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Good and bad (people)

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Poll Question: Is there absolute good and bad in people?
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    Posted: 07 Jan 2013 at 10:08
This is a topic I've been looking at a lot recently in trying to explain the behaviour of some people who are close to me and it has turned out to be a very compelling subject which I will hopefully explore further with you.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jan 2013 at 12:04
Firstly we need to define what is good and bad.

Once done, I think it is worth saying that some people are naturally more inclined towards behaviours that society in general views as 'good' and 'bad'. Roughly 1 in every 24 people is a sociopath. And their behaviour, generally absent of the ability to feel empathy, as a whole tends to produce adverse outcomes for those around them. Some people are also inexplicably good, in a way that cannot be explained by upbringing or environment, and more than once I have come across these individuals whom I simply regard as having different brain chemistry. Perhaps they, as a natural function of evolutionary diversity, have bodies which simply produce and dispense more endorphins and dopamine.

Then there are the rest of us in the middle, who are on a continuum between these extremes and are more liable to have our natures determined by environment on the one hand and our own free will on the other.

I pose you a question. Who is better: a person who is naturally good due to warped brain chemistry, or a person whose physiology strongly inclines them towards awful behaviour and overcomes it through sheer will and effort?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jan 2013 at 12:58
I am talking about absolutes in the first instance and "good and bad" I am using their black and white definitions as we all understand them when applied to people.  So for example someone good will never stab you in the back, spread nasty rumours or commit fraud etc. whereas someone bad wouldn't hesitate to if it gave them any gratification or materiel benefit - someone with a sense of morals but no respect for them whatsoever.

Anyway, the real subject I want to discuss is not the definition of these words but that which you touched on: sociopaths/psychopaths (same thing). A real sociopath - that 1 in 25 - has more lacking than just no empathy.  He or she has a complete absence of any quintessentially human emotion, hard as it is to believe - they never feel love, empathy, compassion, sympathy, loyalty, guilt, remorse and only have a dictionary definition understanding of what these things are coupled with their observation of them in other people - if they are smart enough to process it then they just mimick these emotions when they get the appropriate cues for them.  They lead their whole lives as a lie and have never done any good if there's nothing in it for them.  They take joy at the misery they cause and view other people as pawns in their games of dominance and exploitation.

This phenomenon is not a curable or treatable "disease" or "illness", it is the worst of a number of personality disorders which is untreatable.  The sociopathic traits are reliably estimated to be 50% inherited and 50% environmental - environmental being societal culture rather than exclusively parenting.  So society's values are thought to have a profound effect on the number of individuals who can be classed as psychopaths.

My answer to the above would be that there are no completely good people but there are completely bad people and they are the sociopaths in our midst.  If they do any good it is not because they have an ounce of goodness in in them but because there's something in it for them and any good they ever do is drastically outweighed by the bad.

After reading several books on this subject my view has changed from one which says that human nature is unkind or inherently bad to the polar opposite.  Human nature when conscience is present and unfettered is inherently good.  It is only ever tainted by the deceptions and manipulations of the completely bad whom depending on their levels of intelligence, education and upbringing can range from your run of the mill self destructive career criminal and prison inmate to your parasitic loser who just leaches off other people all their lives hiding behind a facade of depression and the like to middling professionals who think the world owes them and take every opportunity to manipulate and sabotage others for a kick to the most dangerous being the high powered, manipulative, backstabbing politicians and business people whose ambitions can cause the suffering and deaths of millions.

Although lacking these human emotions, the smartest of these blood suckers know exactly how to pluck them in normal people and when they get into positions of authority the results can be catastrophic owing to a programmed proclivity in about 60% of the general population to follow orders unquestioningly from that perceived source of authority.


Edited by Zagros - 07 Jan 2013 at 13:08
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paradigm of Humanity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jan 2013 at 19:21
Speaking of that... I wish I could eat my deliciously baked potatoes in front of hundreds of millions hungry people...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paradigm of Humanity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2013 at 01:26
Originally posted by Paradigm of Humanity A Paradigm of Humanity A wrote:

Speaking of that... I wish I could eat my deliciously baked potatoes in front of hundreds of millions hungry people...

That joke was lame! You're ridiculing yourself with such reckless antisocial behavior.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paradigm of Humanity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2013 at 01:32
Originally posted by Paradigm of Humanity B Paradigm of Humanity B wrote:

 
That joke was lame! You're ridiculing yourself with such reckless antisocial behavior.


Is that so, my dear friend Lord Hypocrisy? If our only difference is I'm doing something openly and recklessly which you're doing secretly, then only virtue we could mention here wouldn't be your psödo-compassion but my cruel honesty. Surely, your's functioning well at relieving pressure from your conscience. But acting like you're any better than me does no good for very people you're pretending to care.
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Originally posted by Paradigm of Humanity A Paradigm of Humanity A wrote:


Is that so, my dear friend Lord Hypocrisy? If our only difference is I'm doing something openly and recklessly which you're doing secretly, then only virtue we could mention here wouldn't be your psödo-compassion but my cruel honesty. Surely, your's functioning well at relieving pressure from your conscience. But acting like you're any better than me does no good for very people you're pretending to care.


I must admit... Sometimes my conversations with myself is much more entertaining than with many others. After all, a man's expression of his duality is also demonstration of his free will and very proof that he is not driven by primitive communal instincs.

Edited by Paradigm of Humanity - 07 Feb 2013 at 03:38
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paradigm of Humanity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2013 at 01:51
Originally posted by Paradigm of Humanity B Paradigm of Humanity B wrote:


I must admit... Sometimes my conversations with myself is much more entertaining than with many others. After all, a man's expression of his duality is also his demontration of his free will and very proof that he is not driven by primitive communal instincs.


Indeed sir, it was my pleasure too... Jekyll and Hyde is one of my favorite games, probably second only to Freudian psycoanalysis games...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2013 at 02:54
PoH..... You're not smoking some of that strong Turkish "tobacco" are you?

Good and bad can be a slippery subject, one that can be a moving target. Some criminals commit terrible crimes, including murder, but then reform, and lead a better life. They were bad, but are now "good".......or is it too late? A good person would not kill, but in war they may kill many, and even feel pretty good about it. Good or bad? Does it depend on the cause, and if so, what is a reasonable cause? A man is angry and violent with those about him, not because he is just that way, but because he was sexually abused as a kid. On the other hand, he knows about the psychological issues, but can't seem to change. Good or bad?

Psychopathy is often not all that clear cut, and there is a broad spectrum of various symptoms that can run from the true Hollywood crazy, to individuals that are merely unpleasant. Those that have absolutely no feelings or conscience are fairly rare. Some are successful in society, and make their contribution, although they may not be the kind that attracts friendships.

I think there is not much doubt that there are a few at the very end of the spectrum for which nothing good can be said. We had a case here a few years back of a guy that raped, tortured, and murdered about a dozen children. Bad would apply here. But for the vast majority,  assigning a good or bad judgement would be tough.
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Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Anyway, the real subject I want to discuss is not the definition of these words but that which you touched on: sociopaths/psychopaths (same thing). A real sociopath - that 1 in 25 - has more lacking than just no empathy.  He or she has a complete absence of any quintessentially human emotion, hard as it is to believe - they never feel love, empathy, compassion, sympathy, loyalty, guilt, remorse and only have a dictionary definition understanding of what these things are coupled with their observation of them in other people - if they are smart enough to process it then they just mimick these emotions when they get the appropriate cues for them.  They lead their whole lives as a lie and have never done any good if there's nothing in it for them.  They take joy at the misery they cause and view other people as pawns in their games of dominance and exploitation.
 
Ok, thanks for the clarification, now that we have narrowed the topic it will be easier to speak of particulars rather than generalities.
 
Quote This phenomenon is not a curable or treatable "disease" or "illness", it is the worst of a number of personality disorders which is untreatable.  The sociopathic traits are reliably estimated to be 50% inherited and 50% environmental - environmental being societal culture rather than exclusively parenting.  So society's values are thought to have a profound effect on the number of individuals who can be classed as psychopaths.

My answer to the above would be that there are no completely good people but there are completely bad people and they are the sociopaths in our midst.  If they do any good it is not because they have an ounce of goodness in in them but because there's something in it for them and any good they ever do is drastically outweighed by the bad.

After reading several books on this subject my view has changed from one which says that human nature is unkind or inherently bad to the polar opposite.  Human nature when conscience is present and unfettered is inherently good.  It is only ever tainted by the deceptions and manipulations of the completely bad whom depending on their levels of intelligence, education and upbringing can range from your run of the mill self destructive career criminal and prison inmate to your parasitic loser who just leaches off other people all their lives hiding behind a facade of depression and the like to middling professionals who think the world owes them and take every opportunity to manipulate and sabotage others for a kick to the most dangerous being the high powered, manipulative, backstabbing politicians and business people whose ambitions can cause the suffering and deaths of millions.

Although lacking these human emotions, the smartest of these blood suckers know exactly how to pluck them in normal people and when they get into positions of authority the results can be catastrophic owing to a programmed proclivity in about 60% of the general population to follow orders unquestioningly from that perceived source of authority.
 
I have had the misfortune to know a couple of such people, and I can empathise with the utter disgust a person feels having seen the results of their behaviour.
 
I do wonder whether there is an evolutionary basis for sociopaths existing. I say this because humans are social animals, and therefore our emotions and relationships based on trust and cooperation have always been central to our survival. But the sociopath is born in just small enough a percentage of the population that humans can continue to be social animals and function as a social group while allowing a few seflish and calculating individuals to achieve leadership.
 
Do sociopaths serve a useful purpose? A socipath is someone who will coldly follow their self interests with little regard for the feelings of others or any sense of fairness. What happens when the sociopath in question is a monarch or totalitarian leader, and therefore considers the survival and strength of the state they rule to be an extension of their own self interest?
 
Could a sociopathic individual like Joseph Stalin, in cruelly enforcing collectivisation on the Soviet people, be an example of a socipath who ensured the USSR would survive the Nazi invasion by ramming through reform with little regard for emotions or dignity? A more emotionally attuned leader might have had too big a heart to make such a move, and in the long term leave the Soviet state less industrially and agriculturally capable of resisting Operation Barbarossa.
 
This is not an endorsement of sociopaths in power. I do think they generally make life worse for the people they rule over. But I do wish to play devil's advocate with this example to get an understanding of your thoughts.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paradigm of Humanity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2013 at 06:23
You people are overestimating sociopaths. They're not strong rings in the chain, to be precise. Because they are not capable of eleborate schemings, all they could archieve is some antisocial behavior, then ending up in jail. Real monsters need all cognitive abilities - inluding emotions to exploit every situation to their benefit.

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

PoH..... You're not smoking some of that strong Turkish "tobacco" are you?
 Nope, just little eccentricity and it was pretty much within our topic Smile I said that several times, society desperately wants to believe "really bad" persons are demons or at least animals who are uncapable of any empathy, guilt or remorse. A perfectly healthy person can selectively exlude his/her empathical abilities completely or partially from persons who are not from his/her family or opposite sex or another ethnicity or another religon or another political view or another x (again I screwed up English here LOL). In fact we're doing that all the time.

I just look at several polls around Internet. The question was "do you consider yourself a good person?". Results was around; %65 yes, %30 partially (good and partially bad), %5 no. Just like that poll asking Americans "do you consider yourself better than average driver?". %88 of Americans answered "yes". 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_superiority

edit: why this stupid BBcodes aren't working Angry just copy&paste link anyway...
edit2: Chrome was bugged, Firefox seems working...



Edited by Paradigm of Humanity - 08 Jan 2013 at 06:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lao Tse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2013 at 07:47
Originally posted by Paradigm of Humanity Paradigm of Humanity wrote:

Originally posted by Paradigm of Humanity B Paradigm of Humanity B wrote:


I must admit... Sometimes my conversations with myself is much more entertaining than with many others. After all, a man's expression of his duality is also his demontration of his free will and very proof that he is not driven by primitive communal instincs.


Indeed sir, it was my pleasure too... Jekyll and Hyde is one of my favorite games, probably second only to Freudian psycoanalysis games...
 
Whatever you're on I'll take 40000 of them pleaseSmile. But I must admit, although I've been using English for 60 years, that conversation was quite confusing, but atleast its entertaining! Have you considerred doing that on TV? You'd get paid the big bucks to do that LOL
在財富的害處,而是一件好事永遠不持續。我在和平中仅居住在新的風下。 Wei Jia Hong No harm in wealth, but a good thing doesn't last forever. I live only among peace under
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lao Tse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2013 at 07:49
I thnk that everyone has a good and a bad side, it's just the paths they choose makes them who they are
在財富的害處,而是一件好事永遠不持續。我在和平中仅居住在新的風下。 Wei Jia Hong No harm in wealth, but a good thing doesn't last forever. I live only among peace under
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lao Tse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2013 at 07:52
Originally posted by Lao Tse A Lao Tse A wrote:

I thnk that everyone has a good and a bad side, it's just the paths they choose makes them who they are
 
I sometimes wonder what you have going on in your head. Right now I can see throughthe crystal ball, you have a lotus with a tiger sleeping on top. Somebodys been drinking just a little too much saake, my friend.
在財富的害處,而是一件好事永遠不持續。我在和平中仅居住在新的風下。 Wei Jia Hong No harm in wealth, but a good thing doesn't last forever. I live only among peace under
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Originally posted by Lao Tse Lao Tse wrote:

Have you considerred doing that on TV? You'd get paid the big bucks to do that LOL

I'm no clown for hire Clown I just enjoy having impressions of miseries of society. Did you actually thought they could enjoy real themselves, even if I'd prefer to reveal gently?.. Hopefully, this time I won't need to count traditional hypocrisies of society and it's a fact that mind of average human being can be aroused and occupied mostly with motion (such as football, basketball, baseball etc.) rather than thought. They'll choose movies that with more motion for example. That's why some directors like Tartovski uses long and boring opening sequences: to keep them away from wasting their time on something they're not gonna enjoy...

I'll enslave them if I ever take over the world. Then make them work less and have more time for themselves (did you knew Lafargue regarded free time equal to culture?) or at least they can discover themselves rather then wasting their lives on trying to buy utter crap. Sleepy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2013 at 09:41
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

PoH..... You're not smoking some of that strong Turkish "tobacco" are you?

Good and bad can be a slippery subject, one that can be a moving target. Some criminals commit terrible crimes, including murder, but then reform, and lead a better life. They were bad, but are now "good".......or is it too late? A good person would not kill, but in war they may kill many, and even feel pretty good about it. Good or bad? Does it depend on the cause, and if so, what is a reasonable cause? A man is angry and violent with those about him, not because he is just that way, but because he was sexually abused as a kid. On the other hand, he knows about the psychological issues, but can't seem to change. Good or bad?


About 20% of inmates in the US are reliably estimated to be full blown psychos.  These are the repeat offenders, the remorseless, the ones who blame society for their actions.  They are beyond rehab.  What you discuss are not personality disorders but well known emotional issues which can be treated.   Psychos only have base, primitive emotions.

Quote Psychopathy is often not all that clear cut, and there is a broad spectrum of various symptoms that can run from the true Hollywood crazy, to individuals that are merely unpleasant. Those that have absolutely no feelings or conscience are fairly rare. Some are successful in society, and make their contribution, although they may not be the kind that attracts friendships.

I think there is not much doubt that there are a few at the very end of the spectrum for which nothing good can be said. We had a case here a few years back of a guy that raped, tortured, and murdered about a dozen children. Bad would apply here. But for the vast majority,  assigning a good or bad judgement would be tough.


People lower in the range are not psychopaths. By definition to be one you have to display certain tendencies and conduct certain behaviours.  I think Hare's checklist is the authoritative tool for diagnosis (only by qualified, experienced professionals).  The Hollywood/celebrity types you speak of generally have what's called narcissistic personality disorder which is related but far less destructive.  The scoring goes from 0-40 (40 being worst).

Here's a link to the checklist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare_Psychopathy_Checklist

In a big way, I am glad i have read up on this topic as it has rekindled my faith in humanity.

Here are some very good books for the general public:

Without conscience: the disturbing world of psychopaths in our midst (not read - can't get it in ebook in the UK for some reason)
Snakes in Suits: When psychopaths go to work
The devil you know
The sociopath next door (best so far)

reading these books puts into perspective some of the people you've come across in your life and their inexplicable behaviours.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2013 at 09:53
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Anyway, the real subject I want to discuss is not the definition of these words but that which you touched on: sociopaths/psychopaths (same thing). A real sociopath - that 1 in 25 - has more lacking than just no empathy.  He or she has a complete absence of any quintessentially human emotion, hard as it is to believe - they never feel love, empathy, compassion, sympathy, loyalty, guilt, remorse and only have a dictionary definition understanding of what these things are coupled with their observation of them in other people - if they are smart enough to process it then they just mimick these emotions when they get the appropriate cues for them.  They lead their whole lives as a lie and have never done any good if there's nothing in it for them.  They take joy at the misery they cause and view other people as pawns in their games of dominance and exploitation.
 
Ok, thanks for the clarification, now that we have narrowed the topic it will be easier to speak of particulars rather than generalities.
 
Quote This phenomenon is not a curable or treatable "disease" or "illness", it is the worst of a number of personality disorders which is untreatable.  The sociopathic traits are reliably estimated to be 50% inherited and 50% environmental - environmental being societal culture rather than exclusively parenting.  So society's values are thought to have a profound effect on the number of individuals who can be classed as psychopaths.

My answer to the above would be that there are no completely good people but there are completely bad people and they are the sociopaths in our midst.  If they do any good it is not because they have an ounce of goodness in in them but because there's something in it for them and any good they ever do is drastically outweighed by the bad.

After reading several books on this subject my view has changed from one which says that human nature is unkind or inherently bad to the polar opposite.  Human nature when conscience is present and unfettered is inherently good.  It is only ever tainted by the deceptions and manipulations of the completely bad whom depending on their levels of intelligence, education and upbringing can range from your run of the mill self destructive career criminal and prison inmate to your parasitic loser who just leaches off other people all their lives hiding behind a facade of depression and the like to middling professionals who think the world owes them and take every opportunity to manipulate and sabotage others for a kick to the most dangerous being the high powered, manipulative, backstabbing politicians and business people whose ambitions can cause the suffering and deaths of millions.

Although lacking these human emotions, the smartest of these blood suckers know exactly how to pluck them in normal people and when they get into positions of authority the results can be catastrophic owing to a programmed proclivity in about 60% of the general population to follow orders unquestioningly from that perceived source of authority.
 
I have had the misfortune to know a couple of such people, and I can empathise with the utter disgust a person feels having seen the results of their behaviour.
 
I do wonder whether there is an evolutionary basis for sociopaths existing. I say this because humans are social animals, and therefore our emotions and relationships based on trust and cooperation have always been central to our survival. But the sociopath is born in just small enough a percentage of the population that humans can continue to be social animals and function as a social group while allowing a few seflish and calculating individuals to achieve leadership.
 
Do sociopaths serve a useful purpose? A socipath is someone who will coldly follow their self interests with little regard for the feelings of others or any sense of fairness. What happens when the sociopath in question is a monarch or totalitarian leader, and therefore considers the survival and strength of the state they rule to be an extension of their own self interest?
 
Could a sociopathic individual like Joseph Stalin, in cruelly enforcing collectivisation on the Soviet people, be an example of a socipath who ensured the USSR would survive the Nazi invasion by ramming through reform with little regard for emotions or dignity? A more emotionally attuned leader might have had too big a heart to make such a move, and in the long term leave the Soviet state less industrially and agriculturally capable of resisting Operation Barbarossa.
 
This is not an endorsement of sociopaths in power. I do think they generally make life worse for the people they rule over. But I do wish to play devil's advocate with this example to get an understanding of your thoughts.


This topic is discussed in good detail in The Sociopath Next Door which I would highly recommend along with The Devil you know for every day examples of psychos.  I would tend towards it being a disorder as most sociopaths ultimately self destruct.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2013 at 21:29
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

About 20% of inmates in the US are reliably estimated to be full blown psychos.  These are the repeat offenders, the remorseless, the ones who blame society for their actions.  They are beyond rehab.  What you discuss are not personality disorders but well known emotional issues which can be treated.   Psychos only have base, primitive emotions.

People lower in the range are not psychopaths. By definition to be one you have to display certain tendencies and conduct certain behaviours. 
 
And here is where we get into problems. Psychology tries to isolate and define certain conditions, but nature often resists placement in categories. Each individual brings along his or her own personal traits, and in the case of mental illness, a mixture of clinically definable behaviors. Some lean towards easier definition, but many do not, presenting a hodge podge of symptoms, and often will end up with dual diagnosis, or perhaps a very tentitive one that may change in time. Textbook definitions are models of reality, not the real thing.
 
There are several tests for psychopathy, but there is no silver bullet. There are a few, like the one I mentioned, that leave no room for doubt. But many other cases can be more complex, and hard to define. In Canada, about 30% of prison inmates are felt to register on one or other test for psychopathy. But there is a huge range in here, from serial killers to those who you might think had been wrongly diagnosed if you met them. The actual type that would provide a good Hollywood script are very, very small in number.
 
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

I think Hare's checklist is the authoritative tool for diagnosis (only by qualified, experienced professionals).  The Hollywood/celebrity types you speak of generally have what's called narcissistic personality disorder which is related but far less destructive.  The scoring goes from 0-40 (40 being worst).

Here's a link to the checklist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare_Psychopathy_Checklist

In a big way, I am glad i have read up on this topic as it has rekindled my faith in humanity.

Here are some very good books for the general public:

Without conscience: the disturbing world of psychopaths in our midst (not read - can't get it in ebook in the UK for some reason)
Snakes in Suits: When psychopaths go to work
The devil you know
The sociopath next door (best so far)

reading these books puts into perspective some of the people you've come across in your life and their inexplicable behaviours.
 
If I had to add up all the people in the world I have met with inexplicable behaviors, I would have a long list. No doubt there are a multitude of reasons for these things. Labels only go so far though in increasing understanding.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jan 2013 at 09:25
Psychopathy is not just psychological - it is neurological and can be detected medically.  And as for inexplicable behaviour, i would encourage you to read a book on the subject so that you know what kind of behaviour I am talking about instead of being facetious and attempting to dismiss a century's worth of objective research into human behaviour with a generalisation about psychologists.  The empirical fact is that 3-4% of the general population have this disorder and it causes them to be social predators who view life as a game of dominance and exploitation because they feel no love or attachment to anything.  And love an attachment is what drives all of our other emotions and positive qualities such as conscience.



Edited by Zagros - 09 Jan 2013 at 11:59
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jan 2013 at 10:14
I'm not quite sure what you mean by sociopath. A completely lack of emotion or remorse does not lead to criminal, megalomaniac or anti-social behaviour. On the contrary, most of the "good" things we do are highly logical and produce the best long term outcome.

Emotion and empathy are in my opinion necessary for the majority of crimes committed. Loyalty, anger, revenge are far more powerful motivators than simple calculation.

As for the original question of inherently good or bad people, then we must, first, define exactly what good and bad actually are. Even religious definitions are circumstantial. Is it right to kill a person? Well, in the appropriate circumstances, yes it could be. It's just those circumstances are rare.

Are there inherently good or bad people? Religiously, yes. Subjectively, it would appear so. Scientifically, you'll have no hope of figuring it out.

A question I've always thought about, is do inherently good people affect a national character?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jan 2013 at 11:02
The majority of sociopaths are obviously not criminals, in that they don't have criminal convictions, they are just the type of people who make other people's lives a misery for the sake of it - whether they are abusive parents, children, business people.  In fact it is the types of view expressed in this thread that allow them to get away with it by giving the benefit of doubt because there is no understanding of the mindset of these people.  Without a sense of human emotion there is no obligation to anything except yourself as you operate on base survival and competitive instincts and there is no internal mechanism to stop you going for what you want whether morally acceptable or not.  The entire life from childhood to death is spent conniving in the more intelligent ones so by adulthood they are expert manipulators and strategists.

Anyway, I would encourage some, even if cursory reading of available literature.

Quote Emotion and empathy are in my opinion necessary for the majority of crimes committed. Loyalty, anger, revenge are far more powerful motivators than simple calculation.


Yes, and people with emotions are capable of remorse, guilt and sorrow so they can be rehabilitated - unlike sociopaths.  let me give you an everyday example.  A handyma/builder who targets a vulnerable person who's looking to modify their home somehow. he takes their money upfront (a red flag in any case), botches the job - runs off spending the money on a new BMW then comes back and asks for more money to fix the problem he caused in the first place and then disappearing off radar again never to be heard from and if tracked down ends up threatening the victim. There's an everyday sociopath for you; predatory, exploitative, manipulative and potentially violent.  No criminal charges will likely be brought against such an individual (in the UK at least) and your best bet would be a civil claim which they wouldn't honour anyway even if you could prove anything (they are clever, they will avoid any paperwork where possible.)   This psycho will have a trail of destruction of other people's lives in his abusive history and no inkling of emotion for the victims other than contempt.

If somehow the scoundrel is brought to justice he will blame anything and everyone (usually the victim) but himself.

This is an inherently bad person.  If you need it defined.


Edited by Zagros - 09 Jan 2013 at 11:08
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jan 2013 at 11:04
Or how about the more successful sociopaths we've seen throughout history who manipulated, lied and murdered their way into leadership with catastrophic results for their country? Hitler, Saddam, Stalin.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jan 2013 at 11:14
I don't believe there are any inherently good people, everyone will have a blotch in their history they are not particularly proud of, but if they are capable of good then they will have modified their behaviour, or tried to or at least recognised it because they care about what they do and its affects on others.  however, i do believe there are inherently bad people, that is people who will do anything, whether socially/morally/legally acceptable or not if they think they can get away with it and it serves their purpose. and sometimes they don't care if they think they can get away with it or not.

Anyway, the bad news is that 1 in 25 people potentially have no scruples and are proud of it - the good news is that 24/25 do and are capable of being decent human beings, if not already so.

Fascinating topic and I would really encourage anyone who wants to know more to read one of the above books.  If you think there are saboteurs at work, then snakes in suits - in general then the sociopath next door and the devil you know.  The one I originally wanted to read but couldn't get a hold of was without conscience.


Edited by Zagros - 09 Jan 2013 at 11:19
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2013 at 11:24
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20981611

Prominent example of a psycho with perverse sexual desires which he acted on because of his position of power, his public face as a national treasure which he used as a cover.  he carried out these offenses because he could get away with it and he was incapable of human emotion and did not have a shred of concern for his victims.  His horrific crimes only coming to the public eye a year after his death.

He did volunteering work and fund raising for the Leeds Bradford hospital amongst many other such institutions because it gave him access to vulnerable child victims whilst at the same time reinforcing his false do-gooder image.

This is an inherently bad person and a classic example of a clever, high profile psycho who ruined the lives of hundreds of vulnerable victims over 5 decades.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2013 at 14:43
Has anyone ever followed Patricia Highsmith's novels about Tom Ripley, which pose this very question?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2013 at 23:22
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

This topic is discussed in good detail in The Sociopath Next Door which I would highly recommend along with The Devil you know for every day examples of psychos.  I would tend towards it being a disorder as most sociopaths ultimately self destruct.
 
Ok, game on. I have added The Sociopath Next Door to my 2013 reading list. I will get to it once Guns, Germs and Steel is out of the way.
 
I really miss one aspect of student days: the endless opportunity to read more. I can't spare more than several hours per week for the activity these days.
 
I would be interested in working out ways in which we can design society to reduce these cold and emotionless behaviours to a minimum. I would expect for them to be sky high in places like North Korea, for example.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jan 2013 at 15:15
No G - will look into it.

CXI - Good one, post back here what your thoughts are, will you?  Also your final question, it is addressed to an extent in Snakes in Suits and unfortunately it is a bureaucracy centric solution which can (IMO) also be stifling to good honest people who just want to do a good job.  The problem with this disorder is that it is hard to recognise and detect you can only have safeguards and they're never fool proof.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Feb 2013 at 02:21
I'm a man of my word and 1/3 of the way through the book. Very keen to continue this discussion but would rather digest the entire text before doing so. More to come.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Feb 2013 at 11:33
Good - look forward to reading your thoughts.  Which one are you reading btw? 
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paradigm of Humanity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2013 at 01:28
We human inviduals are equipped with consciousness and it provides us with awareness of our existence and awareness of existence of other inviduals - also known as the theory of mind. Good and bad people defined according to balance of these two. 

Most people claim they are good just because they believe they are following a strict equation between them. Of course, that would only make them neutrals. In reality that one invidual (you) outweights the rest.

"Me" part of this dual concept not just enforced by our basic animal insticts but the theory of ourselves. Because we are aware that we exist! So, we are trying to expand our existence through acquiring more property, power and children. These are inconceivably related to each other. Because we know we'll perish in the end.

First major stage of this struggle is sexuality, it allows you to spread a part of you and this makes you feel that a part of you will live after you passed away. It's also most fundamental stage, because no matter how much power and property you acquire,  you'll need children to inherit them. If this stage stays unfullfilled somehow, emphasis will shift towards acquiring more power and property.

Don't you notice antagonists that are craving for power and wealth and how they are presented in movies? Many of them are asexuals or have other problems with women. They usually presented in form of sexually imcompetent, short, bald and quick tempered men stereotype. Not much different from real life. Powerful men always mocked with sexual imcompetency.

"Hitler has only got one ball,
Göring has two but very small,
Himmler is somewhat sim'lar,
But poor Goebbels has no balls at all."

Second stage is usually wealth of course. When a large sum of wealth is acquired, an ambition for power will follow ---> French Revolution...

Capitalism claims that invidual is all that must be taken into account in equation and promising to archieve continuous existence of invidual through himself/herself, so art and it's products hold greater value in capitalism ( I believe I was told you at one point that art is the most pure form of production that derived from anxiety of our inevitable and imminent perishment). 

I couldn't mention everything in my mind but I should inform you that everything is tightly connected to each other in my mind just in case anything initially appears irrelevant to you.
the single postmodern virtue of obsessive egalitarianism
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