Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Sociopaths and More Informed Conscience

The claim that is made about sociopaths is that they do not have a conscience. Not being a sociopath or anything close to a sociopath I very much do have a conscience, but you may not very much like the constitution thereof. I got my conscience from the Soviets. My grandmother was a highly conscientious person, as were my teachers. However you may very well disagree with the beliefs that were formative to their conscience.

When I came to America, these beliefs were taken apart. At which point I myself became a specialist at deconstructing bullshit.

Something quite similar happened to the much-maligned “60s generation.” The beliefs that were formative to their conscience were taken apart. At which point many of them, now lacking a moral guidance, started to act like sociopaths, who never had a conscience in the first place.

Conscience, like anything human, can be constituted in all sorts of ways. In Huckleberry Finn, the main character felt guilt for freeing a slave. His conscience was composed of obviously wrongful beliefs. He did the right thing but felt that he was doing a wrong thing. We will see the same everywhere. That has always been the case; that will always be the case.

There is vast difference between people who did not have a conscience at all and the people whose conscience was taken apart. They may appear superficially to be similar to one another; but the underlying dynamics are totally different. One is where he is because of some kind of a neurological flaw, and the other is where he is because of persuasion.

Why are the actual sociopaths known as being such experts at manipulation? Probably because, if you have had to learn something consciously rather than unconsciously, you understand more about it than would someone whose learning had been unconscious. If you are an alien, you have to use your mind to figure out what everyone else takes for granted. This would be expected to impart a very keen understanding of people; and many of these people possess just that. Most of them use this understanding for very wrong ends. But it can also be wielded rightfully.

I find it ironic how many people see women possessing of emotional intelligence as manipulative and businessmen, salesmen and politicians as not. The same qualities are either attacked or valued depending upon who wields them. If you want half of humanity to be a slave class, you will attack in them empowering qualities while worshipping the same in your rulers. This is in no way honest. Nor is this in any way conscientious.

I have known any number of women who fell for the false fronts of salesmen and players. These used the same skills that they had used to deceive the woman to deceive everyone else that they were in the right. In many of these cases, it was the woman who got portrayed as manipulative, narcissistic, sociopathic, whatever. The con artist uses the skills that he has to con others into thinking him rightful. And it is the honest person who gets blamed for the wrong that he does.

In a democratic climate where everyone influences everyone else in all sorts of ways, we will see all sorts of people who are confused. This can work both for good and for ill. The people will be less likely to be bigoted, ignorant or fanatical, as we see in people who have had only one influence. On the other hand, many of these people will be conflicted. They will have more knowledge and understanding but less integrity. If integrity is an act of acting as single unit, as a journalist in Reader's Digest said, such will be harder to achieve for people who've had more influences rather than fewer influences. People will have to resolve many influences to create integrity or anything close to integrity; and those who achieve anything close to such a thing will have a more informed integrity than would be found in bigots.

Another thing that we will see in such climate is everyone's conscience being deconstructed. This will naturally result in some people who are not sociopaths acting like ones. Indeed, many of these possess greater integrity than do many who judge them. They have a greater intellectual honesty. They've listened to criticisms and ideas of others, even when these were incompatible with how they have been raised.

If your conscience has been deconstructed, as is obviously the case for many, that does not mean that you are a sociopath. The solution instead is to learn from all available source to create a more valid conscience. This understanding can then be imparted to others to likewise help them develop a more valid conscience. This way one grows in understanding as do many others. This is the real-world solution to a state of affairs that Scott Lasch claimed as my generation being at sea.

Now any set of conditions has a solution. Some can be glimpsed from without, and some can be developed from within. In a world in which everyone influences everyone else, very few people will have what the authors of Reader's Digest regard as integrity. People will not be able to get away with bigoted beliefs. Instead they will have to do intellectual heavy lifting to reconcile different influences and thus to create a more informed integrity. This is of course a difficult process; but it does create a more informed understanding and a better integrity. At which point such understanding can be imparted to others to likewise help them develop a more informed integrity.

I did not choose this set of conditions, nor did anyone in my generation. I am however communicating a workable solution. The solution is to learn from everyone, then see who is right and about what. I am doing this knowingly. Many others are doing the same, whether or not they know that this is what they are doing.

In the interim, you will see many people acting like sociopaths. In the outcome, you will see wisdom. This wisdom will then become my generation's legacy and its contribution to the world.


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