The sociopaths among us – End of the Day for September 20, 2014

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One day of driving around Los Angeles is enough to convince even the most loving person that most people in the world have simply stopped caring for anything but themselves. It isn’t just driving, of course. You see it in every event, every day. It ranges from the relatively small annoyances of people parking in the driveway, standing in front of the door you are trying to enter or taking forever to decide their order at Starbucks to the relatively large offenses of lying, cheating stealing and worse. Spend one typical day and you can find yourself wondering, out loud, about the state of humanity.

That is not to say, of course, that any of us are perfect, but for the most part, we try to be the best person we can be. We may cut someone of on the freeway, but we probably feel bad about it. Others don’t feel bad. Heck, they’ll quickly place the blame on you for being in the wrong place, going too slowly or any number of other non-offenses. The truth is, your simple existence annoys them, and there aren’t any easy ways to remedy that. If i make a mistake, I feel bad about, try to rectify it and — even more important — try to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Some others can never do this, though, because they don’t even realize they did anything wrong. How scary is that? How frightening is it to be surrounded with thousands of sociopaths who see other people as annoyances, encumbrances or worse. It certainly makes me think twice before shouting at someone in public or otherwise expressing my displeasure with their behavior.

Now, I don’t believe these sociopaths make up any sort of majority in the world, but rather that there actions so annoy us, so offend use, so anger us that they have an outsized effect on our lives. We have to face their anger, their violence, their stupidity as well as our own recriminations when we make a mistake — and even when we make no mistake at all. I know, for me, trying to avoid or deflect this anger — from so many people and so many different angles — rapidly wearies me to the point where I don’t war to deal with anyone for any reason any more. I want to lock myself away rather than spend another minute dealing with their problems.

Identifying the issue, though, yields no easy solution. We seem to be growing more sociopaths with every passing day. There seems no escape from these antisocial, sometime criminal, always offense people who lack any sense of moral responsibility beyond what they want, they need and they desire. I know you have people like that in your life. I sure do in mine. I can’t count anyone close to me as a sociopath, but I seem to meet them on the street, on the bus, behind the wheel, behind the counter and, especially, in positions of power (even minor power) every day.

I am guessing that brighter minds than I might have a place for addressing this issue in society. I started poking around in the research, and while I see many papers acknowledging the increase in sociopathy and its effects, I don’t see many offering any ways of curbing. This is a bit scary when we see such high impacts in your lives and those around us every day.


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