Saturday, November 23, 2019

You say "Sociopath" like it was a bad thing

Context is everything.

Attention Deficit Disorder is considered a disorder because people who have less ability to focus are less effective in modern society. They struggle to fill out forms and complete repetitive, boring tasks.

But consider that same person in a primitive society. He is the one who hears the flash-flood coming down the wadi. He hears the stampeding gnus and can move the tribe to safety while there is still time. He does not have to tighten 6000 lugnuts a shift.

If somebody with ADD has less ability to focus than most of the tribe, a person who is a sociopath is somebody who has less empathy than most.

The optimum amount of empathy varies depending on the context or situation.

Excessive empathy can be debilitating, even fatal.

Lack of empathy

I do not know Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.

Is it possible that Facebook would be less successful if Mark Zuckerberg had been endowed with more than the average amount of empathy? Would the world be a better place if Facebook had never been invented?

People who are on the lower end of the "empathy" curve find ways to cope. We stop pulling the wings off flies in public. We learn to emulate empathy, like an Apple products emulating a Windows environment to run software. We send our wife to functions where empathy must be genuine.

To label somebody with less-than-average empathy a "sociopath" is cultural imperialism. It is an easy trap to fall into, to think that our time...our neighborhood is "normal", "right" and the long-term datum.

Tribalism, by its definition, is sociopathy. Tribalism is to define members of "my tribe" as humans and everybody else as less-than-human and not deserving consideration or...empathy.

The majority of the people in the world function as members of tribes. In terms of gross numbers and history, how people live on 4 Privet Drive or 1714 Blackberry Lane is not the human norm.

Groups of people who did not have a generous sprinkling of "sociopaths" were killed or absorbed by those tribes that did.


  1. Excellent points! And the ONLY thing motivating Zukie is $$$

  2. I think it's clear. Lack of Tribalism is a large part of what's killing America. Having SOME empathy for non-tribe members may be a good thing. However, if you have too much empathy you risk not even being a tribe any longer. That is what I see. We have open borders in part because we no longer care...we are all " one tribe". It is getting to be VERY hard to identify the Tribal Nation of America other than by Geography. No common ideals or values or goals.

    1. It used to be people coming to America were expected to Speak English and conform to the norms of the country...regardless if they were right or wrong. To put America first. IN Early 1900s to 1950, for example, German immigrants came into the US in large numbers. They spoke no English and gathered in large groups. ( True of other groups that immigrated as they Norwegian or Italian, Greek or whatever). Often these areas had enough immigrants that there were even some short term newspapers set up printed in their language. HOWEVER...the theme was MELTING POT! Learn English ! Speak English! America first ! Many even changed their last names to something more " American". I know of cases where Immigrants who learned English teased those who clung to their old ways for not being American enough.
      Sadly everything has changed. SOME groups ( esp Most Asians) hurry to learn English etc. However, many ethnic groups maintain their OLD Tribal identities and a few even refuse to learn English. They celebrate their Old traditions and some even try to demand that America conforms to Their tribal traditions and norms. One rather large group that comes to mind has even gone somewhat backwards. ( Though you can argue there is a split in this group). Some move forward and embrace the America tribe. However, some not only revere the Tribes of their ancestors but some actually change their last names from " Americanized " versions to be more like their old Tribe. They dress as their old tribe dresses. They reject the American tribe yet remain a part of it

  3. Some of the best and smartest people I've ever worked with in IT were ADD. They were able to learn new skills faster and complete projects quicker than my "normal" employees.

    At my last employer, I had one guy in his mid-20s who was ADD/ADHD. Once I worked out how to make it possible for him to do his best work, he accomplished more in a week than the other 5 employees combined.

  4. Despite my reluctance to wade into this snakepit, is the Zuck example code for the real example, Putin's poodle, Fat Donnie? 

    1. I picked Mr Zuckerberg because he is universally recognized and because he appears to think about what facial expression to wear...that is, his "emulation" program is inefficiently coded.

      There is no shortage of "sociopath" examples in the world.


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