Being a sociopath doesn't mean you have to be evil. We struggle to feel the difference between right and wrong, but we do know the difference since we have had it drilled into our heads since we were children, right? Fact is, us sociopaths have more choice in this world than the rest. That is because we can choose to be heroes or we can choose to be villains. No one else can do that, they have to be what they are, they are born a certain way, they will always be that way. Us sociopaths can change to our surroundings. We can do anything we choose to do.Interestingly, some say this feeling goes both ways -- that superheroes can sometimes feel (or act) like sociopaths.
We look at heroes and do-gooders as a special sort of breed: people who possess extraordinary traits of altruism or self-less concern for the well-being of others, even at the expense of their own existence. On the other end, sociopaths also have an extraordinary set of traits, such as extreme selfishness, lack of impulse control, no respect for rules, and no conscience.And my favorite comment from the article:
As crazy as it sounds, there may be a closer link than than most people would think between the extreme-altruistic personality and sociopathic personality. Would it shock you to know that two people, one with the traits of extreme-altruism (X-altruism) and the other the traits of a sociopath, could be related? Even siblings? And that their personality traits are very similar, with only a few features to distinguish them? Research by Watson, Clark, and Chmielewki from the University of Iowa, “Structures of Personality and Their Relevance to Psychopathology” [pdf], present a convincing argument in which they support the growing push for a trait dimensional scheme in the new DSM-V to replace the current categorical system.
[X- altruists are risk takers and rule breakers.] When they are faced with that moment, they just act. Compulsively. Barely considering any other course. The lack the impulse control to stop themselves from doing “the right thing” when it comes to the welfare of others, yet ironically, it almost always results in some form of negative consequence for themselves. They have no problem breaking the rules when it means helping an innocent, yet they highly value the importance of obeying rules in other contexts. That’s crazy, you say? Now you’re getting the idea.
[but sociopaths are unfeeling monsters, altruists are so great, bla bla bla]
Interestingly, these two type of individuals, the sociopath and the X-altruist, may appear similar in their displays of behavior, and at times, even confused for the other type. If an X-altruistic person is compelled to break rules without remorse in order to help a disadvantaged person, is may seem as if he is acting rebelliously, especially if the motives behind his behavior are not known. On the other hand, a sociopath may donate a large sum of money to a charity, a seemingly altruistic behavior, but his actions may have been motivated by his selfish need to appear better than or more generous than a colleague. The defining characteristic that separates the two personality types is their ability to empathize, either not at all or too much, which then drives the extreme behavior of each.
Interesting article, but not without bias, and in my opinion, unprofessionally written. Never before have I heard a health-care professional refer to a sociopath as "nasty". As a behavioral specialist, I would expect you to know better than anyone that sociopaths do not choose their hereditary personality disorders anymore than your beloved X-altruists do. Why call names?followed closely by this one:
And how do you define virtue and "good" intent? Is not the X-altruist's all-consuming desire to help others, at the expense breaking these rules you seem to value so much, just as selfish as the sociopath?
Your intentions are obvious. Try as you like, we'll never associate heroes with sociopaths.It's an interesting point, though. Are sociopaths considered "bad" just because they seem to do, on average, more "bad for society" type things? If so, can't we just punish the "bad behavior" without singling out everyone with the condition and eradicating them? For another interesting look at heroes and sociopaths in fiction/media, see this article on the "heroic sociopath," including such gems as this rationalization of Peter Pan: "He's only slightly less uncaring towards others as his nemesis Captain Hook and comes across better mostly because his sociopathy is a result of being a perpetual child, whereas Hook really has no excuse." Aspies or Auties, anyone? I'm not so much saying that the hate against sociopaths isn't at all warranted, more that there is no principled way to hate sociopaths and not hate other people/personalities/disorders that are widely accepted or even beloved in society.
And the social order will thus survive, despite your kind's attempt to weaken and destroy it.