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pathologies

“Antisocial patients do have a theory of mind of the other, but instead of using it to connect, they use it to get their way.  Their lack of empathy allows then to objectify and use others for their own needs.”*

The point being that the lives of millions of Americans are being damaged by the selfish and sometimes criminal actions of a very few persons with extreme wealth and power, aided by a major political party, and we must therefore band together in resistance and civil self-defense, to achieve a sane and healthy society.

Here will be some info about sociopaths (antisocial personalities), psychopaths, and others.  To begin:

It seems likely, imho, judging by the actions of some of the XtremeRich, that some of what we’re up against is caused by psychopathology.

For instance, it may be that some of these persons are cursed with personalities that are “psychopathic” (a strange coincidence:  studies suggest that 1% of the people of the U.S. are psychopaths), or at best “antisocial”.

To illustrate the Xtreme of what we might be up against, the psychopathic, working by contrast I’ll take the liberty of quoting at some length from Louis Cozolino’s The Neuroscience of Human Relationships.   One of the strengths of his books is his narratives from his experience as a therapist.  The first from which I’m quoting is about his sessions with a family, young parents and their three-year-old son, Dylan.  The father, Chet, was near death from cancer.

“My social brain was in overdrive while working with Dylan and Chet.  I watched their movements, facial expressions, and gaze, and listened to the tones and cadences of their voices.  I was the wooden body of the cello and they were the strings as I resonated with their feelings and emotions, both expressed and held within.  I imagined how I would feel in each of their situations in order to help myself establish an empathic attunement with them.  With both of them, I blended observations and ideas to try to discern what was in their hearts.  Memories of my own childhood emerged, allowing me to interact with Dylan at his level of development and understanding.  My paternal instincts also led me to want to comfort and soothe Dylan’s distress—I felt my body relax as he felt increasingly safe with me.  In an entirely different way, being with Chet required me to face our shared mortality and the cruelty of fate.  We shared that all too human experience of inhabiting a universe that neither of us can understand.”  (18)

The second is from his interviews in a prison with a psychopath who was serving two consecutive sentences for murdering an elderly couple (he became angry when they shouted at him because he was robbing them in their home).

“He seemed to know he was different from other people.  ‘I know people feel things that I don’t.  Like at the trial, the judge asked me if I had any remorse about killing those folks.  I said I didn’t understand what he meant. He asked me if I felt bad, or guilty, or sad about what I had done.  I thought about it for awhile and told him I didn’t think so.  I don’t think I know what those feelings are.  The judge told me he pitied me.  I told him I didn’t get that one either’.…I never challenged his perceptions—and I always sat close to the door.  I never developed a sense of connection with Chuck.  I had encountered many tough people in my life, but he was the first one who left me convinced that, in his eyes, my humanity held no value.”  (275-6)

Some Qs come to mind:  If we were trying to clarify morality and construct a system of social justice, would we consult someone like Louis Cozolino or like Chuck?  If we were politicians, would we aspire to be more like Cozolino or Chuck, and what would we think about ourselves if people wondered if we were more like Chuck?  I don’t know a member of the 1% personally, so I don’t know what such people are like in person; I can only reflect upon their actions.  Going by their actions, might one reasonably wonder if some of them are clinically “psychopathic” (or at least “antisocial”), or simply remarkably ignorant of the lives of the millions of persons whom they hurt—or both.  If neither, then of course what does explain why their actions seem not to show awareness of other persons’ pain, or show a willingness to accept a high degree of pain on the part of persons whom they hurt?

[To come:  briefly, main points of what studies have found about the psychopathic and antisocial personalities]

*Louis Cozolino, The Neuroscience of Human Relationships:  Attachment and the Developing Social Brain (2006), 274.

Other Topics:  99%OCCUPYnutshellnonviolentpowerhistorymisogynyracismmoneywealth gap 1wealth gap 2republican partynamescapitalismfascismother ismspathologiessocial justice 1social justice 2social justice 3soulbody and soulthingsanarchyactionsbtwbib

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