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Re-Psycho

December 19, 2013

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According to Bob Hare, there are three things you can do with a psychopath:

i] Put them here:

As Jupiter lacks a solid surface, scientists define the bottom of its atmosphere at the point where the pressure is 1 bar; the atmosphere is above this point. As with Earth, the temperature of Jupiter’s atmosphere decreases with height until it reaches a minimum. This is the tropopause, and defines the boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere – it’s about 50 km above the “surface” of Jupiter.

The stratosphere rises to an altitude of 320 km, and the pressure continues to decrease, while temperatures increase. This altitude marks the boundary between the stratosphere and the thermosphere. The temperature of the thermosphere rises up to 1000 K at an altitude of 1000 km.

All of the clouds and storms that we can see are located at the bottom of Jupiter’s troposphere, and they’re formed from ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and water. The top cloud layer contains ammonia ice. Below this are clouds made of ammonium hydrosulfide. Water clouds form down at the densest layer of clouds.

Basically: once the psychopath is in, he won’t be climbing back out.

ii] Lock them up in a mental institution and never let them out.

iii] Let them charm you then authorise their release and wait until they kill someone with a hammer, like this guy:

Michael Stone, a convicted psychopath, killed a mother and daughter with a hammer after being released by authorities. He didn’t say why, he didn’t say sorry.

The problem with Bob Hare is…he’s the market leader. His list of questions/responses to determine a psychopath has been used by psychiatrists/psychologists/doctors/death surgeons for the last 572 years or so.

People have disputed it, said it labels people too quickly, but have always been beaten back down into their hole when a psychopath classified by Hare’s list has been released and killed someone again.

With psychopaths, I guess this could happen often.

According to statistics:

1% of people are psychopaths, no matter what their actions…

99.2% of psychopaths are non-killers. Perhaps violent occasionally, but no more so than Sean Penn in the 80’s.

1% seems like a high number…7 billion people in the world, 700 million are psychopaths…can that be right?

If you read interviews with Bob Hare, you’ll realise something that films have told us for a long time: we’re all psychopaths [if you go by the rules of Bob Hare’s list].

There are degrees, but still…if you draw a line in the sand and someone’s very close to the wrong side of it, how can you say they’re any worse than the guy who’s very close to the right side of it.

There are probably only two marks between them on the test, but Bob Hare would say it doesn’t matter.

One’s a nut, the other isn’t.

It seems Bob Hare has declared war on psychopaths.

Is that the right response?

The essence of the psychopath is clear in the list. Look at the following points:

They like to manipulate people.

Remorse/empathy has no meaning to them.

They have superficial charm.

The more I look at these points, the more stuck I get. To manipulate people means being able to have control over things like fear, charm, empathy etc.

Psychopaths have charm, but it is copied charm. If there’s no empathy, there can be no depth to what they say [or no truth?]

E.g. If they see you with your girlfriend, and say your girlfriend is a really lovely person, you feel good about having a lovely girlfriend [or suspicious of the guy’s intentions].

This is a lie, according to the classification. They’re getting you on side, faking it…

So…the charm must come from TV and movies and literature. But if someone’s doing an impression of a popular character from shared culture, wouldn’t the person receiving the charm realise it?

I would.

The episode of Star Trek: TNG where Data mimics an entire relationship. It’s obvious it’s not really him. Is this the same thing?

Psychopaths are smarter…they know what we know, and they know how to beat it.

Data has a ghost-white face and is called Data.

The only way around this is:

a] if the person being manipulated is feeling so low, they don’t care if the charm is fake or real, they just want someone to show an interest in them.

b] the psychopath keeps the charm so general e.g. compliments on clothes, hair, face, tits [Mariah Carey, Minnie Driver] that it can’t be traced to any particular character or TV show or movie

I think it’s mostly b].

The key point about the psychopath is: he/she studies people. The idea is that they don’t understand how to be normal so they need to look around and pick up the details of it.

Isn’t this what children do too?

Seems similar…

The more experienced they are, the more people they’ve manipulated, the higher level of person they can target.

If they’re amateur or low level, they’d try some wannabe actress in LA.

If they’re at the top of their game, they’d go for Susan Sarandon.

Really, if a known psychopath/convicted criminal wanted to charm a liberal, it wouldn’t be hard. The liberal wants to believe in them, wants to reform them, fight for them…they’re practically making the t-shirts as soon as they’ve shaken hands.

Remember the Penguin in ‘Batman Returns’? Everyone loved him…even after he bit off the guy’s nose.

But was the Penguin really beyond all help? If they got a decent therapist, maybe they could’ve turned him round…if Batman had been more willing to help…genuinely help…

It seems possible…people do reform, with the right buttons pushed. Psychopaths don’t have to be psychopaths forever.

Liberals…

Liberals love a psychopath and psychopaths loved being loved.

Liberals are too gullible…?

A lot of people are liberals nowadays…the psychopath wouldn’t need to worry about the conservatives and nuts as long as there are some liberals around…

But where’s the humanity in being a conservative? It’s an ideology based on control and fear and evil, isn’t it?

That’s what I learned from my Gran. She was a conservative.

Seemed like such a nice woman when I was young, but I never knew her politics back then. I knew she was clever, a psychologist…but where’s the intelligence in locking people up permanently based on one single test?

Bob Hare’s test…

I think there are seventeen points in total…or seventeen descriptions that fit a psychopath…

…or seventeen ways to know if people you know or don’t know are psychopaths.

Just like ‘The Thing’, but with Q&A instead of blood samples [Can the physical really be viewed the same way as the mental though…? The Thing is either physically the person or it isn’t. Blood is blood. The human could mentally be many things, with shades of psychopathy…]

I wrote down three of them earlier…charm, lack of empathy, manipulation of others…and here are some more [the average person should possess at least three quarters of these; a psychopath would have four fifths]:

A huge sense of self-importance.

A need to be talked about [*seems similar to the one above]

A troubled childhood.

Failed marriages.

Criminal versatility

There are more, but I can’t remember what they are. I know some of them cross-over with each other, like the first two above, but I’m not a hundred per cent on the exact descriptions.

Looking at the ones above, I feel there’s a good chance I could be classified as a psychopath if I took this test.

But then so could Michael Douglas.

Or Ryan Reynolds. He married someone, got divorced and married again. He controlled people with his movies [to a degree – no-one saw Green Lantern]. He is trained to deal with the media, the same way a psychopath self-trains to deal with people. He probably doesn’t do enough charity work considering his wealth…

Is Ryan Reynolds a psychopath?

The more I think about this, the more trouble I have with it. The list of descriptions classifies someone as a psychopath, but is that the only area to look at?

Once you know someone’s a psychopath, what then?

If they’ve killed before and are already in the system, like half the inmates at Broadmoor in the UK, then it’s easier to keep an eye on them. But then…some of them have been let out before and then killed again…what do you do with these people?

Once you’ve killed a child with a hammer, is there really any way back?

I don’t know. Probably not.

But this list…

The problem with Bob Hare is his list doesn’t try to turn anything around. It doesn’t look at the points and try to think of a way to turn them into a positive.

I think most of them can be.

Look…

Some of the best artists/writers/actors are full of themselves. This doesn’t have to be a violent thing, it can be used for good.

Rush Hour 3 comes to mind…Chris Tucker doing promotion, desperate to tell everyone he’s been in Africa building schools and distributing medicine…there’s no restraint…it’s pure ego, isn’t it?

Maybe that’s too harsh. Is it wrong to answer the question ‘where the hell have you been the last 5 years?’ with ‘doing charity work in Africa’?

Maybe not…

No, I still think it’s a sense of self-importance.

In fact, most of the descriptions on the Bob Hare list are basic human flaws that could apply to anyone. This is the problem with mental illness classifications, they’re broad. Human beings can only fuck up in so many ways, just like there are only eight plots in fiction.

The biggest one is surely: a psychopath feels neither remorse nor empathy. How can you rectify that?

I think it’s possible…if you understand the psychopath, find out what they value, what makes them happy [hopefully not just the pain of others]…

There are serial killers that had a normal family life and friends…surely they had empathy for their kids or spouse otherwise…why not kill them too?

I’m pinning myself onto the edges…not all psychopaths are dangerous…most of them aren’t interested in killing people…

What else?

Manipulation of others is also pretty huge, but this is wide-ranging…we all do this to some degree.

If a guy is pushing another guy to murder his parents, this is a psychopath.

If a guy is pushing another guy to lend him money, this is also a psychopath.

Isn’t it?

The key thing is: is this person dangerous?

And then…how can we make them un-dangerous?

The idea of locking them up forever is not something I want to accept, and I don’t think anyone should…

But someone like Charles Manson…or killers that were released and then killed again…

I don’t know.

Maybe the problem lies with definitions. There are psychopaths in the same league as Manson, and then there are psychopaths who are somewhere in the middle.

They don’t feel remorse or empathy, but they don’t feel the urge to kill anyone either.

Bob Hare’s list would lock them up.

Is that the only way?

When I see a disaster on TV, where people have died, I don’t feel much for the victims. I would say I don’t really feel anything.

If anyone close to me died, I’d feel terrible.

In Star Trek, the supposed perfect human society of the future, the Prime Directive allows primitive cultures to be wiped out by natural disasters while Picard sips tea in his ready room, wanking over the Borg.

If I were a Star Trek captain, I’d save the damn primitives.

How do you define empathy? In what situations is it okay to feel something and when is it not?

I don’t feel good about people dying in the disaster, but I don’t feel bad. I simply don’t feel much of anything. It feels like an event I’ve seen a thousand times before.

There might be something in this…the distancing effect of TV/media…but it seems very familiar.

It’s been said before, many times. I just can’t remember where or when…

Fuck it. There’s no shame in repeating something true.

Disasters…lack of feeling…

If the media had reported on these people before the disaster…it’s usually a poor area that’s the worst hit…if I’d seen something of their lives, learnt their names, seen how shit their lives were…

Tragedies affect people when they know the people involved. Is empathy really so powerful it can make you care about someone you see crying on TV?

Is everyone who says disasters in Philippines or Bangladesh make them feel devastated full of shit? Are they being playing a role they think must be played or else they’re a psychopath?

I don’t believe they feel what they say they’re feeling.

Socialism = you don’t need to cry for people, just help them out, give them a chance.

Isn’t it true?

Respond to injustice and inequality…observe the disparities in the community e.g. violent kids in council estates in Bermondsey and do something about it. You don’t need to wait for someone to get stabbed before crying about it and giving £20 to a ‘stop the stabbings fund’…the problem was there before, just open your eyes.

Am I digging a hole…?

Man, I don’t want to believe I’m a psychopath. I know I’m not, I know I feel for others…if I read about someone doing something heroic, I feel something…if  my girlfriend is depressed, I want to help…when I think about the imbalance in the world…the poverty gap…it makes me angry…I’m a socialist, I want to make people’s lives better…

But when I see earthquake reports…I feel nothing.

There must be some definable pattern to all this…I need to go back over things, make things clearer…

There has to be a way to turn psychopaths around. Or semi-psychopaths…

Can’t empathy be learnt? If something is in your life and it makes you laugh…if that thing disappears, there’d be a hole, something missing…even a psychopath would feel that surely?

Bob Hare believes psychopaths are born that way.

I don’t.

It’s picked up in childhood, I’m sure of it. But the bones of it are untraceable…they’re not even bones, I think, they’re more likely bits of dust we can’t ever see. And if this is true, if I’m right then…can it be corrected?

Even if it can’t be corrected, there are still options…

i] Focus on the ‘manipulation of others’ description. The Psychopath can help poor people improve their lives and they’d be forever grateful.

Whatever change happens in that poor person’s life, it’s down to the psychopath.

They could even publicise it if they wanted…

Problems?

Once they’ve improved the guy’s life, would they let go? They’d have power over the guy…they turned his/her whole life around…what would they do with that level of control?

Answer: Put them in some kind of charity centre, so they can’t go above a certain level of power. People above them regulate things and keep them in check.

Is it good enough?

The charity can’t keep tabs on the psychopath all the time…he could contact the poor people in his/her free time and…do what?

What exactly would a psychopath do? What could they do?

I’m stuck again…the argument, whatever it was, it’s getting away and I don’t know what I’m writing…

What degree of psychopath am I talking about?

The problem with Bob Hare’s list is: psychopaths can read it too. They’re smart, they can fake having no ego, or having huge amounts of empathy.

Everyone can.

I don’t know what to suggest…

Okay, how about this:

There’s holographic technology and when it gets to a certain point…when it can recreate whole environments and people and things…you take the psychopath and say, go in there and do whatever you like, until it’s out of your system. The psychopath goes in once a week, no more, and…they can kill, steal, manipulate, anything…just like kids do in video games…and when they come out, all the bad stuff is drained out of them. If they fuck up in real life, they go to prison. If they don’t feel like doing the holographic thing anymore then they go to prison.

I don’t know.

Problems?

Technology isn’t that far along yet…isn’t that well-developed…without the tech, what’s the alternative? Hire actors in dummy suits? Use hallucinogens?

Still doesn’t seem good enough.

What else?

It’s not a cure, it’s a punch bag. The psychopath doesn’t solve anything…he just exhausts the psychopathic part of himself until it’s too drained to act upon. You eat a giant toblerone, you don’t want another one, that kind of thinking.

The Psychopath could become addicted to the violence of the simulation and crave more.

The psychopath could latch onto the makers of the simulation and puppet them into…what?

The psychopath doesn’t want to reform. To him, it’s a…reduction of self? He is the sum of his thoughts and his thoughts include not understanding how to give a shit about other people.

They know you’re trying to cure them…they’ll trick you into thinking you’ve succeeded…

The problem’s still there…hyena-shaped. How can you help someone and watch your back at the same time?

It seems too hard…too risky. Psychopaths can only be cured by someone liberal enough to give a shit, and the easiest people for a psychopath to manipulate are liberals gullible enough to believe they can cure a psychopath.

Maybe it’s better to focus on people who are more deserving of help?

The poor…the sick…

Isn’t it?

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