I occasionally get flak for the approach I take when discussing psychopathy. I am not long to suffer fools nor the immature and I believe in reality not fantasy. Apparently this makes me – sadly – rare in the psychopathic demographic. While the attacks on my appearance and willingness to be (relatively) open are amusing, it makes me wonder about the nature of discourse these days. I am an academic, and I believe that discourse is best served at a purely intellectual level without playing on the emotions or sensibilities of others. Playing the victim card will never get the psychopath anywhere worth writing home about. Only the hard discussion of reality will.
Two things in particular disturb me about the discussions regarding psychopathy these days. First, the “discourse” tends to be tailored (or worse, driven by) for teenagers that are still learning empathic skills. Second, there is a weird dynamic where psychopaths are clamoring for acceptance for their actions rather than their condition.
A lack of empathy composes only 5% of the metric used primarily for assessing psychopathy these days. A lack of empathy implies you are a psychopath no more than getting married multiple times does. You are not special because you lack empathy; get over it. Neither are you necessarily a psychopath, either. And, if you are under age 22-25, don’t even bother me. You are still learning interpersonal dynamics and psychopathy IS NOT some explanation to gravitate toward to at that time. Do psychopathic adolescents exist? Yes. Am I willing to pour through the throngs of the new hipster movement to hear them out? No. Teenagers foolishly clinging to ideas of psychopathy to seem trendy or cool are not my biggest concern, however.
What concerns me most is the movement by psychopathic writers to champion psychopathic causes without separating the condition from the actions that led to such a condition being recognized. If you have been assessed as psychopathic, then there is no way around it – it was your actions that led to such a confirmation. It is nearly impossible to get a diagnosis of psychopathy without performing, in a near-continuous fashion, actions that harm others. I may be unconcerned about the morality of human actions in general, but it is not lost on me that there are actions such that there are “winners” and “losers” of the interaction. Someone gains power and someone loses power and society has dictated that there are acceptable ways to gain and exert power and there are ways that are unacceptable.
Any movement that seeks to change the views of psychopaths at the societal level must champion restraint and an understanding of the thought processes that are internal to the psychopath. These thought processes cannot be changed. The transition from thought to action can, however. We are not severely autistic, for example. We have faculties that we can use to ensure that our parasitic and destructive tendencies remain in our our skulls and do not pour out onto those around us. It is vital, for many purposes, to honor one’s destructive past, but only by acknowledging our position as pariahs can we move forward towards reducing the stigma toward the psychopaths that aren’t shooting up buildings or defrauding everyone around them. “Hate the sin, love the sinner” sort of thing.
I will never apologize for the approach that I take and no personal attacks will ever dissuade me. If many want to remain in an unthinking cult-like state of championing psychopathy as a means of being trendy or in excusing bad behavior, that is their prerogative. It will never be mine.