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Sociopaths

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by PlagueBearer, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. PlagueBearer

    PlagueBearer IncGamers Member

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    Sociopaths

    Posted on FaQ farm under several "Sociopath" related questions:

    EDIT: cleaned up some left-over formatting-type grable
     
  2. SaroDarksbane

    SaroDarksbane IncGamers Site Pal

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    His assertion that anyone with a conscience could not lead a war, a company, or a government is ridiculously wrong. You can have a conscience and still be a rational person, capable of both leadership and making "hard" decisions.
     
  3. PlagueBearer

    PlagueBearer IncGamers Member

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    Of course, a Follower can make those same decisions as well as a Leader. Leaders, the same logic applies: save 100 lives by sacrificing 10 isn't that hard of a choice, but even that kind of a call invokes guilt. Making calls like "X country might attack us, we should invade now before they get a chance" starts to become tricky. A person with guilt would give the cost of human life more weight than it deserves. Leaders are able to properly weigh that cost, where Followers cannot.

    Simmilar to running a company: "X employees need to be downsized or the company will go bankrupt" is easy enough... but a problem like "Shutting down the X plant would cost Y jobs, but will increase profits by Z" is a call that requires a Leader.
     
  4. SaroDarksbane

    SaroDarksbane IncGamers Site Pal

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    Unproven supposition.
    Unproven supposition.

    What about this scenario:

    A political lobbyist and his wife are trying to get your company shut down. You know he's going to be successful if you don't stop him, and you know the only way to stop him is to kill him and his wife.

    Now, is a "leader" (i.e a person without a conscience) the person who you would want making that decision? Why or why not?
     
  5. TonoTheHero

    TonoTheHero IncGamers Member

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    I could do my job. If my job was to lead I'd do it to the best of my ability. And I'd sleep good at night. I'm a sociopath or the article underestimates people with a conscience.
     
  6. Sir EvilFreeSmeg

    Sir EvilFreeSmeg Banned

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    The main point the guyis saying is brutal people are necessary. WIthout somebody cold-blooded you cannot get some things done. It takes a brutal man to go through the employee ranks and remove those the company doesn't need to survive. It takes a brutal man to hunt down the scum of the earth. It takes a brutal man to execute another.

    What the author is missing is that anybody can do that. You'll have nightmares about it but those nightmares is what keeps us from becomming monsters.
     
  7. PlagueBearer

    PlagueBearer IncGamers Member

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    Having no concience does not mean one has no morals. While, yes, said buisnessman could kill said lobbyist and his wife and not fell the desire to punish himself for it, that is not all it takes that keeps a man from murder.

    Also, if said Buisnessman could murder said Lobbyist (also a Leader) and thusly save his company and get away with no repurcussions, then either (A) said buisnessman has many allies, in which case said Lobbyist could not shut down his company in the first place or (B) said Lobbyist has very few allies, also removing his ability to shut down the company.

    You've created an unrealistic scenario.
     
  8. Sir EvilFreeSmeg

    Sir EvilFreeSmeg Banned

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    Everybody should read "Dirty White Boys" by Steven Hunter. That'll clear this up
     
  9. S Z

    S Z IncGamers Member

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    Smeg puts it more eloquently, but to reiterate feelings of guilt do not paralyse you from making decisions any more that any other emotion does.

    Much of the statement reads like a man who knows he is superior to others without the evil gene. Whether he is or not is quite another question, but the condition of sociopathy goes far beyond a simple higher level of selfishness.
     
  10. PlagueBearer

    PlagueBearer IncGamers Member

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    Perhaps those without guilt simply don't understand it well enough to really speculate. It's always seemed to me to be crippling, even after relatively small infractions.

    Example: 5 people conspire to cheat on an exam. They do, they get away with it. One of them breaks anyway and tells someone what they've done. Guilt, as I understand it, is an irrational drive to punish oneself after commiting an action against another person. Is this incorrect?
     
  11. PlagueBearer

    PlagueBearer IncGamers Member

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    But it does, as I said, put an artifical weight on the cost to individuals as opposed to society as a whole. To a Leader a cost in soldiers lost is just that: the cost of one Follower, the time it took to train them, their equipment, and political cost of said loss. An individual, as far as a Leader is concerned, is a part of society, and any loss of an individual is judged in those terms. The pain of the crying widow and the fatherless children matters as much to the Leader as it matters to society as a whole, no more. A Follower can;t help but feel her pain.

    Sociopaths are about 2-3% of our population. Even assuming who we think of as "sociopaths" is an accurate count (and according to the quoted work, the numbers are much higher, including our government and buisiness leaders) that's not a precentage that implies a random disorder; that's an adapatation. Calling it "the evil gene" is kind of ignorant.
     
  12. SaroDarksbane

    SaroDarksbane IncGamers Site Pal

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    I think the discussion should re-start around this assertion.

    Is it possible to have morals without a conscience?
    If no one knows who killed the lobbyist, neither A nor B make any sense.
     
  13. PatMaGroin

    PatMaGroin IncGamers Member

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    Yes. You've pretty much mixed up legal guilt and psychological guilt.

    Psychological guilt, which is the one we're talking about, means you feel bad about what you've done, and there is more than one way to assuage that guilt. Look at the recent Albert Hanesworth incident, an NFL player who stomped on the face of another player, causing a wound that would require 30 stitches. He said he would accept whatever punishment the league gave him without an appeal (the Players Association wanted him to appeal, and most athletes usually appeal any sort of suspension they are given, giving them more time to play before the sentence is carried out). So, punishment is one way of dealing with guilt.

    Another is forgiveness.

    Ah, just found this on Wiki:
     
  14. S Z

    S Z IncGamers Member

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    Not sure why you are utilising this 'Leader' and 'Follower' lark as they appear to be totally arbitrary constructs based on the supposition that sociopaths are by their very nature Leaders.

    As for guilt, some psychologists theorise that guilt is a evolutionary trait developed in order to engender a smooth running of society (insert interesting Moral Relativism vs Absolutism discussion here). Thus it could be argued that it is the 'Leaders' actions that are most harmful to the majority (i.e. society as a whole) and in fact decisions without guilt may be harmful to society.

    Indeed, the 'Follower can't help but feel her pain' supposition may enable the Follower, as decisionmaker in the scenario, to enact mitigating provisions aiding those harmed by the decision. Provisions of no significant cost or material benefit to himself which the Leader would not think to make. Thus, in this case guilt is by no means irrational when taken in a wider context.

    An adaptation may be both positive and negative to a wider scenario given excessive positive or negative stimuli in a narrower scenario. In calling it an adaptation, you do nothing to mitigate negative connitations which are a part of this disorder. Additionally, take much of what I say with a pinch of salt. My 'evil gene' comment was tongue-in-cheek reference to episode 19 of season 1 of the Simpsons.
     
  15. Ikeren

    Ikeren IncGamers Member

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    Two questions for you plaguebearer;

    A) Are you a leader or a follower?
    B) Are you a sociopath?
     
  16. WildBerry

    WildBerry IncGamers Member

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    Please tell me how this is done.

    Some of your remarks ensure me that we cannot discuss meaningfully, but at least try.
     
  17. Sir EvilFreeSmeg

    Sir EvilFreeSmeg Banned

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    What he's saying is that a person with guilt wouldn't easily send men to certain death if there was another option.

    Such as an officer sending a squad to charge that machine gun nest that is impeding the advance even though the chances are that most if not all of the men will die doing so. The officer, being a leader, has been trained to make weigh the cost vs. the reward. The Lance Corporal leading the squad is the follower that can't make that decision.
     
  18. PlagueBearer

    PlagueBearer IncGamers Member

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    The supposition that sociopaths are by their nature leaders is exactly what is proposed here by the author in question, and I'm inclined to agree. I've used the capitalized "Leader" and "Follower" because (A) "sociopath" implys that the condition is pathological, and since that's entirely contrary to the argument here, I'm using another term and (B) to distingish between a born leader and a leader-by-necessity.

    I don't disagree with either point: guilt is indeed a trait evolved to help us function as a tribe. Also, too many people without guilt would indeed harm society. However, it seems likely to me that, because guilt is sometimes contrary to necessary actions, that some people would be born without it in order to make those calls.

    Leaders do not lack empathy mind you; Leaders are very good at manipulating emotion to the betterment of society. After all, the illusion of sameness is vital to the Leader/Follower relationship. You seem to assume that Leaders are selfish ("Provisions of no significant cost or material benefit to himself which the Leader would not think to make.") which is a stereotype of sociopaths. It seems to me that leaders have a strong sense of loyalty to their tribe (whatever that may mean to them) and are capable of great selflessness to protect it.

    The numbers, even conservative estimates based on the flawed definition of "sociopath", of these people in our population are too high to be excluded from the "wider scenario". Furthermore, you have to look at the uncanny ability these people have to manipulate others, and the amount of other positive traits common amungst them. Is is just a coincidence that so many traits beneficial to political success are considered a part of the diagnosis for a "sociopath"?
     
  19. PlagueBearer

    PlagueBearer IncGamers Member

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    Most people (Followers) are hardwired to believe that the survival, happiness, and comfort of other people is paramount. Emotions like guilt kick in when a Follower takes action against another person to reinforce this belief. This allows humans to live in a society with only limited heirarchal behaviors, and are thus far more productive.

    Some people (Leaders) are wired differently; Leaders do feel that the survival, happiness and comfort of other people is inherently necessary, as they do not have guilt to reinforce this. They, on the other hand, feel that the Tribe is far more important than any idividual member thereof.

    A Follower would sacrifice the tribe for it's members, even though in the long run each human must have a tribe for survival, happiness and comfort. A Leader is there to make sure the tribe can sacrifice idividuals for the sake of the tribe.

    A Sociopath (as we understand them) is created when a Leader goes Rogue (as discussed in the other thread.) A Rogue Leader is phychologically tribeless. While a Rogue Follower still has guilt, and thus still values other individuals, a Rogue Leader has none, and without a tribe to value he defaults to a very dangerous mode, using the intelligence, charisma, and skills at manipulation to serve themselves exclusively.
     
  20. PatMaGroin

    PatMaGroin IncGamers Member

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    PlagueBearer you sound crazier every time you post in this. And the fact that you keep capitalizing Follower and Leader kind of freaks me out a bit.
     

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