I just stumbled upon your blog this morning between tea and eggs while I was doing preliminary research for a critique of the movie "The Talented Mr. Ripley". My paper is focused on sociopathic behavior. What I discovered, and what initially stymied my interest, were my own sociopathic tendencies. Now I am (recently) 20 years old and studying film and gender at a liberal arts school in the United States. I have never been too interested in much psychology or psychoanalysis for fear of self-diagnosis, but as a marijuana-addled young adult I am constantly questioning my identity. I come form a Gypsy background, and, to put it simply, have always felt like a social parasite. Not for no reason, I partook in my share of moral offenses and such, but the explanation for these immoral impulses and the lack of empathy that accompanied was always my upbringing. My mother and father were both deal seekers, often stealing what they couldn't afford or what they deemed they deserved. But I was always perplexed about the sort of satisfaction me and my two younger brothers received from "sabotaging" public places or simply taking things that weren't ours. Why were we different? Were we different? Could it all be summed up to our Gypsy mother who raised us alone for 10 years?
Although these questions were always on the back burner, they didn't affect my immediate life too much (except when my best friend found out I took his Ipod about a year ago; or my ex-girlfriend discovered the constant lies I invented to cover up inconsequential things; or the time I was arrested for shop-lifting at Target after two weeks of ripping off Health Food stores up and down the East Coast). Nonetheless, I am very adept at observing the world around me and fitting in as best I can, "getting in" as best I can even as a constant outside observer. I mean I observe everything, from the way people hold their hands in class when asking a question, to the way my friends adjust their pants so as to fit "conventionally" over their Ralph Lauren boxers. I am a quick study too, often emulating the desirable traits around me and excelling at them faster, or more attractively, than the person I got it from! Throughout the stages of my life, I have always had one close, very close, male friend who is a little more "popular", or maybe a better word "adept", at "life" or the particular goals with which I am interested in achieving. We are constantly around each other, and I am constantly taking silent notes on how to be. How I should go about achieving my life. Sometimes I feel like goals aren't even mine and I construct them to more emulate a lifestyle that I desire. I am always single, they always have long-term girlfriends (mind you I am athletic and do have a lot of sex, but I see too many flaws in every woman, too many turn-offs for me to even consider more sophisticated approaches like a date.)
I am rambling because the preverbal lightbulb literally went "click!" today as I scoured your site. I feel very vulnerable right now, but also excited to (possibly) belong to an esoteric group of individuals. I am not asking for any sort of response or advice, although both would be wonderful, I just have a couple qualms and reservations that accompany a brand new way of thinking about life for me.
a. as of right now (and more or less 3 years back) I have been smoking pot on a daily basis. I know that sociopathy is a complicated neurological phenomena, but from what I understand the orbitofrontal cortex is a key player in terms of what it controls. The OC is also the focal point for a lot of neurological research structured around cannabinoid transmission. This interests and concerns me. If the use of marijuana exacerbates sociopathic tendencies, what are the immediate (and more longitudinal) consequences of smoking weed for someone like me?
b. I have two younger brothers (age 15 and 18) who also smoke a lot of pot, but started earlier than me (I started at the age of 16, them 13, 14 or maybe 15). They have their own lives and, I think, sociopathic tendencies as well, but ultimately they look up to me for guidance as they always have in a pseudo-hostile world and I want to give them the information they need to make valuable life decisions NOW before they pass a certain point of no return (if there is one).
I know this sounds like an overdue confession more suitably aimed a psychologist's way, but... meh.
M.E.: I have no idea about pot. I never have been into any sort of mind altering substance, mainly because I am a complete control freak and I don't have any inhibitions I would like to give up. But maybe there are other people who would know better.