Do you know someone who will use any means necessary to get what they want with little regard for everyone else? Do you know someone who believes that they are a notch above everyone else but lack the resources or capabilities to back this up? Do you know someone who is never willing to admit their own mistakes no matter how obvious it is that they are responsible for whatever mishap occurred? Do you know someone who simply blames others when finally caught in the open about their failings and personal frailty?
Then maybe, you’re in the company of a sociopath. Well, I’m not really an expert in the matter. In fact, I am sometimes worried that I’m one myself but my psychologist insists that I’m not. Anyway, the questions above aren’t really a guarantee that someone is sociopathic but it is certainly a good place to start. What I cam to discuss is the existence of sociopathy in people, especially here in the Philippines and why we, the common people, often turn a blind eye to it. Is it because we are afraid? Is it because so many of us fail to understand the concept of sociopathy? Or could it be that there are more sociopaths in our society than any of us ever considered?
A sociopath is a person who cannot feel empathy. They simply find it impossible to put themselves into the shoes of others and fail to understand the pain of the people that they hurt. They are also unable to apologize because they cannot comprehend the idea that they can make a mistake. The idea that they are at fault in a given matter never occurs to them because they believe themselves to be perfect or at least special in some way. When criticized, instead of reacting properly, they attack the critic instead, refusing to acknowledge their faults.
Also of note is that sociopaths often make successful politicians or businessmen. This is because they tend to be very ruthless to the point that they are willing to betray their friends just to get ahead. In fact, for people of this sort, the idea of friends is a twisted concept. Instead of seeing “friends” as allies and comrades in their lives, they simply see them as tools to be used and discarded as needed.
Anyway, since we’re on the subject, I’d like to mention a few things first. Let’s talk about military personnel and police officers first, shall we? Anyway, I give due respect to all the military personnel who fight for the freedom and sovereignty of our beloved country and the police officers who struggle to keep us all safe from criminals and other social vermin, often at great risk to themselves and are often underpaid by our greedy and apathetic government. Unfortunately, based on a bit of history, even our military personnel and police officers have also had their fair share of sociopathic individuals. The same can certainly be said of the many terrorist organizations that now infest our fair country of the Philippines.
Tvtropes isn’t exactly the most reliable of sources but they certainly have something to present to us about the topic of sociopathy and how it can get really bad when people of authority have it. Anyway, sociopaths are already a danger to society but if they are given weapons of any kind and are given the condition or justification to use them, they will do so without fail and with often tragic or disastrous results. According to Tvtropes, there are actually multiple kinds of sociopathy in the military at least. These are often the people that make great terrorists, mass murderers and the secret police for a given government. Here they are:
These are the people who hide behind a cause to justify their crimes against humanity. This is often includes fundamentalists rant that what they are doing is for God and what they are doing is justified because it is “God’s Will”, even if what they’re doing involves shooting unarmed civilians or brutally executing wounded and surrendering combatants. The Nazis also used this excuse as they claimed that killing millions of people is justifiable because they are doing it for the good of the Fatherland.
For all my nerdy friends out there (no offense, I am one too) a good example of this would be the Red Skull, at least, back when he was still with the Nazis. He did terrible things for Hitler and always hid behind his master’s ideology to rationalize the reprehensible acts he committed.
These are people who are nasty from the beginning. They just joined the military only because there, they could kill without fear of reprisal. These are often people who are unstable to begin with but somehow managed to join the military so they can kill for fun without having to deal with pesky laws. Examples of this sort include folks like Amon Goeth who is actually the villain of the Schindler’s List film who was portrayed by Ralph Fiennes and Shiro Ishii of the Japanese Imperial Army who led the Unit 731 project which conducted inhuman experiments on prisoners and civilians.
A good example of a fictional character that can be included in this is Jane Turner of Valkyria Chronicles. Yes, her the giggling brunette with the eye-patch. Although she is one of the “good guys” her motivation in the war (killing enemies) does not speak well of her mental constitution.
The Unwilling Conscript
Now, it’s true that most people are good, or at least innocent. Mostly, anyway. But then war comes around and changes them. It makes them bitter and cynical and it changes them from the once sweet kids that they were into utter monsters. Examples of this include conscripted soldiers or children forced into becoming rebels as they are often unwilling participants in a given war. In the end, they are broken after being forced to kill so many people that they become desensitized to death and destruction.
I would have to say that Roy Mustang and some of his compatriots from Fullmetal Alchemist are certainly a good example of this especially during their campaign during the Ishval War. It was clear that a lot of them didn’t want to go through with it but had to commit various atrocities under orders from their commanders.
The Broken Soldier
These are the people who have seen so much bloodshed, they simply don’t care anymore. These are people who believe that “the end justifies the means”. These are the people who will use any means necessary to reach their goal no matter how brutal it may seem. While they may have good intentions at heart, their methods will leave you cringing in terror.
I can present Nick Fury of The Avengers fame for this. While he just wants to protect people, he will do so at extraordinary and often immoral lengths.
Having a sociopath in a seat of power is not just dangerous but is probably the dumbest idea anyone can come up with. A sociopathic warrior might be tolerable if enough people keep tabs on them. But a leader who is sociopathic will only lead a nation to ruin. Does Nero ring a bell?
So, do you know a sociopath in authority?
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