One of the questions I often get by those that know I am sociopathic is whether I perform altruistic actions. I would rather turn the question back on those asking. Are they altruistic for anything but the most minor of actions? Would their altruism extend to actions that actually took effort? Or is their “altruism” really a result of societal expectation and self-aggrandizement?
I think that I am more honest with what is “altruistic” and what is not. Like most everyone, I hold doors open and tip nicely and a slew of other “thoughtless” actions. I don’t consider whether my actions are zero-sum or negative-sum for me in these situations; they are simply too trivial and are demanded by society. Yet so many others will chalk up such as examples of altruism. No, altruism needs to rise to a higher level. Not just a higher-level, but to a degree above and beyond what society has engrained into group expectations. The alternative is a circle jerk of self-aggrandizement that was gained without effort.
No, the question should really be the same for both sociopath and neurotypical. Does one engage in altruism that requires real effort and inconvenience without any presentation of reward? I do not and I suspect that most of those that want to call me out on my condition do not either.
For that matter, is true altruism really even possible? Is there not some self-affirmation that is gained from any such action? Would that not be a wanted result? It seems to me that altruism would paradoxically require apathy. Apathy toward oneself.
No, I am not altruistic. I do not see the logic in it. My “altruism” is a result of the expectations of society. I want the benefit of appearing altruistic. I want to be labeled such that my true character is kept hidden. I want to remain in the shadows. Any action that I do that benefits another, outside of the most mundane that are required by society, must benefit me. The benefit could be as simple as planting seeds via a perverse form of networking (helping another to draw that other in) or could be as complex as stringing actions together in order to build a perceived character of being Christlike.
So to those that ask me if I am altruistic, I will gladly reply ‘no’. However, and more importantly, those that are asking me should be asking themselves the same question. I don’t believe we are all too different on that front; I may simply be more honest with my intentions and rewards.