This Forbes article, "What Vulnerability Looks Like to Psychopaths, Monks and the Rest of Us," makes an interesting comparison between sociopaths and Buddhist monks (apparently made in Kevin Dutton's book The Wisdom of Sociopaths), before veering off into stream of consciousness nonsense:
Ironically, both psychopaths and Tibetan monks detect deep emotions that are invisible to others. Psychopaths are much better at recognizing “those telltale signs in the gait of traumatized assault victims” notes The Wisdom of Psychopaths author, Kevin Dutton.
Tibetan monks, steeped in meditative practice, are also especially adept at reading feelings that are hidden from the rest of us, Paul Ekman discovered. Ekman, is the preeminent expert on lying and on the six universally expressed emotions in the face — anger, sadness, happiness, fear, disgust and surprise. Scarily, psychopaths score especially high on the Hare Self-Report Scale of psychopathy in seeing those core expressions, especially the ones that make us most vulnerable, fear and sadness, according to Sabrina Demetrioff.
Not to get overly aspie anal about semantics, but I don't know how it is ironic that both psychopaths and Tibetan monks detect deep emotions invisible to others? I have made the connection before to a psychopath's detachment and a buddhist's detachment.
Unlike our common impression of psychopaths as dangerous serial killers, and some are, others use their high-performing capacity to remain calm in stressful times to conduct surgery, lead soldiers or become sought-after CEOs. After all, as Dutton suggests, if you’re having brain surgery, wouldn’t you want someone who is not distracted by feelings and completely in control and concentrating on the operation? If your life were in danger on the battlefield, wouldn’t you want someone who could coolly survey the situation and deeply recognize others’ reactions, to determine the best way to rescue you?
Psychopaths adept detection of vulnerability is one of their most potent skills.
At which point the article contrasts Brene Brown's work on shame, and how one need only embrace their vulnerability and let go in order to be more courageous and connect better with others. Of course sociopaths are also shameless, but in a bad way that is different than when empaths acquire a lack of shame? It's not clear, but the article seems to suggest that lack of shame can lead to two very different result: extremely prosocial behavior and extremely antisocial behavior. I agree with that, particularly to the extent that feelings of shame seem to mitigate any extremes in behavior. But I disagree about the implicit distinction that it is psychopaths who would be doing all of the antisocial behavior and that shameless empaths are harmlessly prosocial. It's just odd to see an article come so close to drawing exact parallels between psychopaths and monks, and psychopaths and the empowered shameless empath, and then just sort of assume that monks, empaths, and psychopaths are not the same at all, for some undisclosed reason.