Taoist mythology, Lanna history, mythology, the nature of time and other considered ramblings

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Location: Chiangrai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Author of many self-published books, including several about Thailand and Chiang Rai, Joel Barlow lived in Bangkok 1964-65, attending 6th grade with the International School of Bangkok's only Thai teacher. He first visited ChiangRai in 1988, and moved there in 1998.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Psychopathy, or antisocial personality disorder, can seem enigmatic, almost beyond normal human understanding, but isn’t. Although its symptoms are easy enough to recognize, its roots remain unclear; undoubtedly, different paths cause similar forms of it.
Psychopaths commit violent, nefarious criminal acts, often predatory, premeditated and with a sadistic quality, without the slightest personal upset. Sadistic behavioral aspects often decline after about age twenty-seven, but other personality traits remain constant and decline in severity with age, little, if at all. A third of psychopaths remain criminally active throughout their lives. Mostly affecting men, individuals with this disorder seem to lack most normal emotions, and commit violent crimes without remorse or even disgust. It involves an inflexible, all pervasive, pattern of behavior which has noticeable roots in adolescence or childhood deviations from social norms. Sufferers show repeated disregard for the rights of others, plus a general recklessness, impulsivity, deceitfulness and irresponsibility. They’re usually of normal intelligence, able to manipulate others for personal gain through a superficial charm and deviousness (with a characteristic lack of remorse, regret or empathy); a trait of callous unemotionality feuls poor behavioral and emotional regulation, lack of empathy, moral poverty, propensity to manipulation and the violating of the rights of others. Their egotistic personality allows them no concern for consequences others might suffer due to them. This lack of emotion might be a temperament style of low behavioral inhibition. Generally, psychopaths fail to understand or experience the emotional significance of affective stimuli the way ordinary people do; studies involving autonomic nervous system and skin conductance show psychopaths responding less anxiously to fear-eliciting stimuli. Dysfunctions in the limbic system and frontal cortex are found when psychopaths process affective material. Damage in the cingulate cortex may be a basis for the fearlessness that makes psychopaths so impulsive and recklessness. They have deficient processing of unconditioned stimuli (such as a distress cues), which implies psychopaths have a sub-optimally functioning amygdale (a poorly functioning amygdala could also be responsible for emotive and cognitive defects). Abnormalities existing within the limbic system and prefrontal cortex could be a reason for the impulsivity and lack of morality that permeates a psychopath, or could result from a joint root, stem from the same cause.
Often psychopathy afflicts children of abusive families, or ones exposed to violence and aggression at an early age. Although some psychopaths develop out of relatively normal households of apparently loving parents, more come out of broken homes or poor living conditions. Exposure to violence, aggression and neglect could well lead to the belief that the world is neither a good nor safe place, and thus create a "survival of the fittest" attitude, with consequent lack of empathy and moral altruism. An absence of pro-social models can certainly effect the development of psychopathy. Attachment theory suggests that inconsistent parenting practices lead to poor attachment profiles in young children; these weak attachment profiles aren’t significant enough to create a mental representation for guiding future behavior. The psychopath, with no mental model for morality or interpersonal relationships, feels no significant connection to others. Inconsistent parenting, punishment and resentment may be salient factors in the development of psychopathy. Varying degrees of punishment may lead a child to assume consequences to his actions aren’t something to be concerned about, or, worse, that punishment is at best capricious and arbitrary, and may even be inappropriate, disconnected and indicative of an order-less, immoral world. There may even be a sense of revenge for not feeling accepted, included, appreciated – perhaps even for having been over-so protected and isolated as to be unable to earn intimacy. Caring can come to seem weakness, and to trust to be naïve, to feel merely to be vulnerable…
Remind you of any particular person, or group of people?



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