Saturday, April 13, 2013

Why we need psychopaths (part 4)

Last one, the distinction between morality and laws:

The psychological explanation that separates the group of respected professionals from the sadistic psychopaths lies in the existence of a conscience. The explanation of a conscience varies greatly but, in general, it is regarded as a built-in moral judgment that distinguishes right from wrong. When a person does something that violates their moral code, the conscience activates feelings of guilt and shame to alert them of this breach in ethics. Social norms require expressed remorse for the infraction, which often includes making restitution. Problems arise because morality is relative to individual societies, cultures and people. In other words, what is considered wrong by one individual may be encouraged and celebrated by another. To regulate the conduct of people in a society, written rules, with corresponding punishments, are put into place. The end result is that laws can be imposed but morality cannot. It stands to reason that if morality cannot be forcibly applied to a person, then the existence of a conscience should be irrelevant because “right” and “wrong” are subjective. As long as an individual respects the laws they are governed by, what difference does it make how one feels when they commit an offense? Furthermore, if they do feel bad is it because they harmed someone, or only because they got caught? The focus then is primarily on the emotional aspect while the behavior itself is secondary. This completely contradicts the way business, medical professionals and military troops operate in that their behaviors in the field are more important than the emotion behind it.

Although there is a distinction between morals and laws, the importance society places upon morality is best illustrated in a courtroom. When a criminal expresses remorse for their crime they are often given a lesser punishment. Conversely if a criminal shows pride in their deviance they face the harshest of consequences and are the subject of the judge’s contempt. Essentially, it is throwing the book (of laws) at their bad behavior (immorality). The punishment generally corresponds with the degree of decidedly bad behavior. Morality is measured in a court of law by the intention that spurs the action in question. A psychopath would be considered amoral, because they are unaware of, or indifferent toward, moral principles. Is a psychopath incompetent to stand trial because they cannot empathize with their victims? Ignorance of the law is no excuse but judging a person’s morality when they don’t have the ability to form it is akin to punishing a blind man for not having the ability to see. It comes back to the question of a conscience. Is it responsible for using emotions such as empathy and guilt to direct behavior or does one’s pattern of behavior indicate the existence of a conscience? Perhaps behavior operates independently of a conscience. Further, the absence of a conscience may not be as significant as it appears to be.

Not being guided by a ‘moral compass’ means that judgments of good vs. bad and rights vs. wrong are determined using a different mechanism. Psychopaths know the difference between right and wrong because they understand cause and effect. While such a simplistic method of decision-making leaves plenty of room for error, it also explains why they are sometimes unaware of the trouble they cause or outright do not care. If they choose to do what social norms and laws determine to be “good” and someone is unintentionally hurt in the process who assumes the burden of guilt? Their intention was good, indicating morality in that they chose to follow socially acceptable rules, but the behavior violated another person’s moral code and no remorse is being expressed on cue. It is in this space that the mask of sanity begins to slip and people are often shockingly aware that this person possesses very little real emotion. The psychopath, however, feels no guilt or empathy by default and can’t understand why the other person is so upset. There is no “guilty conscience” giving them a clue and they are displaying the symptom of being “indifferent to social norms” while most likely presenting as ‘cold-hearted.’ Why should a psychopath fake emotion just to appease the other person? His behavior is within the framework of the laws but his emotion is not fueling the behavior. They do not see a need for emotion to be involved so pervasively in life and regular people cannot fathom how it is possible to function without emotional connections to other people. Psychopaths seem to intellectually understand that losing a close friend brings about pain which leads to crying as a way to release overwhelming emotion in normal people. But to cry because your feelings were hurt is a foreign concept. Therefore, the psychopath sees no logical reason for either party to display emotion in this situation; rather, his good intentions and avoidance of malice are enough to justify his action. Just because it did not go according to plan does not make him responsible for the other person’s feelings. Furthermore, the slighted person doesn’t deserve an apology because it is they who are handicapped by irrational emotions.

It is here in this moral collide that the true function of psychopaths comes to light. Here we have Conflict Theory in that the powerful seek to impose constraints on their subordinates in order to retain control. The psychopath, seeing themselves as superior because they are not weakened by senseless emotions, seeks to impose laws that make logical sense. The non-psychopath, seeing themselves as more fully human because they possess a conscience, seeks to compel the psychopath with their admirable morality. Emile Durkheim’s (1893) theory on deviance comes to life as the parties war over what is “right” and “good.” The moral party will defend their principles and encourage other like-minded people to join together and build strength in numbers. The psychopath sees unrestrained emotion, which is confusing and frightening thereby perceiving a threat. The proceeding deregulation serves as Durkheim’s (1893) definition of anomie.

To label a person “bad” is a disservice to their inherent qualities that are necessary to sustain the delicate balance in which we exist. Psychopaths do not wish to possess the incomprehensible idea of a conscience but they are sorely aware something is missing. Normal people would not give up their ability to connect with others in a way only empathy can achieve, but in the midst of emotional or psychological trauma the temptation to trade morality for “an unburdened mind” is tremendous. As to which side came out the winner, the answer is decidedly both. They lost the battle but won the war. For that reason, psychopaths are a necessary component of society because they offer a unique perspective unlike that of normally functioning personalities.

25 comments:

  1. Wrong.

    "psychopaths are a necessary component of society because they offer a unique perspective unlike that of normally functioning personalities."

    Smart people, just people, logical people, even aspires, can offer that perspective as well.

    Banana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not exactly. With 'normally functioning personalities' a degree of emotion and feeling enters into every aspect of life. As one of these people, have you ever tried to make an emotional decision based soley on logic? The two are exclusive. Having empathy isn't like turning on a tap, it's either there or it isn't, you either feel it, in whatever degree or context, or you don't.

      Delete
  2. AnonymousApril 12, 2013 at 1:18 AM
    then leave your house maybe? take a walk?


    AnonymousApril 12, 2013 at 3:24 AM
    Ha! That's exactly what I did. Went to the beach for a walk :)


    feels good, doesn't it? makes you in a happier mood

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just saw this, my apologies for not replying sooner.

      Yes, being in nature usually puts me in a good mood. Relaxes me and alleviates the boredom if nothing else. I don't deal well with being confined indoors for too long.


      Delete
  3. next up why we need bankers, dictators and communism

    ReplyDelete
  4. This entire 'Empath' phenomenon is a load of utter bullocks, I don't understand how people are still using this crappy new-age term.

    Ignorant sods.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. don't wory it's only an excuse
      when push comes to shove everyone is selfish
      and there is no real difference between an empath and a sociopath

      Delete
    2. Anon 8:52
      "There is no real difference between an empath and a sociopath."

      Yes, there are differences, and one being that empaths have a filter on words spoken as sp do not. That is a BIG difference.

      Delete
    3. I frequently have no filter. It is called lack of impulse control and occurs in many personality disorders and mental illnesses. I often have a lack of impulse control and "filters" when speaking.

      I am bipolar 1.


      Banana

      Delete
    4. I am not a sociopath, or any of the other axis b personality disorders.

      Delete
    5. "Yes, there are differences, and one being that empaths have a filter on words spoken as sp do not. That is a BIG difference."

      Most of the time, sociopaths watch their words more than empaths. They have to, speaking their mind freely would not be socially accepted.

      Sociopaths have a filter on their words, empaths have a filter on their minds. And yes, it makes a big difference.

      Delete
    6. Empaths have a filter on their minds and speech.

      Delete
  5. "Sometimes I wonder if we're all just pretending. Just pretending to feel what we think we should, and reacting as we think we should"

    What do you think of this Tweet? I think it is right, to a large degree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree as well....like we've all just been conditioned.

      Delete
    2. Wish I had that self control, to simply choose to react the way I think I should.

      Delete
    3. i wish i had 2 dicks so i could fuck 2 girles at the same time

      Delete
  6. The angels inhabit your dreams with whisperings of what can be if you only let go of the familiar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How could you ever know what you see in a dream simply isn't a construct of your own thoughts, beliefs, and ideas? If you just think about Angels in a repetitious enough fashion, you're bound to dream of them. With this in mind, you could dream up angels acting in any fashion of behavior, such as torturing you worse than "demons" have been portrayed capable of.

      The realm of dreams are simply the creative tangents following a somewhat active mind with an unconscious body. Whatever was on your mind as you slept, as well as any sounds just loud enough to catch your attention without stirring you, are what flavor the experience you'll have.

      Delete
  7. I'm very self-interested but I don't get this whole thing about it being great or more free not to have emotions.
    I find most of my emotions quite enjoyable. However, I am a logic-first person. I don't base decisions that matter on emotion. Thus I could even feel guilt but ignore it unless it's logical to do something about it.

    Is it possible to have emotions but lack a conscience? Or have a conscience only when it's convenient having it pop up when not convenient but quickly turning it away?

    ReplyDelete

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