This is a thoughtful article about, inter alia, M.E. The most "relevant" portions below:
Nevertheless, it is an interesting topic so I went looking for a sociopath and found one. Sociopath World: Inside the Mind of a Sociopath is a blog written by an anonymous self-proclaimed sociopath. Though it’s possibly a work of fiction, I believe that the person writing it truly does identify with the sociopathic condition. The blog has been active since 2008 and there are hundreds of posts. I have only read a few articles but what I have read has been well written. I can’t really characterize the author but there is an uncanny intellectualism and rationality to his or her writing. I would definitely recommend the blog as the autoethnography of a sociopath.
The self-identified sociopath does raise a few questions.
First, I want to say that I do not believe in black or white conditions. If I were a psychiatrist, I would hand out labels very sparingly. Probably all people experience schizotypal symptoms in their life and many have schizotypal tendencies but it’s insufficient to label them schizophrenic. Likewise, I believe sociopathy must exist on a gradient spectrum. What shade of gray makes you a full-blown sociopath?
I am ultimately wondering what the consequences of self-identification are? Labels are a way of making sense of the world so I suppose self-identification helps one come to terms with their self. Interestingly the comments on Sociopath World sometimes read like a support group for sociopaths. The idea that sociopaths (feel as if they) suffer from their condition is somewhat counterintuitive.
Of course, one need not identify as a sociopath to be one. I am only curious as to what the benefits of self-identification are. That said, I believe many people possess varying degrees of innate potential to be a sociopath.
We see a remarkable ratio of people willing to commit atrocities in obedience to authority in both life and in experimentation. In accord with activity theory, I believe there is a threshold in doing where we internalize our actions. The Milgram experiment combined with the Stanford prison experiment only demonstrates that normal people can be pushed beyond that threshold. Social influence needs not be that dramatic. The author of Sociopath World makes an astute observation of his or her own condition, writing…
“After spending time with my family recently, I am more convinced that nurture had a significant role to play in my development into a sociopath. When people ask me whether I had a bad childhood, I tell them that it was actually relatively unremarkable, however I can see how the antisocial behaviors and mental posturing that now define me were incentivized when I was growing up — how my independent emotional world was stifled and how understanding and respect for the emotional world of others died away. Still I don’t think I was “made” into a sociopath, nor was I born one. I feel like I was born with that predisposition, that I made a relatively conscious decision to rely on those skills instead of developing others, and that the decision was made in direct response to my environment and how I could best survive and even thrive in that environment.”