see my previous comment to Disney.

  68. AB

    You 'allow' yourself to believe it? I cant 'allow' myself to believe in anything. I either believe something or I dont. Thats not love. Its hardly a rational choice? A choice to keep nurturing the love, sure, but not it in itself.

  69. Disney,

    Maybe it's a difference in how our minds work. What you describe is to me more infatuation than Love. The act of believing is what makes it so special.

  70. AB

    Im talking full blown love. Infatuations I can clearly distinguish and they usually have more to do with only lust or reflection of yourself, temporary fulfillment of mental or physical needs, maybe love in the making ( potentiality). With love I also dont necessarily think about partners love.

    At this point I honestly dont have a clue at what youre talking about.

    The act of believing? Thats like saying ' I trust you a little bit'.

  71. Holy shit. I leave, come back, and this blog is all about love.

    Sociopathic love.


    Really. Shame on all of you.

    This thread IS about eating live fish.

    Maybe I'm missing something, like a symbolic association live food and romance?

    Guess it's a psychopath thing.

    I have nothing else worth offering.

    Continue on rationalizing love...

    It's like watching robot porn.


  72. AB

    I think the best way to describe love from my perspective is that it just is there. Its not a question and it evokes a ton of emotions that may be conflicting but underlying it there is that deeply connected feeling that just cant be torn apart and feels a 100% mutual. I guess its just a feeling and as far as I am concerned its not complicated. The shape/form/manner of the relationship can be though.

    Projection is not love. I have thought I loved but when I lost said person I couldnt care less what or if (something) happened to him or her.

  73. Disney,

    It is akin to making the choice to believe in God. Rational thought would tell a person that God cannot exist. And yet some of us choose to believe in God in spite of what our rational minds might tell us. That doesn't make it less powerful. I think it is just the opposite.

  74. DB whats your own personal authentic enlived take on this?

  75. AB

    You CHOSE to believe in God?!
    You ALLOW yourself to believe in it?

  76. Disney,

    I don't mean to imply that there aren't emotions involved in love. What would be the point in that? Just that emotions are not the only thing involved.

  77. Disney said, “when you reach the end of your life… your life's fruit really does come back to you one way or the other…”

    Why Disney, if I didn’t know any better I’d say you believe in some kind of karma. Do you?

    I think Michael could have seen Fredo as weak. I think he did even. I think Michael killed Fredo not because he thought he had to, but because he wanted to. He wanted to wipe out all of his remaining enemies, including Fredo. And this is how I think Michael saw it.

    Wrt the definition of the term sociopath, that brings back some of the other problems that have been noted about diagnosing personality disorders, so I won’t repeat any of that. I’ll just add that it’s a good idea to remember that it’s one thing to talk about general character patterns of people with similar traits. It’s quite another when we move from the general to the individual. Dirty Harriett’s comments are a case in point. It’s obvious that “psychopaths” don’t talk about love. Just as it may be obvious to you that “sociopaths” are impulsive. Great. Terrific. Now, what happens when we move from those generalizations to a specific person/character?

  78. FD:

    If that’s what a panic attack feels like then I’ve never had one. And I’m glad about it. I think that’s astounding, along with your description of your dissociative episodes.

    Alpha Belle said, “I want to thank you (and the others, of course) for sharing your insights here. I am a writer working on an unconventional depiction of a Machiavellian protagonist and I find all of this to be exceedingly informative.”

    You’re welcome. I’m with Disney. I’d love to hear about your story idea. Your comment to Disney about love demonstrates that you know your way around the English language.

  79. Disney:

    You certainly don’t want me to talk about believing in God do you? :) AB’s thought on choosing faith despite the “rational mind” (spoil sport that it so often is tells us) is proof positive of religions power to warp an otherwise sharp mind. As far as love goes… I’ve got nothing to add to that discussion, remember? Romantic love is just a cascade of chemical fireworks in the brain as far as I’m concerned. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t enjoy the sensation should it one day sneak up on me unawares and overwhelm me with its awesome emotional power. I’d also say that it is definitely a kind of mutually agreed upon delusion between the two people involved, although that’s clearly not what AB meant in her previous and poetic comment.

  80. DB and Disney,

    "I’d love to hear about your story idea. Your comment to Disney about love demonstrates that you know your way around the English language."

    Without getting too specific, the main character in my novel is a very charming alpha male who is extremely protective of those he values, as well as a devout Catholic...and also happens to be a sociopath (or some variation thereof). He's lovable without being emasculated. What I've noticed is that the only time a book or movie allows the reader to like the sociopath is if he is either a complete and total beta male (see Dexter) or is doing something "for the greater good." I want to get away from that. Show the things he does as horrid without allowing the reader to pass judgment on him by showing it through the eyes of a very empathetic woman who loves him. To actually use those bad deeds to make the reader fall a little in love with him through the whimsy of his actions.

    Anyway...that may or may not have made sense. But my agent said he can sell it so that's good enough for me. :-)

  81. AB

    Your approach actually sounds exactly what they have also been able to do with Dexter. Hardly anything new, but maybe you have more on in store. Maybe you will write with great wit, or amazing insights or will put in those layers I was talking about so your readers wont fall asleep. Im being a bit harsh, Im sure the book will turn out good since your agent thinks its worthwhile.


    Did it ever cross your mind you love your niece?

    And what do you mean with this sentence, you want me to 'diagnose' Michael?:
    "Now, what happens when we move from those generalizations to a specific person/character?"

    I have another question that interests me more than whether the question of whether Michael is a sociopath or not. What do you think Michael lives for?

  82. Disney - I don't, I really don't. She did live with me for a short while last year - I asked her to, and then for reasons unapparent I decided to make those days emotionally unbearable and fraught with tension. I was taking a lot of drugs then, though.
    Regarding her best interests - I do have them. Our relationship started when she was dating this absolute snake of a man, who used to lock her in the house, or throw things at her, or get drunk and scream at her. She was living in what I can only describe as a hovel, and that's when I became very sympathetic towards her, and fell "in love" so to speak. I do think about her interests still, but I feel she might actually love her boyfriend, even if not in the same way she loved me. I really will just bide my time. I know it's going to happen in the future, it's just going to be a lot of waiting. She has to learn her own lessons. The problem is, she is being stubborn, and she knows that if we were to be together again, we would be very volatile. But I just find all of that quite exciting. We've both settled for dull people since we broke up.
    You're right though. Now that I'm all holed up, my thoughts of it all have trebled.

    AB - Please stop it now. When you said you believed in God, I stopped reading. I predicted as much. And please don't come in here with the intention of finding inspiration. You are starting to really grate on me.

    I must dash now - I have therapy. I can barely wait.

  83. FD

    I understand. She might get attached to the one she is now over time though.
    Detainment is an excellent vehicle to see what you can use/need to create/figure out a kind of stability that is easier for her to be in a relationship with, without losing the thrills, excitement and such ( which I doubt could happen in the first place). Nobody needs others people's 'unbearable' drugseffects on full display at home. Btw not that it matters but you sound more borderline than sociopath to me.

  84. DB

    Oh i forgot about your Karma comment. No I dont believe in Karma, I wouldnt know how to. I have just seen/noticed a lot of dying people having a hard time coming to terms with things in their past that hadnt troubled them ever before. I was and still am very surprised to see that happening in even the toughest and unreligious people. I am very interested in this.

  85. Disney:

    My previous comments were about romantic love, which in my mind is different from family/friendship love. (Eros is different from storge and/or phileo to quote C.S. Lewis.) Even so, none of what I said about love being a neurological fireworks display is changed by my feelings for my niece. It’s all the play of particular chemicals in the brain, for me as well as for you. Again, that doesn’t diminish the experience of love, nor its power over most people’s behavior. All this philosophical talk about what love is and isn’t is given a little grounding when we remember what’s going on in the brain and why.

    Wrt the "karma" comment, I bet that's the fear talking. When faced with our end, I imagine it's easy to start to seriously second guess everything.

  86. Disney:

    I forgot the Michael question. I think Michael told himself in the beginning that he did everything he did for his family, which funnily enough, in practical terms was equal to the business. Protect and expand the business, protect the family. When he loses his precious Kay and is betrayed by his brother in the 2nd movie, his sense of family was lost, so that it became easier to kill Fredo as he was wiping out the rest of the people on his enemies list. By the time of the 3rd movie, Michael is older and is finally ready to make his family (the business) legit, but in the end, can’t quite pull it off.

  87. Disney - this has been accused of me, and I once thought the same, but having witnessed The Woman on her Borderline relapses I'd definitely say I'm not one.
    ASPD and BPD have a very high rate of co-morbidity. But I am a SP, and I'm not bandying that around like I'm proud of it, or putting it on a t-shirt, I'm just clarifying because I don't like having it denied. Sort of makes me feel like everything I say and experience (or don't experience) is all in vain.

  88. DB

    SO? What did Michael live for. Family, than business, than family? Did any of these things keep him going from day to day? What did he enjoy? Etc.

    There are people that have their end in sight but arent fearful. I havent figured it out yet. Why would one second guess everything on their deathbed. Some people grow extremely acceptant of everything on their deathbed?

    Female sociopath anyone?
    " just wanted to see what it felt like"
    gifted student shows no emotion in court.

  89. FD
    Yeah I understand. Again, makes sense.

    What did her relapses look like?

  90. Disney:

    Within the context of the movies (and Puzo’s novel), I’d say that Michael’s actions were motivated by what he perceived to be devotion to his family (business). In movie 2, by the end his family had betrayed him in one way or the other, so it became about power and self protection. In movie 3, it was more about regret. I’m not sure what else you’re looking for. Perhaps the ever elusive “something more”?

    My paternal grandmother died a few years ago. She faced her death squarely and peacefully. She did so because of her strong faith in god. I’d characterize her faith as a means that her brain used to calm what otherwise would have been her existential fear of dying.

  91. DB

    Im talking unreligious people. Never mind.

    Nope didnt mean 'something more'. Where did M find any joy/satisfaction/contentedness/meaning whatever in? Practical, daily...

  92. Her relapses are actually quite fun to watch, because they're very hard to stop, once they're in full swing. It starts off with some anxiety; increased nervousness and fear over small things like getting on a train or leaving the house. She faces up to those fears, and that's fine, they go away. Then, she starts getting a bit depressed and so she might start to drink more, or something like that. Suddenly, almost without warning, she has somehow overnight turned into some kind of roman candle and is just fierce with rage or passion or jealousy or self-loathing. This lasts for a couple of weeks. So, she might - in one night - have a weird little notion in her head about someone cheating on her, or someone saying something bad about her, and then she just goes on a huge binge of self-destruction. And she doesn't just argue - she'll rage and thunder and scream, throw things if necessary, break as many items as possible, then break down in huge fits of tears because she hates herself so intensely for what she's just done. Then she will probably attempt to kill herself a week or so later as this cycle goes on, because she can't understand where all this bitterness came from and she has at this point forgotten she was ever a nice person, and all she can think is that she is bad and does not deserve to live any more. She also has a tendency - at this time - to talk a lot about how she feels like she's "in a dream", like everything seems false to her. I suppose it's a bit like my dissociation. This terrifies her and she hates it, because she then complains of feeling empty and having no personality whatsoever. When it is this deep into the relapse, she can't even bear to look at herself in the mirror because she's just so hell-bent on destroying herself for the good of others. It all seems superficial at first but it's very real to her. All that can be done in these relapses is to either catch them early on before they become anything too monsterous, or just reassure her the whole time that she's not a bad person and that people care about her. It's vital that she knows people care about her or she will almost definitely kill herself.
    The suicidality has come down a little now, which is good, but she almost completed the act a couple of years ago, which was frightening. I very selfishly saved her life, funnily enough.
    She also suffers from a constant, low level of depression and anxiety, as do most borderlines.

    And she accuses me of being fucked up ;)

    She's so much fun, though. I wouldn't have her any other way.

  93. Disney:

    Wrt the gifted student who killed a 9 year old, I’ll admit that I understand her curiosity. I’ve had similar thoughts. Like I said, I’m a curious soul. The difference is I’ve never acted on it. In the end, it’s just too much trouble to bother with it. Is she a sociopath? Who knows? For all we know, the girl might be wracked with guilt and remorse right now. I imagine the victim’s family doesn’t care. And the prison system will label her however they want. It doesn’t make a difference because she’ll likely remain behind bars for a long time, if not for the rest of her life. I’ll say this though. For a so called gifted student she was remarkably stupid.

  94. FD

    I thought borderliners didnt have moodswings that last that long.
    Man I was already exhausted just reading that. Poor thing. She might want SchemaTherapy. Google it.
    What is your role in those relapses, what do you do, apart from being fascinated and somewhat excited as it all goes down. You know how they say that you need her intense emotions to fill your lack of it, or something like that.

  95. Disney:

    I know you were talking about unreligious. I brought up my grandmother because she’s the only person I’ve personally seen face death.

    And wrt MC, what else are you talking about? If MC were a real person, I suppose he might find joy/satisfaction/contentedness in any number of things/experiences: a delicious meal, playtime with his children when they were little, great sex, intellectual stimulation when he contemplates his various business strategies, opera music (as evidenced by his reaction to his son’s singing in the 3rd movie) and so on. He might even attach some larger meaning to all of that in his mind. If he were a real person that is. Why don’t you tell me what answer you’re looking for.

  96. DB

    No Im good. Not looking for anything ( thank god);) Although from the way I viewed it he was hardly sexual at all. All the others indulged in affairs and what not. Not Michael. He neglected his wife even though he did want her loyalty forever.

  97. DB

    Youre American are you not? Did you ever travel to other continents?

  98. Disney:

    True. Now that you mention it, Michael wasn’t painted as a particularly sexual character, was he? I think in many ways, MC was a cold fish, as portrayed in the first 2 films. That’s one of the things I found a tad disconcerting about part 3. Part 3 Michael seemed incongruous from his characterization in the other 2 movies. I know, some people love character arcs and people change and so on. Still.

    The only time I've left the continent was when I went to Jamaica. I’d love to travel more though. Traveling is something I’ve always enjoyed.

  99. DB

    Yeah pt 3 he was a changed man. Not consistent with the first 2 parts at all. He became all flamboyant at moments too, which he never was before. Some charm sure, but flamboyant? Yeah I lied pt 3 a lot too, but it was a breach from the genius of 1 and 2.

    Dont you find him likeable though? I do. Im starting to wonder why.

    I think it should be obligatory for Americans to visit at least one other continent before they reach 21 yrs old. Just a sidenote.

  100. Disney - She's currently in schema therapy, but she's finding it a bit exhausting. She had CBT for over a year, which didn't work. Unlike a lot of people, she actually wants to change, which is why she finds it so exhausting. She's trying to come out of it kicking and screaming.
    Yeah it is weird, her mood-swings. The general baseline of it is the self-loathing, but she once joked to me that she went from feeling suicidal and had an intrusive, nagging thought about drinking the bleach in the bathroom, but then she had her eyebrows shaped and felt much better about herself, and decided not to kill herself that day.

    My role is generally just to listen. I try to reassure her a lot, especially when she's depressed. I can't bear her talking about herself in that way, not because it makes me too sad - but because I know she is being irrational, and I don't like that. I also feel like she's criticising my friend, as a different person, so I feel she is offending my judgement and it makes me angry.

    When we were together and she had these relapses, I at first would just sit back and watch and think Oh Wow, She's On Fire! but then I served myself up as a kind of voodoo doll. I didn't get off on it, or anything, well maybe a little bit - but I just let her take it out on me as much as she felt she needed to. Emotionally, verbally, physically, whatever. I didn't feel it, and so I didn't care. But she needed an outlet. She would just come to my place and let it all out, break something or whatever, accuse me of whatever, and then cry, and then apologise, and then just fall asleep on me. Exhausting, really. But I didn't feel stressed by the "burden", nor did it validate me as a person. It just felt normal.
    Now my role is to just be there, and just listen. She is in contact with me at a much higher volume when her moods are becoming shaky. She told me this is because she associates me with disarray, and she trusts that I won't judge her.
    Her current boyfriend doesn't really allow her to feel anything negative - if she gets angry at anything, he can't handle it and tells her to stop, which is the worst thing ever. If you tell a borderline to stop doing something, they'll just take it to its most illogical extreme to prove a point.

  101. Disney:

    I know why I liked Michael. I understand the coldness, the desire to run away from your family’s legacy only to in the end, embrace it and even outdo your father when it comes to ruthlessness. I identify with him in that way.

    LOL! I agree with you, especially if we’re going to play hegemon to the rest of the world, huh? But that’s the way of it. The people in power don’t have to understand anyone else until it’s too late and they wish they had.

  102. FD

    My eyebrows sure look FINE today, I guess Ill leave that bleach for when I have my period! BRILLIANT.

    I bet she turns to you when she is shaky, who else could put up with such intenseness?!

    Did you ever try to push her when you thought she was getting a hold of herself sooner than you expected? Meaning she seemed to maybe have selfcontrol and you wanted to sabotage it?

  103. Disney -

    It was exactly like that! She said she was feeling depressed because she was miserable that she had no self-identity, and couldn't bear the idea of going through life with no identity, just hating herself. Then she had her eyebrows shaped and literally thought "Oh, that's my identity. A hot woman." (she is incredibly attractive, super-intelligent and super-hot in many ways, and she fucking knows it too).

    It's funny you should ask about me sabotaging her recovery - I did just that once. I used to provoke her, toy with her, just to watch her explode. God knows why but I just couldn't help myself, it was so fun. I might as well have been poking her with a stick. I think my worst crime was allowing her to indulge in various self-destructive activities with me, like drugs or booze to extremes. I think a part of me wanted to be her keeper.
    It's very hard to resist temptation when someone is not only incredibly suggestible but also very volatile. I don't do it now, though. I don't know how I would behave if she was my girlfriend again, maybe I'd have calmed down. We both know eachother a lot better now, and I think I'd be more concerned with actually taking care of her this time. Besides, she's improving a lot.

  104. In response to the first comment 'fish don't feel pain'. Biology? Fish have a nervous system. Yes, they feel pain.

  105. Hmmm... strange. I watched the video, I waited with tensed breathing for guilt or some sort of horror to come. Nothing. Perhaps I've been rather desensitized.

  106. I don't feel anything for the fish when I'm watching the video, although I still feel its intuitively wrong and would make it illegal here if it wasn't already.

    So much for empathy being needed for moral judgements lol.


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