Within society exists a social stigma towards psychopaths. This is, in part, attributed to the media inculcatation of psychopaths as cold and calculated murders. These psychopaths are depicted as con artists, rapists, and predators who charm, lie, and manipulate their way through life (Hare, 1999). On the other hand, some psychopathic behavior is argued to be a necessity in today’s world (Mealey, 1995).
This paper will focus on the assimilation of psychopaths into civilization. First, many psychopathic traits are inestimable to society; this will be outlined for various professions. Second, emphasis will be on how the media and competitive capitalist economy propagates psychopathy. Third, socialization of psychopaths, how society can evolve to accept psychopaths.
Propitious traits of a psychopath
Coincidently, many desired traits, by employers and the military, include those that are exhibited by psychopaths. Utilizing the key traits of psychopaths can prove advantageous for a company and even a country. Psychopaths possess emotional detachment, which refers to superficial charm, egocentricity, and remorseless use of others. By means of emotional detachment, psychopaths are driven to achieve prestige and power. Although they are exceedingly smart, they require the use of others to achieve that status. Psychopaths also exhibit antisocial behavior, which include social deviance and weak behavioral controls (Harpur et al. , 1988, 1989). Through the act of defying social norms and not yielding to emotions, psychopaths exonerate themselves. This leads to tasks to necessary tasks being completed through the most effective means. Furthermore, these key concepts are influential in devising new strategies that impede progress. Evidence suggests, people possessing these traits, often initiate an active role in leadership positions (Kernberg, 1979; Emmons, 1987). For this reason, one could argue that psychopaths are natural born leaders.
Conversely, some argue that the antisocial personality of psychopaths is destructive to an environment where teamwork is essential. However, a series of case studies showed that many psychopaths operated successfully within organizations (Babiak, 1996). Babiak determined that the egocentricity of a psychopath outweighed the inhibiting antisocial personality. Therefore, psychopaths often pursued activity that promoted teamwork, as it was a way to add to their own prominence. Similarly, an observation of psychopaths, in institutions, concluded that psychopaths seek out relationships with people of high authority, in order to manipulate them (Doren, 1987).
Capitalism and media
The most successful individuals, in business, are those who most accurately predict what another person will do in set circumstances. Similarly, with psychopaths, they analyze how much they can get away with in a cost to benefit ratio of all possible alternatives. Both of these groups share the highly developed skill of manipulating others for their own gain. The psychopath lives in a world where it is never held responsible for behavior that is detrimental to others. Competition increases the use of antisocial and Machiavellian strategies and can counteract pro-social behavior. (Mealey, 1975). A company merger, unrestricted by conscience, highlights unethical behavior which is always the most profitable.
Social stratification and segregation reinforces feelings of inferiority, depression and general pessimism at the lowest end of society. This promotes the deceitful strategies of life that make the environment more conducive for a psychopath, in general. While an individual might begin their life in the lower socio-economic level, the media reinforces that lying or cheating your way to the top is advantageous and synonymous with winning. Another casualty of competitive economics is that many households have one, or both parents, affected by work or divorce. This has essentially removed the constructive interaction between children and their parents for the duration of the workday. With one or more parent absent, children are left to the predominant influence of their peers and the media. The undisputed prevalence of violence in the media and video games can desensitize normal children and propel more genetically susceptible children towards a dangerous mental precipice. In addition to the violence, some games are structured around a model of predatory behavior of hunting and killing. Children learn to associate spurts of graphically realistic blood with the primal gratification of wining a high score.