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[–] TheKillerRabbit 0 points 78 points (+78|-0) ago 

You can't feel empathy; you can't really understand the pain people go through. That will always create some distance between you and others.

Although I do understand the fact that the word itself is overused.

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[–] csupertramp 5 points 51 points (+56|-5) ago  (edited ago)

I would add, that because you do not feel empathy, you are likely to inflict pain.

Sociopaths are in a situation I would compare to pedophiles. They are naturally afflicted with a condition that is socially destructive. There is a reason human beings should be horrified watching people die.

Not being violent does not change anything. If you have no heart, you are likey to cause pain.

edit: typos

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[–] Wargasm [S] 6 points 18 points (+24|-6) ago 

People that think this way are the reason that I have to do so much volunteer work. Reading this gave me the impression that you were like 2 steps from rallying the villagers and chanting "Kill the beast."

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[–] TheKillerRabbit 1 points 11 points (+12|-1) ago 

They are naturally afflicted with a condition that is socially destructive.

Damn. That is an excellent way of saying that point. Mind if I use it?

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[–] astroskag 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago  (edited ago)

This is the equivalent of Christians that think atheists can't be moral. Just because a person doesn't derive their sense of morality from the same place you do, doesn't mean their convictions are any less decisive.

In fact, I'd say a person that only does the right thing because they'd cause themselves discomfort by doing the wrong thing is kind of a shitty person.

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[–] GropeForLuna 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago  (edited ago)

I could watch a video of someone dying and it would have no effect on me, empathy is generally difficult for me. I'm not a psychopath because I have none of the other traits associated with the condition. Lack of emotions such as empathy is related to my depression.

I think the idea that you need empathy to prevent you from doing bad is completely false. Anyone can use simple logic to know what is right or wrong.

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[–] beijingsteamer 2 points 16 points (+18|-2) ago 

This! Not only that, but I've read sociopaths operate on power instead of empathy. That's not how human kind works. Unfortunately, sociopaths breed sociopaths. And of course they're attracted to jobs of power. It never ends well when someone who cares about control governs people who operate on emotions.

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[–] astroskag 2 points 28 points (+30|-2) ago  (edited ago)

This is false - sociopaths often make the best leaders, because while they may not care about the happiness of others for its own sake, they often realize that the emotional and mental well-being of others is central to their being productive. It may seem like a Vulcan-level of cold logic to keep people happy because that's how you get the best results from them, but the idea that sociopaths are all just a bunch of power-tripping sadists is a viewpoint shaped entirely by popular culture and not reality.

[–] [deleted] 1 points 3 points (+4|-1) ago  (edited ago)

[Deleted]

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[–] Metalhammer 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Sorry to burst your bubble but that's exactly how human kind works.

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[–] forteskord 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Is there merit to the idea of not letting sociopaths hold positions of power (i. e. politics, corporations) ? Or would a society with such a law be a dystopia for some reason?

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[–] Cynical_Doggie 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

I disagree.

Sociopaths do feel empathy, but have the ability to ignore it, and therefore, choose to ignore it.

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[–] japr 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Since this comment is getting so many unquestioned upvoats and is at the top of the thread, I would like to tag on a reply that I've made elsewhere in the thread regarding the mistaken understanding of "empathy" that most people seem to have.


There are actually multiple functions involved in empathy: cognitive, emotional, and compassionate.

  • Cognitive empathy relies upon using your internal understanding/logic system to project outwards and make assumptions about the reasoning behind another's behavior.

  • Emotional empathy is picking up on and feeling the emotions of another person.

  • Compassionate empathy is the result of feeling one or both of the other forms of empathy, where one is driven to try and help the person they perceive to be suffering according to the emotions picked up via emotional empathy and understanding projected via cognitive empathy.

I suspect that for sociopaths the first of these can actually function quite well (and indeed would be vital to the manipulation that people criticize them for!), and they are capable of demonstrating the third kind even if they are traditionally weak in the second category. Most of the people in this thread are actually incredibly uninformed on the complexity of the issue, as evidenced by their black-and-white binary view of "empathy."


It boggles my mind that people are so afraid of those who are different from them that they will demonize and dehumanize them to such ridiculous extents. If sociopaths truly felt no empathy at all, they would not be capable of having coherent interactions with the other human beings around them.

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[–] u6z2 0 points 26 points (+26|-0) ago 

I think the term gets tossed around without much regard for what it actually means. Per Wikipedia:

Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of disregard for, or violation of, the rights of others. There may be an impoverished moral sense or conscience and a history of crime, legal problems, and impulsive and aggressive behavior.

According to this definition, it's tied to the disrespect for others, which is most likely why there is hate associated with sociopaths.

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[–] Metalhammer 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

This is an evolving field with breakthroughs and changes in the rhetoric frequently.

[–] [deleted] 0 points 16 points (+16|-0) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] beijingsteamer 1 points 6 points (+7|-1) ago 

Absolutely true! Jobs like police officers and politicians attract sociopaths.

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[–] Zodi 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Control over people is a sociopaths wet dream.

Yes, I'm exaggerating. Still, there's truth to it.

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[–] TexasComments 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

More sociopaths end up in business positions or the political field; being an officer would have its perks but not the kind a sociopath looks for.

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[–] Fragnostus 2 points 0 points (+2|-2) ago 

Also the fault of the populace, they seem to prefer being ruled by sociopaths, while at the same time complaining how heartless they are.

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[–] mipbar 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Was going to say this if I didn't spot it already. Highest level of decisions effecting millions of lives made by sociopaths, bad idea. People that only care about money and nothing about other people should not be in positions of massive power.

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[–] daneurl 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Well that is the fault to those of us who don't really give a shit about power.

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[–] 123_456 1 points 0 points (+1|-1) ago 

Power doesn't corrupt. Power attracts assholes.

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[–] jeegte12 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

i've been thinking about this, and i'm actually disgusted that you would say something like that. how ignorant and blind is our society that the idea of corrupting power is totally hidden from anyone, let alone someone on this site, discussing the things we discuss. you're pathetic and a disgrace. fucking do even a little bit of research before you spew that repulsive ignorance. fuck you.

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[–] jeegte12 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

of course power fucking corrupts. what in the hell made you think that it doesn't?

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[–] InMediaRes 0 points 11 points (+11|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Okay, so the guy filming people while they died could have probably been in shock, or anything...nobody knows how they're going to react in the moment; just chalking this up to sociopathy is bad.

However, most people associate sociopaths with high-functioning psychopaths who like to manipulate societal good will towards getting unfair rewards in life. Not many people understand how many "failed" sociopaths there are, they just look at the successful ones who got them passed over for a promotion, or one who pushed them out of line, without realizing that most sociopaths emotionally, spiritually, and mentally just shut down after some time.

edit: I didn't realize OP was one too...good luck dude

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[–] Wargasm [S] 0 points 10 points (+10|-0) ago 

I'd like to point out that there are probably many many more people that have failed at life with a fully functioning conscience (although I suspect that the ratio would remain the same.)

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[–] InMediaRes 0 points 8 points (+8|-0) ago 

I agree with you. I think on the whole, sociopaths aren't really that different, sociopathy is just a concept that gives people a nucleus to hate someone for.

I've actually met both kinds of sociopaths, the good and bad. The good kind are incredibly helpful...one of them was in a group project with me in a bad semester, and basically single-handedly helped me actually pass in that class...while never demanding any real compensation, because he did not realize that it was even a thing.

The bad kind are hugely demoralizing since they seem to get so much benefit from so little work, but I've realized that it depends on the perspective from which you're looking at things. I work hard not just to maintain my standard of living, but to learn and grow as a person. The bad kind of sociopath never actually learns from their mistakes, they just stagnate as people ("in a perpetual state of arrested development"), so I actually feel kind of bad for them.

Just my two cents...I hope you get through this OP (:

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[–] HappyExile 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

As a species, empathy and solidarity are important, but I think, at least on an individual level, that being a sociopath is an advantage. People with sociopathic tendencies tend to be disproportionatly represented in executive positions.

I would even venture as far to say that some of the hate for people like you is rooted in envy. As much as I hate to say it, I think that life would be easier without empathy.

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[–] SmithAndLock 5 points 11 points (+16|-5) ago 

Asked the sociopath.

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[–] Wargasm [S] 1 points 38 points (+39|-1) ago 

I've never denied it. In fact, I say it right there at the beginning of the second paragraph. Fortunately, through the magic of the internet, we can have a civil conversation wherein I can ask people questions and other people can reply with clever and well thought out replies like "asked the sociopath." Have an upgoat!

[–] [deleted] 7 points 8 points (+15|-7) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] 123_456 3 points 2 points (+5|-3) ago  (edited ago)

You're not a sociopath if you care what others think.

Also, if you don't give a fuck about people, why do they have the obligation to do something different for you?

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[–] Comrade_Meow 0 points 10 points (+10|-0) ago 

Sociopaths themselves? Pretty indifferent.

The shitty things they may do like the example you just brought out? Pretty shitty.

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[–] KoKansei 0 points 9 points (+9|-0) ago 

Every time this discussion comes up, people always seem to forget that sociopathy is a multidimensional spectrum. Some people feel less, some people feel more, and some people feel things in a way that is different from other people. In my mind, a man should be judged not by how we perceive he feels or how he makes us feel, but by his actions.

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[–] Wargasm [S] 0 points 13 points (+13|-0) ago 

Thanks. That's like the quote from Skyrim that has stuck with me:

"What is better, to be born good? Or to overcome your nature through great effort?"

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[–] lock_the_universe 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Have you ever tried MDMA? I'm curious as to its effect on sociopaths...

I googled this. Seems to be a point of contention. Works for some people, though.

And by "works" I mean they experienced feelings similar to non-sociopaths. Not saying that you need to be "fixed" or anything.

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[–] iamastrangel00p 0 points 8 points (+8|-0) ago  (edited ago)

If someone lacks empathy, they may not be trusted to act empathetically, which threatens the social norms upon which society functions. Whereas most people experience an instinctual response to comfort or assist trauma victims, the guy from that article demonstrated a clear lack of empathy for the victims' feelings during an undoubtably horrific moment for them. He violated a norm that is integral to the cooperative social fabric, hence "sociopath".

I don't agree that hatred is the correct response. Empathy and understanding for his experience of reality is preferable, while still condemning his actions as unacceptable.

[–] [deleted] 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] TheLastLeviathan 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

I think that people sometimes place way too much emphasis on feeling sad for people they don't personally know. When I walk past some funeral or somebody shoots up a school, then yes, it's terrible and I feel bad for the family or the people affected, but I am not directly affected. Someone on my facebook once posted, that she thought she's a sociopath because someone she didn't know of previously died in a horrific car accident and it didn't make her cry.

That's totally normal. If you don't have personal connections, you won't feel like your life is suddenly missing something if the person dies. You might feel bad for the people affected or feel like it's a terrible thing, but you are not a sociopath for something like that.

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[–] Metalhammer 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Rational?

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