You have more in common with a psychopath than you realise

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If I’m not mistaken, there are theories that suggest that we all are born a psychopath. Just as we mature, we become less and less of a psychopath. As if we need to learn how *not* to be a psychopath.

This theory is also further reinforced by the fact that toddlers are a very good example of psychopath.

I’m not saying toddlers are psychopaths. Nor am I saying it is true. I’m just saying that this theory exists.


They claim 90% of male psychopaths are caught up in the criminal justice system, and use that in part to substantiate the argument that psychopaths act irrationally. However, the author ignores the fact that people are generally only diagnosed as psychopaths *after* they’ve done something bad.

Not saying that I disagree with the central concept, but that’s a frustrating oversight for the author to make.


The only difference is whether or not you *act* on those thoughts…


What always has my mind in a twist is how terming people ill seems so odd to me. I mean, arent they just different, technically speaking.

The reason psychopaths are considered ill is only in the context of our society. We’ve all agreed we value certain things (To an extent agreed :P) and its only in light of the values we have chosen that a psychopath is considered ill. His or her illness wont directly affect their health. It just prohibits them from forming personal connections like other people do.

Combine that with the fact that psychopaths actually function amazingly well in our market driven economy (That doesnt suprise me. Having no conscious must be a benefit when u want to get ahead of the competition) and I somehow wonder what gives us the right to judge their moral compass. And how different is the inability to feel emotions to the inability for deductive reasoning? Are stupid people ill because they cant function at an average level intelectually aswell?

I’m obviously not saying anything to condone anyones behaviour, but these questions genuinly wrinkle my brow. I often feel like I struggle immensly proffesionally because Im a passive person and I avoid confrontation. I can see benefits to being a undetermined amount more like a psychopath just to function in a world that runs on resource competition. to what extent would I be considered ill for being to emphatic?

Interesting to think about 🙂 what do you all think?



What is easier when one gets cutoff in traffic?

1. Get mad and have murderous thoughts
2. Stay calm and understand why they cutoff in traffic

It’s built-in. Negative emotions are more powerful than positive ones. It’s just biology.


After some personal experiences with depression, I began a philosophical journey in order to understand the disorder a little better. I made this cartoon, that addresses existential psychotherapy, absurdism, and Marcelian ontology, to share what I’ve found.

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I found the podcast called “Philosophize This” very helpful for my depression. Philosophy really does help because you really understand what questions are really bothering you and you grow as a person.


Saved this video to watch for later.

I’ve struggled with suicidal existential depression since I was 17 (I turn 21 in two days). I’ve been in therapy for a while for it, but it hasn’t helped me a single bit for my depression yet. If anything, it makes me feel more depressed. Here I am, in treatment, something that is supposed to help me..but instead of addressing the objective meaninglessness of life that makes me depressed, we’re discussing how to talk to our family. And while therapy has made me a MUCH healthier person in regards to how I communicate with people and do other mundane things, all around me, I see people getting better because they were depressed about being lonely, or because they were unemployed, or had no achievements. That simply isn’t the case for me whatsoever. I am not depressed because of my own life; I am depressed because of the situation of the entire universe. I do not fear my own death; I fear the death of literally every particle in existence. One day, the universe will collapse, and because I became atheist at 15, I believe that there is nothing else out there.

If literally nothing matters, I see no reason for me not to kill myself. Sure, I can put myself in the best situation for my body to release happy hormones, but that’s hedonistic at best.

I was so close to taking my life at 18 because of this. At the time, existential depression was unheard of apart from it being mentioned with “gifted children”. But in the past year, I think since Robin William’s death, there have actually been articles written on the subject, and it’s being accepted as an actual thing. I’m kind of excited now because I went from thinking I was like the only one, to possibly thinking that this is an actual problem that can have treatment for.

Anyway, I’ll be interested to watch your video soon.


I have very limited knowledge of the philosophers you mentioned but regardless I want you to know that your art is beautiful and far, *far* more than a poorly animated YouTube video


*ABSTRACT: This video firstly explores the feeling and science behind depression as well as the two main treatments, psychotherapy and pharmaceuticals. It then poses the question: If a simple pill can solve all of the insights gained from depression, should one continue in their philosophical pessimism? It also addresses existential psychotherapy, a method of therapy that alleviates those suffering from certain existential dilemmas such as mortality and isolation and borrows from phenomenology and existentialism. In order to better understand the hopelessness of depression, this video then describes “The Absurd” and the philosophy of Albert Camus, who dismisses hope as a fundamental issue in the human condition. Despite Camus attempting to live without hope, there came with it some faults. However Marcel’s “strange hope”, that does not hope for X or Y but rather simply hopes may be better suited in persisting when one is depressed. The video finally ends with an assertion that philosophy is not always medicinal and that Camus’ aesthetic appeal should nonetheless be taken when possible.*


That was incredible! Thank you very much for that video.


Neuroscience, its incompleteness and consciousness. Looking at the hard problem of consciousness through the lens of self-reference

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I’m sorry, but the key premise of this entire article, that self-referential systems must result in paradox, is simply unsupported. The author gives two examples, one of the barber, and one of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, and handwaves away the precise way in which self-reference leads to paradox, and expects us to apply this to neuroscience with basically nothing more than his word.

(Side note: Gödel’s incompleteness theorems apply to formal logical systems. No one has shown the brain to be one.)

Not to mention, even if one accepts that, the whole field of neuroscience is not made of one brain investigating itself. Firstly, the field is composed of a bunch of people investigating brains. Second, I don’t think they are seeking to fully represent a brain, because each brain is necessary different when you get down to its specific connectome, but rather results that generalize.

EDIT: Almost forgot. This is basically someone’s blog post. Medium is a blog hosting site, everyone.


Is the author not employing magical thinking? They seem to base their entire argument on the assumption that not only is neuroscience currently incapable of demonstrating physical causality of “consciousness” (this part is fine), but also that reaching a fully causal understanding of the brain with relation to consciousness is impossible (this is where I have an issue). The author appears to be choosing the results of a hypothetical thought experiment rather than drawing the conclusion that requires the least variables from what information we DO have. Certainly the author could be correct, since his position is not *disproven*, but that’s getting awfully close to the magical thinking required for most ontological arguments (can’t prove me wrong, therefore I’m right). Neuroscience has made an awful lot of advances in correlative studies to be so easily and casually dismissed on the grounds of “this must be a paradox”.


From the article:

“The fact that the neuroscience is ultimately an exercise in self-reference raises the issue of related paradoxes. The paradoxes of self-reference are well known in the fields of logic and mathematics but have not been discussed with respect to neuroscience. The interesting feature of such paradoxes is that they tend to uncover limitations within the systems in which they arise. One famous illustration of this is the so called barber paradox, which is about a barber who shaves everybody on an island who does not shave themselves. The paradox emerges when we ask the question does this barber shave himself or not? If he does not, then he does and if he does, then he does not. We simply cannot reason our way out of this paradox and in a sense it confronts us with a limit in what conventional logic can resolve. In view of this, is it possible that the self-referential nature of cognitive neuroscience likewise uncovers an inherent limitation lurking within it?”


” In other words, if we hold the view that the brain is that which can be scientifically studied and nothing more we also hold the view that its complete representation is possible and vice versa. I think that very few neuroscientists would be comfortable publicly stating that we inherently cannot fully understand the brain or that the brain is more than what we can study scientifically. ”

The first sentence is logically flawed, and the second apparently restricts itself wholly to the state of his own mind. It’s hard to devote too much consideration to something that starts off on such a thin foundation.


Imagine that if in engineering, serious scientists (physicists, practical engineers, materials designers, inventors) were still trying establish a perpetual motion machine as the flagship “hard problem” of engineering. Imagine if someone announced that today. They’d be laughed out of the room.

If Chalmers was right about consciousness in 1996, this is not really a “problem” to be solved. If you really understood Chalmers in 1996 (and he inaugurated the “hard” problem), then you understand that *if his definition and justification of it is sensible,* attempts to resolve it are on a par with attempting to create perpetual motion. Like alleged libertarian solutions to the free will problem, “hard problem” arguments all seem to wind up missing the target, creating the illusion of progress through the strategic deployment of vocabulary, but leaving us with the frog staring up at us from the bottom of the mug.


On whether we have a moral duty to leave Facebook

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I exited the use of FB about 2 years ago. I have left my account active to have the ability to be a member of a work related group which I access in the messenger app, but haven’t otherwise looked at my account/feed since departing “normal” use 2 years ago. For me personally I just don’t care to see what others are thinking throughout my day. I have my own life to live and the triumphs and tragedies of my “FB friends” are of little interest to me. My personal life friends know how to get a hold of me without the use of any SM platform.

I’ll also add that I spent a decade in an entertainment industry. Working in film and touring as a musician and crew member. I’ve met a lot of people which naturally garnered me a lot of “friends”. Seeing some of these folks in real life and then how they depict themselves on their FB page brought the realization that many folks are very fake. So it becomes easy to constantly compare your ordinary life to the amazing claims your “friends” post to their profiles.

What was the kicker for me 2 years ago was the birth of my son. Other dads I know were constantly posting their amazing parenting and triumphs of “super-dad” skills. I felt completely inadequate and under prepared to be a parent. Not because I was failing as a man who couldn’t raise a kid, but because it seemed as if everyone else was doing a much better job. Oh god, I must be a bad dad. A total failure. Then I realized some of these guys only show the little pre-staged snippets of their child rearing. They would never show the pain, lack of sleep, stress and anxiety of caring for a child. They only show the good. And can you blame them?

Luckily, because my support base is pretty deep, I was quickly snapped back to reality. Truth is I am a great dad and very attentive and loving. Stop comparing yourself to these others. It’s like the use of fashion models in magazines and on TV to show how clothes are supposed to fit and how your physical appearance should be. It’s not realistic for most.

Facebook was a great platform back in the day of cat photos and food pics. It’s just a large propaganda machine that does more harm than good to the majority. If you’ve figured out how to exploit it to build your business then I guess it’s good. I cannot see many positives of FB though.


People can control what they put on facebook. Also, I can’t find any argument as a good faith argument that only addresses facebook. If you want to talk about leaving facebook, you should also be talking about twitter, tumblr, instagram and any other social media.


Article behind a paywall TLDR anyone?


Facebook in particular is bad because, psychologically, it makes problem areas in your life feel like something only you are going through.

No one posts the shitty stuff they are going through (well, maybe that 1 friend that seems to have ONLY negative things, and posts it every few hours).

We as a society need to put aside our stubbornness and pride and learn how to talk about our problems in a positive way – and not continually feel shame when things aren’t going perfectly.


> For me at least, Facebook would have crossed a moral red line if it had, for example, intentionally sold the data of its users to Cambridge Analytica with the full knowledge that company would use the data subversively to influence a democratic election.

This is such a weak opinion. Doesn’t facebook have a moral responsibility to protect the data of its users from nefarious third parties? CA didn’t break in and steal data, Facebook left the front door wide open. And when it comes to data, it doesn’t matter who obtained it and what their motivations are, because once the data is out there it’s out there forever.

To me this is like saying “if my bank knew robbers would steal my money when they left the vault open, then that would be a red line for me”. Facebook should know better.


On the importance of process over outcome state in doing mathematics, science, and philosophy.

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This is a refreshing position. The best and brightest professors that I studied under in engineering school would often give as much as 80% of available points on exam questions where the numerical solution was completely incorrect but the solution “theory” was correct. I remember a dynamics exam where I had completely trashed the governing equations and the associated integrals…and I knew it. I wrote a detailed paragraph on how I would have solved the problem in theory and still earned 7/10 points.

I fundamentally believe this type of instruction and learning is key to actual concept retention or “getting smarter”.

On a later exam I ran into the same issue but unfortunately didn’t even know the theory behind the solution. I decided to sketch two rats getting married in the solution space. The professor didn’t think this was funny and told me I was disrespectful in front of the entire class.


This article reminds me why I studied pure mathematics in the first place. Arithmetic and computation are great for devising answers. Proofs lead to logical answers. For me, the core of mathematics isn’t the answers, it’s the training to think and understand.


> Yet sometimes people with easy access to supermarkets or sushi bars still like to go fishing. They don’t go fishing because they need to eat some fish, they go fishing because they like to go fishing.

Yes, because to them fishing is a hobby, an ends unto itself, not a means for catching fish to eat. Professionals use nets and catch more fish than they could ever eat.

> In many cases, mathematicians prove theorems not because they need to know the truth-value of those statements but because they like proving theorems. But this like isn’t a purely meditative one, they don’t want to reprove the same theorem over and over again. They want to find new ways to prove new kinds of theorems.

Hobbyists, maybe. But I suspect most mathematicians primarily prove theorems because it gets them published and they need to publish to keep their jobs.

A mathematician probably wouldn’t welcome a machine that skips over the proof entirely for the same reason that weavers didn’t welcome machine looms: it automates their job to nothing. But mathematicians have certainly welcomed computers and their ability to automate proofs by exhaustion.


I have a masters in Maths and Physics and I remember nearly NOTHING of the high complexity topics from that time. I still think those studies were absolutely intrumental to my way of thinking, cementing the process of the scientific method.


Great to see the process side of mathematics. I’m researching the process side of philosophy, rhetoric, and philosophy of science. Russell, Whitehead, Wittgenstein are an interesting knot in that cord. But it does seem to me that there are those who want to prove X is true and move on (e.g., Descartes) and those who recognise that X is true under certain conditions though conditions change, so we need to continually work on them. The former allows for the construction of grand edifices while the latter is skeptical of dogmatism.

Fishing is a great example since each fisher person from the creek side angler to the factory trawler captain needs to adjust for season, weather, gear, temperature, etc. Whether one does this for sport or for economics is also a conditional change. The purpose one sets out to achieve is part of the conditions by which one defines “success.” Audience, context, and purpose are always lurking among the conditions and they will affect how we recognise the outcome.


The price of our attention. Some philosophical issues in the emerging attention economy.

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From the article:

“The fact that our attention is more and more solicited by more and more content creators that transform it into money makes this statement quite convincing. Harmut Rosa comes to the same conclusion by analyzing the effects of acceleration[8] (which is a necessity in a capitalist system) on our relation to the world we live in. He argues that by occupying and dividing our attention more and more, the economy makes us lose the feelings of continuity and meaning since we feel like we need to keep moving to follow the acceleration of the world. He defines it as a state of “hyper accelerated immobilism” that prevents us from reflecting upon our life and our true desires because we need to constantly act in the present to keep our professional and social position made unstable by acceleration and competition.”


This has pretty dreadful economic consequences as well.

The internet has commoditised almost everything it is used for, creating a post-scarcity economy. The only thing that is still scarce is our attention.

Many people, confronted with a deluge of content, as the article says, defer the impossible task of choosing the best content to gatekeepers such as Google Search or the recommended items on Amazon. They will consume whatever shows up in front of them and are not really interested in digging deeper, they just want to be entertained (or buy a pair of headphones). At best, the algorithm is unbiased and shows them the most popular items, which creates an endless loop where competitors are shut out. At worst, the algorithm is skewed in order to make money.

Those gatekeepers themselves are also popular because they are popular. being the “default” option. For instance, when you want to search something, you go to Google and not Bing. Even if both services are largely identical (and Google even has two more letters to type), you pick Google, because who cares about Bing? This process happened to all gatekeepers, from social media to Youtube, making the winners virtual monopolies that don’t even require the use of anticompetitive practices to stay that way. The market is open for all to make a superior competitor, it’s just that no one will care.

From this position, they can in turn decide which content will become a monopoly, based on what makes _them_ the most money. Their complement (content) is commoditised while they themselves are a monopoly, which as Econ 101 teaches, is a recipe for massive profit.

This dependence on gatekeepers then leads to a large number of content creators failing, and worse than that: finding themselves _irrelevant_ (great recipe for depression, btw). No matter how good you are at what you do, no one cares unless a gatekeeper believes they can make money by promoting you. This is the situation musicians were in 50 years ago, which was supposed to be remedied by the internet, but instead expanded to _all_ forms of content: news, apps, websites, small stores selling on Amazon, even movies and video games are going that route.

In the end, if the only thing subject to scarcity is our attention, gatekeepers who can optimise the benefits we get from our limited attention are the only players with a product that has value. Everything else is virtually worthless, because if it disappears, you’ll just be served something else instead.

And so most creative work becomes devoid of value as the gatekeepers eat the world.


Honestly as a musician this ‘attention culture’ is something I struggle with.


Today’s short-attention-span society needs people who function and act like little children. In the past (that means decades ago) you surely would think about what you are going to buy and why. You wouldn’t just throw your money down the drain for stuff you clearly didn’t need. The advertising industries nowadays want you to be impulsive and irrational like a toddler. Like: Oh! There’s a really, really cool brandnew toy – I need to buy it immediately! That’s how 1-click online shops work. You see something glittering – and you want to


I struggle to see the path to a solution. I agree with what is being said and describing it just presents the issue but the system works as much as you allow it to. I believe self-control is still there but not a lot of people want to use that power, cause it’s easier to let someone else tell you what to consume. I work in business/branding/design and the goal usually is to manipulate attention and perception but the subject has to be responsive and cooperative in a way.
I think we all should take a step back and replace it with whatever healthy thing we can. I started playing D&D as a DM for people and one of my main goals is to make adults (older than me) that I play with put down their phones.
It produced great results. The power is still in our hands.


Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It)

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I have read the book and it is a good start of an inquiry (although the reviewer points out that there are several others).

The most important thing she did (at least to my mind) was to put Adam Smith and Thomas Paine in context. Both were writing before or in the infancy of the Industrial Revolution, which is extremely important to understanding them. Private enterprise was key to individual liberty because economic independence allowed a person to be free of a master.

At the time in America, a (white) American (in a non-slaveholding state) could reasonably expect to be economically independent by their late twenties or early thirties, owning not only their business, but the land it was on (mostly small farmers). One argument against allowing slavery into the Western territories was that free men could not compete with slave owning men, thus endangering their liberty.

Under this reading (and it seems like a fair one) Paine and Smith supported free markets because in their contemporary circumstances, they led to the greatest number of people being economically independent, and therefore free of a master.

The economy of scale introduced by the Industrial Revolution turned all that over, since a free person cannot compete with a factory owning person. Thus it would seem that Smith and Marx were aiming at the same goal–individual liberty obtained through economic independence–while addressing very different circumstances.


I’m sure it’s an interesting read and all, but what we get here isn’t really the essay itself, but a review of it, and it shows. I’d like to be able to engage with Anderson’s arguments, but this is mostly someone gushing about the essay.


I skimmed the whole review. Enough to see that I’m interested. I don’t believe it’s good for me to read and engage with reviews without first reading the material subject to the comments! Confusion is too easy to come by as it is, for me.


Great book illustrating the fact that for most the free market is wage slavery.


I speak of this often, sadly I get looked at oddly often too.