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  • Or does Suyin have sociopath traits?

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    • Um, no? Why do you say that? She definitely didn't seem like that to me.

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    • Iroh3 wrote:
      Um, no? Why do you say that? She definitely didn't seem like that to me.

      "Sociopath" is an essentially meaningless word anyway.  It used to refer to an actual mental disorder, but has been largely phased out among the psychiatric community (yes, the occasional professional who should know better will still use it; the same can be said of many an obsolete term). 

      Nowadays, it's at best a serial killer comparison, but more often just means "this person is pure evil, but somehow not to be truly held accountable for it." 

      Suyin does not display the symptoms of the actual disorder.  Comparing her to a serial killer is flat-out ridiculous.  And while there are big holes in her integrity at times, she is not evil and definitely to be held accountable for said big holes in her integrity.

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    • Deist Zealot wrote:
      Iroh3 wrote:
      Um, no? Why do you say that? She definitely didn't seem like that to me.
      "Sociopath" is an essentially meaningless word anyway.  It used to refer to an actual mental disorder, but has been largely phased out among the psychiatric community (yes, the occasional professional who should know better will still use it; the same can be said of many an obsolete term). 

      Nowadays, it's at best a serial killer comparison, but more often just means "this person is pure evil, but somehow not to be truly held accountable for it." 

      Suyin does not display the symptoms of the actual disorder.  Comparing her to a serial killer is flat-out ridiculous.  And while there are big holes in her integrity at times, she is not evil and definitely to be held accountable for said big holes in her integrity.

      Point taken.

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    • No on both counts.

      As for the terminology debate, "sociopath" & "psychopath" really haven't been phased out in the slightest. I suppose if you define only the professionals who don't use the terms as "the right ones," but y'know, confirmation bias.

      It's actually actively debated if they're in fact different things, though I don't think there's good evidence for that.

      I suppose laypeople might consider them to be terms for "pure evil serial killers," but they'd think the same of the term that actually appears in the DSM, antisocial PD, to begin with.

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    • Neo Bahamut wrote:
      No on both counts.

      As for the terminology debate, "sociopath" & "psychopath" really haven't been phased out in the slightest. I suppose if you define only the professionals who don't use the terms as "the right ones," but y'know, confirmation bias.

      It's actually actively debated if they're in fact different things, though I don't think there's good evidence for that.

      I suppose laypeople might consider them to be terms for "pure evil serial killers," but they'd think the same of the term that actually appears in the DSM, antisocial PD, to begin with.

      What I said was "professionals who should know better," not "the right ones."  (Couple of cases in point: an M.D. is to blame for those error-ridden charts claiming humans are herbivores, and a shrink made up the concept of "carnism."  Being a professional doesn't rule out "should know better," be that in terms of outright making shit up to suit one's ideology, or of just using obsolete terms that have pretty much just come to mean "mass murderer" to describe someone who's more likely just a heartless jerk.)

      And...Noah Fence, but I'm gonna take the word of psychology texts from within the last few years over yours on whether or not they're obsolete.  Whether or not laypeople misuse the name of the actual disorder in the DSM to mean what the obsolete terms have effectively come to mean...if anything, kind of reinforces why those terms have become obsolete.  They get applied to every serial killer and spree killer; and the implication does end up being that the person is somehow less accountable for their actions.  (See: the attempts to "diagnose" the likes of Rodger and Roof, even in the face of how clear it is that their primary motives were simply malice and self-entitlement.)

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    • Textbooks are written by professionals, so what you're doing is cherry picking the professionals that agree with you. Only not even that, because nobody seriously argues that sociopathy is "meaningless" or cannot even be uttered. The meaning is no mystery, it is a non-diagnostic word that refers to antisocial PD, you say as much yourself. As long as the user knows that, communicates that, & isn't trying to fill it out on a patient's paperwork, it makes no difference whatsoever other than that it apparently bothers you.

      Now, what you're doing, I think that does have a negative impact, because you are actively contributing to the very thing you're complaining about. You are misleading people as to what a professional actually means when they use the word "sociopath," & perpetuating a false narrative that it makes an assertion of "evil but not accountable." Even though psychology doesn't decide either of those subjects to begin with, it can only inform the debate on them. What uninformed laypeople may choose to do with that information isn't a sound argument for anything, other than that perhaps they shouldn't be deciding these issues to begin with.

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    • Neo Bahamut wrote:
      Textbooks are written by professionals, so what you're doing is cherry picking the professionals that agree with you.

      I'm not sure what you're getting at, considering that all I've said is that the terms are, from a diagnostic standpoint, obsolete. It's got nothing to do with whether or not anyone "agrees with" me.

      Only not even that, because nobody seriously argues that sociopathy is "meaningless" or cannot even be uttered. The meaning is no mystery, it is a non-diagnostic word that refers to antisocial PD, you say as much yourself. As long as the user knows that, communicates that, & isn't trying to fill it out on a patient's paperwork, it makes no difference whatsoever other than that it apparently bothers you.

      Except that it's more accurately described as a non-diagnostic word which—despite occasionally still being used as shorthand by professionals who know what the actual personality disorder is called and should therefore know better (or, to give the benefit of the doubt, may be trying to simplify their language for public consumption)—is largely used to mean "remorseless killer" in modern parlance, with no regard as to whether or not the actual disorder is in play. Whether or not a certain percentage of professionals still occasionally use the terms as shorthand for the actual disorder (and the same can be said of many equally obsolete terms), language drift has occurred.

      And I never said "cannot even be uttered;"  I said "obsolete."  (I mean, I personally don't use either term.  But that's because, while I have studied psych to some degree, I neither armchair-diagnose even with the accepted terminology, nor particularly need academic-speak in order to call either a murderer or a selfish asshole by their right name.)  And while I will also cop to having said "meaningless," that's because the definition has apparently been sufficiently diluted that someone can ask in all sincerity if it applies to Suyin Beifong.

      Now, what you're doing, I think that does have a negative impact, because you are actively contributing to the very thing you're complaining about. You are misleading people as to what a professional actually means when they use the word "sociopath," & perpetuating a false narrative that it makes an assertion of "evil but not accountable." Even though psychology doesn't decide either of those subjects to begin with, it can only inform the debate on them. What uninformed laypeople may choose to do with that information isn't a sound argument for anything, other than that perhaps they shouldn't be deciding these issues to begin with.

      Except I didn't say anything about "what a professional actually means" when they use the obsolete terms. What I said was that the terms in question are obsolete; if a professional is discussing the actual disorder, they're probably more likely to use its actual name unless they're simplifying things for the mainstream. (In which case: if they fail to explain as much beforehand, they've defeated the purpose of simplifying things to begin with.)

      Also: since when does voicing one's observation that a narrative (namely, that if there is a real disorder characterized by disregard for others, that must explain remorseless mass murderers as a whole; therefore, obsolete terms for said disorder are acceptable synonyms for "mass murderer") does, in fact, exist (and not among professionals, but in common parlance) count as "perpetuating" it—much less as "misleading" people?  I didn't create that narrative; I do not endorse it; I have simply seen in in action and pointed out that it's there.  (I mean...unless what you're calling a "false narrative" is that—regardless of their continued occasional use as shorthand, even by people who should know better—the obsolescence of said specific obsolete terms for said disorder has already been reinforced by language drift even this relatively soon after they've been superseded.  (Hell, it was probably being diluted before it was superseded.)  But if you take a look at the narrative surrounding any shooting spree—I direct you towards the Charleston church shooting—you'll be rather quickly disillusioned on that front.)

      And, to be quite honest?  In the face of the "perpetuating a false narrative" and "misleading people" accusations...you're kinda coming off a bit defensive over the validity of the word.

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    • I'm not sure what you're getting at, considering that all I've said is that the terms are, from a diagnostic standpoint, obsolete.

      That's reeeeeally not the impression I get, considering whenever anyone mentions it you speak at great length about how it's meaningless, people should know better, etcetera, & then when I say, "Actually, it's still used quite prolifically, & the categories of personality disorders are heavily debated," that gets sort of awkwardly shoved aside...but okay, I guess?

      Except that it's more accurately described as a non-diagnostic word which—despite occasionally still being used as shorthand by professionals who know what the actual personality disorder is called and should therefore know better (or, to give the benefit of the doubt, may be trying to simplify their language for public consumption)—is largely used to mean "remorseless killer" in modern parlance, with no regard as to whether or not the actual disorder is in play.

      So? You could call them Smurfs, people would still try to armchair diagnose killers as Smurfs. Hell, Smurfing is hardly the only thing people try to armchair diagnose.

      Also, it might have something to do with "person with antisocial personality disorder" being a really awkward term, roughly on the level with saying "Canus lupus familiaris" every time you want to talk about dogs.

      Whether or not a certain percentage of professionals still occasionally use the terms as shorthand for the actual disorder (and the same can be said of many equally obsolete terms), language drift has occurred.

      Okay?

      And I never said "cannot even be uttered;" I said "obsolete." (I mean, I personally don't use either term. But that's because, while I have studied psych to some degree, I neither armchair-diagnose even with the accepted terminology, nor particularly need academic-speak in order to call either a murderer or a selfish asshole by their right name.)

      I agree that the former is a generally good rule, though I have no real problem with conjecture within certain limits, particularly when it comes to fictional characters. The latter would be kind of odd, since a selfish, murdering asshole is not de facto a psychopath, nor are psychopaths de facto murderers.

      And while I will also cop to having said "meaningless," that's because the definition has apparently drifted far enough that someone can ask in all sincerity if it applies to Suyin Beifong.

      Anyone someone doesn't like is a psycho, that's nothing new. If my computer weren't busy committing ritual suicide at the time of the original posting, I would have been quick to levy some exasperated response about how psychopaths--as they should be called, & anyone who says otherwise can 1v1 me at the flag pole during recess--is most properly understood as someone who is physiologically incapable of feeling empathy & unless one can actually run a genetic test this is quite difficult to determine & involves a fair degree of guesswork & either way is not just someone the person disapproves of & yada yada yada.

      Also: since when does voicing one's observation that a narrative (namely, that if there is a real disorder characterized by disregard for others, that must explain remorseless mass murderers as a whole; therefore, obsolete terms for said disorder are acceptable synonyms for "mass murderer") does, in fact, exist (and not among professionals, but in common parlance) count as "perpetuating" it—much less as "misleading" people?

      When it comes in the form of uncritically posing what the term "has come to mean" as if layspeak actually determined that (a theory is still not a guess), & tutting about "professionals who should know better" as if they're somehow related to the spread of misinformation on the subject.

      And, to be quite honest? In the face of the "perpetuating a false narrative" and "misleading people" accusations...you're kinda coming off a bit defensive over the validity of the word.

      Well, in the broadest sense, I am defending a term against criticisms I see as at best overstated, so I guess, technically. I could also point out that I've made it clear I have my own issues with it, & I simply don't think it's a good idea to impose those without any other commentary.

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    • Neo Bahamut wrote:
      That's reeeeeally not the impression I get, considering whenever anyone mentions it you speak at great length about how it's meaningless, people should know better, etcetera, & then when I say, "Actually, it's still used quite prolifically, & the categories of personality disorders are heavily debated," that gets sort of awkwardly shoved aside...but okay, I guess?

      I'm sure it's been used in more threads than the two into which I've stepped into to say that it's essentially a bullshit term. And I seem to recall you also stepping into the other one to try to argue, at greater length, that it wasn't...so.

      So? You could call them Smurfs, people would still try to armchair diagnose killers as Smurfs. Hell, Smurfing is hardly the only thing people try to armchair diagnose.

      Unless we're talking about people not only armchair-diagnosing it, but using it as a synonym for something separate from the actual disorder (and, all too often, in a way that at least somewhat deflects accountability), that's not quite the same.

      Also, it might have something to do with "person with antisocial personality disorder" being a really awkward term, roughly on the level with saying "Canus lupus familiaris" every time you want to talk about dogs.

      Okay, but any professional worthy of the title who's using the term is likely to explain early on that the word is being used as shorthand—especially if the document is meant for mainstream consumption. (And will probably point out that it is obsolete, in the bargain.)

      Okay?

      The obsolete/shorthand terms have been diluted. (Getting to that.)

      I agree that the former is a generally good rule, though I have no real problem with conjecture within certain limits, particularly when it comes to fictional characters. The latter would be kind of odd, since a selfish, murdering asshole is not de facto a psychopath, nor are psychopaths de facto murderers.

      The thing is, the words "psychopath" and "sociopath" have become so diluted by common parlance that if they haven't already become more synonymous with "remorseless murderer" or at least "inherently evil" than with antisocial personality disorder, they're on the verge of it. (Case in point: I recently saw a shrink, who had contributed to the DSM, have to go on social media and tell people to stop armchair-diagnosing The Orange One with ASPD and malignant narcisssism and so on. The reason behind this was essentially "he's not mentally ill; he's just f*cking evil.")

      Anyone someone doesn't like is a psycho, that's nothing new. If my computer weren't busy committing ritual suicide at the time of the original posting, I would have been quick to levy some exasperated response about how psychopaths--as they should be called, & anyone who says otherwise can 1v1 me at the flag pole during recess--is most properly understood as someone who is physiologically incapable of feeling empathy & unless one can actually run a genetic test this is quite difficult to determine & involves a fair degree of guesswork & either way is not just someone the person disapproves of & yada yada yada.

      And you can add to that how the entire idea of what objectively constitutes "empathy" is poorly defined (and is often considered mutually exclusive with traits such as social awkwardness), so...

      ETA:  This may be a digression, but I'd argue that someone like Gary Yourofsky isn't capable of genuine empathy.  He wishes violence on people and brags about how little of a damn he gives for human tragedies as long as any of the victims thereof aren't doing what he wants, even as he hypocritically bleats about his "compassion" and "altruism."  Which has nothing to do with psychology, and everything to do with fanaticism and a completely displaced and abstracted Dunbar number.  (Seriously: I compared this dude to Zaheer, then retracted it because there are multiple levels on which Zaheer doesn't deserve that.)

      When it comes in the form of uncritically posing what the term "has come to mean" as if layspeak actually determined that (a theory is still not a guess), & tutting about "professionals who should know better" as if they're somehow related to the spread of misinformation on the subject.

      If a professional is using an obsolete term from their own field for any reason except simplifiying their language for mainstream consumption? Or if they are ostensibly using it to simplify their language, but aren't clarifying as much? They...kind of are related to the spread of misinformation—as in, passively contributing. Which is better than actively contributing (as per a layperson applying it to someone who, by their own admission, acted out of garden-variety malice and self-entitlement), mind you; but still pretty irresponsible.

      Well, in the broadest sense, I am defending a term against criticisms I see as at best overstated, so I guess, technically. I could also point out that I've made it clear I have my own issues with it, & I simply don't think it's a good idea to impose those without any other commentary.

      Fair enough. It's still an essentially useless term unless one is simplifying discussion of the actual disorder so that a layperson will get it.

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    • I'm sure it's been used in more threads than the two into which I've stepped into to say that it's essentially a bullshit term. And I seem to recall you also stepping into the other one to try to argue, at greater length, that it wasn't...so.

      But it's entirely my MO to object to things I find erroneous, even if I have to do it over & over again.

      I don't remember shit past last Thursday, but I have to imagine that I would go into a spiel about what it really means to have psychopathy & so on & so forth even if I agreed with the general premise that a certain character--usually Azula--was one.

      Unless we're talking about people not only armchair-diagnosing it, but using it as a synonym for something separate from the actual disorder (and, all too often, in a way that at least somewhat deflects accountability), that's not quite the same.

      Getting shit wrong is a big part of armchair diagnosis, & I have to wonder where you're seeing all of these people who don't think psychopaths should be held accountable. I've read an awful lot of "there's no point in sympathizing with these people, they belong locked away from normal people."

      Well, I suppose that's not entirely true, there have been a few places where I've seen people try to pull ridiculous determinism arguments, ignoring the fact that we have no idea if determinism is true & if it is then everything is meaningless anyway, because by definition your arguments & whether or not I'll accept them are all set in stone. Like I saw a Bite Sized Psych video that tried to do that the other night. And one that used a similar biological determinism argument for obesity. I'm beginning to think that Bite Sized Psych is a bunch of bullshit.

      Skipping over this next part because it'll come up later.

      The thing is, the words "psychopath" and "sociopath" have become so diluted by common parlance that if they haven't already become more synonymous with "remorseless murderer" or at least "inherently evil" than with antisocial personality disorder, they're on the verge of it.

      It's not exactly easy to argue against, in part because I can't actually say that psychopaths aren't evil. That depends on how the person defines "evil." I tend to think actions are more important, so if someone lives a decent life without really giving a shit about those around him, I'm hard-pressed to call them "evil."

      But I can definitely say that murder isn't necessary. Even if you wouldn't regret killing someone, it doesn't exactly take a rocket scientist to figure out that someone might make you regret it. Also, something, kindling hypothesis, something something.

      (Case in point: I recently saw a shrink, who had contributed to the DSM, have to go on social media and tell people to stop armchair-diagnosing The Orange One with ASPD and malignant narcisssism and so on. The reason behind this was essentially "he's not mentally ill; he's just f*cking evil.")

      If it's the same as the article I saw, I'm not very impressed with it. Yes, yes, I know I'm inviting the specter of Dunning-Kruger to shroud my post, but hear me out: The notion in what I read essentially boiled down to that Donald Trump can't be mentally ill because he has lots of money & he gets to live in the white house, so therefore he can't have reduced functioning either personally or interpersonally.

      But, uh, A, that tells us nothing about Trump's sense of himself, & B, I can think of a lot of things that contradict the notion that Trump's personal & interpersonal life don't suffer for his shitty behavior. Plus, like, do rich people not have illnesses because they're so successful that they're immune, or if you write really good poetry when you're sad & you're cranking out masterpieces all the time, making cash hand over fist, are you not depressed because technically it's helping you in 1 very obvious area of your life?

      I believe he mentioned the need to assess individuals in person, with a great deal of information from various sources, in order to make a proper diagnosis. Which is fair...except the part where he's saying he can somehow rule out a diagnosis (therefore implying a test) without a single personal consultation with Trump, no writings, only whatever information he can glean from the media. Now, I may have taken exactly 1 abnormal psych course, but I think even that was enough to know this makes no sense.

      Now, I have no idea if Trump is mentally ill. He's obviously a louse, but it's not like an either or thing. Certainly he shouldn't be assumed to be crazy just because we have a hard time guessing his motives & he's so distinctly unpleasant. One semester of abnormal psychology was also enough to absorb the lesson that not all disagreeable thoughts or behaviors constitute "insanity." To be shitty is human.

      And you can add to that how the entire idea of what objectively constitutes "empathy" is poorly defined (and is often considered mutually exclusive with traits such as social awkwardness), so...

      Say you see someone crying & you start crying & if we looked inside your heads, similar "sad receptors" would be active in both of you.

      That.

      No, I have no idea to what extent psychopathy scales can accurately assess that without an actual physical test.

      ETA: This may be a digression, but I'd argue that someone like Gary Yourofsky isn't capable of genuine empathy.

      I don't know who that is. Skimming his Wikipedia article, he mostly seems to just spew outrageous bile. I guess it's not impossible that he may be a high-functioning psychopath, but it's also pretty damn easy to ignore one's conscience.

      If a professional is using an obsolete term from their own field for any reason except simplifiying their language for mainstream consumption? Or if they are ostensibly using it to simplify their language, but aren't clarifying as much? They...kind of are related to the spread of misinformation—as in, passively contributing. Which is better than actively contributing (as per a layperson applying it to someone who, by their own admission, acted out of garden-variety malice and self-entitlement), mind you; but still pretty irresponsible.

      I don't really get this, because malice & self-entitlement aren't exactly unheard of in psychopaths? Anyway, I don't think I've seen most scientists discuss the terms without giving the history. I think that one guy whose name I forget didn't, but he's actually a neurobiologist. Which doesn't make it okay, but frankly makes it kind of expected. In my experience, social & physical sciences don't necessarily play nice together.

      Fair enough. It's still an essentially useless term unless one is simplifying discussion of the actual disorder so that a layperson will get it.

      The reason I side most with psychopathy is that I am adamant that the data supports that an individual who truly has antisocial PD or dissocial PD or sociopathic PD or whatever name we want to ascribe the construct has it rooted in genetic & neurological underpinnings.

      Ergo, a psychopath is not merely someone who has developed a certain personality, nor defined by specific actions, it is a state of being.

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    • ]But it's entirely my MO to object to things I find erroneous, even if I have to do it over & over again.

      Okay, but this isn't an "error" on my part; it's just you being of the opinion that words which are not merely obsolete, but have been diluted to near-uselessness, have more value or validity than I think they do.

      Getting shit wrong is a big part of armchair diagnosis, & I have to wonder where you're seeing all of these people who don't think psychopaths should be held accountable. I've read an awful lot of "there's no point in sympathizing with these people, they belong locked away from normal people."

      Ever heard the fable of the frog and the scorpion? The scorpion stings and paralyzes the frog in the middle of the river, drowning them both; the moral is that the scorpion is only acting according to its nature. It's equally natural to view that scorpion as evil to the point of self-destructiveness; still, there's a lack of accountability inherent in the story. If someone has committed an atrocity and displays a complete lack of remorse, debating whether or not their actions can be attributed to a psychological condition (which, it should be noted, can influence how they're punished for the crime) adds up to the same basic principle.

      Look at it this way: if the Charleston church shooter had been adjudged a scorpion whose nature it is to sting rather than just a hateful, rotten person? He probably wouldn't be on death row right now. (Ironically, his being such a hateful, rotten person played into that; he refused psychological evaluation because he associated it with one of the targets of his bigotry.) There's...a lot of infantilization and perceived lack of agency tied up in mental illness stigma as a whole.

      It's not exactly easy to argue against, in part because I can't actually say that psychopaths aren't evil. That depends on how the person defines "evil." I tend to think actions are more important, so if someone lives a decent life without really giving a shit about those around him, I'm hard-pressed to call them "evil."

      I sure as hell would never entirely trust someone whom I knew didn't give an honest damn about anyone else...in the sense that I'd suspect an ulterior motive if they were trying to front like they did. But I wouldn't call them "evil" unless they gave me reason to do so; I'd just always be wondering what their angle was.

      But I can definitely say that murder isn't necessary. Even if you wouldn't regret killing someone, it doesn't exactly take a rocket scientist to figure out that someone might make you regret it. Also, something, kindling hypothesis, something something.

      Don't get me wrong; there are people whom I think the world would be better without (the aforementioned church shooter, for one; and, on a more personal note, a violent, manipulative creep with whom my husband made the mistake of rooming back in the day). But if I did hypothetically end up removing any of them from the picture, it'd be because my hand was forced (such as, for example, if hubby's ex-roommate were to get out of prison and try to make good on his death threats).

      If it's the same as the article I saw, I'm not very impressed with it. Yes, yes, I know I'm inviting the specter of Dunning-Kruger to shroud my post, but hear me out: The notion in what I read essentially boiled down to that Donald Trump can't be mentally ill because he has lots of money & he gets to live in the white house, so therefore he can't have reduced functioning either personally or interpersonally.

      But, uh, A, that tells us nothing about Trump's sense of himself, & B, I can think of a lot of things that contradict the notion that Trump's personal & interpersonal life don't suffer for his shitty behavior. Plus, like, do rich people not have illnesses because they're so successful that they're immune, or if you write really good poetry when you're sad & you're cranking out masterpieces all the time, making cash hand over fist, are you not depressed because technically it's helping you in 1 very obvious area of your life?

      I believe he mentioned the need to assess individuals in person, with a great deal of information from various sources, in order to make a proper diagnosis. Which is fair...except the part where he's saying he can somehow rule out a diagnosis (therefore implying a test) without a single personal consultation with Trump, no writings, only whatever information he can glean from the media. Now, I may have taken exactly 1 abnormal psych course, but I think even that was enough to know this makes no sense.

      Now, I have no idea if Trump is mentally ill. He's obviously a louse, but it's not like an either or thing. Certainly he shouldn't be assumed to be crazy just because we have a hard time guessing his motives & he's so distinctly unpleasant. One semester of abnormal psychology was also enough to absorb the lesson that not all disagreeable thoughts or behaviors constitute "insanity." To be shitty is human.

      I don't think this was the same article. This was by one Allen Frances, M.D.; the main argument was that pathologizing him detracted from properly criticizing him. (He also brought up the fact that human shittiness can't and should not be equated with mental illness, and said that it wasn't a good idea for the general public to be armchair-diagnosing people, especially from a distance.)

      Even if I weren't in agreement with Dr. Frances on the subject of armchair diagnosis, I think "f*cking evil" summarizes the orange thing well enough. Whether or not a lifetime of indulgence and no accountability molded him, and to what degree, is probably a good question; it remains that the result thereof is f*cking evil. And it's the fact that he is f*cking evil, not the question of whether or not he's mentally ill, that's the issue.

      Say you see someone crying & you start crying & if we looked inside your heads, similar "sad receptors" would be active in both of you.

      That.

      No, I have no idea to what extent psychopathy scales can accurately assess that without an actual physical test.

      That's...a fairly crude example (not to mention notoriously easy to fake), and doesn't really cover things like how something as seemingly benign as social awkwardness can skew one's perceived "empathy" lower.

      I don't know who that is. Skimming his Wikipedia article, he mostly seems to just spew outrageous bile. I guess it's not impossible that he may be a high-functioning psychopath, but it's also pretty damn easy to ignore one's conscience.

      He compared anyone who's not vegan to a child molester. Also, he...made what came off as a fairly graphic rape threat against anyone who wears fur.

      But again: I think that his being that awful is adequately explained by his being a fanatic with his Dunbar number displaced and abstracted.

      I don't really get this, because malice & self-entitlement aren't exactly unheard of in psychopaths? Anyway, I don't think I've seen most scientists discuss the terms without giving the history. I think that one guy whose name I forget didn't, but he's actually a neurobiologist. Which doesn't make it okay, but frankly makes it kind of expected. In my experience, social & physical sciences don't necessarily play nice together.

      Malice and entitlement aren't ruled out by any given psychological disorder, true. They also aren't exclusive to any given disorder. As you said above: not all human shittiness is "mental illness." Acknowledging as much requires that we accept that sometimes, malice and entitlement are the problems in and of themselves rather than just being its symptom.

      And if that neurobiologist is the guy you were talking about in the other thread: he mainly came off tryhard-edgy.  (And the other dude: a woman was convicted of murdering her probable abuser on grounds that added up to not acting enough like a victim; he was examining her like a lab specimen, then declaring her the one who's incapable of empathy.  Creepy.)

      The reason I side most with psychopathy is that I am adamant that the data supports that an individual who truly has antisocial PD or dissocial PD or sociopathic PD or whatever name we want to ascribe the construct has it rooted in genetic & neurological underpinnings.

      Ergo, a psychopath is not merely someone who has developed a certain personality, nor defined by specific actions, it is a state of being.

      Unless there's data to support an objective definition of empathy (which, as long as it remains as fiddly as it currently is—as evidenced by social awkwardness skewing it lower—there isn't and won't be)? Being that absolutely certain that there's a concrete definition (and cause) of a disorder defined by a lack of it roughly adds up to being absolutely certain that some people are scorpions whose essential nature is to sting, even if some such scorpions stay under their rocks and never sting anyone.

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    • Okay, but this isn't an "error" on my part; it's just you being of the opinion that words which are not merely obsolete, but have been diluted to near-uselessness, have more value or validity than I think they do.

      I'm unsure what you're arguing. You seemed to be criticizing my long-winded argumentation as "defensiveness," when I pointed out that this is sort of just what I do.

      Also, I would say that unless I am mistaken, we seem to have a lot more disagreement than that. For one, I dispute the notion that anything is "diluted to the point of near uselessness" to begin with. Like I keep making the point, which keeps not being commented on, that if you're defining "usefulness" by "does the public understand it & apply it properly," then Antisocial Personality Disorder is probably the most useless term of all.

      If someone has committed an atrocity and displays a complete lack of remorse, debating whether or not their actions can be attributed to a psychological condition (which, it should be noted, can influence how they're punished for the crime) adds up to the same basic principle.

      Okay, but...it's just a story. Of course the storyteller is going to craft the events in such a way that they support the moral that it's supposed to be about. But in real life, we might expect the scorpion to realize they're in danger & abandon their hunt or fight or whatever it is they're doing & get the fuck out of there. In other words, they have conflicting natures, & may in fact CHOOSE NOT to sting in a given situation. And if such a deterministic narrative doesn't actually work for a simple scorpion, why would we expect it to be valid for a human (neurotypical or otherwise), which has orders of magnitude more complex psychology, not to mention the intelligence necessary to even understand concepts like morality vs. nature?

      A psychopath MAY be a murderer, but not necessarily, which is why I alluded to the kindling hypothesis. There's a difference between not caring if someone dies & choosing to pull the trigger. The latter is generally what we base legal & ethical responsibility on far more than the former. Also note that psychopathy is defined by lack of empathy, not by desire to kill. To keep with the scorpion analogy, the scorpion's fundamental nature is not to sting, it is to be a territorial predator, which just sometimes happens to manifest in stinging.

      Look at it this way: if the Charleston church shooter had been adjudged a scorpion whose nature it is to sting rather than just a hateful, rotten person? He probably wouldn't be on death row right now.

      Yes he absolutely would. Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI), under US law, requires that, at the time of the offense, you were afflicted with a mental illness that specifically rendered you incapable of understanding the consequences of your actions. So you have to have a break with reality such that you don't understand that shooting someone is harmful & why that's considered wrong. There's nothing about psychopathy that involves any such break in reality.

      Even in cases where there IS such a break in reality, such as the Son of Sam killer's claims that he was schizophrenic & the Devil told him to do it, it may be found that the nature of said break in reality is not enough to conclude that you didn't understand that what you were doing is wrong. In Sam's case, what does it matter if the Devil told him to kill someone? The Devil is evil. He should know better.

      Also, appealing to consequences is fallacious anyway. Maybe future generations will decide to change NGRI laws to cover psychopathy, maybe they won't, but that doesn't decide facts about reality. If there are genetic & neurological bases for psychopathy, which we do find evidence of, that is true regardless of whether or not someone finds any potential implications offensive.

      This argument has been used against NGRI in general. Some people find it heinous that you could get off for a crime by being insane. They don't really care "why" it was done, in their minds, that person should be punished for doing it, period. But we as a society have said we don't think that's right, we think there are certain mitigating factors, & maybe someone who only commits crimes due to a mental illness is better off being treated. That's just the nature of living in a society, sometimes people may reach a collective conclusion that parts of the people don't like, & we can only hope to make the decision as informed as possible.

      I sure as hell would never entirely trust someone whom I knew didn't give an honest damn about anyone else...in the sense that I'd suspect an ulterior motive if they were trying to front like they did. But I wouldn't call them "evil" unless they gave me reason to do so; I'd just always be wondering what their angle was.

      From what I hear, this is pretty much what knowing a psychopath is like.

      But if I did hypothetically end up removing any of them from the picture, it'd be because my hand was forced (such as, for example, if hubby's ex-roommate were to get out of prison and try to make good on his death threats).

      Something I was going to say, but didn't for some reason, is that it's entirely possible to be capable of remorse but commit a certain act without remorse. Self-defense killings could be one such example. But such a case would not be psychopathy, whatever the motive.

      And it's the fact that he is f*cking evil, not the question of whether or not he's mentally ill, that's the issue.

      My sentiments on Trump are that I am concerned with understanding his motives, whatever the best lens for that happens to be.

      That's...a fairly crude example (not to mention notoriously easy to fake), and doesn't really cover things like how something as seemingly benign as social awkwardness can skew one's perceived "empathy" lower.

      I'm aware of no evidence that you can "fake" mirror neurons, which is the important part. If someone was just faking their response, they would not have the same emotional activation, which we could see if we had the right technology available. As far as psychology goes, as I said, I am aware that there are scales to assess psychopathy, but I don't know how accurate they are. It's possible they're very accurate, but if they are, then I don't know what makes them so.

      On that note, I have to ask, are you skeptical of the existence of schizophrenia, at least as a disorder caused by brain lesions? Do you require an objective definition of depression? Because these are both examples of psychological illness that we consider to have strong biological foundations, even though there are a lot of gaps in our knowledge about them. It's really perplexing that many people have no problems accepting those, but have all sorts of arguments against the existence of psychopaths.

      As you said above: not all human shittiness is "mental illness." Acknowledging as much requires that we accept that sometimes, malice and entitlement are the problems in and of themselves rather than just being its symptom.

      I don't disagree.

      And if that neurobiologist is the guy you were talking about in the other thread: he mainly came off tryhard-edgy. (And the other dude: a woman was convicted of murdering her probable abuser on grounds that added up to not acting enough like a victim; he was examining her like a lab specimen, then declaring her the one who's incapable of empathy. Creepy.)

      For the former, as I said in that thread, that doesn't in any way make his research wrong, & for the latter, what?

      Unless there's data to support an objective definition of empathy (which, as long as it remains as fiddly as it currently is—as evidenced by social awkwardness skewing it lower—there isn't and won't be)?

      Since I somehow wound up not addressing this until now, I guess I'll do it here: I don't see why this is an issue to my argument. Either there is a problem in the manner of assessment which this study examined that needs to be fixed, or socially awkward people actually do have less empathy. I don't see how either possibility suggests there is no such thing as an objective definition of empathy, much less that it's not the one I indicated.

      I would actually say we have more of an objective definition of empathy than of any other psychological concept I can think of off the top of my head. Psychology is by its very nature a field plagued with subjectivity. It is an attempt to define subjective, immaterial experiences in a way that can actually be objectively studied, a difficult task fraught will all manner of pitfalls in ensuring that we make the right observations that lead to the right definitions & therefore study the right things. Specifically in the field of therapy & diagnosis, it relies heavily on the subjective understanding of the doctor.

      If we can accept that we can learn how memory works through MRI studies, even though we cannot ourselves directly indulge in that person's specific, subjective experience, I see no reason why this should not also hold true for empathy.

      Being that absolutely certain that there's a concrete definition (and cause) of a disorder defined by a lack of it roughly adds up to being absolutely certain that some people are scorpions whose essential nature is to sting, even if some such scorpions stay under their rocks and never sting anyone.

      Leaving aside all of the other problems I had with this parable, we know that scorpions generally have a baseline scorpion psychology, even if a given scorpion has never given us reason to believe it is dangerous. Maybe it has had specific experiences that make it prefer hiding under its rock, but we could assume that if we piss it off, it's probably going to attack us. Even if, amazingly, it does not, we'd still know this is very unusual behavior for a scorpion.

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    • Self-righteous hypocrite, yes. Socio/Psychopath, no.

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    • I don't even know where all the hatred for Suyin is coming from.

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    • Neo Bahamut wrote: I don't even know where all the hatred for Suyin is coming from.

      I think it has everything to do with the fact that in Book 3, she's a very no-nonsense type of character, and then when her help is actually needed, she doesn't do anything. She says "What do you want me to do? March into Ba Sing Se with an army? We'd be greeted with nothing but war." But then when Kuvira does exactly that, she's nothing if not successful. Whatever reason there was for Suyin saying no was already thoroughly undone by the rest of Book 4 because they needed a villain. Honestly, I think it'd be much more interesting if they actually had Suyin agree with Raiko and Tenzin, only that she sent Kuvira as the head of the army and then they got into a power struggle, but that's jsut wishful thinking.

      Bottom line, yes, Su is very selfish there, because all she wants to do is hide in Zaofu, keeping all the wealth and prosperity locked in the domes. And in a neat way, that brings me back to the original question of this topic: is she a sociopath? I don't think she is. If you bring up her killing P'Li, awesome as that was, that was her last resort to defend Lin, which is a pretty compelling reason. Selfish and short-sighted, but not a sociopath. (Well whaddaya know, that describes almost every politician. Topical!)

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    • I have...so many problems with that.

      Why should she be considered "selfish" for refusing the job? There are so many ethical & practical concerns with trying to play World Police, so many people it affects, & so many reasons it tends to go poorly that "No thanks, I don't think this should be done, or at least I'm not the right person for the job" is a perfectly valid response. In fact, I would say it's more likely to be the correct response.

      You say that she "kept Zaofu's wealth locked in the domes," to which I would respond that it's rather presumptive to say she didn't help at all, she may have been taking refugees, or engaging in trade.

      But not only do I think this is a bad reason to hate a character, I think it's even worse when considering that she's being unfavorably compared to a woman who installed herself as absolute dictator...in terms of selfishness. With hypocrisy, self rightesouness, sociopathy, & probably other terms thrown in, depending on whom you ask.

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    • I don't think she's a Sociopath. I just think that after her familiy got torn apart she's overprotective of all her closest ones and don't want them hurt. Like shown with Opal. 

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