Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Are there real monsters among us?

Stumbled over this:

Made me curious about the difference between sociopathy and psychopathy:

"Sociopathy and psychopathy share many traits, which is the main source of confusion for differentiating them in psychology. Traits that sociopaths and psychopaths share include:

    * a disregard for the rights of others
    * a failure to feel remorse or guilt
    * a disregard for laws and social mores
    * a tendency to display violent behavior and emotional outbursts

"Though not all psychology professionals agree on what exactly differentiates sociopaths from psychopaths, among those who believe each are separate disorders there is a list of definite differences. Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place. Some sociopaths form attachments to an individual or group, though they have no regard for society in general. In the eyes of others, sociopaths appear clearly disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath tend to be disorganized and spontaneous.

"Psychopaths, on the other hand, often have charming personalities. They are manipulative and easily gain people’s trust. They have learned to mimic emotion and so appear “normal” to other people. Psychopaths are often educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they can have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature.

"Psychopaths, when committing crimes, carefully plan out every detail and often have contingency plans in place. Because of this marked difference between the method of crimes committed by sociopaths and psychopaths, the distinction between these disorders is perhaps even more important to criminology than it is to psychology."

Interesting that crime figures so prominently in both descriptions.... Makes me wonder about the recent "bailouts"... Are we ruled by psychopaths? And are they the vampires of our times? And is a stake through the heart and detaching the head the only "cure"?

War is Peace

There's a discussion going on at my Facebook page that prompted this 'rant':
(The following is opinion, not to be taken as necessarily true...)
I find it fascinating, sad and unnerving that people at both ends of the political spectrum describe the others' words and actions the same way... "more of the same ... twisting and distorting to support their emotion." I'm old enough to remember when facts were...... well... facts; that is, true; accepted as so; beyond dispute. (This would have been before 1980 or so...) In those days, people were open to changing their minds, accepting new understanding based upon further research or fuller context. Now we seem to have entered this weird Twilight Zone-like world where opinion is seized upon as fact (they're NOT the same) and ACTUAL facts are pooh-poohed as "spin". We *are* emotional beings, but we are RATIONAL beings too. We invented and once accepted the scientific method as The Best Way to determine the Actual State of Things. Now the Actual State of Things is up for grabs... I once heard an award-winning professor say "Assertion is not evidence", ie, 'Saying it doesn't make it so'. That's obvious on the face of it, but so many of us (please note, I'm not excluding myself here) are subject to reacting emotionally that we fail to actually THINK. I have my theories about how this happened, but they're Just One Man's Opinion, and I'm not immune to conspiracy theory thinking. After all, I'm in my sixth decade of life on this planet and I've learned a few things about myself. I've also learned that people, organizations, businesses and governments DO lie. (They also 'take out of context', 'mislead', 'spin' and obfuscate, but those are all lying at root.)
I think it bodes ill for us as a people (or as a species) finding and implementing viable solutions to the challenges we face when opponents can't even agree on what's real...
Fortunately, I'm quite happy with my understanding of reality, and it has very little to do with the doings on this physical spacetime plane...