From new reader Dean Esmay:
Hi. I run a fairly popular blog and occasionally I do interviews. I've been writing about sociopathy/psychopathy lately; for a wide variety of reasons the subject fascinates me but has only come to my focused attention recently. FYI, I am not sociopathic to the best I can determine; remorse and guilt are far too familiar to me. I also have a son who is autistic, and I have strong aspie tendencies--although in atypical fashion, one of those oddballs who's somewhere on that spectrum but not clearly identifiable.My recent reading on the subject of psychopathy has shocked me out of a few metric tonnes of preconceptions. Not your blog alone but definitely your blog has been impressive and at times mind-blowing. I've been reading you rather voraciously. At first you creeped me out pretty bad but the more I read the less so. Before reading your blog, other reading on the subject led me to see a parallel (not link, but definite parallel) between this condition and the aspie/autie spectrum. When I saw that you also perceived a connection it confirmed I was onto something. I doubt the conditions really are related any much more than writing and painting are related--in other words, sort of but not really. But they clearly share some common traits.I had presumed that a sociopath/psychopathic had to be evil; now I have had a near-total rethink. You may not be comfortable with the terms "good" and "evil" but I pretty much use them in the Judeo-Christian sense and am comfortable with that language; I sense you can work with that without too much philosophical hairsplitting for now. My take at the moment is that sociopathy mixed with sadism (deriving pleasure from deliberately inflicting suffering) is probably going to generate a dangerous and quite evil person, and sociopathy mixed with stupidity and lack of self-awareness is probably going to generate a highly destructive personality (to self and/or others). But it does not follow that sociopathy all by itself is malignant. Potentially malignant of course, but who in this world is not potentially malignant? It is not as if sociopaths invented lying, cheating, backstabbing, and so on.I suspect that among the high number of socipaths in prison, the majority are the stupid or non-self-aware kind, who can probably be helped with self-awareness and psychological training that focuses not on feelings but on rational self-interest: "Look, you have this limitation, this form of emotional color-blindness. It has contributed to many of your problems. But if you focus on these specific things, these specific behaviors, even if they're uncomfortable or alien at first, you are likely to have a far more rewarding life." I don't pretend I can list what all those things would be, or what all the strategies would be, but I think that sociopaths themselves, working with neurotypicals and other types of "neurodiverse," could learn to do this exact thing, just as dispassionate study of autism and asperger's has done so much to help people in that sub-population. (They haven't just been helped by "awareness," although that has been helpful; identifying useful coping and constructive life-strategies has done a lot, as has early diagnosis and better forms of intervention).