I just logged in to my blog to find that I had a comment from Willem Martens from the Kahn Institute of Theoretical Psychiatry and Neuroscience. I have admired his work for quite some time because he is willing to explicitly question the status quo as regards the true nature of psychopathy vs how mostly North American psychologists/psychiatrists view it. In short, Dr. Martens is a true scientist and not merely a speculator. I especially enjoy his refutations of some of Dr. Hare’s work. Not that I completely dismiss Dr. Hare, but he has made quite a few mistakes that science cannot forgive.
I had a few other comments from anonymous folks who stated that they enjoyed reading my blog. For me it is more of a personal experience, a way for me to put into print what weighs on my mind. I do not find it very interesting, but some people do which is satisfying, to a degree.
I’m not particularly in a writing mood at the moment. In fact, I haven’t been for quite some time as is demonstrated in the time between my last post and this one. I have been in a slump for quite some time. In my last post I talked about quitting alcohol. This did not pan out as I had hoped it would. As a matter of fact, my drinking got worse at the prospect of giving it up altogether. There was a stretch of about 21 days that I did not drink at all. This was in part due to my wanting to see how I felt by not drinking at all, to see if perhaps I would come out of my slump, maybe feel better and more energized in the morning and throughout the day.
Another part is due to an attempted commitment to Lent. I am “technically” Catholic and my grandmother asked me to take her to Ash Wednesday Mass. There I sat and listened to a Polish priest talk about Lent and what it means. I remember him saying something to the effect of “Lent is a time for you to find out who you are.” This statement stuck with me. It took me a little while to figure out why, though, and it was after watching the some-what accurate film “American Psycho” for the hundredth time that I realized why that priest’s words struck me so.
In a certain scene of the film Patrick is going through his strictly regimented morning routine. As he is pulling off his pore-cleansing facial peel (symbolizing the mask he wears as a psychopath), he says,
“There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there.”
After hearing this statement from Bateman, something I had heard many times before yet never really assigned any meaning to, I understood why I was fixated on the priest’s words. I do not know who I am. I know who I think I am. I know what other people think I am. I know what I am supposed to be, how I’m supposed or expected to act or behave, but I don’t know who I am in the slightest. There is an idea of me, but it is defined by others, not myself. I only exist in relation to others, and that person they believe I am can change in an instant in new environments and different groups. It reminds me of another film I watched years ago – the name of it escapes me – and perhaps this is why I remember the one scene so fondly, in which a young man and woman are dating. He is an amateur impressionist, doing impressions of famous actors and celebrities. He has an impression for every situation, no matter where he is or who he is speaking to. However, his girlfriend grows tired of hearing these impressions all the time and asks to speak to the real person behind them. He is suddenly struck dumb. He has been doing these impressions for so long that they have become his life, they have replaced whoever he was before and he realizes that he cannot remember who he is. The similarities between this character and I are striking. He lived his entire life thus far as an abstraction, through the eyes of others, through the laughter, sadness, and myriad other emotions he evoked through his art. But he never developed a true sense of self. The difference between he and I is that I don’t know that I have ever really known who I am. At one point, he did, but he lost it.
Anyway, I have to get back to work. Lots to do and so little time.
Because I am in such a writing slump these days, I do not know exactly what to write about anymore. I have poured a lot, though certainly not all, of my past into this blog. If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask. If you have a topic of some sort related to psychopathy and you would like me to give you my two cents on it, let me know.