Claire -a Reader who doesn’t mind having her name mentioned in this Article – has asked me to say something about My Thoughts about Psychopaths and The Army. Would The Army be an Answer to Society’s Problem with Psychopaths? How would Psychopaths do in The Army? Are we, the Psychopaths, even Suited For an Army Career?
I’m a non psychopath and I was wondering if the army, special forces would be a good career path and a practical one for a psychopath? Would a psychopath have less of an issue with things like post traumatic stress disorders? If that’s the case, would they also make good aid workers? … Just came across Kevin dutton and the researcher with a psychopathic brain. Do they answer my question?
I believe Kevin Dutton and James Fallon (the ‘researcher with a psychopathic brain‘) do give the fundamentals of an answer to your question. Kevin Dutton is definitely one of the most positive voices out there when it comes to psychopathy, and he’s right about psychopaths in many ways being perfect for some types of army careers. The reasons will be obvious to people who already know something about what drives a psychopath, but let me mention a few things:
- Psychopaths don’t have the normal person’s moral and emotional problems with killing another member of their own species, another human being.
- Psychopaths crave excitement, a lot of us need to live fast and dangerously, and there are few careers that come with the degree of excitement and danger as does The Army (<– check out the link).
- As result of the alienation that most psychopaths experience via their upbringing and their experiences in early adulthood often means that we end up living lives that lack purpose, direction and consistency(1*).
(1*) – My troubles with keeping this blog consistently is a symptom of this. The fact that I am being coerced to some extent by the threat of going back to prison if I don’t keep writing new content (and I don’t believe that the psychopathy research team really needs my texts – maybe at first, but not anymore). They’re using their power to force me because they believe in a strict consequential approach to psychopaths because (they believe) we “can’t understand normal reasoning and must be threatened and the threats must be swiftly followed up with unpleasant consequences when we do not comply. – Obviously this approach only works to the very least of any possible potential, and I’m not the only one to chose opposition whenever possible (ref. the months when I very recently was back staying at the facility – a prison, in fact – because I refused to write).
The answer to your question about whether Post Traumatic Stress Disorder would be/is an issue for psychopaths as a result of having served in the army or special forces, is: No, it is not and would not be an issue. And this is one of the reasons why (some) psychopaths would do very well with a career in the army’s special forces. We (psychopaths) tend to be able to observe, participate, or conduct the most violently horrendous activities and go straight home afterwards and sleep through the night like a baby.
Death and violence just doesn’t affect us the same way that it does normal people, indeed to many if not most psychopaths having access to or being involved in brutal violence would make life – a life many of us find colorless and dull – very interesting, fascinating, even exciting – these, the very elements that psychopaths so often have great difficulty functioning without, and which further is often what makes the basis for taking to committing various atrocities that some psychopaths resort to – where to a normal person it is at best something to get through and leave behind as fast as possible (IF possible).
I have met psychopaths who served in the French Legion, and I don’t doubt that there are quite a few psychopaths who has built a career within the army as it is. The problem occurs when a psychopath has become maladjusted and don’t fit in well with society.
So there are some ‘but’s…
As I describe elsewhere, not all psychopaths are capable of living a lifestyle dominated by strict routine, and there are quite a few psychopaths who have great issues with authorities of any type (due to very bad experiences during upbringing and the results thereof which often includes a lot of illegal activities and ergo more bad experiences with authorities abusing their position of power etc).
But the main reason that most professionals put forth for why psychopaths should not be given opportunities to make a career in the army is that there have been some reports over time about individuals – who were found to be psychopaths – taking chances that put their own and others’ lives at risk, sometimes with catastrophic consequences.
Of course, my argument – and likely Dutton’s as well – is that these cases were psychopaths who had not been recognized to be psychopaths prior to their entry into the army along with the fact that the army has no programs designed especially for psychopaths. Yet armies and authorities all over the earth (f.x. the CIA, and possibly the FBI) have had great use of specially trained psychopathic individuals for decades; indeed, psychopaths have been used for certain particularly violent and life threatening types of combat – especially such where only one agent is chosen for a mission which is then designed so as to have the greatest possibility for this particular person to complete successfully – from the ‘dawn’ of civilization throughout the history of mankind.
So my answer, when asked if I think it would be a good idea to train known psychopaths to undertake special types of military missions as a living career, is Yes, absolutely. But…
…But at this point in time society in general lacks knowledge, and the military so not least. Even in the police force knowledge about psychopathy is largely absent, or very limited at best – which seems unbelievable giving the seriousness and necessity of awareness and education especially among those who works the most close up with combating criminal violence in society.
But it doesn’t stop there: With the exception of the individual politician here and there who happens to be a psychopath themselves and who have somehow got the idea of checking it out there’s also no real knowledge about psychopathy to speak of in political and governmental circles. And for the politicians who are themselves psychopaths you can guess what their likelihood of talking about their findings are. The word ‘psychopath’ hardly appear in the vocabulary of politics, and this is sad because these are the very people who might have the greatest possibility of understanding what those of us out here are saying and trying to get across.
In short: We need political support to start programs that operate with approaching the concept of psychopathy in a positive proactive manner, and those in power who do know enough to possibly support such a proposition aren’t likely to do so any time soon, whereas the rest – those who aren’t educated about psychopathy from the perspective that Dutton and I are advocating – will find the very idea abhorrent if not outright ridiculous, and that means it won’t be given the legal backup that is necessary for such a program to take off. Furthermore, when we’re talking about the army it’s not a matter for the individual state to decide, decisions will have to made from the top.
I hope in the future that some effort will be made to change that because it could be the perfect answer to many psychopathic individuals. I need only think of myself. It is very likely that had I been given an opportunity, meaning had I been recognized for what I am early on – not in the sense that I was different in a ‘wrong’ way and therefore bad, but that I had a certain potential – I might never have killed people in the way that I have, indeed I might not even have grown up to become so widely antisocial as I was. The way I was treated during childhood and youth led to me thinking of the army as another rigid way for society to make people conform and I never considered joining. I’m not sure I would’ve been cut out for the army as such, but I might have done very well in the special forces giving I had been trained for solitary and/or leading positions as an agent who worked with dangerous missions out in the field. I can’t say for certain if an understanding of my condition might have changed that, but especially in my early years I craved aknowledgment as well as excitement so I consider it a great possibility that it would have.
I have to say that I think it is doubtful whether such a program could succeed at this point in time, exactly because of the lack of knowledge and lack of understanding of the psychopath condition, but with the recent changes that have begun to unfold in field of psychopathy research – perhaps not the kind I am part of, but maybe even that will be put to good use down the road – I’m thinking of what I have seen among researchers such as Dutton and Fallon along with the more and more psychopathic individuals who are being given room and attention in the media – I have better hopes for the future than I had less than a year ago.