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(70) Blanc

Cleckley’s The Mask of Sanity (1941) is a classic study into psychopathy—pretty much responsible for the term’s popularisation. It now has “controversial” on the blurb on the back because Cleckley links psychopathy to autism and homosexuality—as neatly exemplified in Jeffrey Dahmer and Denis Nilsen, both homosexuals who were psychopathic and also exhibited autistic traits. Psychopathy is ultra-maleness—and so are autism and homosexuality; take anything too far and it will become pathological. Autism: the desire for a structured world that sees people as objects—Nilsen would look at himself in the mirror and dissociate so that his body was another’s body to him.

The psychopath acts in unpredictable ways, since he seeks out risk—ultra-male—and finds ordinary life to be a bore; hence the psychopath, often very intelligent, chops and changes for no reason and ruins perfectly good opportunities—often he drinks to excess but without pleasure to stave off the boredom (just as homosexual men engage in ultra-promiscuous sex and other high-risk activities). He charms because he is aloof and cold—and this is his mystery; since he is not inhibited by social cues and fears of rejection he is remarkably confident and “a natural”—yet this is just because the psychopath, autistically, cannot “read the room”; he doesn’t fear social rejection because he doesn’t understand it—nor does it bother him.

He simulates other minds—and if you asked him for a spontaneous emotional reaction in a situation where he has no prior data he would give an odd response. He has nothing to work with as far as emotions go except what he can copy—the mask. He never learns from his mishaps because everything is a simulation with him; he can be contrite, yet there is no sincerity to it—once he talks his way out, he’s off again. Of course, this can be a recipe for genius—yet, in our world, where gay people are religious objects to be worshipped, we effectively venerate literal psychopaths.


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