Friday, June 29, 2018

London in an efficient week

I met so many people in London, it was my busiest time traveling. So I'll give you a brief rundown:

First day back in London I meet up with M to attend Evensong at Westminster Abbey. Worth going! Also worth it to get in line early to get better seats (see photo from my very fancy seat). Afterwards we walk north to Trafalgar Square and eat in the crypt of St. Martin in the Fields. He is a therapist and practices meditation. He taught mea simple breath focus meditation, which was actually very nice to do and even though I have since been bad at practicing it, I do sometimes try to do a form of it when I have a gap of time or want to collect my thoughts. M was an interesting non sociopath guy to talk to because he had this sort of past history of not choosing right things and not loving people the right way. But he learned that being a channel of peace augments him and he becomes more peaceful more grounded. Evil depletes him and gives him pain, as well as other people. It's purely self interested to choose peace because you like the results. Altruism is just selfishness.

I liked this attitude. It reminded me of my own belief that it seems like we are all cells of the
multicellular organism of humanity and to oppose another person is really to oppose yourself.

The next day I went to the Harry Potter Exhibit at the National Library (the magna carta!) and met another new friend (he identifies a little aspie) at the Natural History Museum and walked around a bit. Natural History Museum had some of his favorite architecture, and it was really beautiful inside, particularly the huge whale skeleton. This is by a bunch of other museums you could check out, but we went to South Kensington (I think!) for tapas. Lovely neighborhood, good food and good company. We hang out talking about the writer's life visiting several pubs (diet coke!), ending up at a Covent Garden pub.

The following day I walk around Parliament area (spent 10 minutes seeing a ceiling full of Titians in the Whitehall Banqueting House, which was beautiful, but I did it for the toilet and because free with London Pass -- really exquisite toilets) the river cruise to the Tower, all London Pass items, and meet a new friend H. H relates with some aspects of sociopathy but not all. She tells me about how her work involves monitoring other employees at the same office. There's one person in particular that people love to hate at her office. She targets him as well in her professional capacity, but she is careful to never target him for the same behavior twice. Why? because then he would get fired and she would no longer have anyone to play with at work. She can't pick on just anyone, for instance not the older lady who brings baked goods for everyone after long weekends. That would make her a monster in the eyes of her co-workers. So she keeps this guy around, like a cat playing with a mouse. We got on a Jack the Ripper tour with a walking tour company that was excellent and does a lot of other walking tours around London. I think the London Pass offered some discount or something free, but still paid 10 pounds or something.

The next day I do the hop on hop off bus tour, but it is Lent so St. Paul's is only open for worshippers. I worship! In the afternoon I meet up with my new friend M, who is a full dandy and one of these charming sociopaths that can (and possibly has) conned a lot of people out of their money. He meets me in the National Gallery (after I think I mistakenly told him the National Portrait Gallery) and takes me on an impromptu tour of all his favorites, because like all good seducers, he knows enough about everything to make him seem like an indispensable dinner companion. How is Caravaggio so sensual! (Pictured) After, he gets wine and I get tea but we sit (allegedly) in the wrong place. How do others react to this, I wondered, as I watched him charmingly sidestep the server's rudeness while also placating her by asking for a menu. We sat there for hours while he tried (pretty successfully!) to convince me that conspiracy theories often have truth to them. I know from experience how easy it can be to manipulate people, particularly into believing things that they would rather believe than what may be an unpalatable truth. That's how he acted, but the things that I found most compelling (and probably most honest) were his struggles to find meaning after his father's death. We spoke about theodicy and how in his mind the "moral lesson you get from studying the world is whoever created it is morall horrible because every situation ends in the death of the person who is playing." He also has an Ann in his life, a person who is a guide to the world of people that he doesn't understand and explains he funny feelings that he provokes in others either on purpose or on accident that can either help or hurt him -- explain to him the assumptions that people make about him and helps make him more aware of what aspects of him provoke these reactions. He told me "I'm just interested in brilliance," and only as I write this now do I see how this sort of attitude could provoke the ire of people around him that are perhaps less secure in their own luster. I understand a little better now the reaction that many people had when reading about me, that I came off as being intolerably narcissistic. He even shared with me some reactions from friends who had grown increasingly intolerant of him. But I did not experience him that way, and I was sad to think about the people who (I believed) had mischaracterized and misunderstood him.

The next day I do a bunch of other London things on the London Pass, like the Shard viewpoint, the Tower Bridge, the London Bridge Experience (they pointed me out as the witch and were going to burn me?) and then meet up with my new friend V at the Barbican because he finds brutalist architecture to be soothing. Also close to the Roman wall. V says something that I have repeated a lot before, that one of the first ways he looks to identify sociopaths is that they struggle to find meaning. If the hollowness is unbearable to the person, that's likely just depression or something else. If there's no real emotional value placed on the lack of meaning, if there's just a straight acknowledgment that it's there, that person is more likely a sociopath. He has sociopathic traits himself. He needs a lot of novelty. Every place he has quit from is because he "ran out of dragons, after that it was just the grind." He has a friend that is probably more sociopathic than he is. She has a similar love hate relationship with work. She uses it to to give her less of a sense of emptiness, but when she is worn out she dreams of being the CEO of her own company. He thinks the only reason she hasn't don't it yet is because she's very half-hearted about things. She says things like "will I ever feel anything again?" His friends say he's manipulative. His mom says he just wants ohter people to be his puppet. He admits he likes to mess with other people. "I'm the main hero in my own work of art." "I am the work of art." This is the sort of statement you'd expect to hear from a total blowhard, but he isn't at all. He's soft spoken, unassuming. Compared to the dandy, he is much more likely to just blend in. If I met him outside of this context (in real life), I would never suspect him of having sociopathic tendencies. But when you talk to him, it's clear that a lot of his choices are motivated by sociopathic thinking. For instance, he says he doesn't do revenge, he does payback. He also has characteristics that sociopathic minded people who are higher on the trait of conscientiousness have, e.g. his therapist says that he struggles with perfectionism. He is very principled.

He thinks we can think nicely about stuff but we first need to get real about what we do. He believes that it is best to harshly acknowledge your own thoughts. For example, if I got annoyed at the person on the escalator (story from the book) because I am annoyable and I acknowledge that about myself, I have a greater opportunity to control my behavior that stems from my annoyance. He believes that the purpose of life is the Project of Being -- that existence in itself is a force and a project. H believes we're not living for ourselves, we're just a part of being and we need to not be petty and dwell on our sufferings. So he sounds a little almost Buddhist influenced, and cites Socrates as an influence. But also his favorite column is Modern Love in the New York Times. He avoids lying because at some point there will be some resolution between the lie and the truth. He thinks of love as a choice, as a project that he has decided to take on. But in general he tries not to pretend to be anything he's not, even though people think that though "sociopath" is seen as a disorder and it puts people off. But his mom taught him to never pretend to be something he's not. And he believes that ultimately the cost benefit doesn't make pretending worth it. "never being something you're not makes you invulnerable." "If you never pretend, it teaches you fearlessness." This absolutely resonates with me.

My last day in London was spent doing some clean up for the London Pass activities and meeting up with a young man at the Tate Modern, a man who had a high school classmate who was sociopath and one who had asperger's and we chatted about how those two interacted. Heads up! Don't eat mushy peas by themselves, just with the fish and chips. 

Taking the underground was really easy and efficient for me. They have an Oyster card you can get and just get a week pass. Look into this, but there's something more efficient about getting the Oyster card in London, rather than getting a traveller version. If you have touchless credit cards, you can also just use those? Or Apply Pay. I would suggest going that route. 


  1. But did you catch that Mr. Mime in your bus photo?

  2. M.E. on Twitter: Isn’t the main advantage of non-sociopaths supposed to be that they can’t selectively turn off their empathy?

    Whut? Why? Who said that and what are their credentials?

    Non-psychopaths like to deal with each other because we can build trust and are more inclined to be fair.

    People are attributing that to empathy, but it's more complex.

    I believe it was @Kat that wrote psychopaths are unaccommodating. Yes, that's the problem non-psychopaths have with psychopaths. The degree of unaccommodating-ness is so extraordinary it's beyond our conception of humanity, hence the label of... monsters.

    It's unwillingness to accommodate that mystifies. It's manipulation rather than trust that flummoxes. These behaviours are anti-collaboration and anti-trust: they go against everything we know about relationship.

    Empathy and lack thereof are maybe more like convenient targets. The burning question we have is why don't you care? Why do you manipulate and not trust? Why are you so cold? Why won't you respond to my attempts to negotiate? Can't you see I'm on your side? Why are you being so stubborn? Why are you taking advantage of everything I say? Why aren't you being fair?

    Science is telling us more and more about our wiring for tribalism. Oxytocin facilitates bonding within a tribe and exclusion of outsiders. The empathy levels of any non-psychopath vary immensely depending on social hierarchy and groupings and most people are very comfortable with that.

    Copies of genes in the next generation. All behaviours are about that.

    1. Tribalism is a primitive behavior. When people group together it almost always ends up being destructive in some way.

    2. Hi Anon, this is true, and it's actually the point I am making.

      People are more likely to transcend the defensive stance of tribalism when they feel safe and when they perceive benefit. The human race is getting better at utilising diversity.

      To understand is to know what to do

  3. Tribalism is a forfeiture of mental clarity. The same type of poor decision-making that can drive someone to commit suicide. As one shrewd poster put it "stress and emotional resiliency threshold impressively superior to that of their children..."

    1. Tribalism has also meant survival. That doesn’t mean it’s optimal; it means it’s effective enough to see copies of genes in the next generation.

      I often read psychopaths write about factors driving one to suicide. Sometimes they say they could make someone commit suicide. This is very curious. Can you explain the interest? Thankyou.

      (**-* doesn’t talk about this, but he talks in a similar way about people becoming terrorists through recruitment. My guess is that psychopaths are fascinated by these odd behaviours that would never enter their minds to do.)

    2. I read about psychopaths expounding these interests as well. I can explain the interest.
      For example, if someone has a sadistic explosive angry frustrated personality style with a perfectionist obsessive-compulsive ideation, the best avenue is to raise their blood pressure if they fancy being a snare or inconvenience toward you. Absolute boobus. Arrantly self-inflicted.
      Some might argue that, in a utilitarian sense, it's better for someone to commit suicide rather than being saved and guided through emotional and behavioral services. You have to factor the cost/ benefit payback, time defferal, opportunity costs, etc. peculiar to the worth of that individual. It all comes out of the taxpayer's pockets.

    3. Ok, I see. Thanks.

      Interesting regarding the health services perspective. I'm guessing this is rhetorical and you don't actually prepare economic decision models? Governments like to do that sort of cost-benefit analysis, of course, when deciding what to do with tax-payer money. There's a business case for everything, ha.

    4. Indeed, I'm surreptitious.

  4. I think it´s very true that socios lack life-meaning. And many cannot be the power-stereotype due to that lack of direction. They are lost in a society where few people get anywhere without long education. But perhaps it doesn´t matter: getting "there" will not make much difference to such people. Same void there, most likely. But passive socios may see this as a "bleak paradise", their lack of interest in material things perhaps saves them?

    1. Why should it be necessary for life to have meaning.

      It's only because we're constrained by time that we look for meaning, but in reality existence is endless.

    2. Why should it be necessary for life to have meaning?
      I really like this question. For me its not as much about time restraints as it is about consciousness.
      Once we become conscious of different types of consciousness in the world we seem to almost work backwards, trying to link that to some type of meaning to explain the diversity.
      Maybe it is just a spread out map detailing that we are all in a constant state of flux. Moving thru higher and lower states of consciousness.
      Perhaps that constant state of tides coming and going is the only true meaning we should ever aspire to. To accept that is something concrete and physical at least.

  5. They (individually) are lost in a society (en masse) where -> few people -> get anywhere.. This is a dumb statement.

    1. Most socios dont have the stamina for university. It´s part of the condition: aimless existence.

    2. Well.. I think it's more "going upstream" rather than having an incapacity to succeed in a college. Think about it.. Many people don't have the capacity to cope with life...

    3. And many "hamsters" (career sociopaths able to cope with college) fail miserably when they get the "wheel", the high position, they want. Because their only motivation was to get there. Drifters.

    4. Like, what high position are we thinking of? State Rep? Electricians, clerks, and waitresses become state reps. Small timers.
      You have to wonder, if these people are so lofty, what the hell are they doing? Why are they doing this?
      I disagree that their only motivation is "getting the wheel." For example, a guy I know was turned out by the Governor. Certainly, his only motivation wasn't "getting there."
      Another guy had a heart attack. It's a shame because it was in pursuit of wealth and aggrandizing his business. Really, that's where his mind was...

    5. The career socio is deluded by money & power (control). But its futile. Its like a dying persons wheezing about his money the last few hours. What kind of person is that? An ant. But a relevant question is: what are such people supposed to do? Somehow nature programmed them with their mania. Same problem as addicts face: to want to quit destructive behaviour. Not that easy.

    6. I don't see why a sociopath's ruthless pursuit of money and power entails delusion/ unreality.
      Or, how these ends are futile because of that guy.
      Or, how carreer socio's affixiation with money/ power is likened to that guy.
      I also think the notions that sociopaths have a poorly-integrated mania, and have a problem/want/need toward quitting destructive behavior are unintelligible.

    7. Mortal "skinsacks" pursuit of godlike status clearly shows delusion. Such things should worry about keeping their shirts free from food-stains & how to handle their dying with some dignity.

    8. This is confusing. I'm not sifting through this redundant verbiage.

    9. Using names helps with tracking through conversations :)

      It's worth remembering that socios are also adept at self-manipulation. They frame their perceptions of situations in a way to make them acceptable and manageable.

      It's a clever trick!

      Lots of people rely on religion or faith of some sort. Socios find ways to command their own destiny - even if it means tweaking perceptions of reality. No wonder they don't get depressed; they are very resilient in finding paths to what they want. I call it "super-agency", even if it is part make-believe. The human imagination is a huge player in how we experience reality.

    10. Socios are "thing"-oriented. Small events, like organizing their wardrobe, can have profound effect on a lost specimen. Just as long as they do not get obsessed with getting more things, this probably is harmless..

    11. "organizing their wardrobe can have profound effect on a lost specimen." o_O ... what?

  6. Thoughts on the narcissist sociopath and personal relationships with them.

  7. Nice read ty for sharing. Love the photos as well.


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