Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Altruism, cruelty, and sociopathy

I have been thinking recently about whether lack of altruism is a sociopathic, but not necessarily sociopath-specific trait. I have also been thinking about whether, if altruism is the result of an excessive amount of empathy, is cruelty necessarily the result of too little empathy?

A reader recently wrote questioning whether he could meet the diagnostic criteria for ASPD (Asperger's). After listing the behaviors that he considered sociopathic, he equivocated:
Then again, I do care about my friends and all. I'm not a hundred percent sure, but I think I feel a little bad when I walk over someone's heart. And I never walk over someone with the sole intention of hurting them. So I am definitely not a sociopath. Yet, if your blog is anything to go by, then I can't be too far from being a sociopath (a mild sociopath, of course).
My response:
Yeah, I was just going to say, not all sociopaths are out there hurting people just to hurt them. What does that even mean? That you gain pleasure from their pain? I never hurt people to watch them suffer. I do it for my own purposes, to get in a better position, etc. I feel like a good analogy is the stock market. When you short trade stocks you are basically doing a wealth transfer from you to whomever you are buying low from and selling high to. It seems like you would have to be a sociopath to engage in that sort of business, no? But people do it all the time. They just probably don't like to admit that that is what they are doing. Same thing in the emotional/social realm. You make alliances, you may consider certain people "on your team," in a way of self-insuring should disaster strike. But people who are not on your team are people who will either gain from your loss or vice versa. That's just the way of things in this mostly zero sum game.
Is my worldview cruel? Does seeing the bulk, if not the entirety, of human relations as a zero sum game part of what makes me a sociopath? Or am I just seeing the world clearly?



    Say what? M.E., you don’t gain immense pleasure from making other people suffer? What kind of sociopath are you? :)

    that's just the way of things in this mostly zero sum game… is my worldview cruel… or am i just seeing the world clearly?

    I’m going to go with ‘seeing the world more clearly’ for the win!

    Seriously though, I don’t think that all human relationship interactions are zero sum games, which is why I highlighted the mostly part. But sometimes, yes, one person has to win while the other loses, in one way or the other, especially in social circumstances where people aren’t always consciously aware of the win/lose dynamic. That’s why strategic alliances (human relationships) are important. Or to echo you, does the way I phrased the issue reveal a less than normal mindset to begin with? Eh, who cares?

    1. "Who cares." Expand. Why not care.

    2. Expand? On a 2009 post? lol

    3. Daniel Birdick, it is endearing that you even say "Sarcasm Alert." You hooked me right off. Well done!

  2. I believe, that people live by good and evil whether consciously or not and apply this to all things and acts
    I have many theories on all these question i hear asked throughout the blog. I like to think in numbers. so i will say to give a number to all people and things, both positive and negative between 1-99, imagine these numbers (at intense speeds) colliding with each other in binary mathematic equations one and another, by one and another. and the difference of these numbers (before and after equation) is left to each number as some form of imprint that will inflict change .this is how i see things. . . because you are a zero when 1-99 come at you to form an equation, the equation may almost appear useless
    2+0= 2
    2*0= 0

    as far as the cruel thing goes i will refer back to my number thinking and say it depends on the formula. you have the choice to "be cruel" to people. your views may not be in your full control if thats the case you would be a victim of your views (making you weak).
    we are all part of the "big picture", so ultimitly we are victims of the "big picture". only when we see the big picture(and the bigger we see it the better)can we no longer be the victims, but the victors able to use the victims to push the big picture ( our picture ) in a direction of our choosing.

    *the key diference between the numbers and the 0 is that a number is always affected and a zero never changes but may have much depth to it worth exploring

  3. i see you daniel, i see you clearly...lol

    no, but i'm with you on the term 'strategic alliances' since i've only ever developed a 'relationship' to further my own self. by doing so i have two things, a closer grasp on my goal and someone that can help me attain it down the road.

    --daft's real killer (shovel in hand, body in trunk)

  4. What if you do enjoy seeing others suffer? Is this necessarily zero-sum?

    Many people 'enjoy' being subordinated, humiliated and abused. Is it wrong to indulge them? Or am I expected to save them from themselves?

    There's always tension between competition and cooperation between people. Everyone is a predator some of the time.

    But there's also a great deal of complicity and cooperation on the part of supposed victims. And the emotional intensity and satisfaction they take in being used by other people . . . is this really cruel?

    Sometimes you've got to be cruel to be kind :)

  5. aww harry...

  6. I think a majority of the world act as a sort of zero sum, especially in the realm of economics. Capitalism in general seems to be an exaggeration of this zero sum. There are always going to be the haves and the have-nots because Bill Gates could not have amassed his fortune without the blood, sweat and tears of some dollar a day laborer in Africa. If anything normal people love to delude themselves into thinking their lifestyle has nothing to do with the poverty of others, when they are the root of it. Similarly they love to delude themselves that their friendships and romances are more than just a social transaction. Perhaps people lacking empathy simply see this connection better than most?

    I once encountered someone on a forum who said that sociopaths formed human relations on the basest of levels. They had the same motivations as empaths but weren't deluded by things like emotional attachments. They formed relationships to entertain themselves, better their own status, and stave off loneliness. Aren't these the main motivations for all relationships, sociopathic or not?

    1. Your second paragraph is true about sociopaths. The outlined motivations serve them well.

    2. I know Dr.Fell is long gone, but I like "If anything normal people love to delude themselves into thinking their lifestyle has nothing to do with the poverty of others, when they are the root of it. Similarly they love to delude themselves that their friendships and romances are more than just a social transaction. Perhaps people lacking empathy simply see this connection better than most?"

      Life and social interaction are only what you make them, nothing more. Everything is all about perspective. When you find your "soulmate" it is not magic, just a mesh of compatible opinions, desires and interests. Everyone talks about the lonely existence of sociopaths, and some even pity them that they will never find "true love". Maybe some just don't need that?

  7. What 'is' so funny about "Peace, Love and Understanding"?

    Perhaps that all three are both impossible and somehow kind of boring.

    1. Are peace, love and understanding boring or appears to be because of its challenge to be fully experienced by a socio.

    2. If it were a challenge worthy of taking on, it would not be boring.

  8. Fell said: "Capitalism in general seems to be an exaggeration of this zero sum."

    You're not very bright. "Zero Sum" means 'all or nothing' -- capitialism skews the rewards accross a very steep curve, but everyone who participates in transactions gains. If they didn't people would drop out and capitalism would not exist.

    Feudalism is closer to 'zero sum'.

  9. My understanding of zero sum was that the successes of one party roughly equal the losses of the other. You're correct in that Feudalism is closer to this definition but luckily we do not live in a Feudalistic society and I was simply using the example of capitalism to illustrate a point. In the same ways those with ASPD exploit others in relationships, those of fortunate economic status take advantage of others born into poverty. I think the difference is some see the connection between others misfortune and their own successes and some do not.

  10. Zero sum means total success vs. total failure.

    I don't see how it's possible to take advantage of someone 'born into poverty' by employing them or trading with them. Since the alternative is 'no economic development' it hardly seems 'zero sum' to pay them of anything of value they can provide.

    Many of the economies emerging as global powers and financial centers are in this position precisely because they were 'exploited' by capitalism for cheap labor, agricultural products, and natural resources -- China, Brazil, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea . . .

    Jesus Motherfucking Christ . . . you don't have to be a sociopath to understand economics or history.

  11. Daniel Birdick is back! Hurrah!

  12. Your definition of "zero sum" is wrong.
    of or denoting a system in which the sum of the gains equals the sum of the losses: a zero-sum economy.

    Nothing is mentioned of absolutes, but it is beside the point to argue semantics.

    Companies employ people from these countries because they know they can pay them a fraction of what an American worker would work for. They set up manufacturing centers in these countries because there are often limited laws protecting the worker and the environment ad that makes for awesome business. They are able to make cheap products to sell for a substantial profit. The lifestyle of people in the developed world rides on this system of cheap labor and environmental irresponsibility. Companies know the poor are willing to work long hours for whatever pay they can get however they can get it. How exactly is this not exploitation?

    And I never stated I was a sociopath.

  13. Right, it is your concious that is confusing you.

    And I'm still correct on Zero Sum -- when companies open factories in the third world they are investing in the future of these communities. The net gain of the 'exploited' is extraordinary over time. This is a difficult path to future prosperity -- the sprawling 1st world metropolises all over SE Asia began as adjacent hovels and sweatshops.

    The wages these workers are paid must be preferable to their domestic alternatives or the factories would close.

    The $1 day third world manufacturing jobs provide stability and economic development . . . what's better, subsistance farming, prostitution, cholera and starvation? The people who live in these countries are voting with their backs and going to work.

    You would rather see a generation of children starve or become whores before they stitch together my Nike Waffle Racers?

  14. Father Dearest said, "Daniel Birdick is back! Hurrah!"

    LOL. What's up man? How the hell are ya? You out of the 'facility' yet?

    1. I just realized I am responding to a three-year-old blog! Comments from 2009, my birthday. To coin the kids' phrase, WTF?????? I should have noticed earlier. M.E...stop!!! Or GO sincerely. Fuckin' psychopath.
      Love it.

  15. "I never hurt people to watch them suffer, i do it for my own purposes."

    Most people who live in society are at some point taught or they come to realise that there are consequences to their actions beyond those related just to themselves. A sociopath would know this. Essentially they are CHOOSING to hurt someone for their benefit (whether they 'feel' like watching or not).

    Bravo for this blog. It truly puts a nice spin on sociopathology. But how much of it can be believed, especially the sentiments given that sociopaths have a tendency towards lying and manipulation for their own ends. And having read some of the comments, sociopaths are right, there are a lot of suckers out there.

    1. Oh, Monkey, just enjoy yourself. Be Plastic and let yourself meld to the tone of ...this. It can be very interesting to just let yourself watch and listen and be your truly sociopathic/narcissistic/borderline or just plain REAL FOLKS self once in a while. Although, since you're dealing with a sordid crowd, maybe a bit of discretion is in order. I'd trust sssssnake and Daniel Birdick if I were you, but please listen to your heart first. :)

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  18. Replies
    1. You are first indeed cause all of these guys before you aren't worth mentioning. Seriously? Sunglasses? On christmas? Sheesh

    2. You are first indeed cause all of these guys before you aren't worth mentioning. Seriously? Sunglasses? On christmas? Sheesh

    3. I'll take the Alprazolam (xanax) for christmas ;)

    4. Yay Rich. That's the way to do it!

    5. Try smashing it into a spoon and then inject it into your vein. I heard it's the shit!

    6. LOL! Iam not really into needles anymore, unless Iam injecting a little testosterone (not into a vein, into a muscle, god you should see the needle, Its an inch and a half long!!!!) when I start feeling sluggish or wanna lose weight rapidly.

      I prefer my xanax orally :)

    7. Why do you have to take a xanax on Christmas?

    8. Watch the xanax - some become paranoid and housebound.

    9. I take a xanax every day. For Panic Disorder/Agoraphobia.

      Iam housebound WITHOUT the xanax, the xanax helps me leave the house from my Agoraphobia. Iam not paranoid though and I used to smoke ALOT of weed with the xanax everyday so I guess Iam relatively immune from paranoia.

    10. LOL that question made me laugh

      "Why do you have to take a xanax on christmas?" LOL

      Today I only took a half of one and usually I take a whole one, Iam gonna try to start switching off. Like one day take a whole pill, next day a half, next day a whole, and so on, Iam trying to cut back from 3 xanax a day (6mg's a day, now Iam on 2mgs a day but I only took 1mg today)

  19. I think altruism would require a complete sacrifice of the self, therefore, impossible. Someone would have to derive no pleasure and have no overlying or underlying motivation to attain it, which in itself would stop most people from even bothering, thus, it's paradoxical.

    Humans by nature only bond to a small circle of people. It's part of our tribe mentality. You often hear from the children of people who act as altruists/activists to the disenfranchised, that they're neglectful/absent parents. There's always a balance to the equation. If you're going to dedicate yourself with acts of good, you can either help the close few, or the many strangers. You won't have the time or the energy for both.

    1. "I think altruism would require a complete sacrifice of the self, therefore, impossible. Someone would have to derive no pleasure and have no overlying or underlying motivation to attain it, which in itself would stop most people from even bothering, thus, it's paradoxical"

      This is the Bodhisattva you speak of, TNP.

    2. No, it's not, you fucking wanker. That's being a robot, not enlightened.

    3. Tomato, tomato...

      And who you calling a wanker you putz?

    4. Religious bullshit versus a robot is not to-mae-toe to-mah-toe. Go peddle your religious bullshit to your dearest Moo. She makes a hefty profit being a charlatan too.

    5. Wow... talk about preachy. What you described could just as easily been taken as a story from a budhhist myth. You're the one who somehow likens Human behavior to that of robots. That is an impossible, my friend.

      The possibilty for some one to be so awakened is no different than the possibilty of someone being so closed-off; we see those fellas here.

      Religion? Whatever... try the philisophical asspect I may have been trying to discuss rather than the dogmatic structure your head went to immediately.

      Do you feel God has let you down, TNP? You are quick to Poo Poo on religions. Is that becasue you hate them? I find them to be just like any other mind altering substance.

    6. TNP
      How does she profit from her schemes?

    7. She's a fucking Christian Psychic.

      Tom, do you really believe that? You want to believe it, but I doubt you're dumb enough to actually consider it a reality.

      We act because we have some kind of motivation to do so. If there was no motivation, there would be no action.

      Bam. There goes your "philosophy".

      Wake the fuck up.

    8. TNP
      "A Christian Psychic?"

      Only to the unintelligent

    9. No, that's actually her profession, as claimed by her.

      All three of you can fuck off in the magical land of fairies and bearded deities, and fat "enlightened" men. Your budha is a lie. Your christ is a lie. You just tell yourselves lies to feel better about your existence - some hope or goal that if you get your ducks in a row and do what some pathetic old fuck concocted, the magical space butterflies will herald you into their eternal realm of happiness and knowledge.

      It's not that I don't get why you take comfort in it. It's just sad that you need it as a coping mechanism.

    10. Totally Not a Protestant,

      The Bodhisattva is motivated... what is his motivation T?

      Do I believe what? The possibility for something you find foriegn to exist? I think nearly anything is possible, TNP. Probable is another word althogether. BAM!

      And for the record... I am an atheist TNP. Buddhism is something I studied in my past. The philisophical value has not been lost, nor the philisophical values of Christianity or any other religion I may have studied.

      And I will fuck off... I'm doing it now as I imagine you getting raped by a laughing budhha as Jesus does a bong hit and waits his turn.

      GFY, TNP.

    11. And what say you T?

    12. TNP, stop being mean to Monica...... What has she done to you to deserve that hate of yours?

    13. LMAO @ Virus @ 10:19!!!!!!!


    14. I don't pay attention to TNP. Rich! Thank you for caring. Mwaaaah

    15. :) No Problem Monica, Ive got your back ;)

    16. okay genius what isn't a coping mechanism?

    17. there is coping mechanism and there is crutch, and nothing in-between. you can pretty much make a crutch out of anything.

    18. Aww Rich. That means so much! I got your back, too! <3

    19. You think of deities getting fucked up and having sex with me? You're a weird one, Virus. Apparently I won't have to go fuck myself, as buddha and jesus will be busy with me.

      Rich, Monica, you two are fucking pathetic. You got your backs? Lol, are you afraid I'm going to take your lunch money? Grown children.

    20. TNP
      You are just jealous you are not in our little group. Want to join :D

  20. :) Good Morning to all at Sociopathworld!!!!!!!


  21. What I like about SW is that it is an oasis of truth in a world of BS. My world was BS and I could not see what was truth and what was lies. That is what makes one mentally ill, imo.

    1. Nice... I'm trying to sort out the truths from the decades of lies myself, sister.

      How you doing with your new found vision?

    2. Well she found the truth she was looking for, just hasn't figured out what to do with it yet :)

  22. Replies
    1. Getting to the truth is just part of the work to be done... figuring out what to do with it, I can see where this will require some effort too. But should be fun;-]

  23. Is my worldview cruel?

    It ain't cuddly.
    Does seeing the bulk, if not the entirety, of human relations as a zero sum game part of what makes me a sociopath?

    Prolly. It probably makes me one too. Who cares though?
    Or am I just seeing the world clearly?


    I like this post because I was thinking about this today. How odd and exhilarating it is to be ruthless. And how good I am at reacting not out of inward compulsions but out of a desire for myself to have a desired effect on whatever's around me. I lie effortlessly and often and I find it hard to imagine everyone isn't doing the same.

  24. Is my worldview cruel? Does seeing the bulk, if not the entirety, of human relations as a zero sum game part of what makes me a sociopath? Or am I just seeing the world clearly?

    No but it makes you delusional unless you value whatever you get from having the relationships as an equal sum of what you give in order to simply have them in the first place, even if you are just going through the motions

    1. what if you clearly value those relationships and keep them like you water plants? They flourish because you put attention on them.

      And what if your door is open-door like Monica's (revolving)and you dont care what side of the glass you're on because you went all "it's all good, god willed it, i am a buddha with no needs, i am existentialist, who cares why we are here, it's fine if this relationship withers, it is what it is, I'm living with my here and now outlook and i dont make relationship decisions unless i am put in a corner.. "

      Does this attitude mean you do not value a relationship?

    2. "..you value whatever you get from having the relationships as an equal sum of what you give in order to simply have them in the first place, even if you are just going through the motions.."

      This can be a sociopathic attitude?

    3. I value relationships a lot, but I see myself as a conduit for God, most of all. We are going to lose everyone and our own lives, eventually, so make a difference for God while you are here.

    4. a conduit for god? Do you feel separate from regular people?

    5. No, I feel more connected to other people, as everyone is supposed to be a conduit to God. We are supposed to be connected to Him. People will, always, let you down. There is no freedom in needing people too much, as they will hurt you, and you will hurt them. It is the nature of it. God is, always, there. He, always, thinks you have value. He died for you--each person, even the one that society values the least like the handicapped, unattractive, poor etc. True freedom is found in Him.

    6. There is no freedom in needing people too much, as they will hurt you, and you will hurt them. It is the nature of it.

      this is strict. Do you ever crave to need people?

    7. Yes, I, always, crave to need people. I am telling you my philosophy, which I can hold onto when things go whacky, as they always seem to do with whacky humans, including myself.

  25. Replies
    1. Oh yeah... I forgot about this. The last time you put it up, I was using my android, and when I clicked on it, it wouldn't load the video.

      Thanks. It's lovely.

    2. I didn't see it if it was posted before. Very nice, thanks, Themes.

  26. You are welcome. I had a feeling you did not see it, so I put it up again.

  27. I love writhing among flowy, poisonous beings. We're all poisoning each other, you know...

    1. ..or draining the poison well dry :)

    2. zoe pleae explain this joke. you want people to have no poison? You want peace among the users and the usees?

      What is your goal here? Are you searching to know things or are you just saying how you operate so others can accept themselves. I like you.

      I don't understand when sometimes you say "tell us how a normal person is out for themselves" like your house contractor.

      and then another day you will point out the sneaky free-loading narcissist.

      But you are sociopathic, yes? Just a weensy bit?

      Do people say you are confusing ?

    3. Zoe has a spine.

  28. Empaths get to poison each other with their thoughts and feelings all the time...

    Why cant we?!?!


  29. Up From the Sofa

    Most people vomit AFTER they kill someone. Rich vomited before. After he lifted his head up from the effort of retching, he plunged his long, thin, perfectly shaped, top grade, stainless steel knife into Bluebirds chest.
    After the first attack, Bluebird looked like the dog he had seen die on the street when the tractor trailer ran over it. Is there no mercy in this ungodly world, the dogs eyes said. Blue birds eyes said the same thing, as she let out a wail that seemed to pierce all the way back to the dog on the street. Then, Rich pulled out the knife and plunged it in, again and again. Rich told that rat bastard that he would join the dog and Bluebird. Rich would hunt him down for all the times he abused Rich for his selfish purposes, which were immense, and never ending until his mother kicked him out,for good. Rich knew how to kill, now, and Dad was next.

    1. why would rich tell his rat bastard father he is going to kill himself?? Sofa, Rich is going to commit suicide??

    2. No, No
      Rich's rage was taken out on BB.

  30. Rich killed in such a way that it would be called a hard kill, a revenge kill. When the boyfriend(of sorts) and the room mate( betraying whore) found BB's body, it was many hour later and it was not pretty. It was the worst thing they had ever seen( or would see for the rest of their days)

    The police came. They zippered BB into a large white bag. Her gay father was called. He was in the midst of things, of which we will not speak, here. BB looked down on her mother because BB fancied herself more sophisticated and urbane. The death of that relationship had happened much earlier.

    The police called Monica and asked if she knew anything that could have led up to this. Rich came to work, as usual. His youthful good looks had been replaced with a pallor that was reminiscent of a cancer patient whose liver was starting to go. Edvard observed all things, but was silent.

  31. Elicit lived in a world of eat or be eaten. She didn't chose it, but she would make the most of it. That included being the top dog, or a fucking high up one, at any rate. She learned to be the leader of any group in which she found herself, by sheer tensile strength, such that most people would move over and let her pass as she drove a Ferrari to their Fords. If she had to strong arm, she would, but preferred mental tactics. Most things could be accomplished by psychological warfare and at this, she was a genius. You are born with it, or not, and she was. If she had a chink in her armor, it was a desire to love someone, as in a one and only. If she trusted the wrong person, she could see all her hard work come tumbling down. That was her dilemma, as she sat sipping red table wine with Raven, who had much the same history, herself.

    1. Damn. You are really starting to show your writing talent now. I can also see how paying close attention to every regular who comes here, is paying off in your character descriptions.

      Well done.

    2. Those words made my day, Raven. Thank you!

  32. M.E was a sensitive child. He was a musician, a reader and had a wonderful imagination. One cannot be a flower on a sidewalk in Harlem anymore than one can be a child in the home of a malignant narcissist father and retain one's essential being. Something had to give and something did. At first, his fathers abrasive cruelty hurt terribly. Then, it hurt less. Then, it hurt even less, until it did not hurt at all. When that happened, it was a relief of immense proportions, as if a loud, clanging noise that never stopped, stopped finally. One could hear. One could breathe. One could relax, as one was not, constantly, reacting against a noxious stimuli. However, at one point when M.E tested the silence, as one feels for a loose tooth, he realized he could not feel anything, except a white noise, such as one gets one one meditates and says "Ohhhmmmm"

  33. Seems all jews turn to asian beliefs and budism for inner peace. Most are cold void sociopaths.


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