Monday, October 10, 2011

The Mentality of Psychopaths

I've never met anyone I actually was sure was a psychopath. I've known people that I suspected of it, but perhaps in its milder forms. That is, they seemed unusually calculating and careful in how they presented themselves, and demonstrated a level of of empathy for other people that was stunted, although still perceptible.

I came across this very interesting letter from a reformed psychopath, talking about the mentality of what it's like. The whole thing is fascinating. Some excerpts:
We are neither the cartoon evil serial killers, nor the 'its your boss' CEO's always chasing profit at the expense of everyone else. While we are both of those things, it is a sad caricature of itself.
You are right to say that psychopaths hate weakness, they will attempt to conceal anything that might present as a vulnerability.
We are good at identifying, very rapidly, extreme traits of those around us which allows us to discern vulnerabilities, frailties, and mental conditions. It also makes psychopaths supreme manipulators, for they can mimick human emotions they do not feel, play on these emotions and extract concessions.
Huh. Read the whole thing.

I think I would actually enjoy a conversation with a reformed psychopath, in part to find out what they perceived as my psychological weaknesses to exploit. As long as, you know, they weren't able to stab me with a kitchen knife at the time.

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