Spirituality is not simply another word for “religiosity.” Most simply, I am inclined to define spirituality as a deep awareness of the connectedness of all people to one another, to all life, as well as to the planet and the universe. This awareness leads to what may be called a spiritual way of living which is first loving but also deeply concerned for the well being of other people, life, and the planet. The absence of spiritual awareness often issues in sociopathy, a kind of anti-social, narcissistic way of living without regard for how our actions, consumption, and even how we discard friendships as well as trash, affects the world and the planet.
Spiritual people are inherently honest, thoughtful, forgiving, and loving. Sociopaths think primarily of themselves (or their narrowly defined “tribe”) and will tell any lie that serves their ends. Sociopaths refuse personal responsibility and find elaborately contrived ways of blaming others for their own harmful actions.
Symptoms And Features Of Sociopathy
The criteria used to diagnose antisocial personality disorder is the criteria used to establish someone who has sociopathic tendencies. A sociopath is not a clinical diagnosis, but rather a term used to describe characteristics of some people with antisocial personality disorder. The following criteria are listed in the DSM 5 for a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder:
Significant Impairments in Personality Functioning
Impairments in personality functioning can be identified by several factors.
- Identity: Egocentrism; self-esteem derived from personal gain, power, or pleasure.
- Self-direction: Goal setting based on personal gratification. In other words, having little-to-no regard for social standards, such as obeying the lawful or reasonable ethical behavior.
Impairments in interpersonal functioning can include the following:
- Empathy: Lack of concern for feelings, needs, or suffering of others. Lack of remorse after hurting or mistreating another.
- Intimacy: Incapable of mutually intimate relationships, as exploitation is a primary means of relating to others. This is normally recognized by deceitful behavior or intimidation to control others.
Pathological Personality Traits in the Following Domains
Antagonism can be characterized by the following.
- Manipulation: Frequent use of subterfuge to influence or control others; use of seduction, charm, glibness, or ingratiation to achieve one’s ends.
- Deceitfulness: Dishonesty and fraudulence; misrepresentations of self; in other words, stretching the truth when relating events.
- Callousness: Lack of concern for feelings or problems of others; lack of guilt or remorse about the negative or harmful effects of one’s own actions on others; aggression; sadism.
- Hostility: Persistent or frequent angry feelings; anger or irritability in response to minor slights and insults; inconsiderate, spiteful, or vengeful.
Lack of Inhibition can be characterized by the following.
- Irresponsibility; Disregard for-and failure to honor-financial and other obligations or commitments; lack of respect for-and lack of follow-through on agreements and promises.
- Impulsivity: Acting on the spur of the moment in response to immediate stimuli; acting on a momentary basis without a plan or consideration of possible outcomes; difficulty establishing and following through with plans.
- Risk-taking: Engagement in dangerous, risky, and potentially self-damaging activities, unnecessarily and without regard for consequences; boredom, proneness, and thoughtless initiation of activities to counter boredom; lack of concern for one’s limitations and denial of the reality of the personal danger.
Meditation (from “Meditations” by Roger Ray)
We confess our lack of sincere spirituality
that drives us to deny both our guilt and our indifference.
We create a life narrative in which we are always the hero
of our own version of history in stark denial of reality.
We long for the courage to embrace
both the truth about ourselves
and the truth about our neighbors and the whole of creation
as we are not innocent, and we are in need of healing.
The sociopath – the case of the missing conscience