Sociopaths, insight meditation, emotional intelligence, and emotion regulation
April 10, 2018 at 7:48 am #8691
I’m studying “Confessions of a Sociopath” avidly, and I’ve come to the conclusion that narcissists have both emotional empathy and theory of mind, but not empathic concern, so they can see people’s needs well enough if they care to look, but they have no concern for helping them (callous, no conscience). This is reminiscent of a chimpanzee: most of their knowledge of others is for the purposes of strategic self-interest.
I believe the author ME Thomas is a narcissist who’s got no emotional literacy and is normally cut off from her own emotions (that’s the sociopath part). She also says she has trouble reading social cues since she has no emotional literacy, but reads people all day long cognitively and in terms of their needs. This knowledge is then used against people.
What’s good about insight meditation is that it teaches you about yourself, leading to both knowledge of and empowerment in oneself, and knowledge of others.April 10, 2018 at 10:02 am #8697
I think ME Thomas has a schizoid adaptation, because she often talks about not having a sense of self, and is overly-independent. She also switches off her emotions by default, but can tune into them if she tries hard.
– see Elinor Greenberg, for example on Quora.April 10, 2018 at 2:49 pm #8703
@simonpaynton, ME Thomas reminds me of a couple of my former colleagues. I didn’t like them at all. More than just being self-promoting, manipulative, thieving, and highly ambitious, they were sadistic. They knew how to manipulate and relished doing so. So I am certain they knew theory of mind. They seemed to revel in the pain they caused. One was male, and one was female. In both cases, when caught red handed in their actions, they backed down and found new victims, but they left pain and suffering in their wake. They were reasonably successful, but to a limit. A better use of their efforts, would have been international espionage, or as assassins of foreign potentates and evildoers around the world. Not where vulnerable ordinary people would suffer at their hands. I can think of a couple of corporate CEOs who might fit that mold as well.April 11, 2018 at 8:37 pm #8712
Around 1980 after I “retired” (at age 45) and started studying socio-psychopathy, before brain scan technology developed, people who’d studied sociology preferred the former term and those who’d studied psychology preferred the latter term.
After brain scans became common, I saw reports that the former was thought to be environmentally caused and the latter ro be genetically caused.
Given that life began as blue-green algae, cyanobacteria or pond scum (your choice), and the bigger or stronger ate (or engulfed) the smaller or weaker, it seems reasonable that:
1) when the reptilian brain ruled, psycho-sociopathy was the default condition, and
2) eons later, as the mammalian brain evolved, thoughts of right and wrong behavior (morality) grew.
Your thoughts?April 11, 2018 at 8:43 pm #8713
Postscript: a newborn’s reptilian brain dominates, and no one socialized the infant Donald Trump.April 15, 2018 at 6:22 am #8747
I would put the historical time line at
1) in the great ape family tree, before humans, narcissism was the default condition (see, chimps and gorillas);
2) empathic concern evolved with both mammals and birds, who both care for their young, but thoughts of right and wrong only arrived with humans and their cooperation.April 15, 2018 at 11:32 am #8750
Simon, what say you to a charge that the words right and wrong have a political purpose, that they are intended to influence the behavior of others?
IMO, they are metaphors for I like and I don’t like.
Among a society’s “betters”, cooperation is desired. From a society’s “inferiors”, obedience is demanded.April 15, 2018 at 4:56 pm #8763
“they are metaphors for I like and I don’t like.”
– I would agree with this.
“they are intended to influence the behavior of others”
– I would agree with this as well, in that “right” and “wrong” have a moral sense, and morality is to do with the rules of behaviour in terms of the values transacted: benefit/harm, fairness, sanctity, tradition, authority, [patriarchy].
So, we could say “3+3=6” is a sum, we could say “5+1=8” is a sum, and both statements are correct: both of those are sums, but the second one has a numerically incorrect value of “right or wrong” (number is the value type in this equation). This incorrectness value does not apply to morality, except in a similar way, when we make a final judgement of what is the best thing to do, or a single answer in a court of law.
“Among a society’s “betters”, cooperation is desired. From a society’s “inferiors”, obedience is demanded.”
– this seems to be a commonly held view. I don’t subscribe to it, but it’s good to cooperate with the police.April 15, 2018 at 6:58 pm #8765
“chimps and gorillas”
– all great ape species are somewhat selfish, not to say competitive. Humans are also very good at being cooperative.April 15, 2018 at 7:02 pm #8766
Reg the Fronkey FarmerModerator
Humans are apes.April 15, 2018 at 7:49 pm #8768
I know, and we can be selfish and competitive, as well as cooperative. The others are not very cooperative.
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