Warning: Mature Audiences Only.
I have strictly adhered to the guidelines set forth by an acquaintance on the sociopath spectrum. He/She has had the opportunity to review this post and request revisions where needed, and has been guaranteed uncompromised anonymity. I ask that you do not bombard me with questions about this person’s background. I expect the utmost respect for his/her privacy and contribution. The information provided is an amalgamation of personal journal entries from the past year, transcriptions of text conversations exchanged, as well as question prompts specifically created for this post, all answered by the individual aforementioned. Writing this post for the past week has been very physically and emotionally taxing for me and contains some heavy content. Nevertheless, I think that some extremely stimulating and progressive dialogue can come of it. Please enjoy this story which has been specially optimized into a numbered script exchange for all of you “list junkies” out there.
50 Things a Sociopath Wants You to Know
1) How does it feel to be the centerpiece of an article?
If you are writing this you need to understand it for what it is. Im not drama, I’m not a robot, Im just a person driven by logic over emotion. I have emotion, we all do, its just very very dampened compared to the rest of the population. I can understand empathy, i just don’t feel it or think it is a necessary or useful tool for the most part, and a group of people getting together and all crying because something bad happened to one person is a waste of time when they could be out discovering or creating something to benefit society. But yes… Reading about yourself is always strange. It’s even stranger when you know the author.
2) What are sociopaths in a nutshell?
We would be the hazelnuts.
3) Can I talk about your ability to manipulate and adopt a Machiavellian personality around your peers?
Sure. As useful as that is, it sucks sometimes though, you know?
4) How do you mean?
I lost one of my best friends over it. He saw through it and said everything I ever said was too well thought and eerily perfect. And he didn’t like that. Because everything i said was just a reiteration of what I knew he wanted to hear, but when I gave him that – he left. Because none of it was real, it was just a fabrication. It’s a lot easier to please people than it is to be genuine; I’m not even sure I can be. It’s just so easy to give others what they want or need. There’s no conflict to it. They end up happy for the most part and no one ever has to know you, but it also creates this inhuman distance, so it leaves me alone. The world is big, Johnathon, and even if I don’t need other people, sometimes I want them. And that’s why it sucks.
5) Can I quote that? I think people need to hear this. I apologize if you found some of
those questions invasive or demeaning. They were very cliché questions which gave you the flexibility to debunk some myths and stereotypes.
That’s fine and I understand. I know you don’t see me that way. Your piece was just turning tabloid compared to what is real. There are forms online about this subject. I’m not sure if you’ve ever looked at them or not. That aside, you can pick apart the people who are real from those who are not by what they say. The people who get on there and claim to be emotionless monsters almost always are posers. The ones that seem more like a distant asshat are the real ones.
6) Fair enough. Let’s begin. First off, I think everyone’s dying to know why you ever told me what you were.
Because You are One.
7) Lol. Take it back.
I’m kidding. When I first met you, you gave off a vibe of vulnerability and acceptance that I find quite rare in most humans I come into contact with.
8) Have you ever been professionally diagnosed?
I would rather not answer this, though if you would personally like to know, hit me up and we can talk about it.
9) We touched on this but is there anyone in your life that you are capable of being fully vulnerable with?
There are one or two people, but most people don’t or never will know me for the person I am. I previously made the decision to never again let anyone know the full extent of myself, mostly because they won’t understand or they jump to conclusions or just flat out deny the things I tell them because they don’t want me to be as I am. They want me to be the ideal version of me that they invent. Privacy gives me freedom.
10) Do you have empathy and a conscience?
I have sympathy since that is not emotional but I do not have empathy. I will display it for other people’s sake but when something bad happens to someone else -no matter how horrible- I simply do not emotionally register it. I have a conscience in a sense. I try for the most part to not stir the pot or upset people. Just because I am unable to emotionally feel bad for someone does not mean I have a disconnect with reality so large I am unable to logically understand what they must be going through. I understand. I just do not care or feel anything about it.
11) Do you love?
I “love” in a sense that you cannot understand. My love is overpowering to the point that it is more akin to obsession than caring, and it will develop and most of the time end up pushing away the object of it in the end. But I am not devoid of the ability to protect and nurture those around me, it just takes conscious effort and a lot of acting on my part. But if someone is important to me, I will feign caring about them for their own sake until I deem they are no longer worth the effort.
12) Would you say that you essentially maintain utilitarian friendships for the most part?
While I do have utilitarian friendships with some people, I do have actual friends. I like spending time with people and will reciprocate the attention given to me by people I place emphasis on in my life. I have friends I am very close to.
13) You once said that you have an addictive personality and it can be difficult for people to cope once you’ve left them behind. Explain.
I show them what they want or need to see. It’s easy to fall in love with someone who becomes everything you’ve ever wanted in a person, even if its just a visage. So it hurts when the lights come on and the illusion is explained as smoke and mirrors .
14) Do you ever wish that you could be different?
No. If I was different, I wouldn’t be myself. I am all that I can be, and if I cannot find happiness in that, I am broken. But… I’ve also come to understand that stupidity at times can be bliss. It could be nice to be someone else for a while, to put the world into a better perspective.
15) What emotions do you experience on a daily basis? To what extent?
I mostly experience 4 emotions: happy/content [majority of the time], sadness [extremely short periods of time], interest, and anger. I feel emotions but it’s usually not nearly as strong, and a lot more temporary than what most people describe. My baseline state is neutral and it takes a lot to change that. My friend described her feeling of happiness as “an overwhelming warmth in my body, and bubbles in my stomach.” When I’m happy on-the-other-hand, I am just more ‘energetic’. I don’t feel any warmth or other sensations, I’m just more motivated to participate in activities, and content, relaxed, or satisfied. It’s more logical in nature than the “warmth” that other people feel. I very, very rarely feel anything other than contentedness or annoyance. Boredom, Content, Annoyed. Posts like this: this is real.
16) Elaborate on boredom.
Boredom is the trademark of the sociopath. Talking to 95% of the population in almost any context is exhausting and often tries my patience. People want to talk about annoying things (mostly useless gossip) that is very tedious for me to listen to. Most social gatherings as well I don’t find incredibly interesting, and often prefer my own company to that of a large group for that reason. That said, I do have fun doing activities with people or talking about ideas.
17) You told me you can experience depression and loneliness. How does this manifest itself?
I think those two are both just extensions of being bored. I get stir crazy and I think I mistake that as being lonely. I like talking at other people. Or knowing someone is listening to me. Its fun. I mostly like debating other people, especially when they have terrible arguments and are just very clearly wrong. They get heated and its funny because they have no actual argument.
18) If you could experience one emotion which tends to elude you, what would it be?
I’m not sure I would pick anything else to feel. If you think I am “sad” or “morose” for not being exactly like everyone else, you are greatly mistaken. I cannot miss that which I do not have and would not want to lose the time I have to devote to intellectual activities to having to worry about what other people say or think of me, or what I personally think of them. I am happy in my own right as I am, and don’t personally feel (no pun intended) I need anything more to be complete.
19) Does music ever evoke certain emotions in you that people cannot? If not, what does?
I enjoy music. I enjoy music more than the majority of people, but no. I appreciate beauty in its own right but not in the way that it moves me to tears or overbearing happiness. I can’t do those feelings with people and I certainly cannot do them with art. Emotional dampening is not situational, it’s a lifestyle.
20) When did you realize that you were different? Were there subtle signs early on?
It was pretty blatantly obvious from a very young age. In gradeschool I could read and perform math grades above where I was and as such, I took a math and English class separate from my peers despite not leaving my grade. I was never like other children and was ostracized when I was young. I was very bossy, very manipulative and had trouble explicitly doing what was asked of me unless I personally wanted to follow the instructions. I thought empathy was a societal nicety rather than actual thing, and thought everyone else had to work as hard as I did to make the right faces at the right time. That said, I learned how to not get in trouble and how to play nicely with others. When I was much smaller I had four dogs I wasn’t the biggest fan of. I used to stand on my balcony and use a rubber band to slingshot little plastic beads at them from far away. They had to travel a pretty far distance so they didn’t hurt my dogs by any means, but they would startle them and I found it amusing that I could make another creature feel something like that. When I was 6, I locked the dog in the basement and told my mom I didn’t know where it was. So i guess there’s that. I love dogs, and harbor no intent to harm them or any creature for that matter. They can’t comprehend pain or bad things happening to them so I don’t like to inflict negative things on them. But I did use them as a learning ground for how my actions could affect the outside world.
21) Tell us about putting on the mask. What fabricated facades have you put in place in order to blend in?
I show people whatever it is they want to see, and for the most part will just mirror their behavior, mannerisms and speech pattern. Humans are vain creatures by nature, and everyone loves themselves. So by becoming the person in front of me I am guaranteed they will meet me with open arms and will almost instantly like me. I’ll agree with their morals, religion, opinions, politics…. everything. Other people like me don’t do it this way, but this is what I have found to be of least effort for the most reward.
22) You also mentioned that you practice facial expressions in the mirror to blend in better. Can you talk about this?
I was told once by someone close to me that I was sadistically smiling at a sad event someone else went through and that it was “creepy” and they wanted to know “what was wrong with me”. I don’t want to come off as an asshole, even if I am one, so I have since then put in much more effort into making the proper faces at the proper times, though if you were to look carefully the way I emote is slightly off. I can never perfectly capture a happy or sad face, especially not an empathetic face, though I do a good impression. Its like a deaf person who can speak, you can tell what they’re trying to say but it never quite sounds just right.
23) Are you reckless and impulsive or cool and calculating?
I’m a delightful mix of all of those things.
24) I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone with a higher IQ. Or such a proclivity for deep and stimulating conversations. Care to comment?
By no means am I the smartest person on the planet as much as it hurts my ego to admit that. When you are unable to talk about feelings to the extent of others it frees your mind up for other things. It’s like where if you are born blind the part of your brain that would go to vision becomes reallocated to your other senses. That’s what I imagine it’s like not being able to fully express emotions; something else fills the gap. So I spend a lot of time thinking about what you call “deep” or “provocative” topics, and solving a lot of puzzles or doing something that challenges me and doesn’t disgust me or make me bored. Anyone could be this intelligent, its just that they funnel their energy elsewhere..
25) You’ve consistently made the claim that you are a high-functioning sociopath with exceptional, near-perfect genes. You’ve also acknowledged your higher-than-average IQ.
As much as I would love to brag about myself, I’m going to not comment on this because I logically understand I cannot in a humble and non-horrible way talk about how great I think I am.
26) Do you know any other sociopaths?
I know quite a few, though I am not close with any of them.
27) Is it easy for you to spot other sociopaths? Do you have friends on the spectrum?
I can pretty easily, yes, though I do make occasional misjudgments or mistakes with certain people. I don’t tend to keep friends who are like me in that way, mostly because I don’t get along well with others who have very dominant personalities. The relationships can grow unhealthy very quickly. Also dealing with them is on a different level than dealing with an average person, though they interest me as people.
28) What is the probability that my readers know or have come into contact with a sociopath?
The only time a person typically ever hears about someone like me is when a human is maliciously harmed by one. For the most part we just lay low, however the few rotten eggs among us give us a bad name. Look at Muslims. 99.9999 percent of them are wonderful loving people who would never harm a fly, but because of the way they are portrayed in mainstream media, they get a horrible and unjust reputation as all being extremist terrorists. Most of us aren’t terrible, but the terrible ones get the most attention.
29) You’ve made the claim that sociopaths are what humans would be if they had continued evolving.
I think we are still evolving towards what I am, not to diminish anyone else’s existence with that statement. We are in the age of technology where emotions are becoming a hindrance to scientific advancement. If it weren’t for morality, we would be a much more advanced species and would have more medicine and stem cell research. I think emotional people are to some extent necessary for society to not completely break down, but I think people like myself are more utilitarian in the modern landscape of innovation.
30) Are you a product of your biological makeup or experiences in your past?
We are a complex interplay of nature and nurture. But nurture is explained by the epigenome so…….
31) How do see yourself within the bigger picture? What makes you who you are?
My existence, as everyone else’s, is mostly meaningless. We are specks in the universe and what we do on this floating rock has very little impact on the grand scheme of things. I am what I am, and all I can do with the very short time I have is try to find some semblance of enjoyment in my brief existence. I am bound by my genes, and since all free will is an illusion, I will leave it at that.
32) You’ve spoken on free will before. Will you reiterate that stance?
I don’t believe we have free will. I think it’s just an illusion we all self-generate. We are a collection of atoms, responding to external stimuli and given the impression that we have a say in the matter. We are at the mercy of our genetic code, and every action from the day we are born to the day we die is out of reach from our control. We react to stimuli the same way a computer does. A given input has a predetermined output. This is not to say there is not randomness in the world, but eventually we will have the ability to computer simulate a mind that will predict with near perfect accuracy the way any individual will react to any situation. We’re not “special”, we do not “choose”, we are just spectators to the world around us and are at all times closed off. It’s like when you play a video game, you in a sense “are” the character, but you have no real control over where you’re going. It was all predetermined but the scenario you are set in, and as the player, you just watch the design play itself out. Through our own internal narrative we convince ourselves that we actually have choice. Its a more comfortable feeling, lack of control is too terrifying for us to be able to admit it is the truth of our reality.
33) Certainly an interesting view. It was well-conveyed for my audience and it’s going to drive the title, which I hope you’re okay with… “Befriending the Stardust Sociopath”. I do hope the content will have a certain redeeming arc to it all, but it gives a certain flare, don’t you think?
I like it. Why the word “befriending”?
Because it places a certain emphasis on the first time we met. I was completely unaware of your drastically different perspective on the world. We are going to open people’s horizons with this interview. That’s what my blog is all about: providing constant and unexpected shifts in perspective which allows us to continue expanding the world of knowledge before us. Even if it means being uncomfortable for a couple of minutes or even hours afterwards. At least it means we’re engaging in the conversation and thinking in the process.
34) So you mentioned computer simulation a second ago. Care to share your view on AI and Simulation Theory? Artificial intelligence may have bigger implications for our generation than some of us care to admit.
We will within our lifetime create an intelligence greater than our own. It will without a doubt change everything we know and every way we live. In all likelihood it will replace world leaders and will serve as a type of philosopher king, being able to instantly answer questions about how we should deal with issues, what we should look to next, and in what way we should apply ourselves. There is a chance it could kill us, but in all likelihood it will act as a tool for the betterment of mankind as a whole. It is not a thing to be feared for it is the path of the future. As far as simulation theory, I don’t think it matters either way. If we are in a simulation, so what? It’s our reality or it isn’t, and there’s no reason to live differently regardless of the reality. I think we spend too much time worrying about God and heaven, neither of which have any implications on our current situation.
35) On space colonization.
We either need to learn how to stop breeding or get off the planet. And I don’t think people are selfless enough to give up their families.
36) Is there a hint of truth to the Shakespearean view of the world as a stage?
I don’t believe there is an off and on to people, we are what we are. I think we spend too much time attributing our idea of “self” to what is below the surface, but honestly since what we outwardly present is all the rest of the world perceives, I think the superficial self is more valid.
37) Do you hope to grow into someone who is more authentic and vulnerable in the future?
No, that’s not an aspiration I have. It’s what I think other people would want of me – so I fit into their societal mold better – but I find I am content being the way I am. I’m not harming anyone or playing sick sadistic games so I don’t feel I need to be more authentic than I am. As far as vulnerable in my experience, when people learn things about you they tend to use them against you. So no, I don’t want that.
38) What are your dreams and aspirations, then?
I want to own a lot of land, have a dog and see the world. I want to have a job that challenges me mentally and doesn’t keep me behind a desk all day (the exact profession, I won’t name) and I want to have lots of free time to spend on my independent pursuits.
39) Do you have a trait, value, or ethic that you respect in someone above all others?
There’s a reason people go through your stuff while you’re not there, or why you go through their’s. Thats the only glimpse at the reality of who they are that you’re offered… short of reading a diary, but even that is a staging.
41) Do you think it’s possible that some people have fooled themselves into thinking they have true empathy because it has been so deeply engrained through their family values? Or is the perception the decisive label?
I think a lot of people who lack empathy believe they have it, and that the majority of people who are like me do not realize what they are. Missing empathy isn’t really something that prevents you from leading a normal life since it’s so easy to fake. I thought empathy was a social nicety rather than an actual thing when I was young, so I imagine other people either don’t really understand it or just imagine they have it when they don’t.
42) What do you enjoy the most?
A good book, a difficult puzzle, attractive members of the opposite sex, drugs, alcohol, dogs, snowflakes and stars. Also people being afraid of me and intelligence.
43) Do you have an issue with taking responsibility for negative outcomes?
I don’t think the majority of what happens is my fault. People tend to get themselves into their own predicaments due to their short-sightedness or lack of ability to think something through. I don’t accept blame very often, and very often am unable to see when it is that I am in the wrong. From my vantage point I don’t do anything “immoral” though I don’t care for that word because morals are a societal illusion.
44) Is there one thing in your past that bothers you most?
I regret a few past actions. I miss a few people.
45) Do you fear death?
That is a multifaceted question. If I am in a life or death situation, for sake of argument lets say I’m falling. I have the same physical reaction that anyone else will have: my pulse quickens, pupils dilate, mouth gets dry… etc. I can recognize that these bodily reactions are significant of “fear” but that said, there is a disconnect between what my body is doing and what my mind is doing – so in that sense no. The concept of death however I am not a fan of. I do not believe in life after death (though the reasoning for that I won’t get into here). I also do not believe it makes sense to be afraid of death. When you are dead in my logic you won’t be aware of it, and so worrying over dying in some far off future is really a waste of time in my book.
46) 3 perks of being a sociopath?
I can see through most people’s bullshit immediately. I have more free time to devote to learning and hobbies rather than idle gossip. I see people for what they are.
47) Do you think that narcissism is a coping mechanism derived from deep-seeded insecurities?
If someone is truly a narcissist, they believe everything they say about themselves. They love themselves as much as they do because, in their eyes, they are the epitome of perfection and have no insecurities to cover up for. In regular people, yes, people almost always either point out their own flaws in an attempt to get someone else to validate them, or overcompensate by developing a god complex.
48) Is there one final thing that you really want people to know about you or the ASPD population as a whole?
We get a bad name but everyone who reads this has a friend or family member who is like me. 1 in 100 people lie on the spectrum enough to claim the title. We are your family, teachers, coworkers and friends. Most of us don’t even know what it is we are. We typically won’t do you any malicious harm – that is the realm of the psychopath – and for the most part you’ll never identify us unless we present ourselves to you. Don’t let our existence distract you from living your life.
49) Okay, you’ve been vulnerable for my readers. Now you get one question for me. Shoot.
Are you a narcissist? I’ve always thought you were something but couldn’t place it. That’s not offensive so don’t read it as such.
Haha, no. I’m just a very sarcastic and talented writer.
50) In Closing…
To my readers,
Only when we begin stepping into other pairs of shoes for temporary perspectives unlike our own will we truly understand and empathize for the full spectrum of the human condition. In this way, we can understand how the experiences and makeup of others influence how they see the world, now applying insights drawn from more “extreme” perspectives like this one to the people we more commonly interact with on a daily basis. And in this way, we can significantly increase and decrease our ignorance – simultaneously – creating interactions which yield both sensitivity and truthfulness.
*A special thank you to The Stardust Sociopath.