Monday, October 13, 2014

Guilt vs Remorse - the Subjective Experience

From a reader:

Typical thing you'll read: "Psychopathic offenders do not feel any remorse for their crimes even if they admit guilt. That’s an important distinction."

This is a huge distinction for normal people. it explains why psychopathic offenders scare them so much.

How it happens: in the middle of a situation, I've got a choice to make. I can zig like everyone else or zag. Zigging will cost me, but it will be the socially appropriate thing. Most people will automatically zig.

I look at the situation and "do the math". I ought to zag. It is unsocial, but it will save me a lot of pain. Yes, there's uncertainty. If I get caught zagging, there'll be consequences. My future self will have to pay for them, and I can't know what they'll be - it won't just be compensatory damages, but a bunch of other stuff tacked on for having a bad conscience.

But on balance, zagging is the right thing to do. There's no doubt in my mind - zagging is "wrong" - as in, society defines it as "bad". But zagging, on balance, is the thing to do, because its expected value is so much higher, so I zag, doing it as best as I can.

This is me, in the clutch, doing the best job I can do. It also happens to be me doing something society calls "evil".

Immediately after, there might be some fear of getting caught. I'll think, "shit I just zagged. Catastrophe A, Catastrophe B or etc. might happen." I might feel some fear or even a little guilt - pangs of conscience. As in, I should have just zigged and saved myself the trouble."

Then I think, "wait a sec, pussy. You've got a decision to make. You zagged. That's in the past. RIGHT NOW, you've got a choice: stick with what you've done (and your future self deals with any consequences) or go confess and make amends. Are you going to make amends and pay up?"

The answer is generally, "no way." Not a chance in hell. It looks like I'm getting away with it, so there's no point to caving in now.

And confessing and making amends looks very risky, because I hurt someone else, and you never know how upset they'll get. If they are narcissistic, they may go out of the way to punish me. The overall liability is not just the damage done, but the risk to reputation caused by confessing, punitive damages for being immoral, etc.

A typical thought: as much as it sucks to be a victim of my zagging, it will suck for my future self to pay the price for zagging if I confess.

How do I feel about my past self - the one that did the act?

When I look back on the past, I might dislike myself a bit. But mostly I think, "at that time, I had the mind that I had. In that situation again, with that same mind, I'd make the same decision. I didn't choose my thoughts or impulses in that moment, nor did I choose to restrain or not restrain them. It just unfolded, like water going over a waterfall."

I look at others the same way. I don't see any free will. Go back far enough and I didn't choose to be born to my flawed parents, raised in such a way that I developed with shitty impulse control. But that's how it unfolded.

What's done is done. If the bill eventually comes due, my future self will have to deal with the consequences. Hopefully it will accept them with equanimity.

There's little to no remorse - but why should their be? I don't have "guilt" that the whites arrived in the New World and killed off the Indians. How else could it have possibly gone, given how the universe was back then? Similarly, I don't have guilt about my shitty actions; how else could it have gone?

Of course, having gone through an event like this, there's a lot of learning. The next time I'm in a situation where I have to choose between zigging or zagging, it is extremely likely I'll zag at the drop of a hat, and never look back. In fact, one will likely start to zag earlier and often, or with more flair. All the while, the guilt-like fear response gets more and more diminished. If one gets caught after a run of that, one gets no sympathy or compassion.

23 comments:

  1. "In fact, one will likely start to zag earlier and often, or with more flair. All the while, the guilt-like fear response gets more and more diminished. If one gets caught after a run of that, one gets no sympathy or compassion."

    Why not zigzag? You can chose when to zig along with the populace when it's practical (you may even find yourself enjoying running with sheep), zag when it's not. If you chose to act out indiscriminately one day you will probably be caught, and likely not receive compassion.

    The question I would ask the reader is -- Why do you care whether you receive sympathy? If you lack conscience why would you desire compassion? Other than using compassion to manipulate, it's hard to imagine a socio caring about either giving or receiving sympathy. Unless, that is, they secretly want to be accepted and forgiven. Are you looking for redemption? Becoming more 'real' or authentic, more your true to yourself?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I try to be rational and zigzag. But once you get used to cheating, and get better and better at it, you see more and more opportunities to do it, and there's the impulse to cheat. It goes on autopilot. Read about Ted Bundy or Neil Strauss for more info.

      I'll either receive sympathy or I won't. Pursuing an antisocial path with gusto leads to pitilessness. If anything, the fact that I'm paying attention as I do it probably means I'll get less remorse; I appear to know exactly what I'm doing.

      I wrote that to M.E. because a lot of times sociopaths aren't that aware of why they do the things they do. Or they clam up because that's what's best.

      I'd never really paid that much attention to what my subjective experience was like as I did something antisocial. I learned a lot by doing it.

      Delete
    2. " Why do you care whether you receive sympathy? If you lack conscience why would you desire compassion? "

      to avoid torture after being caught.

      Delete
  2. I hate how fucken vague these letters always are about what these people are actually up to.


    ReplyDelete
  3. M.E. is now behaving towards her "children," exactly like God is behaving
    towards His. We DON'T SEE M.E., but we know there IS an M.E.
    We know this from the past, when M.E. revealed her "face" to us.
    Unless an imposter was playing a role, we saw her on Dr. Phil. We also heard her on radio interviews, we saw a small repeating film strip of someone that a
    poster said was M.E. We saw a photograph of a middle aged woman litigating in
    a court room. Someone claiming to be M.E.'s friend called up Dr. Phil and
    answered questions about her. And M.E. was the subject of various interviews
    and articles. And a book was written. So, there is excellent CIRCUMSTANCIAL
    evidence. That a human being named M.E. Thomas is alive in 2014 America.
    I would say that there is the same amount of circumstancial evidence for the
    existence of God as there is for M.E. Using the above critrea we can say that:
    A) God was one time MORE appearently involved with human beings then He
    is now. The Old Testament says in places that God walked among men.
    In The Garden Of Eden, Adam & Eve hid from God "after their eyes were
    opened." God searched for them, and called out to them. They saw the back
    of His' legs. (God has a roughly humaniod appearence. Man was made in the
    image of God.) There was also another time when God walked with two
    Angels and told an Old Testament man that He was going to destroy Sodam
    and Gomorra. I don't know if was Abraham. He haggled down the number of
    people He was willing to spare the so the city wouldn't be destroyed. Lot was
    saved. We can see the pillar of salt called "Lot's Wife" to this day.
    So God passes the cirumstaicial evidence test of human interaction.

    ReplyDelete
  4. B) M.E. no longer acts directly, in a visual sense with her followers.
    we know she's HERE by the contiuation of her blog and ocassional input.
    But we have no idea as to her actual location. We could easily ask: "Where
    Is M.E.? It is unreasonable to ask the question IS there an M.E? because
    there's more then enough circumstancial evidence that she exists.
    If M.E. were to die, it is possible that the blog would continue and an
    imposter could claim to be M.E. How can we be 100% certain that M.E. IS
    alive? The mere presence of the blog is no irrefutable proof.

    So I maintain that it is impossible to PROVE or disprove ANYTHING, unless
    you have a physical specimen. God is a SPIRIT. That's why He can't be proven.
    M.E. is a flesh & blood woman. But ever her existence can't be proven unless
    she can be subjected to scientific tests. And BTW, we also have a book. It is
    called the Bible.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    As far as I can tell (which is very little) we are talking about the groom of M.E., otherwise known as JC, and the best about to be born (perhaps even as I type taking its first shriek) is known as ISIS. Or perhaps, Bullshit.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I meant to say "beast" of course. Beauty and the Beast?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I really liked the frankness of this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you liked it.

      I suspect Colonel Russell Williams went through a process like that, except it involved rifling through women's panty drawers, sniffing panties, wearing panties, sexually assaulting women, raping women and finally killing women.

      It is your basic addiction/learning process.

      Delete
  8. A "club" with exclusive sociopathic members, that is scary stuff. And even "hairier" if the members all are "composed & docile". Rational, intelligent & well dressed people joined together by their interest in other like-minded beings. (In europe it would not attract attention, because if its not related to corporations or jail such things do not exist).

    ReplyDelete
  9. From Twitter: "People worry so much about what other people are doing because it keeps them from looking at their own behavior."

    Perhaps true for those with delicate egos. Some of us are perfectly fine with our behavior, even if we are being assholes. We do it for entertainment. Can be such fun to watch people squirm or meltdown, especially those who can't handle being called on their bullshit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. Although I have been energetically assured by my current therapist that I am not a psychopath, sociopath, or Anti-Social person (though I suspect she would say off the record that I am a fairly big asshole), I recently went to my weekly Toastmasters meeting, where I spoke my mind, tromped on the group norms, and was given very stern private feedback by a member about how inappropriate my behavior was in term of the group norms. I am getting old, and I am sure my blood pressure skyrocketed and it took me several hours to "talk myself down" from brooding on my irritation with the condescending jerk. Time was (when I was younger) when I could reliably brush off the stress of offending group norms within 15 minutes at the most.

      I am an atheist, so I will not know or care what anyone says about me when I expire. My daughter is a fine woman, and I suspect she will want to say a few words after I depart, for her own "closure." It's probably a good thing I won't be aware, because if I could hear anyone talking about me after I am gone, I would raise the coffin lid and bellow, "Shut the fuck up! Get on with your pathetic lives!"

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  11. This is an excellent letter, reader. You explain very well how lacking in emotional memory works, and the fact that you can continue to teach yourself to further ignore the neuro pathways that would get you closer to being an emotionally mature person. Fine. Is it good for you in the short term? It seems to be. Long term? Probably not. I do hope you get caught zagging, of course. But it probably is too much brain work for you to change your ways, and to what end? To be able to feel emotional connections? Those dont mean anything to you anyway. To be a better human being in your eyes and other people's. You dont care. Not very many people can feel compassion for somebody like you. Perhaps some pity for what put you on this path to start with. At some point in your life, don't you agree you have to stop blaming your past for who you are, especially if you are as aware as you are? This is what people on this site talk about when the mention high functioning sociopaths. You seem to have the right amount of intellect for it, but not the willingness, or not yet.
    Thanks for your honesty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "You explain very well how lacking in emotional memory works, and the fact that you can continue to teach yourself to further ignore the neuro pathways that would get you closer to being an emotionally mature person."

      What do you mean by "emotional memory"? I don't see myself as teaching myself anything. Learning happens as things happen, but I don't see a "me" in control.

      "But it probably is too much brain work for you to change your ways, and to what end? To be able to feel emotional connections? Those dont mean anything to you anyway. To be a better human being in your eyes and other people's. You dont care."

      Exactly. You've hit the nail on the head. Why haven't I stopped acting like an evil four-year old? Because it just hasn't seemed useful, important, etc. I only recently started paying meticulous attention to what's going on in my reality when I do things.

      "Not very many people can feel compassion for somebody like you."

      Yes. That's why I wrote the letter to M.E. I realized that normal people view me the way they do a criminal, child molester, etc. Frighteningly amoral.

      "Perhaps some pity for what put you on this path to start with. At some point in your life, don't you agree you have to stop blaming your past for who you are, especially if you are as aware as you are?"

      I've got the brain I've got. I've got a bunch of nasty genes from my ancestors and I was raised terribly. That results in what we see now. You can blame me for having this brain, but that makes about as much sense as blaming a tapeworm for being a tapeworm. I try not to be a completely awful selfish person (because I feel better when I'm kind), but it is very hard work for me.

      "This is what people on this site talk about when the mention high functioning sociopaths. You seem to have the right amount of intellect for it, but not the willingness, or not yet."

      It feels completely unnatural to pay attention to the feelings and needs of others. It is hard work for me to do it. It is much easier (and fun) for me to look at gore pictures.

      Delete
    2. You feel better when your kind? Is that a fucking joke? Hop off this forum imitator you just gave yourself away.

      Delete
  12. Emotional memory, you ask? In your letter, you say you can sometimes feel some fear, or guilt or even a peng of conscience after zagging. But this does not stay with you. With normative people, it stays. And stays. This is our emotional memory. It is more than that. We very often relate event to feelings, memorize those events because of the feelings they triggered. I do not believe you do.
    You go on saying that the more you zag, the more your guilt-like fear response lessens. By sagging, you are teaching yourself to further ignore your emotional memory. Some people consciously cultivate it, get more and more aware of their feelings as they get more mature. Some people learn to ignore them, it seems. Is it because they are too overwhelmed by those feelings? Some people in this site have suggested it, bot norms and socios. I wonder what your thought are on this. Also, if you continue participating, can you give yourself a name? I find you interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember the things that cause me thrills. I think that means I have a memory. Thinking about getting caught after doing something antisocial, and feeling bad about it doesn't mean that when tempted in the future, I'll behave better. I see that as a learning issue.

      easy to learn to chase thrills. hard to learn to avoid antisocial or selfdestructive acts.

      I don't think i get overwhelmed by fears of getting caught. as i mentioned, i ask if there is anything to do. nothing? ok, back to business as usual.

      read about serial killers - in the beginning there is fear and major thrills. the fears go away. the thrills are still there, but not as much. like when you play a video game the first time.

      I don't understand "bot norms and socios".

      Call me MN.

      Delete
    2. MN, both normal people and sociopaths..
      Both have mentioned that sociopathy may be a result of being overwhelmed by feelings. Meaning that you learn to kill feelings because they are to uncomfortable. I am not sure that is the case, though. Or perhaps it is the case for some socios, but not others. Some remember a time in their life where they were over sensitive. Some do not and only remember being pure intellect. I wonder where you fit.

      Delete
    3. I suspect that it isn't a matter if ignoring or killing feelings.

      Basically, if I have a have a problem to solve and sit down to solve it, or even just pause to solve it, the thinking will tend to proceed along logical lines designed to optimize a few things.

      In the course of doing that, any feelings get ignored, unless they are salient to optimizing the desired results.

      EG you wrote a question. I decided to try to answer it. I read the question and focused on being honest and informative.

      What I didn't note: your emotional tone, what you might want from me emotionally, how I'm feeling right now, etc.

      That is, having decided to try to answer your question, I focus on that, and all the other stuff just drops away naturally when I'm engaged.

      Of course I've got feelings. But when I'm doing a task, unless they are relevant, I don't notice them much.

      Delete

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