Whenever I can’t sleep, I turn off the lights, place my Ipad by my bed, and listen to an interview on Youtube. Last night I was especially lucky to find an interview with Dr. James Fallon that I hadn’t heard before. You would think if you were a psychopath, it would be a source of great shame, or if psychopaths are shameless, still something you would want to hide to protect your reputation. So you have to admire Dr. James Fallon for running around the country, telling everyone he’s a psychopath and basking in the attention.
In a way being able to admit you’re a psychopath is the ultimate status symbol; a way of saying, I am so respected, and my position in society is so secure, that I can admit this deep dark secret with impunity because I’m untouchable.
The interview was quite fascinating because renowned autism expert Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen expressed skepticism that Fallon really is a psychopath, suggesting instead he might have Asperger’s. But Cohen was slapped down by an aspergoid audience member who said that people with the condition can tell when others have Asperger’s and she didn’t get that vibe from Fallon at all.
In the past, I have argued that schizophrenia is the opposite of autism, but Cohen makes a coherent case for why psychopathy is the opposite of autism.
Cognitive empathy > emotional empathy
But in autism:
Cognitive empathy < emotional empathy
If I understand correctly, it sounds like cognitive empathy helps make you socially intelligent (you understand what others are feeling), while emotional empathy helps make you a good person (you feel what others are feeling, and thus care). People who are extremely high on cognitive empathy but extremely low on emotional empathy sound quite dangerous, because they have the social IQ to see your weakness, but are so heartless, they ruthlessly exploit it to their advantage. By contrast, people who are extremely high on emotional empathy but low on cognitive empathy can be easily exploited, because they want desperately to help everyone, but can’t see who will take advantage of their big hearts.
The reason Cohen doubted Fallon’s psychopathy was that Fallon stated the only people he ever physically hurt (as a youth) were bullies because he was outraged by the injustice. Cohen felt this was a sign of emotional empathy. However Fallon said something that everyone seemed to ignore which was that justice was aesthetically pleasing. What Fallon was saying (in my view) was “it’s not I truly care about justice, it’s just that it’s pretty”
This resonated deeply with me because just as folks mistake Fallon for a non-psychopath because he likes justice, people mistake me for some kind of political conservative because I like capitalism and HBD. But like Fallon, I like these things, not because they reflect my heart, but because they reflect my aesthetic tastes. There’s something incredibly beautiful about a linear relationship between IQ and money, there’s something wonderfully symmetrical about a tri-level racial hierarchy, or the idea that biggest brained people can afford the biggest house.
In a way I am the opposite of Fallon. I’m a non-psychopath who gets aesthetic pleasure from ideas that are considered evil in our politically correct society. By contrast, Fallon is a psychopath, who gets aesthetic pleasure from ideas that are intrinsically good.