How Do Brains Get Different?
How on earth does one "demonize" a psychopath?
If 20 times a day you think, "I love milk and all the milk in the world belongs to me," the little pathway of connecting brain cells that lights up to think that thought dumps transmitter substance into those connections 20 times a day.
The amount of this chemical builds up, because it is being added to faster than it degrades. This is called MEMORY. It's what we LEARN with.
Keep thinking 20 times a day, every day, "I love milk and all the milk in the world belongs to me."
There will soon be so much transmitter substance between the connections along that pathway that it will take almost nothing to stimulate that thought.
In other words, every time you see something white, it could make you think that thought. In other other words, the connections get touchy. See what I mean? You are acquiring a habit.
There gets to be so much of that transmitter substance in that area that it spreads out, touching other brain cells and stimulating them to grow connections to the brain cells in that pathway.
Those connections are gray matter. The more gray matter in an area, the more developed it is. The more sophisticated it is. The more marvellous things it can do because of the complicated network of connections (like in a computer's motherboard or CPU).
Now even thoughts or sensations on parallel tracks can stimulate the thought "I love milk and all the milk in the world belongs to me."
So, let's take a picture of your brain.
Oh how horrible! It's different than a normal person's brain. It is more "developed" in that area (= has more gray matter/connections).
Now we know why you gotta have all the milk in the world: your brain is malfunctioning.
Your brain isn't the cause of your need for all the milk in the world. Your need for all the milk in the world is the cause of your brain being different.
In other words, your habit of deliberately twisted thinking is what makes you need all the milk in the world every time you see something white.
It's supposed to work that way. If it didn't, you'd still be thinking at the level of a 2 or 3 year old. You wouldn't be able to learn anything. You'd never make the connections between related ideas. You'd never get an idea from another idea. In short, you would be about brain dead.
And guess what? If, while you're killing people to take away all their milk, you are repressing your human sensibilities, willfully not allowing yourself to feel any pity for them, forcing yourself to think instead in terms of cold-blooded logic "What is someone else's suffering to me?" - if you do that, the part of the brain that houses your human sensibilities won't get used much.
So, there will be little or no transmitter substance remaining in the connections along those pathways. So, there will be very few connections emmanating from that area. So, it will have little gray matter. So, it will be rare that anything you experience arrouses any empathy or sympathy or even feeling there. So, your emotional life will be impoverished and you won't experience the full range of human feelings because almost no stimulus will be strong enough to make those nerve cells fire. That's because they'll have to to misfire maybe a thousand times before enough transmitter substance builds up in the gaps to make the next brain cell along that pathway go off.
You'd probably have to deeply contemplate an experience (much like mystics contemplate, say, the five wounds of the Christ) to get any strong feeling.
Then we will say, "Oh, your brain is different from a normal person's! This area (the amygdala) is different than a normal person's brain. It isn't as developed. That's why you need all the milk in the world."
There. This is one possible explanation for why psychopaths' brains are different. That's truth, pure logic. You can't argue with it.
It is also the most likely explanation. No, I didn't say that this surely IS the explanation: I said that this is probably the explanation.
And it is unbelievable that any highly educated expert doesn't know that.
This is why I object to experts lying by ommission when they fail to mention this possibility, pretending instead that it has been proved that brain damage or malfunction causes psychopathy. It not only has NOT been proved, there is no evidence to support that (mere) hypothesis.
And I am suspicious of the fact that these are the same voices who have been fighting off the growing body of research on psychopathy for the last 30 years. The same voices that blame everything on social ills, like poverty, bad parents, and the like. No amount of scientific evidence shakes this article of their faith. They make the psychopath the victim and society the culprit. In other words, they somehow manage to claim that nobody is bad and that everybody is bad in the same breath. They seize upon every half-baked hypothesis that comes along and never bother to test any of them! Like this one and the hypothesis that NPD is genetically caused.
I say, "If you really think so, then conduct CONTROLLED experiments and STATISTICALLY VALID studies to prove it." You know, try scientific method.
In short, we just don't know for sure yet why psychopaths' brains are different. But if you're going to lean, you SHOULD lean the other way, towards the explanation I gave above. Why?
Because I wasn't just guessing. We KNOW that brain development does occur just that way. That we have proof of.
So which way to lean? Towards a cherished-myth preserving guess? Or towards a known way that something like this could happen?
What if this is true? What if the brain differences in psychopaths are just the tracks left behind of their own willfully twisted thinking? What does that mean?
It means that this is probably why psychopaths (and maybe other malignant narcissists as well) are so impervious to treament, and it doesn't bode well for a cure any time soon. It means that they think in a fundamentally different way than the rest of us do. And that this is a deeply, deeply ingrained habit. Not good news.
But it doesn't mean that they have any "disease" or "injury" in the normal sense of the word. It doesn't mean that they don't act out of malice.
And, since a habit is just a habit, like an addicition, it doesn't mean that they can't control themselves and aren't responsible for what they do.
Indeed, these brain differences explain only the emotional sterilty that makes them able to do such cruel things without a twinge of humanity. But ENABLING isn't CAUSING.
There is no part of the brain actually moving them like a robot to attack any victim that crosses their sights. THAT is wholly voluntary behavior.
See update with additional info here.
narcissistic personality disorder narcissism