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View Poll Results: Would you choose to be a psychopath? l

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  1. #131
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    I think you may have misunderstood me, I am not saying that all sadists are high IQ psychopaths. Rather, that high IQ psychopaths are more likely to be sadists than low IQ psychopaths, but there could be non-psychopathic sadists and quite a few sadistic psychopaths them may have a low IQ.
    Per study cited earlier, if it is the high impulsivity-antisociality dimension (which implies compromised frontal lobe involvement - the "executive" region of the brain) that is linked with sadism/cruelty and criminal acts, then these are the low IQ psychopaths that end up in jail, not the high IQ ones that end up in the CEO's chair.

    Of course, you might be talking about mental cruelty, which is linked to the drive for psychological dominance. I.e. it's a means to a gratifying end, not an end in itself.

    Psychopaths certainly miss out on the joys of intimate emotional connections with others, but are their lives truly less fulfilling than that of most normal people?
    I guess we can only define fulfilling as it makes sense to us. The main objection to psychopathy is that it is harmful to others. If you are an empathic person this matters to you, if you're not, you're already on your way to being a psychopath.

    A sizable portion of our population lives in a state of constant dread, shame, anxiety and deep uncertainty.
    So you want to trade one disorder for another? That's not a rational or sustainable solution.

    That is true, but pathological conditions are always defined within the context of a society where the alleged patient resides. In our society, pathological risk-aversion is more serious of a deficiency than pathological risk-seeking. The psychopaths are currently better adapted to our society, whether or not that may change in the future is another topic.
    Better adapted like superbugs? Yeah sure, if you want to be a parasite, you might as well be one that's immune to the usual prophylactics.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  2. #132
    my floof is luxury Wind Up Rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Why would anyone *choose* to suffer someone else's pain (while it's happening)?
    Because grace and compassion are the qualities that seperate us from the animals. Both are rooted in empathy.
    And so long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow,
    you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth

  3. #133
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    She definitely has irrational something going on - I'm not sure it's emotions. What I meant by the escalator incident is how she is totally unfazed by the security person, criticising her for something petty and inconsequential. Those people are often on power trips. which are fed by the reflexive deference and even fear of ordinary folks. This woman's attitude of "this is not important and I am not about to be bothered by it" would serve the rest of us well in many cases.
    You're criticising a jobsworth as being on a "power trip" but think the psychopath response is "perfect"? You can't be serious...
    She wasn't "totally unfazed". She was totally crazed. Murderous rage is an emotion. In this context, an irrational one.

    She reminds me of the kind of immature INTx so out of touch with her emotions that she disavows having any, even while in the grip of them. Thus she will claim "not to care" while actually caring more than is reasonable. Beware the shadow and its lies.

    Well, church involvements aside, I consider this woman's quite admirable. Her methods, obviously, are more controversial. I find myself identifying with much but not all of the perspectives she shares, which is why I am not a psychopath, just someone who might share some of their qualities. The big difference is that I do have a conscience, and deliberately cause harm to others only for a very good reason. (Some find even this morally objectionable, which all comes down to values.)
    Remind me not to add you to my friends list....

    The second article is interesting in linking hyperactivity of the dopamine reward system with the psychopathic quality of impulsive, risk-taking behavior. This contradicts, however, the stereotype of a psychopath carefully plotting whatever action he/she is going to take, with great patience and control (like the woman setting up the romantic trio). Is the stereotype wrong, or just applicable to a small set of psychopaths, perhaps those with "high IQ"?
    As I tried to point out,( but obviously didn't do a very good job of) there are two main dimensions to psychopathy. Not all psychopaths have poor impulse control. Clearly the plotters have a better reign on that.

    Interesting. Something drives psychopaths to do what they do, though. Even the woman in the article you linked. She got something out of stalking the man in the mall, or setting up the romantic trio, otherwise she would not have put the effort into it. What was that?
    I have no idea. At a guess I'd say she felt compelled to stalk the guy as a result of feeling so highly aggrieved. This is typical of narcissistic injury. She held herself back though, because she understood that the consequences would not ultimately be in her favour. She satisfied herself with an impotent revenge fantasy.

    Manipulating the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of those around her makes her feel powerful. She is also parasitising / sabotaging emotions she is unable to genuinely to experience herself. Psychopaths are needy beings at heart, like all parasites, they have to find a host. I think you would have to be terribly sad and empty to derive any kind of satisfaction from breaking someone's heart.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  4. #134
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wind-Up Rex View Post
    Because grace and compassion are the qualities that seperate us from the animals. Both are rooted in empathy.
    That's a rational response. While in the grip of that pain, though, you don't want to be feeling it. If you could flip a switch to take away the pain, you would. Not least because it can make you less able to assist*. That's why empathy *has* to be involuntary to work.

    *which is why a lack of affective empathy can be useful in disciplines like surgery.

    Edit. I take issue with the "separate us from animals" bit. We are not the first (or some might argue even the most) empathic beings on this planet.

    I also find anthropocentric arguments of this kind unsatisfyingly circular.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  5. #135
    my floof is luxury Wind Up Rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    That's a rational response. While in the grip of that pain, though, you don't want to be feeling it. If you could flip a switch to take away the pain, you would. Not least because it can make you less able to assist*. That's why empathy *has* to be involuntary to work.

    *which is why a lack of affective empathy can be useful in disciplines like surgery.
    Perhaps I was unclear on how you were defining empathy. I was thinking of more of the emotional variety. Even from a physical perspective, I think pain is more than something simply to be dissipated or avoided. In physiological terms, pain is designed to both signal that there is a problem, as well as to prevent further injury. Emotional pain does something similar in that it reveals disorder within our psyche. One avoids pain at the risk of avoiding a very fundamental kind of self-awareness.

    As for empathy, I don't think that the real value of it necessarily lies in healing. It can, but honestly I think the true value of it is compassion. Sharing in something real and intimate with someone, and recognizing less distinction between the two of you as a result. There's the potential for tremendous spiritual growth in that, I think.

    I mean, someone who was capable of true empathy, but could remain sufficiently disconnected from that other person to continue to prioritize their own wants and needs is my definition of a psychopath. When you break it down, all emotional empathy is is having an adequate theory of mind to predict the emotions a person is likely experiencing at a given time. A person who is capable of that, but at no point connects the other individual's experiences to their own is dangerous. That's what I thought of when you said that no one would involuntarily seek to be empathetic, because of the pain it would cause them. That you were describing someone either weak, incredibly unevolved or outright monstrous. I know you were just describing a rational actor, but even economist rarely take that assumption seriously when trying to real, breathing human beings.


    Edit. I take issue with the "separate us from animals" bit. We are not the first (or some might argue even the most) empathic beings on this planet.

    I also find anthropocentric arguments of this kind unsatisfyingly circular.
    Excuse the turn of phrase. I was mostly trying to get at the idea that it brings out humanity at its best, and probably should have just said that instead.
    And so long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow,
    you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth

  6. #136
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    ^ Exactly. Knowing that pain is useful doesn't stop us reaching for the Advil though. It does stop us tampering with our brains because we can rationalise that we are better off having the capacity to feel pain than not. Although there are people who perpetually self-medicate to avoid pain - we tend to think of those people as fragile or weak-willed rather than adaptive.

    My point is that if we could empathise selectively (ie shut off the painful emotion whenever it suited us, as psychopaths can) that wouldn't be as adaptive for our species, since, (assuming we aren't masochists) we'd likely hit the override switch whenever our empathy got in the way of our interests.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  7. #137
    my floof is luxury Wind Up Rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    ^ Exactly. Knowing that pain is useful doesn't stop us reaching for the Advil though. It does stop us tampering with our brains because we can rationalise that we are better off having the capacity to feel pain than not. Although there are people who perpetually self-medicate to avoid pain - we tend to think of those people as fragile or weak-willed rather than adaptive.

    My point is that if we could empathise selectively (ie shut off the painful emotion whenever it suited us, as psychopaths can) that wouldn't be as adaptive for our species, since, (assuming we aren't masochists) we'd likely hit the override switch whenever our empathy got in the way of our interests.
    Gotcha. Agreed.
    And so long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow,
    you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth

  8. #138
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    Psychopath here (or so I'm told at least once a month).

    I would like to replace the positive connotation of "psychopath" with "ruthless." I believe psychopath should still only apply to people who draw and quarter strangers, because its unfair to those who are legitimate and kind people such as myself.

  9. #139
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Perhaps you felt a sense of belonging?
    I think its more that when they are loosing their heads around me, I keep mine, to my surprise.

  10. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Arendee View Post
    Psychopath here (or so I'm told at least once a month).

    I would like to replace the positive connotation of "psychopath" with "ruthless." I believe psychopath should still only apply to people who draw and quarter strangers, because its unfair to those who are legitimate and kind people such as myself.

    You're probably a narcissist, not a psychopath.

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