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    Pathological Thinking: A Response Of The Season Of Love To The Current Outrage
    By Sascha Vongehr | December 19th 2012 10:41 PM | 33 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Sascha

    Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙] studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory)...

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    Outrage about another school shooting does its part to increase vigilance against the odd ones out, the misfits soiling the norm of usual irrationality, the a-socials, the depressed, the autistic, the evil psychopaths.  Gate keeping HR departments homogenize the workforce.  “Professionalism” cleans academia of all that does not perform under the marketing paradigm.

    However, normalcy is the problem!  Pathological thinking is necessary for seeing solutions!  At this time of year, I desire to express my love:  It is regrettable that the killer had to die.  We should have saved him to show forgiveness, to let everybody see our compassion, also in order to understand him, and thus ourselves.

    Consider a complex system that has one parameter, call it “IQ”, perhaps three standard deviations out of the usual average for such systems.  If a highly integrated system like a brain happens to be so abnormal on one parameter, it is highly likely that it is also pathological on other parameters.  How many of those who seem normal just use their IQ to fake it?  Weeding out the weird among us merely selects against the last remnants of honesty!  A society based on deception is thus stabilized.

    Evolution (biological, social) “made” our brains to perform specific rationalizations.  Our minds use primarily thus selected emotions and beliefs in order to cognitively react (“think”).  Normal brains are not made to do science or seek honest truth.  One of their main tasks is to deceive us!  What can be reasonably called some sort of deeper “truth” is not intrinsically difficult.  Instead, it is evolutionarily self-destructive, not good for “reproduction”, for (its own) procreation.  IQ is insufficient!  Insight into deep questions needs pathological brains!  What makes me able to walk into those scary, dark issues and entertain “crazy” enough ideas (yet not just irrationally loony ones), is those very character traits that make normal people hate me.  We are the high and medium functioning on the autism spectrum.  We are those with psychopathic tendencies, those able to think beyond the narrow constraints, the anti-social,the pervert thoughts, the unacceptable ones.  If you think we have any desire to change into normal people, let me respond with a big hearty laughter.

    Victims of normalcy – my love goes out to them. Source

    Killing children maximizes the suffering of adults.  Burn his house, but insurance may turn it into good fortune.  Kill his wife, and he enjoys a new one soon, the previous all but forgotten!  But kill their child, and suffering will be immense.  Why want suffering?  Because revenge is taught in every movie, almost every decision we see those do who are given to us as successful role models; to punish via inflicting pain and to be proud of such.  That is not psychopathic; it is the norm!

    They learned the lessons, the only way they could, about not actually caring, about punishment and revenge instead of prevention, about mass imprisoning innocent and forbidding what should be available to all in order to help them cope with society’s stressful idiocy.  They soaked up all the norms but were not social enough to grasp the insincerity behind them – how are those on the autism spectrum supposed to know that your norms are not meant to be taken seriously, that they are just a façade?  Took me 30 years to figure that one, and I am not exactly stupid.

    Happy holidays, Anders.

    They applied what they learned, and killed your children, instead of rejecting society’s idiotic norms, say about human children being special while all other animals are made to suffer.  Criticizing society's norms is what losers do, so it is taught, and losers are losers, so they agreed.  Everybody must get their 15minutes, must be an individual.  They did as told and succeeded, and you envy them.  Revenge ethics in a corrupted, individualistic rat-race society – if you thought you saw the last shooting rampage or biggest mass killing, think again!

    There will be little progress on fundamental scientific questions or social problems without the embracing of pathological thought.  I only present my readers with the most disgusting, sickest, suicidal, perverted thoughts.  You are welcome!

    Comments

    Gerhard Adam
    You always take the difficult topics.  Unfortunately, you're right in that we've become so accustomed to living with the ongoing cognitive dissonance of our social dialogue and existence, that defining "normal" invites precisely these sorts of pathologies.
    Mundus vult decipi
    John Hasenkam
     One of their main tasks is to deceive us! 


    Recently I read Robert Triver's Deceit and Self Deception: How we fool ourselves to better fool the world. He addresses how deception is inherent in us. We are not deceiving ourselves, we are that deceit. The experience of "I" is a lie. 


    In the movie The Big Chill the character played by Jeff Goldblum makes this claim: you can go without sex for a weeek but trying going without a rationalisation for that long. We are made to lie because we are lies. 


    Carl Jung once wrote that it is a bad thing to recognise at too young an age the world really is something of a stage, that we are wearing personas and it is all a bit silly in certain ways. Jung's point was that to realise the quaint absurdity of being human at too young age could leave one so cynical and alienated as to question the very point of it all. So in this the most educated of all human generations, where so many so young can see via the internet that there is so much lying in the world it is perhaps not so surprising those already alienated for other reasons go postal. 


    Good post Sascha. Thaniks. 























    “The emotions aren't always immediately subject to reason, but they are always immediately subject to action” – William James

    IMO you are over-analyzing in a pseudo-intellectual fashion the mere fact that the attacker was a coward killer who chose kids because they are an easy target and could maximize his gain, not maximize the pain of others as you falsely claim with no evidence whatsoever.

    Your approach to this issue is dangerous. High IQ people resort to white collar crime rather than to killings. It is low IQ people that resort to killings. An IQ test along with a psychiatric test could have prevented this massacre. Instead, you are trying to blame society. You are a fool and a pseudo-intellectual. Communists argued the same ideas but they also had one person monitoring every other person so that their actions can be controlled. Modern communists like you keep the same ideas without the protection.

    Gerhard Adam
    High IQ people resort to white collar crime rather than to killings.
    Wow ... talk about no evidence.  I would suggest that you do a bit of research before simply blasting away with your own societal bias'.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Why do we have to endure someone whose proud claim is to be an autistic psychopath 1 pontificating about what goes on in someone else's mind? :)  

    Merry Christmas, Sascha.
     

    1 Piffling twaddle of course, but I'm playing along.
     

    vongehr
    Well, that is the point, Derek, I don't and instead produce the so called "unimaginable" in my own mind, and no longer care much about whether most people cannot or do but refuse or deny it - as that is almost verification transcendent (can they not because of the urge to deny?).  If that is psychopathic, so be it; I am willing to take on the next fashionable label after they took Asbergers out of the books - hey, CEO's are known to be psychopathic.  All that counts for me is to perhaps reach one person preparing the next super-kid-kill and thinking "well, there is at least one guy who understands me, and that dude seriously tells me to smoke a fucking joint instead, rather than preaching the usual shit that got me here in the first place".  And don't nobody think for a second that I want to save children.  I don't like children or normal people; they bore me and go me on my nerves!  I just want to get a new buddy with whom to destroy the whole world in one go, muhahahaharrrr.

    BTW, thanks once again for your nice British lessons - I like "piffling twaddle".
    Thor Russell
    No you have it all wrong you you ... "unmitigated buffoon" (Derek's best IMO)
    You often use the higher strata/entrapment viewpoint, so mass killers are just like cells trying to perform apoptosis. However they don't even manage that properly and destroy others in the process. They aren't significant like cancer as they are too self limiting. For something better at  spreading but not destroying itself you need to look closer to home. Also a psychiatrist calling a CEO psychopathic could be thought of as like a red blood cell calling a neuron weird. 
    Thor Russell
    vongehr
    I certainly never said that mass killers perform the equivalent of apoptosis.
    John Hasenkam
    High IQ people resort to white collar crime rather than to killings.


    The Unabomber was so smart that one of the referees for his Ph. D stated perhaps only 10 people in the USA could understand it. Loughner was doing a Ph. D in neuroscience. 


    Low IQ is associated with more crime if only because low IQ makes you a loser. We are now approaching a situation where even the highly educated can face employment problems. I'd rather a dumbo go postal than a bright go postal but I think we're going to see more brights going postal as more graduates end up driving taxis after 8 years of tertiary education. 


    Consider ...


    While no firm profile of school shooters has emerged, Ferguson pointed to some common characteristics, including a long history of anti-social traits, mental health problems such as depression or psychosis, and the perception that others are to blame for their problems, that "society didn't give me a chance."



    So it is perhaps no coincidence that this recent rash of killings has emerged in the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. 
     An IQ test along with a psychiatric test could have prevented this massacre
    Perhaps you should read about the work of Rosenhan and so appreciate the difficulties inherent in psychiatric diagnosis. We can no more predict violence against others than we can predict suicide. The USA has a culture that appears to be making people unwell. Huge prescriptions rates for various psychiatric drugs, prescription opioid abuse, so many children on antipsychotics. Something strange is going on over there big brother and here in Aus we want nothing to do with it. You're on your own, you lot work it out. 









    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    The USA has a culture that appears to be making people unwell. Huge prescriptions rates for various psychiatric drugs, prescription opioid abuse, so many children on antipsychotics. Something strange is going on over there big brother and here in Aus we want nothing to do with it. You're on your own, you lot work it out.
    There are plenty of mentally ill people attacking innocent victims all around the world John, not just America.  On the same day as the Connecticut school massacre in China, a man stabbed 22 children at a school with a knife. The difference is that those children in China survived the knife attacks. Also, its not so long ago that Australian culture produced mass murderers like Martin Bryant who pleaded guilty to murdering 35 people and injuring 21 others in the Port Arthur massacre along with :-
    • Backpacker murders - Ivan Milat killed seven international backpackers in the early 1990s, and is widely suspected of killing 30 more young adults.
    • Melbourne gangland killings - 36 underworld figures murdered so far in gang related violence between 1998 and 2010.
    • Snowtown murders - 11 murders committed from 1992 until 1999.
    • John Wayne Glover - murders of six elderly women on Sydney's North Shore over a fourteen month period in 1989-90
    The good news is that the political aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre was that Australian gun laws were finally tightened and thousands of unlicensed guns were handed in to the authorities :-
    Australian State and Territory governments placed tight restrictions on semi-automatic centre-fire rifles, high-capacity repeating shotguns and high-capacity rifle magazines. In addition to this, heavy limitations were also put into place on low-capacity repeating shotguns and rim-fire semi-automatic rifles. The Tasmanian state government attempted to ignore this directive but was threatened with a number of penalties from the federal government.Though this resulted in stirring controversy, opposition to the new laws was overcome by media reporting of the massacre and mounting public opinion in the wake of the shootings (see Gun politics in Australia for more information on the 1996 legislation).
    Since these gun restrictions were put in place we don't seem to have had nearly so many gun massacres in Australia.

    The subject as to why people become so alienated and want to commit these crimes is however one that needs a lot more study. I'm inclined to agree with Sascha that society gives very mixed messages and that we shouldn't be surprised by these outcomes. 'Revenge' is repeatedly taught in many popular movies and television series by societal role models, who are proud to punish by inflicting pain and who are not portrayed as psychopathic but as the norm. The drug wars and mass imprisonment of societies often most vulnerable and mentally ill people is also idiotic, as is the revolving door mental health policy.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    UvaE
    There are plenty of mentally ill people attacking innocent victims all around the world 
    They're not necessarily mentally ill. Although this study focuses only on adolescents (less than or equal to 19 years of age) who killed at least three victims, only 23% had a psychiatric history, and only 2% were judged to have been psychotic at the time of their murders.


    When I came across this, I said to myself, well maybe they were still young and psychosis would eventually have surfaced anyway. But apparently:

    The average age of psychosis onset is 10 ± 2 years, and clinically, this cohort resembles chronic, severe, and treatment refractory adult schizophrenia cases and is neurobiologically continuous with the adult illness.

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    They're not necessarily mentally ill. 
    Really? What are they then if they are not mentally ill?
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    UvaE
    Really? What are they then if they are not mentally ill?
    They are human with reprehensible streaks in them, people who for the most part have chosen to resort to violence as an attempt to assert themselves and assume control. An awful lot of people have done that throughout history. But when they act in a similar fashion as part of groups, few question their sanity. As morally reproachable as organizational violence is, it shouldn't be branded as an illness either.

    When you use the "illness" label, it suggests that it's a condition that could return to something less threatening after some form of treatment. No such therapy exists. 

    Gerhard Adam
    Huge prescriptions rates for various psychiatric drugs, prescription opioid abuse, so many children on antipsychotics.
    Yes, and the problem is made worse by leaving the care up to parents, who are often ignorant of the effects of these drugs.  In some cases, parents may increase the dosage or mix drugs simply in an effort to "do something", because their child is out of control.  So, while there may be prescriptions, how those are actually managed and administered is often done without medical supervision, and the problem can be made worse without anyone being particularly aware.


    Mundus vult decipi
    vongehr
    parents may increase the dosage or mix drugs simply in an effort to "do something"
    That is what the medical profession does, too.  Ask anybody with depression for example - it will always be a story about trying some lithium with prozac, then perhaps increasing/dropping this or that, ... for years, until hopefully something works for the patient, same with ADHD or any other affliction.
    UvaE
    it will always be a story about trying some lithium with prozac, then perhaps increasing/dropping this or that,
    It's because they are generally clueless about the biochemical idiosyncrasies---the specific mechanisms-- involved. How most collect their behavioral data in between all those trials of "drop this/increase that" is also far from an exact science.
    True but if an exact science actually existed I dare say psychiatrists would mug up on it. The fact is, a system with a quintillion logical connections is likely to go wrong in rather complex ways. It is quite surprising that any psychiatric drugs with tolerable side effects exist at all  - you wouldn't get away with treating a recalcitrant PC in the same way: Spell-checker a bit wonky? Increase the 5 volt rail to 48 volts! 
    vongehr
    You don't treat depression by increasing blood pressure tenfold.  However, you have an important thought, but the conclusion may be different.  We fool ourselves that our psychological state is something really sophisticated, spiritual, holy, whatever, something that needs immense calculation that no mere computer is able to do.  In fact, any spell checker is vastly more sophisticated.
    In fact, any spell checker is vastly more sophisticated.
    Dubious!
         Brain: 20,000 dedicated genes.
         Spell-checker: a few hundred  heuristics to determine context. Plus a dumb look-up table.

    Of course I take your point. I think the confusion in part comes from the fact that emotions and the senses seem closely related to consciousness and our ineffable sense of self which are "hard" whereas thinking seems relatively impersonal and is communicable in words. Nevertheless, being able to think is only the infrastructure that supports unlimited memes... This is why there is no pill to intensify or diminish my knowledge that 3 times 6 is 18. Life was simpler for planaria who could learn from each other by cannibalism :) 
     


     
    Gerhard Adam
    Life was simpler for planaria who could learn from each other by cannibalism :)
    That adds a whole other perspective to the phrase, "hungry for knowledge". :)
    Mundus vult decipi
    UvaE
    – if you thought you saw the last shooting rampage or biggest mass killing, think again!
    Nothing's impossible. Scientists have their share of crazies. One may eventually commit a scientific 9/11 or go on a rampage simply because of the combination of large numbers and time, not necessarily because of some symptomatic malaise. But what's comforting is that as long as you keep them working, scientists are innocuous..


    I think of time I spent in a village that was caught in a medieval time warp, of Shakespeare's plays and Gogol's writings, and I have to conclude that the grand theatrical stage of phoniness and rationalizations has always been there. 

    Normalcy is a problem only when the means to force everyone into it become too efficient. Technological societies have that potential, but violence is the most idiotic means of opposing extreme homogenization.
    vongehr
    the grand theatrical stage of phoniness and rationalizations has always been there.
    Of course - that is what evolution of perceptions of cognitive systems is all about.  However, in a sense it was more honest in the past.  There was no question about that power rules all the way up to gods almighty, and those gods had even clearly bad characters.  Today, we are told from the earliest stages onward that we live in a fair society, a democracy, where if you should be truly good and rational (not just pretend!), blah blah blah.  Anders Behring Breivik actually believes that.  He wants to be really good and really do the fundamentally right thing.  Somebody should have taken him to the side early on for a little smoke session about the reality of "good".
    Normalcy is a problem only when the means to force everyone into it become too efficient.
    Yes - HR departments etc. leave many people no choice but be criminals.  If society cannot offer alternatives to throwing your only life away, the answer is anti social war on the individual and sub-culture level.  I for one would not ever work 9 to 5 either, and I am not one to walk around telling more normal people that if they were not so lazy, they could just do it like me, because they cannot, and people like me are just waiting to crush them in competition if they so much as try.
    If society cannot offer alternatives to throwing your only life away, the answer is anti social war on the individual and sub-culture level. 
    Indeed so. It is one of those numerical coincidences (like the many apparently required for biological life to exist in our corner of the universe/totality/big-thingummy-whatsit) that, despite enormous social changes since historical records have been kept, and equally significant technological advances, most people spend nearly all of their waking hours working in jobs they hate exactly as they have done for the last 12,000 years. Only the filthy rich manage to escape the treadmill. How can this be so? The numerical coincidences in physics might be explained by the anthropic principle but for some kind of self-selection to be at work in society would appear to require a more active mechanism. I have to conclude that society suffers from a system weakness (yes I consider it such, use a neutral word instead if you prefer) which ensures that most people are effectively enslaved to the financial system. Mechanisms have evolved to sustain this system with very little change despite changes in government from far left to far right: at heart it adjusts itself so that people work all their lives and don't rock the boat. Of course the switch from taking money from the peasants by force to printing state IOU's (and stealing our money that way) is quite recent but it comes to the same thing.
     
    Because it is a system problem (I call it a problem because I and 99% of the world's population would cheerfully do something more interesting than work our entire lives to support the status quo - "good productive members of society" that we are) I cannot agree with your generally moralizing tone.  Oh yes! Twisted, perverted, suicidal and disgusting you may be, but nevertheless MORALIZING! But I don't think anyone sits down and plots to persecute, say, innocent pot-smokers, just because they tend to think out of the box and might challenge Mammon if they ever get off their amotivational-syndrome backsides. The financial system and its supporting memes are endemic and impersonal. Why on earth would you expect it to offer alternative life choices? It has spent tens of thousands of years evolving a fine-tuned set of tools to avoid offering anyone any such freedoms.

    Blame society's failure? Pfft! It cannot be any different. Good luck blowing up the world.
     
    vongehr
    Wow wow, slow down there!  I have been called an asshole before, but "MORALIZING", now that goes too far.

    The first part of your rant I can partially agree with, though your details are to be rejected.  We simply have a system that evolved, and yes, if we could have any meaningful measure of suffering, it could well turn out (via future evolution theory) that poorly integrated systems (your "system weakness"), like social ones, have certain values being in certain equilibrium ranges.  Just look at the religions: Those that go via fear and pain are simply much more evolutionarily successful than the happier stuff.  Great apes are all stressed out and pathetic, not just we humans, so you cannot blame the financial system.
     
    The second part of your rant misrepresents my intention.  I do not expect society to offer alternatives.  Evolutionary integration can be called enslavement.  I am not out to change what cannot be changed, regardless I talk about mass imprisonment or whatever.  I simply find myself in the situation to not be able to resist the urge to reach out to the one or the other individual that I am more likely to identify with.  That leads to compromises on terminology and whether and what to write.
    Great apes are all stressed out and pathetic, not just we humans, so you cannot blame the financial system. 
    I definitely blame it for not offering alterrnatives, which is what we were talking about. If anything our stressed-out great-ape make-up makes us a better substrate for the parasitic system.
     
    100% agreed about religions, BTW. Perhaps I am abnormal/pathological in that my own beliefs, which appear to be pretty orthodox, are at the happier end of the spectrum :)
     




     

     



    Sascha,

    I simply don`t see who you are. Very broad and deep knowledge, some traces of Buddhism, and frequent indications of loneliness and pain. What brought you to this ?

    I hope you can see some hope someplace. Because, as a human being, you are worth more than any theory.
    Life is not all about knowledge, important as that is.

    May there be or come to be some hope in your life, Sascha.

    Denis.

    vongehr
    We are especially lonely and in pain due to that we have to hide it, though many are successful in their functioning inside an ignorance is bliss bubble most of the time (I think "hope" is a similar concept.).  But when the bubble bursts, the pain is immense, and the seriousness of many problems increases when ignoring them.

    So - I won't deny loneliness and pain, together at least in spirit with the likes of Schopenhauer.  You acknowledge traces of Buddhism, yet hope I will deny suffering?  Are you saying that Buddhism, or even knowledge, is to be rejected like pain?  That the pain is created and multiplied by our trying to avoid it is the core of Zen.  Embrace your pain.
    Stellare
    Being intelligent=loneliness  that is something I have prepared my son for since he was a little boy. It is just how it is.

    We have our differences, Sascha, but in this case I very much agree with you. We should embrace the pathological . And for a number of reasons. I do not defend the killings of the extremely different minds, but I will defend societies that give more room for the abnormal (whatever that is). Today we are forced to be political correct if we want to lead a life that we control ourselves (not being imprisoned or hospitalized or drugged or ....)

    You mentioned Anders Breivik. He is definitely not crazy or mentally ill but the political correctness demanded he was a mental case. And that is what you risk if you wander too far away for the political correct opinions. You are mental.  It is not even necessary to act differently, just think suffice to be labelled mentally ill. It scares the hell out of me, more than my fear of becoming the victim of violence of any kind and motivation.

    Thank you for sticking you head out! :-) Merry Christmas!
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    It is quite possible that (extreme) intelligence leads to some loneliness, especially among the very young.. This, in turn, can have consequences for later on. But there is more than intelligence here.. There is a mention of autism.. And Sascha seems to hold a world view which oppresses him. A world view involving some fairly speculative elements.

    I just want to tell you, Sascha, that you are very welcome to this world, even if you don`t feel this to be the case. You have a right, indeed a birthright to be here. Your presence makes this a better world. You are a valued human being, whatever afflicts you and whatever your beliefs are.

    Take care, Sascha...

    Denis.

    vongehr
    Guys please - this is a science column.  Yes you are correct, IQ is not the issue, which is precisely what I wrote.  The rest - pleeaaase!

    Same goes for the guys discussing whether killers are "mentally ill" up there in the comment thread.  Good science is aware of what terminology, that sticking labels game, is all about.  "birthright" - "hope" - "mental illness" - this is not Sunday school!

    Telling a white heterosexual middle class guy that he is welcome to the world - pleeaazus - this world is mine since I was born.  The question is, do I want it?
    I am certainly not denying suffering, nor advocating ignorance.
    I do not believe pain can be rejected as in `pretending it`s not there`.
    That would indeed claim a heavy toll down the road.

    I am only wondering how much pain one can take before reaching a breaking point.
    Also believing it is important to at least have some happiness in life..

    Whatever the claims of `truth`,and they are legitimate, life has to remain liveable, even enjoyable,
    at least as a whole. It is more important to live than to be `right` and die, for life is all we have.

    Denis.

    John Hasenkam
    That the pain is created and multiplied by our trying to avoid it is the core of Zen.  Embrace your pain.


    There is a Buddhist technique for that: focus on the pain. There are two primary responses to pain: peripheral and central. We can suppress the conscious experience of pain, at least sometimes. A recent study on cannabis pointed to possible central regulation of pain experience. Other studies have indicated that emotional pain has similiar "central" qualities(cerebral activation patterns) to physical pain. We tend to discount emotional pain but as the author of Ostracism noted: some people he interviewed would have preferred physical pain to ostracism. Ostracism kills and not just the ones ostracised.  
    John Hasenkam
    which ensures that most people are effectively enslaved to the financial system.
    As that wonderful street writer wrote: 
    Charles Bukowski:


    It was true that I didn't have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?