Morality, Immorality, Amorality, and the Psychopath

The psychopath is an equal opportunity opportunist.  Sometimes the route to his desires lies through immoral behavior; sometimes it resides through prosocial behavior.  At all times the psychopath is merely evaluating what course of action yields the best (and most immediately rewarding) outcome.  In this sense, the psychopath is a creature of amorality, caring not about “good” or “evil” but rather the cold calculus of effort and outcomes.

The times in which the psychopath acts prosocially is certainly different than the neurotypical’s false construct of altruism.  The psychopath is quite honest with the motives that go into such prosocial behavior; there is something in it for him and he probably would not expend the energy if there was not.  However, the psychopath will often refuse to spend energy on any endeavor that does not immediately reveal some reward.  Yes, the psychopath that lives in chaos tends not to be long for this world, but for the scores of psychopaths that remain in the relative good graces of society, there simply must be an incentive to act as anything but a restrained stoic.

Whether it is putting in a hard day’s effort at work or giving my brother an extremely lavish gift, there are benefits to my “generosity”.  Being a model employee ensures that I keep my job and helps me climb the ranks.  Treating my brother gives me a free pass from family that have long noted my indifference.  What is not factored into the equation is empathy.  I do not act in a prosocial or generous fashion out of concern for others’ joys or sorrows.  I act in such a manner because I know that for those situations, such allows for the best outcome.

However, this goes the other direction as well.  In my younger days in which I would steal, I would do so also because such allowed for the best and most immediate reward.  Hitting parked cars and leaving the scene nearly half my life ago was common as I knew that the prosocial option would cost me time and money.  When I choose to act in an immoral fashion, I am doing so because I know that it is the “best” course of action for the moment.  I don’t waste my energy on antisocial behavior if there is nothing in it for me.  I suppose this separates me from the antisocial that spends most of his waking days in a jail cell.

It’s nothing personal when I act in either a moral or immoral fashion.  The psychopath is amoral.  I suppose this is what should concern the neurotypical the most.  If all psychopaths were caricatures of destruction, they would be easy to isolate and to remove from society.  The fact that the psychopath can be the bringer of generosity and prosociality one hour while being the harbinger of all that is perceived as evil the next has to be the most disconcerting fact to the neurotypical.  In this sense, I suppose that the neurotypical can only take solace in the fact that the psychopath can be persuaded to act morally, if the price is right.

Psychopaths and Unmotivated Antisocial Behavior - Bloodletting
Psychopathic Indifference - Empathy as a Weapon (Part 2)

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