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

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  • Yes

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  1. #71
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    I find this quote actually a bit annoying. It sounds like someone who has had an easy enough life to look around and wonder what is everyone so worried about? While it is true that there are personality types that internalize all the hyped fears they see in the media and learn hyper-worried behaviors from friends and relatives, that is something entirely different from the true nature of courage and fear. I can see that "fearlessness" is simply acknowledging when you are safe and being free from negative emotional baggage. FWIW, many types of attachment disorders are hyper-sensitive to self. Even Saddam Hussein was a hypochondriac who would calm his fears by watching videos of executions he had ordered.

    A person doesn't get to be an expert on fearlessness and courage if they have not ever looked their own mortality square in the eyes, or been physically violated and made to feel completely helpless in excruciating pain. It is beyond annoying when people think fearlessness is the same thing as having an easy and safe life.

    Edit: So here's a question, does Saddam qualify as a psychopath? He wasn't fearless in the least. Tough-minded towards others, but not self.
    How about George Bush who made many tough-minded decisions and yet "Former US president says rapper calling him a racist during a Hurricane Katrina telethon in 2005 was an 'all-time low'", and his worst moment in his presidency. That is quite hyper-sensitive towards self. It would be interesting to submit the name of any of these supposed psychopaths and see how free from hypersensitivity towards self they actually are. I'd be curious to see how many actually are. That part is news to me.
    I agree, I think the idea is a little overplayed and I think the book looks corny. But now you have your link.

    That said, the idea that certain behaviors can be beneficial/productive isn't a bad one. I'm not sure if the suggestion that whoever was speaking (a prison inmate, I believe) was an expert in anything persay, the author is interpreting his response. The point is that psychopaths don't really experience much fear, even in the face of serious danger.

    FWIW I'd tend to think that fear is generally the same regardless of the circumstance. Physical/emotional danger is, as far as the brain is concerned, pretty similar. And while I think nothing replaces experience, mere suffering doesn't make one an expert in anything either. Has to be processed.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

  2. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    I think the author wants to sell books and this will not be a meaningful contribution to psychology in the end.

    What overcomes "psychopathy" is a strong sense of community generated from empathy. When people unite in care and concern for each other they are much stronger than a single selfish individual with an attachment disorder. Also, courage can often overcome "fearlessness". Courage has had to instill internal systems to process fear, so it can adapt to many circumstances. It also is based on powerful motivations.
    Well, duh, most authors who have books are there to sell them. Otherwise, they'd just hand it out to people for free.

    It is the difference between "hard" and "soft" sciences (hey, I'm not the one who decided to differentiate this.) But then, giving them the title of "soft" science doesn't necessarily mean they are less of a science than "hard" science. Psychology and Social Science is often pushed towards the "softer" sciences for this reason, their complexity makes it hard to categorize everything in a neat and concise manner. (yes Freud, the MBTI, and all these other mind theories can be pushed into the "soft" science category.) Unfortunately, not everything can be explain in the particular way "hard" science can, though many people do use it when it is possible.

    We can do MRI scans of the brain, but it won't necessarily explain everything, we can also look through genes to see who is more susceptible to being a psychopath, we can give quizzes in a controlled environment to people who are more predisposed to psychopathy, and we can drug them to differentiate between the real effect of a drug and the placebo effect. The fact of the matter is, not everything can be explained in a sort of controlled right or wrong way. It's like the often debated topic of "nature versus nurture." Just those three words and people can go on for ages.

    But here's the question, how is it verified that the tough-minded, remorseless, even mean-spirited people we see in these professions are actually psychopaths? If actual psychopathy is related to differences in brain structure then has there been research that has performed brain scans on enough individuals to have a statistically meaningful population of psychopath vs. non-psychopaths surgeons to measure their success in the operating room? Or is it one of those things that just seems like it's true?

    In the end what I read is that no duh tough-mindedness, courage, and freedom from negative emotional baggage is helpful in high pressure jobs. That is a completely different assumption from saying that psychopaths make better heart surgeons. It's not clear to me how the scientific method can be applied in valid manner to this question.
    It is generally a predisposed assumption. You are just more likely to get into these jobs because your personality is more "compatible" for these jobs. It just turns out that these top 10 jobs are more likely to be related to people with "psychopathic" tendencies because these jobs allow for it. A person that doesn't like working with people is unlikely to get into social work, as a person who loves to perform in front of an audience is less likely willing to work in front of a computer 8 hours a day 7 days a week in a cubicle. For those two, we have a different assumption in work ethics and personality presumably because the job at hand is counter to their personality (there are many exceptions though, but those tend to be outliers.)

  3. #73
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    But here's the question, how is it verified that the tough-minded, remorseless, even mean-spirited people we see in these professions are actually psychopaths?.
    Kevin Dutton verified that most of these individuals were psychopaths by subjecting them to a battery of tests, including Hare's Psychopath checklist. Psychologists have studied many of these well-respected professionals and see compelling evidence to conclude that these individuals displayed various psychopathic traits.

    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post

    Edit: So here's a question, does Saddam qualify as a psychopath? He wasn't fearless in the least. Tough-minded towards others, but not self.
    How about George Bush who made many tough-minded decisions and yet "Former US president says rapper calling him a racist during a Hurricane Katrina telethon in 2005 was an 'all-time low'", and his worst moment in his presidency. That is quite hyper-sensitive towards self. It would be interesting to submit the name of any of these supposed psychopaths and see how free from hypersensitivity towards self they actually are. I'd be curious to see how many actually are. That part is news to me.
    This takes us right back to our old discussion where you've claimed that psychopaths feel some fear, so they're not fearless. You keep on thinking of this problem in terms of rigid dichotomies, I.E psychopathic or non-psychopathic, fearless or fearful. You've got to stop doing that, there is a continuum between all of these disparate traits. It's not that you either are a psychopath or you're not, it's that some people display more psychopathic traits than others. Obviously even the "pure" psychopaths, if there were any, would still display some fear, but much less than those who are less psychopathic. Again, however, even the most hardened of psychopaths display some fear, but they ignore it much more easily than the less psychopathic people.

    In the sociopath next door, Martha Stout argued that hypochondria is common among people who have a very weak or no conscience because such people are intensely self-centered, so they naturally sense many of the threats coming their way, real or imaginary. http://www.amazon.com/The-Sociopath-...path+next+door Hitler was a known hypochondriac too who nourished an obsession of "dying from cancer", it is no surprise that Saddam shared this trait. It is obvious that he could cope with his fears or silence them enough to take many great risks to get in power, but the fact that he was a hypochondriac makes him more similar to most psychopaths and not dissimilar.

    Remember, the hallmark of a psychopath is not a complete absence of fear, but the ability to blunt those emotions or easily disregard them when necessary.

    Regarding George W. Bush, he had enough psychopathic traits to make the top 10 on this site, but it is likely that he was less psychopathic than many of his predecessors and other notorious world-leaders.

    http://kevindutton.co.uk/psychopathy-presidents.html


    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    That is quite hyper-sensitive towards self. It would be interesting to submit the name of any of these supposed psychopaths and see how free from hypersensitivity towards self they actually are. I'd be curious to see how many actually are. That part is news to me.

    Again, there is no contradiction between the psychopath's ostensible fearlessness and hyper-sensitivity towards self. His or her brain is naturally wired for radically selfish behavior because he is detached from the visceral emotion of fear, but when he chooses to, he can be very sensitive to his own emotions. Because psychopaths are intensely self-centered, they often choose to focus on their own emotions rather than that of others, but they are able to disregard them with greater ease than normal people.


    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    A person doesn't get to be an expert on fearlessness and courage if they have not ever looked their own mortality square in the eyes, or been physically violated and made to feel completely helpless in excruciating pain.
    I don't understand the premise of your argument, why does a psychopath need to experience genuine fear before he can claim to be fearless? This argument is biased in favor of a normal person who can easily get overwhelmed by fear. Your argument seems to fall apart when we apply it to situations in other contexts. Let's pretend for a second that I am a genius (of course, I am not) and I've never struggled with any intellectual pursuit. If that was the case, would you really say that I cannot claim to be undaunted by intellectual challenges because I've never had difficulties in my studies? That seems rather implausible. What about a gifted athlete who claims that he excels at his sport, would you tell him that he can't make this claim because he has never struggled in it?

    Essentially, it can be said that you have certain virtues or strengths of character if you display the core competencies associated with these strengths. The end-result is what matters at the end of the day, how you got there is simply another topic altogether. If a psychopath excels at overcoming most challenges where normal people freeze in fear, he clearly achieves the core competencies associated with the virtue of fearlessness, does he not?
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  4. #74
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Kevin Dutton verified that most of these individuals were psychopaths by subjecting them to a battery of tests, including Hare's Psychopath checklist. Psychologists have studied many of these well-respected professionals and see compelling evidence to conclude that these individuals displayed various psychopathic traits.

    This takes us right back to our old discussion where you've claimed that psychopaths feel some fear, so they're not fearless. You keep on thinking of this problem in terms of rigid dichotomies, I.E psychopathic or non-psychopathic, fearless or fearful. You've got to stop doing that, there is a continuum between all of these disparate traits. It's not that you either are a psychopath or you're not, it's that some people display more psychopathic traits than others. Obviously even the "pure" psychopaths, if there were any, would still display some fear, but much less than those who are less psychopathic. Again, however, even the most hardened of psychopaths display some fear, but they ignore it much more easily than the less psychopathic people.

    In the sociopath next door, Martha Stout argued that hypochondria is common among people who have a very weak or no conscience because such people are intensely self-centered, so they naturally sense many of the threats coming their way, real or imaginary. http://www.amazon.com/The-Sociopath-...path+next+door Hitler was a known hypochondriac too who nourished an obsession of "dying from cancer", it is no surprise that Saddam shared this trait. It is obvious that he could cope with his fears or silence them enough to take many great risks to get in power, but the fact that he was a hypochondriac makes him more similar to most psychopaths and not dissimilar.

    Remember, the hallmark of a psychopath is not a complete absence of fear, but the ability to blunt those emotions or easily disregard them when necessary.

    Regarding George W. Bush, he had enough psychopathic traits to make the top 10 on this site, but it is likely that he was less psychopathic than many of his predecessors and other notorious world-leaders.

    http://kevindutton.co.uk/psychopathy-presidents.html
    Perhaps it might be an idea to distinguish between the psychopathic personality and the psychopathic personality disorder.

    They are easily confused because they sound almost the same.

  5. #75
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    Perhaps it might be an idea to distinguish between the psychopathic personality and the psychopathic personality disorder.

    They are easily confused because they sound almost the same.
    There is no distinction, psychopathy is a personality disorder by definition.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  6. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    There is no distinction, psychopathy is a personality disorder by definition.
    A personality disorder, like narcissistic personality disorder, is a psychosis, and the sufferer is out of touch with reality, so I assumed the same with psychopathic personality disorder.

  7. #77
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    Edward Bernays would love you. For he knew that literacy and education were no antidote the Public Relations and Propaganda he bequethed to American Companies and the Military.

    Edward Bernays knew that literacy and education created the conscious, literate individual, whereas he appealed directly and successfully to the American unconscious.

    Edward Bernays was one of the most influential Americans of the 20th Century. So have you ever wondered why you were never taught about Edward Bernays at school?
    I wondered why American history seemed to start in 1620, and why I had to take home economics when I already knew how to do what was taught. I wondered why my vocabulary was better than that of one of my 5th grade teachers, and why the math teacher cared which method I used to arrive at a (correct) solution. Time is not infinite in the school day, and many worthwhile things were not taught. What I did learn was more important than any of this, though, namely how to teach myself. How to track down things I wanted to learn but hadn't been taught.

    It is a documented fact that the increase in literacy, and the related invention of the printing press, contributed to the decline in authority of the Catholic church. An echo of this was felt in the recent 20th century, after soldiers returning from WWII service went to college in record numbers thanks to the GI Bill, and church participation declined. Education is critical for freedom: education, as distinct from propaganda. We have two different words to describe what are two different things. To the extent that what is presented in schools fits the definition of propaganda, it is not education, and not what I refer to here. Just the fact that education was forbidden to slaves, and often to women, shows how much supporters of that status quo feared its influence.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  8. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    It is a documented fact that the increase in literacy, and the related invention of the printing press, contributed to the decline in authority of the Catholic church. An echo of this was felt in the recent 20th century, after soldiers returning from WWII service went to college in record numbers thanks to the GI Bill, and church participation declined. Education is critical for freedom: education, as distinct from propaganda. We have two different words to describe what are two different things. To the extent that what is presented in schools fits the definition of propaganda, it is not education, and not what I refer to here. Just the fact that education was forbidden to slaves, and often to women, shows how much supporters of that status quo feared its influence.
    Education, that is the teaching of literacy and the literate culture, is a direct threat to spoken cultures. We can see this with the impact of literate cultures on traditional tribal spoken cultures across the world. It has been a devastating impact.

    But today the electronic culture is impacting the literate culture, and we blind to the impact, we don't know what is going on.

    We worry about the impact of a comet, but are oblivious to the impact of electronic culture on literate culture.

    We are like a patient anaesthetised upon a table as electronic culture operates, changing us into we know not what.

  9. #79
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    Education, that is the teaching of literacy and the literate culture, is a direct threat to spoken cultures. We can see this with the impact of literate cultures on traditional tribal spoken cultures across the world. It has been a devastating impact.

    But today the electronic culture is impacting the literate culture, and we blind to the impact, we don't know what is going on.

    We worry about the impact of a comet, but are oblivious to the impact of electronic culture on literate culture.

    We are like a patient anaesthetised upon a table as electronic culture operates, changing us into we know not what.
    I am glad to see you have moved on to a better argument, though one that is still flawed. Impact equates to threat only for those determined to preserve a status quo at all costs. I will agree that influences can often be negative, but (1) this is not universal, and (2) it can be forestalled should there be enough motivation to do so. (I knew we were missing something in neglecting the study of native American cultures.) Ideally, society will incorporate the best of the oral, literary, and electronic cultures.

    This has been interesting, but in the interests of staying on-topic, I will withhold further replies for a more relevant thread. Feel free to take the last word.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  10. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Ideally, society will incorporate the best of the oral, literary, and electronic cultures.

    Feel free to take the last word.
    Literate cultures have devasted oral cultures across the world, wherever they have met. Electronic culture is already starting to devaste literary culture. Our inadaquate response has been to moralise.

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