A couple of months ago, on an impulse, I bought the book The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. I didn’t start reading it until a week ago, mostly because I was binge-watching White Collar (which is ending soon and I’m not happy) but also because I was somewhat unsure of what to expect. All I really have to say is that I feel that I’ve learned something about people and society that I probably would have been better off not knowing.
As it turns out, nothing about psychopaths are truly ever black and white, but rather defined by a cloud of grey.
The author is a journalist who is hired to investigate a recent series of cryptic books being delivered to scientists all over the world without any explanation. It starts out normally, somewhat boring actually, until the author decides to delve into the world of psychopaths while trying to find the perpetrator’s reasoning, realizing that people are actually more insane than based off a first impression. He interviews criminals, CEOs, and patients from asylums, and goes into the world where the line between sanity and insanity is thin. And he came to the conclusion that psychopaths were egotistical, arrogant, and pretty much the evil of all human beings. Basically, they’re like the villains from the Saturday morning cartoons, only very real.
“I heard a story about her once,’ said James. ‘She was interviewing a psychopath. She showed him a picture of a frightened face and asked him to identify the emotion. He said he didn’t know what the emotion was but it was the face people pulled just before he killed them.”
However, he also learns that psychopaths, can in fact live a normal, happy life. There are many different degrees of psychopathy, which means that not everyone who scores high on the psychopath test will ruin lives. It was actually proven a little bit of psychopathy could prove useful, especially if one is in a high-stress field, such as medicine or business. An example of a successful psychopath would be Albert Dunlap, a famous corporate executive, as mentioned in the book (which you should definitely read).
So the conclusion I’ve come to, besides is that everyone, not only diagnosed psychopaths, are actually a little bit insane. Which is alright because that’s what makes everyone unique in their own ways.
“Suddenly, madness was everywhere, and I was determined to learn about the impact it had on the way society evolves. I’ve always believed society to be a fundamentally rational thing, but what if it isn’t? What if it is built on insanity?”