Saturday, October 12, 2013

Successful sociopaths

There has been some interesting research on successful sociopaths by, among others, Dr Stephanie Mullins-Sweatt, who gets interviewed by the BBC here. Here findings are summarized and referenced here:
Unfortunately, very little is known about successful psychopaths. This is because most of the psychological research conducted on psychopathic tendencies has been done on psychopaths who are incarcerated. For instance, Kent Kiehl has done some interesting research using fMRIs to examine the brains of incarcerated psychopaths. His research shows that such individuals suffer from significant impairments that affect their ability to detect emotions in others and to feel emotions themselves.

But what makes a successful psychopath different than an unsuccessful or "prototypic" psychopath? My colleague, Dr. Stephanie Mullins-Sweatt, recently examined this idea in an article just published in the Journal of Research in Personality. Dr. Mullins-Sweatt, along with her coauthors, asked experts in the areas of psychology and law to describe an individual they knew personally who matched the description I gave above regarding a successful psychopath. These experts were then asked to rate this individual on a variety of personality characteristics. From these responses, a clear, consistent description emerged that matched the typical characteristics of a prototypic psychopath in all ways but one: Conscientiousness.

In the personality literature, conscientiousness refers to the tendency to show self-discipline, the act dutifully, and to aim for achievement. People high in conscientiousness prefer planned, rather than spontaneous, behavior and are able to effectively control and regulate their impulses. Prototypic psychopaths are quite low in this trait, unable to put the brakes on their dangerous impulses and incapable of learning from their mistakes. Given this, it is no surprise that such individuals are often arrested and convicted for their heinous crimes. However, the personality ratings of the successful psychopaths depicted a dishonest, arrogant, exploitative person who nevertheless was able to keep their behavior in check by controlling their destructive impulses and preventing detection.
I take issue with the way "prototypic" psychopaths are described here. People have been aware of the existence of sociopaths for millenia, across many cultures. The common conception of the ne'er-do-well violent criminal sociopath has been around for only the past century or so. That sociopaths have survived (and thrived) this long suggests that the sociopaths who are capable of putting the brakes on their dangerous impulses and showing a certain level of self discipline are the prototypical sociopaths, not the ones rotting away in prison.

65 comments:

  1. On the contrary, the increasing contradictions and extremes of modern society values VS actual practice, rather point towards a global society that has largely been defined and succesfully "sold" on institionalised sociophatic characteristics.

    Popular "Tags" like individuality, freedom of choice, human rights, (dare I say,"democracy") used to seduce generations have instead manifested into institutionalised instant gratification, all out consumerism, global economic breakdowns, unbridled exploitation of peoples and the natural environment.

    This is the total reverse of the suggestion that a "minority" of successfuful sociopaths have merely "survived" or "thrived" and disciplined themselves to exist as part of so called normal society. Whereas infact, the sociopaths have actually taken control and dominated by consistently shedding off their iconic failures eg. the persecution of Hitler, the purging of high profile corporate figures and by always actively adopting popular causes. An ancient example, being the institutionalised conversion to Christianity by the decaying Roman empire, more famously known for their narcissistic and practical views of life rather than altrusism. Thereby turning a weird fledgling cult into the "moral cause" for the rise of modern colonisation and exploitation of most of the planet by a minority culture.

    Nah!...Sociopaths will never really change. They represent the most intelligent and articulate minority amongst our species. Instead they will continue to vigilantly observe and accept what is required for them to continue with their predatory impulses unabated. So they will profess or even nurture emphathic and normal values as they need the constant supply of slow, narrow minded and predictable masses to feed off.

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    1. I agree empathic people are to be our tools to do with as we wish. If we want to we might choose to use our abilities to deceive as a good thing, and sometimes not always just for personal gain, though mind you i may not be typical as i find a very few people that are dear to me..everyone else, well sheep i suppose.

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    2. "The ending of that comment almost sounded sociopathic." I thought, before noticing the name of the website.

      Cheers.

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  2. To the above comment, I’m a little hesitant to make the leap that modern society is being controlled by sociopaths. I’m always a little leery of conceptual models that read like conspiracy theories. Which is why I feel it is probably more likely that there are just as many normals (those who hold average moral sentiments) as there are ‘abnormals’ (those who are amoral) sitting on top of the social strata.

    But perhaps I’m thinking about this incorrectly. Maybe self interest is what it is, with and without a conscience. I’d have to think on it some more...

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  3. As to the post itself, I like British reporters. They have a way of asking questions that appeals to me. The reported asked Stephanie point blank if maybe the whole thing isn’t being over thought. I take his point. Is it really news that self control is perhaps the quintessential difference between those who clawed their way to the top versus those who act on impulse and wind up in prison or dead? Even more basic, isn’t it self discipline (among other habits & characteristics) that makes the difference to between the successful and everyone else anyway?

    My point is, all kinds of people become successful, as the West usually defines that term. Moral people do and so do amoral people. That’s the part that galls normals. Talent, intelligence, luck and yes, self discipline are what matters. Being a “good person” has little to do with it.

    And M.E., I take your point about the so called prototypical psychopath. I imagine conscientiousness isn’t the only major difference between the successful psychopath versus the unsuccessful one.

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  4. I think that a successful psychopath is a psychopath that's capable of learning from their mistakes. That's really what's important. However, it seems hard for a psychopath to achieve this because they would have to cognitively learn empathy and social 'rules'. Even further an obstacle, they'd have to want to follow the rules. (Or at least be willing, not necessarily enthusiastic.)

    Imagine a scatter plot. Assuming we are able to quantify intelligence and successfulness, we could plot how the two correlated. As intelligence increased, the successfulness of a psychopath would also increase. So, with that said, I'd probably say that the main, typical feature of a successful psychopath is above-average intelligence. [In case anyone's confused: The intelligence would obviously cause social adaptation to be much easier. The psychopath would learn the social 'rules' and cognitize (Empathize on cognitize. A psychopath would not emotionally learn empathy.) empathy much quicker.]

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  5. I'm no world leader, but I do have a well-paying professional job in a Fortune 500 company rather than languishing in prison, so I guess you could say I am a successful sociopath. I'm as capable as anyone else of learning from mistakes. I certainly never learned empathy, but I'm intelligent enough to learn rules and learn that breaking them often has consequences that are unpleasant.

    As to wanting to follow the rules, if following them benefits me sufficiently, then I'm fully capable of following them. If breaking them will bring consequences I don't like, then I don't break them. No empathy is involved, simply a logical examination of cause and effect.

    I agree with your second paragraph, 2 said, that it's more likely dependent on intelligence. I have untoward impulses like any other sociopath, but I have the intelligence to foresee what the likely outcome would be, and decide whether it's worth it to me. I'm not ashamed to say that I usually make decisions based on what will benefit me the most, and acting impulsively and stupidly is rarely what will benefit me. Even I know that benefiting others in the short term is often what will benefit me most in the long term -- just like any normal person.

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    1. How do you feel about hyperpredation?

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  6. Whether or not the conspiracy theory that society is controlled by sociopaths is true is kind of beside the point. What is more relevant to focus on is that unburdened by a conscience or anxiety resulting from doubt in one's self, a sociopath can move up the hierarchy in modern society a lot easier should they desire to do so and have the intelligence to not get caught should they take "shortcuts" on the way up.

    Believing modern society is a meritocracy based entirely on positive personality traits and abilities is a self serving myth. Whether they actually control things or not, successful sociopaths and other people with underdeveloped consciences have the effect on society of escalating the overall level of individual competitiveness at the expense of cooperation, one of the basic building blocks that allowed humans to evolve past the common primate in the first place.

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  7. “Whether or not the conspiracy theory that society is controlled by sociopaths is true is kind of beside the point.”

    Yeah, it is. Why did you imply it to begin with?

    “What is more relevant to focus on is that unburdened by a conscience or anxiety resulting from doubt in one's self, a sociopath can move up the hierarchy in modern society a lot easier should they desire to do so and have the intelligence to not get caught should they take "shortcuts" on the way up.”

    Why is this more relevant? Relevant to what?

    “successful sociopaths and other people with underdeveloped consciences have the effect on society of escalating the overall level of individual competitiveness at the expense of cooperation, one of the basic building blocks that allowed humans to evolve past the common primate in the first place.”

    And you know this… how?

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  8. Wow, I guess it's pretty lucky for human evolution then that the world is primarily non-sociopathic. What I wonder is why those of us who use our intelligence lawfully while unburdened by conscience are even allowed to rise to such heights that we're subverting the basic building blocks of human evolution, especially considering what a tiny minority we are. Could it be that we serve a purpose? Could it be that some non-sociopaths in power use us to their own ends? I'm just trying to come up with some plausible theory for why the overwhelmingly non-sociopathic majority would allow such a travesty. It's not as if they don't have the collective power to subvert our efforts to excel in our chosen fields.

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    1. I agree with you fully Gabriel, I am a sociopath myself and an excellent manipulator (don't like the term liar its vile). Our minds are designed to see into the loopholes of the soul and society, it is not our fault that we are blessed with this knowledge. I've done things that would make the average person confess their sins to a priest immediately, yet I see it as satisfying my needs as a sociopath

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  9. Gabriel, I think non-socios lack the drive to come out on top that socios have.

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    1. Not to mention we all see what we want to see, projecting onto others etc... cognitive bias, sociopaths can be very charming & if they are mirroring the person, its not hard to see how they would move up, not to mention being smart & logical

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  10. You could well be right, Aerianne, though I'm not normally a fan of generalities. Mental health professionals and others seem to key in on what they deem the deficits of sociopathy without admitting that there could be benefits. Few things in life are all black or all white.

    Having worked in major corporations for about 3 decades, I know that no matter how you choose to rise through the ranks, there have still got to be people higher who promote you, and they aren't going to do it unless you bring value -- to either themselves or the company. If all socios left nothing but a path of carnage and destruction along their career paths, do you think that's hidden from those with the power to move them upward?

    So it's logical to deduce that either socios aren't necessarily utterly ruthless on their way up, or the people who allow them to rise know what they are and don't care. The corporate climate generally isn't what it was 50 years ago, and it's not all that easy to get promoted very high in the corporate food chain by ruthless individual competitiveness anymore, except in a few industries where individualism is the prevailing corporate culture anyway.

    I'm not saying that a fair number of socios don't hold prominent positions in industry and government. I'm saying that they are more likely to do so because of intelligence, focus (drive, as you said), hard work, and finesse (such as charm and manipulation, when necessary) than by the sort of amoral ruthlessness some ascribe to all of us as if we were a homogenous mass. To imply, as some do, that the lack of a conscience categorically dictates ruthlessness is to deny the ability of an intelligent person to choose how to behave based on reason rather than guilt-avoidance.

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    1. That still doesn't mean they deserve to oust a decent person who would otherwise be in the position. They will find ways to lie about their indiscretions since after all, if they are super rich and desire BTK (Bind Torture Kill), then they are entitled to it no matter what the victim's desire is.

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  11. I suppose success doesn't lie in only having drive. I've known some not so intelligent socios who had lots of drive but it was mis-directed due to their lack of intelligence. There are those who are eager to manipulate but lack finesse. There are some intelligent socios who lack drive, and the smoothest manipulation they could pull of would be to con someone not so intelligent into supporting them.
    Gabriel, I think the success of socios in business must be wrapped up in having all these things correctly packaged.

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  12. I agree with Aerianne. I think it passing strange that people generalize sociopaths. Highly intelligent sociopaths, like any other person, excel in what they are good at.
    I'm not too fond of conspiracy theories myself. People tend to forget that psychology is such a young field. As it grows these terms, such as sociopathy, will change as we understand them more. Malignant Narccissist is also being used as a term similiar to that described above.

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  13. "In the personality literature, conscientiousness refers to the tendency to show self-discipline, the act dutifully, and to aim for achievement. People high in conscientiousness prefer planned, rather than spontaneous, behavior and are able to effectively control and regulate their impulses."

    THis is key. It is all about brilliance, conscientiousness and discipline. I've studied the beast up close and personal, and it is truly fascinating. These men/women are capable of anything, and can be so powerful that they ride above the law.

    Their charisma, charm and ability to mirror flawlessly helps to catapult them up the corporate ladder, and they have the educational degrees and expertise to get there. And once power is achieved, the sky is the limit. Like a god, they are worshipped - and also feared. They will set up charities to look good and save tax money, but the single goal is wealth and power. They are predators on the prowl, and they make fascinating bed partners. All that excitement brings them to the affair bed, filled with ramped up testosterone and the need to prove that they are also master of that domain.

    Have I said I miss him lately? God, I wonder why.

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    1. Read about PUA and the Alpha male. The whole game seems to be a big opening for a sociopath to seed some poor victim. Fortunately, it is more heritable if the mother is than if the father is. That means, sociopathic men banging retarded women who get gamed are not all that likely to produce a sociopathic child. But a woman...apparently they really produce sociopaths!

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  14. UKan is right about the youthfulness of psychiatry.

    In 1952 when the original DSM was published, homosexuality was listed as a disorder, but as time went on and the surrounding societies changed, so did what was considered a disorder.

    That example (which is meant only as a point of the ever-changing views) aside, another is that the evolution of what is considered criteria for ASPD, as well as the laundry list of past names used to describe the “disorder”, only points to the fact that what is known of sociopathy is, at best…limited.

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  15. Wasn't too long ago that sociopathy was called "moral insanity".

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  16. I have an off-topic sociopath question; if this isn't the right place for this than feel free to delete it.

    Are all sociopaths intelligent? The one I believe I' dealt with possesses everything else but intelligence. She's involves herself in multiple serious relationships. She obviously doesn't tell any of the other guys what's going on. I was the only one of guys she was involved with to figure it out as she left signs for everyone to see really but I figured out what they really meant. She'd try to use lies to cover her flaws but I wasn't going to be so gullible about her bullshit after finding out what I found out. Do you think this was part of her plan? or what? Her lies worked on the other guys; she even went as far as manipulating them into believing her after I found out who they were and contacted them with solid proof, still they were convinced by her. Also, is there any way I can beat her? I've stopped contact and I figured the only way would be by never making contact again as i've gone back in the past to her and she probably expects it.

    Thanks for reading.

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  17. Hah, no way are all sociopaths intelligent. Hang around here and you will find out.

    Many, though, are yes, very smart.

    The one I was involved with was not so smart. Either that or he was a genius at acting like he was terrible at being a sociopath.

    No contact is the best you can do, unless you want games.

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  18. There are sociopaths in all walks of life and at all levels of intelligence.

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  19. No, not all sociopaths are smart, as evidenced by how many spend their lives in prison. We come in all flavors, just like regular folk do.

    But, Medusa, you got me thinking ... maybe the perfect cover to prevent detection is to at least appear to be terrible at being a sociopath.

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  20. I'm successful and I don't follow the law. You can spout all that "you just need to work hard" shit you want, but at the end of the day the honest days work is for suckers when you are on the bottom. I find it hard to believe this whole lot of sociopaths is a bunch of law abiding citizens, however, I find a lot of them on this site are always on this, 'smart socios are the ones who don't break the law'. Smart sociopaths know how to manipulate the system, and avoid capture. Its always easier to tow the line.

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    1. they are not...just liars. I don't follow the law either, but of course I have real moral authority that allows me to skirt it-hardly any deception is needed when you are actually correct

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  21. The article says succesful psychopaths not sociopaths. why does everyone act as if these two words are interchangable. there is a difference between the two.

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  22. Depends who you talk to, Dee.

    UKan, you're right on that point, anyway. I'd definitely be considered a fairly serious lawbreaker.

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  23. thank god I almost thought i was the only one here.

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  24. UKan, of course they are the smart socios who don't go to prison. That's a given, if I may generalize. In my post above, I didn't say that criminality proves that there are stupid socios. I said that those who spend their lives in prison prove there are stupid socios. Even intelligent criminals occasionally get caught, but not constantly. To be caught repeatedly such that one spends the bulk of one's life in prison proves that not all socios are as intelligent or skilled at the lifestyle as you evidently are.

    But your posts have stirred me to reflect on my use of the term "criminal," and I will strive to be more specific when I'm referring to incarcerated criminals, as opposed to successful, intelligent criminals.

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  25. I'm sure someone said this already, in one way or another, but you don't have to be so smart to break the law. You can consider yourself lucky. What the hell is smart anyway? Without getting philosophical, I'm smart too..you too Medusa. We just apply it in other ways. I can manipulate situations too..very effectively but I don't want to break the law or hurt someone else by doing that. That would be risky for me and I would f it up anyway because I do feel guilt and fear.

    no guilt=smart? I don't know.

    I have the only one who passed a bio test with 100 guilt. I felt bad for my friend who failed it. But it isn't going to stop me from getting another 100. I'm sorry I'm just tired..don't know if I'm expressing what I really mean.
    Grace

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  26. what i meant to say was that you don't have be so smart to get away with breaking the law on a consisten basis. I should have just gone to bed..duh

    grace

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  27. Thanks Grace. Though I no insecurities whatsoever about my intelligence.

    Did I miss it where someone said that lack of empathy and intelligence are directly related in all instances? I'm too lazy to reread this thread... but I don't remember seeing that.

    Intelligence has little to nothing to with empathy or emotions or guilt or whatnot. Or rather, the correlation is extremely casual.

    Some folks, though, do seem to think that intelligence only means being rational and logical. False.

    In fact, those that have come to that conclusion are most certainly kind of... hmm, well, not that intelligent.

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  28. what i meant to say was that you don't have be so smart to get away with breaking the law on a consisten basis.

    Ah, I see what you are getting at.

    Some people equate cleverness with intelligence. There is a difference. Some may disagree that there is a difference.

    But "intelligence" has not yet been clearly defined here, so it's use so far on this blog is somewhat meaningless and very vague.

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  29. True Medusa.

    We can argue about what bad really means and what good really means but we don't live in a world where there is no definition and understanding of them. We can say it's all the norms, values and morals that control us..nothing wrong with that though. That's reality. Of course challenging some of them may be a good thing for sure.

    People are more respected for the good they do then the bad they do regardless of how smart they are. And we don't always need recognition for doing good things either. To shine without gloss is a spiritual experience…Tao Tee Ching saying.

    It's important to use one's intelligence but if you're not doing something good benefiting yourself AND others in a positive way then it's a waste. People with average intelligence accomplish this. I'm sure there are sociopaths out there who do great things and control the need to destroy and break the law. There must be.

    Grace

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  30. Grace said, "People are more respected for the good they do than the bad they do"

    I guess it depends on what circles you run in and who your peers are. There are some people who are respected and emulated for the "bad" they do.

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  31. "There are some people who are respected and emulated for the "bad" they do"

    Sure but not many...and eventually what becomes of them?

    But I'm just speaking in general, as a whole.

    Grace

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  32. Grace, it put's one back at trying to define bad. Some people would respect what the fictional character Dexter does; some Hitler's idealogy; some people respect the role that abortionists play; some cheered the U. S. governement, under president Andrew Jackson (for the removal of Native Americans from their land); some people respect and emulate teachers of Non- Abrahamic religions; some people respect garbage collection companies for filling landfills with recyclabe articles; some people respect and emulate their mother's for handing down the Cinderella Syndrome; etc., etc., etc; the examples are endless.
    Define "bad".

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  33. Do you respect any of that stuff? Do you feel that those people/situations are bad?

    Even some sociopaths would object to most of that stuff.

    Bad is the opposite of good. Not much more to say about it. I mean we could get crazy about it but in the end people are either doing the right thing or not. Nowhere else to go with it.

    I do get your point though. We talk about some of this stuff in school and it can be overwhelming to take in.

    Grace

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  34. For me, personally, the list contains some things I consider "good" and some things I consider "bad". This varies from person to person. A point of view is relative. I like critical thinking.

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  35. By reading the above and other articles, all I can conclude is that, current knowledge of a made up word - sociopathy - has no translation at all.

    Call it ignoropathy instead, it will be much more revealing.

    Since the dawn of times, I'm sure that has always existed pricks. Being a prick at times, can be a matter of basic survival.

    Let's be wild. Who has ever never been a prick to someone at some point in it's life? Room full of saints and angels ... forget it, even them were pricks at some part.

    So we all have a prick in us, and just because you were mean to someone, and don't go to bed without a candy doesn't make you an ignoropathic prick.

    Now, how much prick do you have to be to reach the ignoropathic status? That's the basics: the experts have no clue, the non-ignoropathic are too busy finding a way to escape, and the ignoropathic don't give a dam SHIT about it.

    It is a wonderfull combination for everything to stay in ignoropathy.

    Cheers all, don't take this ignorocrap too serious, it will make more harm then good.

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  36. Oh, you made me look into a dictionary.

    ta ta

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  37. Some good people turn bad for lack of enthusiasm, parental support, a bad school system or just took the wrong path one time. And then of course there’s genetics. It doesn't take much to be bad..harder to be a decent, honest person. Of course all the normal feelings of fear, guilt and shame enforce this behavior. Then again if these feelings are in toxic amounts then we are back where we started from. There are so many variables.

    But I think most people are good.

    Grace

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    1. ...or because some group of sociopath's decided it would be fun to victimize them since there was no real way that they could be stopped anyways.

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  38. Quoting: "On the contrary, the increasing contradictions and extremes of modern society values VS actual practice, rather point towards a global society that has largely been defined and succesfully "sold" on institionalised sociophatic characteristics."

    Best paragraph in all comments whatsoever, because it simple says it as it is. Nowadays society feeds sociophatic traits to an elevated extent: from school to status.

    Competition is taught in a diseased way, that in order to prevail, all the others must be crushed or unable to perform their tasks.

    Not true at all, competition combined with cooperation is the only key to real success. It is on those delicate steps of giving, taking, showing, constructing and trust, that are the pillars of solid work. Trust as I put it in here, is not about being friends but about trusting the fitness of the other for the results.

    Construct and giving, even if only in a shallow way, is the path for secure a status and a position. The path of destruction doesn't endure, since it is destroying those same resources that needs to work. It is not sustainable.

    The Roman Empire, is often set as an example: they took away much from the provinces but they gave roads, a language, aqueducts, and so on. My perfect example of fire meets fire, is given by whispers of history of Vlad and Corvinus -
    they lived in a truelly conturbated era, defending the borders of the countries they were leaders to. One with cunning and the other with ruthless. Cunning prevailed, as Corvinus betrayed Vlad, he accepted a large amount of money for it that it is said he used to give better conditions to his own country, securing his position to the eyes of the locals and foreigners.

    There are far more examples trough history, then the usual ones: Hannibal and Scipius the African; Attila and Ildico; Shaka Zulu and Dingane and Mhlangana, not even to mention Mongols.

    Besides they have been betrayed, they also advisors and surrounded themselves by people they did trust to build their empires.

    Maybe the nowadays company leaders should go back and study history.

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  39. And the lesson is; As long as you play to the audience and the audience is satisfied. Then the "end justifies the means" as so eloquently put by celebrity socio Niccolo Machiavelli.

    And Nobel Peace Price Laureate, statesman Henry Kissinger's "realpolitik" as described in wikipedia;

    "Realpolitik is distinct from ideological politics in that it is not dictated by a fixed set of rules, but instead tends to be goal-oriented, limited only by practical exigencies. Since realpolitik is ordered toward the most practical means of securing national interests, it can often entail compromising on ideological principles. For example, the U.S. under the Nixon and Reagan administrations often supported authoritarian regimes that were human rights violators, in order theoretically to secure the greater national interest of regional stability. Detractors would characterize this attitude as amoral, while supporters would contend that they are merely operating within limits defined by practical reality.

    Most recently, former ambassador Dennis Ross advocated this approach to foreign policy in his 2007 book Statecraft: And how to Restore America's Standing in the World.

    For the purposes of contrast, and speaking in ideal types, political ideologues would tend to favor principle over other considerations. Such individuals or groups can reject compromises which they see as the abandonment of their ideals, and so may sacrifice political gain in favor of adhering to principles they believe to be constitutive of long term goals."

    Update;
    There's an appeal now to revoke Henry Kissinger's Nobel Peace Price on the basis that he is a war criminal. Incredibly, Henry Kissinger—the man who rivals Pol Pot for the dubious honor of being the person responsible for the death of the largest number of innocent people in South East Asia (far surpassing Pol Pot)

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  40. It would be more correct or accurate to state that the ones in prison are failures or low functioning, while the ones out in society and have more power, status and ability to cause harm as high functioning. This issue should be on a tangent line, instead of a simple black or white categorization.

    The prototype should be GOD. Remorseless, efficient, and controlling. It also uses anything to accomplish its motives.

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  41. "Intelligence has little to nothing to with empathy or emotions or guilt or whatnot. Or rather, the correlation is extremely casual."

    Empathy is the foundation of intelligence . . . .

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    1. How does empathy help in solving equations then? And why is it that high functioning sociopaths, especially psychopaths often produce work that empaths frequently cite as creative genius. While I do not disagree that emotions are important, we wouldn't have them if they didn't help us survive in the past, I'm unconvinced that they are the foundation of intelligence. Look at animals, many of them are quite intelligent, and many of them lack the emotional sophistication we possess, they are sociopathic.

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  42. Lets not kid ourselves! Psychopaths, sociopaths, however popular, productive and successful they may become, leave a path of destruction in people's lives if they don't fit inside a strict utilitarian agenda for their needs. These people are dangerous and must be dealt with accordingly.

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  43. This just goes to show that people behave according to percieved
    self interest. If I believe it is in my interest to be a law abiding
    person-for the moment-I will be law abiding. When the cop departs,
    I will revert back to my "normal" sociopathic nature. That's just Human
    nature.
    There was once a congressman named J.C. Watts. He said, "The
    defination of morality is how you behave when no one else is watching." By that defination, most people, including empaths
    wouldn't qualify as moral.
    There are few genuine "bad seeds." Often, it is the fault of the
    enviorment. M.E. might have turned out much different if not for
    her middle class home enviornment and religious training which
    fostered a disciplined approach to life.

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  44. i don't think there's a think like a Successful sociopaths. just criminal and subcriminal
    but than again do you discard the pcl-r half that list is criminal?

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  45. http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=2886.0

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    1. That's an interesting article. Perhaps these corporate types are merely acute Narcissists on a level seldom seen elsewhere, and because of their highly privileged position they are never observed in a clinical setting.

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  46. For some time I've thought that high functioning sociopaths in politics, economics and at the heads of corporations are not just the most dangerous sociopaths, but the most dangerous people on the planet. As a sociopath, I still think they need to be excluded from politics, economics and the entire business world. We all suffer from their catastrophes, even us sociopaths. But I don't think their exclusion will keep them from doing harm. For some of them death is the only solution.

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  47. 12% of the population do not dream in colors. I want to know, does M.E. dream in colors? What is the color dreaming ratio for sociopaths vs empaths?

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  48. The high functioning sociopath and high functioning malignant narcissist wreak similar havoc. They best epitomize what Scott Peck calls "People of the Lie".

    Their extraordinary conscientiousness allows them to deceive themselves about their complete lack of humanity. They are "good" people because they pay taxes, never forget to renew their driver's licenses, and maintain order. Keeping up appearances is mistaken for virtuous living.

    God help you should you find yourself in any sort of public struggle with these "paragons of virtue". For all revenge (justified or otherwise) will be cold and mercilessly precise.

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  49. I tried registering, but it was impossible because the "CSFR token was broken" or something like that. Anyways, I have a question when it comes to torture and enjoying watching it. Do all sociopaths take pleasure in this or in watching others get physically hurt? I cannot stand watching torture in movies and I cringe by the thought of someone for instance being stoned to death. Everyone knows what pain feels like and extreme pain is not pleasurable to anyone, so in addition to the question above, I am wondering about the lack of empathy. I find it hard to believe that sociopaths cannot understand the feelings of others in that situation and perhaps I am misunderstanding something. I also understand that some people are sadists and get turned on by it, but not all sociopaths are sadists. I also have great affection for my dog for instance, and animal torture and cruelty, even caging animals and livestock makes me incredibly angry. Finally, when I read about people that were unfortunate and born poor, trapped into an existence that they themselves barely call a life, I really want to help them in some way. You take pleasure or are indifferent to this?

    The reason I ask is that I fit all the criteria posed by various sites and tests, except the above and in addition, after being struck with a very nasty case of rosacea, I cannot stand the way I look in the mirror and over the past 10 years my confidence about others seeing me as attractive, about getting a job etc has dropped and I am very pre-occupied with my physical appearance or lack thereof. I suspect this means I am not a sociopath but I haven't been able to find information relating to issues like this. Sociopaths are charming, confident etc, but if you lost your physical appearance, how, if in any way, would that affect you?

    Thanks for any responses..

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    1. Last paragraph makes it sound like Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There are many incarnations of sociopathy. I suspect you often manipulate through appearance? Even so, this opens another door to manipulation. Sadistic or masochistic behavior is not required for sociopathy. You may enjoy the result of your manipulation without taking pleasure in hurting. You seem to have a strong sense of justice, which could carry you far in the shoes of a sociopath.

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  50. Do sociopaths ever date each other? Or just empaths who they can more easily prey on?

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