Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Living in the moment

I read this NY Times column and thought it was an interesting and hopefully relatable example of how (I believe) sociopaths think most of the time, in terms of compartmentalizing fear and living in the moment.  The author is describing how liberating it feels to ride a bike in busy, traffic-ridden New York because he is plagued by a vague sense of anxiety, but is rather focused and in the moment:


Natural selection has made us hypervigilant, obsessively replaying our mistakes and imagining worst-case scenarios. And the fact that we’ve eliminated almost all of the immediate threats from our environment, like leopards and Hittites, has only made us even more jittery, because we’re now constantly anticipating disasters that are never going to happen: the prowler/rapist/serial killer lurking in the closet, a pandemic of Ebola/Bird Flu/Hantavirus, the imminent fascist/socialist/zombie takeover. The disasters that do befall us are mostly slow, incremental ones that seem abstract and faraway until they suddenly blindside us, like heart disease and foreclosure. So we go about our days safer and more comfortable than human beings have been in five million years, constantly hunched and growling with a low level of fight-or-flight chemicals in our bloodstreams. My doctor assures me that this is the cause of most of our chronic back and neck problems; my dentist says nocturnal tooth-grinding became so endemic in New York after 9/11 it actually changed the shapes of people’s faces by enlarging their masseter muscles. He sells a lot of night guards.

Which is why it’s such a relief, an exhilarating joy, to break the clammy paralysis of worry and place yourself at last in real physical danger. Even though it’s the time when I am at most immediate risk, riding my bike in Manhattan traffic is also one of the only times when I am never anxious or afraid — not even when a cab door swings open right in front of me, some bluetoothed doofus strides into my path, or a dump truck’s fender drifts within an inch of my leg. At those moments fear is a low neurological priority that would only interfere with my reaction time, like a panicky manager shoved aside by competent, grim-faced engineers in a crisis. I doubt that the victims of sudden violent accidents die terrified; they’re probably extremely alert, brains gone pretty much blank while their galvanized bodies try to figure out what to do. I don’t think our minds are designed to accept that there’s no way out. Based on my own close calls, I suspect that if I am killed while biking, the state of mind in which I am likeliest to die is extreme annoyance. And at least it won’t be by drowning.
***
When I’m balanced on two thin wheels at 30 miles an hour, gauging distance, adjusting course, making hundreds of unconscious calculations every second, that idiot chatterbox in my head is kept too busy to get a word in. I’ve heard people say the same thing about rock-climbing: how it shrinks your universe to the half-inch of rock surface immediately in front of you, this crevice, that toehold. Biking is split-second fast and rock-climbing painstakingly slow, but both practices silence the noise of the mind and render self-consciousness blissfully impossible. You become the anonymous hero of that old story, Man versus the Universe. Your brain’s glad to finally have a real job to do, instead of all that trivial busywork. You are all action, no deliberation. You are forced, under pain of death, to quit all that silly ideation and pay attention. It’s meditation at gunpoint.

I’m convinced these are the conditions in which we evolved to thrive: under moderate threat of death at all times, brain and body fully integrated, senses on high alert, completely engaged with our environment. It is, if not how we’re happiest — we’re probably happiest in a hot tub with a martini and a very good naked friend — how we are most fully and electrically alive. Of course we can’t sustain this state of mind for too long. People who go through their whole lives operating on impulse tend to end up in jail. We are no longer purely animals, living only in the moment; we are the creatures who live in time, as salamanders live in fire, prisoners of memory and imagination, tortured with dread and regret. That other, extra-temporal perspective is not the whole reality of our condition. It’s more like the view from the top of the Empire State Building, of people as infinitesimal dots circulating ceaselessly through a grid. Eventually we have to descend back to street level, rejoin the milling mass and take up our lives; you lock up your bike and become hostage to the hours again. But it’s at those moments that I become briefly conscious of what I actually am — a fleeting entity stripped of ego and history in an evanescent present, like a man running in frames of celluloid, his consciousness flickering from one instant to the next.

How does the sociopath accomplish this in daily life?  I believe through extreme compartmentalizing, that actually allows him to quiet all of the mental buzz clogging up most people's neural pathways and hyperfocusing on the moment.

84 comments:

  1. First you fuckers

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  2. How does the sociopath accomplish this in daily life? I believe through extreme compartmentalizing, that actually allows him to quiet all of the mental buzz clogging up most people's neural pathways and hyperfocusing on the moment.


    you realy do sound like an aspie (wich is a hell of a lot better than a destructive assholl sociopath)

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  3. i think aspies are facenating i cannot get anny manipulation to stick on them it fascinates me

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  4. Socio are full of shit, plain and simple. There is nothing special about a sociopath, they are just "stupider" than the common man.

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  5. Finger .. I wonder what happened to u to make u so bitter?

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    1. It's the only emotion left for the time wasted dealing with a path ... u wouldn't know the feeling!

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  6. A lot of the reason is that these sopciopaths are fucking up the world.

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  7. Can u provide an example? Oftentimes empathy are much more capable of evil because they believe what they do is for good..I.e. your common everyday German folk during the holocaust.

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    1. Study the Milgrim experiment. That shit was obedience to authority

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    2. Milgram experiment, case in point, MOST people will shock a person to death because a dude in a white lab coat told them too, MOST people are not considered to be sociopaths (yet it seems thats the direction common folk are heading) and so this is a good example of how dangerous the average person is. The sociopath is almost less dangerous because they are generally more obvious, and any decent person with awareness should know to be careful of such a person and not do horrible things because the "authority figure" (often a socio) told them too, then externalize blame (just like the socio they hate) and claim irresponsibility for their actions because they were "told" to do it. And its this strict deference to authority that prevents any decent folk from turning the incompetent leaders upside down so the problems of the world can be fixed, because MOST people (what 60% or more?) will follow authority, so when authority says "crush the uprising, let us continue with our incompetence" the they obey. The truth is, socios often get NTs to do the dirty work for them which just shows how many dirty and horrible people there are out there today, and how many are NOT socios (not that socios aren't horrible and dirty)

      Truly, it is the neurotypical that should be feared, the socio is like a lion, a snake or some other obviously dangerous predator, the NT is like a bunny that suddenly stabs you because the snake told them they had to. At least its obvious that the predator will victimize you, its in their nature.

      Also, socios are generally very obvious but certain "at risk" individuals who enjoy a good victim role ignore the warning signs everyone else sees and tells them about, so the whole "oh but socios are so good at blending in and tricking people" is bollocks, for every 10 people targeted by a socio, about 8 pass up and 2 maybe 3 people get involved, and most the time even they know something is wrong.

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    3. "The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together." - Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), German-born-U.S. political philosopher. Eichmann in Jerusalem, epilogue (1963)

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    4. Yep, Milgrim showed that the great majority of people are sheep--65%, I think. That brings me to the Bible, which likens men to sheep. God said it first.

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    5. Bible Anon

      It reads, "I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be shrew as serpents and innocent as doves."

      I don't think God's description of sheep is the same
      as the sociopaths.

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    6. True Anon but Milgrim's was!

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  8. I'm actually pretty busy, just read the news.

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  9. I think this is a rationalized argument. An attempt to glorify a natural and deeply ingrained dissociation.

    When you live in natural state of emotional repression logic and rationalizations are all you have left.

    This guy is living in the extreme of emotions, instead of living in an ever present state of vague unjustified anxiety, he's giving real reason for the body to feel that anxiety and capitalizing on the very things a sociopath lacks. The ability to connect with his emotions.

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  10. I have gotten a lot out of what Finger has said, myself.

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    Replies
    1. Your an idiot, so I guess that makes a lot of sense.

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    2. Cool it, James!

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    3. The fact you still believe that joke to be a fact shows how much of a sucker you are.

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    4. Yep, I am a fucking sucker all right.

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    5. I love it when you cuss.

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    6. My Goth swears all the time and his heart is the closest to God of anyone I know.

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    7. I wasn't judging you. Take my statement at face value.

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    8. I didn't take it as judging, Eden! I was just telling you that a true heart has nothing to do with swearing. xx

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    9. But I already knew that. I said what I did, because it's much more funny when someone who never swears, does.

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    10. I'm with you Monica ... There ignorance to what they can not feel must be there only bliss ... if they only knew!!!!

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  11. Finger you need to stop being a like bitch and leave us sociopaths alone

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    Replies
    1. Please, leave us to our mourning

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  12. I am , finally, hearing what you all are saying. I am furious but I have put the anger in the wrong place and to the wrong people. Thank you.

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  13. I don't know about compartmentalizing everything but the moment, but that could be correct. I can say that I day dream a lot. So I'm not absent of mental fuzz. I will be around a bunch of people and stare off into space imagining some scenario or trying to come up with a solution to something unrelated to the moment at all.

    I'm mostly in the moment though. I have a empty schedule every week unless I have something like a dentist appointment or doctors appointment which is rare. I come up with plans for the day and they change by the moment. I see something I want and I buy it without thought. Someone gets me angry and I don't stew on it. I immediately lash out violently or verbally until that person gets the point.

    It seems like sociopaths brains are wired for quick changes and adaptations. My lies are not thought out or planned but people buy them with ease. When I need to convince someone to do something I don't plan out what leverage I need to get them cornered into doing it or what words I have to say in order for them to take action. I just think I want them to do it and when I have a conversation with them the words that come out are some how so convincing that they even surprise myself. When I'm finished and look back I get elated that I actually pulled all of it off and that the person went for it. I can look back and see all the tactics that led to it, but I know during the conversation I was just in the zone not consciously thinking about what I was saying at all. It's very hard to explain.

    Even with long term goals, which are impossible for me to plan out I have found a way of getting them. I just picture the goal I have everywhere I go. I used to put up pictures of my goals everywhere I frequented in my house. Now I can do it mentally. It gets me so hungry for that goal that my mind will seek out every opportunity in the moment. People, situations, and money will just start falling into place and before I know it I have that goal in the palm of my hands.

    I think while I lack stability I don't lack initiative and that's an advantage I can use, and a weakness I can be careful of.

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    Replies
    1. »I see something I want and I
      buy it without thought.

      You're the consumerist dream.

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    2. Oh my god. You pinned it, I never plan my lies, my actions, anything. The somehow at the end it all comes together and it's exactly what I want. I look back at what I did and all the "techniques" used, it's all text book manipulation but I never plan and say "Now I'm going to tell (this lie) which should make them think (this whatever thing) and I will be able to do (whatever)" It just happens and it works.

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    3. It seems to me that what both the biker and the sociopath share (in addition to living mostly in the moment) is the capacity for rumination- that tendency to obsess over things we hate like repeatedly touching a sore tooth with your tongue- man do I wish I had an off button for this!

      Yet- rumination is not all bad- it's the pathway to consciousness- that obsessive analysis helps us understand WTF happened and how to make better choices next time. The lack of rumination is why sociopaths can't help blowing themselves up every couple of years- no rumination=no capacity to learn from mistakes.

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    4. sorry the first sentence above should read: It seems to me that what both the biker and the sociopath share (in addition to living mostly in the moment) is the LACK OF A capacity for rumination

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  14. FFffffuuuuuck people mark of the beast sociopath mindset media bullshit, adopt belief system in order to fit in, the only way a sane person could become what media portrays is by adopting socio mindset, death of pretty flowers unicorns and ponies rainbows love and shit people

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    Replies
    1. You are blind to the meaning of BEAUTIFUL ... which exsists all around us! I'm curious do you ever feel left out? I LOVE LOVING!!!!! I wouldn't trade love for ANYTHING....

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  15. I am not gonna be anyone's bitch, again.

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    Replies
    1. If this is the truth... you will have my respect. I don't mean that in an arrogant, "You need to earn my respect," kind of way. I mean it in a very sincere, "When you stop playing the victim, I stop treating you like one," Kind of way.

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    2. I understand, Eden.

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    3. Good. I hope you keep going in this direction. And if you do... I'll be proud of you.

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    4. Aw Thanks Eden.

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  16. I love JET... The band...

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    Replies
    1. So did my junkie exbf, 'Mr. Hollywood' (there's another one for you, Eden)

      He also wouldn't stop listening to Haircut 100.

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    2. I bet medusa's room looks like the inside of a robots vagina.

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    3. I'll bite. How does a robot's vagina look?

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    4. It depends, if its blonde with green eyes, amazing. Anything else and the robots vagina is just so so.

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    5. Blonde with green eyes? Are you mocking me, Clown?

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    6. That truly wasnt my intetion. Sincerest apologies. I just have this thing for blondes ;)

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    7. That's it? All they have to be is blonde?

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    8. Blonde, intelectual, sexually liberated, same taste in movies and green eyes is a plus

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    9. Very well, I'm satisfied. I'm no intellectual. You'll need my looks and Medusa's brain.

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    10. U R such a bad liar Raven.....

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    11. Sucks for me. Unless i could have both of you i guess. In which case niether of you probably got the movie blue valentine reference earlier...sigh. on another note i gurantee the guy on the bike never watched koyanisquatsi:a life out of balance.

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    12. I saw that movie. You always hurt the one you love. The one you shouldn't hurt at all.

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    13. Always take the sweetest rose and crush it until the petal falls.Bingo. Hope for us yet. Now their is just the other thing...

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    14. Not to put you on the spot... But the sexual liberation and so forth and so on.

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    15. Sexual liberation? What exactly does that mean?

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    16. Im not going to spoon feed it to you silly. Google it. For the mean time i'll take that as a no.

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    17. No to me being sexually liberated? That sounds like something from the 60's. How can it mean much in 2012. I won't Google it. Give me your definition of the words.

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    18. I think we can agree that when it comes to sex there is a double standard for women that says they cant do it to a certain exstent without being a slut. I dont like double standards. I like women who dont like double standards

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    19. I don't concern myself with double standards. It's right up there with caring about the ten commandments. There are always going to be rules that stem from fear that control has been forfeit.

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    20. right up my ally.

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    21. I'm attracted to people who are sexually repressed. It makes me want to peal them slowly. One layer at a time.

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    22. Interesting. So if someone pretended to be sexually repressed to take advantage of you would it upset you? Or would it just be apart of the game?

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    23. It wouldn't upset me at all. They would have to be convincing enough though. I hate a porn style performance. What would be their advantage though?

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    24. I guess they wouldn't really have one coming in as the submissive roll.

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    25. I mean, it depends on if what they are after is more than sex. Are they using this sub role to lure me into bed just to get close to me, so that they can execute something sinister? I'd like to believe I'd detect the predator in another. You'd have to be damn good at hiding your true nature.

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    26. Nothing diabolical, a little scratching... Some casual kama sutra style action... But what if his motives were to isolate you from you friends. How would you counter act that.

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  17. U R such a bad liar Raven.....

    I am an obvious liar. That's even more clever. What say you to that?

    ReplyDelete

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