"When I'm good, I'm very good. When I'm bad, I'm better." - Mae West
This personality disorder is puzzling and intractable. Its principal feature seems to be a lack of conscience. The antisocial personality disorder (APD) is related to psychopathy but emphasized criminal or antisocial traits that do not always accompany psychopathy.
The DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria For Antisocial Personality Disorder are as follows:
- A. There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:
- 1. Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest.
- 2. Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure.
- 3. Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead.
- 4. Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults.
- 5. Reckless disregard for safety of self or others.
- 6. Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations.
- 7. Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.
- B. The individual is at least age 18 years of age.
- C. There is evidence of Conduct Disorder with onset before age 15.
- D. The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia or a manic episode.
The founding research on psychopathy was compiled by Hervey M. Cleckley in the 1940-50's, published as a compilation of case studies titled The Mask of Sanity. This book is available for download from the Cassiopaea web site. More recent material includes books by R. Hare, such as Without Conscience - The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us.
The differentiation between APD, sociopathy and psychopathy is vague and ambiguous. Most criminals match the APD criteria. Narcissism and psychopathy may also border on each other.
Hare's psychopathy checklist is as follows:
- Glib and superficial charm;
- Grandiose sense of self-worth;
- Need for stimulation;
- Pathological lying;
- Conning and manipulativeness;
- Lack of remorse or guilt;
- Shallow affect;
- Callousness and lack of empathy;
- Parasitic lifestyle;
- Poor behavioral controls;
- Promiscuous sexual behavior;
- Early behavior problems;
- Lack of realistic, long-term goals;
- Failure to accept responsibility for own actions;
- Many short-term marital relationships;
- Juvenile delinquency;
- Revocation of conditional release;
- Criminal versatility.
The incidence of psychopathy is difficult to measure since not all cases commit crime and essentially never seek mental health services. The common estimates is 4 percent for APD, 2-3 for sociopathy and 1 percent for psychopathy in the American population. Most cases are males. There may be bias of measurement due to women more rarely committing violent crime.
APD or sociopathy can be acquired and can correlate with childhood emotional deprivation or other trauma. Psychopathy does not exhibit this correlation. These conditions are generally life-long, specially so in the case of psychopathy.
A psychopath is not insane in the conventional sense. The psychopath understands reality, knows right from wrong, has apparently unimpaired intelligence. The emotional interpretations of reality and system of values of a psychopath are however radically different from normal. There are also electrical differences in brainwave patterns between psychopaths and non-psychopaths when shown emotionally charged scenes. Psychopathy and sociopathy have further been divided into subcategories, see literature for more.
Psychopaths can be successful because of complete lack of restraint and not worrying about consequences. They have no inhibitions against lying and no anxiety when discovered. They will simply turn to another story. Association with a psychopath is essentially always detrimental.
A common feature of the psychopath is accusing all others of the very thing the psychopath does. Because psychopaths are generally good liars, this can considerably muddy practical situations. Also, a psychopath will often create dissent by playing parties against each other by presenting to each a completely different story. Psychopaths are difficult or impossible to detect if there is no all round view of their activities. This is difficult due to them often working to isolate their victims in general and to keeping them separate from each other. Possible variations on social manipulation are endless.
In terms of game theory, a self-serving strategy may work best in a society broadly embracing self-serving values. This has been studied in some depth at the FotCM and various articles have been written about this. Thus we could say that this is the world of the psychopath and encourages even those not born as such to act like ones. This corresponds with the aspect of psychopathy which has to do with lack of affect and lack of concern for others. There is however more to this than extreme egotism.
There are some puzzling traits that can be extracted from Cleckley's and others' case studies. These traits cannot fully be explained by simple ruthless exclusive preoccupation with gain for self, although this too can be present. It is as if some functions were simply missing or worked in reverse. Psychopaths can thus display a strange flakiness.
For example, a psychopath can mimic normalcy, successfully function in a career and so forth but will feel a build-up of pressure that must be released in the form of some debauch, excess, recklessness, vulgarity or such. Such a tendency tends to give them away, although many successful ones likely have this aspect well separated from public life.
A psychopath may prefer crime or dishonesty also in a situation where this does not offer even short term advantage.
A psychopath may demonstrate flaky reasoning and fail to see evident holes in his logic. This may be translated in language: Consider the following from an interview with serial killer Clifford Olson. 'And then I had annual sex with her. ' 'once a year?' No. Annual. from behind.' Oh. But she was dead. 'No, no. She was just unconscientious.' About his many experiences, Olson said. 'I've got enough antidotes to fill five or six books--enough for a trilogy.' He was determined not to be an 'escape goat' no matter what the 'migrating' facts.
Such flaky word usage may occur with dyslexia and related conditions as well but there it is not coupled with pervasive lying or other psychopathic characteristics.
The inner landscape of a psychopath seems to lack any elements of beauty, refinement or depth. It is as if the sensory brain functions recognized these things up to a point, since a psychopath may in cases read others' emotions surprisingly well, but the connections from these circuits went somewhere else than with a normal person. There is basic pattern recognition and association and sometimes complex goal directed action but an element of assigning true value to anything is lacking.
The motives of a psychopath are generally unclear. The psychopath does not always derive conventional benefit from his actions and may be singularly counter-productive to his own goals. It seems that the conventional concept of goal does not quite apply. This is too constructive a term. There is evidence of subgoals and planning but only when these serve the more abstract 'goal' of producing chaos, destruction, pain or promoting a sort of spiritual entropy.
From an esoteric standpoint we can see the psychopath as a specialized reflection of the thought center of non-being. The psychopath's action is primarily destructive, also often for the psychopath himself, although psychopaths do not have pronounced directly suicidal tendencies, they may die as a result of excess or recklessness. Cleckley describes the psychopath as a disintegrating person that has turned essentially against all that is forward looking or progressing. In promoting chaos, the psychopath may be surprisingly clever or inventive, thus perverting what creativity there may be. This illustrates the metaphysical contradiction of service to self: A force that denies all creation still has to borrow from creation in order to function. Also, the capacity for denial of the obvious and selective recall is typical of the wishful thinking associated with service to self.
The Cassiopaeans have said that a psychopath was a malfunctioning 'organic portal.' This is different from the forces of 4th density STS or the human elements deliberately working on STS polarization, although they may in many instances look the same. The STS polarizing beings would seem to have more discipline and conscious control and not have the flakiness of the psychopath. However, They are a higher grade of the same theme, as it were and not 'better,' simply more 'together' and smarter.'
The Gurdjieffian term for psychopath is hasnamuss. Gurdjieff also uses the word psychopath but this in the more generic sense of mental aberration. We note that the term did not get its current meaning until Gurdjieff completed his books. The hasnamuss is capable of crystallization and can accede to a state of eternal condemnation and exile. The hasnamuss has a certain lasting being, yet is opposite to 'being,' as Gurdjieff uses the word.
In terms of little 'I's, we could say that the psychopath is unusually non-integrated. The little 'I's flow past each other as if unimpeded by their contradictions, thus the psychopath can lie credibly and may even believe the lies or at any rate disconnect these from any doubt or contrary little I. The case of multiple personality is much different, since there we could say that the little 'I's are strongly compartmentalized, which does not seem to be the case of the psychopath. Also Mouravieff's description of the chimera, as a man with only moving and thinking centers approaches the idea of psychopath but is not quite the same.