The disconnected mask of a psycho

No time for blogging for at least two weeks from today as I will be doing some travelling but before I vanish
I’ll make one observation about one short passage in Hervey Cleckley’s book The Mask of Sanity that has kept me wondering:

(p. 374)
My concept of the psychopath’s functioning postulates a selective defect or elimination which prevents important components of normal experience from being integrated into the whole human reaction, particularly an elimination or attenuation of those strong affective components that ordinarily arise in major personal and social issues.
…He will also learn to reproduce appropriately all the pantomime of feeling; but, as Sherrington said
of the decerebrated animal, the feeling itself does not come to pass.

Indeed, that’s my own inference as well up to a degree, as I think the psychopath can
almost totally disconnect his actual feelings (certainly better than a normal person), if he has any of them in the first place, from his facial expressions and such. This may be a quite different mode of existence as an ordinary person can for example lift his spirit simply by bringing a smile to his face while I’d hypothesize that the psychopath can not do the same due to his characteristic disconnect.

However, unlike some, I don’t really buy the hypothesis that psychopaths don’t feel anything deep down. Instead, I just think they tend to have atypical feelings (such as feeling quite possibly rather intense pleasure when torturing others) which are driving their destructive behaviour and which they have learned to hide in ordinary circumstances.

Maybe I’ll try to give something that would count as evidence for this sometime later…

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