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Sunday, December 11, 2016

How a sociopath makes himself feel smart

If a sociopath with an IQ of 100 -- someone for whom understanding calculus would be an impossibility -- is asked for directions by someone with an IQ of 150, and the sociopath points him in the wrong direction, and the 150 believes him, the sociopath figures that makes him smarter than the 150.

He knows, and the nonsociopath doesn't, ergo, the sociopath is smarter. (This is known as "sport lying.")

This is why sociopaths will lie even when they don't have to: it proves how much smarter they are than their victims.

That's a fun feeling, and one which is easily obtainable if you don't have a conscience.


Anonymous said...

Hi John,

This is something I've thought about before.

Say you screw someones career over by spreading lies to numerous people, the sociopath probably thinks they are pretty clever.


John Craig said...

Andrew --
Yes, exactly, he would.

And the fact is, sociopaths do that all the time. Which is why so many CEO's are sociopaths.

Anonymous said...

Here is a good sport lie which I did use decades ago, with enjoyment...say I am moving out of Portland, and I have five friends there, but I don't really like any of them...I tell each one that they are my best and only friend, and that as soon as I get settled in where I am going, I will be back in touch with my address...I tell one that I am moving to Seattle, one that I am moving to Springfield, one that I am moving to Susanville, one that I am moving to Sacramento, and one that I am moving to Salt Lake City... meanwhile I move to Reno and never talk to any of them again...

This still just seems DELIGHTFUL to me...

====Fake Baba

Lucian Lafayette said...

For some of us, traditional, polite social behaviour works to the advantage of the sociopath. It takes a lot for most of us to tell some lying SOB where to get off even when his is glaringly obvious.p

John Craig said...

Luke --
True enough, actually accusing a sociopath of lying will often result in either further lies or a torrent of abuse, and generally sin't worth it. Of course, the sociopath to some extent relies on others' decency to ply his trade, as you point out.

Anonymous said...

Why would they even want to feel clever? Is it because they have no other redeeming features? Or is it because of the Dunning-Kruger effect that also affects non-sociopaths? Or something else entirely?

I'm frequently made to feel ignorant and dumb. For me it's a good feeling to talk to someone brighter than myself because it shows how many new things there exist to enrich my life: all I need to do is read. Knowing that I'm smarter than a particular person doesn't bring me the same pleasure because it gives me nothing to strive for - nor the sense of awe when gaining new knowledge, as though a previously-hidden doorway were being opened in my mind.

- Gethin

John Craig said...

Gethin --
I think we all like to feel superior at some level; it's basic human nature. That's why those lists of dumb mistakes people make are so popular; they allow others to feel smart, by comparison. (I had to look up the "Dunning-Kruger effect," hadn't heard of it before; that sounds like ordinary narcissism to me.)

I doubt that you meet many people in the course of your everyday life who are smarter than you. You seem to have a much more open-minded, well-adjusted attitude when it comes to the nature of competition about stuff like that. Although I enjoy meeting people smarter than me, and I find the company of dumb people dull, at the same time I enjoy the feeling of beating others in various competitions, as petty as that makes me. The difference between me and a sociopath, though, is that I wouldn't get that victorious feeling from lying to someone and fooling them.