A Society Where Psychopaths Have the Upperhand

I recently read a book called ‘The Wisdom of Psychopaths’ written by a man named Kevin Dutton. In this book, Dutton reviews a series of studies on individuals who fit the ‘psychopath’ criteria and provides evidence to suggest that these people, rather than inevitably becoming the serial killers we might expect, actually have an evolutionary advantage that may increase their ability to succeed in our society.
Over the years the term ‘psychopath’ has become quite loosely used and I doubt that most people realise what a true psychopath actually is. It has become the term of choice when describing an overly emotional ex-girlfriend, think the stereotypical ‘bunny boiler’ type that we were taught by the iconic film ‘Fatal Attraction.’ We tend to associate this word with people who behave erratically and engage in acts of passion due to an excess of emotion, however, this is the exact opposite of what a psychopath, in its truest definition, actually is.
A psychopath in the true sense is someone who is completely in control of their emotions because, technically speaking, they do not have any. Now, my initial thoughts were that psychopaths must lead a very empty existence if they are incapable of feeling anything, just imagine a life where you are incapable of forming meaningful relationships. However, if they are unable to feel love then the chances are that they are unable to feel emptiness so for them it probably makes no difference. Besides, although evidence suggests that psychopaths are incapable of feeling love towards another, many psychopaths throughout history have had seemingly fulfilling relationships, with many going on to get married and have children. This indicates that, contrary to what we may believe, psychopaths are able to form some kind of bond with another human, meaning their lives may not be empty after all.
With this being said, the more I thought about it, the more I thought that maybe, just maybe, being incapable of feeling may not be such a terrible thing. Although they may not be able to fully feel what I will refer to as ‘positive’ emotions like the rest of us, they are also unable to feel, thus be affected by, what I will refer to as ‘negative’ emotions. This is the point that Dutton seems to draw on in his book; he invites us to imagine a world where we feel none of these negative emotions. There would be no loneliness, no guilt, no sadness, no anxiety and, above all, no fear. For many people, it is our negative emotions that hold us back from doing the things in life that we really want to. These negative emotions are the reason we did not apply for the job we really wanted or set up our own business when we had the chance. They are the things that hold us back and prevent us from doing the things we truly desire.
Just imagine how many opportunities we would have taken if we felt no fear. If we weren’t scared of failing we would step out of our comfort zone more often and would be more likely to reach our full potential. Imagine a life where you did not fear failure. That is the life that psychopaths lead. Their lack of emotion enables them to live the life that they want to. Although this occasionally does lead to a psychopath turning to a life of crime, many psychopaths instead become extremely successful and fulfil their maximum potential in terms of their career. Their lack of guilt and anxiety often makes psychopaths extraordinary business people who thrive in cut throat environments. Their innate ruthlessness gives them the edge over those ‘normal’ people who are often held back by their conscience and their emotional attachments. For this reason, Dutton refers to psychopaths as having an evolutionary advantage over the rest of us and, in a modern society where one night stands have replaced loving relationships and wealth equates to power, I wonder if he might be right.

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Shame on the Anti-Body-Shaming Campaign

Every now and then we see a new campaign crop up and take social media by storm. We become flooded with images and videos of the latest craze as hundreds, possibly even thousands, of people participate in them with good intentions at heart. The latest campaign that seems to have taken over all of my social media feeds is the ‘Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover’ campaign which was started in a bid to draw attention to and combat the problem that is body-shaming.
As far as I can tell, this campaign seems to consist of young people posting videos of themselves with red and brown marker pen scrawled over their faces so that they look to have acne and a monobrow. I have seen videos in which people with perfect vision are wearing glasses and have even seen one where someone has got some kind of metal strip, possibly a straightened out paper clip, and put it in their mouth to look like a brace. After a couple of seconds of them prancing around the screen will go black and they then reappear having removed the pen from their faces to show how they usually look, complete with flawless skin, gorgeous hair and a perfectly made up face.
While I am all for a campaign against body-shaming, I must say that I’m a little bit confused about what this particular campaign is achieving. These videos, in my opinion, are doing relatively little to combat this problem. In fact, I would go as far as to suggest that they are contributing to it. I, for one, love that there has recently been a broader spectrum of what is accepted as beautiful, rather than the definition of beautiful just being reserved for those who conform to the image of beauty that is advocated by the media. Isn’t that essentially the message that a campaign against body-shaming should be sending out? That everybody is beautiful? I thought it was, so you can understand my confusion when I see anti-body-shaming campaigns pin pointing certain features and replicating them when trying to portray an image of someone who is meant to be ‘unattractive.’
The people featured in these videos have used the stereotypical features that society has deemed as ‘unattractive’. However, my problem with this is that it simply shames those people who actually have these ‘unattractive’ features through no fault of their own. There are thousands of people in the world who have bad skin or excessive facial hair, these videos are essentially sending out the message that these people are ugly. Those with glasses or braces are also shamed and labelled as ‘unattractive’ by the very existence of these videos because they are also utilised by the ‘ugly’ versions of the people starring in them. The videos highlight how we have been taught a version of what is ‘unattractive’ by TV shows and films. They reiterate the story of the geeky bespectacled girl who receives a glamorous makeover and turns into the most popular girl in school that we see in films such as ‘She’s all That,’ ‘Never Been Kissed,’ ‘Mean Girls,’ and ‘The Princess Diaries.’ Seriously, I could go on all day. These videos start by showing someone with drawn on acne and excessive facial hair, directly inferring that people with these features are ugly, and then finishes by showing the same person looking absolutely flawless, pouting and preening themselves as they show off how successfully they have conformed to the standardised ideal of beauty that society has created. To me, these videos come across as less ‘let’s fight body-shaming’ and more ‘look at how pretty my new MAC foundation makes me.’

A List of Things that Annoy Me.

1). Bad spelling
I understand that not everyone has the same grasp of the English language and that even the brightest of people have the odd few words that they struggle to spell. However, I just don’t understand how people are incapable of spelling basic words correctly. Let’s take the word ‘tired’ for instance, this word consists of five letters and has a difficulty rating of 0.2, yet I still see people frequently making the mistake of writing ‘tiered’. You are not tiered. You are not a wedding cake. You are tired. Just like I’m tired of your bad spelling.

2). People who try to enforce their opinions onto others.
We all believe that our own opinions are correct, however, the majority of us are willing to stay open minded and listen to the beliefs of others. We can then have a polite discussion about our different views and leave the conversation feeling enriched and open to new ways of seeing the world. Unfortunately, there always seems to be one or two people who lack respect towards other people’s beliefs. Rather than listening to your argument they will try to destroy it. I find this incredibly disrespectful. I’m very opinionated but I try to always keep an open mind and actually enjoy trying to look at things from another person’s viewpoint. Unless that viewpoint happens to be racist, sexist or homophobic.

3). Bad manners
If you’re walking through a doorway and someone is following you then hold the door open for them. If someone happens to do this as you are walking through the doorway then say thank you. Don’t be rude to people working in shops or in restaurants, they are entitled to earn a living without someone who thinks they are above them acting shitty. Unfortunately, common courtesy no longer seems to be that common. Manners don’t cost anything so please start using them if you don’t already.

4). People chewing with their mouths open.
I don’t feel an explanation is necessary for this one.

5). Slow Walkers
You know the ones that I mean, those people who amble along aimlessly stopping every few seconds for no reason other than to see whether you walk into the back of them. They have no cares in the world and they certainly have nowhere to be. This point also extends to those couples who feel the need to take a leisurely stroll through busy shopping centres whilst holding hands. These slow walker duos are especially infuriating because they are harder to overtake. A least when they walk in single file we are able to dodge around them.

6). The influence of the media
The influence that the media now has over young people, especially young women, is actually quite disturbing. Personally, I think that a lot of what we see in the media has an incredibly negative effect on someone’s body image. My reason for this is simple- how can somebody learn to love themselves and be comfortable in theirskin when our standards of what is beautiful have become so narrow. Girls, you don’t need bigger lips or breasts, we just need to look somewhere other than Closer magazine for our role models.

#angry, #annoying, #beauty, #frustrating, #media-2, #opinion, #rude, #socialcommentary, #society, #thoughts

Why I Feel Sorry for Paris Hilton

Although I did watch the TV programme ‘The Simple Life’, I can wholeheartedly say that I have never been a fan of Paris Hilton’s. In fact, I tend to categorise her with the rest of the terrible ‘role models’ who are famous for simply being famous. The whole dumb blonde routine has always grated on me but even so, I don’t think that she deserved what recently happened to her. I don’t think anybody deserves it.
This is something that I never thought I would say but I actually feel sorry for Paris Hilton. Yes, you read that correctly. I feel bad for her. Let me explain. Recently, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and came across a clip showing Paris Hilton appearing on a TV programme which I assumed would be similar to the American show Punk’d. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Punk’d, (where have you been?!), this is a sort of reality TV show that plays pranks on unsuspecting celebrities. Expecting a bit of a laugh I started watching the clip which shows Paris become the victim of a prank played by an Egyptian TV programme called Ramez in Control. I quickly worked out that the main difference between Punk’d and Ramez in Control is that the pranks on Punk’d are funny. This clip was not funny. It was cruel.
Paris is the unwitting celebrity who falls victim to the show’s latest extreme prank. The clip that I watched shows Paris aboard a small aircraft under the impression that she is going on a little outing to see an aerial tour of Dubai. Unfortunately for poor Paris, this isn’t the case. Hidden cameras show Paris sat on the front row of this tiny aircraft, happily chatting away to her fellow passengers, (all of whom are professional actors), when the plane suddenly nosedives towards the ground at the hands of the stunt pilot in control of it. Drinks get thrown around, people get thrown around and all hell breaks loose. At this point, not surprisingly, Paris has started to freak out a little bit. As if hurtling towards the ground wasn’t bad enough, after a few minutes the back doors of the aircraft open and a man, who unbeknown to Paris is actually wearing a parachute, appears to fall out of the plane. Cue Paris panicking and assuming that death is inevitable.
To me, a prank is a funny but harmless joke that is played on someone. The prank played on Paris was neither of those things. A prank is something that tricks you. It should not be something that leaves you crying and screaming hysterically. It certainly should not be something that tricks you into thinking you are about to die. I didn’t find the clip funny in the slightest. In fact, I found it disgusting. As I have already stated, I am not a fan of Paris Hilton. However, I don’t think that anybody, no matter how annoying they may be, deserves to go through the trauma of thinking that the plane they are on is about to go down. Death is not something we can be this light hearted about. It is not funny to fool anyone into thinking that they are going to die. It is unethical and just plain mean.
Once the aircraft lands, you can see a very shaken and still teary Paris say that she thought she was going to die. It has since circulated that she is planning on suing the company for emotional distress and I can’t say that I blame her. Reality shows are constantly trying to outdo each other by doing more and more outrageous things but this prank seems to have completely backfired. Instead of making me laugh at her expense it has actually made me pity Paris Hilton and, dare I say it, warm towards her a little. It has even made me feel a little guilty for enjoying the scene in the movie House of Wax where she dies.

Term Time Crime

It recently hit headlines that a woman named Jackie Turner has been summoned to court for taking her nine year old daughter on a three week backpacking trip during school term time. This story seems to have become central to the debate on whether taking a child out of school for a holiday is acceptable and whether authorities are too severe on parents who choose to do so.
The newspapers have printed that, if convicted, Jackie will be forced to pay up to £2,500 in fines and, controversially, will spend a possible three months in jail. I’m a firm believer that education is important and can appreciate that three weeks is a long time to be away from school, however, even I think that Jackie’s punishment is excessive. The fact that you can be fined for taking your child out of school during term time seems to be general knowledge now so I can only assume that Jackie knew being fined was a possibility but decided to take the risk regardless. If this is the case then I can completely understand why she was fined and, despite it being a large sum of money that she will have to pay, I struggle to sympathise with her. However, the part of Jackie’s possible sentence that I just cannot get my head around is the jail time she may face.
Jackie is essentially being punished for taking her daughter out of school because the government believe this will be detrimental to her daughter and her daughter’s education. Jackie is being punished for doing something that the government would argue goes against her child’s best interests. So, in order to punish Jackie and prevent any further damage being done to her daughter, they send Jackie to prison for three months. I need someone to explain to me the logic behind this because, quite frankly, I don’t get it. Surely, for a child, having to spend three months away from your mother because she has been imprisoned is much more damaging than spending three weeks away from school? It seems that the government has become so preoccupied with making an example out of Jackie Turner that they have forgotten what their priority needs to be. They seem to be more concerned about severely punishing Jackie in order to deter others from behaving in the same way than for her child’s welfare. This seems both illogical and hypocritical.
The possible consequences of Jackie’s actions have left hundreds of people, particularly those with children of their own, absolutely outraged and quite rightly so. However, the public’s ensuing anger seems to be misdirected towards schools. Many people seem to be blaming not just the teaching staff at the school Jackie’s daughter attends but schools all over the country. I have written this to try and make one thing clear. The school that Jackie’s daughter attends is not responsible for the sentence that Jackie is facing. The teachers who work there have simply done their job and enforced rules which were created by the government. The term ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ springs to mind right now. The school does not create the rules regarding children’s education, the government do. The school does not dish out the punishments to parents who break said rules, the government do. The school did not sentence Jackie, the government did. The school will not receive the fine that Jackie will be ordered to pay. I’ll give you one guess as to who will.

The Incident on the Bus

On a recent visit to Rome, I found myself squashed between two strangers on a very busy, very sweaty bus journey at around one in the afternoon. Anybody who uses public transport will know how bad the conditions on trains and buses can get at peak time, especially during those summer months. In Rome, it seems to be peak time all day long and the heat, (it peaked at 33 degrees on this particular day), only made the journey seem more cramped.
I had managed to procure a spot next to a handrail which I clung to for dear life as the bus careered around corners and over bumps, causing all of us standing passengers to jostle against each other. I really value my personal space and imagine that others do too, so for that reason I was putting a lot of effort into trying to remain stationary and not barge into those standing within close proximity. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the man who was stood behind me. Whilst everyone else was at least attempting to hold on and remain rigidly upright, he seemed quite happy to be flung around the bus and brush against me at every single turn on those windy roads.
I have this weird thing about being touched, basically I hate it, especially if it’s by a stranger on public transport. So you can imagine my lack of enthusiasm about the situation I was in. After a couple of minutes I was beginning to get a little fed up of him barging into me so I tried to edge forwards in an attempt to escape him. The bus was extremely busy so I could only manage to shuffle a couple of inches but I thought it should be enough to distance myself from Sir Barge-a-lot who had stationed himself behind me. My plan was successful for all of four seconds before he realised surplus space had become available and stepped into the gap that I had just left behind.
To my dismay, I was left even more cramped than I had been in to start with. I told myself that, as there wasn’t very much I could do about it, I was just going to have to get on with it and ignore him as best I could. I instead tried to focus on not sweating on the two French women in the seats I was now pinned against. I stared out of the window and managed to get lost in my thoughts for a few minutes before being brought back to the present moment by the realisation that the irregular brushes against my backside had become more regular. In fact, there seemed to have become a rhythm to them. Rather than being innocently elbowed by a somewhat careless fellow passenger, it now felt as though I was being purposely rubbed in one particular area.
Again, I tried to edge forwards and again, the man behind me followed. I regularly commute to and from work on busy trains so I am used to strangers barging into me accidentally, however, this had begun to feel intentional. My suspicions got the better of me and I managed to twist my upper body around to see what was going on. I was met by the sight of a scruffy looking man with frazzled grey hair and a look of fierce concentration on his face as he focused all his energy on rubbing his erect, but thankfully still clothed, penis against me.
I always thought that if I ever found myself in that kind of situation, I would have stood up for myself somehow, maybe call him a creepy pervert and threaten to rip his dick off, maybe even go so far as to punch him in the face. I don’t know, just anything to make it clear that what he was doing was not okay. However, my mind went blank and I couldn’t find any words to say to this man who was essentially sexually assaulting me. My ‘fight or flight’ response kicked in and to my surprise my body picked ‘flight’. All I could think about was how I had to get myself as far away from this creep as was physically possible.
Unfortunately for me, that was easier said than done as I was still on a very crowded bus and my options regarding where I could move to were somewhat limited. I edged forward again so that I was almost between the two French women I mentioned earlier, and again this guy attempted to follow me. The desperation must have shown on my face because one of the women suddenly beckoned me towards her. I assumed she just thought I needed more space and was trying to be courteous, however, when she moved her handbag to the floor and motioned for me to sit on her knee, it dawned on me that she had seen what this man was doing and had decided to step in. Never have I been so grateful towards anyone. This woman could easily have pretended not to notice anything untoward, yet she instead chose to let a complete stranger sit on her knee on a very hot and sweaty bus. In spite of the language barrier, we managed to get talking and we both tried to laugh the situation off, however, there was a serious undertone to our light hearted comments and we both breathed a sigh of relief when he got off the bus a few stops later.
I feel incredibly thankful towards that woman and very lucky that help was offered before the situation escalated. What I experienced is a minor incident in comparison to what others are forced to endure at the hands of sexual predators similar to the man I encountered on the bus. The type of people we read and watch films about but don’t associate with real life. Until we meet them ourselves that is. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same set of ideals about what classifies as socially acceptable behaviour. That day, I learnt from experience that there are people in this world who go out with the intention of preying on unsuspecting people who have done nothing to warrant this treatment. However, I also learnt that there are people in this world who are truly good. Those people who will go the extra mile and perform selfless acts out of sheer kindness, people who see something that they know is wrong and decide to do something about it. I urge you to be the person who steps in. We can’t always help the things that happen to ourselves, but we can always help the things happening to the people around us.