Tuesday, January 16, 2007
There are law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and those in other professions of public legal authority who abuse their power and others for the goal of personal gain, and for the emotional satisfaction of bullying and persecuting other people to varying degrees. No profession, no form of public office, or public institution just to name a few is devoid of sociopaths.
Sociopathy is chronic anti-social behaviour that victimizes others. Sociopathy expresses itself in varying degrees. Adolf Hitler, for instance, was known to be kind to white (and probably Japanese) gentile children he was not at war with, and also towards animals. However, he needless-to-say had a disposition to be psychopathic towards others whom he deemed as enemies. Psychopathy is the violent extreme of sociopathy. (The link at the bottom of this commentary has further links that discuss sociopathy and psychopathy).
Some forms of sociopathy, such as racism, can just be a learned attitude that can be overcome with life experience and education.
Sociopathic attitudes and behaviours can also be the result of a psychological trauma that can eventually be overcome with psychotherapy.
Other forms of sociopathy are biological, rooted in that part of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex, which provides us the ability to form and act out our morality and differentiate between right and wrong.
Some sociopaths are born with a deformed or damaged prefrontal cortex, or suffer such pathology during the course of their lifetime as a result of injury or disease.
Excessive white matter about the prefrontal cortex aggravates sociopathic attitudes and behaviors as well. Most humans have an excessive amount of white matter about the prefrontal cortex during adolescence, which is why teenagers are most prone to lying without giving it a second thought and taking greater negative risks than the average matured adult.
It is hypothesized by many psychologists, psychiatrists, and neurologists that those physically mature adults who chronically act out anti-social adolescent-like behaviour, which I refer to as Adult-Adolescent Syndrome, do so as a result of excessive white matter about the prefrontal cortex, which for pathologic biological reasons does not gradually diminish after adolescence. Further anatomical studies on that part of brain are necessary to substantiate that hypothesis.
Understanding the root causes and nature of sociopathy of course does not mean that individuals and society should be more tolerant of sociopaths who victimize the innocent. On the contrary, they need to be removed from society and delt with accordingly in relation to the severity of their violation of others rights.