Sunday, September 9, 2012

Exceptionalism

I was at a conference this weekend where the buzzword was exceptionalism.

I met this man who is well respected in my field.  It turns out that he had heard of my own work and had been promoting me to some of his colleagues.  We quickly became friends, spending much of one day and evening together, the activities gradually escalating in terms of personal intimacies shared and substances consumed.  As I saw his professional mask begin to drop around me I was suddenly struck with the thought, this man is like me.  I almost wanted to talk to him about it, at least feel him out about it.  But then I was struck with another thought -- this man does not believe he is like me.  If I started asking him about it, he would vehemently deny it.  He would be horrified to hear me describe my own thoughts on the matter.  I might be outted and shunned.

This second train of thoughts was triggered by one realization -- this man thinks that the concept of exceptionalism aptly applies to him.  The Wikipedia definition of exceptionalism is the perception that something is exceptional in some way and "thus does not need to conform to normal rules or general principles."  In the context of my conference, people would refer to things as being part of a particular group, but despite that inclusion, they warranted special treatment from other members of the group.  A quick and dirty example is a baby.  Let's say the general rule is that citizens of a country should carry their own weight.  Let's also say that babies are unable to carry their own weight because they're by their nature relatively helpless.  Exceptionalism would apply to that baby to excuse it from complying with that particular rule.

This guy's version of exceptionalism was more like the classic ubermensch mentality that (I have found) is still quite popular amongst people who consider themselves to be intellectuals.  Morality is for the bourgeoisie.  They do not need to actually adhere to those moral standards because they are exceptional.

When this man that I met was evidencing his clear lack of moral standards about things that I think are pretty clear, societally speaking, I got excited, thinking that I had met another someone like me.  On second thought, I realized that although he doesn't believe morals apply to him, he believes they apply to everyone else.

63 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. ttttttttt
      (hey my stutter is back)

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  2. You don't have to be a sociopath to be amoral. People with brains are more frequently amoral because they actually consider and question morality in the first place. The others just roll with what mummy, teacher or jesus told them it's ok to do.

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    1. You sound like a sociopath- your idea of morality is following the beliefs someone else instilled, and that's all you think it is. For you, morals are the same as other social norms or beliefs, something like how it's rude to put your elbows on the table or being gay is bad, or pay for the date if she's the girl and you're the guy. It's clear you don't really know what empathy is. You aren't an empath and your opinion can't amount to much.

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    2. Oh, plus the fact you think you can just decide not to have any morals and "logic" your way out (morals=illogical to you...)

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    3. Seriously? I have more brains than any empath I have yet to meet. The mass hypnosis is too thick to wipe from their winshield. Pretty weak when your playing with pawns! Even the bishops have been raped of their morality. It takes an army of cowards to lynch a Knight!

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    4. You have a very limited idea about morality, it would seem, which shows you perhaps don't question things deeply enough. Which doesn't make you "have more brains".

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  3. by now amoral is the standerd
    next up sociopaths becoming mainstream

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  4. Okay.. so that was a very dramatic way of explaining that you think he has no moral compass, with no detail as to why you think that, M.E. Thanks a bunch.

    By the way, no one is choosing to care about other people, you described it as if it was like some kind of superficial social norm people choose to follow.

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    1. I'm not sure if you're right without the details. You could be wrong. This might sound weird, but I think an empath would be better in telling who and who isn't an empath in this case (ohhh, can't a psychopath tell who a psychopath is better? I think not. Not in this case.)

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  5. Dear God... you clowns are having another debate about 'What is morality/et cetera?'

    TL;DR version:

    Sociopaths have no conscience, therefore, 'morals' adhered to are done so out of convenience.

    Sociopaths are not the only people who are amoral, and many people act immoral for effect.

    Some people act immoral or amoral because they see the ones they are breaking as hypocritical or archaic. (Example: Homosexuality)

    That's about it. Save your essays.

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    1. I don't think anyone is, TNP. Especially if you think that was the point of my posts. I have reason to believe you'd automatically find my posts annoying and dismiss them without fully reading them or knowing what i mean >.> I hope I'm wrong.

      That's my point anyway. I don't say that sociopaths have no conscience, I say that sociopaths have no empathy. That's the root cause. That's my point. They really shouldn't try to talk about what morals are, and just take my word for it.

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    2. I wasn't replying to anyone specifically. I was nipping something in the bud before it blossomed.

      I've been here long enough to lose count how many times people bring that shit up whenever morals are mentioned.

      Archive dive sometime, and you'll see.

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  6. One of the best written articles yet.

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    1. Medusa, Anyone
      I don't really understand the point. I don't mean to look or sound dumb, but I would like some clarification.
      Thanks!

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    2. It's commentary about the polarization of the 'normals' and the 'exceptionals'.

      It also touches on the fact that even when sociopathic people meet, they most likely wouldn't admit that they share the same side of the coin.

      It's advantageous to not accept people into the inner circle of exceptionalism, or your own dark mind, for fear of exposure.

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    3. The last paragraph is especially poignant.

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    4. The whole thing is à propos of the forum 'cool club' discussion.

      Apparently babies are IN.

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    5. It is nice to see you back TNP!

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    6. I didn't really like how I think it was a bunch of him writing paragraph after paragraph just to say that he think he's met another sociopath, and didn't even give details as to why.

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  7. Morality is a concept ingrained by society to set controls and limits on us. Ive never done what society demands. I do what i desire and prevent consequences by being highly intelligent. No witness no crime. We live in a do or die society. Do or die trying. We do it psychologically. Guilt and empathy i never felt. I hope your emotions help you survive. When the social structure collapses people like me hunt people like you for food. Just like the homo-sapiens did to the Neanderthal. Evolution will find a way.

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    1. So you're going to become a cannibal when the civilized world collapses? What kind of fantasy land do you live in?

      You're just a fat nerd with cheap samurai swords and a gas mask. Pause 'The Walking Dead', go outside, you know, into that world you'll be hunting people in, and get a tan. Maybe jog a bit. It's going to be hard for you to hunt people down when you can't catch them.

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    2. Given the need, almost all humans will become cannibals if they can't find enough to eat; history has shown us that this is the case many times in our past.

      Morals break down as civilization breaks down; they are merely artifically constructed walls for the powerful to control the weak, nothing more, and nothing less.

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    3. Spot on, Stasis.

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    4. You think some genius society of people ingrained morality into us to control us? And Stasis, that's hilarious. It frustrates me that none of you will ever know the truth. Morals are not brainwashing. Even people that come from totally psychopathic parents who never pretended to have morals would have them, if they were not a psychopath. Powerful people may fall to morals if they have them too. "Weak" people have benefited from the powerful having morals. You don't know what you're talking about, but you're so confident you do.

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    5. These conspiracy theories (as well as non conspiracy theories) are amusing, but very sad and frustrating. It must be pretty crazy and unsettling to have that view of the world.. Just accept that you don't know.

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    6. Even if some people do turn into cannibals from starving (which I don't think I'll do.. what kind of life is that? Having to go around killing people because there's nothing else to eat? That's a miserable life, I wouldn't have anybody... I'd rather starve or kill myself. I'd die from protein poisoning anyway.) it says nothing about morals or empathy. Of course some might decide to preserve themselves for longer and live. If anyone claimed empathy was all like THAT, there'd be way more dead people, etc.

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    7. A friend just said to me "What the fuck? They're thinking of ethics. xD Morals are inherent. Ethics are the morals impressed upon a culture."
      I told them that for you guys, there is no difference. That you can't understand that. He replied saying, "Well, they're brain damaged." I said, technically I guess. But brain damage is something that happens afterward. It's quite sad, either way.
      He says he can't imagine what it would be like being a psychopath and "D:" face, but I think he's kidding.
      Tag Y
      ~bookmarked for bakk

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    8. Morality is also found in nature in some species, so perhaps you should question it merely being "a concept ingrained by society to set controls and limits on us".

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  8. Morals break down as civilization breaks down; they are merely artifically constructed walls for the powerful to control the weak, nothing more, and nothing less.

    If one watches very small children, one finds the answer. Before they become greedy, children instinctively share. They feel compassion for anyone who appears distressed (scientific study proves this). And very importantly, one of the first things a child will say is: "That's not fair!"
    Their sense of morality is inborn, although very basic. Scientists theorize that these instincts toward morality are necessary to survival of the species.

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    1. Very true. Great point.

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    2. If you think about it, babies are the most selfish of all human individuals; they want whatever they want immediately, and have no concern for the needs of others.

      A reason why certain small children share is because they are imitative. They understand that adults are giving to them without taking anything in return, but they do not understand the reason why. They then imitate them because that is how a human being learns.

      Then of course, once they realise that sharing doesn't get you anything directly (they do not yet understand the concept of gratitude and improving one's own reputation), they turn back to the baser nature of humanity; that is to say getting what we want, no matter the cost. Society will then sociocilise these individuals into having whatever 'morals' society believes in at the time. For example, in ancient Sparta, children are encouraged to steal, but are punished if they are clumsy enough to be caught. Morals change over time, and are always changing.

      This is my view on morals; given that your mind operates differently, perhaps you see things from another point of view.

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  9. baby our big day is coming

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  10. Replies
    1. Monica, is that you trying to pick fun at me? What a follower you've turned out to be.

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    2. Monica follows no one, except she does have a crush on ME ~

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  11. Though familiarity may not breed contempt,it takes off the edge of admiration.
    William Hazlitt

    Familiarity breeds contempt.
    Mark Twain

    But I was remineded that;

    The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, "I was wrong."
    Sydney J. Harris

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  12. Replies
    1. Kroc
      Every time I look at you I get a fierce desire to be lonesome.
      Oscar Levant

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    2. If you take Oscar as a better pianist than comedian then I get your point... If you take Mr. Levant as a sullen comedic genius in hopes of displaying some avant garde sense of witticism like the minority-majority-mass-of-man-morphed-moral-multitude know as "popular fringe-dwellers"/"Soccer Mom's Too Cool For School Misfits" then I have no darn clue what you are trying to say. I don't get the masses...

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    3. Oscar was known for his brilliant one line statements but others were aware that for every pearl that came out - a pill went in. :)

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  13. No Tag, you wouldn't become a cannibal. You would suck-start a 12 gauge like every other chickenshit motherfucker who believes only they are capable of enlightenment.

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  14. This is from a how to article on Sociopaths that discusses some of their "exceptionalism":


    "Psychopaths/Sociopaths are the way they are because, from birth onward, the brain of a sociopath stores learning information in a random, chaotic way instead of in the usual designated places in the cerebral cortex.

    Part of this involves lack of crucial neurotransmitters, but as of yet no one knows whether this lack is caused BY the brain abnormality or is the cause OF it. It's probably the former. Another probable cause is the chronic under-arousal of the cerebral cortex of a true psychopath.

    Since their information -- including emotional information -- is scattered all over both brain hemispheres, it takes too long for the brain to retrieve and process information, and the entire process of socialization becomes so ponderous that ultimately it fails. (See the book "Without Conscience" by Robert Hare, PhD.)

    Since the entire cerebral cortex of a sociopath is almost never at a normal level of alertness (their waking brain waves resemble the waves of a normal person in a light sleep, alpha waves), this may be the crucial deficiency that cripples the developing child's ability to develop many aspects of the human mind. As the child grows, some of the basic mental and emotional skills the rest of the world takes so for granted never develop, and crucial among these is the thing called conscience. That one never develops at all.

    Some people may envy the apparent calm of a sociopath, but their existence is misery. They cannot connect with other human beings, and as babies they are so uncomfortable being held that they fight to wriggle free of all but the most basic necessary contact. Their heartbroken parents often blame themselves or the child, never knowing that what is really wrong with the child is in his or her brain.

    Under the almost somnolent calm sociopaths project is a constant sense of restlessness and lack of crucial fulfillment that is in truth nothing other than the basic need all people have to receive stimulation and support from others.

    But a sociopath has no way of receiving this even if it's offered. The endless frustration of this, and a discomfort that they are utterly incapable of articulating or even really understanding, is the source of much of their chronic anger and aggression.

    Plus, since they grow up in constant conflict with authority, they are most often bitterly angry and sometimes violent adults, brittle and combative under a thin veneer of charm.

    Offer friendship, they appear to respond, but quickly discover that they can get nothing from it; they see the obvious pleasure of other people in such contact with each other, and they often seek to "even it up" by stealing what they can -- material goods, or even human lives. They are constantly told how "bad" they are, and by adulthood, most of them believe it. And behave accordingly.

    Sociopaths rarely feel true happiness. If they do, it is usually in the condition that some kind of intervention -- such as one of the small number of medications made for other conditions that may also help somewhat with theirs -- has taken place, and it will be fleeting. For all their frantic racing around, they are really very dead inside, and this is tragic beyond description.

    There are stories of people diagnosed as sociopaths who did improve to some degree, with the most ceaseless and diligent help. But since the vast majority of this huge body of people (there are more than three hundred million sociopaths on Earth) cannot get that kind of attention, they turn to abusing those they envy, and often to crime. It is certainly vengeance: "If I can't have any of this, why should you?" This is the real reason sociopaths lash out at strong and kind people. No matter what they say, they know that inside, they are always empty and damaged beyond repair.

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    1. thank you for posting this

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  15. I am so upset. I don't know where to go. The Mal Narc thing is so upsetting to me that I keep obsessing over it. It is about being betrayed by someone I gave so much to ( the guy) just like my father.

    I give my heart, soul and guts to these people and then they throw me under the bus. The pain is so bad. I can't stop obsessing and thinking of what I am going to do( or not do)

    I can't stop obsessing.

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    1. "Narcissists will go after attention by claiming they are victims. They will take negative or positive attention. Pathetic but true."

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    2. If you are obsessing, it's probably best that you don't do anything at all, for now. Sit tight.

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    3. Yes, yes... actions based on emotions rarely turn out well. Level out your head, level out the playing field.

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    4. THANK YOU Medusa and Tom
      I managed to sit tight. Thank God. I have a lot to lose,if I blow. The Mal Narc wants me to blow.

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  16. Why wouldn't he turn on you? You'd turn on him.

    To a sociopath, another sociopath is competition. Every sociopathic act brings the normals one step closer to realizing the threat and eradicating it.

    There are evolutionary models of sociopathy suggesting that the incidence tends to hover between (IIRC) 1 to 5%. If too many sociopaths prey on a population, eventually the pitchforks and torches (and, more to the point, shotguns) come out.

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  17. Daima güncel tek film izleyebileceğiniz en iyi adrestesiniz.En iyi yerli filmlerin hd kalitede bulabileceğiniz ve türkçe dublaj film izleyerek keyifli zaman geçirebileceğiniz bir film sitesi üzerinde çalıştığımızı ve sizler için en iyi aksiyon filmleri izleyebileceğiniz güzel bir site yapmaya çalıştığımızı belirtmek isterim. Kaliteli animasyon filmleri izleyebileceğiniz ve en önemlisi tek part film izleyebileceğiniz bir sistem kurmanın gururunu yaşadığımızın bilincindeyiz. Keyifli zamanlar geçirmeniz dileğiyle.

    ReplyDelete

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