How To Spot A Psychopath

BreivikSo how many psychopaths are in your life? Writing for the Telegraph, Tom Chivers says, “We think of psychopaths as killers, alien, outside society. But, says the scientist who has spent his life studying them, you could have one for a colleague, a friend – or a spouse”:

There are a few things we take for granted in social interactions with people. We presume that we see the world in roughly the same way, that we all know certain basic facts, that words mean the same things to you as they do to me. And we assume that we have pretty similar ideas of right and wrong.

But for a small – but not that small – subset of the population, things are very different. These people lack remorse and empathy and feel emotion only shallowly. In extreme cases, they might not care whether you live or die. These people are called psychopaths. Some of them are violent criminals, murderers. But by no means all.

Professor Robert Hare is a criminal psychologist, and the creator of the PCL-R, a psychological assessment used to determine whether someone is a psychopath. For decades, he has studied people with psychopathy, and worked with them, in prisons and elsewhere. “It stuns me, as much as it did when I started 40 years ago, that it is possible to have people who are so emotionally disconnected that they can function as if other people are objects to be manipulated and destroyed without any concern,” he says.

Our understanding of the brain is still in its infancy, and it’s not so many decades since psychological disorders were seen as character failings. Slowly we are learning to think of mental illnesses as illnesses, like kidney disease or liver failure, and developmental disorders, such as autism, in a similar way. Psychopathy challenges this view. “A high-scoring psychopath views the world in a very different way,” says Hare. “It’s like colour-blind people trying to understand the colour red, but in this case ‘red’ is other people’s emotions.”

At heart, Hare’s test is simple: a list of 20 criteria, each given a score of 0 (if it doesn’t apply to the person), 1 (if it partially applies) or 2 (if it fully applies). The list in full is: glibness and superficial charm, grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, cunning/manipulative, lack of remorse, emotional shallowness, callousness and lack of empathy, unwillingness to accept responsibility for actions, a tendency to boredom, a parasitic lifestyle, a lack of realistic long-term goals, impulsivity, irresponsibility, lack of behavioural control, behavioural problems in early life, juvenile delinquency, criminal versatility, a history of “revocation of conditional release” (ie broken parole), multiple marriages, and promiscuous sexual behaviour. A pure, prototypical psychopath would score 40…

[continues at the Telegraph]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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163 Comments on "How To Spot A Psychopath"

  1. When did they wrap the extremely jaded, and callous into psychopathy. Maybe I just always took the extreme and violent example as the definition, but that always seemed to be the colloquial definition anyways (as the article is trying to edify that the colloquial understanding is not the actual definition..)

    Doesn’t change the fact that if i were to go around telling people i was a psychopath they would either not believe me (due to no violent tendencies) or fear me (due to expected violent tendencies).

    • Calypso_1 | Apr 7, 2014 at 4:51 pm |

      One of the characteristics of the disorder is other persons having difficulty determining the veracity of any statement, true or false, regardless of intent. Similar phenomenon can be evoked with the use of botox to alter facial expression. This characterizes feedback within the interpretive/expressive regulation of facial mirror neurons to concepts such as empathy and may underly potential causative factors of the pathology.

      • Woobniggurath | Apr 7, 2014 at 11:22 pm |

        So what is it’s relationship to ASD, of the Asperger’s-like part of the spectrum particularly, in your opinion? Mirror neuron dysfunction is implicated there as well, and the difficulty in interpreting social cues is at the core of the disorder.

        • Woobniggurath | Apr 7, 2014 at 11:25 pm |

          And please don’t tell me to just go do my own homework. I come to a site such as this in order to learn from other minds. I could easily spend a week in the autism rabbit hole, to say nothing of psychopathy, and be only questionably more educated and no more enlightened.

          “He’s a fool for a master who teaches himself.”

      • I’d suspect that intent has something to do with whether or not that arises though. Or am I confusing sociopathy and psychopathy? The definitions seem to be blurring.

        I suspect I might fit the profile, and I don’t really want to speak for psychopaths… but my thoughts are that social interaction is more guided by strategy than by emotions and social cues. That is to say it’s manipulative, for better or worse. Depending on the intent, very bad things can be done, (or maybe even very good).

  2. Anarchy Pony | Apr 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm |

    Wait I thought that sociopaths were the ones who lacked empathy, but psychopaths actively enjoyed causing pain and suffering.

    • Matt Staggs | Apr 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm |

      As far as I know the terms are synonymous.

      • Anarchy Pony | Apr 7, 2014 at 12:24 pm |

        Wikipedia says they are synonymous. I always thought there was a difference.

        • The DSM V is “no longer universal” in the field…

          Personally, I have my suspicions about a medical field that doesn’t actually look at the primary organ it deals with…

          • Woobniggurath | Apr 7, 2014 at 11:12 pm |

            One could regard behavior as an organ, for this purpose.

          • What about differences in the structural biology or the neuro-chemistry? Brain wave activity? Genetic profile markers?

            Psychiatry / Psychology doesn’t typically investigate these things. Understandable, the tools we have now didn’t exist when the field started. Going back at least 20-30 years. there is no reason not to integrate these diagnostic tools aside from cost and additional training/re-training.

            Behavior will (likely) always remain a largely subjective phenomena. Whereas in many psychiatric conditions, biological components / mechanisms have already been identified with at least as much certainty as the behavioral component. Considering we have only started to (barely) scratch the surface in this direction, I think it’s fair to say that psychiatry/psychology have a long way to go before they become something approaching “hard science”.

            I realize they make that claim more or less already, but my own experience (first, second, and third hand) leaves me requiring something considerably more robust before I agree with the establishment.

            I agree that in this instance, psychopathy is largely detected and identified via behavioral means. So I understand the focus placed on behavioral evaluation. However, we’ll likely never know the answers to the questions above as long as the medical paradigm continues at its current inertia.

          • Woobniggurath | Apr 8, 2014 at 10:16 am |

            What makes you think that neuro/chemical psych is not happening? In the clinical setting I am not yet aware of many therapeutics arising from structural issues, but he chemistry is yielding pretty damn effective new drugs – Geodon, Zyprexa for example. As far as pure talk therapy goes, it is at a pretty low level of prominence these days.The main exception I know of is CBT, which certainly draws from biofeedback – i.e. application of observations of neurophysical function.

          • It seems to me individualists and libertarians (and I use both words in lower case) have reason to feel threatened by neuroscience. One could view it as another case of religion (and U.S. individualism is a religion) getting upset with scientists.

          • Woobniggurath | Apr 9, 2014 at 5:51 pm |

            No doubt neuroscience, both chemical and behavioral has terrifying possibilities already being realized.

          • Woobniggurath | Apr 9, 2014 at 5:53 pm |

            However I, for one, welcome the advent of my daily ration of Soma.
            Per Huxley. Not the other somas. Except the vedic Soma. That, of course is the celestial Cat’s Ass.

          • I didn’t say it wasn’t happening. Of course at the frontiers of medical research, there are interesting individuals and organizations making important discoveries. The Amen Clinic approach, for one, has produced interesting data and results. The problem is that only the people with $$$ or lucky enough to get into studies tend to get anything resembling 20th (not a typo) century medical care.

            At any rate, better than “here take this pill for X amount of time. we don’t know exactly why or how it works, and it has to go through your entire system instead of local deployment to the part of the body it supposedly treats. if you suffer from too many side-effects or it doesn’t work, we’ll try something new” approach.

            I’m more aware of EMDR than CBT, but that sounds familiar. I am encouraged to see some of the advances that are filtering out to the field, but at the end of the day, the diagnostic and treatment protocols frequently produce “cures” worse than the “actual condition” being treated.

        • Calypso_1 | Apr 7, 2014 at 3:58 pm |

          It entirely depends on what researcher (and thus what lineage they draw from). At best the terms are interchangeably ambiguous. They do however have differentiations in some technical literature. The most primary clinical (ie testable) distinction is now referred to as primary & secondary psychopathy. These are not yet formally considered diagnostic categories outside of the criminal justice system. ‘Psychopathy’ in general has been an all to mysterious term for an unknown & undefined pathology that it is known to exist but has eluded clear classification. Because of an implicit association with ‘evil’ it has taken on a disproportionate stature of collective projected fear encompassing all the horrifying aspects of humanities nature. Hopefully some day true descriptive terms for the actual disorders will become common place.

      • Craig Bickford | Apr 7, 2014 at 8:37 pm |

        I have read that they can be and that they are also not synonymous terms, depending on who you are reading at the time (I am assuming that is a reference to academic journals, research texts or maybe even clinical definitions).

    • Sadists actively enjoy causing pain and suffering. Sociopaths/psychopaths don’t care one way or the other–whatever actions they take are simply to advance whatever agenda they have without thinking of the consequences for other people. In their world, there are no “others”: we’re just the means to their end. For example, Jeffrey Dahmer didn’t “get off” on drilling holes in his victims’ heads, that was beside the point of his wanting to make them pliable and stay with him. Thus, his defense claim that he “loved” these people. He couldn’t make the compassionate jump to the harm he was causing nor was he able to empathize. That is the hallmark of a sociopath. When you look at someone like Ted Bundy, then you see the sadism combined with the sociopathology because he got off on causing pain, that was his MO. Oddly enough, when we look at paid torturers, the one thing they weed out in the interview is sadism because sadists make poor torturers. There has to be distance.

  3. What I want to know is when will large numbers of people being to to get the idea that many aspects of our culture are totally psychopathic. I am of course thinking of our political system, the military, capitalism, the “justice” system, etc.
    i would very much support some kind of massive public campaign that calls out the leaders of these various institutions for the psychopaths that they are.

  4. There are a few things we take for granted in social interactions with people. We presume that we see the world in roughly the same way, that we all know certain basic facts, that words mean the same things to you as they do to me. And we assume that we have pretty similar ideas of right and wrong.

    I have not taken these things for granted since I was a child. A relatively young child too…

    Although, if since this type of delusion remains with most people as they enter adulthood and beyond, it does explain a lot about the Western fields of Psychiatry, Psychology, etc.

  5. Earthstar | Apr 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm |

    I had a good friend who identified as sociopathic. He struggles to understand people and has read much on sociology and psychology to help with this. He also adheres to a rather rigid moral and ethical code and tries to be “good” and beneficial towards people in general. He scares me a bit sometimes as he can do things most people would have a very hard time with, but when push comes to shove I’ll trust him at my back.

    • Calypso_1 | Apr 7, 2014 at 4:55 pm |

      How would you characterize the things he can do that others would find difficulty with?

    • Adamas Macalz | Apr 7, 2014 at 5:56 pm |

      you just described me to some extent. I have the ability to empathize without the ability to sympathize. I had literally zero understanding of social dynamics or other people until I studied shit like game theory, body language, social psychology, etc. I still describe myself as amoral, but only because I think morality doesn’t fit well in most situations. I would rather perceive things as they are, and act in the manner most likely to produce the desired result.

      I don’t know if I would coin myself sociopathic, but I have severe issues with empathy, and a tendency towards sadism that seems to crop up if I don’t meditate often enough. I realized a long time ago that I need hours of alone time a day, or else I start becoming more and more malevolent to those around me.

    • Woobniggurath | Apr 7, 2014 at 10:46 pm |

      Are we feeling out the potential interzone between Asperger’s type persons and psychopaths in this discussion?

  6. Jess Geez | Apr 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm |

    Oh cute. You just described my ex. Who I am still in love with. #fml

  7. HARPOON F. FLYBY | Apr 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm |

    How do you establish the baseline for empathy in normal behavior? Moreover, isn’t this just calling everyone to be overly self-critical when for the most part we really should tell people to F off? If the world context is psychopathic, then you commit suicide by acting overly sympathetic

  8. Luci Bloom | Apr 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm |

    This is true, although not all good looking people are psychopaths, so it’s not really fair to put them all on red alert status. Psychopaths exist in all shapes, sizes and levels of attractiveness. They are especially dangerous when they are good looking though. Think Ted Bundy.

    • InfvoCuernos | Apr 7, 2014 at 5:08 pm |

      My heart bleeds piss for all the poor beautiful people. I never trust a pretty girl. Not that she might be a psychopath, just that if she’s talking to me like I’m a human, she must be up to no good.

      • There’s no easy way to say this without it coming off as self-promotion, but as a female with conventionally-attractive looks, FUCK YOU.

        I’m very serious (and I even like you!)

        AS IF it’s not bad enough that I just had to call a friend to look busy while a car slowly followed me home, AS IF it’s not enough that other females generally either hate me or want to fuck me (or think they want to fuck me, because temporary sexual confusion is how young women today attempt to quell their jealous tendencies), AS IF it’s not enough that old men on the bus practically EVERY DAY make some stupid comment about how I’m “too pretty to not smile”, etc.


        BUT NOW…now you just had to go and remind me that a certain percentage of men hate me for MERELY EXISTING, whether or not they want to “hate-fuck/rape” me to death, or if they simply assume that I’m “up to no good” with my face being all feminine and shit.

        Would I be more trustworthy if I cut off my own nose? Because I’m considering it. The Voldemort look might at least get the old men to stop bothering me…

        Anyway…that’s some fucking sexist-ass-shit.

        Honestly, fuck you.

        • Echar Lailoken | Apr 7, 2014 at 10:08 pm |

          Forgive us for the sins of our brethren, for they know not what they do!

          *Leaves a tribute of chocolate and wine*

          • A little cliché, but it will do for now…

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm |

            The cost of this impersonal tribute is representative of at least three hours of humbling and mindless work.

          • Actually, once this happened to me, reverse-gender, no joke. I was all like “expensive chocolates?” and he was all like “that’s dumb; you’re boring” and I was sad.

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 7, 2014 at 10:49 pm |

            He was a fool, or had no taste. Oh well, one cannot expect to please everyone. Perhaps we should all start handing out gift cards?

          • I despise gift cards.

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 7, 2014 at 10:53 pm |

            I know right? Besides, those Visa gift cards cost like $2+ the ammount. Damn this modern world!

          • Calypso_1 | Apr 8, 2014 at 1:49 am |

            Did you keep the chocolate?

          • Shoulda….

          • Jonas Planck | Apr 9, 2014 at 2:31 am |

            The chocolate is to cushion the effects of menstruation. I know, I just take all the magic out of everything, don’t I?

          • Lol, thanks Capt. Obvious. 😉

            I thought the joke was clear enough, soothe the savage beast and all, but you might want to explain to Infvo, since he thought Echar was being a “white knight” rather than just distracting with humor.

            Humor at my expense, perhaps, but I think I can read Echar well enough to assume he wasn’t being cruel.

          • good ol’ peacekeeper Echar

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 8, 2014 at 1:11 pm |

            Peace feels better.

        • Woobniggurath | Apr 7, 2014 at 10:39 pm |

          No, you’re right – n0b0d1 , which I mentally pronounce as “Nobody Won”.

          • Woobniggurath | Apr 7, 2014 at 10:41 pm |

            However, you must realize that you are a rare,um, specimen as one who has never relished casually crushing the self esteem of a person obviously not in your league.

          • If humans find it is rare to empathize, then I imagine it is very difficult to keep track of the clinical psychopaths amongst them.

          • Woobniggurath | Apr 7, 2014 at 11:32 pm |

            I’m just saying the social dynamic invested in good looks is often and often used as a weapon, and not just by the pathologically heartless, and often very casually. If you are empathic to everyone you interact with then you are certainly special. In a good way.

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 8, 2014 at 10:43 am |

            It can be hell to make choices, when one can know what others feel. Guilt may play into it.

          • K.

          • Rhoid Rager | Apr 8, 2014 at 8:52 am |

            They call that a Pyrrhic victory in my parts.

          • Woobniggurath | Apr 8, 2014 at 12:38 pm |

            Was Pyrrhus hot?

          • Calypso_1 | Apr 9, 2014 at 3:25 pm |

            Depends on how close one is to the flames while the world burns.

          • I initially read this as:
            “They call that a Pyrrhic victory in my pants.”

          • Rhoid Rager | Apr 9, 2014 at 10:06 pm |

            What would that be? Scorched earth tactics to control hostiles?

          • Calypso_1 | Apr 10, 2014 at 12:51 am |

            A love conquest resulting in venereal horrors.

          • Rhoid Rager | Apr 10, 2014 at 1:48 am |

            Previous attempts at surgical circumcisional strikes have only yielded a loss of sensitivity to external manipulation; however, general strategy will have to shift to a tighly-bound strangle-hold around the perimeter to cut off the head–a war of attrition to constrict supplies is the only recourse in enemy-infested territory.

        • Rhoid Rager | Apr 7, 2014 at 10:52 pm |

          If you’re serious about the self-mutilation shit, don’t do it. Don’t allow the projected low-self-worth of others to penetrate through to your own self-worth. I don’t know the daily travails you face (although I have my own set of daily hardships and social suspicions cast my way being a foreigner in Japan), but our self-worth is something we must not allow others to construct for us. If you are not accepted for who you are, damn the consequences.

          There is a wonderful Japanese proverb carved into a stone wash basin in Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto (the world famous one with the Zen stone garden where only 14 of the 15 rocks are ever visible from any angle). The proverb is this: 吾唯足知(ware tada taru o shiru) (My translation: I am content unto myself: other translations: I know only satisfaction: I simply know what is enough; I am content with who I am, etc.). This is the single-most important quote to me, and anytime I feel hardships, I come back to it.

          • Nice of you to worry, but I’m being hyperbolic for comedic effect. Thank you for the quote and link.

          • Rhoid Rager | Apr 8, 2014 at 9:30 am |

            So I take your hyperbole worry seriously and take 20 minutes out of my day to approach it; where does that leave me in terms of trusting what you write to find out it’s all in jest to seal your joke? Fuck you, maybe?

          • :/

            I honestly don’t know what just happened. I thought I was being polite to relieve you of the burden of concern for a stranger. (I mean, even if I was going to do it, I would probably tell you I wasn’t just because I felt bad about making a stranger feel bad)

            …Regardless of whether there is literal mutilation, your words were timely and useful…I even thanked you for them.

            You really know how to nullify the warm and fuzzy feels.

          • Rhoid Rager | Apr 8, 2014 at 5:51 pm |

            Sorry, drunk post. This thread really sucks.

          • Since I’m the one you chose to lash out at, well, it begs the question: am I the reason you think this thread sucks?

            Do you agree with InfvoCuernos? You said you wanted to see this issue discussed, but I don’t know where you stand. Are you afraid of taking sides?

            Do you even have an opinion on this subject?

          • Shit, I am the last goddamn person on here to counsel “ease back” with a straight face, but maybe? Or at least no guilt by association?

            Peace offering?

          • I guess I should add a disclaimer: I am not interpreting myself *or anyone else* as Shiva, or Kali for that matter…

          • But this one looks more fun… >_>

          • …I’ve certainly heard that it can be… (^_^;)

          • I called in a different emoji from the bench…

            (highpowered shit so we can do our astro travelling)

          • Ah, that makes more sense when the image frickin’ loads.

          • I enjoy debating. It keeps me sane.

          • Rhoid Rager | Apr 9, 2014 at 7:33 am |

            You weren’t the only one I chose to lash out at. I had a shit day yesterday, got drunk and my angry self appeared. Haven’t had a fantastic past 12 months. It’s getting better though.

            And no, you’re not the reason this thread sucks. (and for your benefit, that’s the incorrect usage of ‘begs the question’ incidentally; the phrase refers to a logical fallacy, but that’s beyond the point.) This thread sucks because it is about people debating generalities, voicing opinions over stereotypes, and surmising another person’s character based on hasty judgements (either through quickly dashed out opinions on Disqus, or by their looks [beautiful or not] IRL).

            How can someone judge who you are based on such a narrow sampling? This subject is basically a debate about how quickly we ought to close our minds, if that makes sense. InfvoCuernos is a cool character, and I have come to realize he has a lot interesting thoughts to share. In my experience, I have encountered many people who buy into the competition narrative of society and use their outward appearance to benefit themselves over others, as if human existence was zero-sum. I used to be bitter about this, but now I just view these people as lost souls, mired in their own self-absorbed vanity. They are to be pitied. In that sense, I understand why InfvoCuernos may have voiced that particular sentiment, albeit in a rather clumsy, generalizing way.

            However, your reaction to his/her comment was quick, harsh, and quite a rambling tirade. It seemed indicative of your own issues (not accusatory here, as I have my own issues, but merely openly observing). When you alluded to self-mutilation, I took the gravity of that comment to be significant enough to merit an intervention, so I chimed in. When you assured me it was just part of your humor repertoire, I looked at it as a darkly cynical and unnecessary remark, and this angered me. Add the alcohol, my own issues, and quick-on-the-draw typing skills, and we have arrived at where we are now.

          • Well…of course it was about my own issues. Those are the ones I’m actually qualified to comment on!

            Anyway, I suppose I asked for that. Thank you for letting me know about that phrase, though I’ve heard it used how I used it, so maybe there is some regional misappropriation.

            I’m sorry you were irritated; black humor isn’t for everyone. Which parts of my reply were rambling, so I may make my point clear? As I mentioned, I probably cpuld have reacted differently, but was emotional. When I make dark jokes, you shouldn’t assume my feelings aren’t true…juat because I’m not actually going to cut off my nose doesn’t mean I don’t feel like it…we don’t always do what we feel, right? Better to tell a joke about it (maybe for my own benefit) to. de-fang and dispel dark thoughts…

          • Matt Staggs | Apr 9, 2014 at 4:03 pm |

            I admire your candor. Few people will come out and admit that they were just having a bad day. Hope you’re having a better one today.

          • Woobniggurath | Apr 9, 2014 at 5:35 pm |

            Cool Image, though.

        • InfvoCuernos | Apr 8, 2014 at 3:25 am |

          You’re calling me the psychopath when you advocate the death penalty for people paying you a complement while your headphones are in?

          • Right? Like that time you said you’d “hate fuck” that woman judge? I suppose that should have been the first clue.

            You’re really going to stand by the position of sexist, insecure bigot?

            …Give ’em enough rope…

            P.s. if you notice, in the very line you are referencing, I mentioned my home planet…or did you take that part literally, as well? You’re kind of slow, aren’t you?

          • InfvoCuernos | Apr 8, 2014 at 3:41 pm |

            Are you sure I said “hate fuck” and not grudge fuck? Oh, I don’t doubt that it is the way you wrote it, as you must have just combed through all of my past posts looking for anything you could throw at me. Yes, I did say that the female judge should be grudge fucked (or hate fucked, that fits better with how you are trying to paint me as some fascist anti-pretty woman misogynist) and I would not have even a moment’s hesitation in approval of a similar action against a male judge that had done the same thing if there were a gay male that would take up that cause. You can keep swinging away at this, but what you should really look into is how your supporters drop off when they realize that they aren’t getting laid out of this battle. Hey, maybe being pretty is tough-you can never depend 100% on the altruism of male heterosexuals (so I guess that puts you on level with the rest of Humanity, instead of the pedestal your princess ass thinks it deserves).

            Where does the “bigot” title come from? How am I now a bigot as well? Or are you just throwing shit like a monkey in the primate house?


          • Luci Bloom | Apr 9, 2014 at 10:25 am |

            YOU called him sexist…in your first comment! Then you told him he hates all women…when he stated that he doesn’t trust beautiful women! Now you are saying he is the one painting himself as sexist and denying that you said he was being sexist.

          • Ok. Sometimes I don’t fully explain my position because I assume that most others here are a bit older than me and already aware of the many onion layers surrounding a topic. Apparently this just makes me a sloppy commenter, so I’ll try to explain my point without sounding pedantic.

            What is usually termed beauty in a female face are the traits most associated with estrogen and fertility, right? And as I pointed out in another comment, Infvo is basing this judgment of “beautiful” people on his own tastes. It may very well be that I would actually appear ugly to his eyes. There is more variety in male tastes than advertising would have us believe, after all. I still think that judging some women’s character by their *subjectively perceived* beauty is sexist on many levels.

            Whether or not “Infvo is a sexist”, I am asserting that his viewpoints are (from my perspective…)

          • P.s. the bigot thing is calling you out for your genetic prejudices. I did not choose to be born.

          • Ill make one last statement about your whole “princess” and “white knight” thing: I never asked for help. Is it impossible to fathom that others might agree with my statements?

            You might actually have a learning disability because my comments have been consistent on the point that attention for my looks is what I am *complaining* about. Do you honestly not see how illogical your statements are?

            Random guy: I hate when people point out my missing leg.

            You: you’re just trying to get sympathy for your missing leg!

            Guy: no, the opposite, I want people to ignore my missing leg because I don’t think it makes me handicapped or any less capable.

            You: what an attention whore! Showing up in public where people can see your missing leg! Just stop talking to people if they bother you; just walk away…oh…

          • “Hate fuck” was how I remembered it, at the time; no combing required. I may have had a different name then…doesn’t make you any less of a two-faced snake.

        • Jonas Planck | Apr 9, 2014 at 2:28 am |

          Sorry, sugar, but if you’re a hot property, you’re going to have to deal with the baggage. Natalie Portman isn’t famous for her work in the field of anthropology, is she? Sally used to ride my ass about it, too… a girl just can’t be thought of as a person if she boils men’s blood by dint of her appearance… it’s the fault of all those other girls who discovered that they didn’t have to actually do anything if they were hot. Like any other force of nature, they followed the path of least resistance. I suppose that also has something to do with anthropology, but I forgot what it was because I started thinking about shapely hips and firm, womanly, trapezoidal buttocks, and it short-circuited my higher reasoning subroutines…. It still works, even on “men” like me who no longer have dicks. Go figure.

        • Luci Bloom | Apr 9, 2014 at 9:09 am |

          He’s speaking from his wounds. Seriously, you sound really self-absorbed.

          • And I am not speaking from my wounds??

            You very likely wouldn’t think I was self-absorbed if I were a man or claiming to be. I have plenty of experiential data to back up my assertion. Internalized misogyny is a thing.

          • And I am not speaking from my wounds?

            You wouldn’t think I was self-absorbed if I claimed to be a man, most likely. Internalized misogyny is a thing.

          • Luci Bloom | Apr 9, 2014 at 10:19 am |

            I rest my case. You’ve just turned the entire topic from psychopaths onto YOUR problems and ranted on for an entire essay page, and got a few male commenters to follow you around doing it. If that isn’t the definition of self-absorbed I don’t know what is. It’s not about YOU!

            You don’t know how or what I think. I’d call anyone self-absorbed if they showed all the signs of it…and you do. If you want to deflect that by telling me I have internalized mysoginy, then go ahead. Right now I hate everyone equally. Pointing out your narcissism to you is not me hating all women though. I trust you can tell the difference.

          • ” got a few male commenters to follow you around doing it”

            Who? Copy-pasta or didn’t happen. Do you just believe anything Infvo says?

        • eric braun | Apr 9, 2014 at 1:09 pm |

          Amen! Halleiluyah!

      • And for the record, I do talk to you like a human. And I would even if you were a boil-covered hunchback.

        It sounds like you’re the one with the (infantile) prejudice.

        Do you make a lot of your decisions about the world based on appearances? You might want to think about how well that model is holding up for you…

      • “My heart bleeds piss for all the poor beautiful people. I never trust a pretty girl. Not that she might be a psychopath, just that if she’s talking to me like I’m a human, she must be up to no good.”


        “I have no empathy for the people whom society considers visually appealing. I never trust females I personally consider attractive. This is due to no fault of her own, but if a female I personally consider attractive were to communicate with me, I am so extraordinarily insecure about myself and my own social standings that I would assume malicious intent on her part.”

        • InfvoCuernos | Apr 8, 2014 at 1:02 am |

          Ya, you don’t seem self-absorbed at all. I just read paragraphs about pretty girl troubles. Obviously I am all wrong about how warped the “average” beautiful person is. Its not insecurity that informs my opinion, but experience based on just about every encounter with a beautiful woman. You can call it misogynistic and call me insecure, but look at the support you received just by saying you are pretty on the internet. You even got (virtual) chocolate and wine from Echar-do you have any idea how many up-votes I had to give him before he got me any chocolate? I’ll take a girl with scars over a pretty girl any day-a woman with no nose-there’s a story I’d like to hear, and imagine the dutch oven fun. Oh, and before I forget-fuck you right back in your stink pie. 😉

          • Seriously???

            For every “normal”, “nice”, “pleasant” “encounter” a so-called beautiful person experiences, there are probably at least 10 others that would cause the average individual to shit themselves due to how creepy / weird / inappropriate the “encounter” was.

            Do you give money to every homeless person who asks? Do you give assistance to every disheveled person who looks like they need help? No, you can’t possibly fulfill those roles unless one has virtually unlimited time and wealth. Accordingly, many become “de-sensitized” so they can cope with their day-to-day easier. Hopefully you see the analogy I’m trying to build…

            Thanks for trying to understand a viewpoint not your own, though.

            Forgive us for the sins of our brethren, for they know not what they do!

            That’s why she got the tribute, homes. Work on the reading comprehension.

            With respect to your standing in this community, I’m not trying to just have a go at you. But I think the commentary you’ve put forward so far is kind of seriously fucked up, and I’m really disappointed to see you double down on it.

          • InfvoCuernos | Apr 8, 2014 at 3:19 am |

            Ya, if you were disappointed before, you’re really not going to like me after this: Are you really trying to say her life is tough (bad enough that the average person might shit themselves) because people actively try to win her affections? And to act judgmentally about it like that vain shit is actually the high ground?!?!? GTFO. I will never ask for forgiveness from you or anyone for calling that exactly what it is:bullshit. Homeless people can ask for handouts all day long, I don’t have to give them shit, just like she has a choice. I don’t even have to acknowledge that they are speaking to me, if they are acting crazy or rude or creepy or whatever, and she has that same option. In fact, as you yourself prove, there are always white knights around more than eager to jump to the rescue of the damsel in distress-even when she has proven that she can speak for herself.

            Seriously. homes.

          • In fact, as you yourself prove, there are always white knights around more than eager to jump to the rescue of the damsel in distress-even when she has proven that she can speak for herself.

            On the point that n0b0d1 can speak for herself, we agree, and for that reason, I seriously considered not jumping in.

            And cram the armchair psychoanalysis. I posted what I posted as an “ally” and someone who may also be potentially culturally recognized as a “beautiful person.”

            However, if your comments here are a fair and faithful representation of what you actually believe, I would seek immediate professional or spiritual guidance.

            One final note. I don’t think I’ve ever definitively identified my gender since I’ve started posting. Perhaps I’ve been careless with a pronoun or stylistic habit here or there, but unless you’ve been stalking me following me on disqus, twitter, and tumblr, you have no reason to believe I am male, other than your clearly problematic sexism.

            this suspicion of “beautiful people” starts to look awfully like the standards used for racial or gender prejudices and bigotry.

            I think our positions are well defined and we don’t need to engage further. I’ve said my piece. Reply as you see fit, this is the last reply you’ll see from me to you on this topic.

          • Rhoid Rager | Apr 8, 2014 at 9:06 am |

            This is worth delving into deeper than a ‘i disagree but I can’t say why’ comment. if he’s worth schooling, school him, if he’s not, then don’t inject a half-hearted-opinion.

          • Rhoid Rager | Apr 8, 2014 at 9:35 am |

            I retract all I’ve written here. This thread is worthless to growth as a human being. I hope that no one replies nor acknowledges this post nor any others: it only encourages such divisionary stupidity. There’s no other way but to work it out yourself.

          • i acknowledge your anti-acknowledgement

          • “Working it out for yourself” is a notion invented and taught to you by others.

          • Rhoid Rager | Apr 8, 2014 at 5:44 pm |

            I was just talking to myself, Andrew.

          • If “all” is truly “one”, we kind of are working it out by ourselves. I’m sorry you had such an up and down time with this one. This is not easy shit we’re dealing with…

            I think you’re right in your observation that there is a wound (or something) in the disinfo community, and you’re in a far better place to gage that than I (though I have lurked quietly for years…). I don’t know that this particular topic is so much the wound as it is a particularly nasty symptom of a larger ill.

            For what it’s worth, I can at least put myself in some of the other perspectives here, even if I vehemently disagree. I don’t claim to “understand why people are the way they are”, but I can “thin slice” a bit thanks to my near-crippling empathy with every stupid little thing in this thing we can life. I don’t need a lot to be able to go quietly off into my corner, but if I don’t see it, shit I got things to work out too…

            I’ve certainly gone drive-by on people when they get are trying to be genuine, so I obviously expect to be on the receiving end of that. Maybe we’re all just trying to outdo each other in “troll spectacle”, and it’s feeding back in a bad way. Fuck if I know. I just spent the day helping vaguely racist and xenophoic old people buy shit manufactured in China and designed to die in a year (or less). There is only the “now” and all that jazz, but I claim no buddhahood, nor do I expect things would be much different if I did somehow achieve some “higher mystical state. So, I want to get my kicks like anyone. It’s also why I opened a twitter and tumblr, so I could bleed off some of the excess vitriol elsewhere.

            No glass house here, I live in a house of mirrors. Sometimes I get scared and throw a stone.

          • Rhoid Rager | Apr 9, 2014 at 8:00 am |

            Yes, you’re right. We all vent. This thread is extreme, however. It’s not what I’m used to on here. There are points to be taken from all perspectives voiced here, and they ought to be taken very seriously. But, it just seems like the vitriol and outrage and disgust is played out above and beyond what is necessary to exchange opinions. Misogyny (i don’t really like that term, because i don’t think men actually hate women, as much as they hate themselves for the role they feel forced into) appears rife on here, but the division of sexes seems to be the final reference point for many on here. What I mean by that is that Disinfo constantly barrages us with ontologically unsettling stories–our social systems are wildly corrupt, justice is far from our reach, our society is literally insane to the point that open-mindedness and tolerance of others is regarded as a sin against the collective. The information presented on this Web site upends our values, assails our preconceptions about everything that may have been dear to us and erodes the sanctity of all forms of knowledge. The very slogan ‘Everything you know is wrong’ is a trauma to the psyche. The commentors and readers are inundated with this deconstructing process every time they log on, and I think it has taken its toll on some of us. There are few epistemological handholds left but the frail gender roles we have taken for ourselves. This troubled approach to dealing with our sexuality is certainly something that needs to be made more explicit on here.
            This is the way I see this community, and I think hunkering down in our gender corners and lobbing handgrenade comments is the last strategy to dealing with the existential angst we all seem to suffer from. Let these psychological weaknesses play out, if need be, but don’t take it seriously and, for fuck’s sake, don’t think it actually represents who or what we are.

          • Rhoid Rager | Apr 9, 2014 at 8:01 am |

            yes, i did appear to contradict myself–take the points seriously, but don’t take them seriously. oh fuck it, I just plowed up a field all day and I’m tired.

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 9, 2014 at 9:06 am |

            Are you familiar with control dramas? They’re little games we play to convince others, so that we get our way. Another unscientific term is psychic-vampirism. I think it’s pertinent to this event. Also, please don’t drunk post. Don’t drink when you’re angry or upset, please. 🙂

            You are lucky. You have a family, and a farm. It’s a blessing to have so much to live for.

          • Rhoid Rager | Apr 9, 2014 at 10:13 am |

            I am familiar with both those terms.

            I’ll drink when I want and I’ll post when I wish. Don’t patronize me with the rest.

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 9, 2014 at 11:12 am |

            Considering where these events have derived, I understand why you would choose to perceive my intentions as such.

            I do hope things improve for you. The way you present yourself here suggests you are a decent person.

            I’ll mind my own business next time.

          • But who is playing a game? Would you mind explaining in more detail? You were insightful about guilt having something to do with it, if I umderatood that comment correctly, so I’d be curious about your POV…

          • Calypso_1 | Apr 9, 2014 at 3:32 pm |

            some would have us believe the raison d’etre for a psychopath are such control dramas.

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 9, 2014 at 6:05 pm |

            I am no expert on psychopaths, but I have a feeling that I’ve lived amongst one than one. I think the control dramas are one of the ways they protect themselves.They may feel any other way is too ineffective, or it may make them too vulnerable. They likely prefer others to be vulnerable.

          • Rhoid Rager | Apr 8, 2014 at 8:58 am |

            I think it’s really important that this wound is opened up as wide as possible. Perhaps it’s a bit off or sadistic of me to think so, but I think the disinfo community needs to work this shit out.

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 8, 2014 at 4:19 am |

            Dude… do not fret.

            Accept my apology and gifts. My favorite Bourbon and cigar.

          • InfvoCuernos | Apr 8, 2014 at 4:25 am |

            I’ll take it!

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 8, 2014 at 4:32 am |

            Psychopaths can be very charming, and oportunistic. Drink up, smoke up. No need to let it go to waste. Here’s a couple of tumblers.


            I’ve been watching way too much Hannibal . lol

          • Exactly my point: you are completely unwilling or incapable of putting yourself in my shoes.

            Disturbing how gleeful you are over the prospect of a woman mutilating herself to better suit your desires. Should I also get a lip plate? Or maybe I should stretch out my neck. I would stick with the good ole’ western standard, but implants would make my commutes more challenging, rather than less.I suppose that’s what I deserve for leaving home without my burqa!

      • “How To Spot A Psychopath”

        Found one!

      • Luci Bloom | Apr 9, 2014 at 8:58 am |

        I don’t care if you trust me or not, or if you bleed piss. I’m stating fact. Not all good looking people are psychopaths. I’m sorry that you’ve had so many women treat you like shit…really. Guess what though, we’ve all had people treat us like shit.

        • InfvoCuernos | Apr 9, 2014 at 1:28 pm |

          These are words of wisdom. I think I will retire from this thread on this note.

    • You upvote your own comments?

      • Luci Bloom | Apr 9, 2014 at 8:56 am |

        Apparently. I honestly have no recollection of doing it though. Why? Does that bother you? Is that all you have to contribute to the conversation here?

      • Felix Ray | Apr 11, 2014 at 12:35 pm |

        I upvote my own comments. If I wasn’t supposed to do it, I wouldn’t be able to. And I honestly like my own comments, so why not?

        • I can grok that rationale, and have used such reasoning in other times and places.

          I only pointed it out because it is not a behaviour that I have typically observed in the comments section at Disinfo before. Obviously, I can’t read everything, or check everyone’s upvotes.

          However given additional consideration of the matter, in the context of the present article and all the ensuing discussion that has taken place here, wouldn’t upvoting your own comment be considered a little psycopathic?

          Luci said it was their cat; I’m inclined to leave it at that.

  9. Jason Potvin | Apr 7, 2014 at 3:14 pm |

    All articles about such subjects as these are very biased to say the least because we can look through the lens of anything and say that anything is this way. I think that this is such a complex subject that it is not easy to say that A=B and B=C. These things are ‘complexes’ in and of themselves. So to try to define something such as this in a very streamlined way of thinking is to miss the mark. Who is to say that our very rigid systems in place that people are supposed to mold and fit into is not really the fundamental reason for why psychopaths are made. I don’t believe that people who fall under this category are born. People are pushed in this direction; sometimes it is the most popular person that falls in this category because they conformed so much they lost their own sense of self and meaning in life; the wolf of wall street is a great example of this in cinema or maybe they are so far outside the paradigm of good and evil that they become people like the man in the film Man Bites Dog. I don’t think this is something that can be easily spotted or easily defined because you have to ask yourself two important questions when deciphering this: the first being who am I? the second being (if I know who I am) then who is the other? How does one define how someone else is and on what grounds can one person’s perception of another be trusted? I equate this problem to the temperature of water. Everyone is going to have a different understanding of what is hot and what is cold. So who decides based on this fundamental quality of life, who is who and what is what?

    • Thesis:
      Temperature of water is relative

      1) Place frog in boiling water; observe
      2) Place frog in “appropriate temperature” water; slowly raise to boiling; observe
      3) Place hand into boiling water; observe
      4) Have frog legs for next meal
      5) Proft?

      • Jason Potvin | Apr 7, 2014 at 4:00 pm |

        Temperature of water being relative is one of infinite ways of looking at it. Of course it is relative because everything is connected so it will relate when we speak about the object itself being water and then the application of temperature which varies and changes as the higher the heat goes. So we know water boils at a certain temperature and cooks things at said temperature but what I am proposing is the relative to cooking dinner. It is more of looking at the spectrum of human thinking, human understanding, human projection, human receptivity. The balance between perception, environment. Awareness and Thinking. When I look at colors on a spectrum we can delineate them to the most basic fundamental colors for easy digestion. Red is Red. Blue is Blue. In between all these colors are other colors.

      • Calypso_1 | Apr 7, 2014 at 4:37 pm |

        That experiment, as held in modern parlance, is anecdotal and largely mythical.

    • Woobniggurath | Apr 7, 2014 at 11:07 pm |

      The only thing the article really says is that some psychiatrists and neuroscientists are working on defining the nature of psycopathy, particularly with reference to a social context.

      The article makes prominent mention of an evaluative tool, the PCL-R. This tool becomes the dot of black in the sea of grey, by arbitrary placement. It can function as a landmark, or scale, by which we find how various individuals compare to others along the measured axis, in this case psychopathy. Thereby we start to find at what value, or measurement, along this scale the majority of people lie.

      Given that there is a clear danger associated with the psycopathic, and that that danger can be extraordinary if the psychopathic person is in a position of power, I think this starts to look like a useful test.

      At one point the author says something with the gist of, ” We can’t really go around pointing out extremely successful people who have a highly significant deviation from the norm and stating that they are potentially dangerous psychopaths.” But that is exactly the best use this test could have.

      At least they should use it in the evaluation of cops.

  10. ‘We presume that we see the world in roughly the same way, that we all know certain basic facts,We presume that we see the world in roughly the same way, that we all know certain basic facts,…’

    What, like 9/11 being an inside job?
    I wish.

  11. ‘These people lack remorse and empathy and feel emotion only shallowly. In extreme cases, they might not care whether you live or die. These people are called psychopaths.’

    Or “normal people”, by 21st century standards.
    I mean that seriously. Nihilism has almost completely taken over at least, the contemporary West.

  12. tardstrength | Apr 7, 2014 at 9:23 pm |

    Where did I leave that copy of Dianetics? L Ron Hubbard can fix this crap!

  13. Echar Lailoken | Apr 7, 2014 at 10:40 pm |

    Are you too good for the show?

    The world needs more hugs. Hug someone.

    • I watched the whole movie on the strength of that rant the first time I saw it.

      …I really wish it had all been that awesome… still, I’ll give it a weak 3***

      • Echar Lailoken | Apr 8, 2014 at 2:52 am |

        No way… That movie is the cat’s ass!

        • Is that good or bad? I can’t tell…

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 8, 2014 at 3:59 am |

            The bees knees, the dogs bollocks! Come on…

            I admit, it’s not for everyone. I am big fan of Bobcat Goldthwaite.

          • I have seen cat’s asses that would give you pause to automatically assume that it is a positive affirmation…

            I found the tween character to be the weak link, and I don’t know what else I would have expected the story to build up to, but… meh.

            Kind of reminded me of Black Dynamite on the story front. I don’t know if I’d call it laziness exactly…

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 8, 2014 at 4:24 am |

            This black dynamite? It sounds awful in the best possible way.


          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 8, 2014 at 4:47 am |

            Reply to your newest comment. I wonder if spook is supposed to have a double meaning? It’s an outdated racial slur.

          • Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to have that double meaning.

            It’s honestly kind of a miracle the film was made, let alone distributed, however briefly, back in the day. Revolutionary filmmaking in every sense. It’s also based on a novel which I have not yet had the pleasure of tracking down a copy to read.

            I had to buy a dvd copy to see it, but it was worth it. Now, looks like the full thing is available on YouTube. Eh, don’t know if you can find the mini-doc extra and/or interview with Sam Greenlee on youtube though…but you can read the wiki entry and get a taste.

            Anyways, highest possible recommendation here. If I had to draw a parallel…Fight Club, perhaps? This is definitely NOT a Hollywood film tho.

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 8, 2014 at 5:09 am |

            I’ll keep it in mind. I’ve not watched many Blackspoitation films. This is sure to be a new experience.

          • Random flashback moment:

            I seem to remember all the cool kids drawing cat asses one year in parochial school. Obviously, I was not cool then or now.

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 8, 2014 at 4:35 am |

            A flashback for me. My group of friends were really weird. We thought we were nerds. Later to find out there were people that thought we were the cool kids. Just do what the Fonz would do. Be confident. If all else fails, give a thumbs up and say heeeeey! At least they’ll think you are weird, and leave you alone.

          • 🙂

            It took me a long time to learn that lesson. Still struggle with it from time to time…

            On the plus side, my hermetic years have given me a pretty good foundation for nosce te ipsum. Also, somehow randomly have attained badass status to many in meatspace. I blame the ridiculous rents for driving out all the true badasses in the region.

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 8, 2014 at 5:07 am |

            This is what I have found out. No matter a person’s appearance, worth, or status… We all need love and hugs. A deviation or unhealthy abundance of can cause/exacerbate a deviation in character.

            Full circle, back to my original comment.

            I’ve always apreciated the people with lots of character, over those who choose to appear squeaky clean. It makes me wonder what they are hiding. As for street cred, I’ve got some I suppose. It helps that I am big dude.

            Somewhat pensive of me, after reading through this. I can’t help but think how odd we humans are. Men thinking women are things, and women thinking men are wicked. Some people taking advantage, and some giving.

            Perhaps it’s the cough medicine talking as well as the Chinese Traditional Erhu Music affecting my behavior. I should probably sleep. Keep on being badass!

          • I thought it was the duck’s nuts. 🙂

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 9, 2014 at 10:14 pm |

            That is a new one to add. It makes me think of the pope’s nose.


            basically a turkey’s ass, but it’s also delicious.


  14. We’re trained to equate beauty with goodness by our entire culture.

    This is why I, as an individual, tend to take more interest in the corrupt systems rather than the corrupt people the system produces. That is in no way meant to minimize personal responsibility. However, present evidence leads me to believe that structural inertia largely outweighs & outmuscles a good deal of personal responsibility.

    Appearance and Behavior are the easiest methods by which to cast judgement, but time and again more rigorous scientific methods produce more accurate insights.

    But, I get it. Much like a lot of vitriol directed at the wealthy and famous is based on simple jealousy / envy, so is the case with physical beauty. Whereas wealth and fame are artificial constructs, the biological traits that fulfill cultural standards of beauty are usually obtained via natural methods. Perhaps many take advantage of the privilege in terrible ways, but again, allowances should be made for structural inertia.

    Otherwise, this suspicion of “beautiful people” starts to look awfully like the standards used for racial or gender prejudices and bigotry.

  15. ‘Ugliness is truth, truth ugliness,—that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’

  16. Oginikwe | Apr 8, 2014 at 3:01 pm |

    Hare’s book is worth reading: “Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us.” So is Martha Stout’s “The Sociopath Next Door.”
    I found “Snakes in Suits” to be poorly written.

    • Woobniggurath | Apr 9, 2014 at 5:55 pm |

      “I’ve had it with these motherfucking snakes in their motherfucking suits!”

  17. Yes, and I don’t believe the average “beautiful person” is capable of that kind of self reflection given that they are saturated with an environment that praises their most superficial aspects and continuously builds them up that way. From birth. For something that as we currently understand the universe, was not their choice. Talk about crushing systemic forces. I guess because there’s a supposed “upside” to playing god to all peoples, we should just accept the “hard knocks”.

    The types of rationalizations I’m seeing look little different to those that are purely racist and/or sexist. Is this really that nuanced that it’s okay to blanket discriminate based on some physical characteristics?

    As for “Conventional Beauty”, dafuq is that? Yet another nebulous, non-existent label that can be tattooed on to an arm for processing. Why the fuck are beautiful people responsible for your inability to deal with the fucked up programming that all of us are dealing with??? And you clueless fucks wonder what provokes beautiful people to not want to have anything to do with any other human on the face of the earth. We have enough issues, we don’t need yours heaped upon us as well.

    I guess all beautiful people are responsible for the White Beauty Standard™. Yep, we’re like the Jews. We run the world and we’re responsible for all evil. Not only are we responsible for fixing it, we also have to endure the punishment for having caused it. Such is the curse of being god’s chosen. Each of us now require our own independent country that displaces all other people previously living there for a radius of at least 100 miles. And ya’ll got to go live in blackout zones with no access to anything approaching modern technology and sanitation. Please understand, when we pre-emptively bomb you, it’s for “security” reasons. We have lots of “security” reasons, so…

    Drive-by commenting is working so well lately. Fucking hell. Now I’m embarrassed and ashamed. For all of us.

Comments are closed.