Compassion should be considered a verb and not a noun. That is, I do not buy that people are inherently compassionate. There will always be exceptions to their alignment, and, often, the misfits of society need not apply for such compassion. However, compassion is a conscious choice. The person showing compassion is making an effort to give mercy where the situation need not demand it. Everyone is capable of compassion, but many choose not to show it. I propose that the healthy individual cull those that refuse to act compassionately. What gain is there to be had in associating with an individual that refuses to help another in need? Eventually they will choose not to help you in your time of trial as well. As I meditate and become more interconnected with those around me, I am making difficult decisions regarding those that I keep in close proximity. My emotional bonds may be non-existent at the moment, but I certainly do not wish to keep those in my life that will not be there for me when I need it. As the proximity to oneself increases, the bar to be cleared by those in such proximity must be made higher.
I rarely have any actual investment in the topics I discuss. Good things happen to bad people at times, and at other times bad things happen to good people. If I’m not the person being affected, or those in my life are not being affected, then I simply cannot care. What ultimately interests me are those processes under which the majorities of the world operate. These can be political majorities, socioeconomic majorities, or even majorities with respect to mental illness. I want to know how they function and what makes them tick. Often these groups can only remain cohesive through an act of mass dissonance. That is, the individual succumbs to the majority by separating their emotional states from their intellectual states. Further, the emotional state is given more credit than the intellectual state to alleviate the existential crisis that would arise from a state free of dissonance. Humanity needs to be less afraid of dissonance and must own it in order to make educated and reasoned choices to the problems man is confronted with. Embrace your pain.
My continued evolution mirrors those that go to fetch water. At first, an individual will satisfy his own needs, and gather water from the well with his hands. He will be quenched, though he has no way to avoid going to the well in the future, as he has no way to retain the water he scoops up. He then returns with a canteen, satisfying his needs for a longer time and allowing for the storage of a sufficient amount of water. Finally, he returns with both canteen and pail, so that his needs are satisfied as well as those around him; he can return to others with the pail of water and continue his journey with the filled canteen. As an antisocial individual, I first obtained my necessities by deceit, considering only the moment when acting. I later learned measured restraint, finding ways to keep my needs met beyond the moment – ignoring derailing impulsivity for the moment – and was satisfied longer. Now, I am starting to learn to meet my needs in conjunction or in harmony with the needs of others. It may not be an automatic consideration, just as one fetching water may need to provide the pail himself, but the end result is all the same. What was once simplistic and only quenching in the moment is slowly evolving into a lifelong struggle to satisfy the needs of all. This weighs heavily on my mind as I continue to dwell on the nature of interpersonal relationships.
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.
By now, most of us are aware of the tragedy that went down at a club in Orlando this past weekend. I will not rehash the details and I will leave the responsibility of knowing the background to the reader. I am not particularly interested with the tragedy itself – bad things happen to people all the time and one would go insane to give any tragedy more than a modicum of emotion or thought – but I am extremely interested with the response that people have. It interests me to see that people are getting more emotional and invested for people they’ve never known than those that are close to proximity in life. It also interests me to see the emotional responses that drive politics and how two different groups of people can have the same emotions but come up with wildly different knee-jerk solutions. As I’ve said all along, we need to leave our emotions at home when it comes to determining how we are going to live our lives and how we are going to enact policies that effect the lives of others. People are irrational during times of tragedy, but the damage they can cause may be irrevocable.
The question of disclosure has been weighing on my mind heavily as of late. Under what circumstances should a psychopath or otherwise antisocial disclose their status and to whom? I already see my antisocial readers rolling their eyes as they read these words. “No true antisocial would reveal themselves,” they probably are thinking. I certainly can understand that as the degree of disorder rises, the inclination to disclose weakens. However, I do believe that there are matters that affect psychopaths that today’s zeitgeist of being “more antisocial than thou” silence. I have reason to believe that I am not the only antisocial individual that seeks a bond with the world. I also have reason to think that a level playing field is agreeable to many antisocials. The reasons may vary, but ultimately there are legitimate thoughts that would lead to disclosure. The reception may – at this stage of human progress – be chilling and unilaterally hostile, with some exceptions, but this is part of the calculus that any antisocial must perform when determining how he wishes to relate to another human being. I encourage all of my readers to put down their preconceptions and defenses for a moment and examine the charged subject of disclosure.
By now many of you have heard about the ruckus involving a Standford student convicted of raping an unconscious woman. The judge issued a fairly lenient sentence (as lenient as any sentence can be when one is required to register as a sex offender) and many are calling for both his head and the rapist’s head. The reasoning for the “light” sentence is that the convicted had no prior criminal record and was deemed to be with good chances of rehabilitation in prison. This logic combined with the outcry of many circles is what interests me. If prison is intended to be a tool of rehabilitation, then the system must be celebrated when it is successful. This would dictate that sentences be made proportional to the odds of successful conversion from criminal behavior to prosocial behavior. However, we are left in a world of bloodlust as the very people that decry the prison system are outraged that its power was not used in complete force with respect to the convicted. After all, it’s okay to empathize with the disadvantaged that wind up in the system, but for those in which it is agreeable to pile on crucifixion, it must be done so with great gusto.
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.
Maybe it is because I surround myself with those mentally ill that are of questionable character, but I cannot find any upside to coddling the mentally ill. Many do not want to get better. Hell, I stated in my previous post that even I can succumb to tired stereotypes of not wanting to improve psychically. People with mental illness tend not to improve on their own – in the absence of external stimuli – and many will resort to manipulation knowing that others know that they are mentally ill. The former case is uninteresting and I will leave that topic to the reader for reflection. The latter is what is of great interest to me. I have used my mental illnesses to manipulate others and others have used theirs to manipulate me. The intention of the individual to commit interpersonal harm may vary, but I cannot believe that all that are mentally ill are not tempted by the reward of using their illness as a crutch. In a society that coddles the mentally ill, the rewards become self-evident and tempting to even the most pious individuals.