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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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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Feb 2013 at 01:46
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Good - look forward to reading your thoughts.  Which one are you reading btw? 
The sociopath next door.
 
Nearly done, should add my thoughts on the book around mid week.
 
It's interesting and I do have quite a bit to say on it, but I'll hold off til I get to the end of it in kindle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2013 at 17:42
Good going mate, it gets a bit dull for a while I seem to remember about 3/4 of the way through but then picks up again. Think of the example of the rich kid with the frogs and what he grew up to be, those are the most dangerous people on earth.
"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: 13 Feb 2013 at 17:50
On that point I read elsewhere that because psychologists in the earlier years of their science hailed from well-to-do backgrounds they never really concentrated their efforts on the study of individuals in their own social class. That is, the Skips of this world. Instead they concentrated their efforts on the lowest social orders who committed the crudest of crimes and either weren't smart enough or didn't have the resources to cover up their crimes.

Incidentally, sociopaths make up about 20% of the US prison population yet commit 60% of all crimes. I think that was in the book you're reading, so we know that is how much of a problem they are for the rest of us when[\I] they get caught. How about when they don't, or are above the law; That bullsh*t about evil doing being a part of human nature.

Don't know about you, but I certainly couldn't order the killing of anyone, or steal, con or any other dubious act for personal gain or anything short of survival and protection. I believe that is a fundamental part of being human; wanting to work with other for the common good not against all for personal gain.

Edited by Zagros - 13 Feb 2013 at 17:57
"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: 13 Feb 2013 at 18:08
So in this book you have the examples of

Skip
Doreen
And Luke

Whom Stout vividly illustrated as three castes of non criminal psychopaths prevalent in what i want to distinguish as Anglo-American society for this purpose.   It is these three types of people who, I personally are more destructive over their lifespan than their criminal colleagues, leaving trails of social destruction and ruin in their paths. The only way to combat them is through education and awareness but even that will only ever have a limiting effect since so many people revel in ignorance.

Additionally I found the comparison in the proportions relative to population of sociopaths in places like China and India relative to the US eye opening.
"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: 13 Feb 2013 at 19:07
I wonder if you own shares of that specific publishing company, dear Zagros... Thanks to your commercial campaign I just decided to ehemm... acquiring the book. And now I have it after one minute or so Cool

Edited by Paradigm of Humanity - 13 Feb 2013 at 19:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 2013 at 00:08
Good. the more people pick up on these snakes and their behaviour the less damage they do. I don't care whether it is this book or any other because the more people understand these unfortunate people for what they are the better. I say unfortunate because they will never know what it is to have complex emotions and the life defining attachments and relationships they bring.

Look forward to your thoughts.
"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 (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 2013 at 00:22

Let's not forget Tillie, Zagros. Because she is also a good example of a sociopath.

 
I have a lot of thoughts on this book. I will try and order my presentation of them in the most clear manner possible, but I have a lot of get through and must simply do the best I can in covering such a broad topic.
 
Firstly, the author defines conscience as an emotional feeling a person gets which stems from empathy for other people and impells them to do the right thing. She distinguishes conscience from superego, which is the inner self image and self aspirations of a person which impell them to behave through guilt/shame/pride etc. And she defines a sociopath as a person lacking a conscience.
 
If we accept the author's definition of conscience, then mine is virtually absent. Despite this, I am one of the most courteous, punctual, honourable, law abiding and fair people you will ever meet. Because my superego demands I be so. The vast majority of the time when I do the correct thing and it is against my self interest, I do it because my superego tells me to rather than because I suddenly start an emotional, empathic gushing session for what other people must be feeling.
I turn up to meetings on time because my self-image demands I not suffer the cognitive dissonance of considering myself punctual and then leaving people waiting - not because I start feeling bad emotionally for the other person having to wait for me (unless they are waiting a long time or I know it seriously inconveniences them).
 
So I have difficulties accepting the author's core concept of sociopathy as being defined by us doing the right thing based on empathy to the exclusion of the superego. I think that very few people do the right thing based on empathy, most instead do it based on conditioning in their upbringing which is then enforced upon them throughout life by their superego. Rape, murder, theft, narcissism, laziness - these are all absolutely normal and natural human behaviours. Stout seems to think that 96% of the population will have an aversion to them due to the empathy they have for others. I think that our upbringing hammers into us the moral impossibility of engaging in these behaviours, and that instead is what leads us to avoid them (hopefully).
 
The second point I want to address, but which Martha Stout does not, is that I believe there are degrees of sociopathy. What about people who know they feel no empathy and are aware of that hollowness, but actively try to reverse that because they feel they are missing out? What about people who are entirely honourable due to their superego, with the role of conscience being entirely unnecessary because superego basically does the entire job on its own?
 
What about people who have lots of empathy, but due to their own lack of self and social awareness act on the basis of their unconscious desires in a way that totally resembles that of an utterly cold and calculating sociopath?
 
I'll give you an example. My last housemate was a rather lazy guy. He actually very strongly resembles Luke from the book. He desperately sought to avoid any form of drudgery or monotonous labour, except when faced with overwhelming consequences e.g. "if you don't start picking up after yourself, you can find yourself another place to live instead". The thing is, I don't believe he is a full blown sociopath like in the book. He has an overabundance of empathy for others, as evidenced through his volunteering work at the Red Cross. But he subconsciously does engage in behaviour which is quite selfish. He justifies working only a part time job through the volunteer work, which he believes gives him a special moral high ground. Wider society believes that a man in his late 20s in the prime of his life should be working a full time job, building up savings to support home ownership, and the superannuation funds that he will need as an old man so he is not a burden on the state. But he hates drudgery, which is a typical feature of any paid work, and so excuses his avoidance of it by doing volunteer work where supervision and any sort of managerial demand is virtually non-existent.
 
Having never had a girlfriend, mid-way through last year (at 28) he met a quite overweight girl with very poor self esteem due to her increasing weight and a rather horrible previous relationship. After a few months I consented to her moving in (I actually thought she was delightful). The inner workings of the relationship were curious. She did all his household chores for him, and in return the one thing he did for her was make her dinner (a task he would have had to do anyway when he made himself dinner). His job (standing on a street corner trying to get people to sign up for stuff) ensured he expended a lot of energy each day. But with the meals he was making, supplemented by 200g blocks of chocolate after and crisps and flavoured milk and booze, he continued to gain weight. For her the weight gain was much worse, due to her having a much more sedentary existence. So in return for picking up after him and cleaning up all his mess, he basically cooked meals he was going to have to make anyway and fed her a heap of unhealthy food that was pretty bad for her.
 
He claimed repeatedly to love her in very heartfelt tones. Yet I wondered sometimes why this intense emotional feeling did not translate into greater effort and consideration by him. For example, he snores quite badly. This is due to a combination of him being overweight, his smoking and his common pre-bedtime drinking. She simply could not get a good night's sleep most of the time, and had to get up in the middle of the night to go into the lounge and sleep on the couch. I found it disconcerting that he could find the money for booze and cigarettes, and would not divert such funds towards seeing a sleep therapist. If he wanted to be heroic, he could even have tried losing weight. Instead, despite telling her how much he loved her, he lifted not a finger and so she suffered broken sleep and began most days already feeling tired and worn out.
 
One time I could not help but overhear a conversation they were having, and it was on the subject of a baby. He was enthusiastically for keeping it, should she fall pregnant. This was despite having no money (in fact they were financially very distressed) and little in the way of stable employment. She had in an earlier conversation to me mentioned that she thought having a kid with him was unwise. Think back to Luke in the book.
 
Look at this situation strategically. She is with him in a rather unfair relationship where he takes the lead and calls the shots, owing to her self esteem being virtually gone. What do you think might happen if one day her self esteem recovers? Dropping him like a pile of bricks seems the likely outcome to me. Which is why it would make sense from his perspective to get her knocked up at this advantageous low point in her feeling of self worth. A kid would anchor her into place, making it difficult for her to make new friends or pursue a more meaningful career, and opportunities for her to improve her self esteem would be limited. Plus, the needs of a new born would preclude such selfish endeavours. And so it all makes sense for him, barely 3 months into his first relationship, to urge her to keep the baby if one develops despite the overwhelming other factors (lack of family support, lack of stable employment, no money, declining health of both of them) which should discourage such a move.
 
And I will honestly say that none of this was a conscious calculation on his part. He was merely doing what his subconscious told him to. Despite the fact that he did genuinely care for her, his subconscious had found a way to subvert his concern for her to impose conditions which suited his self interest. I would even go so far as to argue that his lack of superego was a distinct factor here.
 
So how would you class that sort of person: one who clearly has a conscience and sense of empathy, but whose lack of self and social awareness enables him to ignore salient facts and follow the commands of a selfish subconscious?
 
I have more, but I don't want to throw too much your way lest you respond to each point with too much brevity.


Edited by Constantine XI - 14 Feb 2013 at 02:15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 2013 at 10:09
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Let's not forget Tillie, Zagros. Because she is also a good example of a sociopath.

Absolutely, I encountered what I suspect to be a Tillie last weekend.

 
I have a lot of thoughts on this book. I will try and order my presentation of them in the most clear manner possible, but I have a lot of get through and must simply do the best I can in covering such a broad topic.
 
Quote Firstly, the author defines conscience as an emotional feeling a person gets which stems from empathy for other people and impells them to do the right thing. She distinguishes conscience from superego, which is the inner self image and self aspirations of a person which impell them to behave through guilt/shame/pride etc. And she defines a sociopath as a person lacking a conscience.


I don't recall her defining it so.  But perhaps this is where the genetics and environmental factors play a role.  Genetics: the lacking of the emotional capacity; environment: the lack of a scrupulous super ego.  I have had the benefit of reading other books as well, but I recommended this one purely on the basis of its examples rather than its definitions; if you want to look more deeply into the psyche, I recommend the books by Hare et al.  Also the label socio/psychopath IMO should be applied to wrongdoers, not people simply because they have a deficiency.


 
Quote If we accept the author's definition of conscience, then mine is virtually absent. Despite this, I am one of the most courteous, punctual, honourable, law abiding and fair people you will ever meet. Because my superego demands I be so. The vast majority of the time when I do the correct thing and it is against my self interest, I do it because my superego tells me to rather than because I suddenly start an emotional, empathic gushing session for what other people must be feeling.
I turn up to meetings on time because my self-image demands I not suffer the cognitive dissonance of considering myself punctual and then leaving people waiting - not because I start feeling bad emotionally for the other person having to wait for me (unless they are waiting a long time or I know it seriously inconveniences them).


The author's definition was not premised on the lack of empathy but a lack of the ability to love.  she specifically stated that those lacking empathy have narcissistic tendencies, which can also be destructive, but not in the conscious way full blown psychopath tendencies are.  Can you love?  A sociopath cannot.  Do you view people as people with feelings or objects? Does your fondness for people resemble more the fondness for your favorite ever car or do you get a feeling in the pit of your stomach for people you care about?
 
Quote So I have difficulties accepting the author's core concept of sociopathy as being defined by us doing the right thing based on empathy to the exclusion of the superego. I think that very few people do the right thing based on empathy, most instead do it based on conditioning in their upbringing which is then enforced upon them throughout life by their superego. Rape, murder, theft, narcissism, laziness - these are all absolutely normal and natural human behaviours. Stout seems to think that 96% of the population will have an aversion to them due to the empathy they have for others. I think that our upbringing hammers into us the moral impossibility of engaging in these behaviours, and that instead is what leads us to avoid them (hopefully).


Again, the definition was on the absence of the ability to love not empathise.  But I think your point on super-ego vrs natural conscience is interesting.  I have an oppressive super-ego which led me to depression but I have got to grips with it in recent years by understanding and knowing myself and human nature better.

I alluded to the difference in proportions to those exhibiting strong Psycho tendencies in the US (4%) vs those in China (0.4%)  The author suggests the environmental factor here could be the cause - in that Chiense society is much more based on togetherness and famly values than modern US society, which is mostly about individualism and the concept of it being a dog-eat-dog world - this affects super-ego.
 
Quote The second point I want to address, but which Martha Stout does not, is that I believe there are degrees of sociopathy. What about people who know they feel no empathy and are aware of that hollowness, but actively try to reverse that because they feel they are missing out? What about people who are entirely honourable due to their superego, with the role of conscience being entirely unnecessary because superego basically does the entire job on its own?


These are not Psychopaths, psychos by their nature do not think there is anything wrong with them, but they think there is something wrong with others or that everyone is like them but they all act nicey nicey and that life's a game of skullduggery, deceit and ultimately dominance.  I suggest Hare's works - there are degrees (measures) of psychopathic tendencies. The author alludes to the people you describe - they are narcissists who lack empathy.
 
Quote What about people who have lots of empathy, but due to their own lack of self and social awareness act on the basis of their unconscious desires in a way that totally resembles that of an utterly cold and calculating sociopath?


Yes, these are people with misplaced values arising from environmental factor during childhood and teenage years.  They can be rehabilitated by showing them the results of their actions, hence kicking in their feeling of empathy.  Not all criminals are psychos and not all psychos are criminals (as defined by law).

 
Quote I'll give you an example. My last housemate was a rather lazy guy. He actually very strongly resembles Luke from the book. He desperately sought to avoid any form of drudgery or monotonous labour, except when faced with overwhelming consequences e.g. "if you don't start picking up after yourself, you can find yourself another place to live instead". The thing is, I don't believe he is a full blown sociopath like in the book. He has an overabundance of empathy for others, as evidenced through his volunteering work at the Red Cross. But he subconsciously does engage in behaviour which is quite selfish. He justifies working only a part time job through the volunteer work, which he believes gives him a special moral high ground. Wider society believes that a man in his late 20s in the prime of his life should be working a full time job, building up savings to support home ownership, and the superannuation funds that he will need as an old man so he is not a burden on the state. But he hates drudgery, which is a typical feature of any paid work, and so excuses his avoidance of it by doing volunteer work where supervision and any sort of managerial demand is virtually non-existent.


did you ever consider that his volunteering work - did you ever actually see him do it? - may be a cover for his lifestyle?  This is an extreme example, but Jimmy Savile used his front as a martyr for charity to do horrendous things.
 
Quote Having never had a girlfriend, mid-way through last year (at 28) he met a quite overweight girl with very poor self esteem due to her increasing weight and a rather horrible previous relationship. After a few months I consented to her moving in (I actually thought she was delightful). The inner workings of the relationship were curious. She did all his household chores for him, and in return the one thing he did for her was make her dinner (a task he would have had to do anyway when he made himself dinner). His job (standing on a street corner trying to get people to sign up for stuff) ensured he expended a lot of energy each day. But with the meals he was making, supplemented by 200g blocks of chocolate after and crisps and flavoured milk and booze, he continued to gain weight. For her the weight gain was much worse, due to her having a much more sedentary existence. So in return for picking up after him and cleaning up all his mess, he basically cooked meals he was going to have to make anyway and fed her a heap of unhealthy food that was pretty bad for her.


No offence but he sounds like a psycho - one without drive or motivation.  Remember they come in as many varieties as there are people.  Think of Skip - there are plenty of achievers like him who are good people.
 
Quote He claimed repeatedly to love her in very heartfelt tones. Yet I wondered sometimes why this intense emotional feeling did not translate into greater effort and consideration by him. For example, he snores quite badly. This is due to a combination of him being overweight, his smoking and his common pre-bedtime drinking. She simply could not get a good night's sleep most of the time, and had to get up in the middle of the night to go into the lounge and sleep on the couch. I found it disconcerting that he could find the money for booze and cigarettes, and would not divert such funds towards seeing a sleep therapist. If he wanted to be heroic, he could even have tried losing weight. Instead, despite telling her how much he loved her, he lifted not a finger and so she suffered broken sleep and began most days already feeling tired and worn out.
 
One time I could not help but overhear a conversation they were having, and it was on the subject of a baby. He was enthusiastically for keeping it, should she fall pregnant. This was despite having no money (in fact they were financially very distressed) and little in the way of stable employment. She had in an earlier conversation to me mentioned that she thought having a kid with him was unwise. Think back to Luke in the book.
 
Look at this situation strategically. She is with him in a rather unfair relationship where he takes the lead and calls the shots, owing to her self esteem being virtually gone. What do you think might happen if one day her self esteem recovers? Dropping him like a pile of bricks seems the likely outcome to me. Which is why it would make sense from his perspective to get her knocked up at this advantageous low point in her feeling of self worth. A kid would anchor her into place, making it difficult for her to make new friends or pursue a more meaningful career, and opportunities for her to improve her self esteem would be limited. Plus, the needs of a new born would preclude such selfish endeavours. And so it all makes sense for him, barely 3 months into his first relationship, to urge her to keep the baby if one develops despite the overwhelming other factors (lack of family support, lack of stable employment, no money, declining health of both of them) which should discourage such a move.
 
And I will honestly say that none of this was a conscious calculation on his part. He was merely doing what his subconscious told him to. Despite the fact that he did genuinely care for her, his subconscious had found a way to subvert his concern for her to impose conditions which suited his self interest. I would even go so far as to argue that his lack of superego was a distinct factor here.
 
So how would you class that sort of person: one who clearly has a conscience and sense of empathy, but whose lack of self and social awareness enables him to ignore salient facts and follow the commands of a selfish subconscious?

 
I have more, but I don't want to throw too much your way lest you respond to each point with too much brevity.


Again I suggest further reading particularly on Hare work - your guy sounds like a classic example of an parasitic, low motivation, psycho concerned only with maintaining his comfort as he sees it, maybe a less lcunning or intelligent version of Luke. Their base parasitic, predatory instincts are quite automatic from what I have read, when they meet new people they go through three distinctly defined phases as described by Hare of something like evaluation, use and then abandonment and for many this is an automatic process, programmed from their childhood development.


Edited by Zagros - 14 Feb 2013 at 10:30
"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: 14 Feb 2013 at 10:18
Did you consider that your understanding of that girl's situation proves you have empathy and your "friend's" taking advantage of it (because that's what he's doing - preying on her weakness as a social predator)  proves he doesn't? 
"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 Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 2013 at 22:07
Ok, you've got me even more interested. I'm going to go read Hare's book so I can pursue these points in more detail with you.
 
BTW, this has genuinely got me thinking and I am very genuinely enjoying this conversation Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 2013 at 22:20
Good me too, I'm on a bit of a mission with this.

I really need to get my hands on a kindle UK publication of without conscience, for some reason it's only available in print here but the us amazon has it for kindle. I first read snakes in suits because of doing some random Internet searching on empathy because of how one person in my family was treating another... At this point, if you said psychopath to me I would think of ted buddy and mass murderers, but some research brought me to Hare's work and I found a whole new dimension to human society which never gets any good coverage except in psychology literature.

Dunno if I posted this before but here are the indicators: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare_Psychopathy_Checklist
A qualified, experienced psychiatrist can perform this analysis through interview over a few hours and with knowledge of background including references, testimonies, criminal record (trail of destruction). So the diagnosis f psychopath is not based on exhibiting traits face to face but the actual way of life of the subject.


Anyway, just thought of a bit more of an emotive example for you. If you saw an old frail lady trip and hurt herself and you walked over and instead of helping her up you gave her a solid kick in the ribs, how would you feel after? Guilt? Disgust with yourself? Or would you tell yourself that what you did was wrong by definition and you really ought not to do it again in case you got caught and then proceed to feel nothing of it and sleep easy at night?

Edited by Zagros - 14 Feb 2013 at 22:30
"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 Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 2013 at 22:40
Quote Anyway, just thought of a bit more of an emotive example for you. If you saw an old frail lady trip and hurt herself and you walked over and instead of helping her up you gave her a solid kick in the ribs, how would you feel after? Guilt? Disgust with yourself? Or would you tell yourself that what you did was wrong by definition and feel nothing of it and sleep easy at night?
 
If she were a stranger? I would feel bad, both guilty and disgusted with myself.
 
If I classed her as an enemy, I would feel no remorse afterwards. My callousness towards people I can place into a 'hostile other' category is breathtaking. Though that 'hostile other' category is not easy to get into.
 
My interest in this topic stems from my own upbringing. I'm fairly certain that both my parents are sociopaths. My dad resembles Luke, and my mum resembles Tillie. In fact I found the parallels between these characters and my parents to be quite striking.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2013 at 08:56
A psychopath can feel none of those things which is why they can do what they do.

Quote My interest in this topic stems from my own upbringing. I'm fairly certain that both my parents are sociopaths. My dad resembles Luke, and my mum resembles Tillie. In fact I found the parallels between these characters and my parents to be quite striking.


Some members of my family have very strong traits, but I have since discovered that they are blundering narcissists rather than calculating psychopaths.  I was convinced my mum was and I confronted her quite brutally to actually test her reactions to what I said.  I felt horrible afterwards, but i realised what she was then.  She can love but she is lacking empathy.  On my dad's side as well, there are three of the ten siblings.

BTW - there are 3 clear, related, anti-social personality disorders

Histrionic
Narcissistic
And Psychopathy

Narcs are not narcs as in the everyday use of the word for someone who is vain.  it is someone who gravitates things only around himself because they are incapable of empathy (the other's perspective) but have all/most of the other emotions missing in psychs.

Empathy can be broken down into

Affective - this is where you actually automatically feel what someone else is feeling simply by observing them

Cognitive - this is kind of retrospective empathy where you imagine yourself in someone else's shoes and realise how good or bad they must have been feeling.

I have very shallow affective empathy but a very strong cognitive one.  So I don't automatically know how to reassure or comfort someone in distress beyond doing practical things, its only after I realise what i could have done whereas people with strong affective emapthy are very good at supporting people real time on the spot.

Narcs tend to be martyrs and make everything about themselves in order to get attention or if they are enduring even minor dificulties, everyone else's lives have top stop to take notice of them.  They gravitate all conversation to themselves. 

Often this behaviour drives people away and narcs then wonder why they have no real friends, sometimes they realise they're different and sometimes they get help and learn about the world outside their own sphere and can become normal as they can be otherwise they become bitter/cruel or depressed.



Edited by Zagros - 15 Feb 2013 at 09:30
"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: 16 Feb 2013 at 00:18
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

 
My interest in this topic stems from my own upbringing. I'm fairly certain that both my parents are sociopaths. My dad resembles Luke, and my mum resembles Tillie. In fact I found the parallels between these characters and my parents to be quite striking.

We like categorisations and numbers, because they make understanding matters easier but amount of complexity people can absorb differs. Most do not even bother beyond "is it good or bad". But it was the analytic thought that made the breakthrough of our understanding of the nature. Still we must always bear on mind that numbers and categorisations are just subjective perceptions attached to mirror images from our sensory system. Variables are immense for even the most simplistic situations, especially when we are talking about persons and their pensonalities. I'm still skeptical about whole this psycopathy issue.


Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:


Empathy can be broken down into 

Affective - this is where you actually automatically feel what someone else is feeling simply by observing them 

Cognitive - this is kind of retrospective empathy where you imagine yourself in someone else's shoes and realise how good or bad they must have been feeling.

I think this categorisation is very sound.

Affective empathy -wrongly named- is direct product of mirror neuron activity. It's the reason why we feel pain in our specific limb when we see somebody's analogous limb harmed. Mirror neurons play large variety of important roles of course, not just empathy.

Cognitive empathy is also needs its share of mirror neuron activity but obviously frontal cortex will be much more engaged. Which translates to software will be matter more, hardware matter less...


Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

 
Narcs tend to be martyrs and make everything about themselves in order to get attention or if they are enduring even minor dificulties, everyone else's lives have top stop to take notice of them.  They gravitate all conversation to themselves.  

Often this behaviour drives people away and narcs then wonder why they have no real friends, sometimes they realise they're different and sometimes they get help and learn about the world outside their own sphere and can become normal as they can be otherwise they become bitter/cruel or depressed.

Narcism is almost universal in children and most females LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2013 at 11:39
Before I buy the book by Hare, I'll need to know the title - if you'd be so kind.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2013 at 09:49
Yes, without conscience: the disturbing world of psychopaths among us
The other good one is: Snakes in Suits: when psychopaths go to work

If you read the first you'll have me at disadvantage because that's the one I've been after but can't get n kindle.
"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: 17 Feb 2013 at 09:51
Originally posted by Paradigm of Humanity Paradigm of Humanity wrote:


Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

<span style="line-height: 1.4;"> </span>
My interest in this topic stems from my own upbringing. I'm fairly certain that both my parents are sociopaths. My dad resembles Luke, and my mum resembles Tillie. In fact I found the parallels between these characters and my parents to be quite striking.


We like categorisations and numbers, because they make understanding matters easier but amount of complexity people can absorb differs. Most do not even bother beyond "is it good or bad". But it was the analytic thought that made the breakthrough of our understanding of the nature. Still we must always bear on mind that numbers and categorisations are just subjective perceptions attached to mirror images from our sensory system. Variables are immense for even the most simplistic situations, especially when we are talking about persons and their pensonalities. I'm still skeptical about whole this psycopathy issue.


Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:


Empathy can be broken down into 

Affective - this is where you actually automatically feel what someone else is feeling simply by observing them 

Cognitive - this is kind of retrospective empathy where you imagine yourself in someone else's shoes and realise how good or bad they must have been feeling.

I think this categorisation is very sound.

Affective empathy -wrongly named- is direct product of mirror neuron activity. It's the reason why we feel pain in our specific limb when we see somebody's analogous limb harmed. Mirror neurons play large variety of important roles of course, not just empathy.

Cognitive empathy is also needs its share of mirror neuron activity but obviously frontal cortex will be much more engaged. Which translates to software will be matter more, hardware matter less...


Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

 
<span style="line-height: 1.4;">Narcs tend to be martyrs and make everything about themselves in order to get attention or if they are enduring even minor dificulties, everyone else's lives have top stop to take notice of them.  They gravitate all conversation to themselves. </span><span style="line-height: 1.4;"> </span>

Often this behaviour drives people away and narcs then wonder why they have no real friends, sometimes they realise they're different and sometimes they get help and learn about the world outside their own sphere and can become normal as they can be otherwise they become bitter/cruel or depressed.

Narcism is almost universal in children and most females LOL


Indeed, and it s these neurological functions that people with anti-social personality disorders lack, hence when I said that the disorders can be diagnosed medically and psychologically.
"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: 22 Feb 2013 at 23:30
I believe, heart of this issue lies beneath unholy offsprings of the materialism; the denial of free will and even as far as the denial of consciousness and attempts to effectively confine them in high security prison of the causality. Many people unwittingly influenced by these ideas without a doubt. I'll explain later how very little difference we have with so called psycopaths and sociopaths.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2013 at 21:24
Well the first step in solving a problem is recognising that there is one. The materialist culture's promoted idea of the self has many psychopathic traits. But recognising what these traits are helps to combat them from with for those who choose to do so. I believe learning about this kind of disorder has helped me improve my outlook on life and alter behaviours for the better. And there is a universally understood definition of good and bad and it completely involves the effects of your actions on other people.
"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 Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2013 at 16:45
I have not forgot this thread and I am keen to continue. Just been so busy with work. But I will see this through once I read that next book. In the meantime your point about narcissism is important. After more thinking I still think my dad is a sociopath, but my mother is probably a narcissist. I have a 'hypothetical' scenario for you. Have a read and let me know what you think is going on here.



'Andy' goes to sleep one Friday night but lays down having difficulty breathing. He wakes the next morning finding the difficulty has increased greatly. He worries about what might happen if it gets worse by night time and he falls asleep and is unable to breath. At 24 he has also just recovered from a very prolonged intestinal condition, and so won't take chances with his health. So he goes to much increased effort and expense of seeing a doctor and getting a chest scan on Saturday.

That evening Andy's mum 'Jemma' texts him to ask how he is doing, a rare occurance. Answering honestly he replies that things have generally been good but he is resting with a chest infection - it's hard to answer honestly any different when he is rugged up and hardly able to keep his breath. Jemma then calls Andy, her tone is concerned but Andy knows she is drunk. Jemma never goes out of her way to contact Andy unless she is drunk, and all in all she rarely bothers ot contact him. Though he moved out at 16, he has much younger siblings who still live at home and so he knows that Jemma is often drunk. Andy always humours her and is courteous, hoping that his own good example will eventually rub off and that she will gain moderation as she ages. Things have never been good between Jemma and her 4 kids who vary 15 years in age, but Andy hopes that things will slowly improve over time if he shows her he is willing to meet her more than half way.

Instead of her usual anecdotes which are told in a rather circular pattern through slurred speach, this time her tone is one of concern (though her words are still slurred). Jemma asks further what is wrong. Andy, though finding it difficult to keep his breath while talking, says the doctor said it was either bad bronchities or pneumonia, the chest scans would reveal which on Tuesday. He assures her he has everything under control and they say their farewells.

On Tuesday evening Jemma calls Andy. Andy, still through laboured breath, says 'hello?', and Jemma ignores the greeting to aggressively ask "What was it?". "What was what?", Andy replies. "Was it Pneumonia?". "No, just bronchitis".

Jemma then heaps derision upon Andy for being weak, mocking his lack of fortitude. Jemma is back to her usual inebriated self, but this time the slurred tangents have a pompous edge to them. Practically calling Andy a whiny runt, Jemma launches into a boastful juxtaposition of how her own sheer toughness enables her to weather any physical ailment with impunity. Andy is stupefied by this. As an extremely low maintenance child who left home at 16, put himself through school and uni, never asked for any for of assistance and is extremely independent young man, the boasts of a drunken, unemployed, frequently irritable alcoholic subsisting on government benefits and with no instinct to hide her own health sufferings are taken as most unjust. Delivered to him while is still ill and guilty of no trasngression.

She continues with her self indulgent juxtaposition, growing ever more self righteous as her verbalises her fantasy of physical invulnerability in comparison to the obviously soft hypochondriac. The tenor of her voice grows stern and assured, she continues. This is the only reason she called, Andy now realises. The earlier apparent concern had metamorphasised into a predatory and opportunistic attack through which Jemma could replenish her ego and self belief. Andy has lived out of home for 8 years now, but is reminded that frequently does bully and attack her children when she is having a bad day and wishes to assure herself she is very smart, tough and brilliant. And its so much easier to do when the kid is rendered especially weak, like Andy is now. Later he feels sorry for his two youngest siblings, who still live with Jemma.

"Are you really doing this? Are you really going to rubbish me over the phone as I lay here, breathing with great difficulty, and telling yourself how great you are?", it was an effort but Andy managed to summon enough breath to get it all out. She ignores him and continues with her stern self congratulations. Andy feels silly for his naive optimism, and a bit cheated for having earlier been so understanding and made so much effort.

Andy hangs up, and ignores the dozen or so calls and text messages which Jemma sends.

What do you make of the psychological dynamic of the above episode?
What do you think is the psychological makeup of one or either of the two parties?
If you were Andy, how would you have handled that situation?


Edited by Constantine XI - 17 Mar 2013 at 20:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2013 at 09:33
Just wanted to add that I have read another book very recently and it really was a revelation in so many ways, it covered psychopathy and convincingly suggests that it is today an evolutionary anachronism and at one point was so prevalent in the male population that natural selection removed it from fixation.

The book, which I recommend to anyone interested in human evolution is called, Them and Us: how neanderthal predation created modern humans.  It is revolutionary to say the least and is solidly grounded in the theory of natural selection.


Edited by Zagros - 18 Mar 2013 at 13:37
"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: 18 Mar 2013 at 13:33
What do you make of the psychological dynamic of the above episode?
It's pretty self explanatory. There's definitely a personality deficiency with Jemma. Does she also blatantly seek pity and sympathy?  If I were Andy, I would just cut off completely.  Easier said than done though with someone like a parent. 

What do you think is the psychological makeup of one or either of the two parties?
Andy seems normal, Jemma seems like either a psycho or high end narc - she wants to exert some kind of control over Andy by trying to make him feel crap about himself, although she is not very good at doing this and has no credibility to back it up.  She sounds desperate.  Ultimately she wants something from Andy - probably money - but is far too uncouth and abrasive in the manipulation stage to ever achieve that goal.

If you were Andy, how would you have handled that situation?
Probably the same in the first conversation but much more aggressively in the second since I lose my temper and patience quickly with people who play games, especially family.  I would have turned the odds on her and got personal.  But that would in no way have been productive or worth it and I would have regretted it after.
"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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