WHAT IS PSYCHOPATHY?
by Misha Votruba
Everybody knows the term and typically when I mention it, people smile. For some reason "psychopath" is now a word that induces a positive reaction in at least some people. Interesting.
When you open the DSM - the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Diseases, you won't even find the term psychopathy there. Psychopathy is no longer recognized as a medical condition or disease. So what do people actually think it means?
According to randomly chosen people we asked on the streets of New York, psychopaths are maniacs, insane killers, people like Charles Manson. Still not sure what's so funny about that. Is that a sign of how cynical we have all become??
Maybe we are not quite so cynical, but we can smile at the word because we associate it with something unreal. Maybe we don't really take the word seriously. Maybe what happened over time is that we see psychopaths as so completely and utterly over the top bad, that we don't really fear them. We don't fear them because they only exist in movies.
We are not the only ones here believing that psychopathy has been kidnapped by the entertainment industry and stripped of its real feel. Once it was a serious medical condition, but now, who cares?
Actually there are a few people who care, and there is one individual who has done a lot of work to bring psychopathy back where it belongs - back in serious psychiatric and neuro-scientific research: Professor Robert Hare.
We share some of his ideas and credit him for being one of the biggest inspirations for < f i s h e a d ( .
"So... should we really fear psychopaths?"