Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Forgiveness and Sociopaths

Some people forgive everything and others forgive nothing. Both have ways of justifying their choices. The first tend to cite the statements of Jesus and other spiritual arguments toward that effect. The second use anything likewise, both religious and non-religious. I would like to talk about a mentality that I've seen in a number of mostly non-religious people that has been nothing less than fascist and that has gotten far too big for its merits.

The claim that they make is that the people who violate any rule – real or unofficial – are sociopaths: Cold monsters who have no conscience. They believe that these people never change and that they can only be evil whatever they do. Out of this consideration they are absolutely vicious to many people.

There are several obvious problems with this kind of thinking. One is that anything human is capable of choice; and anything capable of choice – sociopath or not – is capable of right choice. Even a sociopath can choose to act rightfully; and it is completely irrational to claim to the contrary.

Another problem is that this kind of thinking leads to de facto totalitarianism. The claim that people can be made criminal by virtue of their personality is the claim that people can be made criminal by virtue of how they think. This introduces a totalitarianism so absolute that people are not allowed to be free from it even within the privacy of their minds.

Finally, there can be any number of reasons why one would violate a rule. Often the reasons for that are conscientious enough. If your society tells you to throw sulfuric acid into the face of a child, then a conscientious person will object to such a rule.

None of this applies to me, as I have never been diagnosed as a sociopath. I am not however in favor of witch hunts; and that is what we see here. The claim is made that some people aren't even human. In this are denied them their most basic rights. Such things are not meant to be happening in Western democracies.

In this matter, religion is far ahead of psychology. Religion rightfully states that all sinners can be redeemed. Until psychology has similar realizations, it will continue to lose power to religion.

The mechanism for that, once again, is choice. Anything human is capable of choice; and anything capable of choice is capable of rightful choice. That applies as much to sociopaths as it applies to everyone else.

Being branded a sociopath or anything of the sort does not have to be a death sentence. You are human, you can choose deliberately how to think and how to behave. If you are on a bad course, change directions. People are not limited to the accident of their neurology or psychology. People are conscious beings who are able to choose their thinking and their acts.


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