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This article is reprinted here with permission from a Pinoyexchange post “The Sensible Knave” by PEX user: _armada_

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Imagine – if you can – not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.

And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.

Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless.

You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.

In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world.

You can do anything at all …

The Sociopath Next Door

Policemen have flagged down serial killers and stared right at their faces, then let them drive off with an apology and a body in the trunk. A man belonged to a 33-year marriage and held office in a local church—where he typed letters to the police describing how he killed ten victims over thirty years, including a family of four. Last year a father received a life sentence after having nine children with his two daughters, who went through 19 pregnancies. This weekend another man was incarcerated for a similar crime; in court, jurors were asked to smell items from the cellar his daughter had last seen the outside of as an 18-year old, twenty four years ago. His wife, and the three ‘grandchildren’ raised upstairs after being left on their doorstep, had no knowledge of what went on under their feet.

“He will present to you a caring side, a selfless person, the nice man from next door. But what really troubles me is that he has not shown a single sign of regret.”

Aside from the obvious, what’s striking about the most heinous of criminals is how often they’ve gotten away with their acts right under people’s noses. Even after the facts come out, some of the educated respond by pointing to the ‘banality of evil’, equating scientific attempts to identify such individuals with ‘ethnic cleansing’, as if humanity as a race becomes complicit whenever there’s callousness on that scale, outside some mitigating influence.

Man without God may look very much like Fritzl.

Time to draw the line. Saying Village X is morally business as usual for humankind is criminally irresponsible. Blaming irreligiosity or reptilian humanoid aliens from Nibiru is flat-out stupid. These people had jobs, underwent psychological exams and had ongoing contact with government agencies, the military, religious workers, and even the police—yet nothing was suspected till it was too late for the families of multiple victims. Apparently the science these tests were based on was deficient, yet fundamentalists wail away at science’s underpinnings and spotlight the dogmatism of the establishment while ignoring legitimate scientific disputes that affect their followers’ daily lives—worse, some use their influence to make misleading statements about everyday science in the name of a black-and-white theology.

Heinous crimes are preventable, because for most people, the assumptions behind their causes are trapped in ignorance. I am not a psychologist nor do I claim special knowledge about the subject, I only appeal that whatever opinions we form about the matter, ought to be informed.

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