Tag Archives: sociopathy

Why Are There Evil People?

And what makes them that way?
I’m not familiar enough with the teachings of other religions, but at least as far as the Christian religion is concerned, this question is as old as, well, as old as Christianity. If the One God is omnipotent, why does he allow evil, when he could wipe it out singlehandedly?
It made a lot more sense to me to have a variety of gods (a la the Greeks, Romans, and Scandinavians) who had virtually equal powers. Some days the good guys won, some days they lost. It seems to me you get into a lot of philosophical trouble with the whole monotheism thing. I can’t figure out how it ever caught on.
In our lifetimes, I suggest that Adolf Hitler is what we consider the personification of Evil, although there are many other evil people in the past who were at least as bad as he was.
The explanation I most often hear is, God gave people free will so they could choose good or evil. But wait. Why is there evil at all? It seems like the choice might have been between good and less good.
The other answer, which is a little easier to swallow, is “I don’t know”. God is inscrutable and beyond our understanding, so we can’t begin to question the whole thing. Well why not? Why didn’t God make it easier for us dumb critters to understand?
Evil, I think, is a little like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart described pornography: “I know it when I see it”.
I think of it as trying to hurt animals or people who are weaker than you and can’t fight back, or trying to hurt someone for personal gain.
This is the exact scenario I’m going through at work, with a person who literally began a campaign to get me fired, hoping she would replace me. I’m not imagining that; she said it outright. She has read my email, gone through my desk, taken pictures of me secretly with her cell phone, accused me of being a thief, and had numerous conversations with other employees to try to win them over to her “side”. In some cases it’s worked; in others, it hasn’t.
I am mystified as to why she still works for my company. And I am hurt, and shocked. All I ever did was try to help her succeed. And I feel like a complete idiot for trusting her. I will never understand it ever, but I do know this: she’s evil. I know it when I see it.

Ayn Rand

In answer to your question, No, I have not gone completely crazy.  I am not reading Ayn Rand.  I’m reading her recently published (2009) biography, called Ayn Rand and the World She Made.  That link refers to the NY Times review of the biography, which I personally haven’t read yet, and won’t until I finish the book.  I’m presently on page 332 of 413 pages…so, soon. 

This morning Fakesister and I, during our weekly conversation following our conquest of the NY Times Saturday crossword puzzle, wondered how we had escaped reading anything Ayn Rand ever wrote.  Our conclusion was that we weren’t inclined on our own, and no one ever made us do it.  This may prove that there is a merciful God after all ( a concept Rand would have rejected).

So why am I reading this?  I first heard of it in an interview with the author on NPR, and it sounded intriguing.  Since I know people who claim to be admirers and adherents of Rand, I thought it might be a good way to Know Thy Enemy…not that I really knew she was my enemy, I just suspected.  So I felt a duty to investigate the “other side”, kind of like how once in a while you have to watch Glenn Beck. 

And…I find Rand mesmerizing, and abhorrent.  I could probably stop right there, but in Randian fashion, let me go on. 

If there was ever a person with less self-awareness, I can’t think of one.  There is the most incredible disconnect between her opinion of herself and the reality of her life.  Her primary theme was that rationality is supreme, and I can’t argue with that.  But rationality, real rationality, allows for the fact that you might be, on occasion, wrong, or be disproved. 

The author of the book notes that eventually Ayn tired of “shoehorning” her ideas into the characters of her books, but it’s abundantly clear that shoehorning was Ayn’s specialty.  When she had a lengthy, sadomasochistic  affair with a man young enough to be her son, she made it fit.  It was the highest expression of her ideals.  Right.  You know, Go for it Ayn.  Have some fun.  But please don’t insult our intelligence by trying to make it a lofty concept. 

Ayn’s experiences growing up shaped her in ways that she completely ignored except when it was useful.  She speaks of “the mind” and of “rationality” as if it’s completely divorced from history and biology.  It’s like a floating thing.  Protoplasm. 

When you read of her childhood, what’s known of it, you get a picture.  She was a relatively unattractive child physically, with zero social skills.  There are two ways to adapt to that.  You try to decide what it is that you’re doing wrong.  Or you conclude, as Ayn did, that they are simply envious of your superior intellect and  there’s nothing you can do about it. 

Later in life, Ayn is described as being warm, charming, and generous on occasion.  I view this as the sociopathic response, in the way that sociopaths, who don’t feel it personally, are able to mimic the emotions of other people.  Huge things were happening around her in her early life, such as the Bolshevik Revolution, but she dismisses the impact of that and other events, because truthfully, it didn’t really matter to her.  The only thing that mattered to her was what was happening to her in her head.  Other people mattered to her only as far as they could praise her or give her pleasure, but she was astonishingly clever at disguising that. 

Ayn Rand was the ultimate narcicist and sociopath.  The only things that keep her out of the dustbin of history are:  Alan Greenspan, and the fact that she did have some actually worthwhile things to say.  She was opposed to mob rule.  I can’t disagree with that.

You, Sir, Are a Knave and a Scoundrel!

Subitled, “A Romance.”  Sub-subtitled, “Happy Thanksgiving!”

The names in this story have been changed to protect both the guilty and the innocent. 

My friend “Barbara” and her boyfriend of four months now, “Larry”, were scheduled to go to Alabama (name changed to protect an innocent State) to spend it with her family.  (I will say that the location is somewhere in the South, and Barbara’s family is kind of like Dukes of Hazzard meet the Hell’s Angels.  Larry is originally from New York, so that alone would have made quite a tale.)  They were planning to leave on Wednesday, but Larry called her on Tuesday and said he’d been called to an emergency meeting at his regional headquarters in Orlando (its real name), and for her to go on ahead and he would get a plane from Orlando to Somewhere, Alabama on Wednesday night. 

Wednesday he called and said he was not going to be able to make it.  The meeting that day was to tell him he had to work on Friday due to a sensitive, politically involved issue at his workplace.  (Clarification:  “Larry” is the project manager for a multi-million dollar construction project in the city where he and Barbara currently reside;  Barbara permanently, Larry temporarily, at least until 2012.  His “permanent” home is in another Florida city.)   However, he said, he had changed his plane ticket and she should pick him up at the Somewhere Airport at 5:55 P.M. on Friday evening.  Then they would drive back together as planned on Sunday morning. 

She said never mind, Why didn’t he just drive to <Other Florida City>, spend Thanksgiving Day with his own family, and she would go ahead and drive back herself on Friday rather than Sunday.  That way they could spend the weekend together. 

I may not have this whole story completely straight, but in any case, Barbara drove back on Friday, and never heard from him.  On Saturday, he called to say he was on his way back and they needed to talk. 

Now let’s hear a little background info on Larry.  Larry was married for 20 or so years to “Roxanne”, who died of cancer some years ago.  As coincidence would have it, Roxanne’s best friend was also named Roxanne, and during the course of wife Roxanne’s illness, he and friend Roxanne became close, and eventually became a couple.  However, he said, they lived separately, and it was never a  romantic sort of relationship, at least on his part, more of a friendship and convenience sort of thing.  But it continued to get more complicated as now girlfriend Roxanne became close to his sister, who was also suffering health problems.  Once he and Barbara had been seeing eash other for a while, he said he was breaking it off with Roxanne.  It was early enough in the relationship that Barbara said, “Don’t do that on my account, because I’m not making any promises.” 

“No no no,” said Larry.  “I’m not really doing it because of you.  It was inevitable.  If it hadn’t been you, it would have been someone else.”

Rewind back to Saturday night when he returns, and says, Barbara, I’ve been lying to you since Day One.  Roxanne is not my girlfriend, she’s my wife.  We’ve been married four years.  But really, really, I don’t love her.  I love you madly.  This is killing me.  Barbara coolly says, “So was there ever a plan to come to Alabama?”  He said no…no plan, and no plane ticket–ever.  And Barbara said, I have to leave (they were in his apartment) and left his key on the kitchen counter. 

After telling me this story, Barbara said, “What would you do?”  She was still in shock, and unsure, because while she is hurt, she still has feelings for him.  Ha ha.  Fakename has not survived this long by answering questions like this.  Today’s villain is tomorrow’s husband, then you become the villain by having said all those bad things about him.  But to be honest, Readers, Fakename is furious. 

This is like a bad movie on Lifetime TV.  Woman Scammed by Charming Rogue.  What makes me angriest is that sociopaths exist, and they can be men or women, taking advantage of the trusting nature of ordinary people.  And by trusting, I do not mean gullible.  My friend is anything but.  She is smart and competent and loving.  I hope she makes the right decision.  “How can I ever believe anything he says after this?”, she asked.  Indeed, Fakename thought, silently. 

Had Fakename been inclined to reply, she would have asked, Is walking the plank still illegal?  We will close this post with a poll:

1.  Larry is a well-meaning guy who is under a lot of stress.  He really did mean to do the right thing by everyone concerned, but in the process of trying not to hurt anyone’s feelings, he just got caught up in a series of dilemmas he saw no way out of.  He’s trying to do the right thing now by coming clean with at least one person.  He really does love her, and hopes she will forgive him. 

2.  Larry is a scumbag, who thinks he has played this just right.  Having been involved with Barbara long enough now to be semi-comfortable with her attachment to him, he thinks he can keep her on the hook.  If not, well there are other fish in the sea.  In any case, it would be a lot more complicated to disinvolve yourself with someone to whom you were financially connected (e.g., wife).  While we’re at it, who believes there are two Roxannes?

Cat Abuse Update #2

The last time I posted about this incident, in which someone sodomized three kittens with lit fireworks was January 3rd.    The youngest kitten, who was only 4 months old, had to be euthanized right away.  The other two kittens were 8 months old, a sister and brother named Blackie and Little Jim. 

Blackie was being treated in a clinic in Valdosta, but Little Jim was so severely burned that he had to be sent to the University of Florida vet school.  They were keeping him in a medically induced coma, and it was estimated that it could cost $20,000 or so for his treatment, if he survived.  It was my opinion that they should let him go and not put him through the agony of treatment.  He died two days after my post, which in my opinion is the merciful outcome.  http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/37111479.html

The Humane Society has now offered a $2,500 reward in addition to the $500 the Brooks County Sheriff’s Department has already offered.  Oh…but Brooks County said that the $500 was given to them by a donor.  What do you want to bet someone complained about them spending $500 on a cat?  It still amazes me that people don’t get the connection between animal abuse and crimes against people. And those are just the people who defend and excuse the killers. 

As for the killers. whatever you call it officially, I call it a failure to identify.  A failure to identify with the fact that this (cat, dog, horse, whale, person) has a brain, lungs, heart…it breathes and has heartbeats just like you, and it feels pain.   I think people who would torture helpless animals already feel dead inside themselves.  Once you get to that place, I don’t know if you can be helped to be different.