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Is it true that some people dont have a conscience?

jlljll Veteran Veteran
edited June 2014 in Arts & Writings

I was shocked after watching this film.
Are some people able to find peace even after terrible acts of violence?

Jagal: "The Act of Killing".

Comments

  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran

    Yeah they're called sociopaths and psychopaths... we've known about them for a long time. :D  

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited June 2014

    The film itself can be found here.

    I'm not prepared to have a two-hour+ film on newbuddhist unnecessarily. Particularly in the beginner's section.
    Moved thread to 'Arts and Writings'.

    And it seems possible that people can. But it's highly unlikely.
    It would be more likely to find Rocking horse droppings, I think.

    Really, @Jll, what was your point in even bringing this kind of barbarism to the forum?
    Could you not reference it with a link, and ask your question?
    I trust your opening post is not going to be your only contribution to this thread, as is the case with the majority of threads you open...

  • MeisterBobMeisterBob Mindful Agnathiest CT , USA Veteran

    @federica I would think because from our perspective its hard to comprehend. This is sickness ,not "evil". Bob

  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran

    The current term for such people is that they are Personality Disordered..the previous terms are so loaded that they have been rendered meaningless.

    Personality disorders are neither the result of 'evil' nor 'sickness' as those terms are usually defined.

    The best current research indicates that they are a result of a catastrophic degree of faulty learning at a formative stage of development.

    It is important to remember that Personality Disorders are relatively very rare.

  • zenffzenff Veteran Veteran

    Very rare is:

    The prevalence of antisocial personality disorder in the general population is 0.2% to 3%. However, the prevalence is greater than 70% in prison populations and in substance abuse clinics.

    http://www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20-pe04.html

  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran

    And was 100% in the specialist unit where I was based for a while during my residency, when I was a Registrar..

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    They may be in the best place for it.

    or the most wrong place imaginable....

  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran

    It was a compromise @federica..there was a recognition that prison would not help them ( and these were all offenders, many people with Personality Disorders are not criminals just very anti social ) and at the same time most therapeutic interventions are of dubious use..

    It stopped them offending against the public for a while..

    Its telling that the particular unit no longer exists..

  • MeisterBobMeisterBob Mindful Agnathiest CT , USA Veteran

    When I said sick I meant obviously not well-However that manifests itself.Some are nature some are nature-nurture. Saw a piece on a guy who had a tumor affecting his self control. Then there's genetics , so called warrior gene that combined with nature can have devastating affects. Bob

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    It's a fine line, saving the public from them, and saving them from themselves....

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @Citta said:
    It was a compromise federica..there was a recognition that prison would not help them ( and these were all offenders, many people with Personality Disorders are not criminals just very anti social ) and at the same time most therapeutic interventions are of dubious use..

    It stopped them offending against the public for a while..

    Its telling that the particular unit no longer exists..

    I'm curious about what you mean when you say 'it's telling that the particular unit no longer exists'.

    My sense of why that may be is for the same reason all behavioral medicine/treatment facilities have become scarce as hen's teeth; there's no money to be made in owning and running them. Apparently prisons are decent money makers, considering that prisons are privately 'owned' (however that works).

    Where the rubber hits the road, it doesn't matter if the person was born without a brain blob that facilitates conscience or the couldn't form a primary bond with another human being. I suspect most people without a conscience, if they were suddenly given one, would haul their own asses out of this life. My own personal suspicion. Anyway, 'we' ought to be protected from them as from any gross victimization, and keeping them incarcerated so that they can only hurt themselves and each other is genuinely kind.

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    edited June 2014

    PS: anyone who's run afoul of a personality disordered person knows they exist and don't sit around theorizing.

    It is one of those 'you'd have to have been there' type experiences, because their pathology is often deeply cloaked beneath well developed personas. You either have to be a family member, spouse or right hand man to experience the pathology. You really can't SEE the pathology (objectively observe it). It is known by direct experience.

    If you've ever met someone who gives you the genuine creeps, or who you walk away from feeling confused or unhinged somehow, you (the generic you) probably brushes it off as your own frame of mind as the cause. We do seem to have an internal warning system, but for whatever reason, it's not well developed nor is its development encouraged. There is a book called "The Gift of Fear" written by Gavin DeBecker, written for the general public, that outlines this internal warning system and the importance of recognizing and utilizing it. It is a huge eye opener.

  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2014

    @Hamsaka said:
    Where the rubber hits the road, it doesn't matter if the person was born without a brain blob that facilitates conscience or the couldn't form a primary bond with another human being. I suspect most people without a conscience, if they were suddenly given one, would haul their own asses out of this life. My own personal suspicion. Anyway, 'we' ought to be protected from them as from any gross victimization, and keeping them incarcerated so that they can only hurt themselves and each other is genuinely kind.

    The unit was part of the British National Health Service @Hamsaka, and so did not generate income anyway.

    There was a financial dimension to the closure of that unit, but only in the sense that it could not show that the cost of running it could be justified in changes in behaviour by the inmates.

    So my saying that it is ' telling ' was more a reflection on the fact that as yet there are few therapeutic interventions than can be shown to be widely effective.

    Hamsaka
  • MeisterBobMeisterBob Mindful Agnathiest CT , USA Veteran

    @federica said:

    It's a fine line, saving the public from them, and saving them from themselves....

    Indeed. The public should come first but how I view those with seemingly "abhorrent" behavior is on me. Yeah easier said when it doesn't directly affect me.

    Here's some interesting stuff citing brain tumors as cause for severely deviant behavior. One is fairly well know.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/07/the-brain-on-trial/308520/>;

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I think our internal warning system maybe hasn't developed well enough to handle the larger % of dangerous personality disordered people compared to not all that long ago. We recognize something is off, but it confuses us because their behavior isn't necessarily in line with our "creeped out" feelings. I'll have to check out the book, it sounds interesting. It also doesn't help that our idea of what we need to fear, is largely impacted by the media these days and much less so by direct experience. We are so busy being afraid we'll get kidnapped from the work parking lot that we don't realize the guy in the next cube at work is dangerous.

    Hamsaka
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran
    edited June 2014

    A couple of nights ago, I was doing some zapping looking for something to watch.
    On one of the ITVs they were showing "The killer in me," with Casey Affleck starring as a psychopath serial killer. I watched only five minutes because I fell on a very distasteful part of the film, where the character kills a prostitute in what I found to be a too explicit sadistic way.
    I have always found violence in films totally off-putting, especially when it's for real.
    I don't find a Rambo film half as violent as the psychological violence implied in, let's say, "The Pianist" or Bertolucci's "Novecento." I don't need that kind of crude, verista realism in a film.
    Some people complain about too much sex on films. I, for one, so much prefer to have sex on films than violence.

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran Veteran

    Angulimala was a serial killer with a conscience. So by definition he was not a sociopath. Without conscience, there is little hope.

    I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. And at that time in King Pasenadi's realm there was a bandit named Angulimala: brutal, bloody-handed, devoted to killing & slaying, showing no mercy to living beings. He turned villages into non-villages, towns into non-towns, settled countryside into unsettled countryside. Having repeatedly killed human beings, he wore a garland (mala) made of fingers (anguli).

    [Angulimala:]
    "At long last a greatly revered great seer
    for my sake
    has come to the great forest.
    Having heard your verse
    in line with the Dhamma,
    I will go about
    having abandoned evil."

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.086.than.html

  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran

    amoral

  • zenffzenff Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2014

    The story of Angulimala can be used to encourage students who feel blocked by their feelings of guilt or by the amount of “bad karma” that they believe they created. They have a conscience.
    I heard the story getting used that way a few times.
    Angulimala was a serial killer and became an Arhant in one and the same lifetime; so there’s hope for everyone. Feelings of guilt are no excuse.

    But what the prospects are for people who have no feelings of guilt; who are not capable of having them; is an interesting question, I think.
    I don’t remember having read or heard anything specific on that.

    Is there a point to the story of Milarepa? If a guy doesn’t fully grasp the impact of his cruel action should he be given huge tasks for penance? I don’t know. The story – I think – says Milarepa was aware that he had done something wrong so it doesn’t quite address the question.

  • footiamfootiam Veteran Veteran

    @jll said:
    I was shocked after watching this film.
    Are some people able to find peace even after terrible acts of violence?

    Jagal: "The Act of Killing".

    Some minds are warped.

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran Veteran

    A wolf can find peace after eating a sheep. It is just nature.

  • genkakugenkaku Veteran Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    I have always been a fan of the line, "If a man punches you in the stomach, you don't ask if he lives in a rat-infested apartment." I have no doubt that there can be something useful in parsing who's who and what's what, but am more convinced by the pain that action can inflict irrespective of parsing.

    federica
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    @genkaku said:
    I have always been a fan of the line, "If a man punches you in the stomach, you don't ask if he lives in a rat-infested apartment."

    Somebody used that line recently. I can't remember if it was on a thread dealing with compassion towards offenders or when we got sidetracked with the issue of rats in the "Neighbourhood" thread. A very versatile and multifarious phrase, in any case :)

  • betaboybetaboy Veteran Veteran

    It is my view that you arent born with a conscience. You develop it, or rather society develops it for you as you grow old. All you have to do is watch children/teenagers behave....how they bully one another, how they hurt each other.....it is brutal and sadistic. This is because they arent old enough or smart enough to wear masks such as diplomacy, tact, etc. True nature is exposed.

    Jeffrey
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    @betaboy I don't think it's all a mask. I think people discover that love is more important than prestige (cutting on) or feeling power (picking on).

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @betaboy said:
    It is my view that you arent born with a conscience. You develop it, or rather society develops it for you as you grow old. All you have to do is watch children/teenagers behave....how they bully one another, how they hurt each other.....it is brutal and sadistic. This is because they arent old enough or smart enough to wear masks such as diplomacy, tact, etc. True nature is exposed.

    Hmmm maybe. I'm not so sure with this one. I can't imagine a baby having brutal and sadistic tendencies.

    What I've been taught about reality from society, my government and my family has been wrong as far as Buddhism goes.

    Had I not had any of these things would I be inherently brutal and sadistic? I'd wager no. I would see that my feelings have no owner, therefore I would see the same in others. Which is compassion. :)

    I've been conditioned to where I am now, I wasn't born like this.

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