Planet Grok

Where intuition reigns supreme

My Armchair Theory on Sociopathy

Posted by PlanetGrok on February 26, 2010

Sociopaths and psychopaths (antisocial personality ‘disorder’ -according to the establishment) get a bad rap. In pop culture, these terms are often used interchangeably with anything evil or twisted*, such as sadism. This is not fair – most sociopaths are not evil people and do not have ill intent toward anyone. Up to 4 percent of people are sociopaths. Why is this?

My theory is that the sociopathic niche evolved back in the time when we were all hunter-gatherers, living in small tribes of 25-50 people, like many small Amazonian tribes today. Sociopaths were the natural leaders of these tribes, willing to make hard decisions for the greater good.

In the massive industrial human societies modern man inhabits, these people fulfill their niche as businessmen, politicians, and 4chan. A downside of the development of these human super-hives is that there is a surplus of sociopaths – we no longer need one out of every 25 people to lack a conscience. Frequently these surplus sociopaths, frustrated that their instincts do not allow them to be fully accepted into the cooperative super-hive, find less than productive habitats to exist in.

Often, sociopaths who were not able to climb the social ladder ended up incarcerated and removed from the breeding pool. High percentages of sociopaths in newly industrialized societies meant that draconian laws had to be established in order to maintain harmony. Monogamy also helped, for sociopaths found it difficult to be as successful in a cooperative marriage as normals. Thus, over generations, those people groups in civilized societies were able to reduce – but not remove- their sociopathic percentage. When people groups who have a shorter history of civilization enter the civilized world, they have not had the eugenic cleansing of the sociopathic element, so there is again a sociopathic surplus that  takes generations to reach a healthy equilibrium – especially when the draconian laws necessary to reduce prior sociopathic surpluses are no longer in place.

I want to emphasize again that sociopaths are no more innately “evil” than normal people. They are just at higher risk for evil activity because they lack normal inhibitions. I do consider myself somewhere on the sociopathic spectrum as well. I’m not entirely devoid of empathy, I just do not have a normal dose, I don’t think. I’d say they number of people I have ever felt anything for can be counted on one hand. My family members crying over Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents who died always seemed strange and alien to me. I am not sure I will even feel anything when my parents pass away. Does this mean I should be ferreted out, publicly branded and shamed, as many psychologists have urged? I would hope not – I do not have any ill intent. It can be odd walking around, knowing that what goes on inside your head is nothing like what goes on inside most people’s heads. But I think I’m glad that I’m mostly free from the burden of managing a complex web of emotional attachment. Oddly enough, one gaping hole in my general sociopathy is in the romantic arena. I learned at age 16 that I’d better patch that hole if I wanted to prevent disaster down the road.

*as long as it is a white sociopathic criminal being portrayed. NAM criminals often get the sympathy treatment.

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18 Responses to “My Armchair Theory on Sociopathy”

  1. Vincent Ignatius said

    That sounds about right.

    I too lean towards sociopathy, though not as much as you; I don’t really feel empathy for most people but I was devastated when my father died and I feel empathy when my friends lose a family member.

    • PlanetGrok said

      I want to feel empathy when a friend loses someone, but I have to fake it. It’s strange when you want to feel something that should come natural like that but can’t.

  2. One Moniker said

    You’re a natural yoga/mystic/monk, that’s all.

    It’s called “detachment”.

  3. One Moniker said

    I meant a natural “yogi” not yoga.

  4. One Moniker said

    I’m the same way. Have some guy friends that are the same way. The problem is there is no real place for us in this culture, so some of us get caught up in the “sex and relationships” propaganda that is blarring out at us 24/7. But that’s not really where we belong, and we are not good at pretending.

    • PlanetGrok said

      True female sociopaths are much rarer than male sociopaths. I wonder if there is a niche for the female sociopath, other than the world’s oldest profession, or if they are just an accident brought by imperfect human dimorphism.

  5. It is feeling of numbness, where the world around you spins, but you stand still, knowing the Truth, and acknowledging it, while the normal people around you weave their lives around complicated lies that allow them to hold on. You see through the emotional storm that confronts normal people, and weather it without tears. You love, but it is a heartless love. You laugh, but it is a mocking laugh. Empathy? None to speak of.

    I can see why you like American Psycho as well.

  6. Joey Giraud said

    Our medical business is structured to declare everything as normal or some kind of -pathy or another.
    What we call sociopathy is most often just not being “in the matrix.” At least, that’s the way I feel.
    On the other hand, I have a surplus of sympathy for individual people, so am I a sociopath?

    ‘Sociopath’ just *sounds* evil. Damn these judgmental words, they make talking and thinking clearly much harder.

    I agree with your armchair theory. So called “sociopaths,” ( not the serial-killer variety, ) or ADHD people, or other non-normative types, are socially necessary. How many are needed at any given time is an issue.

  7. One Moniker said

    Maybe you are using the word “sociopath” in a wrong context.

    It sounds to me like you or the others commenting here, including myself, are not anti-sympathetic to people or mainstream society, but perhaps just generally uninterested in what most of them and it have to offer.

    It is all non-permanent, afterall.

    • PlanetGrok said

      No, we are talking about the proper definition – including a general lack of empathy for anyone, including many close family members. Also a lack of remorse, etc.

  8. Well, I feel more empathy for non-family members than family members. I’m not really emotional about a lot of situations or a lot of people. I wish well for the world, but am selective and exclusive over what I personally get emotional over.

    Are you empathetic toward yourself?

  9. PJ said

    Great observations. They make a lot of sense. The internet has been a great tool for sociopaths to communicate with each other and help us understand our mental and emotional framework. Of all the observations about sociopathic behaviour that I’ve read, I like yours the most. There’s so few of us that this is the only real medium we have to resolve our understand of how we are.

    I don’t feel like I’m evil at all. I don’t want to hurt people, but when hard decisions need to be made I don’t really feel anything bad about making them. They just have to be made and that’s that. However a lot of people label me evil. I don’t really get upset when family members or friends die, I do miss them a lot – I miss talking to them. I get upset when my dogs die however.

    Thanks for your views Planetgrok, Vincent and One Moniker.

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  11. Robyn said

    I was led to this site because I’ve been suspecting that my ex-boyfriend is a Sociopath. As I’ve read all the comments on here, I’m wondering if too many people are misdiagnosing themselves as Sociopaths, when really they are simply avoidant or out of touch with their feelings? Sometimes we go numb when we can’t handle the weight of our emotions. This is a coping mechanism. As for “not feeling bad about making hard decisions” as one member expressed, that doesn’t necessarily indicate Sociopathy either – not feeling bad about making a tough decision might just indicate a very rational, cool-mindedness, not a mental disorder.

    I think in our society (speaking of the U.S. mainly), we are all Narcissistic to some degree and from what I understand, Narcissism can be considered interchangeable with Sociopathy, or it can breed Sociopathy, either way they’re related. We’re a culture of people who value “getting ahead” and playing games as opposed to making real connections with one another. We pressure our children to perform and advance, rather than ruminate, wallow and “get to know themselves”. Therefore, we grow up in our culture learning to either suppress or repress our emotions and concern ourselves with being “capable” and “having it together”. This kind of delusional mentality leads to a disconnect with our own inner-selves, so it’s no wonder that many of us find it challenging to connect with others.

    I wonder if there are “real” Sociopaths and the rest of the so-called Sociopaths are just people living at the affect of a dysfunctional society? Some might say, “what does it matter – both are not good”. The difference is that one can be healed and perhaps the other cannot. I don’t know. I just hate to think that people are walking around calling themselves Sociopathic when really, they just need some therapy.

    • Elijah Land said

      sociopaths are physiologically different in how there brain is structured, some are incredibly aware of the difference, some are not, some don’t care.
      But, being one myself, I didn’t want to be for most of my life, i wanted desperatly to be and blend in with everyone, suffer hardships, struggles, etc. I have made many people suffer growing up through not understanding and through learning what words, and what actions would cause what reactions in people around me.. in short, I fitted the stereotype, but I saw it, and worked hard to do things to things that where good, not bad. It was hard work, much harder than merely taking advantage. I’ve come a long way. Now my usual focus is doing things to help others, but its nice to see that there are others that choose to do good things towards others, Ive refused to take advantage just because it was easy, glad theres a way to communicate with others that decide to do the same, and it’s also nice to see that the stereotype isn’t an absolute. I had trouble believing I or we are all mosters like the term is usually used to insinuate outside of it’s actual professional pretext. This was written on my phone so my sentence structure and grammar is a little inconsistent, but I’m guessing most will grasp it. p.s. thanks for being awesome.

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