Saturday, January 9, 2010


Psychopathy (pronounced /saɪˈkɒpəθi/) is a personality disorder whose hallmark is a lack of empathy. Researcher Robert Hare, whose Hare Psychopathy Checklist is widely used, describes psychopaths as "intraspecies predators who use charm, manipulation, intimidation, sex and violence to control others and to satisfy their own needs. Lacking in conscience and empathy, they take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without guilt or remorse. What is missing, in other words, are the very qualities that allow a human being to live in social harmony." (Taken from Wikipedia)

Not really something to aspire to, and yet . . .

Never let anyone make you feel bad for having a heart. But that is, like all things, easier said then done. It's no longer cool to care.

Fewer stories are being told that teach us to be on guard against the things the psychopath uses to control. Things that prevent us from living in social harmony. But social harmony tends to lead to things like fair wages, benefit packages, sharing and more holidays.

Advertising, especially, in the age of influence, depends on charm, manipulation, sex and violence, the intimidation they leave up to each of us to put on the other in the form of peer pressure which never actually ends. If you don't have the newest of everything and aren't doing what everyone else is, God help you. And if you go to church, holy peaches with custard on top, there has to be something wrong with you.

We are exposed, every day, to ads filled with messages of me, me, me. The amount of empathy left in us . . . half of the world is bombed for their oil, the other half complain about the prices at the pumps.

Not to make you paranoid but your average psychopath isn't easy to spot. He or she wears a smile, can be charming as hell, and has learned to mimic human emotions, except, most lack the ability to laugh at themselves. But he/she feels nothing real. Everything is superficial. They feel no guilt, shame, empathy and are incapable of love. Which, is really rather sad. They make up about 1% of the general population. But they can influence and turn a much larger number against each other. And they can con anyone.

Not something to aspire to. And yet . . .

Perhaps the devil and his demons are a metaphor, a warning, because the reality was too much for us to face.

Or perhaps not. We don't know, despite what are egos tell us. We live in a largely unknown universe. And people who don't believe in evil or truth are much more easily manipulated then ones who do. As the old saying goes, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

It's better to be overly sensitive then feel nothing at all. Better to care too deeply then not enough. Hold onto your faith, your values, your love, your compassion, your empathy, let things touch your heart, and don't be made to feel stupid because you have one; keep, and strengthen, your soul. Or, at least, that's what I'm trying to do.

A psychopath can drain you and leave you in a world without hope. And while a conscience can be a pest; a lack on one can be terrifying. So stay true to your heart; but keep your wits about ya.

"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." - Matthew 10:16

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