Sunday, June 2, 2013

Why we can't all be empaths

A lot of people think that the book and the blog argue that sociopaths are better than empaths. I make no such claim, I never have. But if people want me to justify my existence, I have some not-specious arguments about why we can be useful and an overall benefit to society. 

Even then, I acknowledge that the reason we work well are because there are so few of us, just like predators. If there were more sociopaths than there are already (maybe 25%), who knows, the world might be chaos. It would definitely throw our ecosystem off and certainly any competitive advantage that a sociopath has now would dwindle down to nothing.

So we can't all be sociopaths (or even have many more than we currently have), but we also can't all be empaths, at least not without throwing our ecosystem into a similar tailspin of chaos. Sociopaths within a society give that society an edge against other societies. And the very presence of sociopaths makes empaths behave in different, more robust and active ways that help propel a society forward instead of letting it stagnate or backslide. 

The NY Times provides an interesting economic analogy to this dynamic in "Why Can't America Be Sweden":

“We cannot all be like the Nordics,” Acemoglu declares, in a 2012 paper, “Choosing Your Own Capitalism in a Globalized World,” written with his colleagues James A. Robinson, a professor of government at Harvard, and Thierry Verdier, scientific director of the Paris School of Economics.

If the “cutthroat leader” – the United States — were to switch to “cuddly capitalism, this would reduce the growth rate of the entire world economy,” the authors argue, by slowing the pace of innovation.
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These findings, if substantiated, will disappoint those who long for a Swedish-style mixed economy with universal health care, paid maternal leave, child allowances, guaranteed pensions and other desirable social benefits.

In a more detailed paper, “Can’t We All Be More Like Scandinavians?” Acemoglu, Robinson and Verdier expand on their argument that the world is dependent on American leadership in technology and innovation to sustain global growth. In order to maintain its position at the forefront of global innovation, the authors contend, the United States must maintain an economic system that provides great rewards to successful innovators, which “implies greater inequality and greater poverty (and a weaker safety net) for a society encouraging innovation.”
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The three authors make the case that the interconnected world economy has reached what they call an “asymmetric equilibrium” in which the United States “adopts a ‘cutthroat’ reward structure, with high-powered incentives for success, while other countries free-ride on this frontier economy and choose a more egalitarian, ‘cuddly,’ reward structure.”

Directly challenging what they describe as the consensus view – that a country can substantially expand the welfare state without sacrificing its pioneering role in technological innovation – Acemoglu and his colleagues write that it is “the more ‘cutthroat’ American society that makes possible the more ‘cuddly’ Scandinavian societies based on a comprehensive social safety net, the welfare state and more limited inequality.”

In an e-mail, Acemoglu provided the following analogy: The U.S. is also the military leader of the world, and it cannot imitate Finland and reduce its military to a trivial size without taking into account the global repercussions of this (and I’m saying this as somebody who is strongly opposed to U.S. military interventions around the world).

Of course there are many criticisms to this argument (see the link to the original article), but it's not at all absurd to think that there is some element of truth to the idea that we can't all be the same and still see the sort of dynamic growth and prosperity we've become accustomed to. Similarly, the diversity that everyone (including sociopaths) provides has value to society as a whole.

Jim Fallon spoke similarly of sociopaths as being the members of society who do the "dirty work":

And not just the dirty work but the good work. You don't want your neurosurgeon to be empathetic and caring emotionally when they're working on you. You want them to be cold machines that don't care. Same thing with an investor. . . . A society almost demands that we have psychopaths. It's a very stable feature throughout society in history that these people are there. And they pop up in a very malignant way sometimes but these traits seem to be very useful to society so we almost ask for it, or our genes and our behavior ask for it. 

This is going to be especially useful in the zombie apocalypse. 

101 comments:

  1. We are all empaths Or we are all sociopaths. Choose. Because we are just all pretty much cut alike.

    Sociopathy is just a label to group some kind of antisocial behavior. Point. It is not more than that. To say “why we can’t all be empaths” is like to say “why we can’t all be thieves”. Nobody was as stupid as to think of thieves as different human class. I guess the name, for whatsoever reason, is misleading people, maybe it should just be used jerks.

    You are making sociopathy some kind of religion, only the “many are called few are chosen” was missing, you preferred to write it in a more presumably Darwinist way “Even then, I acknowledge that the reason we work well are because there are so few of us, just like predators”; something more alike to your tastes. Others will tell the sectarians that the aliens have chosen them to survive beyond all other humans. Stop seeing yourself as special, you are not (unfortunately, I must say). You have the same weaknesses and strengths as anybody else with little differences, which is true for all of us.

    There are people in the world who are alpinists. Their desires are aligned with that activity. But nobody says anything as ridiculous as they are few because otherwise we will all starve. The same thing with anybody else, people have different desires and their desires are always their weak points. This applies to everybody. The difference in their wishes can be categorized, as everything, but categorization doesn’t mean disunion.

    M.E., you are too focused on something that is not that significant: seriously, the world doesn’t have as much empathy as you think it might have. Just because you have perceived you lack something, you have wrongly perceived that it might be something important and present in everybody’s life. Which is something that surprises me because, considering your domain. Either you have just taken a very unadventurous path in your career, or you should have been exposed by now to a huge amount of people which would do anything for interest. Maybe you just didn’t see it? Maybe they were also good manipulating you at making you think they cared about others?

    In our desires lie our weaknesses. If someone wants love, love is their weakness. If someone wants power, power is their weakness. If someone wants narcissistic supply, narcissistic supplies are their weaknesses. If someone wants money, money is their weakness. And so on, so, the question is, what do you want M.E?

    And please, look around, there are not that many people who actually want love. Some called it love when they mean: comfort, security, reliable assistance, a patch against solitude, etc… The “love” label is very used and abused to reach other goals. (unfortunately, I must say).

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    1. "Sociopathy is just a label to group some kind of antisocial behavior. Point. It is not more than that. To say “why we can’t all be empaths” is like to say “why we can’t all be thieves”. "

      No, thief is a "job" and a choice, sociopathy/psychopathy is (and it has been proven multiple times) a biological condition that you're born with and that's then activated by your environement.

      "You have the same weaknesses and strengths as anybody else with little differences, which is true for all of us. "

      We also have weaknesses and strengths, but different ones.

      You're basically denying every scientific study that has been done on the topic, without anything to back it up.

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    2. "The DSM is a synthesis of the best knowledge at this moment in time," "We don't consider this to be a bible. It's a guidebook." Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health

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    3. That doesn't mean your opinion supersedes work done by hundreds of professionals over decades. When it comes to the mind and mental illness, we misunderstand more than we understand. With sociopathy/psychopathy, though, there are many useful conclusions that have been drawn. To ignore all of them is folly.

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    4. It is not my opinion it is the opinion of those hundreds of professionals you are talking about. They have found just a common language, a dictionary. The KNOWN weakness is "its lack of validity". It is not me who says it as a personal opionion , it is Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health who says it.


      You are forget in your comments this LACK OF VALIDITY.


      "The weakness is its lack of validity. Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure. In the rest of medicine, this would be equivalent to creating diagnostic systems based on the nature of chest pain or the quality of fever. Indeed, symptom-based diagnosis, once common in other areas of medicine, has been largely replaced in the past half century as we have understood that symptoms alone rarely indicate the best choice of treatment." Dr. Thomas Insel.

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    5. He's the director of the NIMH, whose job is to decide how research on mental illnesses is funded. This applies to how we should move forward. Specifically, he advocates that scientists should be studying common neural circuits and how they become disregulated in diseases that are currently categorized separately, but actually share a common physiological mechanism.

      Unless you have a strong science background (I do), you're very likely to misinterpret what you're reading. The whole point of this new direction is to turn psychological diagnoses into medical diagnoses with a basis in physiology. The restrictive categories in the DSM hamper research, and that's all Dr. Insel really cares about.

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    6. You have a strong science background and you don't give importance to "lack of validity"? If I don't doubt your background I will have to doubt your scientific aptitudes...

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    7. I'll try to make this crystal clear. You're putting too much emphasis on that statement.

      As far as FUTURE MEDICAL RESEARCH is concerned, the DSM is more of a hindrance than a benefit. Psychology and the DSM are the best tools we have right now to study these disorders. As we progress in our understanding of the brain through neuroscience, we will likely find that mental illnesses share common mechanisms. The DSM is a tool for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses, and should not be an artificial limit on RESEARCH.

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    8. Have you ever seen the old scalpels? the old maps of a human body? Those were the best tools at that point, and a big part of their non-validated assertions were wrong. Of course, even to be wrong it is better than to perform no research task, at the end, there are advances towards the truth.

      And we might as well likely find, for example, that those common mechanisms of mental illnesses are not present in some people who claim to have a mental illness...



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    9. Still, "the best tools at that point" are better than your subjective opinion based on... nothing.

      And there nothing subjective in MY statement, sociopaths brain have been observed to be different than neurotypicals brain, which is enough to invalidate your thief analogy.

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    10. "The weakness is its lack of validity."

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    11. wow, jessi, do you have any idea how foolish you sound sticking to your guns like that. i mean perseverance is a virtue in many ways but there is a point and you passed it some time back

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    12. Khan, I am just more or less succesfully exposing what I think and why. It has nothing to do with sticking to my guns. No argumentation so far has made me think I should have another opinion.

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    13. More "less" than "more" then. You get no argumentation from us anymore because you don't answer to arguments we gave sooner, and you give none of your own.

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  2. Very funny the article on Economy. So, the main thing in live according to the authors is “innovation”. For that purpose every human can be spared. But what is that innovation for? Ah, “the world is dependent on American leadership in technology and innovation to sustain global growth”. Global? Human wellness can be spared in order to support Global growth. Who is mister Global? You see, jerks are everywhere.

    “sort of dynamic growth and prosperity we've become accustomed to.” You mean to assure the prosperity few have become accustomed to, no?

    There is nothing such as “dirty good work”. Being professional is compatible with being caring. A neurosurgeon can be extremely empathetic, and emotionaly caring, he just needs good nerves and to be a good professional to do the best for his patients. I want him to care, because when we care, we do a better job.

    Antisocial behavior is a cancer for society: more will kill it, with less or none, it will be a healthier society.

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    1. "Ah, “the world is dependent on American leadership in technology and innovation to sustain global growth”. Global? Human wellness can be spared in order to support Global growth. Who is mister Global? You see, jerks are everywhere. "

      "Mister global" here, is every developped country in the short term, and less developped countries on the long run. And it doesn't necessarily reduce human wellness, it just distribute it less equaly. I personally think it's worth it, but that's a rethorical question.

      "Being professional is compatible with being caring. A neurosurgeon can be extremely empathetic, and emotionaly caring, he just needs good nerves and to be a good professional to do the best for his patients."

      Having good nerves means turning off empathy, and nobody does it better than those who don't have empathy in the first place.

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    2. "And it doesn't necessarily reduce human wellness, it just distribute it less equaly"

      Oh, that's a way of seeing it: "I am not being mean, I am just being very nice with myself".

      No, having good nerves means you do what you have to do when you have to do it because it is the best for someone. This is a very empathetic behaviour. Empathy is not about being crying and sobbing all day round! Those who don't have empathy might leave the job half done just because a selfish priority arrives in their list.

      If somebody doesn't have the nerves to be a surgeon, whether an empath or a sociopath, the person should not be one. An empath with the bistoury will finish the job, because that's the way he is helping others.

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    3. "Oh, that's a way of seeing it: "I am not being mean, I am just being very nice with myself""

      We're talking on a national scale here. It's not "being nice to myself", but looking at the average human wellness in the united states.

      "No, having good nerves means you do what you have to do when you have to do it because it is the best for someone."

      There we are, and what do you need to do what you have to do when you have to do it under such conditions? You need to turn off both empathy and stress, which is possible for an empath, but is far easier for a sociopath.

      "If somebody doesn't have the nerves to be a surgeon, whether an empath or a sociopath"

      Absolutly, and the difference is that the sociopath's condition will make him far less likely not to have the nerves.

      "An empath with the bistoury will finish the job, because that's the way he is helping others. "

      Being good willing doesn't give you the ability to do it.
      Just like doing it for glory and challenge doesn't take that ability away from you, as long as the job's done it's all good.

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    4. As Machavellianempath said "And the whole shutting off empathy concept is also what we call compartmentalization."
      And you are underestimating the levels of stress and the nerves of a "sociopath". Didn't you watch M.E interview with Dr. Phil?

      Don't understimate the wonders of empath's serenity. There is a peace of mind a human can get through lack of remorse or guilt, but there is also a powerful peace of mind a person can get from knowing he is doing a good thing.

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    5. there have been psychological studies done that have shown lawyers, businesspeople, and surgeons who exhibit sociopathic traits do better at their jobs then those who do not. that isnt saying someone without those traits can do a good job, and even with those traits that doesnt nessesarily mean that their a socio, just that they have some things in common

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    6. Jessy, once again you're trying to oppose our facts with your beliefs.

      I feel like I'm arguing with a delusional religious who think his faith have the same value as a scientifically proven fact.

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    7. khan, which studies? I would like to know what are this "doing better at their jobs" criteria.

      anonymous, "scientifically proven fact"? I guess you didn't follow the discusion about "the lack of validity".

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    8. You can't refute every study that has been done just because a few of their conclusions may change in the future. If health scientists shared your mind, life expectancy wouldn't have improved much over the centuries.

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  3. I'm not sure a zombie apocalypse is very feasible. I've been trying to make it happen, not by accident, and there are just so many barriers to get them to a point where they could be successful and cause a pandemic. I think it's far more likely we'll either have nuclear winter (we've been sitting on a nuclear arsenal for what, 50 years or so? That's an eyeblink.) or the population will exceed food availability and there will be a real world resource war. In either case, you do want a leader who will be ruthless, cunning, and cold. There is strength in numbers, so you shouldn't be afraid to sacrifice the weakest in the group to save the majority. If there's another group that has necessary resources and your group is starving, a surprise assault is more pragmatic than diplomacy.

    But, do you need to be a sociopath to pull off those things? There are plenty of empaths who are capable of making decisions in cold blood. In fact, your lack of fear that leads you to get cut while working with knives could lead you to be ineffective. The grandiose sense of self worth could lead you to take actions too risky to be profitable, and your group could get wiped out.

    For you, what is voluntary, and what is involuntary? What can be changed, and what cannot? Self-control is almost always beneficial, except when snap decisions mean life or death.

    I appreciate the post today, a little more mind-meat for my brain-teeth to sink into.

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    1. "In fact, your lack of fear that leads you to get cut while working with knives could lead you to be ineffective. The grandiose sense of self worth could lead you to take actions too risky to be profitable, and your group could get wiped out."

      Exactly, that's what separates high-funcitonning sociopaths from low-functionning ones.

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    2. That's interesting. How would you characterize M.E.? She's admitted to a propensity for involuntarily cutting herself with knives, as well as taking risks that are destructive to her professional career.

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    3. @ Andy- I think ME experiments with fear to test her own nerves.
      And the whole shutting off empathy concept is also what we call compartmentalization. Empaths are very capable of this. All that is required is to somehow dehumanize the other party. That's why supposed Christians/Muslims can be so vicious in actions taken against a different demographic.
      Empaths can be more ruthless than sociopaths because they funnel emotion into motivation rather than keep everything on an analytical level. Once the depersonalization happens and the fuse of an inciting incident is lit, watch out!

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    4. Is it required to dehumanize the other party? I can be outwardly cold, but I feel that only happens when I stop pretending I care about anything other than my own desires, and diplomacy fails to give me what I want. I don't dehumanize people, or despise them somehow. I am selfish even in altruism. If I try to make people happy it's due to MY desire for them to be happy. I don't share in it.

      Or, is everyone already dehumanized? In conversation, I always leave out vital clues that would cause the other party to see me unfavorably. Everyone does that, don't they? Complete honesty is synonymous with stupidity.

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    5. “the population will exceed food availability and there will be a real world resource war. In either case, you do want a leader who will be ruthless, cunning, and cold.”
      Well, what I want is that population doesn’t exceed food availability, not a savage who kills people…

      But of course I do agree that cold blood is something an empath can do. Because he does it for the best of all, and that is a real motivation for an empathy, not like the playful cold blood jerk who will be completely unrealiable because his selfish interests prevail.

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    6. There will be crisis in our lifetime, unless we die young. Any good leader needs to be able to make sacrifices, and a leader that's too selfish will find himself on the altar.

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    7. This comment sounds more film related than reality related... Oh, the end of the world is coming? You seriosly think you are going to live through a time of global upheaval that will be more troubling than your petty personal crisis?

      In any case, there have been all kinds of leaders, I don't think the too selfish ones reached the altar.

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    8. "But of course I do agree that cold blood is something an empath can do. Because he does it for the best of all, and that is a real motivation for an empathy, not like the playful cold blood jerk who will be completely unrealiable because his selfish interests prevail."

      It depends, if the sociopath benefits from being in a group (which is very likely, in those situations number is power), he will be a reliable leader.

      The group leaded by a sociopath will be more effective at reaching its goals, the problem is that he won't hesitate to sacrifice you if you're the weak link (read : more of a weight than of an asset).

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    9. @ Jessi-
      I respectfully disagree with your statement "In any case, there have been all kinds of leaders, I don't think the too selfish ones reached the altar." In fact, I'd go so far as to say that what was most remarkable about Hitler. Mao, Stalin, Milosovich, Mugabe, ect was extraordinary selfishness because it afforded each man a single-mindedness that allowed a no holds barred approach to implementing personal vision. Selfishness is a quality that will get a middle manager blacklisted, but it is a make or break quality in all dictators who enjoy long term success.
      @Andy- two things-
      #1- the sacrifices that effective leaders make rarely hurt themselves personally but are done in a manner that solidifies their power by silencing dissenters and generating fear based loyalty. The only real exception to this is in cases like the US and their allies in WWII with an obvious external enemy. Without fear, leaders cannot effectively motivate a diverse population to effect meaningful change.
      and #2 what I mean by dehumanizing is to ignore the basic dignity and human rights of an individual or people group because you have turned them into a scapegoat by labeling them evil. Sociopaths don't feel the need to label others good and bad because they consider themselves to be predators, not prey. What many sociopaths fail to understand is that when they burn too many bridges with vengeful empaths they are screwed - they become the dehumanized scapegoat and now they don't have to just worry about other predators- the "prey" of the neurotypical majority identifies them as an evil to be discredited/shunned/eliminated.

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    10. The last part is less true nowadays, since now individuality is accepted and almost encouraged, it is easy not to be categorized as "evil".

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    11. unless you are universally acknowledged to be a sociopath. Then you're f***ed ;)

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    12. Well, there have been all kinds of leaders. I din't agree with Andy's statetment "and a leader that's too selfish will find himself on the altar." as if being selfish would be a key factor to reach the position.

      I could not say that Hitler. Mao, Stalin, Milosovich, etc.. were too selfish. A dictator might believe he is doing the right thing for his people and therefore that single-mindedness of the masses is positive for the masses. I actually think that most leaders believe they have reasons that the mass will not understand and tend to impose them in any way. That’s why they are the leaders and the others the followers, they might think. And of course, some just want to be leaders for the sake of it.

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    13. @machavellianempath : Very true, if people know you're one, every action you do will be watched. I hope ME won't have too much problems with that.

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    14. I hope ME has as many problems as she deserves for that and as much recognition as she deserves for her willingness to be truthful.

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    15. a study of successful leaders throughout history will reveal that most of them exhibited sociopathic qualities, at least at times. this doesnt nessesarily make them sociopaths but it does show that at least some of the traits are desireable in a good leader

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    16. #1 Hi Mach! I was trying to be succinct, and I think I came across as obtuse. The sacrifices I was referring to that a leader must make were not personal sacrifices, but sacrificing members of the group to make the whole group stronger. This may mean executing/exiling criminals, or getting rid of the weakest members. This is all in the context of a doomsday scenario, mind you.

      Then, I don't dehumanize people. I just do what I must to get what I want. People are much more likely to give me what I want if they like me, so I universally try to be likeable. I of course have my own quirks and flaws, but I see social balances everywhere, and I can tell when they need a little extra weight to be tipped if not in my favor, then at least to neutrality. I have no enemies, and I've never had any. It costs nothing to soothe a bruised ego, you just need to be able to see when that's necessary.

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    17. Andy, if you don't dehumanize others and actively seek to live at peace with them, I don't care if your brain is wired like a serial killers or if you have thoughts of smashing kittens and babies or whatever- what I care about is your actions.
      You are very candid about your dark side in a way I think is brave and healthy because you are exposing your "demons" to the scrutiny of community observation rather than assuming you know everything already. That is an act of humility and likely leads to better regulation of potentially destructive impulses. Your actions are of a good person, despite your words that suggest you are not sure about that. The fact you don't let your pride get in the way of soothing a bruised ego suggests a level of maturity many adults never reach.

      Also- you didn't come across as obtuse, because there is certainly an argument to be made that effective leaders sacrifice short term pleasure/gratification so that their self disciplined approach sets them up to achieve future success. I happen to believe that all leaders who reach prominence practice this. Most also practice the less savory side of "making sacrifices" that you reference above, as well.

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    18. Khan, about “sociopathic qualities”. There are clusters of conduct from which there has been derived a dictionary term “sociopath”. The same way we can cluster traits that can be listed to define a “leader”. Exuded confidence, for example, can be in the list of sociopath traits as much as in the list of a leader. We can say that some traits are shared by a sociopath and a leader according to the actual definitions, something else would be to assign those traits a sociopath ownership. I think you are forgetting that we are just talking about a dictionary term, which is more over just “based on a consensus about lusters of clinical symptoms”.

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    19. Andy, about leader sacrifices. And what if the leader realizes that he is a liability would he step away? Would that leader of yours accept in the command team individuals that can jeopardize his supremacy even if they are very valuable ones?

      A sociopath can never be a good leader. His interests are never truly align with the best of the group, it just happens to be useful if they by chance align. But this is like attributing good qualities to a destruction that happens to give by chance good results.

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    20. “The fact you don't let your pride get in the way of soothing a bruised ego suggests a level of maturity many adults never reach.”

      I think that Andy just considers that pride of no value for his interests, rather an obstacle towards them, so it is not maturity it is just practical sense. Andy might have something to say about this ;)

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    21. Kittens and babies are actually two of my most favorite things. I have no desire or impulse to smash anything, even things that I don't like.

      I'm just aware that everything I do is selfish. I don't donate to charity, I don't do volunteer work. I think it's a complete waste of my time and resources. I work to discover ways to prevent and treat deadly diseases because it's my job, and if I'm successful I'll have recognition, fame, and fortune. Saying that I care about the people who suffer from those diseases is a convenient lie. My whole life is a lie. I'm just the kindest, gentlest, friendliest, most harmless lying bastard anyone will ever meet.

      I don't consider short term personal losses as sacrifices, but rather as costs or investments. To me, the word sacrifice carries a price of blood. Other than that, I agree with you.

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    22. Jessi, you're right, pride has no value. If I take pride in my work or accomplishments, it only serves to keep me blind to my flaws. I can do better, be better, always. A proud man is a man who stands still and admires his own mediocrity as if it were perfection.

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    23. “I'm just the kindest, gentlest, friendliest, most harmless lying bastard anyone will ever meet.”

      I can just read this with horror. Maybe my spath was not that bad after all. At least he was not as good as being the the kindest, gentlest, friendliest, most harmless… otherwise I would not have been able to spot him early enough.

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    24. But I would never hurt you, Jessi! And if I did, I would make you feel better. I make sure everyone is left with a positive, or at least neutral opinion of me. No enemies. What exactly did your sociopath do, anyways?

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    25. @ Andy-
      Join the club! Everyone, socio and empath alike operates selfishly in that even if the practical realities may not correspond with the underlying intention, people usually have a conscious or unconscious motivation for whatever course of action they pursue. I think that you have a pretty well developed detector for spotting your own bullshit, but perhaps you idealize other people too much. Altruism, while undoubtedly prosocial in most of its applications, is a wise strategy for an individual who would like to make a long term investment in a community. To make the choice to act in a manner that builds others up rather than "ruins" others makes you a person more likely to encounter opportunity within that community. Once you have a reputation for being predictably trustworthy and good natured people tend to give you the benefit of the doubt.
      Now when you say you are a lying bastard I have to laugh because everyone is a lying bastard. White lies are the currency that polite society runs on. Are you deliberately malevolent and destructive with your fabrications? Or do you just understand that you should never tell a woman she looks fat in white jeans? It's your motivation for lying that is the real issue.
      @ Jessi- I think that a big part of maturity is engaging in common sense behavior because it means you have filtered your emotions through a lens of analytical reasoning rather than respond impulsively. I love the concept of metacognition- or as I tell my kids "thinking about your assumptions before you act" so hopefully they can do a bit of self reflection before they act in a manner that has long term consequences. I tell them that's what maturity is. I could be off so I welcome any additional insight you might have because I am in the process of socializing 4 people- and sometimes feel as if I am flying blind.

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    26. Andy, he definitely didn’t try to make me feel better, especially when I draw a clear line between us. Up to that point he did the typical things a sociopath does: play me for his interest. I despise him for his methods not just for his objectives, which I will never be sure what they were (I can't count on his sincerity). But I am convinced that nothing good can come from someone who uses wicked methods to an innocent.

      “But I would never hurt you”. That sentence could have been his.

      Mach, that’s what I’ve been insisting on, that real altruism is extraordinary rare, even for the so called empaths, even when the play being altruistic, even when they believe they are being altruistic. You can scratch a little and discover their real motivation. The empathy of empaths is highly overestimated in this blog.

      I am not a lying bastard! Talk for yourself ;) I dislike white lies. I lie when I have a good reason to do it, for example, when dealing with liars. Why should Andy tell a woman she looks fat in white jeans!? Unless she asks, of course.

      “Maturity as engaging in common sense behavior”. If to avoid impulsivity is common sense, I agree, but I’m not sure what you consider “common sense behavior”. Self-reflection and awareness are fundamental, to see long term consequences is a big part of awareness, but to focus too much on long term consequences makes people prone to cowardice. Some consequences are just unpredictable and we have to live assuming that. I like the concept of “negative capability”.

      I have no hints for socializing anybody though. Kids bore me the unimaginable.

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    27. Are you two people, Jessi? That was eloquent, insightful, intelligent, and unassuming.

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    28. @jessi
      as far as sociopathic traits in leaders go you have every great leader ever commiting atrocities and warcrimes. charlemagne butchered 1000 unarmed men for refusing to convert to christianity, napoleon sacked europe, stealing priceless arifacts away from every country, Julius Ceaser began the practice of "decimation" (killing one in ten men in an army unit if anyone disobeyed, or killing one in ten men in any city that rebelled), and hitler, though undoubtedly a madman (likely with siphilis) was also a great leader, bringing germany out of one of the worst depressions the world has ever seen in only months, and he had the holocaust. great leaders are often socios

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    29. Andy, I still don't understand why you see a duplicity in me. I have perception personality type, not a judging one. But I reach conclusions from time to time.

      Khan, an empath leader can support warcrimes if he believes is done for a collective noble reason. I am sure that many crimes were not just committed for personal interest but because of a true believe in doing the right thing for a community. As Mach has already mention, once the neurotypical identifies some one or a group as an evil they are to be discredited/shunned/eliminated.

      Besides that, killing is nothing strange for a neurotypical. In the Roman Law the paterfamilias had originally absolute power over the persons of his family, having the right of inflicting on them the punishment of death. The fact that society laws have evolved should not blind us of the real nature of a neurotypical human being. We are not that "good", and the "bad ones" are most of the time not sick, just evil, and they know it... but they would like to find an alibi that allows them to continue behaving as they know they should not. That is the impression I get from people like Jamie and others who arrive here, they are alibi seekers.



      Delete
  4. One thing amazes me about people with children. They constantly bitch and moan about how awful a mom or dad or both they had, but you don't see them moaning about their role in the suffering they caused in their children.

    Monica is a great example of that. 99% of her posts are about how awful her mom was. Do you hear sorrow and taking responsibility in any shape or form in what led her son to commit suicide? Not even 1%.

    This is the way people preserve the self, I suppose. Evil is outside, any evil that is inside is easily justifiable by outside. A person over 40 is utter failure if she or he is still stuck in bitching and moaning about parents to outside world.


    I found this message written by an anonymous pretty nice and it didn't get the credits it deserved.

    Monica you should read it and take a hard look at yourself. So should a lot of people but you especially.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "A person over 40 is utter failure if she or he is still stuck in bitching and moaning about parents to outside world." .....

      "I found this message written by an anonymous pretty nice and it didn't get the credits it deserved."

      I didn't find it in the least bit nice. If a person has healed, then of course, they move on and won't be bitching about what happened in their infancy. But if they haven't healed, what else do you expect from them - become Stepford creatures and pretend all is well? Dysfunction mostly just gets handed down to the next gernration. Individuals who can call a halt to it are a rare breed.

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    2. "A person over 40 is utter failure if she or he is still stuck in bitching and moaning about parents to outside world."

      I actualy agree. I would not call it utter failure I will call it neglect of individual responsibility. At some point the "I haven't healed" it's not a reason, in most cases is rather an excuse for staying in the comfort zone at others expenses. I think that it is rare that a misconduct implies a dysfunction. Of course it is a question of definition, but normality can't be something rare.

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  5. I was going to write you a nasty reply but then I realized you were right.

    However, it is not that simple about the failure or non failure.

    You can't push aside pain.

    It is an energy. It is an actual entity, if you will, albeit energetic or electromagnetic. The people who push away pain will pay a price for it. They may be addicts. They may fail in relationships. They may be on psych meds. You may think this is a successful life.

    I would rather talk about my pain that do any of the above. Blessings to you, you functional person, you~

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    1. See, she is still focusing more on what she is talking about all along, bless her.

      I don't have a child, and part of the reason I knew I'd be a terrible parent given how terrible both my parents were and still are. It is amazing that I actually get to listen to their f.ing parent problems at their ripe age of mid70s (meaning my 70 something parents still bitching about their dead parents, tey may be thinking this is one way of stopping us from bitching about them. I ignore them.

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    2. I would kill all you motherfuckers if I could, that would certainly dull my pain...how's that for honesty?

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    3. @7:47
      im curious as to why mass murder would salve your pain, what happened to you?

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    4. @11:10 pm
      I was born

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  6. M.E. I think you make a really good point. The neurosurgeon example is excellent. Throughout human history we have needed sociopaths to make tough decisions that empaths would struggle to make. Without a group leader who is capable of fighting, killing, conquering and dominating without hesitation or remorse, groups/societies do not flourish. The reality of the world is kill or be killed, take or be taken from. Modern society is a bit more civilized, but these principles still function on a societal/global level (this is why the US has stayed on top for so long and why so many countries despise us: our government frequently makes decisions that are horrible for the world/other countries but that benefit us tremendously). From a genetic perspective, sociopathic traits must be beneficial in some way, otherwise sociopathy wouldn't exist within our species. It's clear that having a few sociopathic individuals to lead and a large population of empaths to manage the chaos/destruction sociopaths have a tendency to create is beneficial to our species' advancement.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "Without a group leader who is capable of fighting, killing, conquering and dominating without hesitation or remorse, groups/societies do not flourish."

      Some people should really go back to the Middle Age, but not as a fairy tale princess in a chateau but as a slave farmer at the command of the "useful" sociopathic Lord.


      "From a genetic perspective, sociopathic traits must be beneficial in some way, otherwise sociopathy wouldn't exist within our species"

      As Cancer, definitely it is beneficial in some way. Tell someone with cancer an he/she will appreciate the remark. We should not try to find a cure for it! Damn it! It has to be BENEFICIAL! It was such a drawback that the bubonic plague was eradicated! Damn Pasteur!

      As I usually say: I hope you are a teen.

      By the way, to be a teenager it hasn't been classified as a disorder since it usually gets mostly cured or attenuated by aging, no?

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    2. "Some people should really go back to the Middle Age, but not as a fairy tale princess in a chateau but as a slave farmer at the command of the "useful" sociopathic Lord. "

      Most of those exploited farmers could leave, but the didn't because in the end, it's safer to stay.

      "As Cancer, definitely it is beneficial in some way."

      Cancer is a disease, not a genetic trait that is affected by evolution. Sociopathy IS beneficial, at least to the sociopath, which is why they don't disappear over time.

      Get your facts straights before trying to find analogies.

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    3. "Most of those exploited farmers could leave, but the didn't because in the end, it's safer to stay."

      And? Also wishing to go back there? "they could leave..."

      "Cancer is a disease, not a genetic trait that is affected by evolution."

      How do you know that? A disorder is not a disease? Why is it not affected by evolution? Tell me more.

      And well, cancer IS beneficial for funeral parlors (people spend more money in the services of a younger person), cancer treatments are long and expensive and even useless, many people get economic benefits from that.


      Delete
    4. those slave farmers in the middle ages may have had it tough. but when bandits came in a stole their food, raped their wives, and killed their children before burning down their farm it was your "useful" lord who went out and killed them to prevent them from striking again. this may have been only because the lord could hardly profit with his serfs being pillaged but he still kept them safe from others who didnt care about them even that much

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    5. Jessy, if you don't know much about evolution, I won't explain it all in a comment on SW. Pick up a book on the topic, the basics will be enough for you to understand why sociopathy is so different from a cancer evolution-wise.

      Don't forget, knowledge is power, and the fact it can prevent you from looking ridiculous on the topic you're talking about is a nice bonus.

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    6. I never intended to begin a discussion about the Middle Age Lords… I hope someone understood my point…

      I also hate to have to explain that I never compared sociopathy with cancer, to begin with because cancer is not just a non-validated a clustering of clinical symptoms… I just wanted to point that the fact that something exists does not mean at all that has any benefit in any way.

      I will try to avoid examples in the future so "some" people don’t pay too much attention to the non-important part of my comment.

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    7. Jessi, I'm glad that some others here were better able to explain my original comment to you as I have not been following this thread closely. I would also like to add that I'm an empath, and I wasn't coming here to make excuses for sociopaths, merely looking at sociopathy from a strictly evolutionary perspective. Sociopathy does benefit both the individual and society (sevvack khan gave a great example) in certain ways hence why it survives in the human population.

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  7. Jessi June 1, 2013 at 3:27 PM
    So Andy is fat and all his sociopathic attitudes come from that. What a release. ...

    I didn't fall for a spath, Quasi, I fell for the role he played who happened to have a heart. When I saw it was a fake heart, my romatic interest in him ceased completely.




    Andy GlassJune 1, 2013 at 3:52 PM
    Why Jessi, I had no idea you ever had any romantic interest in me. ...

    I missed you <3


    JessiJune 2, 2013 at 1:08 AM
    You know I was talking about my spath.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why is it funny?

      One of the things I had to cope with dealing with my spath it was his insistence on saying something he knew was untrue to make me say something about a subject without asking it. At the end I got really tired of pointing out that he didn’t think what he was saying, and I just continued the conversation ignoring that behavior.

      Now I always ask myself if I am in front with someone who uses that behaviour or if I should really discuss the point.

      Interacting with a spath makes you lose a lot of time because their devious ways prevent you to go the real matter (whatever that might be) and creates lots of clutter investigations in the new people you meet, because you wanna make sure you detect them early enough.


      Delete
    2. Jessi
      I find you so annoying. Am I the only one? I come here and skip over everything.

      I think you are majorly lying to yourself to be this boring and make no sense.

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    3. Hahaha Don't worry Monica, you bore me too and I also skip most of your comments. So maybe we are just happily incompatible :)

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    4. dont worry monica, im finding jessi even more irritating then i typically find you

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    5. I find you both pretty close and with lots of chances to develop a friendship. Don't overlook the possibility.

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  8. If you care about yourself , you can learn to care about others. It is just a question of motivation or submission to behaviorism. We are not so evolved so as to be immune to true cognitive modification , don't fool yourself. Conversely deep brain stimulators are now micro sized, less than half a millimeter, and can be placed via angiography. Just look at pet sca differences between supposed psychopaths and "normal" brains before reaching opinions.

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    1. Motivation to care about others why?

      Besides "maybe" for some extreme cases I think that as much as the ‘idiot’ term is misused the sociopath here is just describing one of the not so surprising consequences of the capitalist consumerist world we are leaving in.

      In a society with a value system were money, individualism, looks and objects have become so cherished it is not rare that people get new priorities and values. But this has unfortunately few to do with a disorder, and it is much more generalized.

      It is normal, with those venerated gods, that the average not very thoughtful individual begins to show individualist and materialistic traits. It is normal for someone with those traits to feel special and above other persons, their success depends on that, and therefore to have no consideration for them since is a direct consequence since they are either a threat or at least of no use for their individualism.

      Emotions are useless in a world that promotes individualism and materialism. The new First World buddy likes money, likes to consume, it can be objects or people. He is worried with his looks since all in him is superficial. In his view money buys it all and all is at his disposal. He considers that all the suffering of others is deserved, justified or done for a good cause, which it is obvious since it doesn’t have any impact in himself...

      Of course, we can also consider that we are being threatened by a sociopathic plague! AAHHHHH!!! The sociopath apocalypse is here!!!

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    2. jessi, history strongly suggests that socios are as old as humans, by this current theory you posted above we are a product of the modern world. that is a profoundly stupid and uneducated thing to say

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    3. Reading your answer I wonder what that "theory" of mine in your own words would be... What did you understand? Are you a teen?

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    4. your post above reads as though you believe sociopaths to be a creation of the modern world, i apologize if i misunderstood what you where saying but i was simply responding to what i got out of you statement. i felt that the opinion i got from your statement to be foolish and in character with many of the other things i have seen you post, though if i misconstrued your meaning i once again apologize

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    5. Then read again "But this has unfortunately few to do with a disorder". What I am saying is that the modern world is promoting some traits that are similar to the ones assigned to the sociopath definition.

      I actually think, that if there is anything such as pathological sociopathy, something that can be physiological measured, not just deduced from external behaviours, the number of cases is small, and that there are lots of wannabe-socipaths nowadays.

      Delete
  9. game theory. nash equilibrium.
    i watched the 3 seasons of the walking dead in the past month - kept thinking i'd thrive in that world...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Given the survivor/zombie ratio, you're statisticaly far more likely to be a zombie, which is far less appealing.

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  10. If you are a sensitive soul, have a good nature, all the evil done by others will likely affect you, and turn you into a monster, much like those you already hate. One of life's interesting little paradoxes, free of charge courtesy of the scourge called mankind

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    1. I don't think you have to become evil. But the more you understand, the more your heart will break. At the same time, when people are truly good and kind you will never take it for granted. Evil stings- but it doesn't destroy it transforms a personality from an innocent to someone with more wisdom. And it teaches you just how precious genuine kindness is.

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    2. that is so true. after evil, nice is really really incredible experience.

      makes you feel love, y'know? same kinda love Brody felt for Abu Nazir after being tortured for 8 years, y'know?

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    3. well, poor Brody didn't really have much of an option to love people other than Abu Nazir given that he was a prisoner of war. But his developing a Stockholm Syndrome sort of attachment was adaptive up to a certain point.
      As far as future love goes I think it's best to recognize when someone has treated you very poorly and simply look for love from different sources rather than continuing to exhibit devotion to those who make a habit of abusing/exploiting you.

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    4. “But the more you understand, the more your heart will break.” What do you mean?

      Mach, I think, what you said about “destroying or transforming” it does entirely depend on the character of the individual. It is common to see people who have been hurt hurting others as a silly compensation. In general love generates love and hate generates hate. It takes a good natured person to transform the hate received in something worthy.

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    5. I mean that the more you understand that the people you have idealized have feet of clay and are capable of betraying you at the correct price point (metaphorically speaking) he more it's easy to want to stop extending your goodwill to others.
      I completely agree that hurting others as a compensation for your own hurt is very foolish- but also think it's the default behavior for most individuals who don't submit their actions to self examination and are acting purely out of emotion/instinct.

      As for someone who tries to transform hate received into something worthy, I am not sure that being "good natured" is the only operating factor. When someone is hostile to your best interests, it's wise to take some time and think about "WHY?" Is it them? Is it you? Is it the circumstances? How can you avoid letting this happen again?

      Transforming perceived hatred into knowledge is constructive and (ironically) in your best interest. Resisting the in the moment temptation to seek revenge leaves you with better options. I am always struck by the fact that most tragedies in personal relationships don't happen because of the initial cruelty- they happen after the defensive response to that initial act and a sort of hate spiral begins, which is a terrible waste of energy for both parties. The movie "Crash" illustrates this so beautifully for me.

      The reason I call myself Machiavellianempath is that I happen to see the world analytically and a filter my often overwhelming emotions through a series of questions about long term self interest of me and my kids- kind of like chess. I wouldn't call that particularly "good natured".

      At the same time, I am a huge believer in the gift of free will that we all possess. If I can choose to act in a loving manner, then that means other people can too. It is my fundamental belief that love exists and can be chosen by all of us at any moment that gives me the hope to keep walking after I feel sucker punched by life.

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    6. Someone can transform perceived hatred into knowledge and still propagate the hate, for instance, by stop extending their goodwill to others ;)

      I was not mainly about revenge, as the more obvious consequence, but about inflicting pain to others as compensation.

      “I am always struck by the fact that most tragedies in personal relationships don't happen because of the initial cruelty- they happen after the defensive response to that initial act and a sort of hate spiral begins, which is a terrible waste of energy for both parties.”

      I fully agree. But I think that it is due to the fact that defensive response stops at some point being a defense response to became an attack. An actual defensive response would search for a defensive objective which is lost in those cases you are talking about. People should always be aware of the propensity to mirroring what they are fighting against and permanently review their objectives.

      If your objectives are always in your self-interest and the ones of those you perceive as part of your self-extension, I would not call that “good natured” neither.

      “If I can choose to act in a loving manner, then that means other people can too.”
      I subscribe that 100%

      “It is my fundamental belief that love exists and can be chosen by all of us at any moment that gives me the hope to keep walking after I feel sucker punched by life.”

      I’m not sure about that one though. I think we can choose to act in a loving manner, but to love... There for me it goes to the “good natured” case. I don’t think people can choose to love. Actually I am pretty convinced that some people would go through life without ever having felt love at all, due to a lack of interest, a bad character and maybe also bad luck.

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  11. ". With sociopathy/psychopathy, though, there are many useful conclusions that have been drawn. To ignore all of them is folly." To not scrutinize them all would also be a folly. So we merely consider these things. Inconsiderate bastards and sloppy saps being considerate and metacognating together. What a utopian world we occupy. Yay!

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  12. Well Jimmy Fallon is obviously a sociopath.

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  13. The Turkish Prime Minister clearly is a psychopath. So happy to see ordinary citizens rise up against him!

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