Monday, March 30, 2009

Sociopaths in literature: E.M. Forster's Maurice

A slow nature such as Maurice's appears insensitive, for it needs time even to feel. Its instinct is to assume that nothing either for good or evil has happened, and to resist the invader. Once gripped, it feels acutely, and its sensations in love are particularly profound. Given time, it can know and impart ecstasy; given time, it can sink to the heart of Hell. Thus it was that his agony began as a slight regret; sleepless nights and lonely days must intensify it into a frenzy that consumed him. It worked inwards, till it touched the root whence body and soul both spring, the "I" that he had been trained to obscure, and, realized at last, doubled its power and grew superhuman. For it might have been joy. New worlds broke loose in him at this, and he saw from the vastness of the ruin what ecstasy he had lost, what a communion.

Maybe not full-fledged sociopath, maybe just baby or very high functioning sociopath, maybe just British.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sociopaths in the news: candidates for early release from prison

The subheading of this article says it all: "Psychopathic criminals are more likely to be released from prison than non-psychopaths, even though they are more likely to re-offend, a study suggests."
The psychopaths had committed significantly more offences (both violent and non-violent), and psychopathic child abusers had far more charges and convictions than non-psychopathic offenders.

The researchers from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia found psychopathic offenders were around 2.5 times more likely to have been given a conditional release than undiagnosed offenders.

And on average, psychopaths offended again, and were returned to prison after one year, compared with two for non-psychopaths.
"Psychopaths are so adept at "putting on a good show" and using crocodile tears that they can be convincing to psychologists as well as other professionals.

"They use non-verbal behaviour, a "gift of gab", and persuasive emotional displays to put on an Oscar award winning performance and move through the correctional system and ultimately parole boards relatively quickly, despite their known diagnosis."
Ah, those sneaky psychopaths.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Self-diagnosed sociopath

I wonder whether there's any benefit to being professionally diagnosed a sociopath. In the age of Google, I'm sure there has been an upswing in hypochrondia, and you always hear doctors warn us not to self-diagnose. But what if you are concerned that you have a disease that will result in discrimination? Leprosy, tuberculosis, avian flu, and AIDS are all examples. Particularly for a disorder that is apparently untreatable, like sociopathy, is there any benefit in being professionally diagnosed?

I myself am self-diagnosed. I have seen a professional before and expressed concern about my tendencies, but it was laughed off and I didn't pursue it further because the person seemed inadequate for my needs. I pursued it a little further, trying to research and contact experts in my area, but people seemed wary of treating a sociopath and I started getting concerned about the paper trail I might have been leaving. So I've never been officially diagnosed, but I still wonder whether there's any value in it. Maybe legitimacy? For all I know, I am not really a sociopath. I know the word is just a label and won't actually change who I am, but I wonder if I would be happy or sad to get a negative diagnosis for sociopathy.
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