Thursday, October 15, 2009
Somewhere I read that there is a reliable test that can tell the difference between healthy adults and adolescents. A normal healthy adult is susceptible to being taken in by a trained functional salesman, especially a confidence artist. However the same adult usually has the inner stability and experience to detect that there is something wrong with a true sociopath. The difference is that the manipulative salesman is other directed and the lunatic is entrapping his victims in a narrow world of his own construction. In other words healthy adults can fall victim to a Bernie Madoff but rarely are taken in by a Charles Manson or Reverend Jim Jones. When otherwise sane adults do get caught up in a sociopath's delusion it is usually as part of a mass movement, which has its own dynamics.
For children the opposite condition applies. They are used to people in the adult role taking responsibility and projecting authority over them. They can detect whether the person they are dealing with believes in what they are saying or is lying to themselves. Adults lose that inner sense or at least do not expect that high a level of honesty and consistency from other adults. For the child or adolescent the sociopath who truly believes in the story they are selling, no matter how divorced from reality, is credible but the slick salesman who is only peddling a line sets off their warning bells.
As government controls infantilize the population we become more vulnerable to being swept up in fantasies by a Messianic "One." I hope that Dr Sanity does not come after me for pontificating or shrinking without a license.