Saturday, September 2, 2017

Sick of shame?

Another month, another post about the limitations of public shaming, this time prompted by the people who seem to be confronting for the first time how to ethically oppose an ideology that you find to be abhorrent.

I've always been very vocally opposed to public shaming, even before I was the victim of it. At it's core, it uses the unwieldy weapon of mob mentality to enforce social norms, particularly those that its adherents believe have moral significance. Never mind that there is no universal morality, but rather that beliefs about morality are closely tied to such varied inputs as religion, culture, upbringing, genetics, etc. I'm not the only one who thinks that if shame had any value at all (perhaps evolutionarily or in certain smaller contexts),  although there have been other victims of shaming who still defend its applications. Most of these critiques fall under the category of the solution being worse than the problem, e.g. the self-censorship and resulting harm to open dialogue that can occur as a result.

But is it even an actual solution?

One thing that I learned in therapy is that everyone (1) is at a different stage than you (emotional, psychological, educational, etc.) and (2) that people can go through the stages in different orders, different ways, and prompted by different experiences than you did. To insist that other people go through their own progression at your pace, in your order, or in your way is just a denial of the realities of psychology. People can rarely make a lasting meaningful change in the moment. You can demand that they start doing or being something or stop doing or being another thing, but they are not psychologically capable of meeting your demand in that moment (although there is longterm hope because there is almost always possibility for real, meaningful, and lasting change in that area if they are open and committed to seeking it). So for instance, demanding that someone who has been socialized, educated, and undergone particular psychological development to the point where they are racist (at that moment in time), you cannot just demand that they stop being racist. And even if you could convince them at a certain intellectual level that there is reason to doubt their position, they need to go through whatever process is necessary for them to sort it all out in their head. Open dialogue could encourage this process, although it seems like more people on all sides are showing up to dialogues not to engage, but with already formed judgments that they seek only to make known.

Unfortunately, the shaming process does not encourage the sort of dialogue or safe space that is often conducive to people softening their opinions and being receptive to something new. What it does is foster reflexive defensiveness, further entrenching them in their viewpoint. Shame often targets the person instead of the behavior, which can lead to identity politics and culture wars:

In a guilt culture you know you are good or bad by what your conscience feels. In a shame culture you know you are good or bad by what your community says about you, by whether it honors or excludes you. In a guilt culture people sometimes feel they do bad things; in a shame culture social exclusion makes people feel they are bad.

I saw on Twitter last month this tweet regarding candied yams (my first encounter with them):


And then subsequent chain involving a white guy ("@wwadas") who replied that he didn't recognize the candied yams. Black Twitter led him through the process of making the yams, with many praising what seemed to be an increasingly rare instance of building a cultural bridge:
Until others culled through the white guy's tweets to find good ol' boy and obliquely (if not overtly) racist content. Although some immediately tried to shame him, labeling him (not his behavior or beliefs) as being "problematic", other people were less inclined to jump to such conclusions:


It's an interesting thread, with some arguing that every instance of real or perceived injustice must be fought to avoid perpetuating such injustice and another person commenting: "Sorry not everyone is perfect, maybe he's on the way to making things right."

Of course, I may be speaking from a place of bias being religious myself, but I think religion gets it very right in this instance. From one of my favorite LDS talks from Elder Dale G. Renlund:

Just as God rejoices when we persevere, He is disappointed if we do not recognize that others are trying too. Our dear friend Thoba shared how she learned this lesson from her mother, Julia. Julia and Thoba were among the early black converts in South Africa. After the apartheid regime ended, black and white members of the Church were permitted to attend church together. For many, the equality of interaction between the races was new and challenging. One time, as Julia and Thoba attended church, they felt they were treated less than kindly by some white members. As they left, Thoba complained bitterly to her mother. Julia listened calmly until Thoba had vented her frustration. Then Julia said, “Oh, Thoba, the Church is like a big hospital, and we are all sick in our own way. We come to church to be helped.”

Julia’s comment reflects a valuable insight. We must not only be tolerant while others work on their individual illnesses; we must also be kind, patient, supportive, and understanding. As God encourages us to keep on trying, He expects us to also allow others the space to do the same, at their own pace. 

I understand that this requires forbearance from exactly those who are most likely to have been wronged, not just in this moment but from a long history of oppression. I understand this burden to be so heavy that I would not even ask it of anyone, much less demand. I would only hope to help them see, to persuade them that there is greater peace and joy there than in seeking to return the same. Or as Paul Gaugin said: "One day, you will feel a joy in having resisted the temptation to hate, and there is truly intoxicating poetry in the goodness of him who has suffered."

44 comments:

  1. First!

    And, probably last.

    Now that's shame.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The twatter war rages on.

    ReplyDelete
  3. this is why I still come here

    ReplyDelete
  4. A, you wrote a few weeks back that sociopaths will push your boundaries if you've intrigued them sexually. Well, here's a little story.

    We had watched a Netflix movie and were exploring some of the ideas in it. The next week, I jokingly referenced some of that and it must have surprised him because he insisted on a "penalty" (this is honestly very amusing to me.) I understood what he was doing and was not threatened by the situation, so I took the opportunity to do something special for him and something I've wanted to do for myself for a while. The time was right. He very much appreciated this, I could see it in his eyes and in his touch. And then he surprised me.

    He said he loved me.

    It's the first and only time he has said it this time around i.e. he wasn't seducing me with this, he meant it in whatever way he can mean it. And he wrapped it in less committal things that we already know he loves.

    Obviously, this impacted me and I needed a lot of time to myself the following week, whereas he got all clingy. And I guessed he would feel vulnerable and I guessed there would be perturbance of some sort. I suppose I've been very happy to be distant because I think him loving me would be him feeling he owns me and that spells drama.

    And I can't really guess in what form it will come. But this time, it was sexual boundary pushing and then his usual silence throughout the week.

    He might think he's very machiavellian about this. He was talking about how midfielders in soccer have vision and seize opportunities, but also how they construct magic plays.

    In my experience, his sociopathic behaviours are always triggered by a situation of vulnerability. I'm not saying he perceives it that way - that's why I have been asking lots of questions about threat and opportunity. He may just have felt some impulse to do this. How would I know?

    Maybe I have oversimplified it, however: my experience is suggesting he is most likely to be painful in a situation a neurotypical could imagine him feeling threatened or vulnerable.

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  5. Julia’s comment reflects a valuable insight. We must not only be tolerant while others work on their individual illnesses; we must also be kind, patient, supportive, and understanding. As God encourages us to keep on trying, He expects us to also allow others the space to do the same, at their own pace.

    I understand that this requires forbearance from exactly those who are most likely to have been wronged, not just in this moment but from a long history of oppression. I understand this burden to be so heavy that I would not even ask it of anyone, much less demand. I would only hope to help them see, to persuade them that there is greater peace and joy there than in seeking to return the same. Or as Paul Gaugin said: "One day, you will feel a joy in having resisted the temptation to hate, and there is truly intoxicating poetry in the goodness of him who has suffered."


    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

    Very true. The defensive option of aggression is not only a short-term strategy, but it is a perpetuator of violence. A friend of mine once said "if you fight, you lose." The more effective option is de-escalation, which opens doors for all parties to find better ways to solve whatever the problem happens to be.

    That forbearance you've referred to is born of knowing there is space for one's self. I think self acceptance is the pre-requisite, followed by self-care. Then you realise there is space for others too, and little need to press your claims to the point where you are infringing on others. That said, there is always competition for resources. With these points in mind, and in environments where some scope of cooperation exists, it's fair strategies that produce the greatest dividends over the long term.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just wanted to post this here after reading what you wrote on "aspergers" since this is the most recent post by you.

    What the hell? Why do you keep calling "aspergers" a personality disorder when it's just another word for "higher funcitoning autism"? Autism is neurodevelopmental, hell even disorders we consider "mental illnesses" have evidence of mounting developmental basis like schizophrenia, bipolar, psychosis, schizoaffective, adhd, ocd. Evidence of disruption beginning in the womb and defects.

    And this "cain and abel" relationship? What? I haven't seen much interaction going on by any two communities real or metaphorical. It's like you are just making this up. But forget about that for now.

    It isn't a personality disorder. That's like calling bipolar and schizophrenia personality disorders too. And there is evidence even autism and schizophrenia may be related. They share numerous symptoms. Even bipolar is not a mere mood disorder, there are other associated symptoms ("negative symptoms").

    It's neurodevelopmental man, not a personality disorder according to the DSM. And even those other two plus more may be neurodevelopmental as well. (I do not refer to temporary schizophrenia from just smoking too much weed or using too much drugs but the real kind that sets in at adolescence). Schizophrenic patients even in remission score significantly poorly on empathy tests compared to controls. But empathy is not brought up much. Bipolar patients have some deficits but not as severe as autism or schizophrenia.

    Sociopathy has some genetic basis but there is a strong enviromental one based on upbringing or unique character traits. The difference is a sociopath is not compelled somehow concerning individual actions nor are there cognitive deficits or neurological symptoms. It's just a character defect (or difference according to what you like to call it). Do you have alogia, anhedonia, executive dysfunction, motor abnormalities found frequently in the other three disorders? If not, then it's personality, not an "organic disorder".

    And we don't know how much of the behaviours of autism disorders are a downstream result of deficits or dysfunctions. There lies a difference, individual actions are impaired. Also do the symptoms affect a personality growing up? Then it would be a personality disorder as a result of an organic disorder at most.

    Hell, autism disorders, as I mentioned share genetic and brain activity overlap with schizophrenia and bipolar to a much greater degree than sociopathy. Sociopathy and autism? You may as well say borderline and bipolar. Hell narcissism is closer to autism, but in a carob and chocolate way like the bipolar and borderline thing. Resemblance does not equal true biological relationship.

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  7. Also that damn mention of Hans Asperger calling it "autistic psychopathy" which was a direct translation of "psychopatherien"!

    The word "gay" used to mean happy. It means something else now.

    From wikipedia:
    "After World War I German psychiatrists dropped the term inferiors/defectives (Minderwertigkeiten) and used psychopathic (psychopathisch) and its derivatives instead, at that time a more neutral term covering a wide range of conditions. [16][20]"

    In the first decades of the 20th century, "constitutional psychopathic inferiority" had become a commonly used term in the US, implying the issue was inherent to the genetics or makeup of the person, an organic disease.[24] As a category it was used to target any and all dysfunctional or antisocial behavior, and in psychiatric categorization it labeled a broad range of alleged mental deviances, including homosexuality.[25] Some courts began to develop "psychopathic laboratories" for the classification and treatment of offenders; the term psychopathic was chosen to avoid the social stigma of "lunacy" or "insanity", while emphasizing variance from normality rather than simply a mental hygiene issue.[26]"

    It was only during the 1940s when a condition known as what we call "psychopathy" emerged. Replacing the term "moral insanity" since it was not recognized as a diagnostic category. And it still isn't. ASPD is found among 40% of inmates but only 10% would classify as "psychopaths". It is a diagnostic term based on anti-social behaviour, not the inner mental state or character of the person.

    Hans Asperger was also an idiot, he made numerous scientific errors in his papers. He claimed it was male only, and some of his patients had brain damage who he passed off as having the condition. Plus the samples he gave would not classify as having what used to be termed "asperger syndrome" but classic autism or oxygen brain defects.

    Leo Kanner who also documented it made no such errors and recognized it earlier. He also understood the organic causes of the condition while not implying it is a personality disorder caused by parenting or anything like that. His patients even more severe than Aspergers had much better prognoses with his methods. However he has been slandered by the neurodiversity movement while Asperger is a folk hero despite being an anti-semitic nazi sympathizer (while Kanner, a jew, saved other Jewish lives).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ranting Anonymous:
      "a sociopath is not compelled somehow concerning individual actions nor are there cognitive deficits or neurological symptoms."
      http://www.pnas.org/content/113/50/14438.full
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2242349/
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1458867/
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4682480/
      http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/osjcl/Articles/Volume3_2/Symposium/Fallon-PDF-03-29-06.pdf
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4091815/
      A few of 150+, freely available...
      "It is a diagnostic term based on anti-social behaviour, not the inner mental state or character of the person."
      nope.
      "a sociopath is not compelled somehow concerning individual actions nor are there cognitive deficits or neurological symptoms. It's just a character defect".
      nope.
      "[Kanner] has been slandered by the neurodiversity movement while Asperger is a folk hero despite being an anti-semitic nazi sympathizer (while Kanner, a jew, saved other Jewish lives)."
      Old School autistic by any chance? Sloppy in your research methodology?
      Gullible and pedantic?
      Or just your personality disorder shining through in your text?

      Delete
    2. So what is your opinion of schizophrenic people? Bipolar? Alzheimers? Those personality disorders? Asperger syndrome (which does not exist, it's just mild autism) is not a personality disorder. It's (was when it was recognized ) a CLINICAL SYNDROME.

      Unless sociopathy involves executive dysfunction, blunted affect, alogia, difficulty with cognitive tasks, motor problems, it is not a disability.

      Personality disorders do not involve clinical symptoms but only behavioural. ASPD is not identical to psychopathy. All sociopaths have ASDP, but not all ASPD have psychopathy.

      None of those links point to any examples such as cognitive dysfunction in performing tasks or motor abnormalities, nothing pointing to a clinical syndrome, just behavioral tendencies or personality traits.

      And fuck, I hope you are not another neurodiverse Hans Asperger worshiper.

      You didn't even reply to most of what I wrote.
      And what personality disorder are you implying I may have?

      Delete
    3. And what are you implying there when I mentioned Kanner? You really think Asperger was spot on? You think my research was sloppy? Have you read either of their respective papers? Or are you going by the worship and reverence of Asperger the masses today have.

      Either prove me wrong instead of skimming and cherry picking a few "single proofs" you can show, or say nothing at all.

      Delete
    4. What disorder do you have K@

      Delete
    5. RantAnon,
      "You didn't even reply to most of what I wrote."
      guess why.
      "And what personality disorder are you implying I may have?"
      co-morbid stupidity, irritability and pomposity. It'll feature in DSM6

      "Either prove me wrong instead of skimming and cherry picking a few "single proofs" you can show, or say nothing at all."
      8-) 8-) that is so sweet. Truly.... intimidating.

      Anon,
      "What disorder do you have K@"
      Intolerance to fools. But it's a feature, not a bug.

      Delete
    6. I don't know you. Why are you addressing me like I do?
      I wanted some answers, isn't this blog about neurological disorders?

      I mean, What? I have no idea why you are replying like that. Why do you care so much about me? This is the first time I've met you on this blog. Why do you think I am interested in going off topic from the first post I made?

      You are acting very odd. Are you mistaking me for a previous poster you have a history with or something?

      Delete
  8. Swop, first and last. Yes.

    North and anonyous. .. too long winded.

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    1. Psychopaths are more, not less, vulnerable than neurotypicals and their attacks are often* elaborate defences.

      *I would say always for the one I am observing.

      Inability to trust -> extreme vulnerability -> pre-emptive callousness to make someone else more vulnerable.

      No one will admit to it, I'm sure, but that's the pattern.

      The question for a neurotypical to ask when a psychopath misbehaves is "What is at stake for this person?" and remember to imagine a complete inability to trust, even in the face of evidence.

      Delete
    2. I've been meaning to say this for a while. I'm not meaning to offend and I do find it fascinating. Collaboration makes life easier, but it entails trust. I think it's extraordinary the boldness that propels psychopaths through life in lieu of genuine relationships.

      Delete
  9. Hahaha! Bingo.

    Inability to trust -> aversion to (aka. fear of) vulnerability -> suspicion -> hyper-defensive reactivity -> pre-emptive attack to assume a position of dominance -> deflect blame to maintain the offensive.

    It's post-traumatic stress, solidified and cemented.

    Unless it's just fucking with ya for shits n' giggles, that is.
    ;)

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    Replies
    1. I posted that in the wrong place. It was meant as a reply to North.

      Delete
    2. It doesn't *feel* like fear, though. Emotions are blunted- especially fear. We have fear mastered. We revel in seeking out and conquering every vestige of it, by pushing every limit to the max. That's what's behind the boldness you reference, North. We attack our fears, ruthlessly.

      Relationally, this often manifests as suspicion. Suspicion is a form of fear because it reveals our insecurity in the face of someone or something. So we attack its perceived source.

      For many of us, starting at a tender age, that insecurity was warranted in the face of abuse, requiring an offensive, aggressive approach to neutralize, halt, or- better yet- eventually cause to submit.

      Delete
    3. Thanks A. Those extra stages & clarifications are good to note.

      Unless it's just fucking with ya for shits n' giggles, that is.
      Yeah, sure. But why? The brain doesn't propel us towards any activity without reason, it is always efficiently seeking outcomes within the belief system and operating model that frame its choices.

      It makes sense you're rewarded for behaviours your brain considers adaptive.

      Why wouldn't it be similar to the pleasure we feel in being around people we consider allies (or at least relatively safe?) It's similar to the way the body stores fat for lean periods, an insurance policy or mechanism for putting you in the strongest position at all times.

      Delete
    4. It doesn't *feel* like fear, though. Emotions are blunted- especially fear. We have fear mastered. We revel in seeking out and conquering every vestige of it, by pushing every limit to the max. That's what's behind the boldness you reference, North. We attack our fears, ruthlessly.

      Relationally, this often manifests as suspicion. Suspicion is a form of fear because it reveals our insecurity in the face of someone or something. So we attack its perceived source.

      For many of us, starting at a tender age, that insecurity was warranted in the face of abuse, requiring an offensive, aggressive approach to neutralize, halt, or- better yet- eventually cause to submit.


      Thanks A. That resonates with his behaviour almost completely.

      In my experience, he only calms down if he sees I'm also vulnerable, i.e. when I lose my temper at his agitating. But I don't want to do that anymore. I'm kinda at a loss as to how to get him off this silly ledge. He's being very juvenile. Tantrums, calling silly names. It's like he's 4 years old right now. I have no wish to be his mother.

      Delete
    5. He's being very juvenile. Tantrums, calling silly names. It's like he's 4 years old right now. I have no wish to be his mother.

      LOL. Yep. But he will become a master debater and deflector the moment you call him on his crap. He may well present logical, reasoned arguments. He will use whatever devices he can in order to gain the upper hand, and pull all manner of justifications from out of his gaping asshole. All the better to shit on you with, my dear. XD

      Just love the little boy he *is*, if you can.

      "In my experience, he only calms down if he sees I'm also vulnerable"

      Of course. That means he's won. He has asserted his dominance and assumed control.

      Delete
    6. Lol, yes, he will be extremely unaccommodating and I will be equally stubborn and he will ultimately beg and then I will consider that sufficient and he'll get what he wants at that point.

      But I won't pursue that path today.

      Just love the little boy he *is*, if you can.
      That's the art I'm completely unsure about. Is it even possible?

      Of course. That means he's won. He has asserted his dominance and assumed control. I don't mind being vulnerable if it's an equitable exchange. And these big performances of his indicate to me that it is. You see? He may feel that sense of control he needs, but I've lost nothing in the exchange.

      I am just tired of being upset with the silly fellow. I want to build on these learnings, this approach and skip the being upset part. So far so good this time around. The key is calming him down. I've offered cheese. He likes that.

      Delete
  10. Unless it's just fucking with ya for shits n' giggles, that is.

    Yeah, sure. But why? The brain doesn't propel us towards any activity without reason, it is always efficiently seeking outcomes within the belief system and operating model that frame its choices.


    Because it is amusing to watch people flounder from a position of dominance and control. Manipulation is fun and intellectually gratifying. It provides a form of narcissistic supply.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, the pleasure you get is consistent with reward acting in accordance with your own operating model.

      Our operating models are different, but there are times I feel something similar. When I have worked out what he is doing and why, there are moments where I know I'm in control of the situation. I know I could put my foot on his throat because I'm the one who understands the situation.

      But that sort of action doesn't ultimately appeal. Those exultant feelings dissipate and I look for a more sustainable solution. That's the natural process for me. I guess others would experience these sorts of things too.

      Delete
    2. Whenever I sense that someone is trying to manipulate me I usually feel sorry for them.

      I wonder if beggars ever feel proud of themselves.

      Delete
    3. Pity, yes. It's an overwhelming feeling that I wish I could convince him I'm on his side... because I feel that would be easier for him. Then I remember that he doesn't see it that way, he prefers self-reliance.

      This conversion between paradigms... my feelings don't map to his experience the way they might to a neurotypical's. That's a learning process for me.

      Incidentally, it's a new thing for me to experience nuances of sadness such as regret or pity. We were Not Allowed! to feel any sort of vulnerable emotion as kids. They're not so bad, really. Feels much better to learn from what those feelings are telling me than to bop them down instantly as if they were ugly creatures in a fairground game. And for some reason, it works for me to learn this stuff with him. Probably because we're taking things super slowly so I have the space.

      Delete
    4. Maybe some day you'll be able to make some sense.

      Delete
    5. We were Not Allowed! to feel any sort of vulnerable emotion as kids.

      I have to guard against this. When individuals in my immediate family circle express negative emotions, it annoys the shit out of me. At least I am self-aware.

      And for some reason, it works for me to learn this stuff with him.

      Yeah. That's because you love him.

      Maybe some day you'll be able to make some sense

      And maybe someday you'll develop the acumen to see beyond your own snotlocker, and comment as something other than a sniping coward.

      ......

      ....

      ..

      Nah. :)



      Delete
    6. "Snotlocker".

      Wow, you've actually managed to come up with something semi-original for once.

      Delete
    7. "Anonymous".

      Wow, you've actually managed to remain completely generic and irrelevant, for the umpteenth time.

      I'd clap for you, but I don't applaud craven mediocrity.

      Delete
    8. We were Not Allowed! to feel any sort of vulnerable emotion as kids.

      I have to guard against this. When individuals in my immediate family circle express negative emotions, it annoys the shit out of me. At least I am self-aware.


      I watched this last night and thought of you How to process your emotions [VIDEO: 3m24s]

      Maybe, approaching it rationally, you could assist the people around you process their emotions. It's often as simple as helping them to say "I feel x because of y."

      Note, I don't really agree with the conclusion of the video which is that life is more sad than we would hope it to be. We do experience sadness, but I consider that feeling a signpost to what it is we do want, a path to knowing ourselves better, and (physiologically speaking) an opportunity for learning new ways since emotion fosters neuroplasticity.

      It's not so much that we have to process our emotions as that emotions should be allowed to run their process. They are not scary when considered this way. And you'll probably find that when people around you aren't afraid of their own emotions, they are far less likely to do hurtful things to others (since most bad behaviour is to quell one's one pain.)

      Delete
  11. Through reading this blog I discovered that my "mental model" of the way OTHER people are is rather bleak, cynical and sociopathic... which in turn has made me start to wonder if I might be a sociopath myself.

    1) I kind of assume that most of what people say is a lie or a manipulation.

    2) When I see happy friends or relationships, my first thought is "you would betray this person give the right variables of opportunity and I would love to see what happens"

    3) I don't find so called "Neurotypical" people to be empathetic, sympathetic or kind at all. Maybe my mental model is faulty, but as far as I can see most people really are just interested in themselves. I can literally see their total abject boredom and lack of stimulation when you say something that does not immediately relate to their selfhood.

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    1. I agree with these observations and understand with sociopaths / psychopaths find neurotypicals hypocritical.

      Neurotypicals can form strong emotional bonds within alliances. Alliances emerge naturally when people have a uniting goal. Collaboration can be very powerful and effective, we love to have allies. It feels good, it feels safe and moral codes emerge with those emotional bonds... but when interests shift, so do alliances. The bonds fracture.

      I first observed this playing competitive rugby. There'd be social disturbances when someone's interests were affected by something or other. Cliques would shatter, the word "bitch" would be heard. Aggression is mostly always defence or an attempt to secure resources for one's self / group.

      I also see this at work. Being a consultant, I don't stay long in any one place. This allows me to observe how easily temporary alliances form, and how rapidly they can dissolve.

      That's just how it is.

      Delete
    2. Aggression is mostly always defence or an attempt to secure resources for one's self / group"

      Securing resources (be they material or human) is an efficient way to acquire and retain power. The best offense is often the best defense.

      Delete
    3. (Comment Starter)

      Exactly! It seems hypocritical. Now I really find it hard to put my finger on it specifically. Maybe it's my faulty definition of a neurotypical and a sociopath. If I had to broadly state my issue: It seems a broad and expansive definition of a neurotypical is in order (from the sociopath's perspective). Because from my current understanding, neurotypicals ARE sociopaths. Let me explain what I mean:

      1. Like the example you mention in rugby, neurotypicals easily form but also easily break alliances. How is that different from a sociopath? The simple machiavellian act of seeking to maximize your own gain and the "relativity" of your loyalty seems to me inhrently sociopathic... and also what neurotypicals do.

      2. Neurotypicals are all talktalk, but they still act like sociopaths. Now meter this claim were necessary, but let's take the prevalence of cheating. It's a tough thing to quantify and get statistics on, given it's nature, but the fact cheating happens is once again incredibly sociopathic. Few things scream louder that your word is worthless than the act of cheating; voluntarily breaking a promise or vow for selfish gain because the relative situation made it possible. If neurotypicals really were different from sociopaths, they would never cheat.

      3. Again this blog makes me wonder if I myself might be more sociopathic than I thought. But my view of most people is rather bleak and cynical. Just in the broadest of terms, neurotypicals can talk, talk and talk, but the walk they walk tells me: they are selfish, willing to break promises and vows once the context is worth it, don't really have any intrinsic loyalty and only "care" about their fellows in words and token gestures, not their actual actions and their consequences.

      Now this rant is all over the place, but I suppose my confusion and frustration comes down to these questions:

      - Are neurotypicals really that different from sociopaths?
      - In what way are they supposedly different?
      - How would you accurately pain the portrait of the typical neurotypical (in the same manner we have accurate diagnostic portraits of sociopaths)?
      - In other words: how do you define Homo Normalus?

      Delete
    4. These are excellent questions, well-directed. I think there's far less difference than people would be comfortable understanding.

      I'll respond later today. I have a ton of Saturday activities before me, but this has piqued my interest.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous,

      My ears are hurting.

      The prevalence of cheating: You have unreservedly and demonstratively cheated by managing to contort words, or engaged in a heavily-strained exercise of converses, but failed to spot the obvious: feelings and empathy.

      How would you contort a real feeling, emotions and empathy, and actually FEEL like you’ve got the colloquial handle on this?

      Exhibit A:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tr0otuiQuU

      Exhibit B:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGpVWOS6mvM

      Exhibit C:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4wb11w0ZHQ

      Exhibit D:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fl8RzYcW-sQ

      You can’t. Unlike your inductive canards, this is the simplest, most forward, truth that wholly exists.

      You see, this is where you cannot walk the talk, since, obviously, you have no word. No feeling, no word; hence, your confusion and frustration.

      Following with a rant about my response will not undo my words or the truth from above, so do not attempt to cheat via Exhibit F.

      Comment ender.

      Delete
    6. North,

      Your comment shows your candor, uncommon intelligence and willingness to contemplate Anonymous' comment. I respect that. However, please, do not bother with their contortions. You sound far too busy for their strained canards. Besides, your own understanding - as shown through your thoughts - is not something that Anonymous would appreciate or comprehend. Frankly, this individual does not deserve the depth of your ponderings.

      Delete
    7. (Comment Starter)

      Don't worry so much, silly ;)

      Delete
    8. Comment Starter:

      I am flat out so won't do you questions justice, but I will try to give a brief flavour of my thinking in response to your questions.

      Let's take an abstracted view of the human species. Each human organism must solve social and material problems in order to survive and to secure as many copies of its genes in the next generation (inclusive fitness), just as any organism does.

      Organisms interface with their environment through observable behaviours.

      Cognitive / affective states drive behaviours. This is a key point I will return to.

      The key motivations human organisms have are:
      - Predictability (critical for selecting successful strategies)
      - Connection to our social group
      - Resource management (time, material)
      - Fair treatment
      - Taking advantage where we can

      These last two points are most interesting. We all want to be treated fairly, but we all cheat given low enough social risk, or where we perceive others cheating. Think about speeding - if everyone is speeding, we tend to speed too. Same effect in so many other domains. We can't allow others to have an advantage we don't have.

      While these are all very real time concerns, we are also capable of long term planning.

      Neurotypicals have emotional responses to situations of perceived unfairness / reduced advantage that are quite compelling for our behaviour. Feelings must be acknowledged or our selves are diminshed, ie we get miserable, lost, sick etc. We feel unfairness acutely... as Robert Sapolsky points out, we are far more sensitive to detecting cheating than we are to recognising acts of fair treatment.

      Delete
    9. I also think sociopaths are compelled to act on perceived unfairness / reduced advantage, but I think they are even more sensitive to it because they actively pre-empt them and seek to establish advantage. And because they don't feel the protracted emotional compelling we do, they are capable of much slower, much more deliberate action to restore / preserve advantage.

      I think there's a good reason sociopaths think emotional behaviour is manipulative. We don't really see it that way because we understand the emotional signalling of others and we are more likely to start with a trusting, collaborative approach - a view that others aren't intending harm (I think trust is predictive power + prediction of good intent.)

      Now, I'm not saying neurotypicals or sociopaths are cognisant of these foundational motivations. I would say mostly we are not. Recall I said our cognitive / affective states drive our behaviours. What matters is the behaviours because that's the interface. I think sociopaths and neurotypicals have different cognitive processes that sometimes converge, sometimes diverge in the behaviours they result in. Foundationally though, I think those key motivations I listed above apply to both and that threat and opportunity in relation to those are what trigger. Behaviours are our problem-solving mechanisms in relation to these motivations (and probably others, I don't claim to have all the answers here.)

      Some examples of problems and solutions and how they differ:
      Person A (neurotypical) has acted unfairly and they know it. They feel guilty and this prompts them to take reparative actions. This helps them maintain social connectedness.

      Person B (sociopath) has acted unfairly and they know it. They don't feel guilty and don't feel any need to take reparative action, however they are very prepared to shift blame and create arguments to deflect criticism. This helps them preserve social standing.

      I'd say quite a few behavioural strategies sociopaths adopt are more likely to be effective only in the short term, because of the need humans have to be treated fairly and to detect cheating. Neurotypicals aren't natively capable of predicting sociopathic behaviours so it takes some time to twig to the state of things... but that's also why our reactions can be really quite extreme in the end.

      It is possible for us to create more effective relationships once we can predict sociopaths ie to develop a better mental model of your cognitive states, ie cognitive empathy.

      As a quick and dirty bibliography, I point to the work of Robert Sapolsky as a reference, but I have pulled these ideas from numerous sources. Science Daily, New Scientist, anthropology courses, Oliver Sacks (for case studies concerning different experiences of the human condition), Gavin de Becker's The Gift of Fear... lots more.

      Delete
  12. I'm bored.
    Not just of the shit on here, just in general.
    I blame the end of Game of Thrones. For now anyway.
    But truth is, I'm fucking bored.
    I have a very unique and previously unthought of theory on said Game of Thrones if anyone wants to play? No? I understand.

    I'm unsure why that Anonymous ranter has chosen to get his Asperger soap box out in the middle of a public shaming thread...then gets all huffy and upset when The Spaz steps in.
    Good to see A on screen again, though with no one to play off, even her stuff has become factual and [gulps] interesting. Though as tidy as North is, I just can't join in on the story of **_* every single bastard thread, but it gets the comment numbers up at least.


    What's the big deal with public shaming anyway? Because ME got outted publicly...by her own doing...(you don't make a film if you don't want your face known dear) it's suddenly taboo? Didn't do the sales of her book any harm I'm sure, and every sociopath loves attention, her law class could never offer the fame she's gotten now.
    I'm all for public shaming, if someone's been a cunt, call them on it, if someone's stuck a thumb up a toddlers ass, tell the world, let them judge you naked in the streets with a bell (Sorry...obsessed), I know ME has always had a bug in her thong over public shaming, but does that mean she's right? Do we go along with it because She doth say tis wrong?
    Maybe I'm just bored and looking to argue.
    I've no doubt that there's some anonymous toss rag just dying to get his hidden name in print...

    Hey Ve...ah fuck you too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Swop,

      What's doin' man? What's the boredom about?

      I don't know Game of Thrones so can't argue with you on that front :p

      Delete

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