Friday, July 27, 2012

Famous sociopaths: Ayn Rand?

A reader sent me this selection from Ayn Rand, which he thinks seems to indicate a lack of human emotion:


Just as the pleasure-pain mechanism of man’s body is an automatic indicator of his body’s welfare or injury, a barometer of its basic alternative, life or death—so the emotional mechanism of man’s consciousness is geared to perform the same function, as a barometer that registers the same alternative by means of two basic emotions: joy or suffering. Emotions are the automatic results of man’s value judgments integrated by his subconscious; emotions are estimates of that which furthers man’s values or threatens them, that which is for him or against him—lightning calculators giving him the sum of his profit or loss.


But while the standard of value operating the physical pleasure-pain mechanism of man’s body is automatic and innate, determined by the nature of his body—the standard of value operating his emotional mechanism, is not. Since man has no automatic knowledge, he can have no automatic values; since he has no innate ideas, he can have no innate value judgments.


Man is born with an emotional mechanism, just as he is born with a cognitive mechanism; but, at birth,both are “tabula rasa.” It is man’s cognitive faculty, his mind, that determines the content of both. Man’s emotional mechanism is like an electronic computer, which his mind has to program—and the programming consists of the values his mind chooses.


But since the work of man’s mind is not automatic, his values, like all his premises, are the product either of his thinking or of his evasions: man chooses his values by a conscious process of thought—or accepts them by default, by subconscious associations, on faith, on someone’s authority, by some form of social osmosis or blind imitation. Emotions are produced by man’s premises, held consciously or subconsciously, explicitly or implicitly.

50 comments:

  1. Going of what Ayn Rand says: Man’s emotional mechanism is like an electronic computer, which his mind has to program—and the programming consists of the values his mind chooses __

    How is one meant to Unprogram this? Say they have found whatever they have put into their subconscious to be maladaptive to their conscious goals where do one begin to redact all of the inconsistencies?

    To speak plainly, I think I'm a narcicist with a deep envy of the sociopathic brain. I don't have many values but I want to wipe my mind of them all to become a blank actor.

    Maybe psychedelics are the answer. I hear to try shrooms is like taking the furniture in your apartment and removing it so you can truly size up the measurements of the rooms. Just another reason my oft put off psychedelic adventure will be advantageous to me. What do you guys think, of the shrooms and any non-drug methods of unprogramming and starting fresh.

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    1. Go get an 1/8th of shrooms, 2 tabs of LSD, and about 6 hits of ecstacy; take them all at once and then get back on this site to chat with us. We will guide you through the stripping of your mind.

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    2. "To speak plainly, I think I'm a narcicist with a deep envy of the sociopathic brain"

      the key word here is "think"

      In addition:

      "Just another reason my oft put off psychedelic adventure will be advantageous to me."

      Why put it off? Scared?

      I think you are just looking for attention, Seizure, and you probably wont get much here unless someone is bored and wants to tear you apart. My advice is take the drugs if you want, but it wont clean your slate and give you a fresh start. You may, however, have some fun. It seems you are in need of a good time. If you want to be more like a sociopath, you need to do what you want when you want. Now, be a good little teenager, drop some 'cid, and go play some video games.

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    3. Since I have no one else to respond to, I'll humor your response. I am certainly a narcissistic. Perhaps I'm not because I am not at all immune to self-evaluation and adaption. I am definitely narcissistic, in that I do not recognize anyone in this world other than myself. Even myself I am weakly loyal to, although I'll always act in my best interest, because he is the only person I hold dear right now. I have no empathy for others or myself.

      I've put off the psychedelics for my own reasons, mostly due to circumstances, set, and setting.

      Of course I'm looking for attention. I like it. Outside attention is me reflecting well on myself. That I could affect something positive just shows how great I'm being. Move and countermove. If I pushed the domino everything that happens after it is my doing. Especially if I set them up to begin with. ;-))

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    4. Well, you can never really know, and that’s the problem with hypothesis.. which is something everyone does, of course. And everyone tells themselves stories (interpretations) to best preserve their own position as “good”, “logical” etc. It’s what you’ve done here (I can state that, because it’s impossible to “know” what I was thinking) and these conclusions are wrong.
      The idea of creating domino effects, for example. There was no premeditation.. I’d have to have been able to see into the future for that theory to work! Think about it, it’s not actually a logical idea. For example, one of those comments was made because I felt a bit bad for the person (without specifying) because I’d stated a case to them the previous day and I then thought, “that person’s been getting a bit of a bad time on here - perhaps I’ll say something nice to them today”. It can be so easy to jump to conclusions about what someone else is thinking. And you know that mind reading is not a good thing to be getting into? (Guessing there, but I think you’ll know what I mean.)
      I have no problem with being exact with myself about what motives and intentions I have.. it’s actually as much as a weakness as a strength. People tell themselves stories to sugar the pill, as it were - it’s something I have a job doing, and I’ve even been pulled aside by perceptive friends and colleagues about it a few times in the past. I make no apology for standing up for myself though.

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    5. “Something I have a job doing” To clarify: job = I’d find that a hard task.

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  2. Hello Caesar (@ 1:28 am)

    Treatment without psychoactive substances? There are a number of views on this. Some would argue that psychodynamic therapy works well, as it is thought to create change at a deeper (emotional) level. It would be a tough option for narcissists, but if they could convince themselves that it would help (some do manage this), then it could have a great impact on how they view themselves, the world and other people. Hope that helps.

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  3. Empaths annoy me when they try to appeal to me with their emotions, or worse yet my own. It's a language I don't understand and the only response I know how to produce is anger that someone would put me in such an upsetting situation.

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    1. I agree with you. You seem to be a pretty cool addition to the place. Hope you'll stick around.

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    2. Oh stop it you.

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    3. Is it your lack of responses you know how to give that annoys you? Or just empaths all together?

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    4. It's not that I don't know the proper responses. Its just that I think I'm above having to perform them. I could cry or frown or just do whatever it is this particular person is trying to manipulate me into doing but that isn't me.

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    5. OK. But what is it that annoys you? Do you just feel bothered by daily interactions with all empaths running around? As if you're just above the hum-drum BS?

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    6. But an empath isn't trying to manipulate you into doing anything Caesar. Most likely he/she is just being honest about their feelings. Of course there are manipulative empaths but I think it's wrong to assume someone is trying to manipulate you just because they are appealing to you with their emotions

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    7. Empathic people try to manipulate. Societies, where people have consensus in language they use to label everything, including emotions, use language to manipulate their people. Empaths within a society want other people in their society who do not empathize to be like they are. People who feel reduce particular emotions to language to communicate and verify their attitudes are appropriate in situations. In a situation where a empathic person's attitude is at odds with the mainstream attitude of their society for a person in their situation, the empathic person is compelled to mitigate their behavior or their thoughts, and in the process, forget about their feelings. People who do not empathize maintain behavior or thoughts or feelings that set them apart from what is considered normal in their society because they can. Empaths want people who do not empathize to be like they are because they can.

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  4. Hi Caesar, (@3:48 am)

    This is why psychodynamic therapy is sometimes recommended. It is anything but a soft option where the therapist would be appealing to your emotions. In fact, the skilled and intelligent therapist would take a flexible and carefully (emotionally) gauged approach in order to help and challenge the client to explore and extend the possibilities of their emotional world - beyond that of self and anger.

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    1. You misunderstand. I don't want to get better. I want to get worse.

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    2. What does that mean? What would be a worse you?

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    3. I'm sorry for misunderstanding you. I find the notion of not wanting to get better quite difficult.

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  5. Ayn Rand and sociopathy have been intertwined for awhile. I don’t know if Rand ever even uttered the word much less wrote it down or even once thought of herself as psychopathic/sociopathic, but many described her and her philosophy as such. I think we need to ask ourselves the fundamental question of purpose and it’s role within the sociopathic behavior. If we deem that yes, sociopaths find purpose in fulfilling their self-encompassing needs then Rand’s Objectivism supports just that through ethical and rational egoism arguments. If we say that purpose is not necessary in the sociopath’s behavior, he/she just does whatever feels good at the time, then Ayn Rand’s argument of the rational purpose for one’s life to live happy and there by act in one’s own self interest starts to loses some substance as being a sociopathic philosophy and we might do better to look at the proponents of existential nihilism such as Sartre. I read Rand didn’t like being referred to as an anarchist either, but some have mentioned her to have given birth to that modern movement as well, or at least to have blown strong winds into the sails of the anarchists of the last half century.

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  6. I posted a much longer excerpt and lost it, so to summarize...
    There is no indication that Rand was a sociopath. She specified that she could kill to save her late husband, but would not kill to save herself. She also once in interview said that she would have died in his place if it had been possible. These things indicate to me attachments which ran far deeper than what the sociopath is capable of, not that he is unable to appreciate company and love in his own way.
    Ultimately, her philosophy would appeal to the competent sociopath because it focuses so much on reason and self-interest as opposed to empathy and duty and all which stems from it.
    In the end, it's possible that Rand lied, but I don't think we have enough evidence to pose the diagnosis. Objectivism does not promote a lack of remorse, Objectivists simply feel remorse in response to different stimuli because their system of morality is different from most.
    S

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  7. Going by what I've learned here, I don't think Rand is a sociopath. She argues against seeking power because requiring power over others implies that you need them and cannot be a whole individual without others to rest on. Similarly, accomplishments built on the successes or failures of others aren't really accomplishments because as an individual, you've achieved nothing. The sociopaths I've met here don't seem to be particularly interested in hardcore individualism, it's counter-intuitive to their demand for power, their reliance on, or lust to influence others. The villain in The Fountainhead was a sociopath and the antithesis to her antihero - he pretended to be a good guy for the sake of nurturing his own power over others. He required others innately, without necessarily caring about them.

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    1. In her work, empathy isn't necessarily a good indicator of sociopathy. Randian morals are based on a sense of strong personal integrity and justice, not out of caring, but out of perhaps a malformed logic.

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  8. I am doing better everyday, as I am writing this message, right now. My business is doing well, getting more succesful everyday. Thank you SW, I forgive you, you are mentally ill and I won't fight back, unprovoked. xx

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    1. ha ha ha ha I have a Blogger Account

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    2. Good for you, baby!

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    3. Fake blogger account Monica *roll eyes*

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    4. Are you guys having fun? I can't see how.

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    5. Then go somewhere else, yeah?

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    6. Sorry Caesar, I attacked you, unprovoked. You didn't deserve what I said. xx

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    7. It's all right, dear. I know you can't control yourself sometimes. Apology accepted.

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    8. Is this Monica? http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/36001_435373180959_6636146_n.jpg

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    9. That girl is not me. I just scooped up the cutest picture from FB for my avatar.

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    10. Monica help me please

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  9. http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/4871_112234330959_3727402_n.jpg

    Is this Monica and her children?

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  10. http://www.facebook.com/monica.whinnery

    whinnery, that name fits you perfectly, dear.

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  11. If I ever met Monica I would treat her with such kindness and respect. I would offer to help her in anyway possible. And when she turned around I would bash her head open with a tire-iron. So, sick of hearing about her good and bad fucking days.

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    1. Anon 2:17
      Explore why I bring that up for you. I am seeing that all people represent people from one's past. I have a Mal Narc lady who despises me. I learned One-Two punches from Eden and use them on her ( in retaliation, only)

      She hates everything about me, as it shines the light on her, somehow.
      With that being said, why do you have such a visceral reaction to me?

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    2. Caesar is .....................................Eden

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  12. I am a Rand fan..there are elements of sociopathy in her philosophy....her ideal is a person who cannot be influenced by anyone around..someone who just doesn't give a s***what anyone else thinks and will do what they want. If you really consider this such people are rare....who is not influenced by media, acquaintances,the world at large? who is so confident to feel that they "know" what is best and trusts their judgement above all others. THis is the beauty of a sociopath..this is why they can be so attractive to others because they are the man with the plan, the guy who needs no one, who doesn't care, who is confident, sure, aggressive, strong..strength is the most attractive quality in a human being....not empathy. which is why the nice guys always do finish last

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  13. Ayn Rand has a different weaker inside. After her novel Atlas Shrugged got bad reviews she locked her self in her room and cried, on a daily bases. She was very emotionally attached to her friends but still push them away because she didn't like emotional attachment. I think she is a sociopath want-to-be but not an actually sociopath.

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  16. Have you read her (the WORD, the TRUTH, the LIGHT)? Have you also read 'The Passion Of Ayn Rand' by Barbara Branden or seen the Showtime DVD starring fellow man-eater Helen Mirren? DO that!

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