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Moral Daltonism - Erased

by name Tue Jul 18th, 2006 at 05:07:24 PM EST

[editor's note, by name] I've decided to erase the original article altogether. I think that the subject of psychopathy is worth exploring in its own right, but, for obvious reasons, Eurotrib is not the right forum to do this. More important, I don't think that the flamefest that ensued is worth it. Not for me and not for the forum. It was never my intention to provoke what happened and was said, and frankly I did not expect the level of unwarranted personal insults and calumny simply for posting on a 'controversial' subject - what is what political blogs are for, IMO until now.


Ultimately I decided to remove the whole post because of the apparition on scene by MarekNYC and the thread which followed his posting.

MarekNYC selected together some parts of my original article and from a subsequent answer to the comment from another user, and emphasized certain parts. From this he "concluded" that I was stating or implying that "all jews are genetic psychopaths" or something along those lines. Well, Marek is wrong. I never said something like that, nor did I intend to say anything near that. First, it would simply be wrong to say something that awful. Second, there is no factual basis to make such a statement. Actually, every person I've ever met who I've suspected of being a psycho, was not a jew. Third, I think that psychos have been sowed out liberally and equitatively among all peoples; I doubt very much that any special group has been given an 'extra serving' of psychos, so to say.

What Marek stated about me, his reinterpretation of what I wrote, is a calumny vile and malicious as they come. It would be in order if Marek made a retraction of sorts, but it may be too much to expect such a thing.

Poll
Truth is
. 1 - A rhetoric resource to be used as expediency mandates 0%
. 2 - A description which relates closely to the event or thing described 0%

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Accusing fellow Eurotribbers of psychopathy for almost any reason, let alone the ludicrous one at hand, merits the following response.

Smalahove (Sheep's Head)

Serves two. 1/2 sheep's head per person is recommended.

Ingredients:

1 sheep's head
Potatoes
Turnips
Salt lake:
6 litres of water
1,5 kilo salt
175 gram sugar

Preparation:

Burn the sheep's head to remove the wool and seal the skin. Split it in half vertically and water it out over night, then immerse in saltlake over a 3 day period. Finally, smoke it and dry it in an airy place. Once smoked, boil a soup with the head. The meat is done when it loosens from the jawbone, which takes about 2 ½. hours.

Served with potatoes, turnips and Norwegian flat bread; dark, heady beer and aquavit (a Norwegian potato-based liquor).

There are many ways to enjoy the meal. The Vikings would just pick up the cooked head and eat the meat right from the skull. A more refined technique is to start with the forefront and slice your way back through the teeth, then break out the jaw to access the eye. Gently cut up the eye to scratch out the eyeball (the eating of which is optional) and enjoy the eye muscle while warm. Other delicacies include the ears and the tasty tongue.
God appetitt!


The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Tue Jul 18th, 2006 at 05:26:34 PM EST
> ... "fellow" Eurotribbers ...

keep your familiarity to yourself, scirocco. i am not the "fellow" of anybody, yours least of all. you may as well keep your puny receipes and your "tip jar" to yourself.

and in the future keep out of my threads if you have nothing informative to say.

by name (name@spammez_moi_sivouplait.org) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 12:52:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You shouldn't post this kind of gratitiously inflammatory stuff if you don't like being treated to recipes.

As for you not being the fellow of anybody, I so can believe that.

The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 12:56:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me specify what I mean by gratituously inflammatory material:

But "Moral Daltonists" are different altogether. All the "stuff" from the previous paragraph, like empathy, proper human behavior, right or wrong, truthfulness, "basic decency", social expectations are words from an alien language to them, words devoid from any meaning and which can and are used in any way they deem will give them an advantage in a given situation. "Truth is but a rhetoric resource" is a maxime from catholic clergy circles which illustrates pretty well how they understand and "use" language.

[snip]

Now, this person, seeing pics of girls who probably belong to the israeli equivalent of the HJ painting messages on shells used to murder other girls some kilometers away becomes preoccupied with public relations of all things ? If this way of thinking is not behavior analogous to stepping into the blood from the example above, I don't know what it is. It is IMO also very revealing that Sirocco would mod this comment a 4 for "Excellent". I definitely miss any relation to empathy and human moral categories in the comment itself, plus a lack of understanding for this on Sirocco's part.

Before we start to assign labels to people, let me explain some things. From what I understand from what I've read on the subject of psychopaths, there exists primary psychopathy and secondary psychopathy. Primary psychopathy is a congenital condition, something an individual is born with. It is important to understand that "psychopathy" as this condition is IMO improperly labeled is not a "sickness" or a "deficiency" like mongolism or autism, as the label implies. Some researchers think that this kind of psychopathy is caused by changes in the genetic makeup of these individuals, and go so far as to label them a mutation or a "taxon", a different (sub-)species of humans.

(Emphasis added)

Your protestations about not having diagnosed anyone notwithstanding, this passage unabashedly suggests that at least one specific Eurotribber, MattInNC, as well as possibly yours truly, is a "moral Daltonian" and a psychopath. For good measures it goes on to insinuate that Matt, and possibly me too, belong to different (sub)species of humans. All of it based upon an incredibly pigheaded interpretation of a comment by Matt and a four-rating of that comment by me.

If you think that is acceptable behavior on this blog, you should disabuse yourself of that misconception.

The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 01:12:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Inspecting images on a blog, however shocking, is not  equivalent to being present to witness the aftermath of an accident. Reality has added impact compared to a representation of reality.

I am also as sure as a non expert can be that it is impossible to reliably diagnose psychopathic characteristics from one message on a blog.

However if we disregard the irrelevant personal aspects of this diary there are some interesting points being made.

Humans are unusual in that only one species of human currently exists instead of a group of closely related species. If psychopaths are indeed an evolutionary departure is there any evidence they are developing towards being a new species of human? Presumably there is an ecological niche vacant for a hominid species that is a predator on the dominant homo sapiens species of humanity.

Of course I probably do not know anything about what I am writing about.  

by Gary J on Tue Jul 18th, 2006 at 07:07:34 PM EST
> I am also as sure as a non expert can be that it is
> impossible to reliably diagnose psychopathic
> characteristics from one message on a blog.

no, you cant. from all i understand it is also nearly impossible to diagnose psychopathy even when you have the individual before you. there is a list of characteristics of such individuals, but i understand it is not 100% reliable, and would apply to jailed psychos rather than to those smart enough to stay out of jail. from the material i've linked and from other you'll find theu those sites the conclusion is that not even the experts understand enough about psychopathy to accurately diagnose it. the IMO most relevant characteristic of those considered psychos is that more often than not they make life of everybody around them miserable. as i said in another answer, the obvious blindness to moral implications called my attention in this comment clearly called my attention.

> Humans are unusual in that only one species of human
> currently exists instead of a group of closely
> related species. If psychopaths are indeed an
> evolutionary departure ...

from material i've read, there would be a niche for cheaters, scammers and other lowlifes in the 'ecology' which human civilization represents. if indeed they are an evolutionary departure from homo sapiens sapiens, then the future looks grim. there is a short series about neanderthals on arte (the tv station) which i was watching. they say that the neanderthal was extinguished by our predecessors (cro-magnon) because when they came into the lands occupied by neanderthals they brought along other ways of hunting, superior intellect, greater mobility, superior language which alowed them to coordinate better over distance and form greater groups, attributes which taken together converted the strengths of the neanderthals, like living in small families/clans dispersed over wide areas but not really communicating with each other, very simple hunting methods and primitive weapons ... into comparative weaknesses.

there is a great difference though, as i understand it from what i've read. humans (non-psychos) are the ecosystem of psychos. if that is true, they are dependent on 'us' to a far greater extent than lions depend on whatever animals populate the savanna.

by name (name@spammez_moi_sivouplait.org) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 12:33:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As does this comment. I'm not going to dignify your rudeness with a response.
by Matt in NYC on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 02:56:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Humans are unusual in that only one species of human currently exists instead of a group of closely related species. If psychopaths are indeed an evolutionary departure is there any evidence they are developing towards being a new species of human? Presumably there is an ecological niche vacant for a hominid species that is a predator on the dominant homo sapiens species of humanity.
It has been suggested that humans are the psychopathic hominids. That's why we're the only ones left.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 12:36:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So psychopaths are not a defective group of humans, just the most refined examples of the modus operandi of our species.

I am not sure I buy that. The altruistic, empathic traits of most humans also have a survival value for the species as a whole.

Perhaps the existence of psychopaths forms part of the genetic variability of the human species to enable it to deal with different situations. Usually the genetic advantage is in co-operation, so most people are programmed for that. However there can be situations when every person for themselves is the better survival strategy, so a smaller group of psychopaths exists within the general population.

I understand there is a difference of expert opinion about how the Neanderthals came to die out. The old less efficient at fighting model has been challenged.

A species can be more fitted for survival than a rival one, without directly attacking it. The way in which grey squirrels from North America have been supplanting British red and European brown squirrels provides an example. The species do not appear to fight each other or have exactly the same lifestyle, but for some reason when the grey squirrels move into a forest the other squirrel species rapidly disappears.

by Gary J on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 01:52:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure I buy it either, but one of the bigger mysteries in human evolution is the fact that despite the historical diversity of the genus homo, only one species remains.

As I have learnt more about primate behaviour I understand that war is not a uniquely human cultural trait. But humans can be genocidal.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 03:43:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Remind me how does one troll rate a diary?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 18th, 2006 at 07:19:14 PM EST

why, exactly, would you want to troll-rate the diary ? is it because you dont like what i write, or because i "misinterpreted" the comment of another user ?
by name (name@spammez_moi_sivouplait.org) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 12:07:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course our outrage must be for the fact that children are writing messages on bombs, but the surprise might be that the Israelis allow this out of PR concerns. I am always very surprised when I see what seems like bad PR moves by those in power anywhere. The question then becomes: Is it a mistake, did someone fail to catch this blunder before it happened? or: Did they fail to see how this would be perceived by those who heard about it? or: Is it on purpose, is this the message they want someone to see? Because if it is the latter: Who is this show for? What is the message?

And my questions to you must be the same:
Who is the intended audience of this diary, and what reaction are you anticipating from that audience?
What are you trying to say with this diary, and whom are you saying it to?
Did you intentionally read the worst you could into the comment you are highlighting, or did you not consider the possibility of a different reading?

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 03:12:58 AM EST
I wasn't going to respond to the diary at all. It does seem be missing the point in more ways than I feel like addressing.

However, with specific relation to the points you raise.

I have seen many pictures of allied servicemen from WWII painting messages on the bombs they were about to drop on people. It is not beyond the bounds of reason that this picture was principally intended for domestic consumption to rally those who "keep the home fires burning". To co-opt children into such a mise-en-scene would be considered more endearing to such an audience.

The sinister interpretation is ours alone as we realise what this is doing to the children. What  mindset is being developed. Unfortunately, that is what war does, the trauma is direct as a consequence of carnage or indirect as a consequence of propaganda, but it happens.

Just as it happens in our neighbours homes as they see views of shock and awe and go "great, bomb the f___ out of the towelheads". As we did during the vietnam war as we saw pictures of vietnamese villages being burned, little worrying about the consequences of what we did except when screaming burning children ran straight at the cameras. the military in UK & US are considered unimpeachably "good" things and we are told from an early age to venerate what they do.

War is shitty, people get hurt, people die miserably and in pain. Lives are disrupted through no fault of their own and loved ones die in the arms of their nearest and dearest.

If this simple, almost innocent tableau shocks us because we have become so used to pictures of smashed cities, blasted limbs and shattered lives, then good.

If only I could be so confident that the psychopaths who run this planet were less thrilled at the sight of what they can inflict and more chastened, I might feel happier.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 10:28:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
first of all, thanks for the insightful comment.

i think that helen has it right when she says that the pics were intended for domestic consume. picture the psychos who rule that country sending the pre-teen maidens to give the righteous soldiers on the front "moral" support, and national media proudly propagating this sh*t. that is what i see in the pictures themselves. i am not saying anything about the girls themselves but i think my part about it.

how and why these images got out is another thing altogether. i dont think the israelis comitted a "blunder" or tried to use them as PR. i think that they cannot imagine that this kind of thing would be found objectionable by anybody, and that is why they let them out. again, this is not a "blunder", but pure and simple "moral daltonism" as described above. let me say it clear and up-front: the israelis have no concept of what is aproppriate and what is not. they simply do not entertain any kind of morality, at least comparable to what i know.

your question re. audience. simple. anybody who happens by this blog.

what reactions i was anticipating ? mostly negative, and i think that my expectations have been met until now.

my intention was to try to kick off a discussion about psychopathy in politics, as i stated in the article itself, i think. i have no illusion that i'll ever succeed, but at least i will have given it a try and done more that merely preaching to the choir.

lastly the issue of reading the worst possible interpretation into events. this is not "intentional" as you say, but instinctive. i've also come to the conclusion, by experience, that reading the worst possible interpretation or intention into certain activities will more often than not offer the most logical explanation for why these things have the outcomes they have. i am aware that this way of thinking is outrageous to many people, but lets look at the comment i quote above. i said that the comment itself and the reaction of scirocco strike me as attitudes reminiscent of psychos. i am not saying that either is a psycho. want an analogy ? a couple of weeks ago vladimir putin kissed the belly of a boy before cameras. i dont have any basis to say with certainty that putin is a pederast, but going out of his way in the way he did to kiss that belly is, uh, awkward, to say the least, has probably raised the red flags of lots of russian mothers of boys in that age.

somebody else raised the issue of diagnosing psychopathy at a distance. i am not diagnosing anything. i just said that the attitude corresponded to what a psycho would do. i am no doctor to do such a thing, and i am aware of how difficult it is to reco that the person before me is a psycho, something one can most of times only qualify with an educated guess  in the aftermath.

thanks again for taking the time to read thru my posting. i hope that you've found it informative.

by name (name@spammez_moi_sivouplait.org) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 12:00:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm treating this comment as your tip jar. Have a well-deserved zero.

The world's northernmost desert wind.
by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 12:09:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
People are not very nice. Period. You don't need aberrations or psychopathy or "moral daltonism" in order to get absolutely atrocious behaviour out of people. Circumstance plays a large role.

Have you heard about the Stanford prison experiment? From their page:


What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph? These are some of the questions we posed in this dramatic simulation of prison life conducted in the summer of 1971 at Stanford University.

How we went about testing these questions and what we found may astound you. Our planned two-week investigation into the psychology of prison life had to be ended prematurely after only six days because of what the situation was doing to the college students who participated. In only a few days, our guards became sadistic and our prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress.

The participants in this study were college students who had passed a psychological screening. They were not monsters. Yet when put in a simulated prison environment they reacted very badly. So, imagine, what does growing up and living in a war zone do to people? The Israelis don't need to be monsters to do what they do, the same goes for Palestinian suicide bombers. They just need to be human. Solving the present conflict might require that recognition. Not to excuse anyone for the horror they might have perpetuated, but to be able to finally move on.

Handing out labels of psychopathy like you seem to want to do would implicate most of humanity. At that point it ceases to be a useful label for the few cases where it might be applicable. It dilutes the meaning of the concept. Just as calling antisemitic anyone who dare criticize Israel does to that word. Real antisemitism has existed, and does exist; but if you throw this label left and right it looses its strength.

Why do you think it would be useful to have "a discussion about psychopathy in politics"? Who would fall into this category?
What do you consider an appropriate response on the part of the reader to pictures such as the one under discussion, or reports of violent world events? Outrage? What would be the advantage of each piece of disgusting news on this site getting 10 or so responses saying: "oh my god! how could they??" Can we perhaps just assume that most people here, as indicated by their history of posts, are in fact people filled with sympathy and good will toward humanity, without them having to state it in every comment. Because if we can't we get in the that horrible PC self-policing environment where great care has to be taken with each statement to ensure that nothing in it could be offensive to anyone. Except, with your own offensive posts this cannot be what you are advocating. What's up with that? Could you perhaps chill out, dude? Might get your point across better. Okay, I am rambling here, mostly because you puzzle me, name. Why do you write what you write, why do you attack in the manner you do, what do you think you might achieve? Are you trying to win the prize of "first person banned on Eurotrib"? Because that seems to be the direction this is going. You are pissing of a lot of people here. What's the point of that???

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 03:51:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you are going to a) post diary entries diagnozing specific fellow users with psychopathy based on a laughable misinterpretation of one comment, and b) troll-rate comments that respond appropriately to the troll diary you have posted, then at least have the guts to post a comment yourself.

Be advised that I will treat you as a troll henceforth.


The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 11:56:55 AM EST
OK, troll-rate me all you like, it has no effect on me as a front-pager. But do the same to non-FP'ers and I will consider undoing all your ratings.

The world's northernmost desert wind.
by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 12:08:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
let me say it clear and up-front: the israelis have no concept of what is aproppriate and what is not. they simply do not entertain any kind of morality, at least comparable to what i know.

So it's the Israelis who are this parasitical secret species of human resembling psychopaths. Cute, very cute... and somehow sickeningly familiar...

by MarekNYC on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 01:07:56 PM EST
Primary psychopathy is a congenital condition, something an individual is born with. It is important to understand that "psychopathy" as this condition is IMO improperly labeled is not a "sickness" or a "deficiency" like mongolism or autism, as the label implies. Some researchers think that this kind of psychopathy is caused by changes in the genetic makeup of these individuals, and go so far as to label them a mutation or a "taxon", a different (sub-)species of humans.
This is actually predicated on gross misunderstandings of "congenital conditions", "mutation", "taxon" and "(sub-)species".

I wonder who "some researchers" are.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 01:13:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]

well, if you consider it somehow appropriate to destroy a whole country because a faction (hizbollah) of that country captured two (israeli) soldiers who had incurred into lebanon, well, i suppose that your conception of what is normal, moral, behavior, is IMO out of whack. at once sickening and not at all cute.
by name (name@spammez_moi_sivouplait.org) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 02:39:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
wtf?

Listen, your little theory about subspecies is textbook 'scientific' racism and considering your history I don't think it is a coincidence that the characteristics of this unnamed subspecies of parasitic psychopaths just happen to be the exact same ones that you'd see in a 1930's era 'scientific' article about Jews.

by MarekNYC on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 03:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It may be pertinent here that Matt, as I understand it, is Jewish (correct me if I'm mistaken, Matt).

I think perhaps Jérôme should be notified about this.

The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 03:15:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 03:28:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is Matt and there is Marek.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 03:38:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 03:47:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the Non-Sequitur of the Day™ Award goes to...

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 03:38:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What Marek stated about me, his reinterpretation of what I wrote, is a calumny vile and malicious as they come. It would be in order if Marek made a retraction of sorts, but it may be too much to expect such a thing.

Oh, the irony.

The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 08:14:27 AM EST


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