Friday, December 31, 2010
It makes me wonder, are sociopaths risk-seeking or risky? Risk-seeking would mean that they are willing to take bigger risks for bigger payouts. For instance, between two choices of a 100% chance of winning $10,000 or a 1% chance of winning a million, a risk-averse individual is more likely to choose the former and a risk-seeking individual is more likely to choose the latter. The difference between the two becomes more stark when losses are involved, for instance a 1% chance of losing a limb vs. a 100% of breaking a limb. Which would you choose? A risk-seeking individual is more likely to choose the small chance of losing a limb and a risk-averse individual is more likely to choose the certainty of breaking a limb.
In contrast, a risky person takes illogical risks just for the sake of risk. For instance, a risky person might choose a 1% chance of winning only $500,000 rather than a 100% of winning $10,000. Likewise, a risky person might accept a 3% chance of losing a limb rather than the certainty of breaking a limb. A risky person may behave this way because (1) they are incorrectly assessing the risks and payouts involved, (2) they are correctly assessing the risks, but get some other benefit from the risk itself (i.e. psychic benefit from the risk itself), or (3) a mixture of 1 and 2.
Of course most choices we make are not as simple as 100% of $10,000. Even for a choice where you are certain you will either lose a limb or break it, everyone will value their own limbs differently and in different situations. Assuming two people are similar in every way but one is a sociopath and the other normal, I wonder what exactly would make them different when it comes to risk.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I could see what she meant. Everyone who knows me for longer than a few hours realizes that I am "quirky." I say all the right words and do all the right moves, but don't quite have the social fluency to seem completely normal. I can also be very lazy about maintaining a mask, particularly in low risk situations or with people who don't matter. Despite seeming distinctive and peculiar, however, I am still extremely impressionable.
Some of the psychologists that I have talked to via the blog have expressed surprise that I consider impressionability and the related weak-sense-of-self to be sociopathic traits. I don't know why they would be surprised. There must be some reason why we are so good at being chameleons, I always just assumed that it was instinctive, a symptom of who I am. Blending in has more or less been a reflex for me as long as I can remember, as it has been for most sociopaths I have known. For instance, this reader:
I moved a lot as a child. I knew how to adapt a fresh persona and ways to gain friends in an expedient fashion before I knew my long division. I also was obliged to lie, convincingly so, about who I was. For years I wasn't even allowed to use my own name and acknowledge where I was from.When I read things like this or think back on my own early experiences, I wonder -- do we learn how to be chameleons? Is it learned behavior to subjugate who we "really are," perhaps as a survival tactic? And maybe after we've pretended for so many years we just forget who we used to be? Or are we born with our shapeshifting abilities? Maybe we're like liquids or gases, always taking on the shape of our environment. Because we do have some finite qualities, we just have no where near the rigidity of the typical empath.
When you speak of impressionability, that for me was sort of a survival tactic. America has many different cultural microcosms that vary so much, if they didn't speak English you'd guess it was a different country. I had to learn the local social norms and adapt to them quickly, and also their accents and local lexicon. Even more lizard-brain style mannerisms would be local, like specific body language gestures. In that case, I guess it isn't necessarily lizard-brain, but you understand.
I essentially spent years learning how to be other people. So much so, that I had no idea who I even was when I was allowed to be Me again. I still don't even know if I have a real Me. And it doesn't bug me, either, if anything, it entertains me.
I know for a fact that I did some very odd antisocial behavior, like practice emoting in front of a mirror, accents, etc. but when I was that age, I didn't realize that everyone came with their own emotional cheat-sheet, and I was the only one that had to study for the test.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I've never exposed myself in this manner before, but some of your readers' words struck a chord with me. So here I am.
I've known what I was ever since I was around 4. That is the first time I molested a female friend. Growing up, I've molested several of my childhood friends. I am much older now, and just recently molested and anally raped a woman whom I seduced at a bar. She took me to her place and passed out. The next morning, it was as if nothing happened. I am a sexual sadist at heart.
My knowledge of my inner being advanced after I realized I would nail mice to wooden planks, grind kittens' heads into cement with my foot, and brutally beat my dog's face with my fists until they bled. I was around 7 when I started, I believe. The feeling would be hard to describe: a rush mixed with uncontrolled rage and ultimate satisfaction. I torture and kill animals to this day, whenever there is a chance.
Everyone perceived me as a very well adjusted, loving, compassionate, intelligent child. But for the most part, it was an ingrained response to veil my pleasures. I was raised by an extremely loving, responsible, and intelligent mother, and more than willing relatives that thought I was simply a joy. I knew my "good side" rendered positive feedback, which in turn lessened culpability. I was never caught, or even suspected of anything. I was a good kid. Today, I am still capable of goodness, however that can be taken.
My motto is "Self-preservation, above all else." I've never been in a physical altercation, and rarely, if ever, have been provoked. Being known as a fighter leads to suspicion. Also, being in a fight could cause permanent injury and even death, if your opponent is more skilled. This infringes on the very framework of self-preservation.
I am a very good-looking, very intelligent, and very capable young man who takes care of his ailing mother and volunteers helping the sick. I publicly advocate the rights of women and am sensitive to every woman's needs. Quick to forgive, slow to fight. I am...perfect. Too perfect. At least for a while.
I am the most dangerous of monsters. I can't be stopped. I won't be stopped. I am in plain sight. If you're not extremely vigilant, subconsciously on the watch…I will tear you to pieces, if it is to my liking. I can also be your saving grace, your best friend, if it is to my liking. It's all about control, which is a bit ironic because I never seemed to be able to control my own impulses to harm others.
No one has ever known about me and my little secrets, and no one ever will. They will be kept locked away forever; away from counselors, parents, friends, and strangers alike. No one will ever know what I truly am...and that is the beauty of it all. Pure anonymity and elusiveness. I truly resent your labels and terms. Like attention-seeking whores, you gossip, solicit yourselves, and indulge your own fantasies of being a monster, a "sociopath". I understand myself completely, but what makes me dangerous is my complete understanding of those unlike me. I understand I will never stop raping; will never stop torturing; will never stop destroying.
Monday, December 27, 2010
I wondered if you'd heard anything about a webcomic called Penny & Aggie. One of its characters, Cyndi Kristoffer, has pretty much been defined as a sociopath. In the latest arc she goes missing, presumably abducted.My response: I think Cyndi would feel trapped. It's actually hard to pretend to be normal, particularly in a sterile situation where people are not giving you the benefit of the doubt, e.g. a mental institution. Cyndi can get out of there through three primary means (in order of attempt): (1) charming or forming an emotional/manipulative bond with her doctors, (2) getting her parents or doctors to doubt themselves just enough to feel like they are monsters for keeping a poor defenseless girl locked up, or (3) provoking some sort of public scandal with her doctors, parents, or the institution such that she will have to be let out to appease the masses. Sociopaths view their victims a little like etch-a-sketches -- victims just need to be shaken up a little to erase whatever lingering impression they may have had of the sociopath.
Here's the start of the arc.
The middle part, which might fill in a bit more about the other characters.
The conversation between abductor and abducted
To me Cyndi is a really good portrait of a young evolving sociopath, who has decided that she enjoys playing social and verbal games with people, and she is going to continue to do so until it gets boring. She’s developed as a character over the last couple years of this webcomic. Before the most recent storyline, there aren’t more than ten or twelve strips that blatantly flaunt her sociopathic behavior, because the writers have taken time to build her. They’ll show her giggling in the corner of one panel at someone else’s pain. Or they’ll have her engaged in a genuine conversation, without making it obvious that she’s just pulling strings. The comic has been patiently working towards the current arc. This is how Cyndi's part of the kidnapping arc ended.
My first instinct was to smile in relief when I saw the last panel. But I wondered what you would think. I imagine that if a sociopath facing psychiatric evaluation and confinement felt anything, they would feel a sinking sensation, or the sudden feeling of being trapped.
And I wonder if Cyndi will learn how to fake being normal, and come back more dangerous than ever.
I hope Cyndi makes a reappearance in the comic eventually, though. There aren't that many fun socio characters.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Do sociopaths actually have personalities? I mean clearly defined, stable personality types. Is there much variance from person to person? I've personally been drawn toward the ISTP of Myers-Briggs. Under all the bullshitting and such this is close to what I am. Under all the lies are we clones? Or are our core personalities changed by our experiences? Or does empath profiling relate to us at all?My response: Ha, I'm sort of glad that you feel like you are more ISTP; people sometimes ask me if sociopaths aren't just INTJs.
I like to model my outward self after people I admire. I do admire some people. I look at them and I think, I could be you. I sometimes recognize myself in the actions of empaths, but I usually find disappointment when I look closer. The reasons why they do so many things make no sense to me. It is like looking at an alien species sometimes. They are afraid of everything. But I have also been disappointed when I come across low-functioning or low-IQ sociopaths. They may not have the same drives as empaths, but the results are the same. They do idiotic things with no thought of purpose. So is that the only difference between us, level of intelligence?
I think that is one positive about being the way I am: I can be whatever I am supposed to be, in any given situation. Ha if I didn't pay any attention to what people wanted out of me, I would have screwed everything up by now. I feel like a salesperson: the customer knows best.
I hate taking personality tests. I never know what to answer to questions like "do you have an emotional attachment to your friends?" Part of me does, but I also think it can't be that deep of an attachment if I cast them aside like used paper napkins when I'm done with them. An easier question would be, "Do you sometimes feel infatuation for things and people?" Because personality tests are not really designed for people like us, I answer most of them in radically different ways depending on context or my mood.
Maybe we do have personalities/selves but just multiple ones? The weirdest thing for me is to not know which self would be most appropriate in a given situation. Charming? Straightforward? Commanding? Cautious? It helps for me to have a buzzword to focus on, one primary goal, like the cliché actor asking the director "what's my motivation?" Because without it, I frequently can wander blindly when in a new situation or meeting a new person, slipping through several different "approaches" until I find one that works. This is never the first impression I want to make, but it is what it is.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
I'm about 99% sure my dear friend is a sociopath. He's the most charming, funny, and well-loved person in our community. Yet, he has zero work ethic and is basically a leech entirely when it comes to work. Nothing wrong is ever his fault. He lied countless times to me when he pursued a relationship, and never seemed genuinely sorry (regardless of the many "I'm Sorry's" and "I understand's.") And he has this weird thing with eye contact. He also has lots of tricks I've picked up on, so I know he's very attentive to me when we're "on-again" and likes to protect himself. He knows how to get to me, using humor, my dreams, and sympathy play. I just wanted to write about how loving a sociopath happens, regardless of knowing so clearly what went wrong (many people don't understand -- I get that) and about why I wanted him back.
I forget it's bad because I'm having so much fun. He's funny, sweet even. He brings up old jokes, memories, and conversations that almost make me forget why I hated him so much in the first place. Somewhere in my mind I know he's not safe, or solid as a foundation, but I feel at home with him anyway. I can see the tricks he's reusing and I can say out loud the things he did to me, the terrible games he played with me. But between my head and my heart there is literally a break in the connection, because I love him.
I also want to point out that going back to him went something like this; it's easier to join forces and be friends than to be on the opposing side. Though we didn't actually fight (verbally or physically) ever really, because he only admitted he lied once, we were in a war. He made himself known, but we weren't speaking. He was everywhere I needed to be, and eventually even crept into my dreams and haunted me in my sleep. It was impossible to go without him. So, regardless of the hours of counseling and catharsis conversations with friends, he's back.
I have a strange compassion and love for him and sociopaths in general, I think. I don't know why they "tick" and work as they do, but they're just different than me. They're still sane, yes, but something inside drives their actions to be so different. They are like little power monsters at times, but they need love too...or so it feels. Is the beating I get worth it? So far, I guess it has been (though, not to outsiders).
Still, he's my friend, and I believe that he needs love even if he can't feel it quite the same. That's weird, I know. Ha, this is going to sound stupid, but I was thinking about that while I was petting my cat today. She was purring because she liked it, but another way of her getting more petting was clawing at me. So I had to only pet her from a certain angle, so I could still show her I loved her, but not get scratched. Cheesy analogy? Completely. But I think it kind of makes sense for a lot of us that love sociopaths.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I was watching one of Andy Warhols movies with Edie Sedgwick. When Andy was told Edie had died, he responded Edie who? Do you think Edie was a sociopath? She was so charming, and had everyone feeling sorry for her.. still.My response: Interesting what you say about the poor little rich girl, faux victim effect that femme fatales seem to have. I just wrote to a female sociopath reader about whether she thinks that her victims are attracted to her because they want to be predated upon (i.e. want to be exploited)? Or because there is something vulnerable about her that they can't help but want to exploit? If the latter, I think femme fatales sometimes attract targets who would never otherwise be in that type of situation, like an open cash register sitting unattended in front of someone who doesn't consider themself a thief.
I lived with a girl I suspect was a sociopath and my grandma as well. I think it is their mystery that is so seductive. I've seen my grandmother transform into a starry eyed seductress charming a doctor while laying in her hospital bed. She was beautifully monovisual in all photographs taken of her. Yet her very last words to my grandfather were "Don't touch me, I hate you" Edie's charm reminds me of their charm. The way she evokes pity yet seems so strong yet charmingly fragile...? "poor little rich girl"
Do you know any femme fatales? And if so, were you attracted to her?
"Andy said I should write a song about Edie Sedgwick. I said 'Like what?' and he said 'Oh, don't you think she's a femme fatale, Lou?' So I wrote 'Femme Fatale' and we gave it to Nico. (Lou Reed)"
I have known some femme fatales and I always find them to be very attractive. I look at them and I think, this person could ruin me. It's all very exciting, this feeling of wanting to be destroyed just for the pleasure of that moment when they turn their complete attention to you, even if it is just to destroy you. But I'll have to check out some of Edie's films.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I think I may be a hybrid sociopath. I am very similar to my father in the way that I am comfortably able to adopt and change my personality with ease. I have the characteristic sociopath ability to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in people.I responded: Have you seen this post? It sounds like what you are saying. Recently I've been starting to believe more and more that sociopathy is either an attentional defect myself or that attention plays a large part in how sociopathy manifests itself. This fits with your switch imagery -- if one's attention is directed at a particular emotion, sociopaths can feel the same sorts of things that normal people can. The difference is that it is not automatic, we have to make the conscious effort to focus our attention that way.
But I am also able to feel sympathetic emotions such as empathy and love, however I can also choose to not feel them. It's a strange sort of mental switch I have. When I was little the switch would turn on and off randomly, and in only 5th grade I thought I was madly in love with this girl. I would follow her around, but never talk to her (I basically stalked her). This was during the time when I was still learning how to interact with people in socially acceptable ways that would not reveal what I was. Anyway, I loved this girl for almost a year and then overnight I simply stopped loving her. I never felt that emotion towards another person ever again. Another case of my odd emotional switch was in 7th grade when my classmates and I found a dead opossum the size of a large cat. My classmates screamed, and some began to cry. All I could do was stare at it and wonder how a motionless piece of fur and flesh could be valuable or meaningful to anyone. But a week later, something reminded me of the lifeless critter and I suddenly felt a pang of sickening remorse for the creature. Of course now, I could care less about it.
It wasn't until High School that I mastered my control over the emotional switch in my mind. I could turn on my emotions and get all touchy-feely with girls when I wanted to seduce them, or I could turn them off and do anything I pleased and feel no guilt. I was not simulating emotions, I actually felt them. I find this talent to be very useful, the only side effect is a rare sudden outburst of emotion immediately after turning on my emotions after long periods of numbing them.
I spend a lot of time trying to discipline my mind, so that I can mold it into what I want it to be. Creating one personality is easy. The hard part is developing two different personalities that you can interchange quickly and easily. There are actually two mental switches that you need to develop, one to go from your sociopath side to your emotional side, and another to go from your emotional side to your sociopath side. Usually I use an incredibly poignant memory to trigger my emotional side, and a very unnerving, desensitizing thought to trigger my sociopath side.
Monday, December 20, 2010
I think focusing on impression management is key to the high-functioning part of "high-functioning psychopath". Nearly all of us mimic to give the impression that we are just like everyone else. Those of us who recognize that we can get more out of people if they want to give it to us just focus on our overall reputation a little more. Those of us who recognize that we can't control our baser urges every single time and may need some benefit-of-the-doubt cover, make a point to emanate safety and innocence.
I think the lack of understanding about the importance of impression management among others is probably due to one of three issues: One, the individual isn't a psychopath or anything like it. Two, the individual is not a high-functioning psychopath, and thus can't see the big-picture benefit. Three, the individual is a high-functioning psychopath, but has never lived in a small town or been part of some small sub-community within their city. I currently live in a decent-size city, and can see how easily anonymity is attained here. In a small town, most people know where most other people are most of the time, and what they are doing, so from a psychopath's perspective, it is a different world.
Being a child adds another complication. How you are viewed is inextricably linked to how your parent is viewed. Your power in the community derives from theirs. It was vital in playing my town--getting what I wanted when I wanted it--that my mother was viewed favorably. Now I'm doing the same thing for my spouse, who is in a career where image and reputation are very important.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
A reader had me watch the film Apt Pupil, which is based on a novella by Stephen King. The thing I liked about the film is that at any given time it is not clear who the sociopath(s) is/are or who is playing whom.
Speaking of which, I also just watched the Kubrick version of Lolita. I love the book. There is something so sensual about Nabokov's word choices, as if there were nothing more pleasurable than reading/writing the English language. The film was a bit of a disappointment, apparently because of censorship. The newer 90's version is allegedly more true to the book (and therefore presumably better). The best part about the film is that it has more of an omniscient narrator feel, so (I think) you get a better idea of the extent of Lolita's scheming. In the book Lolita is seems more of a victim.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I asked a socio reader what it was like to be in a relationship with another sociopath: "What we were able to share was more than manipulation and sexual mind games. It was a simultaneous hollow connection that would eventually come to an end due to lack of further interest, or one of us ultimately winning."
One socio reader who describes herself as low-functioning but high-functioning enough to recognize it asked me, "How is my perspective interesting to you?" I answered:
I think everyone that has their feet in two different worlds (e.g. you being both high/low functioning) is interesting. For instance I am interested in someone who is transgendered, or black but light enough to pass for white, or poor but very educated. They are about the only people I trust to speak honestly about their own circumstances because they have a rare objectivity about what it really means to be a certain gender, or a certain race, or a certain social class. It's an objectivity about one's own personal circumstances that I think I lack in a lot of ways.Another question, "How functional are you? like in maintaining an image?"
I'm single, so do poorly at relationships, but haven't really wanted to be in a committed relationship yet either (not enough). I've never been to prison, but have been "officially disciplined" several times, discharged from my employment a couple times, progressed from career path to career path while still managing to "climb" rather than slide in terms of prestige and money. Right now I have a relatively stable life in which I basically do what I want within reason in a field where micromanaging is frowned upon as stifling of creativity."Have you ever been this low in your life?"
No, but yes in some ways. I have made mistakes before and had my bad actions revealed to everyone that mattered, lost my good reputation and had to start over from scratch. Does that count?"How did you manage to change yourself?"
I had a problem with self-deception, believing my own lies, which got me into trouble because I was blinded to the real risks inherent in my actions. Recognizing self-deception as being the root of my problems, I went on a dishonesty fast for about a year until I could trust myself to lie to others while still maintaining a knowledge of the truth for myself. Sometimes I fear that I have again strayed too far into self-deception, but I don't have the luxury of another complete fast from being dishonest at my current stage in life. Instead, I try to be as honest as I can and only lie if it is necessary.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I am wondering, do you watch "Lie To Me"? The latest episode of Lie To Me which I watched had an interesting ending, where Tim Roth's character (one "Dr. Lightman") wrote that he understood very little, least of all those close to him.
I understand very little. I see people and I know what they feel, happy, sad, angry, annoyed, aroused, excited. but all in all I understand very little. I know they are experiencing something, but I do not understand the "humanity" that occurs around me. I know I am required to do certain things at certain times, and I will do those things, but do I understand why. I know I must, or I will be viewed in a negative light that makes my life difficult.
Indeed, it seems as if almost everybody I meet was handed a blue-print to behaviours, a list of requirements, of responses and of reactions. And it seems I missed that handing out, missed the instructions, missed that which is needed to be...well, human. This is how I viewed the world when I was younger, and how I have adapted.
As I said, I know but I do not understand. Human life occurs all around me, and I can not help but watch.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Lying is a risky life strategy. The worst thing that could happen is to get caught in a compromising situation, lie about it, and then get caught in the lie. People get very angry at you when that happens, although everyone has been in that situation at least once in their lives.
Maybe the biggest difference between you two is that sometimes you lie or give sugarcoated truths but other times you will just bluntly say important things that you think need to be said. In contrast, X will either be honest or refuse to say anything at all. This is a bad combination because you like and expect to be lied to for some things but want the truth for really important things (how you treat people) and X basically wants the truth all the time or silence, even if it means taking a break from the other person (how X treats people). Because X sometimes tells you the truth when you want to be lied to and you sometimes lie to X instead of being upfront, you both get upset.I am not sure what my relationship with lying is. Lying can be very fun and exciting, particularly when lying to get out of a scrape, but it can quickly turn into a chore. The character Tom Sawyer learns through his fence painting scheme that "Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.”
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
I ended up selling meth for a few years after all this. Amusingly the reason was I wanted to meet more people who were willing to commit real crimes like robbing armored cars or finding someone who would pay me to kill people and it's not like you can post wanted ads so I figured the easiest way to meet new criminals who weren't a bunch of stupid kids was to start selling drugs. I had been nonplussed by the kids I met in community service. Most of them were there for vandalism charges and none of them showed any real initiative.
So my criminal career after that mostly consisted of me selling meth starting from $20 sacks on the street to pushing pounds for a Mexican cartel family to cooking it myself interspersed with things like armed robbery of other dealers who had disrespected me (great excuse to go take what you want from someone and have some fun).
If you go to the court house and look at my record I have literally pages of charges that have been brought against me and a total of two convictions, one felony possession of meth and one misdemeanor 'being under the influence.' One of your posts mentioned this phenomenon. We might commit the crimes but compared to the poor saps who aren't sociopaths we don't do the time - we get off too often and leave early more often than not.
My first arrest on drug charges was stupid. I didn't know my rights well enough (though amusingly I'd taken a criminal law class at the local community college since my momma always said, "you have to know the rules so you can break them right"). After that first arrest I was on probation which meant I no longer had those protective rights that coulda saved me the first time which meant luck eventually got me a couple more arrests and on the last one the DA had actually realized I was someone he should pay attention to.
So I left it all behind (leaving a certain minor cartel family with thousands of dollars in unpaid debt that I didn't feel like dealing with). I had decided that I had a problem. I didn't have the drug problem I played to everyone else to excuse my behavior - I had a legal problem. Doing the work I had been doing with search and seizure terms is illogical. It's not a winning game so I figured I'd drop it for 3 years and come back when I had my rights back armed with the knowledge I'd picked up on how to work the legal system. My one close friend (the same one I got in trouble with when I was 16) moved back to town and told me to get my shit together and actually really did a lot of work toward re-socializing me. She also helped me decided not to go right back to work when my probation fell off (since of course, I had been a model of good behavior).
So here I am. In the last couple quarters of a 4 year degree in an extremely technical engineering major. And I feel dead. Because nothing else carries any feeling with it. It isn't that I can't avoid getting locked up or that I can't make money legally it's that when I weigh the price of risking prison against the price of living out a life of dead affect and absolute boredom the choice doesn't seem difficult. Survival isn't worth anything when you aren't doing anything with it. If I'm a criminal it's only because some things I enjoy are illegal and I don't particularly fear the consequences.
Friday, December 10, 2010
One common theme in comments on your site seems to be "only the stupid sociopaths get locked up, they give us a bad name, if they were better at being rational/smart they wouldn't be ending up in prison." Of course as someone who has a handful of arrests I can't help but take this a little personally so I'll do my best to explain why I disagree with the position.(cont.)
I was a criminal sociopath. I was the kind of criminal who was there for fun. To this day I haven't yet found anything that compares to the fun I had then. Any crimes before I was 16 were boring - I'd get in fights but mostly I had to actively convince another kid to fight with me under the pretense it was just a game (to me it was.. I couldn't get why they didn't enjoy it) and then when they were injured I had to work to convince them not to tell anyone what had happened to them so I wouldn't get in trouble.
When I was 16 I decided with a friend to burglarize a business. Basically I got off work, went to where she was working and while chatting with her mentioned I'd figured out how to get into a local store and into their safe. She said "So lets do it" so when she got off work we went back to my house, got together what we'd wear (there were cameras so heavy jackets and ski-masks), we went to sleep, woke up at 4am and walked downtown to do it. I should add here that I didn't do it for the money, I had several thousand dollars in my bank account and still lived at home having graduated high school before turning 16 and working.
Long story short we got away with it beautifully - for about 7 days. Then the only other person in the world who knew ratted on us. This was my first lesson in how weak most people are and one of many cases where I've been surprised someone did something that seemed completely illogical to me. In the meantime though my friend and I rented expensive motel rooms and bought new cloths instead of going home or washing what we had. Experiences that made the whole thing worth it include sitting with my friend on the hotel bed counting thousands of dollars in cash in our robes, finding a crazy alcoholic homeless woman and her 12yo daughter and having them follow us around buying us alcohol, and walking out of the store we had robbed pulling our skimasks up into hats so the cameras never got a shot of our faces, and then casually walking down a major street downtown to go change clothes at the bus station.
Having no priors and being a minor I never even went to Juvi - after all, I was the nice white kid from the middle class family who had made a horrible mistake and was oh so repentant.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
“Gamers are engaged, focused, and happy,” says Edward Castronova, a professor of telecommunications at Indiana University who has studied and designed online games. “How many employers wish they could say that about even a tenth of their work force?The article makes a strange argument, essentially that if hardcore gamers saw real life more as a game, they might be more interested in real life. If that is the prescribed therapy for ennui or a persistent sense of the meaningless of life, then sociopaths have been self-medicating for millennia.
In the past, puzzles and games were sometimes considered useful instructional tools. The emperor Charlemagne hired a scholar to compile “Problems to Sharpen the Young,” a collection of puzzles like the old one about ferrying animals across a river (without leaving the hungry fox on the same bank as the defenseless goat). The British credited their victory over Napoleon to the games played on the fields of Eton.
But once puzzles and gaming went digital, once the industry’s revenues rivaled Hollywood’s, once children and adults became so absorbed that they forsook even television, then the activity was routinely denounced as “escapism” and an “addiction.” Meanwhile, a few researchers were more interested in understanding why players were becoming so absorbed and focused. They seemed to be achieving the state of “flow” that psychologists had used to describe master musicians and champion athletes, but the gamers were getting there right away instead of having to train for years.
One game-design consultant, Nicole Lazzaro, the president of XEODesign, recorded the facial expressions of players and interviewed them along with their friends and relatives to identify the crucial ingredients of a good game. One ingredient is “hard fun,” which Ms. Lazzaro defines as overcoming obstacles in pursuit of a goal. That’s the same appeal of old-fashioned puzzles, but the video games provide something new: instantaneous feedback and continual encouragement, both from the computer and from the other players.
Players get steady rewards for little achievements as they amass points and progress to higher levels, with the challenges becoming harder as their skill increases.
Even though they fail over and over, they remain motivated to keep going until they succeed and experience what game researchers call “fiero.” The term (Italian for “proud”) describes the feeling that makes a gamer lift both arms above the head in triumph.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
A lot of modern life is exactly like slaughtering zombies.I say that this is how everyone else lives their lives, but my life is remarkably similar. Someone asked me recently why do I seduce people, why do I play games, what's the point? I guess I wasn't aware there was some other choice. But yes, empaths play one version of this game, and I guess we play another, and you can say that one is about love or emotions and that is somehow better than having it be about power and winning, but is it? Seems like a matter of personal preference.
IF THERE’S ONE THING we all understand about zombie killing, it’s that the act is uncomplicated: you blast one in the brain from point-blank range (preferably with a shotgun). That’s Step 1. Step 2 is doing the same thing to the next zombie that takes its place. Step 3 is identical to Step 2, and Step 4 isn’t any different from Step 3. Repeat this process until (a) you perish, or (b) you run out of zombies. That’s really the only viable strategy.
Every zombie war is a war of attrition. It’s always a numbers game. And it’s more repetitive than complex. In other words, zombie killing is philosophically similar to reading and deleting 400 work e-mails on a Monday morning or filling out paperwork that only generates more paperwork, or following Twitter gossip out of obligation, or performing tedious tasks in which the only true risk is being consumed by the avalanche. The principal downside to any zombie attack is that the zombies will never stop coming; the principal downside to life is that you will be never be finished with whatever it is you do.
This is our collective fear projection: that we will be consumed. Zombies are like the Internet and the media and every conversation we don’t want to have. All of it comes at us endlessly (and thoughtlessly), and — if we surrender — we will be overtaken and absorbed. Yet this war is manageable, if not necessarily winnable. As long we keep deleting whatever’s directly in front of us, we survive. We live to eliminate the zombies of tomorrow. We are able to remain human, at least for the time being. Our enemy is relentless and colossal, but also uncreative and stupid.
Battling zombies is like battling anything ... or everything.
“I know this is supposed to be scary,” [a friend] said. “But I’m pretty confident about my ability to deal with a zombie apocalypse. I feel strangely informed about what to do in this kind of scenario.”
I could not disagree. At this point who isn’t? We all know how this goes: If you awake from a coma, and you don’t immediately see a member of the hospital staff, assume a zombie takeover has transpired during your incapacitation. Don’t travel at night and keep your drapes closed. Don’t let zombies spit on you. If you knock a zombie down, direct a second bullet into its brain stem. But above all, do not assume that the war is over, because it never is. The zombies you kill today will merely be replaced by the zombies of tomorrow. But you can do this, my friend. It’s disenchanting, but it’s not difficult. Keep your finger on the trigger. Continue the termination. Don’t stop believing. Don’t stop deleting. Return your voice mails and nod your agreements. This is the zombies’ world, and we just live in it. But we can live better.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
For me it is a little different. I have a natural talent for art and I use this as a way to explore my impulses and desires without acting on them. My boundaries, sadly, are not that current. As long as I don't get caught, nothing truly stops me. There is a voice in my head that constantly reminds me of what I should not be doing, due to my possible loss in freedom, but most of the time this voice goes ignored. I can say that having a hobby, something that satisfies even for a brief moment, can aide in a form of control. My need to kill and destroy is kept in tact by an obsession I have of collecting objects that have to do with death. I study criminals, watch violent educational programming, and read as (well as collect) reading material on past crimes, violent fiction, and the like. Instead of killing animals I collect the road kill, and macerate the parts to keep the bones. I buy taxidermied creatures, and have photos of x-rays. I keep my urges under wraps by indulging what I want through Internet, books, art, and programming, everything, and I mean everything, besides the actual murder. The criminal television is the most helpful because more than half of the time at the end of the program the criminal is caught. Shows like "Law and Order: SVU" touch nearly every form of sexual perversion you can think of, so seeing it gives me plenty of joy for that moment. In "reality based" programming I hear the thoughts of the detectives, and learn that they are pretty clever and instinctive when it comes to what to look for. Regardless of what they are personally, they still get the job of capture and punish complete, and I get the point, and a tinge of hesitation.
I won't lie and say this hasn't made my temptations worse at times. Other than entertainment, I watch this form of programming to figure out what they did wrong, and how I would have done things differently to get away with it. Once I come up with a list of what they did wrong, I replay the act in my mind, committing the crime myself. In a fantasy it is always easy to assume I can get away with it, but one never knows until they try. The key is to never let it get to that point, repeating the words told to me by some associates of mine. Their words made sense.
Another thing I do, if the decision to go through with any impulse is still rampant, is to go through a mental list of pros and cons. I only get through this if I catch the impulse, which is something I am currently working on. On the rare occasions where I do catch them, I get irritated and anxious if I don't act. I can either do what I need to to calm this feeling, or walk away from it, and calm myself down. My laziness usually causes me to go through with the more damaging approach.
Example. There is a girl at my school right now that I am more than close to taking out violently. She is obnoxious, mentally deficient, cowardly, and her constant rhetorical questioning, instead of shutting her trap and listening, leaves me more than livid. Her existence does not contribute anything worthy to this planet. Even her look boils my blood, and there will be a point where my smart ass remarks towards her will not suffice. She used to sit near me, but I know she senses my distaste for her, so she has moved, which has helped. I spend half of the class daydreaming on ways to take her out instead of listening to the teacher. At first my fantasies seem more than pleasant, heavenly in fact, and in moments like this I forcibly question myself.
What will I really get out of this? Will this joy I may experience last long enough? What if this only makes my urges worse? Will I keep having to kill in order to get this euphoric feeling? Will I become a slave to my impulses to destroy? How long until I get complacent? What if I get caught? Where is my future if I do this?
My answers: Pleasure, possibly joy, who knows, find out. Who knows, find out. Deal with it when it happens. Possibly, is this a bad thing? Yes. Not that long. I may get caught, I may not. Prison, but once at the end of the road, who cares what the future outcome is.
Sadly, even after a list of logical reasoning and questions, most go ignored, but the main thing that always sticks out with me is the slave issue. I do not want to be a slave to anything or anyone, and if I fail to control my urges, I will, ultimately, become a slave to my desires. I will be living a paranoid life of never ending dissatisfaction because I'm being controlled by my need to destroy. Not fun.
Sexually my intentions are cruel. I indulge in them for the most part, but I make sure the people involved are, to some extent, willing. I frequent S&M conventions where you have people who want to be humiliated and punished, and though a little more controlled, this has helped. The fact that there is an audience helps a lot too. Being a secretive person, having an audience ruins my chances of completely acting out. Prostitutes are too dangerous to even bother with, as they are nobodies that can easily go missing, if not already, and make the temptation worse. They allow anything to be done to them, and because I don't value much of human life as it is, they would only make it easier for me to disrespect them. The people I have hurt and humiliated through sex wanted it, and what kept me from crossing that line was to constantly remind myself that I don't want to become a slave to this.
The boredom? Something I will just have to suck up and deal with, like everyone else. I don't have any successful methods for this as of yet. I still use art, but lately the drive to fulfill a finished piece isn't happening. I have some assignments that are time consuming, but after a certain amount of time, usually two and a half hours, I need to do something else. I go on spontaneous shopping sprees buying things I don't need just to do something, but being around people acting so foolish only causes my mind to race all over again with violent thoughts. I have medication that I am not taking because it leaves me awake for days even though it is supposed to make me drowsy. Not much aide in this category, tee-hee, sorry.
Is this a reverse psychological way of teaching me how to control myself, by having me write down my methods?
You sly devil ;)
If you were, in fact, clueless as to what went on here, and this wasn't a positive manipulation of yours, then I take back the credit I gave you. Have a grand day, M.E.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
— Charles Darwin
Friday, December 3, 2010
1. Sociopaths typically don't smalltalk about themselves as much as normal people do. They will direct the conversation back to the new acquaintance as much as they can.
2. A sociopath will reveal "personal" details about himself strategically, i.e. for the purposes of misdirection or a false sense of intimacy/trust. Revelations of actual truths are very rare and may be perceived as a small slip of the mask.
3. Sociopaths frequently hesitate before responding. It will be unclear to you whether they are bored, annoyed, lying, or all three.
4. No strong reactions to illogical hotbed political/social topics (e.g. Octomom or Catholic priest child molestation).
5. Monotone voice (I am told).
6. A tendency to take things too literally or otherwise not respond appropriately to small emotional cues.
7. Cold indifference to one or more family members.
8. Seemingly a different person when "distracted."
9. Disconnect between what the sociopath says and does, e.g. seems charitable but does not give money to homeless or vice versa.
10. Never shows signs of embarrassment. Easily wins over large crowds with confidence. "Poise" in this case = lack of nerves.
11. Does not fit stereotypes for gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, or career. Could seem foreign, bisexual, older or younger, pious, wealthy or poor, but may also just seem unplaceable.
12. Can flip flop between keeping a very low profile (the observer) to being the life of the party (the actor).I don't think all of these would apply to all sociopaths, and certainly many of them apply to people who aren't sociopaths, however they all have the advantage of being directly observable by a layperson, at least without the aid of a brain scan or 10 page questionnaire. Also, because they're seemingly inconsequential and not directly related to the classic sociopath/antisocial traits, a sociopath would have less reason to mask them.
Do some of these seem particularly predictive or not? Any other suggestions?
Thursday, December 2, 2010
12 Cold 4 normal 2 hot
13 Low 2 normal 6 high
5 love 1 like 17 eat to survive
9 corrected 12 none
17 high 5 normal 1 low
10 no 12 yes
11 younger 8 same 3 older
17 no 4 some/sometimes 1 yes
8 yes 12 some/sometimes 2 no
8 salty 3 both 7 sweet 3 neither
4 no 5 sometimes
3 no 7 yes
5 yes 3 no
5 yes 1 no
3 yes 3 no
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I got a lot of funny looks ten years ago when I started talking to people about Wikipedia.This reads like the word vomit of a completely out of touch celebrity who is famous for doing nothing and can't stop talking about himself in the broadest terms possible. Where is his publicist? Can I donate some money to a public relations person? I feel like that would do Wikipedia the greatest good.
Let’s just say some people were skeptical of the notion that volunteers from all across the world could come together to create a remarkable pool of human knowledge – all for the simple purpose of sharing.
No ads. No agenda. No strings attached.
A decade after its founding, nearly 400 million people use Wikipedia and its sister sites every month - almost a third of the Internet-connected world.
It is the 5th most popular website in the world - but Wikipedia isn’t anything like a commercial website. It is a community creation, written by volunteers making one entry at a time. You are part of our community. And I’m writing today to ask you to protect and sustain Wikipedia.
Together, we can keep it free of charge and free of advertising. We can keep it open – you can use the information in Wikipedia any way you want. We can keep it growing – spreading knowledge everywhere, and inviting participation from everyone.
Each year at this time, we reach out to ask you and others all across the Wikimedia community to help sustain our joint enterprise with a modest donation of $20, $35, $50 or more.
If you value Wikipedia as a source of information – and a source of inspiration – I hope you’ll choose to act right now.
All the best,
Founder, WikipediaP.S. Wikipedia is about the power of people like us to do extraordinary things. People like us write Wikipedia, one word at a time. People like us fund it, one donation at a time. It's proof of our collective potential to change the world.