Wednesday, July 05, 2017

What The World Owes To "Narcissists" And "Sociopaths"

One of the most ruinous claims to have come out of psychology is that anyone who takes an objection to authority – any authority – is a sociopath or a narcissist.

Does that include Thomas Jefferson? Mohandas Gandhi? Nelson Mandela? Lyudmila Alexeyeva? The last of these I know personally, and she is a very kind person. Much so than the people who have such beliefs.

Throughout the world we have seen all kinds of leaders. Many of them affected one or another kind of transformation. Sometimes these transformations were for the better, and sometimes they were for the worse. In most cases they militated against the previous order. Does this mean that the world is run by sociopaths and narcissists? And if it is, to whom do we owe everything that we have?

This most certainly includes psychologists themselves. Psychology militates against all kinds of things that existed before it. Many findings of psychology have been scandalous to previous orders. Many people within psychology have rebelled against all sorts of other beliefs. Does this mean that psychology too is run by sociopaths and narcissists?

So then why should we take seriously its obviously hypocritical claims on the subject?

Is all evil owed to sociopaths and narcissists? Obviously not. The Spanish colonists who committed the worst crimes in history were perfectly normal. The Muslims who slaughtered 100 million people in India and Middle East were perfectly normal. In misogynistic cultures, perfectly normal men subject women to horrific brutality. Perhaps Adolf Hitler had a personality disorder. But Queen Isabella, King George and the Ayatollah did not.

On my own part, I do not seek either to rule or to kill anyone. I seek to influence thought on a range of subjects. I seek to clarify all sorts of things that other people misunderstand. Here, we see a sort of Soviet psychologizing. Brand with untreatable disorders the people who disagree with your party line. Make up research to claim that they are evil and can only be evil whatever they do.

Another claim about these people is that they have an exaggerated sense of importance. My response to that: By what code? There have been all sorts of people who came from humble backgrounds and made significant contributions or rose to great influence. A person coming from the position of “common sense” would claim that they are exceeding themselves or pretending to be something they are not. He would say that they have overly big egos, or that they are full of themselves, or that they are compensating for inadequacy. Yet it is these people who end up making significant contributions, and the people who believe such a thing do not end up doing much more besides abusing and oppressing other people.

Then there is the claim that these people complain about being misunderstood. That is not a result of mental pathology. It is a result of a discordance between how you think and how someone else thinks. A person who is a Communist would claim that a person practicing capitalist economics is selfish and greedy, when any number of these people are driven by interest in relieving poverty or giving their children a good upbringing. A person who is Christian would claim that a woman who wants to be loved is selfish or vain, when any number of them come from a rightful position of wanting to be appreciated for the colossal effort they put into being their best. A person who has original ideas will always be misunderstood or misrepresented. That is not a result of any kind of pathology. It is a logical outcome of what happens when someone thinks differently from someone else.

Then there is the claim that such people lack empathy. Don't tell that to Mohandas Gandhi or Julius Nyerere. Even Donald Trump has more empathy than people who have such attitudes. I have seen exceptional cruelty in people who have these kinds of attitudes. They have decided that some people are made criminal by virtue of personality – namely by virtue of how they think. In this they have re-introduced the Orwellian concept of crimethink, and with it a totalitarianism so absolute that people are not allowed to be free from it even within the privacy of their minds. The claim that some people are evil and can only be evil whatever they do contradicts most basic reason. Anything that is capable of choice is capable of rightful choice. What we have here is demonization. And pursuant that demonization the worst witch hunt in the history of United States.

I would much rather deal with a narcissist or a sociopath than with someone perpetrating a witch hunt. If something is wrong with your brain and you do not feel empathy, you can still use your mind to figure out what is right and what is wrong. But even sociopaths are better than people who perpetrate witch hunts. Sociopaths are bad because of some kind of deficiency. The people who perpetrate witch hunts are bad because they choose to be bad.

So that while it may very well have been the case that many of history's bad boys were narcissists or sociopaths, according to the definition of these disorders so have many of the world's greatest contributors. Bill Gates and Donald Trump have both been credibly accused of such disorders, and the first computerized the world and the second commissioned some of the most beautiful buildings in America. Either having a diagnosis, or being falsely accused, of having disorders such as the above is not a death sentence by any means. There have been many people with these disorders who have made very significant contributions. And it is to people such as the above that are owed such things as America's statehood and independence, its greatest achievements in business, and the science of psychology itself.


Post a Comment

<< Home