i just read your book, and it made clear to me many things i have been considering for some time. i am not exactly sure why i am writing to you. well, that's not true. i am interested in your impressions. i hope you respond.
i am a trauma surgeon, and have been practicing for many years now. you mentioned another book in yours, in which it was stated that surgeons could be high-functioning sociopaths. i have read that book, and it struck a chord when i read it. i care nothing about the patients i treat. i treat disease entities, not people. i do it for the intellectual challenge, and for the high that i derive from having to make multiple instantaneous decisions that i must act on, that have life and death implications. i am good at what i do, and i think that part of the reason for that is that i do it dispassionately. and quite frankly, i dont care about the outcome, other than the fact that i do not want to be criticized at a morbidity and mortality conference.
i can do ungodly things to humans, and feel nothing. at the same time, i am incapable of harming animals. from my reading, that goes against the grain in regard to the usual descriptions of a sociopath.
outside of my professional life, i have never harmed anyone, but i could. i love knives, and have quite an interest in knife fighting. i occasionally carry one, and there is no question in my mind that i could use it with deadly effect, given the right circumstances. i live in the a metropolitan area, and occasionally ride the tube. i have thought on numerous occasions, while sitting in a car, that i am the most dangerous person in that car and no one has the remotest clue of that. to look at me, all anyone would see would be a quiet man, obviously athletic and physically strong, but from all other outward appearances minding his own business and a threat to no one. if they only knew.
please do not get the impression from this that i have the desire to harm anyone. i do not. i know that i could, however, and i derive strength from that. i know that you understand.
i am divorced, but am presently married to a woman i have been in a relationship with for many years. i do love her, and would not want to harm her in any way. that being said, i have had many, many sexual partners (in the hundreds) that she knows nothing about. many of them have been prostitutes, but many were not. over the past few years or so, i have had many adventures with transexuals. i am not attracted to men in the least. it is the very visible sexual excitement, characterized by the presence of an erection, that excites me. that cant be faked, and it is a real turn on for me, but only if the person looks like a woman. go figure.
i have a handful of children, all grown. i am not as close to them as i wish. i have one grand child.
i am a risk taker in other parts of my life as well. i have traded commodities for many years, and not very successfully. i have convinced myself many times that i have finally figured it out, only to be beaten once again by my own greed, and to once again have my trading account wiped out. i have no plans to stop. on a related issue, i do not like to gamble. i used to live and work in a resort/gambling mecca, and i never got the bug.
i have taken a couple of the sociopath tests for purposes of self-diagnosis, and i dont seem to qualify. after reading your book though, there isnt much doubt in my mind.
i am in a position of authority where i work, but am not and have never been a bully. i despise bullies. i have had quite a number of positions, and have had my contract not renewed on a couple of occasions, for reasons that quite frankly i could not understand. i was very good at what i did, and had the results to prove it. i was not good at playing the political game, however, and i think that was in large part for my downfall. i have had some of that in this new position too. i need this job, so i am trying to be more aware of what is going on around me.
someone once identified me as a very sick, and dangerous individual, capable of practically anything. over that time, i have never harmed anyone and have tried to live my life as best i could. i continued to pursue some of my "activities" but in every other way, was a respected member of society, and a loving companion and father.
i have always had questions about myself. your book as helped answer them. when i started this note to you, i had planned to ask you your impressions. i suppose i really do not need to do that anymore...i have answered my own questions. i dont feel bad though. i consider my sociopathy a strength. it has helped me to deal with some very difficult situations. it also affords me the security that i have other, perhaps less admirable strengths that i can draw on, should the need ever arise.