Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Thinking the impossible

I have been getting asked a lot what are the advantages (if any) of being a sociopath. I think one of them can be (in certain situations) that you tend to be a little delusional, megalomaniacal, and optimistic in ways that could make you a great entrepreneur, if for no other reason than you occupy a world that is not quite like the world everyone else does. Consequently, your world of possibilities is going to look a lot different than other people's.

Along those same lines, I really liked this passage from Debbie Millman :

Every once in a while — often when we least expect it — we encounter someone more courageous, someone who choose to strive for that which (to us) seemed unrealistically unattainable, even elusive. And we marvel. We swoon. We gape. Often , we are in awe. I think we look at these people as lucky, when in fact, luck has nothing to do with it. It is really about the strength of their imagination; it is about how they constructed the possibilities for their Life. In short, unlike me, they didn’t determine what was impossible before it was even possible.

Of course the downside is that you can also experience failures that most people would not think possible. But of course sociopaths are risk-seeking stimulation seekers that act as if they have nothing to lose.


  1. Did you ever see the films "Cool Hand Luke" (1967) and "One Flew Over
    the Coocuko's Nest" (1975)? The main characters of those films could be
    characterized as sociopathic.
    In the first film, Luke (Played by Paul Newman) is a decorated war hero
    who runs afoul of the law because he cuts the heads off parking meters.
    He is sentenced to two years on a chain gang and could easily do his time
    if he would only abide by the rules. His sociopathic nature won't allow it.
    His cockiness first alienates the other prisoners, but they grow to love
    and respect him. The only problem is, the dope is in a repressive enviorn-
    ment (prison) and this is the one place you can't rebel. No matter. He
    can't commit to anything for very long. In the army he was busted down
    in rank, probably because of "sociopath inconsistansy" Incidently,
    studies of "war hero's" show that they are not "brave", but impulsive
    risk takers like sociopaths. The most decorated soldier of WWII, Audie
    Murphy went on to become a Hollywood movie star. He was reputed to be a
    very vicious man with a hair-trigger temper.
    Luke engages in many escape attempts from prison, but is always caught.
    He is increasingly brutalized after every attempt but is finally "broken." The other prisoners lose respect for him, and the guards gloat
    that they own him.
    He makes one final attempt to escape. You get the impression that this
    attempt could be sucessful but it seems his resolve is gone. He knows
    that he can't change his nature or the world's response to it.
    He sees an empty church. He has been an atheist but tries to make a final
    appeal to God. All he gets is silence. It seems even God is asking too
    much from him. He just doesn't want to continue this tiresome existence
    so he mouths off in one final act of defiance and is killed.
    I think this film is a perfect study in socipathy. Is Luke a man to be
    pitied or admired? Or both?
    The second film, "One Flew Over The Coocuke's Nest," is also about one
    man trying to beat an intractable system. An obvious sociopathic prisoner
    Randle MacMurphy, gets himself committed to a state mental hospital.
    He thinks he will have an easier time of it in the hospital setting and
    might even get released sooner.
    Everyone can see he's milingering. Even the head nurse Ratchid. But she
    is engaged in a battle of wills with him. She will stop at nothing to get
    him to reform, just as the guards with Luke.
    Macmurphy, like Luke, also gets the inmates riled up. They also love him.
    He tries to show them that life is just an "act" and if they "act" the
    right way they can enjoy the freedoms he does. Such a viewpoint is very
    dangerious. Like Luke, MacMurphy also has an oppertunity to escape. He
    looses it when he attacks nurse Ratchid. The film concludes when he is
    labotimized and smothered by a fellow inmate he frees.
    The concluding question is: Did both these men bring thier troubles on
    themselves? Both could have exersized greater self restraint. Luke, with
    parking meters, McMurphy with his attempt to strangle nurse Ratched.
    Food for thought.

    1. Omega or last


      One flew over the Cookoo's Nest, was one of my absolute favorite movies.
      No, McMurphy is definitively no psychopath.

      You forget the most important character on McMurphy's/Nickelson's side: "Chief" Bromden (Will Sampson). Unforgivable! Hmmm. Fruit Flavor He ultimately makes it for us all.
      The earlier one admittedly I don't know. But the plot you recount, feels a little like the morally wagging finger: Beware, this is how you could end. Reminds of the type of pedagogical moral 19th century suasion you can find in a specific type of Victorian paintings. Figure such an educational painting with four sections, somehow like a cartoon without speech bubbles, telling this type of story: The wife jumps up from the family dinner table, next: runs out of the house, below: is seen begging in the streets, last: ends up under a bridge. ­ Cockoo's Nest is different it ends on a tiny glimpse of hope in the whole horror.

      Remember, in "Cockoo's Nest" in the end Chief Brompdon escapes, he takes him along spiritually like all of us. He does what McMurphy tried without success. Chief Brompdon makes it into freedom, he succeeds in the end. Which I think is the reason for the film's huge success at the time. Before he leaves Brompdon kills McMurphy, when he realizes he cannot take him along in body but neither does he want to leave him behind as a lobotomized vegetable at the hands of the system as a sign for their sucess. (book: Ken Keasey, too late to be a member of the Beat Generation, but inspired by them.) The system managed to silence McMurphy but it does not succeed completely, Brompden gets out. That is the difference to the first narrative, the moral story.

      That film fulfilled the deep and wide desire for freedom, the anti-authoritarian desire of the sixties. Some culture glimpses. In 1965 Alan Ginsburg was expelled by the regime from Prague, Czechoslovakia where students had elected him as "King of May" For some my Czech friends that was the start of what ended in a revolt against oppression called Prague Spring, ultimately suppressed by Russian tanks. The echo behind the "Iron Curtain" of something much wider spread: Protests of 1968. And something that had to be suppressed. There and Here. Only with different tools. The man  that brought weapons and ultimately violence into the German alternative scene worked for the German secret services, the start for something called Baader Meinhoff gang, remember? Terrorists. The services helped their informer to move to the US after the job was finished, he died in California in 2011. Divide and conquer. Violence can be fought. An ultimately peaceful protest like the Prague spring could not be fought the same way as Russia did in Prague during the Cold War in the West, but I digress.

      So yes, the first plot may be more realistic, ultimately they get you all. Same Machiavellian tool box over the millennia.

      Snowden is a new type of warrior in the information age, a fighter for democracy and transparency. A tiny glimpse of hope. I wish the Germans had granted him a visa over here, but obviously they cannot. But I am sure he finds friends in Russia in the opposition.

      I don't think that you can handle either the story or the whole cultural context via a simple "psychopath" label, the plots are much more about revolt against suppressive systems. Incidentally the anti-Psychiatry movement has it's roots in the same time.

    2. The Zeitgeist is very different now. The Cold War is over and the War on Terrorism took over, terrorism survived on a much larger scale than it was instigated over here in the seventies.  The more you fight forces like Hamas the more extreme powers powers pop on next to them. Look closely at Syria. Push weapon in somewhere and the rest follows naturally. The Afghanistan story. The military industrial complex merges with the security complex and homeland security.  The threat is everywhere, it could be your neighbor. This scenario creates a different type of heroes. Not mine, but yours maybe: George Zimmerman. What did he say on Hannity: The media always turns it into something bad, even if something good happens. Like when he shot Trayvon Martin? Sick little opportunist. Welcome to Orwellianism.  McMurphy sounds sane to me in comparison.

      If Scientists are correct and the superior intelligence of the psychopath is ultimately an urban myth, something that cannot be empirically verified, and there are studies that suggest that, then I have a psychopath for you: George Zimmerman. that are the types of heroes American power will creates in the new century. And it will create resistance. 

      I can understand Snowden, never allow them to make you a cog in their wheels. Even if you have to give up comforts and security, whatever it ultimately is worth. People like Snowden or Manning either flee or face a life sentence welcome to the 21 century in the US. Brave new world.

      What a pity, such a great people which has and had so many really great minds.

    3. I don't either are sociopaths.

    4. You don't think either is a sociopath? Neither do I. I also think nature rarely confirms with pure concepts.

      Interestingly there is only one study about black prison inmates diagnosed as sociopath done by white scientists. In prison the rate of psychopath is supposedly always about 25% among Caucasian males but in this one study it rises to 46% among black males. Interesting isn't it? ...

      I realized not long ago, that McMurphy was arrested for the rape of a minor. I hadn't paid much attention on that aspect at the time. ...

      I don't think that Fogen (may his name be forgotten, as he deserves), as he is called in some circles, is a sociopath either.

      He could have single sociopathic features though in the Factor 1 context. Was there a different reason he did not want any medical practitioners x-ray his head, after it had been serially slammed against concrete, apart from the fact it was not as heavy as he claimed it was and he knew. Would you really bother about money in such circumstances?

      What makes me respond rather heavily, emphatically, to the story is that I really am quite averse to people that judge too easily. Or as Fogen seemingly trust their misconceptions, much worse if they also act on them. I also usually don't like snitches or people generally that like to exert power over or educate others with their specfriic air of knowing "what one should do, and how one should react or act more generally."

      He definitively was at an information and age advantage, he knew who he believed Trayvon was, Trayvon had not much chance to realize, since he did not bother to tell him. Remember, the final encounter lasted 1 minute and 13 seconds.

      So yes, concerning psychopathy his ADHD is always on the back of my mind.

      One of my focuses is the comorbitity between the diagnosis of ADHD and psychopathy. ADHD with it's opposite mediation is reported for Fogen. Daytime mood enhancers type of drugs versus tranquilizers to be able to descend and sleep are reported. ADHD seems to sometimes come along with a brain function that seems to make it hard to chance course in an already started action. If I understand correctly. This could be related to a burglar suspect turned killer. If he is dead, he of course cannot be a killer anymore but has to be someone that said: Tonight, you gonna die to justify self-defense.

      But basically I only want to get a better grasp of the supposed "emotional aspect" in psychopathy. After I will move on to power and the psychpath, another interest where Fogen will too remain on the back of my mind. will find power as a topic studied in this context, the exertion of power over others?

      So, now I have to return to my duties. Pretty late already anyway. ;)

    5. Somehow wrong:Neither do I. I also think nature rarely confirms with pure concepts.

      Seems I was slightly undecided above. Nature rarely confirms pure concepts or rarely conforms with pure concept. Well maybe both do not express my '"feelings".

      I definitively embrace the core principle do not put people into easy boxes (categories), except the ones that eagerly do so. Maybe? ;) Maybe they are my own special enemies.

    6. Ok, strike tags are not allowed either here, so I have to simply correct it, without being able to show exactly what.

      Correction: ADHD with it's opposite medication is reported for Fogen. Daytime mood enhancers type of drugs versus tranquilizers to be able to descend and sleep are reported. This could be related to a burglar suspect turned killer. If he is dead, he of course cannot be a burglar anymore but has to be someone that said: Tonight, you gonna die to justify self-defense.

      specfriic or however it looked instead of specific I somehow like. ;)

      And now I really have to shut up. take care Anonymous, I'll take a look at the suggested film I do not know.

  2. "Of course the downside is that you can also experience failures that most people would not think possible. But of course sociopaths are risk-seeking stimulation seekers that act as if they have nothing to lose."

    That's all you see on the downside? Your site is dying baby. Last year this time there would have been over 100 comments to this. Dying on the vine.

    1. no, its not. its just rid of all the poseurs and now its regrowing with a better, more serious, audience. in keeping with your vine metaphor.

    2. I'm new to the blog. I read older posts and newer ones. There are definitely fewer commenters now but the comments are of a much better quality. If this is dying on the vine, I'll stick around and watch.

  3. ME said: "I have been getting asked a lot what are the advantages (if any) of being a sociopath."

    You could have answered "I get to take full advantage of suckers like you"... but that would not have been very nice I admit.

    How about a post that is not about sociopathy all the friggin time?
    Holy crap!! There is a non sociopath world out there. How about something about something non fucking sociopathic? Holy crap!

    Everything here is:

    Sociopaths, of which i am a special different one (i have a blog, a doc who diagnosed me, now a book, and I am a woman and also very honest and transparent), are not as bad as you think.. you neuros are misinformed and are actually in some ways worse than us psychopaths (don't you call us that). You are hypocrites. We don't need to change because we are superior but we can and we do. You don't have to do the island/extermination thing that you are planning for us sociopaths. You evil empaths. We just play games we don't destroy your soul which doesn't exist.

    Sociopath sociopath sociopath.... ok we get it, holy crap.

    1. How about something about something non fucking sociopathic?

      Really? Why would you come to a blog called SOCIOPATHWORLD and ask a question like that? Where is that Vulcan logic you aspies are known for?

    2. vulcan logic.. that is from star trek.. thank you daniel!

      yes, i would anywhere asked that we deviate from the main topic, from the core topic, from the only topic, holy crap, from the same shit over and over and over and over again topic... yes, even if it were called sociopathx2worldbithes.com

      omg please

    3. If you're looking for topics other than sociopathy, there is... you know... the rest of the internet to explore. Go on out there. You can do it! I believe in you brave little aspie!

    4. thanks daniel

      i feel your belief in me and appreciate it

      but i have already seen the internet and know from experience that every friggin site deviates from topic from time to time...

      not every post has to be:

      sociopath, sociopath, and i am a sociopath and you have a sociopath and what you and i and a sociopath

      holy crap!!!

      come on daniel birdick you know i have a point

    5. i think you have a case of sociopathy-athy

  4. "Empaths feel justified in their cruelty, and believe they are doing something good. Sociopaths are ambivalent. While they may hurt you, they at least consider you a human being. Empaths have to turn you into a monster, and no method of torture is too cruel for a monster. When criminals were drawn and quartered, it didn't draw crowds of sociopaths to jeer and cheer. They were all empaths"

    What bullshit. Come on.

    Sociopaths are not ambivalent. They are clearly going to take advantage of whatever they can. Sociopaths are liars right? They consider humans as objects right? Not as humans with rights and with empathic ties. "Empaths" can be cruel.. we can all be cruel. Sociopaths however are running on Cruel 8.

    Empaths have to turn you into a monster? Who?

    "When criminals were drawn and quartered, it didn't draw crowds of sociopaths to jeer and cheer. They were all empaths"

    Says who? Who checked the makeup of the crowds to know they were all empaths? What imaging technology was used? Shouldn't some percentage of the crowd (if not the hangmaster) have been sociopaths? Completely absurd.

    The selected comment impacts a loss of credibility to anyone who bothers to look imo.

    1. No, I think there's truth in that statement. I've watched it happen with friends and family as they justify their ill feelings toward someone else. I know I've done it myself. It's a way to bypass the empathy bit. It happens on a small scale all the time with neighborhood feuds and divorces.

      And isn't it easier to hurt the monster who wronged you then the person who you don't care one way or the other about?

      I'm an empath in the lingo of this blog for what that matters.

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