Barbecues and Patriotism

barbecueToday, in the United States, every back yard has a barbecue going. Most of these have the stars and strips flying as well. My email inbox is full of items with titles like “Remembering the Heroes who Fight to Save Our Freedom.”

The one I agree with is from Code Pink. They don’t glorify anything military but manage to have a humane attitude towards the people in “our” military and those outside it too:

codepinkOn Memorial Day, we honor the memory of millions who have died due to war. The civilians and soldiers who have been bombed, or shot, or stepped on cluster bombs and landmines. All the families and friends who have lost people they love because of war, violence and aggression.

acluFor the record, I don’t think our military is protecting our freedom. The little freedom left in this country is better protected by the ACLU. I don’t want to make this a soapbox. But there is so much psychic noise about this holiday that I must raise my voice a bit to keep sane.

noncombatI just read The Non-Combatant by Larry Banner. “A Vietnam veteran, Larry’s experiences were quite different than most of the stories that have been told about that disastrous war. His experiences in Saigon at the height of the war were often times amusing.” I was shocked to read that the big oil companies paid the Viet Cong to not bomb or attack their property. So the Viet Cong had oil money with which to purchase ammunition they used against our soldiers. I already knew everything was a farce  but I was still deeply shocked by this information. A penny-antsy charity is called “terrorist” when it gives any money to a hostile organization in the Middle East, yet these mega corporate oil companies are paying the “enemy” big time and they have a free pass. Kind of makes the whole war a big farce. A show. But a show in which real people die. Fighting for our “freedom” or for a big reality show?

classroomI went to the public schools as a child. I was taught a lot that I came to consider false. When Mai Lai occurred, I was genuinely shocked. I looked around the classroom at the boys there and tried to imagine them as the “monsters” I had been hearing about in the news, people who did things I had been taught to believe only the bad guys were capable of.

manwithoutNot that I was super naive as a child. I had always seen through some things. I was a natural skeptic even about things that turned out to be true. For example, I was told that I lived in the biggest city in the world and we had the tallest skyscraper in the world. I thought, “I’ll bet everyone says that about their city.” But I was wrong. New York was the biggest city and the Empire State Building was the tallest. But this is the caution with which I approached everything adults told me. I could just smell the hypocrisy in the air. The story that gagged me the most was The Man Without a Country. Not only did they tell us this story in school, but they dramatized it on TV. Even as a small child, I noticed the disconnect between the boasts that we live in a country of free speech and the fact that someone should be punished so badly just for saying, “I wish I never heard of the United States again.” It was clearly an ejaculation of anger, not a long-considered position. And it was his speech, not a crime. Unless we have thought-crime in this country after all. Furthermore, pretending exile on a ship where he couldn’t even access a newspaper that wasn’t all cut up was in any way honoring his expressed wish. My hostility to American patriotism probably started at that point.

prairiefireSince then, I have learned a lot, or rather unlearned many myths imparted to me by my “educators.” I learned that the country is run by the wealthy elite. I learned that foreign policy is in their interests. The wars we fight are not to protect our freedom. They are to maximize profits. I have read the book, Prairie Fire, written by the Weather Underground. Sure, I have embraced a gamut of different political ideologies. I was a Goldwater conservative, for goodness sake. But, having been all over the political map, I have decided the revolutionary anti-imperialist ideology is the most righteous. I also admit I am too selfish to have really devoted myself to that cause in a steady sustained manner. I don’t care enough about oppressed people in distant lands to really live that sacrificially. But I do admire those who do. Now, my biggest issue is saving Social Security which seems to be under constant threat. I want social justice but, most of all, I want to be able to enjoy my “golden years” in peace and comfort.

Still, I have a deep aversion to nationalism, at least the nationalism of my own country. It’s not that strange when I realize that many Germans have the same aversion having lived through the Third Reich. A beloved professor of German once said, “When I see a flag, I want to spit.” Well, I’m not trying to start World War III on the internet. Just setting the record straight.

homelessvetA final thought. If we honor our servicemen (and women) so much, why are so many veterans still homeless. I find that truly shocking. When I was a child, the only homeless people were hard core alcoholics and we called them “bums,” not “homeless.” Now regular people are homeless and nobody seems to care. This doesn’t go along with the morality I was taught that our society stands for. As Judge Judy would say, “Baloney!”

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Links

Psychopathy in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s “Reynard the Fox” Fable

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I am sure I wrote something here but all my content has disappeared. I don’t remember what I had here before so I’m adding new content.

“In the beginning of Goethe’sReynard the Fox” – also known as “The Story of Reynard” – the animals complain to their king, the lion, about Reineke (“Reynard”.) Henning the rooster’s daughter, Kratzefuß (“Scratchfoot”) was brutally slain and they all agree that Reineke must be the culprit.
The king sends Braun (“Brown”) the bear to apprehend him but Braun loses two paws and half his head when encountering Reineke.
After that the king sends Hinze (“Tom”) the tomcat, who returns after almost having been strangled to death by Reineke.
Lastly, Grimbart (“Grim Beard”/”Beard Mask”) the badger makes his way to Reineke’s lair and manages to convince the fox to follow him to the king’s court.
Upon facing the king for his crime, Reineke begins to weep and confesses initially, begging for forgiveness. But in the next sentence he basically takes these pleas of guilt and remorse back by accusing the king of not cherishing him enough.
Does he not know all the things, among them his position and power, that he owes to him, Reineke?
He continues to address the rest of the animals present, accusing them of trying to frame him due to being jealous of him, his wits, the life he has created for himself. Finally, he turns to the children in the crowd, telling them how much he wishes they will turn out just like him, the pure-hearted and well-intentioned, yet constantly misunderstood character.
The king and audience, deeply moved by Reineke’s words, allow him to leave.”

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The Mask Behind the Mask

maskbeautyMy mother used to utter the profundity (I automatically discount any words of wisdom from my own mother—as policy, you know) “I am afraid that behind people’s masks is another mask.” Like, WOW! That’s real deep, Mom. But, much as I hate to admit it, there is another mask or series of masks.

I habitually think of myself as “a truth person.” The one item on the checklist which I categorically reject is the one about being a compulsive liar. I only lie for a purpose, not for the sake of lying. But I know in my heart that there is a lot that isn’t for public knowledge. Maybe it’s not what most people would consider a big deal but it’s a big deal to me.

Who am I?
Strange question from someone grandiose. But grandiosity in a mortal being is already paradoxical.

Who Shall I Be Today?

smerdyakov
Smerdyakov with a guitar

Who am I today? I have been different people at different times. Being the literate type, I got ideas from novels. At 12 and a half to 13, my favorite author was Dostoevsky. The first novel I read by him was The Idiot. I decided to be Prince Myshkin. He was kind of a holy fool someone extremely naive, guileless and/or holy. I played at being him, acting at every encounter as if I were him. After about a year, I got so disgusted at all his goodness, I embraced a character who was the mirror opposite of him, Smerdyakov in The Brothers Karamazov. As positive as my former “self” had been, I was now that negative. Smerdyakov was born in a “bath house” to a feeble-minded woman Karamazov once had his way with. He was brought up to be one of Mr. Karamazov’s servants. As a kid, he entertained himself by hanging cats with great ceremony. From his grubby and funky beginnings, Smerdyakov managed to get an education as a gourmet cook and dress as a “dandy,” putting on airs of superiority. Clearly, he was a psychopath or a narc but those terms meant nothing to me at the age of 13. Both he and Prince Myshkin were epileptics (as was the author, Dostoevsky).

cardsWhen I got to the place in the novel where Smerdyakov kills himself, I didn’t hesitate to go over the edge. An overdose of sleeping pills landed me in Bellevue. During the entire time, I was still playing the game. I don’t think anyone ever understood what I was doing. None of my shrinks ever caught on. I considered them actors in the play I wrote, starred in and directed. They played their parts well. I kept my secrets well, too. I’m revealing them now but don’t think for a moment I’m telling you everything. Behind this open, letting it all hang out and letting the chips fall where they may, is an intensely secretive Scorpio moon.

In the movie The Serpent and the Rainbow, a character says, “In Haiti, there are secrets we don’t even tell ourselves.”

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Self Assessment

Why Should Shrinks Have All the Fun?

In looking over the links regarding psychopathy in my Cluster B page, I notice they tend to fall into three categories.

  1. spectrumWriting by professionals. This includes the most important thinkers on the subject such as Hervey Cleckley and Robert Hare
  2. Writing by laypeople who look upon psychopaths as the other. Usually these people are judgemental of psychopaths
  3. Writing by psychopaths, ourselves. This is the most numerous of my links.

Drs. Cleckley and Hare did invaluable work in defining the subject and drawing clear parameters. Although many members of the general public still remain ignorant and continue to hold stereotypes gathered from the popular media, a growing number of laypeople are educated and knowledgeable on this topic. The blogosphere is full of intelligent and sophisticated discussion by people who have read the important books and can debate fluently their points of view.

maskofsanityHervey Cleckley was a psychiatrist, a medical doctor who practiced psychiatry. Robert Hare is a psychologist, an expert on the mind who is not a medical doctor. He was greatly influenced by Dr. Cleckley in developing his own ideas which are now the cornerstone of modern man’s understanding of psychopathy. While fully accepted by his academic colleagues, who, indeed, consider his work to be the gold standard in the field, Dr. Hare has also written a lot that is accessible to the layman. His Without Conscience is widely read by layfolk. In addition, Hare has written for magazines and appeared in popular documentaries about psychopathy, notably, Psychopath Night, seen on UK’s Channel 4, and The Psychopath Next Door. In my Hare Mellowing? I discuss shifts I have seen in his attitude and opinion on psychopaths.

Psychopathy is not listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) so it seems not to be officially a “disorder.” Hare has recently stated that psychopaths are “not disordered” and don’t have a “deficit.” Yet, it is still treated as something only professionals are qualified to “diagnose” or access. The PCL-R is still administered to prison inmates as a way to decide if they are likely to re-offend after they get out of prison. The results of this checklist are taken seriously by the parole boards as psychopaths are considered poor risks. Hare didn’t want to make his test available to prisons at first. He worried that it could be used in a way to compromise people’s rights. passpclrAbraham Gentry has written a manual for prisoners on how to avoid the diagnosis of psychopath. Parole boards deny parole to psychopaths.  Lawyers for defendants have also raised objections to the prejudicial potential of such an assessment. In Abraham Gentry’s words, “Psychology is a soft science. I do not mean this as an insult to the field. But the simple fact is that people are very complicated. It is a ‘touchy feely’ field and different experts can come up with very different conclusions about the same thing.”

One reason professionals want to keep assessment in their own hands is concern at what a label like “psychopath” can do to the bearer of that label. It is certainly one of the most stigmatized “conditions” there is. Sure, being known as a “schizophrenic” can be pretty damaging. But only psychopathy has a moral judgement attached to it. Psychopaths are known for hiding behind a mask to escape such judgment. I, myself, had to do some hard thinking about the consequences before I took the plunge. M.E. Thomas lost her job when her identity was discovered. Being retired, I didn’t have to worry about that. Still, more and more psychopaths are coming out and speaking for ourselves. We are tired of being talked about.

The Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders Forum says, “Obviously, diagnosing someone as a psychopath is a very serious step. It has important implications for a person and for his or her associates in family, clinical and forensic settings. Therefore, the test must be administered by professionals who have been specifically trained in its use and who have a wide-ranging and up-to-date familiarity with studies of psychopathy.” What “up-to-date” studies of psychopathy? What more do professionals know that isn’t available to the public? The only possibility is the brain scan.

One area of science that could potentially turn diagnosis from subjective to objective is the MRI brain scan. Many neurologists claim that the brains of psychopaths have a characteristic appearance that is distinctive enough to identify psychopaths. How exact a science this is has been debated and no clear consensus seems to exist. Dr. James Fallon famously discovered his own brain was that of a psychopath when he accidentally saw his own brain scan without knowing it was his until he pulled the tape off his own name. He wrote a book about the journey towards self-knowledge called The Psychopath Inside.

helloMany outspoken psychopaths have never been professionally diagnosed. The MRI brain scan and the PCL-R are not readily available to people who are not in the penal system and then the process is out of their control. Diagnosis is in the hands of an elite that dictates the terms in which we can even be accessed. Many don’t even want to bother with it. We know who we are and we can pretty accurately recognize each other as well. We certainly know the characteristics on the checklist. Do we really need an advanced degree in psychology to recognize these characteristics in ourselves and others? It’s almost become a casual parlor game to “diagnose” characters in movies and novels. It isn’t official but it is also pretty easy a lot of the time. “This one is a narc (narcissist). That one seems borderline.” I think our guesses are often on target. For example, Lucky Otter said Rowena (in Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night) was borderline. Her mother was clearly narcissistic. Sometimes common sense trumps dogma.

ten signsThe second category above, those laypeople who talk about psychopaths as Other, are equally confident of their ability to know us when they see us. Their blogs often provide questionnaires with which visitors can determine if their significant other is a narc or a psychopath.

When  all is said and done, I’m kind of torn. I like having psychopathy nicely defined. There can be so much confusion where there is no consensus. With all the Hollywood sensationalism, sloppy thinking is always something to guard against. But I also want to have a voice of my own in all this as long as I stick to the agreed-upon definition I think I’m being reasonable.


Links

All the World’s an Arena

…and all the people just players

puppetmasterLife is a game. At least to me it is. When I was 13 and I got myself into a nuthouse, I realized consciously I was playing a game and manipulating the shrinks to “put me there.” It was like magick. I was the director of a play and everyone else played hir assigned role. But I’m realizing recently how the games I’m currently engaged in play themselves. It’s all very interesting. If I didn’t have this detachment, I don’t know how I could endure my life.

One of my games involves being blatantly obvious. I wear a t-shirt with the word “Psychopath” on it. It amuses me how few people take it seriously. Most of them never actually say what they think. Talk about “hiding in plain sight.”  I think they feel tested to prove how cool they are by not reacting. Good fun.

hisfaultAnother game I only just realized I am playing is me getting all offended by people’s insults to psychopaths. There is a rich abundance of offensive behavior towards us as a group with which to play. I recently engaged a “victims-survivers” blog about how callously they discussed us. I mean, someone expressed glee at the suicide-death of her ex, a “sociopath.” I thought they were supposed to be the “nice” ones and we were the nasty ones who might enjoy the fact that someone killed hirself. But, if they can rejoice at someone else’s death, who are they to claim the high moral road? So I confronted them. Another participant actually went so far as to say, “Its not like rejoicing the death of a human. Who in the hell cares about the death of an sbuser?? CD much going in? If my ex psychopath died tomorrow I’d VOLUNTEER to DJ at the funeral!” Now I had copious grounds for offense. She said we aren’t human and she would DJ at the funeral of “her ex psychopath.” At the time, I thought I was genuinely offended but I realize now it was really fun to claim the moral high ground on them. It was only another game, a very gratifying one. They probably realized this before I did.

garretAn episode of Law & Order: SVU called Game dealt with a guy who made a video game come to life by acting out one of the more outrageous behaviors from the game in the real world. This involved driving up on the sidewalk and deliberately hitting a pedestrian, then getting out of the car and beating her to death while taking her money. What I found interesting about this story was the way he reacted when he was convicted of his crime. Instead of showing any disappointment or consternation, he looked thrilled. It was clear that he was so immersed in gamehis game-life, he was detached from the actual consequences to his own person. I could relate to his attitude. It rang a bell.

Living life as a game or series of games is a powerful shield from pain. In the episode, his girlfriend was devastated by the verdict (she was also guilty). The guy, Garret Pearl, was disgusted by her reaction. “Oh shut up!” he said. “Bang bang, you’re dead.” As he was leaving the courtroom, he turned to the prosecutor and said, “Games over. You won.” I doubt that many people will understand why I found this so deeply thrilling. It reminded me of some of my own best moments, that is, moments consumed by grandiosity when nothing on earth can touch me.

A Psychopaths’ Guide to Haters

The internet is a great place where we can find like-minded people. It is also a place where we find people who reject everything we are. Stand anywhere firmly, you will find “haters.” Hate can be blatant or subtle. I don’t mind stirring the pot and fanning the flames at times. I admit it. But I managed to be keep my integrity and stay fair to all. After all. It’s not like they can hurt me. Not really.

anti-psychoThis is primarily a catalog of organizations who have designated us as their nemesis. I have long been aware of these groups/blogs/websites/organizations. I am fascinated at the amount of negativity they direct to my kind. Most will deny hating. Some clearly do. We will look at each one and evaluate their value to enlarging knowledge or promoting bigotry, as the case may be.

(A new blog by Lucky Otter called 9 ways to tell if the victim blog you read is run by a narcissist has emerged. As a person who was raised by a narc and who also married one, she is recovering from abuse herself. However, she has found some of these “victims’ sites” problematic.  Here she provides guidelines for how one can tell if a site is of that nature. Another look at “victim” narcs can be found at The martyr complex — what is it and what can be done about it:

    • Love Fraud. They offer an online course “to protect yourself from sociopaths, psychopaths and narcissists.” This course is not free. In fact, it costs $18.95 and runs for an hour.
    • Stop Romance Scams. It used to be called the battle of the sexes. They write songs about it. Lots of songs.
    • Narcissists, Sociopaths and Flying Monkeys — Oh My! and lions and tigers and bears
    • Narcissists, Sociopaths, & Psychopaths – Knowledge is Power
    • My Sociopath. An empath’s soul journey among sociopaths.
    • Psychopath Victims. An Online Public Users Support Group For Victims of Psychopaths or Sociopaths
    • Aftermath: Surviving Psychopathy Foundation. This foundation boasts Paul aftermathBabiakas Vice President and Robert Hare on the Board of Directors. They even have Mary Ellen O’Toole  as consultant. They are tax exempt, charitable and non-profit. About psychopaths, they inform us, “Psychopathy is a serious syndrome of personality pathology. While most psychopaths are charming curnoand charismatic on the surface, underneath they are manipulative, pathological liars, and irresponsible.” Robert Hare has recently distanced himself somewhat from that statement. He now questions the notion that psychopathy is a disorder. He also acknowledges the fact that it is a spectrum on which some people who fit the assessment of “psychopath” can even be fun friends. I like the air of professionalism displayed by this foundation. It doesn’t get over-emotional and pettily personal like some of them. The video was made in 2011. On the other hand, they also have some weirdos like Winifred Rule. Some of the gals on their Board of Directors look bothered in the extreme.

  • Psychopath Victims. An online public users support group for victims of psychopaths or sociopaths
  • Victims of Psychopaths or Sociopaths. This is part of a larger group that deals with antipsychomyriad problems. Although it only mentions psychopaths and sociopaths in the title, their opening page features borderline disorder but, if you click on the link, a larger window opens on which you can scroll to antisocial personality disorder. Beyond this, one can find the PCL-R. Interesting…
  • Psychopath Free. This is the organization that published the article which I reviewed in detail in my blog, entitled Psychopathy Awareness. The article, Wise Psychopaths, Honest Narcissists, Empathetic Sociopaths, & Other Virtuous Evil People, had for its main thesis the “fact” that we are evil. I have discussed this on the other blog so I won’t repeat what I said here. This site has nothing good to say about us at all. We are the enemy.
  • dangerousPsychopaths and Love. Healing in the Aftermath of a Psychopath. This blog by Adelyn Birch, is, in my opinion, a notch or more above the others. Ms. Birch has shown surprising insight in some of her blogs. For example, Charm and the Psychopath, goes far beyond the usual cliches about “love bombing” and finds the deeper qualities of psychopathic charm.
  • Waking You Up. “Psychopath victims helpline – support groups for psychopaths.”(?!) The work of one Sarah Strudwick, this looks like it may be different. “Having looked at many of the forums who are supposed to support victims some of them are actually run by the same kind of people that the abuser is running away from.” (Um…I think she means the “victim is running away” not the “abuser.”) She criticizes groups that keep people in the “victim mentality.” Good for her. But the title statement that she runs “support groups for psychopaths” is belied by her statement, “I decided never to set up a forum.” Because I think Sarah Strudwick may be a breath of fresh air as she shows signs of thinking outside the box, I tried to find a way to contact her about the anomalies cited above. I would have brought her lipssewnattention to them and helped resolve them rather than expose her publicly. But I couldn’t find such a way and she is, after all, responsible for her own mistakes.
  • Revealing Narcissism. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.
    “Lenora lived at home, till she was about 30 and they ‘finally let her move out’. She probably lived rent free, because her parents visit her every week, so they obviously were not holding her hostage. She also has a dog, which they discouraged her from getting, but she got it anyway, so they don’t control her.
    “She is really milking her victimization as much as she can.”
    Posted by Carrie Doff, The Psychopathy Society, Facebook
  • Female Psychopaths. An oddity named Winifred Rule has the distinction of winifredruleposting in groups for psychopaths where she hawks her wares. Ms. Rule has written a book, Born to Destroy and she delivers lectures. She is also connected to a group already listed above, The Aftermath. Why she singles out the female psychopath is an interesting question. Her blog does not provide the personal story explaining that (or, at least, I haven’t been able to find it).
  • Psychopathy Awareness. Same old.
  • Sociopathy Awareness. “Without Conscience.”
  • Sociopaths Suck. At least they are to the point. We are “trapped in the mind of a two year old” but somehow manage to be dangerous. I guess we are “terrible twos.”
  • Fried Green Tomatoes. Online Resource for Victims of Psychopaths and Narcissists
  • Dating a Sociopath. The person in charge seems to be Nikki (Positivagirl). I first became involved in a thread that turned out to be tedious and tiresome in the extreme when I chanced upon a post in which a victim or survivor rejoiced at the death by suicide of a “sociopath” who had “victimized” her. I thought this over the top even for a victim support blog and I wrote a kind of scolding post about it. The title of the thread, ironically, was Do Sociopaths ever go away — for good — forever? Here is how my participation started:

Me: You rejoice at somebody’s death? Who is the sociopath?
Bluegal says:April 20, 2016 at 3:39 am I do!! Its not like rejoicing the death of a human. Who in the hell cares about the death of an abuser?? CD much going in? If my ex psychopath died tomorrow I’d VOLUNTEER to DJ at the funeral!

And things went downhill from there. Obviously, I consider this one of the more toxic sites of it’s kind. It is symptomatic of much of the loose talk one finds on the internet. We are not “human.” We are “reptiles,” “demons,” and the cause of all human misery.

springfiled-mob
Witch Hunters

Another hater, Mark Passio, has a video worth exploring. Birds Born in a Cage is my exploration. I just discovered another piece of work named Anthony Johnson. He is clearly a misogynist but there is something he hates even more than women. That’s psychopaths. Here is a very long speech about How to Survive a Female Psychopath. Raising butthurt to new levels of absurdity, he bitches forever about this terrible woman he married and stayed with for four years. Even funnier, he thinks he is another Howard Roark (The Fountainhead).

What makes them tick? I found an interesting article about the Martyr Complex that might provide a key to many people’s attachment to victimhood. It looks like covert narcissism to me.

Here’s a new one on Facebook. It’s called Sociopaths are Everywhere — Beware. This one looks very toxic. It has a hideous picture representing, I guess, us. Here’s another one. Mygod! They are popping up like mushrooms after the rain. Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us. This page doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Dr. Robert Hare despite the misleading title.

Narcissists are beginning to speak out about how they are stigmatized on these blogs/websites. Here’s one no! it’s not your fault!— The same writer also wrote a guest post in a blog called Recovering from NPD. I’m glad to see narcs speaking up. ‘paths have been doing this for a while. The post is called Narc-hate site makes recovery hard.

A few of my own blog posts deserve mention here.


Link

Psychopathy Awareness

There is an article on the victims’ advocate blog that seems to be a direct rebuttal of Kevin Dutton’s Wisdom of Psychopaths while bearing an odd resemblance to the writings of Thomas Sheridan. It’s called Wise Psychopaths, Honest Narcissists, Empathetic Sociopaths, & Other Virtuous Evil People, by someone called “Peace.” (NOTE: I was unable to find out Peace’s gender so I am guessing female. Sorry if I guessed wrong.) Update: Peace is a dude named Jackson MacKenzie. He is the author of a book called Psychopath Free and a blog by the same name.

psychopathsPeace deplores the recent tendency to redeem the image of psychopaths in the eyes of the general public. “These strange claims are on the rise as psychopathy awareness spreads. Some from self-proclaimed psychopaths, some from pop-scientists seeking a piece of the action, and some from perfectly well-intentioned people who are just hellbent on seeing the good in everyone.” “Self-proclaimed psychopaths?” Ah. People like me. That’s cool. I think it’s about time we spoke for ourselves. I’m tired of being talked about. But I don’t think it was very nice to call Dr. Kevin Dutton a “pop-scientist” although Peace never mentions names. In fact, even Dr. Robert Hare might now fall into this description since he said, “Psychopathy might not be so disordered and unnatural; it’s something that we can probably work with, help them take advantage of and shape in a way that’s pro-social and productive, good for the individual and society.”

wisdomHe never mentioned Dutton’s book by name but it was clear what he had in mind when he wrote, “What about ‘wisdom’? Maybe I’m a spiritual nutjob, but I thought wisdom was about turning dark experiences into light, and discovering what it is we can offer to this world. I thought it took adversity & compassion to develop wisdom.” It is the very apparent cognitive dissonance in the title of his book that gives it it’s punch and challenges the reader to want to see how Dutton could have made such an audacious claim. I’m sure he is well aware of the seeming disconnect and was up to the challenge when he undertook to write it.

Peace has written as if she knows what wisdom is. Discussing wisdom kind of presupposes those conducting the discussion are wise, themselves. How can anyone judge what is “wise” or not unless one is wise oneself? There are probably various forms of wisdom. Off the top of my head, I would say we are wise in our ability to live in present time. Doctors may shake their heads over our lack of direction but when every moment is brand new, we can experience things others miss. Our alienation is another tool for wisdom. Knowing one is different and having to negotiate relationships with these puzzling, over-emotional creatures and learn their language can give one an mask1outsider’s perspective that enables us to see the society everyone else takes for granted with a rare understanding. Blogs written by psychopaths tend to be full of deep searching for philosophical answers that can lead one to ponder. I know we’re not the only outsiders and each kind provides it’s own perspective.

Peace writes, “There are lots of disorders that have to do with low empathy, but this one specifically describes someone who actually gains pleasure from causing pain to others.” No, Peace. That’s a sadist you are talking about. Sadists enjoy causing pain to others. Of course, a sadist can also be a psychopath. But there is something paradoxical about sadism. In order to enjoy someone else’s suffering, one has to have some sort of empathy. Otherwise, how would the sadist find that suffering meaningful? One can be callous without any empathy but to be sadistic, one has to have some. But he insists, “The idea that psychopaths have empathy is a bunch of word salad garbage. Yes, psychopaths observe & mimic the behavior of others. They learn to understand human behavior because that makes it easier to manipulate it. But empathy isn’t just about ‘understanding’ feelings. It’s about feeling those feelings. Sadness, because someone else is sad. Joy, because someone else is joyful. Find me a psychopath who has that ability, and I’ll eat my hat.” Sam Vaknin has introduced the concept of “cold empathy.” I would think this kind of “empathy” involves some sort of understanding based on a memory of having felt something similar at some other time. One recognizes the feeling, remembers having felt it, but doesn’t need to get swept up in the immediacy of that feeling.


Peace said, “These theories are normalizing psychopathy in society. There’s no dancing around it. They’re redefining good & evil to make room for people who are incapable of ‘good’ as we know it. They’re eroding our values and minimizing the damage caused by serious personality disorders. Are we really willing to sacrifice our integrity for people who have none? To change the rules so that psychopaths can get away with more than they already do?” This is very reminiscent of Thomas Sheridan’s complaint. He, too, complained that pundits were trying to “normalize” psychopathy. He mentioned, with scorn, that Dutton suggested that everyone has a “psychopath within.” In the same breath, he warned we might claim we have a disability and play sickness card. How can we if our “condition” has been normalized. It can’t be both. Sheridan plays the victim when he tells us he took his life in his hands by saying Tony Blair was a psychopath. Uuuuu! Shudder shudder! Scary! Peace manages to avoid Sheridan’s histrionics but still echo his message. “And last but not least, there’s this relentless suggestion that we’re all ‘sometimes psychopaths’, or that we have the ability to behave like psychopaths when the situation calls for it. What the actual hell? I assume these are the same sort of people who say ‘Omg I’m so OCD’ because one day they decide to rearrange their shoe collection by size & color. Personality disorders are not jokes, and they don’t just ‘sometimes’ arise in healthy human beings.” But it doesn’t seem to be our health that concerns them.

I think any point of view that discusses a human being only from the perspective of how harmful that person might potentially be to the rest of humanity is putting a leper’s cloak over each and every one of us.

Here’s a perfect example of what I mean:

Professionals will tell you that they feel like they’re losing their mind when they interact with psychopaths, like their entire sense of self is falling apart with every moment spent in their presence. It’s a lingering feeling that haunts you, long after the person is gone from your life. So if you really think these people are advantageous in politics, business, and relationships, then by all means, surround yourself with “psychopaths”. But to those of us who have actually encountered psychopathic evil, we know that these predators have nothing to offer to this world except pain & devastation.

leperEven lepers are accepted now. No longer are they forced to ring a bell and shout, “Unclean.” Psychopaths are not all serial killers. The public needs to know that. We need the public to know it. If you don’t like us, OK. But recognize that we are not lepers.  We might “walk among  you” and you might not recognize us as psychopaths. We often “hide in plain sight” to protect ourselves from you. I have to admit it. I do not have much sympathy for these self-styled victims whose blogs abound on the internet these days. The thinkers you complain about are only trying to clear up the distortion your reactive demonizing is spreading.


Links

Hare Mellowing?

harememePeople have said that psychopaths mellow with old age. Can it be that the “father of psychopathy,” Dr. Robert Hare is also mellowing with age?

In his book, Without Conscience, Hare wrote “Psychopathy is a personality disorder defined by a distinctive cluster of behaviors and inferred personality traits, most of which society views as pejorative. It is therefore no light matter to diagnose an individual as a psychopath. Like any psychiatric disorder, diagnosis is based on the accumulation of evidence that an individual satisfies at least the minimal criteria for the disorder.” He also said, “If we can’t spot them, we are doomed to be their victims, both as individuals and as a society.”

drlucyHowever, in the video, The Psychopath Next Door, he admitted, “You’re gonna run into one of these individuals sometime in your life more than once and the encounter can be exhilarating, thrilling, exciting or devastating more likely the latter.” Hare said in a lecture, “Psychopaths are not disordered. They don’t suffer from a deficit. They’re simply different.” But he also said that we’re “probably not very nice people.”

An article by Harry Cockburn, Psychopathy may be a result of ‘adaptive evolution’ rather than a disorder, says the inventor of the psychopath test,  says,

etiology-and-cluster-a-20-728Psychopaths may not suffer from a neurological disorder but instead the condition may be an evolutionary survival mechanism, according to the man who drew up the standardised test for the personality disorder.
Robert Hare, the psychologist behind the 20-item test that has become known as the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, says psychopaths, which he estimates account for 1% of people, could be the result of an evolutionary process.
Despite decades of studies, the specific origin of why people become psychopaths remains unclear. The vast body of scientific work on psychopathy focuses on anomalies in brain structure and function as well as the impacts of external factors.
But new research suggests it may be an evolutionary process.
Speaking to Discover Magazine, Hare said: “It’s just as reasonable, and more so in my mind, to interpret psychopathy as a developmental evolutionary thing.
“You can pass on your genes by having one or two children and investing a lot into their well-being. But we know psychopaths’ relationships are impersonal, that they favour the strategy of having a lot of children, and then abandoning them.”
roberthareWhile unpalatable to most people, he argues this method of reproduction means psychopathy should be considered a biological adaptation rather than a neurological disorder.
“From an evolutionary psychology perspective, the structure and functions [of psychopaths’ brains] may be a little different,” Hare added. “But they’re properly designed for engagement in predatory behaviours. They could be genetically programmed, but what trigger mechanisms might set genes off? We don’t know. But we know that environmental factors are also a determinant.”

passpclrHe could have been Kevin Dutton when he said, “Psychopathy might not be so disordered and unnatural; it’s something that we can probably work with, help them take advantage of and shape in a way that’s pro-social and productive, good for the individual and society.”

In an article printed in The Telegraph, UK, on May 16. 2016, Hare said, “It’s dimensional,” there are people who are part-way up the scale, high enough to warrant an assessment for psychopathy, but not high enough up to cause problems. Often they’re our friends, they’re fun to be around. They might take advantage of us now and then, but usually it’s subtle and they’re able to talk their way around it.” (my emphasis)  I never thought I’d ever hear Hare admit that a psychopath could be his friend.

In the Cockburn article, published May 12, 2016, Hare finally stated,

“My view is that psychopaths have the intellectual capacity to know the rules of society and the difference between right and wrong — and they choose which rules to follow or ignore, he said.
“People will say the behaviour is pure evil, but what does that mean?”

My sentiments exactly. As I said on my website, http://www.kiasherosjourney.com/psychopathy.html,

not having a conscience, that is, a feeling that one must act a certain way does not force a psychopath to do wrong. A psychopath’s lack of conscience gives us a choice. One can freepsyobjectively know right from wrong. In fact, the law presumes that psychopaths know right from wrong objectively which is why we are held responsible for crimes we commit. Knowing what is right and what is wrong can function as a guide just as effectively as a conscience. Not needing to beat oneself up with guilt feelings, really causes a psychopath to deserve more credit for doing right. A free choice is automatically a moral choice. But the fact that psychopaths can chose to do wrong scares people.”

checklist

CDC and the Nature of Corruption

funpsyEvery time a heinous crime is committed, people say, without thinking, “that psychopath.” Of course, that kind of knee-jerk reaction isn’t very popular with psychopaths. We know it takes more than bad behavior to make a psychopath (which is why the term “ASPD” can never be equated with psychopathy although many psychopaths have ASPD).

I saw the film VAXXED yesterday. On the one hand, I was disgusted by the hypocrisy of the main players in the CDC who committed nothing short of fraud, a fraud which had many actual victims, and by the hypocrisy of the Lame-Stream Media (thanks, Sarah, for that great term). On the other hand, I felt something like what a shark must experience at the smell of blood.  The prey were going down. I lusted to finish them off. “Get them!” I cried.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield was the first to call people’s attention to the connection between the MMR vaccination and autism in children. The MMR is really three vaccines, that for the measles, that for the mumps and that for rubella. Although administering these shots separately is a lot safer, the puppet-masters of the medical establishment refuse to allow this. The pharmaceutical industry has stopped making single shots even available. Trying to argue with a pro-vax zealot is like encountering the perfect storm. They resemble nothing so much as hysterical harpies, claiming that “science has spoken.” There can be no final word of science because science, by it’s very nature, is changing. How can it progress when all its servants are servile lackeys. What happened to Dr. Wakefield served as an example to anyone who might dare speak out. It was effective, I guess, because few have dared. That’s sad when  one thinks a scientist is supposed to be open and vaxxingunafraid to speak the truth.

Not only are  “scientists” on the one-party bandwagon, the media is as well. One of the top people in the CDC, William W. Thompson,  PhD, was driven by conscience to admit his part in a deliberate deception. He was one of five. The other four destroyed reports documenting the damning evidence. Dr. Thompson saved his copy. What really disgusts me is the way the lame-stream media manipulates the public with scare stories about “deadly” measles. I grew up before we had these blessings of science. Most of us got measles. We were sick. We recovered. Nobody considered measles a life-threatening condition. Sure. Some people died. Some people died from complications rising from the common cold. But the lame-stream media acted as if it were the Black Plague. Good grief! How did the human race ever survive killer diseases like the measles before the MMR? Then we have TV dramas like Law & Order: SVU that show the prosecutor drag a woman to court accusing her of causing the death of a child who caught the measles from her unvaccinated kid.

convulsionThe number of autistic children is still rising. Children, who are developing normally, get the MMR shot and overnight lose the power of speech, can no longer walk properly. Autism isn’t only a brain disease. These children have excruciating intestinal problems. They suffer from diarrhea and constipation.

What’s significant about all this is the pervasiveness of corruption. It seems to reach all branches of our society. People have tried to get Congress to subpoena Dr. Thompson so he could testify and start an investigation. They won’t do it. The CDC will keep grinding along. The “doctors” who committed medical fraud will keep their cushy jobs. The media will keep pumping out propaganda. And why? Because Merck has bought every one of them.

autismI started this blog with the observation that people just automatically attribute every heinous deed to psychopathy. Tina Taylor has a blog specifically dedicated to getting psychopaths out of the government. But psychopaths only constitute one person in 25. How can one in 25 cause all that corruption? I already explored the idea in another blog, Testing Politicians for Psychopathy. The idea that we can get rid of corruption by getting psychopaths out of the government is incorrect, I believe, because the real problem is caused to the power of big money. The 1% can create an atmosphere in which an honest politician who bucks the system can be destroyed politically. The people in power can just throw enough money at his opponent to drown him out. Of course, some of the responsibility rests with the voters who refuse to be mindful but who are swayed by slogans and TV spots. The passivity of the public is as much to blame for the massive corruption as anything.

Why should I even care? I don’t like living in a stupid world. I’m sick of hearing the same transparent lies on the media all the time. And I’m tired of being surrounded by idiots. But I don’t have a solution to offer. But spreading the truth can do so me good and, as such, it’s worth while.

Passion

roseFor those who don’t know, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a television series. A movie by the same name preceded it. The movie was silly but the series was witty, intelligent and entertaining. I am writing about one character in the series, Angelus to look at some philosophical implications.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer has it’s own cosmology. People have souls. Vampires do not, except for the tormented vampire Angel whose soul was restored by the vengeful gypsies he had wronged. According to Buffy, when someone becomes a vampire, his soul dies and a demon takes over. Nevertheless, everyone who has undergone this transition professes to be very glad to be a vampire. In the light of all the real transformations people go through, it raises interesting questions.

angel
Angel

Some people join cults and profess to be deliriously happy in their new circumstances. But others treat them as if they are out of their minds and have them kidnapped by “deprogrammers” who subject them to a counter-brainwashing. If the deprogramming is successful, the newly deprogrammed individual professes gratitude to having been saved from his/her former insanity. From the viewpoint of epistemology, these changes in self-awareness are quite perplexing. Who is the “real” person. The one in the cult? The deprogrammed one? There are many examples of the same sort of mind-fuck. The sober alcoholic, the drunken one? When people can change so radically and so suddenly, we have to ask who is s/he really.

dru
Drusilla

In Buffy, Angel was made into a vampire in the 18th Century. As a vampire, he was gleefully evil. He murdered a priest and took his place in the Confessional to hear the confessions of innocent young girls such as Drusilla. She was born with psychic powers which neither she nor her family understood. They thought these powers were from the Devil. Seeking help in the Confessional, Drusilla encountered the sadistic Angelus who had just killed the priest. He told her she was a “devil child” and that was her designated role. She didn’t want to be evil and begged the “priest” to help her be good. But Angelus had plans for her. He proceeded to kill one family member after another and slowly driving Drusilla crazy. Once she was insane, he made her a vampire. She is actually one of the most interesting characters in the series. She seems to be on a perpetual acid trip. Just like someone on an acid trip, she can go from bliss to terror in a moment. She has strong relationship ties to Angelus as her sire and later to Spike, who she “turned” into a vampire.

innocentdru
Drusilla at Confession

Anne Rice, who wrote Interview with the Vampire, was the first to write modern stories about vampire. The main character in her novel, Louis, is like Angel, a guilt-ridden vampire. What interests me about the guy in the Buffy series is what he is like when he loses his soul again. (One moment of pure happiness can lift the curse and remove his soul.) He “has no humanity” without his soul. Yet, he has some very human emotions. He makes hurting Buffy emotionally his number one mission in life. Of course, before he got his soul back, Angelus was very sadistic and completely without a conscience. He killed countless humans over the centuries. When the gypsies gave him back his soul, he went through a dark period of dissipation. He got it together, finally, and decided to make something of himself. He went to Buffy and became her mentor and adviser. Then he fell in love with her and she with him.

angelbuff
Angel and Buffy

His one moment of pure happiness occurs when the two of them make love. He wakes from his post-coital nap to find himself without a conscience. Angelus is back. He gets back together with Drusilla and Spike. They all agree to kill “the slayer.” But Angelus is more interested in destroying her psychologically. His cruelty takes on a subtlety that goes far beyond mere violence and murder. When he talks about Buffy, there is a quality in his voice that shows a deep empathy. I don’t think we can be truly cruel without empathy. It is empathy that allows us to enjoy someone else’s suffering. If we can’t even imagine it, how can we enjoy it? His voice takes on this cloying quality when he says, “In order to destroy this girl, you have to love her.” All of this is very interesting in relation to psychopathy and sadism.

giles
Giles about to find his love dead

Psychopaths are supposed to be low in emotion, especially empathy. I find I have a great deal of understanding what other people are feeling but with a detachment that emphasizes the understanding over the experience. I believe it was Sam Vaknin who first used the term “cold empathy.” Angelus certainly demonstrated cold empathy for his victims. But he also exhibited passion. There can be no doubt that he was deeply involved in his acts of cruelty. He felt a lot. He was passionate.

jennydead
Jenny Dead

In the episode where he murders a woman and makes the man who loves her think she was waiting upstairs to make love, roses, candles, Puccini playing and her dead body for him to find, everything set up in loving detail. His main reason for doing this was to see the look on Buffy’s face when she found out. Angel gives a beautiful prose poem about passion. “It lies in all of us,” he intones. He draws a picture of Buffy’s face while she sleeps and leaves the drawing for her to find. The others couldn’t understand why he didn’t just kill her while he had the chance. But he wanted to destroy her from within. “Passion rules us all,” he intones. Giles observes that since Angel lost his soul, “he regained his sense of whimsy.” Buffy knew he would kill everyone she loved.

Is passion emotion? In Angelus’ case, it was driven by dopamine, purposeful, intense and ruthless. “Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love. The clarity of hatred. The ecstasy of grief.” I believe he was passionate and detached at the same time. Perfectly psychopathic.