Hogwarts and Psychopathy

This started out as a discussion of whether Albus Dumbledore was a psychopath. I didn’t think so and I still don’t but my blog has expanded to the larger question of who in Harry Potter was a psychopath and on basic questions of theology/metaphysics. This is by no means an exhaustive discussion of the topic. I haven’t even touched upon Snape. Oh, well… — Yours truly.


James, blogging on No Psychos, No Druggies, No Stooges, wrote Psychopaths Are Awesome/Psychopaths Are Terrible. In the comments section, James suggested something that seemed very far-fetched to me at the time…

Frances Nowve 11:30 on August 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

Great topic. If you want some more ammo for the Psychopaths are Awesome, try http://www.kiasherosjourney.com/psychopathy.html [My note: The url no longer exists. But this blog, Cluster B, takes up where the other left off.]

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  • James 08:38 on August 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

    I’ve actually read the damn thing now, Frances, and it’s good. Really good. I’ve often wondered what an older psychopath would sound like and the answer is “wise”. Let me ask you a question, what do you think of Professor Dumbledore as a psychopath? One who has chosen the ‘good’ (which of course he changes the definition of throughout his life), as in your article.


    • Frances Nowve 13:10 on August 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Well Dumbledore was into that whole “for the greater good” thing. But he broke with Grindelwald when his sister died. I think he probably was a narc and Grindelwald a psychopath. Both were totally grandiose but Dumbledore was more inclined to be the great benefactor and Grindelwald more into the power of their great plans. Dumbledore drew back from his grandiose plans when he saw someone get hurt. He refused to become Minister of Magic because he no longer thought he could be trusted with great power. He showed remorse there. But I think he made a great narc. Lots of narcissistic supply as headmaster of Hogwarts.

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      • James 13:25 on August 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, and of course he played out his desire for power on a smaller scale, with the school in general, but more particularly with Harry, Snape and Fudge, even Voldemort I suppose was like a fun chess game. I can see him not being overly concerned with how ‘evil’ Grindelwald and Voldy were; he only acted against them when he thought his interests (his status as most powerful wizard in Britain / Europe) threatened.


dumbledore-grindelwaldAs an avid fan of Harry Potter, I had thought a lot about Dumbledore and even wrote a post about him on another blog, House of Slytherin. The blog was called The Big Picture. It is based almost entirely on the last book of the series, Book 7, HP and the Deathly Hallows. As I said in that post, finding out that Dumbledore wasn’t a perfect saint certainly made him more interesting to me. I can well relate to his intellectual gyrations with Grindelwald. Wizards certainly did have more power than muggles and why should they have to hide instead of using the superior power that they albusgellertnaturally owned to choose how they wanted to live? Dumbledore insisted that wizards take power For the Greater Good instead of just for their own self-interest. In this way, he showed narcissistic traits. Narcs always want to see themselves as great benefactors in one way or another. Although grandiosity is more readily associated with narcissism, in a way, ‘paths are more grandiose in that we don’t need the world to admire us. We can admit to not giving a damn, including not caring what people think of us. James mentions Dumbledore acting “when he thought his interests (his status as most powerful wizard in Britain / Europe) threatened.” Dumbledore really cared about his status in the eyes of others. Of course, even Voldemort showed some interest in how he was perceived or else why did he insist on fighting Harry one-on-one to prove his might? It’s hard to be completely indifferent to how the world sees us. Even a blog like my own reveals an interest in how I look to the world.

dumbledorepotionBut more significant is how one relates to guilt or the absence thereof. When Dumbledore drank the potion that was guarding a horcrux, he broke down

…he sank to his knees, shaking uncontrollably.

“It’s all my fault, all my fault,” he sobbed. “Please make it stop, I know I did wrong, oh please make it stop and I”ll never, never again … ” … “Don’t hurt them, don’t hurt them, please, please, it’s my fault, hurt me instead…”

aberforth.jpgOf course, the very fact that he insisted on drinking that potion instead of letting Harry drink it showed a willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the world. This was the mature Dumbledore whose idea of what that term really meant had developed far past his youthful vision. As I discussed in my other essay on Dumbledore, he and Aberforth represented two different approaches. Aberforth’s kindness, his nurturing empathetic approach was highly personal. He could love his sister in the flesh. It was kind of motherly, the ability to focus so much energy into meeting the needs of a actual person. Albus focused on the larger picture. Freeing the world from the tyranny of Voldemort certainly helped more people than Aberforth ever could. Each cared for others in his own way. Neither was a psychopath.

gellert2Grindelwald was more likely a psychopath. Not only did he show no conscience, he was a joyous person. “Harry could still see the blond-haired youth’s face; it was merry, wild; there was a Fred and George-ish air of triumphant trickery about him. He had soared from the windowsill like a bird…” After he lost the dual with Dumbledore, Grindelwald was imprisoned in Nurmengard. Prison hadn’t been good to Grindelwald. When Voldemort finally caught up with him,

grindelwald_nurmengardThe emaciated figure stirred beneath its thin blanket and rolled over toward him, eyes opening in a skull of a face. . . . The frail man sat up, great sunken eyes fixed upon him, upon Voldemort, and then he smiled. Most of his teeth were gone…

“So, you have come. I thought you would … one day. But your journey was pointless. I never had it.”

Ravaged by time and hardship, Grindelwald was defiant and unbroken.

deathly-hallows-harry-potter-horcrux-locket-ravenclaw-Favim.com-306623There is an irony involved with the whole issue of wizards dominating muggles. Although, individually, wizards were a lot more powerful, there was also the question of power among wizards. As a group wizards could control muggles as a group. But the wizards had to decide how to go about it. The Elder Wand could make immense difference in what wizard reigned supreme over the other wizards. The struggle for power among wizards got all tangled up in issues like horcruxes or deathly hallows. In the end, only one person could reign supreme. Voldemort was forced to kill the man he thought was his most loyal follower in order to get the Elder Wand to obey him.

Rowling depicted Voldemort’s spirit after his death in pathetic terms.

voldemortdeadIt had the form of a small, naked child, curled on the ground, its skin raw and rough, flayed-looking, and it lay shuddering under a seat where it had been left, unwanted, stuffed out of sight, struggling for breath.

He was afraid of it. Small and fragile and wounded though it was, he did not want to approach it. Nevertheless he draw slowly nearer, ready to jump back at any moment. Soon he stood near enough to touch it, yet he could not  bring himself to do it. He felt like a coward. He ought to comfort it, but it repulsed him.

“You cannot help.” [Dumbledore said.]

caduceusHere, I find a fundamental difference between Rowling’s philosophy and my own. I look to a universe in which everything is reconciled. The idea that anything and/or any person should be irredeemable strikes me as a Christian idea in which “good” and “evil” are diametric opposites never to be reconciled with one and other. I reject this notion with my most basic core. Someone once asked Athena Walker if she thought she was “evil.” “Evil, for having been born?” she replied. I see “evil” as a subjective value of our finite consciousness. So much of our own self-interest is invested in our notion of “evil.”

If Voldemort ended up in such a wretched condition, what about Grindelwald? Rowling/Dumbledore provided a way out of that dilemma.

remorse“They say he showed remorse in later years, alone in his cell at Nurmengard. I hope that it is true. I would like to think he did feel the horror and shame of what he had done. Perhaps that lie to Voldemort was his attempt to make amends … to prevent Voldemort from taking the Hallow …”

“..or maybe from breaking into your tomb?” suggested Harry, and Dumbledore dabbed his eyes.

damnationPrecious remorse! And, without it, I suppose we are irredeemable? Well, Rowling probably believes so. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that, if “God” exists and “He” damns a single soul, “He” is evil. I can’t accept a wise and “loving” God whose love is weaker than our human categories. There is more in Heaven and Earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy. It’s was good enough for Shakespeare and it’s good enough for me.

Who Are the Good Guys?

evilpsychopathsI have already talked about People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck, M.D., who subtitled his book The Hope for Healing Human Evil. As a psychopath, I am used to being called “evil.” Even those who are too politically and scientifically correct to use the word “evil,” seem to mean the same thing using more neutral language. For example, Tina Taylor, author of No Psychos, No Druggies, No Stooges, said, “Psychopathy is a neurological disorder that makes them extremely self-serving, with little empathy and no conscience. This means that they will take advantage of you to no end.” For that reason, Ms.Taylor thinks we should give all politicians a brain scan to keep psychopaths from running for office.

bundySince only 1% of the population is psychopathic, all the evil in the world can’t be our fault. Empaths sin plenty. The only difference is that they feel guilty for their sins. Does that make them better people? What would their victims say? And sometimes, they justify their crimes. When they are avenging someone for whom they have empathy, they probably feel righteous. But the bible says otherwise…

None is righteous, no, not one;

swastikaWhy are there mass killings in such seemingly benign places as schools? Why did the Nazis bring about a holocaust? Why do some people become serial killers and murder innocent victims, some with real viciousness? Why is there evil in the world? Yet most people think they are good. We Americans are a “shining city on the hill.” Other countries do evil. But we are the good guys. Psychopaths are “social predators” but the rest of “us” are nice people. Aren’t “we?”

The Slaughter of Native Americans Was the U.S.’s Original Stand Your Ground. “The sandcreekmasacreAmerican Indians lost nearly 98% of their land to what one Internet site called the American ‘conquest’. There’s no other word for it. Americans came to an occupied land and conquered the rightful owners of that land, killing millions in the process. The government then banished those rightful owners to concentration camps called reservations.” I was taught in school that the settlers’ farms destroyed wilderness which had been a hunting ground for the Natives. This created conflict, hence the warfare between the “Indians” and the settlers. We read about unfortunate “misunderstandings” where settlers, wishing to be kind, gave the “Indians” blankets which had been used by people with measles. Only the disease was smallpox, not measles. That this was really intentional germ warfare is indicated by a quote

Sir Jeffrey Amherst, commander-in-chief of British forces in North America, wrote to Colonel Henry Bouquet at Fort Pitt:

“You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians [with smallpox] by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method, that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.”

Consequently, settlers spread smallpox to the Native Americans by distributing blankets previously owned by contagious patients.

Atrocities Against Native Americans


scalping-harm-incitingIndians” were known to scalp hapless white settlers. Well, after all, they were just savages who didn’t know better. That is what I was raised to believe. Now, I am finding out that it was the white man who scalped the indigenous people! Not the other way around. “Colonists were paid for each Penobscot Native they killed – fifty pounds for adult male scalps, twenty-five for adult female scalps, and twenty for scalps of boys and girls under age twelve. These proclamations explicitly display the settlers’ ‘intent to kill’, a major indicator of genocidal acts.”

Buffalo Bill

I was first apprised of this fact by a Native American I happened to work with. I found it hard to believe as I expect many readers of this blog will also have trouble believing. After all. They are the savages. Not us. We are civilized. How deep does our “civilization” really go? The novel, Lord of the Flies, depicts a fictional group of English schoolboys who find themselves stranded on an island and quickly revert to “savagery.” Although I know of no “savage” tribe that would willfully destroy it’s entire environment to catch one fugitive. But there was no history of scalping in Europe before they came to the Americas. They must have learned the practice from the Natives and then practiced it against them in retaliation? Isn’t that so?

Dartmouth’s Calloway said it is unclear whether New England tribes took scalps before contact with Europeans. At least two tribal spokesmen say theirs did not.

Mashantucket Pequot spokesman Buddy Gwin says scalping “was not a practice traditional to first nations peoples” until becoming “a retaliatory act” against colonists.

John Brown, who is tribal historical-preservation officer for Rhode Island’s Narragansett Indians, said that bodily mutilation was considered “dishonorable” until it was “learned” from Europeans in the mid-17th century.

Atrocities Against Native Americans



Dahmer’s fridge

Even more grisly, is an account I got from a book called An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz:


Worse, after the smoke had cleared, they had returned and finished off the few survivors while scalping and mutilating the corpses—women and men, young and old, children, babies. Then they decorated their weapons and caps with body parts—fetuses, penises, breasts, and vulvas—and, in the words of Acoma poet Simon Ortiz, “Stuck them / on their hats to dry / Their fingers greasy / and slick.”1 Once back in Denver, they displayed the trophies dahmerto the adoring public in Denver’s Apollo Theater and in saloons.

But that’s depraved! Cutting out fetuses? Vulvas? It reads like an account of a serial murder. But those people are psychopaths. What other kind of person would commit such a grisly murder? These were “normal” and respectable Americans. Our ancestors.

As countries go, the sainted United States certainly is as bad as any. I’ve been banging on about the genocide of Native Americans and haven’t even mentioned the practice of slavery primarily against Africans kidnapped for that purpose. Blacks are still not equal and, if the alt.right and Trump have their way, they never will be. Prisons for profit are a biblemodern way in which the system perpetuates slavery of blacks to this day. And that doesn’t even cover the slaughter of non-whites all over the world. My first response was, “No wonder we have mass killings. We have always been a violent, cruel nation.” But so many other countries have equally shocking pasts. Nations obliterate each other all the time. There was an inquisition that couldn’t have been so pretty. The sun never set on the British empire. Now we have Israel doing to the Palestinians what American settlers did to the indigenous Americans. And the US is still killing people all over the world. Even the “liberal” Obama killed civilians with drones. Maybe the bible is right. Certainly, there are decent people. But we accept evil so easily as long as it’s made to look not-so-bad. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?


  1. See Unrau, Indians, Alcohol, and the Roads to Taos and Santa Fe.


Adelyn Birch

psychopathsandloveIt’s funny that the area in life where psychopaths are most often accused of harming people is in love relationships. There are many blogs or websites for “victims” of psychopaths. I call the owners “haters” because of the way they talk about us. What makes Adelyn Birch different (meaning better)?

  1. She is genuinely creative and I don’t mean with facts. I mean, she is artistic. She has some hauntingly beautiful images on her site.
  2. Unlike some people, she isn’t using her site, Psychopaths and Love, as a money-making device, selling classes and the like. Well, she does sell her books but only in a low-key way.
  3. What makes her special, is that Adelyn Birch really gets it. She has an understanding of psychopaths one would hardly expect of a self-proclaimed victim of “psychopathic abuse.”

night-697702_640-400x250By way of introduction, she wrote, “I’m a woman who experienced firsthand what I write about — victimization by a high-functioning, sub-criminal psychopath who involved me in a relationship that caused a great deal of harm.” It was such a major event in her life that she devoted years of time and effort to help others deal with experiences that were similar to her own. I would have liked to open a dialog but there doesn’t seem to be a way to contact her. I am writing this blog post because I wanted to communicate with Adelyn directly. If you see this, Adelyn, I am speaking to you.

Adelyn’s literary output includes: Psychopaths and Love, More Psychopaths and Love, 202 Ways to Spot a Psychopath, 30 Covert Emotional Tactics. I must confess, I have not read any of them. Maybe I will some day but for now, her blog is enough.


The most stunning area of insight Ms. Birch displays is that of charm. I wrote something about this which few writers have displayed awareness of. My post, What’s So Charming About Psychopaths, noted,

What does the psychopath have that is special? The psychopath is truly interested in the object of his attention. He doesn’t put women in a box where every woman is womenwholovepsychopathsand just sees her as every-woman. He is curious, interested and has penetrating vision that goes right to the core of a person. As a woman who has dated many, many men, I can tell you this is a rare quality.

I have a dual perspective. Not only am I a psychopath, I have loved a few as well. Not much has ever been said about path-path relationships but they exist. I’m not the only one. I guess I am one of those Women Who Love Psychopaths. That is the title of a book by Sandra L. Brown. This is another book I haven’t read but maybe I should.

Adelyn Birch’s article about charm, Charm and the Psychopath, explains

First, the psychopath has zero distractions, which is extremely unusual. Again, he has the intense focus of a predator on his prey. Unlike a normal person meeting someone new, he’s not bothered by things like social anxiety, self-doubt and insecurity. Those things don’t exist for him, so they don’t get in the way. In other charmingpsychopathwords, the psychopath is not lost in his or her head like most of us are, thinking thoughts that prevent us from being totally present and prevent us from really connecting with another person. Of course we do connect with others, but It usually takes some time to feel we’ve connected deeply. But the psychopath is able to create that connection — actually, the illusion of that connection — quickly, sometimes in just a couple of minutes.

OK. She couldn’t resist putting the usual junk about “predators” and calling the connection an “illusion.” But the main point is in our focus which is 100%.

When the psychopath’s high-beam of charm is on you, he is absolutely present. When that presence is focused on you, it’s fascinating. Charming, actually. And we’re simply not used to that level of “presence.” We’re not used to being the subject of such intensely focused attention, and that is very compelling in and of itself.

samvakninThat is so much more to the point than the usual junk about love bombing. Speaking of focus, Sam Vaknin offered additional insight into the difference between a narcissist and a psychopath by way of body language. The narcissist maintains his separate space, as if to avoid contamination with lesser beings around him. While the narc sits back, the psychopath leans in. The narc talks about himself. The psychopath wants to learn about you. The narc might impress and intimidate you but the psychopath welcomes you in. As Adelyn Birch says, “The reason the psychopath can focus so powerfully on you is that he’s not in his head — he’s in yours.

Idealize, Devalue, Discard

boredHaters, or “victims’ advocates” are always repeating the above formula like a mantra. But Ms. Birch also has an explanation for the abrupt way some of our relationships end. “When the psychopath I was involved with discarded me, he was enraged. With a voice full of anger and contempt, he shouted, ‘You bore me! I’m done with you!’”
Why the rage, she wondered. Her answer: “I didn’t sorryknow it at the time, but my former ‘soul mate’ was jonesing for some dopamine.” Boredom is agony for psychopaths. When we are fascinated by a new person, still discovering whatever is mysterious and unknown about that person, we are not bored. Birch thinks our focus on the other, which Birch calls prey, is simply about power. But she belies that simplistic idea with her analysis of our dopamine response and our aversion to boredom. The world can be a very small, flat place. As hippies would say, we are old souls. Been there. Done that. Looking for something new. Each new relationship offers bored1the promise of new discoveries. The rage of Birch’s ex can be understood in terms of his realization that there was nothing more to learn about her. It also explains why one of my exes told me he realized I was “a taker, not a giver.” He had nothing more to learn about me, or so he thought. You know the story about the princess who kisses a toad and he turns into a handsome prince? This is the story of kissing a prince and seeing him turn toadinto a toad. The magic was in the mystery, the unknown. Without the magic, we are back in the mundane world. Not that we can’t maintain long-term relationships. But these become more like friendships. Adelyn Birch deserves credit for recognizing the fact that we are focused on reward and dopamine.


woconscienceIt’s a well-known truism that we don’t have a conscience. Adelyn, echoing the sentiments of many other NTs, finds it incredible, almost unbelievable. “IMAGINE, for a moment, being a psychopath. Try to imagine not having a conscience. What would that be like? You would not have any feelings of guilt, shame or remorse, no matter how immoral or even heinous an action you’d taken. Imagine having no concern for anyone, not even friends or family. Imagine that the ideas of ‘responsibility’ and ‘commitment’ are foreign to you, except as things that stupid fools believe in.” She sounds just like Martha Stout in the introduction to The Sociopath Next Door. “Imagine — if you can — not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or maskremorse no matter what you do no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends or even family members.” I have trouble imagining the opposite but it doesn’t look like anything I’d want to be saddled with. These NTs seem astonished at our ability to act like them to “fit in.” Parents and teachers are very helpful in this. I was forever being told how I should be. The lessons were delivered with so much emotional intensity that I knew I didn’t dare be myself in front of them. They don’t seem to realize that the “mask” is for their comfort as much as it is for any desire to “get over” on them. I have felt like an outlaw since I was born.


buddhaIn Eastern religions, enlightenment is often seen as liberation from ego, in other words, attachment to a limited identity. Psychopaths already have that state effortlessly. I have noticed many psychopaths are pan-sexual, in other words, free to experiment with any and all sexual expressions. So many of us are kinky and switchable (both dominant and submissive). Adelyn goes a step further and says we have no gender. “After my involvement with the psychopath, I got the strange feeling that he didn’t really have a gendergender. When I learned that psychopaths have no identity — they only create one as needed — it started to make perfect sense.” Rather than no identity, I would say we have a fluid identity. There is at least one transgendered psychopath. I wanted to be a boy when I was a kid like many other girls. When I hit puberty, I embraced my given gender. I’m glad that I didn’t have the option to “transition” when I was so young. It would have been a mistake. I think society needs to accept the fact that male and female each have  a wide range of possibilities. If more people saw things that way, fewer would need to transition to their “true” gender.


tunnel-vision-212923_640While the most savy and aware of all the pro-victim gurus on the web, Adelyn Birch certainly does look down on us. She shares many of the delusions of the rest of her tribe. She accepts as fact the belief of those who have loved and lost that they were victims of a psychopath. There is an unfortunate tendency to identify bad with psychopathic. These victims’ sites promote such delusions. Every single one of them offers guidelines for  “spotting” a psychopath. Adelyn certainly understands us better than most. But she is reactive to having been hurt and that keeps her from seeing things objectively. While I have a rather jaundiced eye for psychiatrists and psychologists and think they are often wrong, the laypeople are even more likely to err in diagnosing this condition. Adelyn is very kind of her “fellow victims,” many of whom seem to have severe self-esteem issues (no doubt the fault of “their” psychopath). She helps them recover. The world suffers from much delusional thinking. Hoping for (but not expecting) a recovery.

A Psychopath’s Emotions

Do I feel too much?

emotionAs a psychopath, I am considered deficient in the ability to experience emotions the way NTs do. That having been said, we can’t really know if what we mean by the word “emotion” is the same thing an NT means by the same word.

What are emotions? Googling brought me:

Subjective, conscious experience characterised primarily by psychophysiological expressions, biological reactions, and mental states.
Emotion is any conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a certain degree of pleasure or displeasure. Scientific discourse has drifted to other meanings and there is no consensus on… wikipedia.org

emothersornotHmm… Subjective? Oxford defines it as “based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions: ‘his views are highly subjective.’” So it’s defined in terms of feelings but what if you don’t know what feelings are? Wikipedia defines feelings as a physical experience. Emotions are “Psychophysiological.” Of the mind and the body. I’m getting that emotions are an experience of the body associated with a mental experience.

Furthermore, the experience of emotions involve pleasure and/or displeasure. Wikipedia defines pleasure this way:

is a broad class of mental states that humans and other animals experience as positive, enjoyable, or worth seeking. It includes more specific mental states such as happiness, entertainment, enjoyment, ecstasy, and euphoria.

pleasure_and_pain_by_blue_14-d5h58uhOK. Pleasure is a feeling that subjectively is experienced as positive. Displeasure the subjective opposite of pleasure. I don’t know why psychopaths should have any trouble experiencing any of the above. We have bodies and minds. We experience pain and pleasure. Surely, we can detach ourselves and, thereby have the subjective experience under more control than perhaps an NT can.

The Brain

128px-Amigdale1The part of the brain involved with emotions is the amygdala. Strangely enough, men usually have a larger amygdala (In the adult human brain, the male amygdala is significantly larger than the female amygdala, even when total brain size is taken into account) than women although psychopaths are said to have smaller amygdalae than NTs. Also, conservatives have larger right-hemosphere which controls fear. Psychopaths have less fear than NTs. The amygdala processes memory, decision making as well as emotion. It is divided into several parts, notably a left and right side. The left side of the amygdala plays a role in the reward system which is more primary in psychopaths than NTs.


The neurology of psychopathy is something even experts are just coming to grips with so I hardly expect to draw many conclusions with my lay-level of knowledge. I’m more comfortable discussion the linguistic and experiential aspects of emotion. The most obvious dividing point between psychopaths and NTs is in the pleasure/pain aspect. Although everyone has a body and a mind, psychopaths tend to be more detached than NTs in our relationship to feelings. We are more strongly driven by reward than fear.

empathyEmotions that connect us with other people are the ones we are said to lack. The difference that seems to concern NTs the most is empathy. Wikipedia says, “Empathy has many definitions that encompass a broad range of emotional states, including caring for other people and having a desire to help them; experiencing emotions that match another person’s emotions…” Closely connected with empathy is the so-called conscience. Oxford calls it “an detachmentinner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.” There’s no mention of empathy as such in their definition but it seems implicit in the way people talk about it that empathy gives people the capacity to pass moral judgement on our own behavior based on how it affects others. Yet psychopaths seem able to understand moral concepts. We can know something we did was wrong in a moral sense but we don’t care as much as NTs would like us to. Here we come back to the issue of detachment.

freeJudgement seems to cause emotional reaction as much as it is caused by empathetic understanding of other people’s feelings. Psychopaths have less hate than NTs, probably because we have less judgement. Personally, I feel incensed by injustice when I perceive it. But I can also let go of my anger and even my judgements more easily than the average person. It isn’t moral judgement so much as attachment to moral judgement that interferes with that sublime indifference which NTs sometimes identify as monstrous or even evil. But perhaps the reason we have less anxiety and depression is that very freedom from attachment.

lovetreeLove is another emotion psychopaths are said to lack. But I have experienced love, both romantic love and nurturing love (for a pet). NTs can say my “love” isn’t the real thing. Only they know what that is like. There is no way their claim can be proven or disproven. Everyone’s experience is hir own. But I have had my heart broken. That’s supposed to be the real thing, isn’t it? I mean, psychopaths are supposed to be these ice-cold humanoids who just move on after it’s over which happens pretty soon since we don’t have long-term relationships. Right? I was with Jack for two brokenheartyears. That was, up until then, my longest lasting relationship. I’ve been with Vicki 46 years. Each great love was radically different from the others. But all three stand out in my life from the mundane, everyday experience of living. In Blank Space, Taylor Swift sings, “We’re young and reckless. We’ll take this way too far. It’ll leave you breathless or with a nasty scar.” Each of these relationships was more wreckless the earlier in my life it occurred and more wholesome, more “sane,” the later is life it occurred. That’s good. At, my age, it’s helpful to settle down with someone who is not only a lover, but also a friend. Great passion is more suitable for the young. I hate to accept the fact that I’m aging. I want to be able to have great adventures, go bungee jumping, swim with sharks, whatever but my body can’t always cover checks my spirit wants to write. But living the twilight years and preparing for death could just turn out to be my greatest adventure. I think that’s the attitude to take.

jackAs I read back over this blog post, I see I have reached no real conclusions. Oh well. To quote a slogan which I really hate, “It is what it is.” I probably feel more than other paths. A friend (also a psychopath) suggested I’m really a borderline. Yes, I have had my heart broken by a lover. But broken hearts mend and I didn’t feel a thing when my parents died, nor when my best friend died. I even didn’t react when Jack (the heartbreaker) died. Death happens. So does heartbreak. I happened too. I was born and lived my life. I have sometimes felt a lot of passion. I also have detachment when I need it. Peace out.

Get Over It, Folks

The Psychopathy Problem

garrettpearl2As a psychopath, I am nonplussed by the odd forms taken by society’s obsession over our kind. It is often amusing; sometimes sinister. Always worthy of study:


psychopath3I subscribe to Psychopathic Times/Narcissist Nation, published by Tina Taylor. Although this web publication is often repetitious, there are enough new and interesting articles to make it worth subscribing to.  Today, I found such an article. The article in question is called Social Psychopathy & Its True Origins, which is part of a blog by a Kevin Chambers. Every page of the blog has a quote from Martin Luther King with his picture. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” It’s truly amazing how many people want to identify their cause with MLK. Well, I’m certainly not silent about things that matter to me. Not only on my Cluster B blog, but my Soapbox, dedicated specifically to things that matter to me.

passioKevin Chambers doesn’t seem to think much of psychopaths. He starts by lauding one of the most obnoxious haters on the web. “To start, Mark Passio really knocks it out the park here in this first video, as he speaks aloud what many of us are silently thinking.” Really? What am I “silently thinking?” LOL! This man uses slides to illustrate his lecture like some professor. He starts by analyzing the word psychopathy, taking it apart. Yes. The first part of the word is psyche, the mind. The second part is path, as in “pathological.” So it can represent any kind of “mental illness” if one goes by the meaning of the Greek words. But psychopathy has a specific meaning. It isn’t just a generic word for mental illness. And this is not, by the way, what I had been “silently thinking.” He then goes on to call us “animals.” We have “cunning” but it’s not real intelligence. For goodness sake! Can’t catch him saying we’re intelligent. We have a “lack of conscience or empathy.” YAWN! Tell me something new. Margaret ThatcherBut Mark Passio can’t get over our lack of empathy. That is totally strange to him. And yet, as he marvels at this trait, he shows a picture of Margaret Thatcher on the screen. Now, there’s a dame who is full of empathy. A close friend of the blood-drenched Chilean dictator, Pinochet, she has said, “The trouble with socialism is sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.” Stunningly empathetic, no? Of course, there are psychopaths on every part of the political spectrum. I know socialists who are psychopaths and libertarians who are psychopaths. But nobody ever accused Ayn Rand of having too much empathy. I don’t think Margaret Thatcher could be accused of it either. Laissez-faire capitalism gets its justification by assuming money is already justly distributed so taxing a rich man to feed a poor one is pure theft. Empathy be damned. Or maybe empathy is only supposed to be extended toward the “hard working” billionaire whose taxes are stolen to feed the poor.

vonmisesNever-the-less, we psychopaths do whatever we want. “It’s not a human being, folks. It’s an animal,” proclaims Passio. We’re it’s now. “These beings are out there among us, feeding off of us.” Towards the end of his spiel, Passio graduates us to the title of “demon.” We “think” we are at the top of the food chain. Yet Passio’s video is full of one anti-welfare state mime after another quoting the most extreme pro-capitalist pundits around, von Mises, Hayek, etc. Yet, Kevin Chambers thinks this video “knocks it out of the park.” The fact that the political propaganda on this video clashes with the political convictions of Martin Luther King isn’t explained. It is noteworthy that Passio admits that psychopaths are born with a brain that is wired for psychopathic thinking. Once Quora.com asked self-proclaimed psychopath Athena Walker if she thought she was evil. “For being born?” she asked.

johntrudellIn addition to Mark Passio, Chambers lauds John Trudell, a Native American who indicted Christopher Columbus and, in fact, the entire Western civilization that moved in on the American continent, disregarding the humanity of the indigenous folk, decimating their civilization in favor of their own. The same blog post that has Mark Passio’s indictment of psychopaths, calling us “animals” and “demons,” has a video by John Trudell which contains a heart-felt cry for social justice. Chambers doesn’t seem to recognize the irony of the fact that both Mark Passio and the settlers on North America dismissed the humanity of people they considered inferior to themselves.

passio2Somehow, Chambers thinks the diseases of Western civilization can be chalked up to psychopathy even though Passio’s speech stressed the enormous difference between the psychopath and the “rest of” humanity. It doesn’t seem that Passio considers his civilization so damaged that he and his fellow man don’t even understand what a human is, which is what Trudell said of it. We, psychopaths, born with a defective brain that makes us animals and/or demons, are not humans but he, Passio and “most people” are human. They say politics makes strange bedfellows. But this is nothing short of bizarre. Chambers’ politics appear to be highly generic. From Martin Luther King, to John Trudell, all the way to Mark Passio the virtuous standard of humanity inhabits every part of the political spectrum.

birds-born-in-a-cage-think-flying-is-an-illnessI have analyzed the ravings of Mark Passio, elsewhere, in a blog post entitled, Birds Born in a Cage. I find Mr. Passio highly narcissistic or, in layman’s terms, full of himself. He talks down to his audience in a way that is so insulting, I wonder why they even put up with him. For example, he says, “understand what is true or get used to the chains, folks.” He calls his series of videos “The Great Work” which is a term used by occultists who are seeking higher truth. I am grandiose. It’s part of my psychopathy. But I couldn’t imagine being as grandiose as this man. No, not even in my best (or worst) days.

lamarkAside from his deluded admiration for the rantings of Mark Passio, Kevin Chambers does say some interesting things. His post goes on from Trudell to a discussion of epigenetics which considers the ability of beings to transmit acquired characteristics to their next generation through their genes. This idea, promoted by a Russian scientist called Lamarck, was once laughed into absurdity. Now it’s being reconsidered. It is oppression that seems most likely to change people’s genes. Survivors of the Holocaust and descendants of African slaves are being examined in this light. Chambers offers these theories as a possible explanation of why society is so fucked up. But there is an apparent dissonance between the idea of society as less human presented by Trudell and the idea of psychopaths as alone being demonic while the rest of “us” are just stupid (the extent that they don’t agree with Passio).

My own opinion

funny-psychopath.pngAlong with Martin Luther King, I am not silent about things that really matter. As a psychopath, I object to the idea that everything that’s wrong with our civilization is a reflection on us. Certainly, any awake individual knows our civilization is highly flawed. Reams of literature have been written explaining how and why we got where we are today. Many of those theories have merit. Blaming 1 to 4 percent of the population strikes me as absurd. If we are so far from the norm, as Mark Passio claims, how can the many problems of civilization be our fault? It does remind me of something. Antisemitism has always presented Jews as simultaneously pathetic outsiders and powerful threats. This is as true of antisemitism in the Middle Ages as it was of Hitler’s antisemitism. In the movie, Cabaret, a woman living in proto-nazi Germany wonders, “if Jews are capitalists, how can they be communists?” A friend answers, “That is their cunning. If they can’t destroy us one way, they use the other way.” Isn’t there a whisper of the same kind of thinking when people describe the all-powerful psychopath who, no matter how fucked-up, manages to be destroying the fabulous civilization these fabulous normals have managed to build? Isn’t it time people got over it?

Healing With Hate

dandersenThe Worst Coming to the Worst

Most psychopaths and most “victims” know the word Lovefraud. This is one of those sites that I have named hater sites. Owned by Donna Andersen’s professional background is in journalism. She calls herself a “freelance writer” and is the author of a book by the same name as her website, Love Fraud and Red Flags of Love Fraud. Her expertise in sociopathy comes from her marriage withJamesMontgomery-72dpi James Alwyn Montgomery “who has been diagnosed as a sociopath.” (Reading a bit further, I discovered that she was the “doctor” to give him that diagnosis after having read Without Conscience.) Regardless of his psychiatric diagnosis, he certainly was a sleaze. She met him through a single’s ad. I guess as a single 40-year-old woman, she was feeling kind of desperate. His ad claimed he was worth two to three million, a widower with a grown daughter and a dog. After the wedding, he moved in with her and she converted her basement into an office for him. Strange she didn’t wonder why, with two-three million, he couldn’t do better than that. It turned out he was a professional conman who took money from a number of women. She lost everything she had but gained a new identity, a survivor of sociopathic love fraud. With this, she was able to write two books and start a money-making website for fellow victims/survivors.

George-Simon-5254-214x300Dr. George Simon is a psychologist who has written a lot about psychopathy. He also has the dubious distinction of declaring psychopathy a “character disorder” instead of a “personality disorder.” So what is the difference?

“Personality and character disorders are not the same thing. Our personality defines the stylistic way we tend to interact, while our character is defined by the level of social conscientiousness and virtue in our personality. When personality or character traits present major obstacles to functioning in a healthy way, they might constitute a disorder.” (emphasis mine)

Dr. Simon is rather cagy in explaning what he means but I have finally managed to find a definition in his own words that admits that he mixes morality with science (and comes crossbreedup with a frankensteinian monster). In the animal kingdom, some species can breed with other species but the offspring is usually sterile. So, I believe, is the frankensteinian mix of science and morality. Simon defines disorder as a set of “obstacles to functioning in a healthy way.” This sort of begs the question. One is unhealthy because one has a disorder. But a disorder, by definition, is unhealthy functionality. I, myself, would define “disorder” as any pattern or order that the people with the psychopathpower and prestige to name things don’t like. As for health, how is that defined? If someone is generally in harmony with hirself and feels good about hir life, isn’t that the best definition of health one can honestly come up with? Most psychopaths, when asked, declare themselves pretty satisfied with who they are. Some are in prison for breaking the law. One might call that a misfunction of disfunction. But the many psychopaths who are free and living what Hare calls reasonable lives. They do not seek out therapy and don’t think they need to be “fixed.”

preditorAha! But the problem with psychopaths, Simon will say (with Hare’s agreement) is the affect we have on others. We are predators. What’s the proof? Well, there are sites like Love Fraud which goes on and on about how terribly psychopaths have treated their lovers and/or spouses. There are plenty of “victims” there to testify to that. But how do we even know how many of these “psychopaths” really are that? Ms. Andersen’s “sociopath” hasn’t been clinically diagnosed. We only have his bad behavior to go on. And psychopathy and/or sociopathy are not identical to bad behavior. If they were the lay person could gleefully go through life, pointing to various folks they don’t like and calling them ‘paths.

Simon has attempted to explain the difference between personality and character.

masksThe word ‘personality’ is derived from the Greek word persona, which means “mask.” In the ancient theater, males played all roles, including the roles of female characters. Also, the art of dramatizing situations and conveying emotion was not as evolved as it is today. So, actors used masks of various types to denote gender as well as to emphasize various emotional states. Classical theories of psychology borrowed the term “persona” because they conceptualized personality as the social “mask” a person unconsciously puts on to hide and protect the more authentic but more vulnerable “true self.”

But psychopaths are notorious for wearing a mask to hide his true personality. But if personality is the mask, then all we have are characters living behind masks that are called their personalities. Simon says everyone wears a mask to protect hir “vulnerable ‘true self.'” Character, on the other hand,

Character-Traits-Poster-Pin-2-791x1024The word ‘character’ derives from both French and Greek words meaning to engrave or furrow a distinctive mark. The word has been used to denote the most distinguishing traits of an individual that define or “mark” them as a person. Most especially, the term has been used to reflect those aspects of an individual’s personality that indicate the degree to which his or her personality traits reflect socially desirable qualities such as self-control, ethics, loyalty, fortitude, etc. So, the term ‘character’ generally refers to the extent of one’s virtuousness and social conscientiousness.

Hmm. “Socially desirable qualities” such as “ethics?” Well, it seems clear Dr. Simon is talking about morality no matter how skittish he is about spelling it out.

peckDr. Simon isn’t the only professional confounding science and morality. M. Scott Peck, who, unlike Dr. Simon, is an actual M.D., wrote a book called People of the Lie, subtitled, “The Hope for Healing Human Evil.” Unlike Dr. Simon, Dr. Peck is not at all shy in using his medical credentials to call fellow human beings “evil.” It’s right there on the cover of his book. Dr. Peck is refreshingly honest. He looks the problem right in the eye. In People of the Lie, he writes,

evilEvil is a moral judgment. I am proposing that it may also be a scientific judgment. But making the judgment scientifically will not remove it from the moral sphere. The word is pejorative. Whether we call a man evil on the basis of pure opinion or on the basis of a standardized psychological test, we are passing a moral judgment on him either way. Had we best not refrain from doing either? Science is dangerous enough. Moral judgment is dangerous enough. How dare we mix the two in the light of Jesus’ admonition

Bloody Mary

And not everyone even believes in Jesus. There was a time when every country standardized the faith all citizens had to adhere to. It led to many religious wars. In times of monarchy, it was the monarch who defined the “true religion” for his subjects. The creation of secular society freed mankind from the sticky quagmire created by the insistence on a one true religion. Science has long been held as independent of religious dogma. How can “evil” ever by a “scientific judgment?” By some sort of scientific consensus? Dr. Peck is right in calling this slippery slope “dangerous.” It’s a wonder that he still thinks it’s ok to risk it.

creationismScience isn’t quite as objective was we want to think it is. Otherwise, scientists who disagreed with each other would be able to subject their various hypotheses to an objective scientific test and then everyone would see the truth. But there are bona fide scientists who believe in and preach creationism. There is disagreement among scientists about vaccination. It seems to me, too, that, just as in business meetings, there are a couple of actual thinkers and a lot of ballast that just floats after a leader. Mixing science with political policy can become just as sticky as established religion once was. Nevertheless, I think we should try to keep science as pure as we can. Anyone truly committed to Truth, should agree.

victarianmadhousePsychiatry started when scientifically inclined individuals sought to divorce social stigma attached to certain behavior from what they started calling illness which they believed actually caused that behavior. Despite the efforts of those psychiatrists, the stigma remained, now attached to the label mental illness. Changing a name doesn’t change people’s minds. Simon and Peck seem to want to reunite some “sick” behavior with the original stigma. Since the stigma has clung to the concept of “sick behavior,” these two have managed to develop a following.

Sam Vaknin suggested psychologists might do better to develop psychology as more a philosophy or school of philosophy than a hard science. There is some justification in that idea. Human beings are much too complex and variable to reduce to some kind of hard, scientific formula. Thinkers resist over simplification and we don’t seem to have liberated ourselves from religion as much as we think.

donna_andersenBack with Donna Andersen and George Simon. Simon says people with character disorders can’t be “helped” by traditional psychotherapy. The videos of him on Donna’s site hint but don’t spell out how he would suggest people like us psychopaths ought to be treated. To find out, sign up for the courses and pay your fees. I think I am correct in turning a wary eye to these people who call me “evil” and want to “treat” me. I think their sympathies are all with the “victims” they insist we are piling up (who are probably just folks who had bad relationships). Still, it is fitting that these two people who fall into my definition of haters are teaming up.


more real than reality

cokeBladerunner is a kind of cult film which has appeared in several different versions. Not really being one of the dedicated buffs of this film, I have only seen the final version so my impressions will be based on that version. The film is obviously futuristic and I would add dystopian. The society is more advanced technologically than our real world but socially it shows signs of being retro. For example, a huge electronic poster advertises Coca Cola. A voice on a loud speaker urges people to seek life in the “off world” where they can “start over” and find opportunity and adventure. This suggests that the world they live in is somehow deficient in both. There are jobs in the world. For one thing, the Tyrell Corporation which manufactures replicants must have a workforce. And we see people selling food.

sushiBut the greatest number of jobs seems to be in the production of artificial life. It is so advanced, people specialize in different parts of the body. For example, some people specialize in creating only eyes. Some create scales for artificial snakes. It is also multi-ethnic with a preponderance of people of Asian extraction. The interesting artificial life of this society is the replicants, androids who are “more human than human” according to the Tyrell Corporation that created them. They are made to be slaves of humans. They have super strength and are used for dangerous and onerous tasks. Following a rebellion, they have been banned from the earth and work only in the “off world.” The advertisements urging people to go to the “off world” mention the advantage of having replicant slaves designed just to meet their needs.

enjoycokeWhile there seems to be a wide divide between the lives of humans and the lives of replicants, humans don’t really seem all that free either. The film starts with Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) being arrested and dragged to the office of his former boss, Bryant, who wants him to go back to work as a bladerunner. Deckard’s retirement means little to Bryant who threatens Deckard that as long as he isn’t a cop, he is a mere nobody with no power (the implication being that he can be victimized with impunity).

If replicants are really “more human than human,” their enslavement raises ethical Rachael-blade-runnerissues. Most systems of ethics consider human life the most important phenomenon in the universe. Despite the existence of an animal-rights movement, human supremacy reigns almost universally. Even in the TV series, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, there is a tedious discussion in which Buffy makes a clear distinction between slaying vampires and demons and killing human beings. The former is good and the latter terribly bad. As Buffy calls killing vampires “slaying” as if that makes it seem cleaner or something, killing replicants is called with the bitterly ironic name of retirement. Replicants “retire” but never see a pension nor any kind of reward for their hard work. As slaves they have no rights. But how free are their human masters?

deckardWhat does “more human than human” really mean? Is it just an advertising slogan emphasizing how “real” they seem but not literally true? Or are they really more human than human. How can they be more human than the thing they are imitating? Empathy seems to be the feature that distinguishes replicants from humans. But there are people known as psychopaths living in the world today who are deficient or even incapable of empathy and there are people who want to exclude them from the political arena by administering a test to find who they are and limit their civil right to participate in democracy. Some people would deny the very humanity of psychopaths and think all should be “retired.” Perhaps Bladerunner is more real than reality.

prisIn Bladerunner, they use a test to spot the replicants. The only way to know for sure whether someone is a replicant or a human is an empathy test using a Voight-Kampff machine. Replicants don’t possess empathy and humans, supposedly do. Funny how this empathetic species is capable of creating sentient beings to be exploited as slaves. Despite a feminist movement, the world of Bladerunner has female replicants known as “skin jobs” to work as unpaid prostitutes. The dehumanizing term “skin job” speaks for itself. The replicants  are endowed with only four years of life so they won’t become self-aware enough to rebel. That tactic didn’t work. Four replicants rose up against their human masters. Their leader, Roy Batty, wants to extend his life beyond four years. In order to do this, he must confront the man who created him, Tyrell. It looks like Roy isn’t just in it for himself. He seems to see himself as a true leader and champion of his kind, seeking liberation for all replicants. When he learns of the death of his fellow mutineers, he is distraught, something contradicting the idea that he is without empathy. From Roy and Leon, we hear the bitter, “You know what it is to be a slave? To live in fear.” The humans may deny the replicants their humanity but it speaks to us loud and clear.

duttonfallenAnother rebel, Leon, a manual laborer, kills a bladerunner, Holden, who is conducting the Voight-Kampff test on him. Holden conducts himself in a way that seems very far from empathetic. When Leon admits he is nervous, Holden doesn’t even make the slightest gesture of trying to make him feel more at ease. A documentary on the British Channel 4 called Psychopath Night has a countdown of films featuring psychopathy. One of those films is Bladerunner. Kevin Dutton and James Fallon metomaswatch the films and comment on them. They both thought the scene with Leon was stunningly psychopathic. But why wouldn’t someone kill the man who is threatening his life? I would think even an NT would do that much for himself. The documentary also features M.E. Thomas, author of Confessions of a Sociopath who tells us she sometimes feels like a character in Bladerunner herself, having to hide her true nature to avoid the wrath of the NTs.

Perhaps the most poignant character in the film is Pris whose creators and exploiters just roytoss her off as a “skin job.” She exists for their pleasure. In other words, she’s a sex slave. We see her in the film, homeless and lost, going to sleep in a pile of garbage. Fortunately, she encounters J.F. Sebastian who lives in an abandoned Bradbury Building. He is apparently at loose ends. He created a bunch of electronic toys to be his “friends.” He is also playing a game of long distance chess with Tyrell. He takes Pris in and gives some help to the replicants, putting them in touch with Tyrell.

rachaelA fourth replicant, Zhora, another “skin job” who is also an assassin, is working under the name of Taffy Lewis who is working as a dancer in a sleazy nightclub. Deckard is dedicated to the job of killing all four of the rebels. A fifth replicant, Rachael, a secretary to Tyrell himself doesn’t know she’s a replicant until she is forced to take the test and is informed her memories are the memories of someone else, implanted in her brain. Deckard and Rachael fall in love. Rachael turns on her own kind, killing Leon.

Bladerunner is stunningly beautiful in a dark way. It has a haunting quality. And it bears an eerie resemblance to our reality. It’s a strange movie.