Re: Sociopaths (was Re: Reforming Education)

phil osborn (
Sat, 16 Oct 1999 21:50:37 PDT

>From: "Zeb Haradon" <>
>Subject: Sociopaths (was Re: Reforming Education)
>Date: Sun, 10 Oct 1999 18:33:21 -0700
>> >The Standard Diagnostic Nomenclature of the American Psychiatric
> >Association includes in its description of "sociopathy" "the inability
> >to experience shame or guilt" and "the absence of internalized
> >ethical or moral standards of conduct", i.e. conscience, and in
> >general "displays an amorphous hostile disregard of society".
> >
>I remember looking up the term 'sociopath' in an introductory psychology
>book and finding a similar defintion. The only significant difference I
>recall between the definition I read, and the one you cite, is that the one
>I read claimed that sociopaths disregard traditional ethical and moral
>standards in favor of morality of their own invention which suits their own
>needs. It also mentioned an experiment in which a sociopath is given a
>electric shock, and told that in 5 minutes they will recieve another one.
>Their stress responses were measured during those 5 minutes of waiting, and
>were found to be much lower then the control group of non-sociopaths.
>I was somewhat surprised that this is regarded as a form of mental
>deficiency. I have since aspired to become a sociopath.
>The only thing I can't figure out is why so many sociopaths lack
>responsibility, and a respect for the rights of others (i.e. why they often
>end up becomming mass murderers). As an aspiring sociopath, I haven't had
>any problem resisting the urge to murder or rob from people. Would any
>responsible sociopaths like to comment on this?
Typical American Psychiatric Association garbage... Sociopaths are people - or rats, or monkeys - who somehow skipped a stage of development. They either never developed or repressed the capacity for emotional interaction. Thus, they feel invisable. Often the sociopath uses this invisability to his or her advantage. Most people experience a need for honesty in their interactions, as dishonesty deprives them of personal visibility - the other person is reacting to something false, not them. It is the need for visability that is the basis for much of morality. You can't very well maintain visibility with someone who is potential threat. But that's a much more extended topic...
The sociopath often develops a very high capacity for analyzing other people's states of mind, in order to manipulate them, sometimes for what they believe to be their benefit, but more often for harm. The manipulation itself is a kind of symbolic substitute for real interaction. The sociopath plays a role and finds satisfaction in the results in terms of the other persons' behavior. But the sociopath himself still needs real interaction just like anyone else. Thus, sociopaths learn to allow their victims to see who they really are at some point, usually when the victim is totally ruined or at their mercy. Alternatively, for your violent sociopaths - the "psychopaths" - the violence is the only situation in which they feel safe to be visable. They have to have total control. See Ayn Rand's character "Ellsworth Toohey" in the Fountainhead for perhaps the best example in literature of a real sociopath. The diagnostic or treatment literature is amazingly lacking in good references even though psychologists estimate about 3% of the population to be sociopaths.

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