Monday, May 20, 2013

I Like A Sociopath

Someone using the name M.E. Thomas -- which probably is a pseudonym -- has authored a book in which she discusses her sociopathic personality.  That is to say, she has actually been formally diagnosed as a sociopath.  You know -- she has no empathy for others' feelings (she actually refers to us normals as 'empaths' rather in the way the magical folk in the Harry Potter books refer to us as 'muggles'), she can be ruthless and manipulative, she can contemplate -- or perform -- pretty dark acts without qualms, that sort of thing.  Like a psychopath.  BTW, I'm not too sure what the technical distinction is between sociopathy and psychopathy, but in the book she accepts that most lay people tend to use the two terms more or less interchangeably, so I guess the pitiless, unfeeling, solipsistic psycho stereotype is somewhat useful as a pointer.  To an extent.  So long as we remember that there is a whole spectrum of sociopathic personalities.

It so happens that I started to read M.E.'s book just the other day, and in it she mentions that she also operates a blog, in which she discusses sociopathy-related issues.  I therefore sent her an e-mail c/o the blog, stating what I thought of the book so far, and to my surprise she actually e-mailed me back:

ME:  I just started reading your book.  It's got me envious of sociopaths.  Your description of yourself and others of your ruthless ilk (that I've read so far) has me thinking you may actually be the healthiest and happiest -- or at least the least unhappy -- people around.  As one who is subject to a host of conventional guilts and cares, I imagine a world where sociopathy is the norm and everyone is blithely, uncaringly, and honestly self-seeking, and I can only sigh at the vision.  Perhaps the Golden Rule, that most pragmatic interpretation of self-interest, would actually be the guiding moral principle in that world.

M.E.:  Thanks for this!  Can I publish what you wrote on my blog?

ME:  Be my guest >..<  XD  I only hope the rest of the book doesn't make me eat my words ;o)

ME:  Can I publish your response on MY blog?

M.E.:  Yes, of course.

It may be that she is not used to hearing her condition described in such glowingly positive terms.  But why not -- as long as the self is satisfied with itself, the minimal condition of happiness is met, no?  And sociopaths, as I understand them, are not significantly bothered by self-criticism, except perhaps in a practical, evaluative manner that has nothing to do with moral compunction.  In the Star Trek universe, the devious, asura-like Cardassians and the nakedly greedy Ferengi, unapologetic self-seekers all, always seemed to me the most smugly self-satisfied characters to me.  Add the practical logic of the Vulcans to the mix, and that is how I see sociopaths.  The better-adjusted, high-functioning ones among them, anyway.

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