09 May 2013

The Political and Social Continuum - What About the Outliers? Does Sin Exist?

As you may recall I have constructed this model to help me conceptualize the 'continuum' of political and social thought.

One of the motivations for this particular form was to help me to understand why those at the extremes can 'cross over' so easily from one to the other.

And in practice, the two extremes seem identical in many ways.

But I have struggled for some time where a sociopath or psychopath might fit in this scheme of things.

Today it struck me that sociopaths and psychopaths can fit anywhere they like, although given their attraction to power and control over others they would be mostly found at the extremes.

They can move about most easily because they are 'outside the continuum'  and by definition  are exceptionally under-socialized.   For whatever reason, they do not 'fit' within a social structure, but are essentially outliers because of their pathology, the way in which they have rationalized themselves.

They are a mutated form of the self-actualizing person. They may seem quite personally powerful, but inside they are hollow, almost histrionic. They would be products of broken homes, and have marriages of convenience, mostly their own.

The narcissists are often highly verbally acute and talented at using speech, with high IQs.  But the tell is their lack of consistency.  And they thrive in places of upper management where performance and personal responsibility can be rationalized and diffused.  They are corrosive for the long term.

And the same off model status might be said to apply to misanthropes and hermits, the extreme form of self-imposed isolationism. At some point their social maturity has failed. And then there are the many socially immature who have never progressed beyond adolescence most likely because of some trauma or lack of support for their development. They lash out in anger because they know something is missing in their lives.

Politicians and certain types of public figures can be tough to place on this model because they are often poseurs, in that they are motivated primarily by power, and will assume various modes and guises to obtain it. They are most notable for the lack of consistency between their public and private lives, their very disingenuousness.

Indeed their private lives can often be quite distinct from their public reputations, and remarkably so.

I have known many 'driven' figures who from a public face would seem to be quite successful, and often remarkably so. But almost invariably they are unhappy to the point of being miserable, and they spread their misery to their family and all that come close to them. They are broken but functional and for some their obsession gives them a remarkable focus. They are not distracted by sincere feelings and abstract principles such as 'justice.' People are at best trophies to be collected and more often objects to be used and discarded.

Do not get me wrong.  No one is perfect, and the definition of normal is broad given the natural diversity of creation.  And at the end of the day, we are all imperfect and often broken people.  It is how we react to these things that makes us what we are.  Some must struggle more valiantly than others.

I cannot give you a precise definition of 'sin' without reference to personal belief, along with the usual classical references, although I do believe it objectively exists.   I think the best way to explore this is to ask a higher power, sincerely and with some persistence, to show our own sins to us.  And that might prove to be interesting, especially among those who think they are without it and beyond it.

And although I cannot define what normality and sin are, I think I know what hell is.  To paraphrase Dostoevsky, hell is the inability to love and to be loved, even when it is true and freely offered.  That is the terrible curse of Tantalus, and the source of much anger and discontent and oppression in the world.

So there is my slight modification to this model, and my pass at practical psychology for today.