There is a fine line between reality and caricature. If we think of reality as being the pivot point of a disorder and caricature as lying too far on either pole away from that pivot, then the picture should be clear. To lie to the left is to be cured; to lie to the right is to be lost forever in chaos. While I suspect there is some sort of Gaussian distribution to disorder, there must be some minimum criteria for disorder, and there must be a point where the individual crosses the borderlands from humanity into wanton destructionist. I’m skeptical of self-actualized beings claiming to be at these poles, for either they would be “normal” or not long for a free life in this realm of existence. And if I, a self-actualized but disordered individual, am dubious of the poles of disorder, then you should be as well.
A disorder is made up of individual traits that come together to wreck oneself or others. A destructive trait, while problematic on its own, is not sufficient for the declaration of a disorder. There is a certain degree of self-destruction required for a set of behaviors to register as truly disordered. You have weak and shallow emotions? Great. Maybe this is problematic as you feel that you are missing out on the richness of life. However, it takes much more than that to register as psychopathic, for example. If your life is going well, as are the lives of those around you, then you are probably not psychopathic. I know that some authors, such as James Fallon, push the validity of psychopathy in those that would not register as such on the PCL-R, for instance. To me, this is insanity. Why should those that live non-disordered lives lay claim to the struggles that those with the disorder (and/or those around them) have? Ideally, one would not wish to be psychopathic. Why would you want to have a malady of the soul, after all?
I believe the successful psychopath holds herself to a separate standard than she does society. She realizes that chaos cannot exist on a massive scale. However, she realizes that she herself is an agent of chaos and she loses no sleep over such a fact. Ultimately, she uses this dichotomy to create a niche in which she thrives, be it parasitic or otherwise.
I remember a time in which I was married and my ex-husband asked me to give my thoughts on the following scenario:
A scientist has developed a cure for an incurable disease that causes quick death and offers it to anyone who can pay the monetary price he demands. A man, living in the same town as the scientist, desperately needs this cure for his wife but he is destitute and has no way to pay the price demanded. He pleads to the scientist, hoping that something else may be offered for the cure. The scientist refuses and the man is left with a choice: he can let his wife die and honor the code that society has dictated (stealing is wrong), or he can commit theft. What does he do?
My answer surprised my then husband.