I’ve been facing another identity crisis as of late. Two and a half years ago, when confirmation of psychopathy was made by my psychotherapist, I thought that I had finally found insight into my inner workings and core self. A Cluster B storm, the combination of ASPD, NPD, and BPD seemed to shed light on my callous and uncaring self that required limitless supply from others in order to function. Fast forward to today and I am not sure that the picture is so clear anymore. It is well documented that many psychopaths mellow as they grow older and as my hair starts to grey, I can certainly relate. Two separate mechanisms, the head and the heart, are starting to grow closer together than they ever have, and it makes me deeply uncomfortable. I am not uncomfortable because of the thought that I am drifting further and further away from the prototypical state of the psychopath (not that I was ever prototypical). I am uncomfortable because I cannot reconcile the fact that my cognitive self is thawing and is in opposition to the cold person that I thought was my identity and my core.
I’ve seen a lot of individuals that claim to be champions of discourse. They are willing to challenge the status quo on many issues. They are willing to listen to unconventional arguments on many subjects. However, there is an almost universal problem: these same people hold sacred one or more tenets of thought or hold one or more subdemographics as being off limits of criticism. Usually the reason for such a disconnect is due to a heightened sense of empathy (affective or cognitive) for those groups in question. For discourse to proceed, nothing must be held sacred and one’s empathy for a group must be selectively turned off in order for progress to be made. Maybe the masses can be swayed by arguments that pull on heartstrings but Truth cannot.
I find it interesting how the empathy of a mass for a demographic can be used to ostracize those that criticize said demographic. For instance, we have right-winged individuals that immediately turn defensive when religious groups are criticized and we have left-winged individuals that lose themselves when historically criticized groups such as ethnic or sexual minorities are subject to any sort of critique. The core mechanism is the same regardless of the direction one comes from. Empathy drives an individual to become overprotective of a larger mass, regardless of any actual stake in the survivability of that mass.