Neurotypicals want to believe that all the evil in the world is attributable to “bad people” and that they themselves are immune from those pressures that beget antisocial deeds. We know this to be false as many neurotypicals commit great atrocities in the name of religion, passion, “duty,” or any number of other things. However, we must remember that the evil of action is not entirely dissimilar from the evil of inaction. If evil is loosely defined by definitions that include the acts of harm to others or the absence of compassion and mercy, then it becomes even harder for the neurotypical to claim that they are entirely dissimilar from those on the antisocial spectrum. The key difference is that we, particularly those that are psychopaths, do not make any claim to be righteous whereas they (the neurotypical) do.
Archives for January 2016
My blood always boils when I hear claims that psychopaths are guaranteed to be soul-sucking monsters that contribute nothing to society. If psychopathy is reflective of neurophysiology in which those structures that control affective empathy and impulse control (for example) are deficient, then we must realize that not everyone with those physiological profiles are unchecked with their antisocial behavior. While I tend to be of the opinion that the antisocial facet is important to confirming psychopathy – a disorder – I also realize that the underpinnings of the condition lie in many that are not antisocial. So we are left with two counterexamples to the claim that psychopathy is always a disease on society. First, there are those that lack empathy that have found ways to avoid overtly antisocial behavior. Second, the past need not dictate the future so those that meet the diagnostic criteria for the disorder are capable of making changes if they so wish.
I’m in a period of my life in which I have many more questions than answers. Eternally skeptic, I am probably a bit too obsessive in my search for “truth” when it comes to what resides between my ears. The topics of interpersonal relationships, “love”, and my role in these endeavors have been focal points as of late. At one point I truly did believe that the psychopath could not have any investment or “buy in” to any sort of interpersonal relationship. This seemed to be confirmed by my own willingness to pot my plants and leave them in the window until they died, essentially neglecting human interpersonal relationships. As of late, I’ve begun to question the unilateral nature of this assertion. I’m starting to think that the answer to whether psychopaths can invest themselves in interpersonal relationships is “kind of, sort of, depending on the circumstances, maybe.”
Even as my overtly antisocial behavior continues to wane, there are facets of the psychopathic condition that will remain lifelong regardless of the level of mellowing and restraint that overtakes me. Most notably, my shallow affect and lack of affective empathy will remain until the day that I die. This has proved challenging in my interactions with neurotypicals, my word of endearment for those that are not psychopathic. I live with a neurotypical housemate and he often challenges my stamina with long-winded tales of accomplishment and failure. It takes all of my energy to remain engaged in the conversation and I have to fake the laughter and the smiles that others find automatic in conversations with good friends. I do value him; I just do this in a way that causes most neurotypicals discomfort. There is little emotion behind my stoic face and even less empathy for those joys and tribulations that others face. This is merely the way that I experience the human condition.