I know of one psychologist who has none of the otherwise all too common tendency to reject as bad and not human those of us who’s emotional life is not quite like that of normal people. Dr. Robert is really unique in this respect and was one of a very few people who played a role in making my own wish to understand how normal people see someone like me become more than just a vague idea.
Dr. Robert’s view on what psychopathy is differs from the view of most others in the field of psychology and psychiatry first of all in that he focus only on the emotional aspect, not on behavior, but also in that he doesn’t place lack of capacity for the emotion Empathy as a distinct marker for psychopathy. Instead he gives lack of capacity to feel the emotion Remorse this position as the sole distinguishing factor.
I always saw it almost in the opposite light. I know most think of lacking empathy and lacking remorse as more or less equally important factors, but I never could take Remorse as a significant emotion serious and focused on empathy, which I believe I have capacity to feel.
When I found out about Dr. Robert’s view on Remorse as the central element I began to focus more on finding out why this one thing can make such a difference to so many people, when to me it seems slightly comical and definitely funny that anybody would judge a whole 1 % of the population based on this. I wanted to understand why, so I contacted Dr. Robert again and eventually placed a post on his forum asking if he could explain to me why Remorse is seen as such an important and central emotion.
Anybody who visits Dr. Robert’s forum and website will see that this is not a man who lacks understanding or knowledge. In fact, I believe he could do a lot better than several of the foremost psychologists who presently play a part in defining psychopathy. And yet it seems that my question about Remorse is not one that can be answered easily.
After giving it some time I concluded my question would not receive an answer and wrote the following:
Okay, I guess it isn’t an easy question to answer. How to describe the color blue to someone who can’t see blue and therefore isn’t capable of recognizing it?
But I wonder, is that really what this is? I can see the color blue in the paintings others create, and I can and do create paintings myself that look a lot like other people’s paintings with various shades of blue in them.
My problem is not that I can’t see the color blue but that I can’t understand it’s usefulness. I understand that it is important to others, and that’s why I asked.
I usually say that once you pose a question there is no such thing as receiving no answer. Silence is also an answer, if perhaps less specified and detailed.
Maybe another day, another time, I will somehow hear it.
And yet I wonder: Do I really not understand why others think of remorse as important and central? In a way I’ll say ‘Of course I understand!’. But it seems to easy to argue against those reasons, and maybe this is what I really would like to see a response to.
Logically there is no good use for remorse. It helps nobody, it changes nothing.
An argument would be: If you know how remorse feels the notion that you may feel it if you perform a certain activity can deter you from doing so. Yes, that makes sense. And yet it does not, because it lacks reason and makes you susceptible to manipulation.
Feeling bad because of an action should be based in the effect the action has, not in how you feel about the action itself, because in that case there should be no such action to begin with. Why do something you feel bad about? Why ask the question at all?
Maybe you had no choice! Well in that case there’s nothing to feel bad about, is there? If you truly didn’t have a choice it wasn’t your fault!
I love my brother and will miss him and not have the fun times we had together if I kill him, therefore I will not kill him.
Everybody have a better time if everybody in the family are happy and content. My family will be discontent, sad and moody if my brother suddenly dies a violent death, therefore I will not kill my brother.
Those two are understandable and sensible reasons for not killing my brother. That I will feel bad because I did something bad is not a valid reason, for why do something I consider bad in the first place?
If it is about choosing a lesser of two evils, what good will it do to feel bad because the lesser evil was still not exactly good? It doesn’t make it good that I feel bad about it!
This is still how I see it. Maybe some of my normal and non-psychopathic readers can help me with some input?