THEY WALK AMONG US

19 Jun
The story that broke last year about the father, Fritzl, who imprisoned his daughter in a basement dungeon for 24 years and she had 7 children by him – as well as the sick details of his letting a few of those children upstairs – got my attention. I can’t shake the horror of a father actually treating his own child in this way. I had a wonderful father. He had his flaws but inside he was a wonderful man who would never exploit anyone or hurt a fly. However, my other parent – was pathologically disordered. And my father (of blessed memory), my brother and myself were all changed forever from it.

Wrapping our heads around these people there’s only one explanation: Psychopathy aka Sociopathy. No empathy and maybe even no soul. The bad thing is guys like the above and scum like Scott Peterson, Osama binLaden and Honor Murderers make news. But, there are hundreds & thousands of them who may be next to you at the check out or in the cubicle next to you. Subcriminals who use, abuse and exploit yet seem so very normal. Appearances are everything to these types. They may even be running a country; explaining the lack of moral or ethical outrage at today’s political climate around the world.

Hervey Cleckley is one of the best writers I have ever read on the subject. As a normal person who has encountered and even loved a couple of these subhumans, the need to understand is great and Cleckley gives very incisive looks into the problem of these pathologicals who appear human. Herewith is a commentary on one of his articles and the article itself. Read & heed:

For those of you who are seeking understanding of psychopathy, Hervey Cleckley’s book The Mask of Sanity, the absolutely essential study of the psychopath who is not necessarily of the criminal type.

"Likeable," "Charming," "Intelligent," "Alert," "Impressive," "Confidence-inspiring," and "A great success with the ladies": These are the sorts of descriptions repeatedly used by Cleckley in his famous case-studies of psychopaths. They are also, of course, "irresponsible," "self-destructive," and the like. These descriptions highlight the great frustrations and puzzles that surround the study of psychopathy.

Psychopaths seem to have in abundance the very traits most desired by normal persons. The untroubled self-confidence of the psychopath seems almost like an impossible dream and is generally what "normal" people seek to acquire when they attend assertiveness training classes.

In many instances, the magnetic attraction of the psychopath for members of the opposite sex seems almost supernatural.

Cleckley’s seminal hypothesis concerning the psychopath is that he suffers from a very real mental illness indeed: a profound and incurable affective deficit. If he really feels anything at all, they are emotions of only the shallowest kind.

He does bizarre and self-destructive things because consequences that would fill the ordinary man with shame, self-loathing, and embarrassment simply do not affect the psychopath at all. What to others would be a disaster is to him merely a fleeting inconvenience.

Cleckley also gives grounds for the view that psychopathy is quite common in the community at large. He has collected some cases of psychopaths who generally function normally in the community as businessmen, doctors, and even psychiatrists.

We would characterize criminal psychopaths as "unsuccessful psychopaths." The implication, of course, is that many psychopaths may exist in society who cope better than do those who come to the attention of the judicial and welfare systems.

Harrington goes so far as to say that the psychopath is the new man being produced by the evolutionary pressures of modern life. Other researchers criticize this view, pointing out the real disabilities that the clinical psychopath also suffers.

The study of "ambulatory" psychopaths – what we call "The Garden Variety Psychopath" – has, however, hardly begun. Very little is known about subcriminal psychopathy. However, some researchers have begun to seriously consider the idea that it is important to study psychopathy not as an artificial clinical category but as a general personality trait in the community at large. In other words, psychopathy is being recognized more or less as a different type of human.

One very interesting aspect of the psychopath is his "hidden life" that is sometimes not too well hidden.

It seems that the psychopath has a regular need to take a "vacation into filth and degradation" the same way normal people may take a vacation to a resort where they enjoy beautiful surroundings and culture.

Also, read Cleckley’s speculations on what was "really wrong" with these people. He comes very close to suggesting that they are human in every respect – but that they lack a soul. This lack of "soul quality" makes them very efficient "machines." They can be brilliant, write scholarly works, imitate the words of emotion, but over time, it becomes clear that their words do not match their actions.

They are the type of person who can claim that they are devastated by grief who then attend a party "to forget." The problem is: they really DO forget.

Being very efficient machines, like a computer, they are able to execute very complex routines designed to elicit from others support for what they want. In this way, many psychopaths are able to reach very high positions in life. It is only over time that their associates become aware of the fact that their climb up the ladder of success is predicated on violating the rights of others. "Even when they are indifferent to the rights of their associates, they are often able to inspire feelings of trust and confidence."

The psychopath recognizes no flaw in his psyche, no need for change.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Mask of Sanity
– by H. Cleckley

Imagine – if you can – not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting true sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.

And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.

Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless.

You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.

In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world.

You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences will most likely remain undiscovered.

– How will you live your life?

– What will you do with your huge and secret advantage, and with the corresponding handicap of other people (conscience)?

The answer will depend largely on just what your desires happen to be, because people are not all the same. Even the profoundly unscrupulous are not all the same. Some people – whether they have a conscience or not – favor the ease of inertia, while others are filled with dreams and wild ambitions. Some human beings are brilliant and talented, some are dull-witted, and most, conscience or not, are somewhere in between. There are violent people and nonviolent ones, individuals who are motivated by blood lust and those who have no such appetites. […]

Provided you are not forcibly stopped, you can do anything at all.


If you are born at the right time, with some access to family fortune, and you have a special talent for whipping up other people’s hatred and sense of deprivation, you can arrange to kill large numbers of unsuspecting people. With enough money, you can accomplish this from far away, and you can sit back safely and watch in satisfaction. […]

Crazy and frightening – and real, in about 4 percent of the population….

The prevalence rate for anorexic eating disorders is estimated a 3.43 percent, deemed to be nearly epidemic, and yet this figure is a fraction lower than the rate for antisocial personality. The high-profile disorders classed as schizophrenia occur in only about 1 percent of [the population] – a mere quarter of the rate of antisocial personality – and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the rate of colon cancer in the United States, considered "alarmingly high," is about 40 per 100,000 – one hundred times lower than the rate of antisocial personality.

The high incidence of sociopathy in human society has a profound effect on the rest of us who must live on this planet, too, even those of us who have not been clinically traumatized. The individuals who constitute this 4 percent drain our relationships, our bank accounts, our accomplishments, our self-esteem, our very peace on earth.

Yet surprisingly, many people know nothing about this disorder, or if they do, they think only in terms of violent psychopathy – murderers, serial killers, mass murderers – people who have conspicuously broken the law many times over, and who, if caught, will be imprisoned, maybe even put to death by our legal system.

We are not commonly aware of, nor do we usually identify, the larger number of nonviolent sociopaths among us, people who often are not blatant lawbreakers, and against whom our formal legal system provides little defense.

Most of us would not imagine any correspondence between conceiving an ethnic genocide and, say, guiltlessly lying to one’s boss about a coworker. But the psychological correspondence is not only there; it is chilling. Simple and profound, the link is the absence of the inner mechanism that beats up on us, emotionally speaking, when we make a choice we view as immoral, unethical, neglectful, or selfish.

Most of us feel mildly guilty if we eat the last piece of cake in the kitchen, let alone what we would feel if we intentionally and methodically set about to hurt another person.

Those who have no conscience at all are a group unto themselves, whether they be homicidal tyrants or merely ruthless social snipers.

The presence or absence of conscience is a deep human division, arguably more significant than intelligence, race, or even gender.

What differentiates a sociopath who lives off the labors of others from one who occasionally robs convenience stores, or from one who is a contemporary robber baron – or what makes the difference between an ordinary bully and a sociopathic murderer – is nothing more than social status, drive, intellect, blood lust, or simple opportunity.

What distinguishes all of these people from the rest of us is an utterly empty hole in the psyche, where there should be the most evolved of all humanizing functions.

(the above excerpts are from Barbara’s Tchatzkahs & have been grammatically corrected by Li’l ë)

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One Response to “THEY WALK AMONG US”

  1. ♥ Bekkie June 19, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    Read my blog at: : http://bekkiesanfranchez.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!36946696724F8947!1860.entry/ This guy is another sick puppy! Really sick what he did to that poor little girl! He has more than a hole in his psyche! Too bad they quit using the electric chair in most states, he needs to ge roasted like a German Sausage! LOL! Who knows what makes these guys do such horrable things but they do again, and again. Luv ya! ♥

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