Can a Psychopath be “Good?”

luckyMy friend and fellow blogger, Lucky Otter, brought up the above-captioned question on her blog. She reasoned, “Psychopaths are free agents. So I was thinking about the possibility that some psychopaths may not choose evil because being evil simply doesn’t interest them. Maybe they just enjoy engaging in positive or beneficial activities instead, not to help others (because they have no empathy) but just because they enjoy those things over doing evil things.” In this argument, she echoed my own reasoning in Free to Choose that pointed out that just because psychopaths are free do do “evil” doesn’t compel us to do so.

In replying to this question, Just Plain Ol’ Vic said the quality of “goodness” required something called a “moral compass.” Lucky Otter agreed that a person must be good “for the childsake of being good” in order to deserve to be seen as good. I guess a child can’t be good then as children just do what is natural to them. Most people think kids are naturally good or, at least, innocent. But this wouldn’t cut it with Vic and Otter.

Alex, who claims to have been raised by a psychopath, infers the “Knowledge” that we do good “only for the deep pleasure of ripping that good apart.” Not being as omniscient as Alex, I cannot claim to even know what that means. We are good in order to rip the “good” apart? Whatever…

Alaina, who does not want to be linked, wisely pointed out that the answer to the question depends on one’s definition of “good.” Lucky begged the question by defining “good” as what isn’t “bad.”

sadistBPD Transformation believes that we only want power to hurt others. Mary Pranzatelli suggested that malignant narcissism and psychopathy are part of a spectrum but said that psychopaths really enjoy hurting people. I believe that both BPD Transformation and Mary Pranzatelli confuse “psychopath” with “sadist.” Psychopathy is more “an extreme emotional detachment” which can make us cold and uncaring but doesn’t compel us to be sadists. Of course, some psychopaths are sadists as are some empaths. Indeed, in order to be truly cruel, one must have a degree of empathy. How can we take pleasure in causing pain if we have no understanding of what pain is in the other person?

prosocialGodless Cranium brought up the concept of the “pro-social psychopath” who contributes to society with actual “beneficial” behavior. Lucky countered that these “pro-social psychopaths” who stay on the “right” side of the law often cause harm in their capacity in corporate business people. The concept of the pro-social psychopath is different from the concept of the “good” psychopath in interesting ways. The moral significance of the “pro social” has been discussed and debated by Tina Taylor and James and myself. The gist is that Tina thinks psychopaths are destructive whatever role we play in society. We just can’t help ourselves. We are predators out to get “decent people.” She only addresses herself to those “decent” ones, telling them james&tinahow to protect themselves from us. This view of psychopaths is very wide-spread and usually accepted as axiomatic by people who have never bothered to get to know one of us (although they probably have known some of us unknowingly — since we are forced to protect ourselves by wearing a camouflaging mask). M.E. Thomas says “I believe that most people who interact mask1with sociopaths are better off than they otherwise would be,” Confessions of a Sociopath. Many people flood the internet with sad tales of how they were hurt by one of us in their personal relationships. Since interpersonal relationships often involve a certain amount of pain, heartache and chaos whether there is a psychopath involved or not, I am skeptical about how much these stories inform us of the psychopath’s nature. Demonizing us is likely to color people’s perceptions of their experiences with our kind. Scientists are forever warning us of trying to prove something with “anecdotal evidence.” My own advice in dealing with a psychopath up close and personal is to remain self-aware. Be honest with yourself and you are less likely to be conned.

The wisest blogger in this discussion, Alaina, informs us that Lucky Otter has actually been bashed for daring to even ask if we can be good “in a certain small segment of the narcissistic abuse blogging community.” I am personally fascinated by this community which I study even as they study us. They seem very cultish to me.

Dennis said something at this point that was so right-on, I wish to quote him at length:

Anyone who has endured the machinations of ***preds*** is likely to think large portions of society is composed of people like those same preds (raises hand…)When one is judged by much of society as if one were ‘not fully human’ (much as untouchables are regarded in and around India) then one learns to ***avoid*** the majority of people simply because to do otherwise is acutely ***dangerous***.

Be glad we don’t have ‘Nuremberg Laws’ or ‘Hindutva’ sanctifying Normdom’s instinct-driven prejudices – as then the danger in being an ***outcaste*** (not misspelled!) would be fully as lethal as it is and was elsewhere.

It turns out he is speaking of autists. He could have been speaking of psychopaths. We have been “judged…as…’not fully human’ ad nauseum. Those who are judging us in this discussion, please take note.

fallonLucky Otter made a very valuable contribution to the discussion when she said,

Someone at a forum I post on said a typical pro-social psychopath would be someone who bounces around all the time, has a high energy level as if they’re always jacked up on Red Bull and never worries about anything and isn’t afraid of anything. They’re risk takers and always ready to dive into new projects and don’t worry about what you might think. They tend to be outgoing and likable and because their emotions are so shallow, they don’t experience much depression or anxiety and as a result seem to always be in a good mood. You would never think of them as a psychopath but they are. True psychopathy may not be a pathology at all but a personality type.

Since psychopathy has been removed from the DSM, it seems even the APA agrees that we are not “disordered.” And, if that were not enough, Robert Hare has said the same thing.

freeMost of the bloggers here seem to make a big distinction between how we behave and what we are inside. Interesting, since that difference was the very reason the APA removed psychopathy from the DSM. Their behaviorist slant rejects inner, subjective consciousness from “scientific” consideration. But this is the very distinction many here consider most important. A psychopath may be a fine surgeon or athlete but he still has no conscience, for goodness sake! How can he or she be good? As I have explained, our freedom from conscience gives us the freedom to be what we choose. Perhaps that very freedom makes a “good” choice even more praiseworthy. We don’t have a conscience nagging us into doing what we think is “right.”

However, as I said in the comments section of Lucky Otter’s blog, I thing “good” and “evil” are subjective values and I reject anyone’s right to judge me. God judges (if you can believe in such a thing). What fellow human can judge me as if s/he were god?


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8 thoughts on “Can a Psychopath be “Good?”

  1. Down the rabbit hole we go!
    If ,for a moment we take God and or religion from the equation .
    Then Good and Bad are defined by the dominant culture in a society.
    And since all societities base veiws,at their core, are based on religious tenets, including socialist/communist ones.
    It is impossible to truly separate completely our sense of Good and Bad from religion.
    An example would be:
    In many secular movements,Animal rights and Environmental groups, the removal of the human race from the world ,would be a Good thing.
    In the ever growing militant Islamic world dying for Allah and killing all those who don’t believe,is a Good thing, even if it means killing all life on the planet.
    Listen to their Mullahs on You Tube.
    Both veiws run counter to natural laws governing a healthy psychological state.
    Both have veiws dictated by culture and or religion
    Even the Secular Environment and Animal rights people.
    The Animal Rights peoples sense of Good and Bad about being Care Takers of the world dovetail into the book of Genesis .
    The Environmental peoples sense of Good and Bad on polution dovetail into the books of Isaiah and Revelation speaking on the End Times.
    It is no accident that these last two movements have picked up so much steam in Western cultures,where the Bible was and is the overwhelming dominant influence on opinion about morals.
    If you are a Good Mongal warior ,muder and RAPE is Good.(an exceptionaly large percentage of Asians have genetics tracing them to GENGHIS KHAN)
    If you are” Mother Teresa” you believe dedicating your life to the service of others, is Good.
    Ergo, no one can have an opionion on Good and Bad outside of their culture even if that opinion runs counter, because you would have to have yours or some other culture as a starting point.
    Your veiws and perceptions are indelibly colored.
    There is no escaping.
    So what is left?
    Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war?!
    Commit ourselves to aimless policies and random mumblings on circular illogical whimsies,while the pillars of civilization fall around us?
    Here’s another question for you.
    Do you donate time to homeless shelters?
    Do you tutor kids in math and reading, free of charge?
    Do you pick up garbage with groups?
    How much good are YOU doing?

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    1. No. I have never donated time to any homeless shelter. Nor have I tutored kids in math or reading or picked up garbage with groups. How much good am I doing? Well, I’m standing up for everyone’s right to not do any of these things.

      I’m sure everything we do or value has some roots in some religion. So what? The raw materials for our values may come from religion or some other social humbug. But that doesn’t preclude our ability to have an independent idea any more than the fact that the material world is run on causality mean that there is no free will. Cause is relationships between phenomena. Will is outside of pure phenomena.

      “Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war?!” Or we can slip into the pit of because and perish with the dogs of reason.

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      1. Well, everything you have stated,dosen’t amount to any original thoughts.
        So apparently it does” preclude”you, or you might have produced one, as an example.
        I have found that the counter culture of the 60’s to present day is nothing more that old Crappy ideas that our predecessors had discarded,now resurrected,repackaged and sold as new and innovative.
        You even make mention on Free Will ?
        Now that does sound like a religious tenet!
        Interesting.
        Secularest thinking runs along the lines that there is no such thing as true free will. That all of our thinking is the product of conditioning on one level or another.

        Your turn .

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      2. So I have no original thoughts? And none of the “counter culture” from the 60s to the present have any original thoughts? Jolly, jolly good. Your confused intellectual meandering is just bristling with original thought. NOT! Do you actually have anything to say at all, either original or otherwise? It is hard to come up with a thought nobody has ever expressed before. Those few who do so will shine as solitary beacons. I don’t claim to be among them but it ill behooves you to criticize me for that as you have not added a whit of original thinking. At least my thoughts are clearly expressed.

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  2. To wish to do no good for those around you .
    And to speak on behalf of others who wish to be equally useless to humanity,is to encourage extinction.
    Ergo you are a burden to all who don’t agree with you,and survive only because they are willing to suffer you as a burden.
    This is all metaphorical of course.
    YOU and your opionion being societal force’s
    Your turn

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    1. I’m encouraging extinction? Whatever. If you don’t want “to suffer (me) as a burden,” you have the option of fucking off. All I get from your surfeit of verbiage is that you don’t approve of me. Why not get a life and enjoy it? Your comments are only marginally entertaining.

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  3. There is another matter – Normdom thinks itself to be distinct from those it sees as different – which is a theory-of-mind promulgated LIE.

    I’ve made comments regarding how the bulk of the *Normal’ (not as in average; Normal comes from the Latin ‘Norma’ / Greek ‘gnomon’ – both of which refer to standards of accuracy used to check carpenter’s work) ; another way of saying this is Normal means ‘without detectable flaws’ /matches the standard *perfectly*) populace is in truth ‘without conscience’ and ‘addicted to power’.

    How? Simple. 1) Normdom’s behaviors are so strongly influenced by matters of social rank – kisses up, and kicks down -that most Normies have NO fixed set of ‘rules to live by’. This is shown by observable behaviors and by statements like ‘everything is relative’.

    Another name for this state of Machiavellian amorality is *expediency*.
    A conscience – a set of rules followed without regard to milieu or convenience – only gets in the way when one instinctually abuses those beneath and exalts those above in the hierarchy

    2) When one instinctually apprehends that all rewards are based upon social rank in Normdom’s purview, then any activity that does not cause an increase in rank is a waste of resources. Normies grasp this instinctually, hence all talk to the contrary is *usually* a *game* of some sort. (In short, the difference between the usual and the diagnosable blessed individual is a quantitative one. Worse, the rule of Normalism is to desire to become more-normal – yes, diagnosable, even – and from there, become GOD. Eg Gengis, Caligula, etc)

    Regarding the above, I found it useful to read a certain pdf file (under the search term “empathic cruelty” psychopath – the researcher postulates that the difference between ‘normal’ and ‘psychopathic’ is not nearly as large as many Normies might think!

    Finally, the chief region where autists differ from Normdom is in the realm of capacity, not desire. There, the gap is far less – and virtue is a matter of resisting a potent impulse which can be gratified.

    It is exceedingly difficult to *game* people when you are commonly *blind and deaf* to their thoughts and feelings -and NO amount of ‘social skills train /and use / etc is going to create the correct instinctual sense needed.

    That would need a brain transplant – and those are not currently possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not completely sure what a conscience even is. People supposedly feel guilty for things they’ve done that violate their sense of right and wrong. But they are often such puppets that they can be made to think they are doing “right” whenever they support their society. When they do feel guilty, it is usually for something that isn’t even their fault.

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