If someone were to give me insider information I thought would profit me, and I thought I could get away with it, I'd trade on it.
If Angela Jonsson were to beckon, I wouldn't say no.
I feel no overwhelming affection for the vast majority of people. And I feel zero loyalty to any of the schools I attended.
When I read of a tragedy that strikes people I don't know, I feel nothing. (Except, in the case of recent terrorist attacks, when I feel anger against those who insist we let more Muslim immigrate.)
I often fake a friendliness I don't feel. Overall, I'm a little on the cold side.
I don't think these attitudes and actions are unique to me; in fact, they're fairly typical. But there are people who feel loyalty to institutions, and who care about strangers. I'm just not one of them.
I'm also not a sociopath, since I'm capable of feeling shame, and even mortification at times.
But the reason I understand sociopaths, and see through them, is because I occupy the middle ground, morally speaking. I understand their motivations, because I feel those motivations too.
If I were some sort of angel, sociopaths would probably still be a complete mystery to me. I'd be the kind of guy who, after hearing of a particularly gruesome crime, shakes his head and says, "I don't understand how a human being could do something like that!" Or, "That guy's gotta be crazy!"
If I were an angel, I would ascribe the best of motives to everyone else, and assume that others -- even politicians -- were being truthful most of the time.
But, I'm no angel. I know what it is to hate people so much I want to see them dead. (That's "people," as in plural, which makes me a sort of serial killer in my own head.) And I, like Bernie Madoff, would prefer for me to have the money than for you to have it.
Don't worry, I don't have the nerve to act on these impulses; I'm too inhibited. And, I fear the consequences of my actions. (Or, if you prefer, I'm just not man enough to follow through.) These things differentiate me from sociopaths. But the previous paragraph does describe how I sometimes feel.
To tell the truth, I don't even think those feelings are unique to me, either. (Although admitting to them is certainly not the norm.)
I'm past the age where it would make much sense to either take steroids or get plastic surgery, two things sociopaths are more likely to do. But as I said in a recent post, if I had my life to live over again, I'd advise the young me to go ahead and get the surgery. And, frankly, I'm still curious to see what I'd be capable of physically if I juiced.
A sociopath's stock in trade are often mockery and intimidation. I don't intimidate. But as to mockery, well, I do write this blog.
Again, if I weren't this way, I'd never be able to understand sociopaths. (Saintliness may be admirable, but it doesn't lead to a greater understanding of one's fellow man.)
But please don't think, oh, that self-righteous twit is at it again, trying to make himself out to be some kind of saint. 'Cause I'm not.
If morality were measured purely by honesty -- and that is one measure -- then I'd lay claim to being particularly upright. But there are a lot of facets to morality beside that, and on virtually all of them, I am, at best, average.
Update, same day: I've taken out the line about rape because almost all of the responses I've gotten on this post via emails from friends is about that. I know, after giving myself credit for being honest, it makes me a little hypocritical to take it out, but it seems to be distracting from the two main points of the post, which are (a) I'm not trying to portray myself as a saint, and (b) this is partly why I understand sociopaths. Plus, everyone's attention seemed to focus on, exactly what kind of rape did I have in mind? I didn't mean to turn the blog into soft core porn. And I'll take down this update in a few days.