Psychopaths and Free Will

I did not wake up one day and decide to become a callous being that possesses neither conscience nor empathy.  My genetics and upbringing certainly dictated that for me.  I had no free will regarding the existence of my condition, but I have all of the free will world in the world when it comes to acting the part.  Psychopaths need not be bloodthirsty lunatics.  Intelligence and introspection may go a long way in controlling our primal urges, but, nevertheless, we all possess free will when it comes to deciding whether to act in an antisocial fashion.

Yes, the temptations of blackmail, manipulation, and subterfuge are always present in my life.  If there is a goal in mind or an object to be had, my mind will scope out all available options in order to attain that which I want.  Before I started therapy and, specifically, before diagnosis I may have not had the insight in order to avoid acting on my antisocial thoughts and impulses, but I realize now that I can’t act out like a two-year old at all times.  Isn’t that the best that can be hoped for by society?  Anything more seems … unfair.

Restraint is everything.  My motivations for such may not be the result of a love for society or those affected by my actions, but ultimately that should not matter.  Everyone has motives that may not be “pure”.  It must be the end result that matters.   Finding the right carrot and enticing anyone to behave in a prosocial matter should be considered equivalent to those that are completely “altruistic” and prosocial to begin with.

No, everyone has free will.  It is what they decide to do with that free will that matters.  Judge the actions of a person, not their wiring.  Yes, people like me do not get diagnosed with ASPD nor assessed as psychopathic without a sordid past, but the past need not dictate the future.  In this respect, everyone is godlike – able to create and destroy their own futures via their own actions.  I do not judge based off the thoughts of another, why should you?

Image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Use of this image should not imply endorsement by the image author, Flickr user writtecarlosantonio.  (Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons)

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