These are fascinating times. Competing, and equally extreme, groups are vying for our heartstrings and lives are literally on the line in their self-inflicted wars. I propose that such animosity and blind hatred is born from a surplus of affective empathy and a dearth of cognitive empathy. As a empathetically blind observer, I have no dog in the fight between the extremists on the left and those on the right, except inasmuch it may ultimately affect me if either side should prevail. However, let’s explore in particular the atrophy of (cognitive) empathy that is fostering this current environment of dehumanization and violence.
These are strange times. My intellectual grasp of the interconnectedness of the world is at peak form even if I do not hold an emotional state toward others living on this earth. Cognitively, I realize that every action I take affects someone else in some fashion and that every action another takes may affect me. In this sense, the grand dance that is life is slowly being revealed to me. What will eventually come my way from such a focus on the intertwined nature of life is yet to be seen. I do not believe in karma, but I do believe that if one seeks to be part of the world, they must respect the world. By respect, I mean that the individual must realize that others have their own unique positions in life and that they exist separate from the observer’s point of view. There are times in which my selfishness and callousness shines through, but by and large, I am morphing into a new being. This is no accident. Months and years of meditating upon my place in the world have brought me to this point and a lesser mind certainly would not reach the same conclusions that I have. These are strange times indeed.
The liberal concept that everyone is deserving of, and capable of, love is laughable to me. Love is little more than a chemical reaction to shared interests and other commonalities. People describe a burning desire to the see the other person succeed as well as an emotional state that renders them vulnerable and blinded. Often logic gets thrown to wind as individuals in love succumb to emotional decisions rather than rational ones. In general, the psychopath experiences none of this, and if he does, it is exceedingly rare and usually with “less” disordered individuals. This point has been explored thoroughly in this blog and I will not revisit the topic in depth here. What I wish to focus on in this post is the concept of loveability, the state of having others love a person. Liberal voices decry the proposition that there exist those that are unlovable. While it may be true that there is some probability close to 1 that someone on this earth may be compatible with a person, the logistics of finding such an individual are often negligible. Just as the left tries to sweep the concept of antisocial personalities under the rug, they try to give false hope to many that simply will never see the love of another.
There are certain things that must be disclosed in relationships lest they eventually come to life and devastate the unaware. Fertility, biological sex, previous offspring, criminal record, etc. are all such items that should be laid out in the open for the other party to evaluate whether the relationship can continue. I would suggest that these types of matters not be discussed on a first date, but they definitely should be discussed before the relationship gets serious or otherwise headed toward long-term status. I’m sure the reader can name other types of characteristics that should be revealed as well, but one sticks out for me as particularly worthy of discussion: the ability to empathize (affectively). Many would be devastated to learn that their partner has no capacity for affective empathy toward them, much less the ability to truly “love” the person they are with. In many ways, this would be a selfish dealbreaker if the relationship was otherwise functional, but the very fact that it could irrevocably damage a person makes it worthy of required discussion between two individuals. This is a realization that I struggle with as I explore the possibility of one day having another relationship.
The common wisdom is that psychopaths cannot form emotional bonds. In the overwhelming majority of cases (be it individuals in general or those interpersonal relationships that the psychopath is exposed to), I believe this is a fair assessment. A diverse affect combined with empathy seems to drive the emotional bonds of most. The psychopath, lacking both of these features, certainly has a challenge in forming similar emotional bonds. It is my understanding that most emotional bonds are forged organically. That is, that there is no conscious attempt to form an emotional bond, it merely happens on its own. Factors such as how well one relates to another person, whether there is romantic interest, whether another person has gone out of their way for a person, etc. come into play and the subconscious seems to take all of this and form a unidirectional bond if appropriate. People can want to form a bond all that they want, but it is not something that can be willed. In my life, I have had exactly two emotional bonds – a far cry from what the neurotypical would experience in terms of quantity. I have been distressed more than enthused with such bonds for reasons I will go into shortly. To reveal the punchline: I believe that the psychopath can experience emotional bonds, but the quantity, quality, and perspective towards such remains vastly different from that of the neurotypical.