Thank you for your response, but I think your missing the gist of what I was saying. First off, who says being sexually attracted to the same sex is wrong? That's merely a matter of opinion, so there is no factuality involved in that idea. Secondly, if you read carefully what I wrote you'd see that I never said that thoughts are more important than actions. I said that the only thing that really matters/matters most of all in the end is INTENT and even alleged sociopaths who claim to be devoid of conscience and ignorant of others' feelings have that. Thoughts are the mid-way between actions and intent. One acquires intent, then thinks about how to manifest it and follows through with acting on thoughts bred of intent. What you think or do is subservient to what you are actually trying or intending to think or do. It's a person's intent that shows them for what they really are. Actions fail, thoughts deviate, intent remains from begining till end and is therefore, most relevant and important. Intend-think-act...intentions come first and are the basis for all else. They can be hidden from others, falsely projected as something they are not or used as a justification for any lame thing done but a person knows what they mean to do, even a sociopath. In regards to Mormonism, I'm no expert at all but I have grasped the basic beliefs of the religion. As I said, I was raised in the church, but I am no longer an active member nor do I suscribe to their basic belief system or even consider myself an actual Mormon. While I feel they are good people with all good intentions (the most important thing) I think they are a bit jaded on the workings of the hereafter and I have a big problem with their denying women the privilege of holding the priesthood, something which I believe women are naturally better suited for anyway. And what about the fact that not until the 70's could african american men hold the priesthood? These issues (among numerous others) don't jive with me but that is a whole other subject for a different time. You are the one who claims to be an upstanding Mormon who "even teaches Sunday school" (your words). My question/issue is how can a real sociopath be a truly good Sunday school teacher? That's a bit scary to me. Sociopaths are the epitome of selfishness so why would a sociopath desire to be a teacher of any sort? It's not particularly prestigious and is one of the most selfless positions anyone could wish to hold. Neither of these jive with sociopathy. Why are you a Sunday school teacher if you have no regard or thought of other people's feelings? This again, comes down to intent. What are your motivations/ ultimate intentions for doing good works (like teaching Sunday school)? Are they selfish or selfless? Is it about control? Is it to be a God someday?....because as I said, if that's all it is Good Luck! You're supposed to do something like teach Sunday school in order to help children to be the best that they can be, which is for you, apparently, God. You don't teach it so that YOU can become a God, rather you teach it in order to help THEM become Gods. A pretty basic premise which may have eluded you. Going through the motions of being a "good person" doesn't mean anyhting if your intentions and motivations are selfish (i.e to be a God). Good works should be born of selflessness, otherwise they're not as good as they should be. On the other hand, if you're a Sunday school teacher for the correct reasons (to help those kids be the best they can and reach God-stage) then I guess you wouldn't really be a sociopath as you would clearly be excersisng a conscience and be caring for the well-being of others. Then what would you have? Your identity would be lost (as it seems to be largely, or wholly, based upon your alleged sociopathy) and you'd be saddled with the responsibility of caring about how you make others feel and selfless actions in order to be a halfway decent person. If cognitive empathy is possible, and it is, perhaps you should try. Your life would be much fuller and you claim intelligence. It sounds like your sociopathy wasn't something you were born with, but rather a coping mechanism that you adopted as a child because you didn't get the kinds of emotional responses and attention from those closest to you (parents) in order for you to feel genuinely cared for, appreciated and loved (and in turn be able to care about and love others). Kids learn mostly through example, so if your mom was the distant detached individual that you paint her as every time things became emotional with the person closest to her (your father) well then, it makes sense that you learned to mimic such behavior and took it to the extreme, as you sound like a pretty thorough person. Everyone needs specific types of attention as a child in order to become the best that we can be (which entails selflessness, not selfishishness). Very few of us get it.You just deal as best you can, which is always possible to do without hurting others. Kids do crazy things in order to get attention (as you did) and even negative attention is attention. When those efforts fail, well, we all deal differently. But, your supposed to look at your parents and figure out exactly what you DON'T want to be, not take on their worst qualities or turn into them. Caring for others is a learned behavior in a big way. It's harder for some than others, but for those with half a brain it's always possible. I have a smart kid who is on the autism spectrum and he's figuring it out. I can see that he's the type of person who, if he never got the correct types of attention from those closest to him, may very well grow up as someone like you. But he won't. He'll definitely easily succeed at whatever he chooses to do, as you claim to have done, but he's going to be happy inside (and have to hurt too) because he can feel other people. Maybe you're using the label of sociopath as an excuse to not have to feel (it hurts) or take responsibility for lame stuff you do/did. You've also created an entire identity through it and a life that, to a big extent, seems to revolve around it. In your case, your parents clearly didn't give you what you needed (emotionally), but get over it. It's done.You're not stupid and claiming to be a sociopath is most likely a cop-out. Yea, there are alot of sociopaths out there, but all of the real ones are weak, ignorant and stupid. All of those conniving and calculating people who are labeled sociopaths are simply people who didn't get everything they needed when they were young and/or were hurt horribly which resulted in them feeling horribly hurt. There vicious and vile actions are responses to the pain that was inflicted on them, their spite. But you can't feel hurt without a conscience and these people did/do and it's the reason for all of their vile deeds. Real sociopaths aren't created (those are simply kids who've been fucked up by those closest to them) they are born that way (stupid and mentally and consciously lacking). In regards to your motivation for being a Sunday school teacher, if it's to be a God then your acting in an utter opposite manner of godliness. Believe me, I'd love to make it to God status too but I'm pretty sure that it's gonna take alot more than correct actions and a selfish desire. I think you need to care about people too...and those Mormon Sunday School kids are going to be needing someone who really and truly DOES sincerely care in order to end up with healthy heads because the whole Mormon thing is a mind-fuck for a thinking kid.
My second and last response:
Ah, I see. I guess then that what we largely disagree about is that what "really matters/matters most of all in the end" is intent. As you said regarding whether same sex attraction is wrong, it seems to me to be largely a matter of opinion and not of fact.
I teach Sunday School because they asked me to and I think they asked me to because I'm good at it. I like to perform and teaching is like performing. I like to get people to think about different things or see things in different ways (like I do in the book and the blog). I think I have learned to care for others. I'm not sure what having a conscience has to do with caring for others. As I see it, a conscience is largely built on feelings of guilt, which I don't really have. But I can want to do "good" things for other reasons than just to avoid feelings of guilt. Why not just because I like to? Because it makes me feel good to be liked or to do something well?
I take responsibility for what I do. That's what writing the blog and book is all about, understanding what exactly was the nature of the things that I have done and who I am. I don't necessarily care about the label sociopath. It wouldn't make me sad to not be a sociopath. Spending all of this time writing and thinking about it has been interesting, particularly since I have mainly focused on myself and how the diagnosis does or does not map onto my own perceptions and behavior, however my life has never revolved around the label or diagnosis. The book and the blog are basically just 20% of my life. I have feelings. I feel happy, disappointed, stressed, angry. I just have a hard time giving them meaning or context. I don't feel upset with my parents. I like them, particularly my mother. I don't hold grudges. I like being around my family and friends. I have a normal and happy life. I'm not sure what you think I am trying to avoid in life (cop-out) by identifying with the term sociopath. Do you think it's possible that I am not completely self-deceived?
I'll tell you a quick story. When I scheduled an appointment to get diagnosed, I was very busy at the time. The psychologist sent me several tests ahead of time called self-report tests where you just fill in bubbles that apply to you. There were hundreds of questions and I didn't feel like I had enough time to fill them out before I had to meet with him, so I sent them to my closest friend to fill out for me, who filled them out knowing me as well as she does. It turned out that I did have enough time to fill them out myself, but I was still curious about whether my answers differed from hers so I compared them. Her responses were different from mine in only a handful of the hundreds of responses. I think I was a little surprised at how consistent our responses were with each other. I sent the responses off to the psychologist and ended up scoring in the 99th percentile for psychopath on those tests, even when compared against both genders and all age groups. If I lied and manipulated those tests to score high on sociopathy, I also must have lied and manipulated in the exact same way consistently around my friend for the past decade and more. I must have lied and manipulated before I even knew what the word sociopath meant, since I was a child and all through my adult life. It's possible that the test scores don't accurately reflect my true personality. I probably am smart enough to manipulate the tests to a certain extent, but why would I? And some of the tests I took I was not at all familiar with, so I wouldn't have known what the "sociopath" answer was "supposed" to be. I just answered as I understood myself to be. And according to those tests performed by an expert in the field, my results were consistent with sociopathy. And I teach Sunday School. These things that I've said about myself happen to actually be true. And they can seem like a contradiction, but so do a lot of things (I am both an easy-going and aggressive driver and maybe you are a strict but loving mother).
I disagree with you that the "real ones are weak, ignorant and stupid" and I think a lot of prominent psychologists would disagree with you as well. If not, if you're right, if I have to be weak, ignorant and stupid to be a sociopath then I guess I am not actually a sociopath.
Anyway, I don't know if this has cleared anything up for you. I think I understand what you're saying, I just disagree about a lot of your underlying assumptions, I think. Which is fine. Maybe you're right and I'm wrong.
In any case, best of luck with your son.