“The psychopaths are always around. In calm times we study them, but in times of upheaval, they rule over us.” – Ernst Kretschmer
Firstly to define what psychopathy is for the purposes of this article; some experts, specialists and such talk about Machiavellianism and narcissism as being traits characteristic of psychopathy. Now although this is true in the sense that these “personality disorders” have a propensity to overlap with psychopathy, this isn’t always true. For example, not all psychopaths are charismatic, and not all charismatic people are psychopathic. Not all proficiently Machiavellian individuals are psychopathic, but almost all psychopaths are Machiavellian. Thus it seems that when psychologists, psychiatrists, CIA profilers and such talk about psychopaths, what they’re really referring to is “a dark triad individual.”
They use the term “psychopath” as a synonym for “dark triad,” when psychopathy in and of itself is more nuanced, comprising a mere third of the entire personality framework. When I refer to psychopathy, I will be looking at psychopathy specifically. Not the related but extraneous character traits that psychopaths often possess such as narcissism and Machiavellianism. These are traits that although fall into the category of deviant behaviour known as “the dark triad,” are capable of existing entirely independently.
In this article you’re going to learn what psychopathy is as well as how to emulate its beneficial aspects. This is relevant so you can differentiate (although not without difficulty) between someone who is very good at being an asshole by practicing detachment consciously (by practicing stoicism) and someone who is clinically incapable of empathising with another human-being (which is what psychopathy is.) There is one major difference between competent stoicism and psychopathy, the choice to care. In practice, a psychopath’s empathy switch is constantly set to “off” and cannot be turned on via conscious or subconscious choice, it’s a neurological defect (or improvement, depending on your world view.) A stoic’s empathy switch is set to “off” consciously but can be turned “on” or vice versa, the empathy switch is “on” by default and can be consciously switched “off.” The characterisation of this is of course dependent on the stoic in question and their level of competency in the endeavour.
Psychopathy is essentially the inability to empathise with others; it is both a gift and a curse in and of itself. It is a gift for the psychopath because it presents them with many avenues in which to act without any internal moral conscience or feeling of guilt nagging at them. It’s this lack of conscience which makes psychopaths feel somewhat omnipotent, feeding into their narcissism, because they don’t feel anxiety when pondering morality should they choose to ponder it as an intellectual abstraction (which is all it is to them.) Any pondering they do of morality is merely intellectual in nature, it’s not emotional in basis. They have no morality, but this doesn’t mean they don’t make moral codes for others. Psychopaths are amoral by merit of their inability to empathise. Their emotions are for them, and them alone, they are solipsistically emotional, in their opinion other people’s emotion exists for no purpose other than to be manipulated by them. They do not attribute value to other people’s emotional states the way in which they attribute an intrinsic level of value to their own. Psychopaths are amoral or immoral (depending on how you look at it.) To have morals you actually have to care about people and by nature of a psychopaths neurology, they’re incapable of doing this, or so barely capable of it that it is statistically insignificant in any decision-making processes they go through. Such a neurological defect can be shown by a low amount of brain activity on an MRI scanner.
Many people who read red pill philosophy are aware of the power which is inherent to “not giving a fuck”, characterised acronymically as “IDGAF.” A psychopath never gives a fuck, at least, not about you as a person, your well-being, your problems or the essence of your being. What they do give a fuck about is getting what they want by any means necessary. Symbolically, they characterise ruthlessness. They never care about YOU in and of yourself, but merely as a by-product of your utility to them. This is why in some circumstances they may conditionally care about you (because in such scenarios you represent an extension of their self-interest.)
Your perceived utility to the psychopath is defined by what you can do for them. Psychopaths value people who can provide them with an immediate service or a service that can be banked (in the form of a favour) and called upon in the future (to “use you”.) Thus it so that they want to safeguard you, their “investment”, until they can come to collect on the expectation of said service you will render to them. This is the limit of the psychopath’s capacity to care. They do not care for your personal well-being in and of itself; this is something a psychopath is completely incapable of. A charming psychopath can convince “their target” that they care, but they don’t. No matter how much you desire it and how much they feed into that desire, their façade of caring for you is merely a manifestation of Machiavellianism layered in charm. They are totally and utterly incapable of such behaviour. Anything you believe in this context is fanatical in nature, substantiated by idealistic desire and misdirection, not tangibility, reason or fact.
Some psychopaths are so cold it is completely obvious they are psychopathic, others are very good at cultivating an outward charismatic persona which conceals their true character. These types are the wolves in sheeps clothing, those you would never guess are psychopathic from mere interactions. It depends on the psychopath in question, although all psychopaths share the trait of being uncaring and incapable of empathy internally, they are still fundamentally different characters independently of that thus affecting how they choose to present themselves to the world around them. Some are very obviously detached and cold, others can be incredibly charming and warm (in order to co-opt, befriend and betray etc.) What one must realise is that the emotion a psychopath feeds you (because that is what they are doing to you, feeding your hindbrain) is inherently superficial, it is a device to manipulate you via your emotions, to gain leverage over you, to influence. To them it is a tool to be exploited, to you it is a way of viewing the world. You cannot influence their view of the world with the same mechanism (emotional pleas), psychopaths are attracted to and influenced by power.
Psychopaths likewise have incredible powers of observation and deduction. Your body language, your eye movement, the placement of your hands, your posture, your vocal tonality, they are the masters of discerning the strength of one’s frame. Worse to be a person with a weak frame that realises a psychopath is analysing their every fidget, glance and bodily scratch than be an ignorant participant in a psychopaths internal observational process where mental notes are made on your presentation and correlated to personality traits. EG: the likelihood of your susceptibility to certain types of behaviour and courses of action as well as a quick cost-benefit analysis which deduces your risk factor as an adversary to them. Psychopaths are social predators, they will use this information to control you and reduce your working effectiveness as well as in some situations, ensnare you totally if you’re not prudent. Their motives depend vastly on your utility, perhaps how sexually appealing you are as well as how much you’ve tried to shit on their ego (psychopaths tend to be egotistical.)
All psychopaths are machiavellians, but not all machiavellians are psychopaths. You can learn some of the traits psychopaths use by utilising stoicism to emulate psychopathic traits. In a way one could argue, you could in fact emulate a psychopath so competently through training that it’s difficult to discern the difference between you in your stage of completed training and a legitimate natural psychopath, however, you cannot neurologically become a psychopath. You will always have to keep on top of your emotions and stay in control, suppressing your ability to care for others rather than lacking that capability entirely. Things which are innate to a psychopath by mere nature of their biology you will have to contest, suppress and/or reconcile. Examples of this are the psychopaths inability to empathise with their victim’s pain and thus no inclination to deliberate over the morality of such actions or experience any of the emotional fallout associated with it, such as guilt or remorse. For a psychopath there’s no process for them to deal with they do something immoral because the emotional process simply never occurs for them. For a non-psychopath, it does, a stoic is simply a master of suppression.
Machiavellianism can be taught but psychopathy cannot. One is a vocation/art, the other is a neurological disorder. Although you cannot become psychopathic, you can learn skills which come naturally to the psychopath.
To a psychopath you are always perceived through the filter of “being a tool” if you have no utility to a psychopath, a psychopath will not bother you. If you are a liability to a psychopath and you have no utility, they will not hesitate to fuck your shit up. Psychopaths are the personification of the concept of “cruelness” because they are completely liberated from guilt and are thus mercilessly ruthless. As previously stated, they are biologically incapable of empathising with other human-beings and thus guilt is not a phenomenon they ever have to contend with. The ability to connect with other humans and feel guilt is what stops the typical person from indulging in their own amoral selfishness, it is the barrier between their desires and total decision-making liberation.
Due to their genetic (hormonal) propensity for emotionalism, female psychopathy is rare. In its place the average woman commits immoral acts by dissociating from reality in order to justify her actions, placating her emotions that she is “doing the right thing.” So although a woman’s behaviour can achieve a similar result to that of a psychopaths, there is an emotional component to their decision-making process. This emotion manifests through “feeling” and they have to deal with it, women tend not to have “an absence of emotion” like a stoic does through suppression but rather they are good at “coping with emotion” as in, addressing it when it comes along and rationalising it away to avoid cognitive dissonance. They do this by deluding themselves to believe in falsehoods that can be typically characterised as idealistic and biased in their perception of events. It is this mechanism which allows them to reconcile their sense of guilt with their committed atrocity. EG: blame shifting, justifying, tweaking facts. It is by merit of this mechanism that the average woman is not technically psychopathic, but seemingly capable of performing callous acts.
The average woman is very good at making herself believe delusion due to the foundation of her reasoning stemming from her current emotional state. Their current emotional composition can completely rewrite their internal narrative, allowing them to self-deceive and disassociate in a way that most men find remarkably difficult.
It’s ironic that, within a context of “red pill, blue pill” that the psychopath has probably some of the most astute, observational insight you’ll ever hear uttered from human breath. Their ability to observe deeply and comprehend the synoptic workings of the various elements which make up a targets persona allows them to weaponise the truth. By having such a strong understanding of the inner workings of a person’s specific circumstances they can mold the relevant knowledge to overwhelm a target with a tirade of truth. Truth delivered in such a callous and cold way that it borders on abuse. This is truth that the target usually isn’t mentally strong enough to hear or handle; kind of like “swallowing the pill” except the person espousing this truth has ill-intent and is subjecting you to everything they can muster, with the intent of destroying rather than assisting.
Psychopaths can bury the truth in a glazing of bullshit and reattribute the credibility of the truthful elements within their presentation to convince the target of the false elements via repetition and false appeals to the credibility inherent of the truthful elements. These are the “grains of truth”, not the elements which are fictitious or illusory in question. A psychopath will attempt to transfer the credibility from the truthful statement(s) onto the untruthful statement(s) in this amalgamated package bundle of psychological bullshit, and it’s for this reason they make exceptional gaslighters, going through a tirade of bait and switch, conflation, and trickle truth, effectively. They possess the ability to drive people insane because they won’t feel guilt for emotionally abusing you. This paragraph of text overlaps heavily with machiavellianism, but a machiavellian with minimal psychopathic traits cannot gaslight in a way that a psychopath with machiavellian traits can.
If machiavellianism is neutral, a tool which can be forged as a means of attack, defence or even mere abstinence, psychopathy has a distinctively aggressive edge to it, as by its very nature, it will cause harm. It cannot be suppressed or argued – it simply “is.” It is a condition, a state of being.
What does this mean for someone who isn’t psychopathic but wants to implement this facet of the triad into their life? How can you “utilise” psychopathy when it’s a neurological condition? Well what you can do is utilise the psychological abilities that the condition rewards its occupant without being restrained by the curse of being incapable of emotionally connecting to other beings. As I’m keeping narcissism and machiavellianism separated to their respective corners of the triad, I’m just going to look at the powers of perception and observation psychopathy awards as well as the self-control and frame control it grants rather than explore the other facets of the triad.
“Not giving a fuck” – Empathy, guilt, fear, anxiety etc – the crippling, limit imposing emotions.
To embody this trait a typical non-psychopathic person must substitute the psychopath’s inability to empathise with a non-psychopathic equivalent, which is not an inability to give a fuck, but a proficiency in suppressing how many fucks you give – stoicism.
Stoicism, verb form “to be stoic” is the mental process of suppressing emotions, not thinking about them, not reasoning with them, not reconciling them but simply concentrating so strongly on the emotions at hand with “nothingness” that you destroy the integrity of the emotional presence within your mind using sheer will. Concentration, intense focus, like a ray of sunlight refined into a narrow beam through a magnifying lens is the embodiment of mental power, discipline. Emotion, unacknowledged, without any facts or bullshit added to it will pass, it is simply a biological impulse, a feeling, one part of your brain sending a communication to another part that causes discomfort. By addressing feelings you give them more importance and power than they inherently possess via rationalisation. Their power lays in their potential to influence you. If you destroy their potential they become powerless, nothing but mere tickles, tingles and sensations.
If you are for example, as is common with many nowadays, anxious, concentrate on the anxiety, embrace it rather than pretend it isn’t there, concentrate very hard and try to clear your mind focusing on the sensation of irrational fear (which is what debilitating anxiety is.) In a way one could say this is a form of meditation, it is disconnecting ones thoughts from one’s feelings so that the irrational and harmful nature of negative emotions cannot pollute the thoughts and thus the actions an individual commits to.
One could well argue that stoicism can be utilised as a purification process of sorts, it allows one to keep self-control, frame and become the master of their own destiny. If you can overcome negative emotions, the debilitating emotions, your power as an individual spikes massively. Fearlessness is power. Confidence is power. These are things which come naturally in the absence of negative cognitive feedback loops and unhealthy detrimental emotion rampaging around in one’s mind. I recommend practising meditation, look up Buddhist temples in your area and see if you can go along and meditate with them. Weightlifting, additionally, is good in reducing the mind’s natural production of anxiety.
I have this book on my Amazon wish-list until I do my next shop as I was recommended it to be a good book on Zen/frame control: Zen in the Art of Archery: Training the Mind and Body to Become One
“The powers of observation – The ability to understand, discern, correlate or simply “connect the dots” based on non-verbal cues”
The powers of observation are not psychopathic per se, but anyone who has formal training in psychology based roles such as psychiatry tend to have heightened powers of observation; a critical mind that can observe and deduce to create fairly accurate deductive analysis. Manipulation does not know stupidity and psychopaths are always manipulative, and it is analysis which plays the part of providing data that the psychopath can use in decision-making. This is why the job of a shrink requires them to be able to comprehend psychopaths in some kind of tangible manner. In order that they can create some kind of evaluative report. Even if the report isn’t completely correct, they have to medicalise how fucked up the dark triad individual in question is and somehow rationalise an explanation for their deviant behaviour.
OK, to the gritty now, cold reading is essentially what you’re after. Cold reading is the ability to create deductions based upon non-verbal observations and the nuances in verbal communication, so nonverbally we’re talking posture, body language: what direction do they face, their hand placement, their eye movement speed, are they fidgeting or controlled, do they scratch or needlessly touch areas of themselves for no obvious reason (eg: putting your hand on your neck, bringing hands together to make hand gestures etc.), non-verbal but auditory cues include sighing, breathing heavily and making noise with the air in the nose, such as snorting. What direction do they gaze in, can they hold eye contact – yes or no? Who looks away first? The last one is a hugely important one, it signifies confidence and dominance.
Verbally we’re talking tonality, with word choice do they self-censor? Do they use Ebonics? Do they swear? What idiolectal mannerisms do they adopt? In the UK accent often gives away one’s social class and economic standing, with the better educated trying to hide their natural regional accents (you see this a lot in places like Scotland/Newcastle) by consciously changing their pronunciation of vowel sounds to sound more southern, whereas the lower class give no fucks and pronounce many things incorrectly, staying true to the local dialect/accent.
There’s overall articulacy (to indicate speed of thought, knowledge base, intelligence, wit, charisma etc.) and then there’s vocabulary, do they use simple words or complex ones? When they use complex language is that natural or a redundant effort to impress present company involved?
Clothing, make-up and overall presentation. What do they wear? Why do they wear it? What image are they trying to convey to the world around them? Is it a rocker full of tattoos and piercings? That types want to communicate they’re rebellious and don’t give a fuck, they don’t respect boundaries and demand respect. Is it a man in a suit? He wants to communicate he’s socially and economically successful. Black guy in a jersey wearing abundant, opulent and excessive jewellery? He’s peacocking to welcome attention and wants to command respect by implying he’s a force to be reckoned with both physically and economically.
Make-up is a bigger one in and of itself; it demonstrates vanity and a preoccupation with the perception of one’s physical presentation. Makeup is worn by most women; their looks are both their strength and their weakness as it’s their major and preferred tool for self-empowerment. Women who wear little to zero make-up and don’t look like candle wax just melted are the natural genetic beauties. Women who wear abundant amounts are insecure of their natural beauty and trying to deceive you by employing illusion to convince you they are more sexually desirable than their genetics naturally signify. Every time they see a naturally pretty girl, they get jealous because women actively compare their own to beauty to other women’s.
Through cold reading you will fine-tune your intuition to a point where you form heuristics that allow you to know things about a person without really being able to reason why you think these things, despite the high degree of accuracy said heuristic grants your perception. Once competent, your “intuition” or “gut” will be right the majority of the time about your deductions. The great thing about cold reading is it’s called cold because its covert, you can ascertain all this information, a plethora of it, via mere observation. You need not have any meaningful or probing conversation with the person in question (which would be overt/hot) – it’s a great way to reconnoiter a person psychologically before having to deal with them head-on. You can then use this knowledge to make rational assumptions about a person and employ it as you see fit in your future interactions with them. This will aid in decision-making, protecting yourself, or if you should choose to, influence or befriend the person in question.
I recommend you sit around in public places, say coffee shops and just observe people. Listen to people earnestly. Look at them closely. Eavesdrop profusely, don’t stare just glance around, use your peripheral vision to “look, but not look at people.” If you have sunglasses, great – you will conceal your line of sight, can be more overt but still conceal your intent. Observing how different types of people behave will only attune your ability to read people and discern things about them based on externalities. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. Like anything, you will have to put the time in, but desensitising yourself emotionally and improving your powers of observation are capabilities which both fall within the realm of possibility.
Everything in the Dark Triad Portal
Utilising The Dark Triad: Machiavellianism