Another set of interesting questions was asked on Quora, which I answered.
1. What are you like without the mask?
My short answer? Free.
The mask is merely a facade constructed from my ability to observe what behaviors are socially acceptable and which are not. The mask is in a constant state of flux, changing as new behaviors are observed and new situations are encountered.
No matter what, though, the mask is a restraint, or at the least, a one way mirror. I can see you, but you can’t see me.
Without the mask, I am free. The monstrum in animo is set loose, able to manifest itself, without boundaries, in thought, speech, or action. Yet, unless I am alone, this rarely happens. In public settings, or even in the company of a single person, the mask is automatic. The only way it slips in the company of others is if I’ve had a bit to much to drink, if I become very angry, or otherwise somehow lose control of my mental faculties. This is rare for me.
On the few occasions that it has happened, I have been seen for who I am. A person lacking any semblance of morality, wholly indifferent to the problems of others.
2. Do you really have no real identity?
Your personal identity is the combination of traits and characteristics, shaped by your genetic makeup, environment, and life experiences. As Mr. Midgley stated, personal identity is a construct formed in your mind by the foregoing.
This is very reminiscent of Buddhist thought. There is no single thing you can point to and say “this is me”. There is no “I”. That which you call “I” or “me” is made up of, and dependent upon, a multitude of different components. You and everyone else are always changing, never remaining permanent (much like the mask of the psychopath).
For neurotypicals, your identity is your mask. Though it changes with time and experience, yours is permanently fixed.
Psychopaths have an identity behind the mask because we are human beings. We had childhoods, attended school, we talk to people, and have many of the same life experiences as neurotypicals that have all helped shape our identities. The difference is that our identity was formed without certain ingredients such as empathy, morality, and conscience. The identity of the psychopath is filtered by our mask when we must wear it and is expressed with only a cognitive understanding of the lacking ingredients.
3. What do you benefit from answering questions on Quora?
This will differ from person to person. First, I believe that the true psychopaths here that answer questions are doing it for fun, relaxation, and to help themselves more so than to help others. They are maximizing their utility, as some have mentioned.
Some of us may actually be making a genuine attempt at educating the curious on what a psychopath is, and what they are like firsthand. This is demonstrated by the numerous answers I have seen that denounce certain infamous clinical psychologists that try to paint psychopathy with a broad brush, making us all seem like sinister, sub-human beings.
I answer questions for all of these reasons.