What is a Sociopath?


A Sociopath is someone who does not have a conscience, or at least an extremely undeveloped one. – “from source Sociopath definition” (1)

Our conscience is our “moral compass.” It is the inbuilt feeling of right and wrong. We don’t have any choice over it. It makes us feel guilty when we harm other people, and makes us feel good when we help them. It bonds us together. It means that people cannot recklessly pursue their own interests, regardless of the long term interests of the group they belong to.

But for a small part of the population – as much as 4 in every 100 people – this never develops. The result is someone free from conscience – free from this natural behavioural breaking system that protects the interests of the wider group in which they belong.

The lack of this relatively fundamental aspect of being human has some remarkable consequences, many of which may seem counter-intuitive.

In virtually all other cases, the lack of something that everyone else has would be classed as a disability – and cause the person to perform poorer than most other people in society. However, the lack of a conscience seems to have the opposite effect – Sociopaths are able to succeed in many aspects of business, politics and society beyond what most people could expect.

But they do so at a tremendous cost to the rest of society. They ruthlessly pursue their own aims, and causing untold damage to those that get in their way. Those unlucky to cross their path can be left with psychological and financial issues that will never be repaired. Countless individuals commit suicide every year, after their run-in left them literally losing the will to live.

You may think that such an individual would be easy to spot. But the greatest threat they pose to the rest of society is that they are incredibly difficult to identify. Even to those that are harmed the most, there is a great unwillingness to accept the truth. They insist that the person is misunderstood, or “under a lot of stress”

It’s often not until the person has moved on that the true extent of their actions becomes apparent. And in nearly all cases, there is a genuine sense of disbelief that the person they all trusted could do such things. “He was the nicest guy I ever knew.”

We naturally want to give people the benefit of the doubt – this is something that almost all people with a conscience do. This is a key point to understand – Sociopaths use our own conscience against us. They tug on our heartstrings, using pity and guilt to lead others anywhere they want.

Even when the evidence is right in front of our faces, we can’t accept that they really don’t care about us or the group they claim to be so loyal to.

Given the above, the question that almost everyone has (“How do you spot a Sociopath”) has no easy answer. But there are some clues.

Almost everyone makes one of two basic mistakes – either overestimating or underestimating the number of sociopaths around them.

People that have never learned what a Sociopath is think that they are the 1-in-a-million serial killer they see on the news. They make the arrogant assumption that they’d never be stupid to fall victim to such a person, and would be able to spot them a mile off.

However, once people begin to learn about Sociopathy, they then do the opposite – by labelling everyone they don’t get on with a sociopath.

Reference:

Act For Libraries

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