Sociopaths a product of evolution?
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03-04-2012, 03:33 PM
Sociopaths a product of evolution?
If you only know one thing about psychology, you should know about sociopaths. Being aware of sociopaths could help you avoid emotional trauma, ruined finances, even an untimely death.

Sociopathy, also called psychopathy, is a personality disorder characterized by deceit on a scale most of us cannot imagine. These men and women are not crazy; they know exactly what they are doing. Here is how Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., begins his book about psychopaths, Without Conscience:

"Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret."

Why is it so critical for you to know about sociopaths? Because millions of sociopaths are living among us. Yes, many of them are criminals, locked up in jail. But far more are on the street, hurting people without breaking laws, operating in the gray areas between legal and illegal, or simply eluding the authorities. They can appear to be normal, but they pose a tremendous threat to us all.

Sociopaths exhibit a range of behaviors. In fact, Dr. Hare diagnoses them according to their score on a scale. So just as you could describe someone's intelligence as ranging from smart to genius, you could describe a sociopath as somewhere between sleazy and serial killer. If you see sleazy, he or she may be on the low end of the scale, but they're still bad news.


So basically you have mere narcissists on one end of the scale and evil-genius serial-killers on the other. All without the ability to feel empathy. (This is, interestingly, a trait you would want in a firefighter, etc.) They simply have no conscience. But they do have a remarkable ability to mimic human emotions. I've seen this first hand. You probably have, too. My question is, since there is no concrete evidence linking environmental upbringing to sociopathy (i.e., you can't make a sociopath by abusing a child), and likewise no evidence that supports sociopathy being hereditary (2 sociopaths cannot make a baby sociopath), then is random genetic mutation the answer as to why they exist? If so, why? Is the absence of emotion (love, etc.) a form of natural selection? Is lack of conscience a superior trait? The Vulcan species/culture comes to mind. Does it ensure for future survival? There are estimates that 4% of the U.S. population alone are sociopaths. 4% of 311,591,917 people (July 2011). That's almost 12.5 million sociopaths in the U.S. alone! So I ask you, is this the direction the human race is going?

Chilling Shocking excerpt from "The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless vs. the Rest of Us" by Martha Stout Ph.D. :

http://www.cix.co.uk/~klockstone/spath.htm


Some relevant links:

sociopaths.html

what_is_sociopath.html

key_symptoms_sociopath.html

http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html

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03-04-2012, 04:15 PM
RE: Sociopaths a product of evolution?
I am pretty sure my mother's picture belongs alongside the description.

Even from pictures of her when she was a very young child, you can see something different about her, she is devoid of facial expression even then.

The Sociopath Next Door is an excellent book and sure helped me understand a lot. As far as the evolution theory, I have to say that I sure hope not. Having lived with one and experience it up close and personal, I have had my fill.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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03-04-2012, 06:06 PM
RE: Sociopaths a product of evolution?
Natural Born Killers! Big Grin
Yup, I know some! I've met a few diagnosed, and I'm pretty sure I know of one that is creepy and should be diagnosed. Gun hoarding, manipulating creeper. *shudders*

When you think of animals that are way back on the evolution chain (alligators, sharks) and their lack of empathy or connection, that's what a psychopath reminds me of. It could have its advantages for sure, but because I have the emotion of fear and empathy, it scares the crap out of me and isn't a way of life I'd want to live! However, like mentioned, those are the animals that have lived a much longer time than our species.
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03-04-2012, 08:14 PM
RE: Sociopaths a product of evolution?
A more refined version of the psychopath, and also more frequently encountered and often misdiagnosed (and completely untreatable) is the malignant Narcissist. This is not your person who is just full of themselves, like we think of a narcissist primping in the mirror. This is a very sinister person.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malignant_narcissism

They are frequent enough for all of us to have met at least one in our life. And they are a nasty piece of work, but may be very charming to you.

I had the distinct displeasure of knowing one of these people very well. I caused me to do a lot of research. There are a lot of theories about where this character formation comes from. The one that made the most sense is that there is a developmental issue in infancy, at the time when the kid starts to comprehend that it is not the center of the world. Malignant narcissists (and psychopaths, they are psychopaths) never get beyond that. To them, the world is a puppet theatre and they hold the strings. If a puppet fails to perform as desired it just gets discarded. They have no emotions of their own except for self pity, they observe others and mimic.

Most theories have it that there is a malformation in the brain that lays the ground work for this. This then needs to be reinforced by something that happens in infancy to them, something that would have no further repercussions for a normal child. It takes the two to make a psychopath/sociopath/malignant narcissist.

These people lie all the time. Everything is an act, since there are no actual emotions, no love, and actually no hate. There is rage, lots of rage when manipulating people fails. This is never the malignant narcissists fault, it is the other persons fault.

Since the Narcissist realizes early on that there is something amiss - others have all these strange reactions (emotions) he learns that life is acting. So, everything that comes out of their mouths is an act, and a lie. They love the power of manipulation, that they can mimic any type of emotion and get you to act in a certain way in response. They can choose you as their "golden child" and smother you with benevolence and if at any time you make a misstep in their eyes, they will tear you down and destroy you if they can. They don't care much one way or the other until they get old and it becomes difficult to find people to feed on. They do need to feed on people, by themselves they are an empty shell.

Everyone should know how to recognize one of these as they will try to destroy you in one way or another, sooner or later. And there are a lot of them out and about. They stay just this side of the law.

A rejected or exposed malignant narcissist is very, very dangerous.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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03-04-2012, 09:00 PM
RE: Sociopaths a product of evolution?
Great post Quidsane Smile

Yes, indeed, I have worked with a couple over the years. Scary SOB's Yes

Steer a wide berth from them and never, ever ever get close to them.

I cottoned on to one in my previous job (she was a very attractive young lady and extremely manipulative) and once I had realised, I took her aside and told her "I know what you are and what you're doing and if you screw with me, you'll be sorry you were born" She obviously knew I was serious and therefore stayed away from me. She then went about screwing over 3 other employees, which made them resign, but there were others that also knew what she was about and complained to management several times before, at last, she was officially warned. She obviously realised the 'jig' was up and she left, going on to 'greener pastures'.
The trail of destruction in her wake was demonstrable. Fucking lunatic Dodgy

I very much hope they are not getting larger in numbers or we are in big trouble!!!!!!!!!!

Humankind Dodgy (a total misnomer)
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03-04-2012, 09:55 PM (This post was last modified: 03-04-2012 10:03 PM by DeepThought.)
RE: Sociopaths a product of evolution?
(03-04-2012 09:00 PM)aurora2020 Wrote:  Great post Quidsane Smile

Yes, indeed, I have worked with a couple over the years. Scary SOB's Yes

Steer a wide berth from them and never, ever ever get close to them.

I cottoned on to one in my previous job (she was a very attractive young lady and extremely manipulative) and once I had realised, I took her aside and told her "I know what you are and what you're doing and if you screw with me, you'll be sorry you were born" She obviously knew I was serious and therefore stayed away from me. She then went about screwing over 3 other employees, which made them resign, but there were others that also knew what she was about and complained to management several times before, at last, she was officially warned. She obviously realised the 'jig' was up and she left, going on to 'greener pastures'.
The trail of destruction in her wake was demonstrable. Fucking lunatic Dodgy

I very much hope they are not getting larger in numbers or we are in big trouble!!!!!!!!!!

In terms of evolution they must perform a useful balancing function for our society. Maybe it's a kind of evolutionary arms race within our species.

I suppose if they didn't exist we could be too trusting and vulnerable to exploitation which would also be bad for our species.

I think the number of sociopaths is kept in balance by natural selection. Too many would be bad and too few would be bad so the numbers will generally not change. Same with predator/prey. An ocean full of sharks just wouldn't work.

Sociopaths could make great soldiers if you psychologically condition them to follow orders. Especially for undercover work and special ops.

“Forget Jesus, the stars died so you could be born.” - Lawrence M. Krauss
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03-04-2012, 10:01 PM
RE: Sociopaths a product of evolution?
I find what Hare says a bit confusing.

If psychopaths are entirely products of evolution then it is hard to blame them for their behaviour.
If, on the other hand, nurturing plays some role then some psychosis could be prevented.

Could not a person displaying the very nasty attitudes alluded to be making a free choice, rather than a genetically pre determined one? If psychosis is deemed unpreventable then so called sane people can use at least some as scapegoats to justify other types of social/corporate 'illusions' fobbed off as normalcy.
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03-04-2012, 10:30 PM
RE: Sociopaths a product of evolution?
(03-04-2012 10:01 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  I find what Hare says a bit confusing.

If psychopaths are entirely products of evolution then it is hard to blame them for their behaviour.
If, on the other hand, nurturing plays some role then some psychosis could be prevented.

Could not a person displaying the very nasty attitudes alluded to be making a free choice, rather than a genetically pre determined one? If psychosis is deemed unpreventable then so called sane people can use at least some as scapegoats to justify other types of social/corporate 'illusions' fobbed off as normalcy.
They can still be blamed for their behaviour. They still make choices and are aware of how they effect others.

I suppose in this context the criminal justice system and the way we deal with criminals doesn't make much sense. Psychology is a field that is making huge leaps forward in understanding the brain and we still have a long way to go.

It's amazing how little we understand about our own minds. eg: We still don't know how memories are formed. We recently learned that the glial cells (which are more numerous that the neurons) also participate in our thought process and don't have a clue as to how they work. They communicate chemically instead of electrically so signal propagation is slower but they seem to perform many complex tasks we don't understand.

Our previous understanding was that glial cells were just dumb feeder/support cells for the neurons.

Unravelling how all this stuff works will help find new ways to deal with all sorts of conditions and probably make allot of the criminal justice system redundant. There are many paths these discoveries could take for good and for bad.

A chemical was recently found that can erase long term memory in a snail. Imagine if that kind of thing was done to people. Probably will be possible soon.

Someone commits a crime - gets their memories erased and then they are re-educated and put to some use. Sounds scary...

“Forget Jesus, the stars died so you could be born.” - Lawrence M. Krauss
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04-04-2012, 07:48 AM
RE: Sociopaths a product of evolution?
(03-04-2012 06:06 PM)LadyJane Wrote:  Natural Born Killers! Big Grin
Yup, I know some! I've met a few diagnosed, and I'm pretty sure I know of one that is creepy and should be diagnosed. Gun hoarding, manipulating creeper. *shudders*

When you think of animals that are way back on the evolution chain (alligators, sharks) and their lack of empathy or connection, that's what a psychopath reminds me of. It could have its advantages for sure, but because I have the emotion of fear and empathy, it scares the crap out of me and isn't a way of life I'd want to live! However, like mentioned, those are the animals that have lived a much longer time than our species.
There's a difference between Sociopathic and Psychopathic behavior. Sociopaths are not totally void of all emotions.

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04-04-2012, 08:28 AM (This post was last modified: 04-04-2012 08:36 AM by Dom.)
RE: Sociopaths a product of evolution?
(03-04-2012 10:30 PM)DeepThought Wrote:  
(03-04-2012 10:01 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  I find what Hare says a bit confusing.

If psychopaths are entirely products of evolution then it is hard to blame them for their behaviour.
If, on the other hand, nurturing plays some role then some psychosis could be prevented.

Could not a person displaying the very nasty attitudes alluded to be making a free choice, rather than a genetically pre determined one? If psychosis is deemed unpreventable then so called sane people can use at least some as scapegoats to justify other types of social/corporate 'illusions' fobbed off as normalcy.
They can still be blamed for their behaviour. They still make choices and are aware of how they effect others.

I suppose in this context the criminal justice system and the way we deal with criminals doesn't make much sense. Psychology is a field that is making huge leaps forward in understanding the brain and we still have a long way to go.

It's amazing how little we understand about our own minds. eg: We still don't know how memories are formed. We recently learned that the glial cells (which are more numerous that the neurons) also participate in our thought process and don't have a clue as to how they work. They communicate chemically instead of electrically so signal propagation is slower but they seem to perform many complex tasks we don't understand.

Our previous understanding was that glial cells were just dumb feeder/support cells for the neurons.

Unravelling how all this stuff works will help find new ways to deal with all sorts of conditions and probably make allot of the criminal justice system redundant. To identify it.

















here are many paths these discoveries could take for good and for bad.

A chemical was recently found that can erase long term memory in a snail. Imagine if that kind of thing was done to people. Probably will be possible soon.

Someone commits a crime - gets their memories erased and then they are re-educated and put to some use. Sounds scary...



They do make choices. They come in smart and stupid, too. They are impossible in therapy, because they just say whatever they think will benefit them. The therapist never gets to the real person - because there isn't one. It's all made up.

Nature/nurture - they think in this case (and many others) it takes both, the predisposition and the trigger. And here the trigger happens so early that and is so slight that it is impossible (so far) to identify it.

And yes, they are perfect for career military, as well as company CEOs and politicians. The not so smart ones often end up being drug addicts or alcoholics because the self says they are superior to others and can manipulate them but the reality is different for them. They see failure after failure. So they become the boastful drunk who lives in a fantasy world.

They are actually a very sorry lot, any failed manipulation will cause a feeling of emptiness and depression. They will then frantically seek out new people to feed on.

They love to use employers and the law to destroy their failed experiments. Many will file lots of bogus law suits to get back at their fallen golden child. The less impact they have, the longer the hunt will last. The ultimate goal with this is to have the fallen golden child come crawling back to them and become a strawman, a minion they control completely. It doesn't happen very often, unless the fallen one is a family member and comes back because it's just too hard to fathom their son or daughter etc. is a malignant narcissist, not to mention that most people are not even aware of the syndrome.

Aurora, if your colleague was one, you got extremely lucky because confrontation results in total rage. They have no equals, they are the puppeteer. Unfit puppets are destroyed or discarded. Perhaps she had her eyes on others to start with and feeding on them was so easy she forgot about you. Because all people are completely irrelevant except for the current golden one. But as a rule, it is not a good idea to confront them. Courteous avoidance is best, they will latch onto an easier target.

They don't just walk around destroying people indiscriminately, they need to manipulate and feed on them first. That is the primary goal. Sometimes a puppet can last years before it falls. Typically a spouse will last until a child is born. Then the child becomes golden and will last a long time, until it becomes rebellious. The spouse may be discarded, destroyed or used as a strawman. Incredibly hostile divorce procedures and custody battles can result.

For the smart ones, the law is also something to manipulate and they study up on it, realizing the power it will give them for persecution of failed experiments.

I could go on and on about these folks, I spent about a year researching this, but it was many years ago and I am not sure if any new discoveries have been made. I just set out to figure out what made a certain person in my life tick and then walked away from the entire issue.

One interesting thing is to see that, when someone is stripped of all empathy, the only feelings that remain are self pity, rage, euphoria and depression. That's about it.

Oh, and they are all atheists, although they may mimic being super religious. They can never believe that anything is more powerful than themselves, and religion is just one more human thing to mimic in order to achieve goals.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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