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.