Monday, June 19, 2017

Sociopaths And Common Sense

People with the “antisocial personality disorder,” also known as “sociopaths,” are known to be experts at manipulation. I have a good idea as to why that is.

These people do not have what is thought of as regular human emotions. If you do not have regular human emotions, then you will have to use your mind to figure out what everyone else takes for granted. And that will give you profound insight into the subject, that will then give you an ability to understand – and successfully manipulate - other people.

There have been many people with mental illness – such as Nietzsche, Blake, R.D. Laing, Dostoyevsky and Thomas Edison – who developed brilliant and original insight. They were not like other people, but they understood other people better than other people understood themselves. Similarly I, as a non-native English speaker, am frequently praised for my command of the English language. That is because I had to learn English consciously rather than unconsciously. And if you learn something consciously rather than unconsciously, then you will understand it better than someone whose learning has been unconscious.

I am not a sociopath; far from it. My score on the sociopath dimension of DSM has been less than that of an average person, and a woman with education in social work told me that I am “psychopath's jelly”: Someone naïve enough to fall for their gag and someone strange enough that they can blame me for it. But I take objection to the idea that sociopaths are evil and can only be evil whatever they do – as someone said on the Internet, they by definition cannot be good people. That idea is completely irrational. Anyone with a capacity for choice can choose to act rightfully, even if they are sociopaths. Yes, many of these people use their skills for wrong things. But they can also use them for ends that are rightful, and there are many sociopaths who become CEOs, surgeons, CIA agents and other highly contributing citizens.

Indeed I posit that many of these people, if they make an effort to choose to act rightfully, will not only be good people but be better people than people who are good-natured. There were many people in the Bible who started out as scoundrels but then came to God and became not only good but effective preachers of good. There are many alcoholics who join AA and learn in AA good values and moral character, and any number of them develop a better character than many non-alcoholics. The man who wrote “Amazing Grace” started out as a slave ship owner; then he educated a man in England who became a parliamentarian and ended England's use of slaves. If you have come from Point A to Point B, then you will understand what it means to be at Point B than someone who's always been there. A person who started out as bad and then became good will understand what it means to be good better than someone who's always been good.

On a related note, I have been accused all my life of lacking common sense. I do not want common sense; I want a real understanding. I do not want my perceptions to be based in some bigoted cultural mentality or some primitive adaptation. I want to see things clearly, and I want to see people clearly. I have investigated all sorts of things to that effect. Most of what I have seen had merit, although some (such as Alfred Adler and to a lesser degree Sigmund Freud) were wrong completely. I've written at great length about both of these authors, and I recommend to those who would be interested in looking at my thoughts on this subject.

In short, a person who has to learn something consciously will understand it better than someone whose learning has been unconscious. A person who does not have regular human emotions will develop a keener understanding of people than would a normal person, and this will allow him to either manipulate people for selfish ends or to understand people enough to do rightful and meaningful things. If someone is a sociopath, the correct solution is to give him a functional ethical structure. Then he will use his home-bred knowledge for ends that are rightful, and he could become not only a good person but also a major contributor to the world.


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