"The money that would otherwise go into a second vehicle, fuel, insurance, and maintenance instead goes toward higher quality food."
I love this. It shows how so many of our lifestyle choices affect one another. I'm sure the domino effect doesn't stop here either. I've noticed how much more I feel like a part of the human race when I bike. When you drive a car you're so isolated, it's easy to get angry when someone makes an honest mistake in the next lane. When biking or walking you always have to constantly confront smiling faces and "good morning!"s and I think it's important to have this interaction with strangers.
So what is it called if you have every single one of these symptoms, except actually being depressed? I find myself not caring at all about what others have to say, how they feel, etc. and you can imagine the hurdles that imposes on someone who has to make a legitimate-feeling human connection to sell a product. Social interactions are a game to me (that I've gotten quite good at) but none of it feels real.
I haven't felt that need to be dead as described, but definitely concluded that death would be neither good nor bad...and what's the point in waiting, right? Isn't it all the same?
And the "everything is hopeless bullshit" attitude i've had many times. I've just concluded that, perhaps...everything IS pointless. But we can enjoy it nonetheless. Enjoy the pointlessness, since it's all we CAN do.
Anyway, is there a name for this besides selfish asshole syndrome? Anyone else like this?
Do you not feel emotions, or do you not feel empathy?
The former is called alexithymia. It literally means "no words for emotions", and is experienced as an inability to identify emotional states in oneself. A person may still experience emotions and act on them, but they're unaware of which emotion they're feeling at any given time - for example, they may snap at or say something nasty to a close acquaintance, but be unaware that they were angry or that their words would be hurtful to the other person. Alexithymia isn't a disorder in itself, but it's a symptom that can indicate other disorders. Common causes include dismissive/avoidant attachment disorder, autism spectrum disorders, avoidant or schizoid personality disorders, or sometimes PTSD and emotional trauma.
Lack of empathy means an inability to put yourself in someone else's shoes and imagine someone else's perspective. It's actually divided into two categories: a deficiency in emotional empathy means an inability to understand others' emotional states (and is closely related to alexithymia, as you usually can't identify emotions in others if you can't identify them in yourself) and is commonly associated with sociopathy, schizophrenia, and narcissism; while cognitive empathy is your ability to imagine yourself in another's shoes and take on their perspective given their differing information, and is frequently deficient with autism spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder.
Sociopaths or psychopaths, (the two can be used interchangeable according to Hare) can identify emotions, but they don't register as something to feel as well or to mirror. That is where the "game" comes from. You can use peoples emotions and the little clues they drop in body language against them to efficiently and effectively manipulate them into doing what you want them to do.
Seems like a lot of replies have leapt straight to the sociopath/psychopath answer. And they may be right, but it's not as likely as depression.
Here's an acid test that may help you work it out: Studies have been done where people were told they would be given a painful electric shock. This was then administered. They were told a few minutes later that they were about to receive another shock.
Normal people would react to the knowledge - as soon as they were told "We're gonna shock you" their heart rate increased, etc. Psycopaths registered no change until the shock was actually administered.
So: If you knew something was about to inflict real pain on you, would you tense up? If yes, you're most likely depressed.
I've been through the "No feelings at all" type of depression myself - weirdest part was when my dog died, and I sobbed my eyes out but didn't actually feel any emotion at all on the inside.
I had to go through the black hole of abject misery and out the other side before I got my feelings back. Hopefully you can find an easier way!
Don't underestimate the benefits you can get by just talking to somebody about it.
Just a quick note, "Psychopath" and "Sociopath" means the same. The difference is the term "Psychopath" has been abused by journalists, usually in the context of "psychopathic killer". The rise of the word "sociopath" is an attempt to start with a clean slate.
I remember reading the DSM occasionally, which is what they use to diagnose these things. I'll caution that I am not an expert, have no training in the area, so have at best a layperson's understanding.
But my understanding is that you can have the symptoms of depression from time to time and not meet the criteria. Most of these things have, alongside the list of symptoms, a bullet point or two about it being persistent, that it gets in the way of your activities. Sometimes you see the list of symptoms for something like a mood disorder and you say, hey, that could be anybody, especially teenagers. Then you see the blurb about it being nearly every day for six weeks or whatever.
As a thinking person of somewhat atheist leanings it's personally occurred to me that life is pointless, kind of like you said. Sometimes, especially when thinking of mortality, that can bum me out. But I wouldn't say that's the same as clinical depression.
I believe I'm in a similar boat as you. I suspect the difference is of degree.
As for what to call it? I consider myself a fairly melancholy, introspective sort of person. That's what I call it.
Edit: a quick Google reveals "melancholy" is specifically tied to depression! Maybe I am depressed after all. But anyway, I usually use the word to mean the absence of vitality and vigor, rather than the presence of depression. Closer to "pensive" than "depressed".
>> And the "everything is hopeless bullshit" attitude i've had many times. I've just concluded that, perhaps...everything IS pointless. But we can enjoy it nonetheless. Enjoy the pointlessness, since it's all we CAN do.
This is the core of my worldview really. There is no 'point', we just are, so lets be nice to each other and enjoy ourselves while we can eh?
I'm pretty sure I have suffered from various bouts of depression at various times. Not as bad as Allie by a long way, though some things from her last couple of posts about it are familiar.
Everyone gets depressed from time to time - it would be somewhat worrisome if certain events didn't cause you do to feel down.
What Alli and myself and others suffer from (all differently, mind you) is a long-term effect. In my case, the effects usually run about 6 months or so and then there's a period where everything is fine, then the long, slow slide back down into the hole.
I've come to accept that this is how it's going to be for me. If I take medication, my brain doesn't function and I can't write software (or much of anything else). While I'm down there, at least there is some hope of being able to accomplish things, albeit not as efficiently.
I say I'm pretty sure I've suffered from bouts of depression because I've been through periods of feeling little but emptiness, sleeping nearly all the time and not wanting to interact with the world, completely unrelated to any external events that might reasonably make me feel 'down'.
I don't think it's necessarily helpful to try and exclude or segregate someone's depression as a different phenomenon to your own (they're just a bit down whereas I'm clinically depressed) based on a one-liner in a post on the internet.
> I find myself not caring at all about what others have to say, how they feel, etc. and you can imagine the hurdles that imposes on someone who has to make a legitimate-feeling human connection to sell a product. Social interactions are a game to me (that I've gotten quite good at) but none of it feels real.
I'm having a hard finding reputable medical information online, but my impression was that sociopathy fit your lack of caring, difficulty emulating social interactions and feelings, and treatment of such interactions as games with goals.
It's not really used clinically as far as I can see, but the common definition of sociopathy is also starkly different from what you describe: the sociopath does have an utter lack of caring (most starkly for the well-being of others), but he/she has no difficulty whatsoever emulating social interactions and feelings. In fact they are stunningly, stunningly good at it to the point of being horrendously manipulative. They usually do everything in bad faith, or at least with the sole goal of furthering their own agenda. So this condition is fundamentally different.
hmm that's a thought. I think it would be more sociopathy than psychopathy if anything. Then again, it could be that I'm an introvert who's read too much stoic philosophy meanwhile forcing himself to act extroverted lol.
I was going for "being an introvert" too, unless you forgot to add "I torture random animals for the sake of it" or "I like to take advantage of people" in your description. In any case, I'm always surprised by the amount of people on the internet who are willing to label a random stranger a psychopath based on a single paragraph of text.
Standard disclaimer applies: Please don't take your medical advice from the internet.
Being an introvert is a vastly different thing from what OP described.
Extrovert enjoy social interaction and need it as part of their "energy", while introverted people will see the same kind of interaction take a toll and thus need time alone. Carl Kingdom explains very will what introversion is about . Also, remember that introversion / extroversion isn't a binary trait but a whole spectrum of behaviours.
If OP lacks empathy and feels the need to exploit other people to his own benefit, then chances are that he has psychopathic traits. That doesn't mean he's a serial killer or that it should be taken as an insult. Of course he can have more information by consulting a licensed practitioner.
I have some of that too, but tbh I don't think it's depression, psychopathy or sociopathy as the other commenters mentioned, but just a personality trait.
Alternatively, it's a defense mechanism; not caring about others means your mind isn't burdened with their well-being and issues, which lightens the load.
The social interactions being a game is a sign of you being an introvert; extroverts and society at large make it look natural and something you're simply supposed to know, but this isn't true for everyone. I found the social aspect becomes better and easier and more natural - or, my personality slowly shifting towards the extrovert end of the scale - as the years and experiences pass by.
The outlook on life (or death, for that matter) is a nice, down-to-earth statement, releasing you from the burden of living in fear about the afterlife, and allowing you to live as you choose to, not according to a set of rules and habits as imposed by a religion or lifestyle.
Finally, describing yourself as having selfish asshole syndrome shows that you're well-aware of yourself, your behavior etc, and that if you choose so, you can work on self-improvement and changing yourself. That is, if you see any reason to. Being fine with who you are is fine, as long as you're happy / content with it.
I almost have the same symptoms. I am not depressed. I can interact well socially, I feel joy in my activities, I see good in things...
But still - none of it has any 'true' value to it. I'm completely lost. I guess I'd leave this alone if I'd know for sure that there is nothing of 'True' and everything is subjective. But I don't know this.
This sounds like you might be a psychopath. You very clearly described some of the diagnostic requirements.
Do note that there are degrees of psychopathy. Take a look at the PCL-R by Robert Hare, for example. It scores people from 0 - 40, with many people scoring at 1 - 2. Anything over 30 is considered a psychopath.
I feel the same way as you, except /every so often/ I will be depressed, my depression lasts maybe a day or two, at its worst it lasted a week. Not sure what gets me back out of it...
During that time I just go through the motions of being alive. I've thought about death a lot, I can honestly say I don't fear it. BUT don't mistake that (like so many of the doctors I've talked to when I was a kid) for actually wanting to be dead or being suicidal.
Just wanted to let you know that there are people that have the same experiences as you, and you are definitely not alone. Not that it matters much in the long scheme of things.
If you haven't seen it, you might enjoy the Australian documentary "I, Psychopath". The protagonist shares a lot of the traits you mention. It's not a great film in the sense of "watchability", but it resonated with me.
I think some areas depend on city size. Moving from New Mexico to (southwest) Virginia I realized that small-town southern cities are extremely backward, especially with racism. However, head North to the northern 1/3 of VA and it's as diverse and accepting as any decent city.
The school's reaction is truly ridiculous. I remember telling my grandfather about the explosives my friends and I would make when I was ~13/14. He responded with "You ever see what happens when you mix sodium and water? There's that, then there's magnesium...haha my science teacher wasn't too happy about that explosion." (It's hard to convey his jolly "ah good times" tone with just text)
Sure, I wasn't around but it sure seems like people were way less of a tightass back then. I got threatened with a lawsuit because I remotely controlled a teacher's computer. Just a prank!
My friend and I wanted to test out Final Cut Pro on his new Mac, so we made a little action short which included kicking a stuffed model of myself (half a day's work and a LOT of duct tape) off the school roof. Again, 15-year-olds threatened with a lawsuit for trespassing (I was under the impression my parents paid their state taxes?) A constructive activity is punished while drug deals go down in the guys' bathroom unnoticed.
Call me crazy, but that's what I love about SF. It feels so much more (friendly? approachable?) than other cities because of the architecture and height of buildings. It's quite unique and I'd hate to see it go.
It's an understandable stance, but IMO a disastrous one.
I lived in SF for a year, and to be honest I found it to be somewhere between "cool" and "intolerable". The city is filled with transplants who, the moment they set foot in the fair city, turn around and try to slam the door shut behind themselves as hard as possible, and this has so many negative effects.
San Francisco is a city devoid of pragmatism - it is a fairy tale theme park run amok. Instead of getting more people to and from work faster, it is hostile to most forms of mass transit. It is hostile to the population growth necessary to un-fuck the city's transportation disaster (aka MUNI and BART).
A city is a naturally-arising conglomeration of people that will happen anywhere you combine places people want to live, with places where they can work. The key word here is people. The city has entirely forgotten that - zoning for new office spaces is onerous and slow. Zoning for housing developments nearly non-existent outside of Mission Bay. It has gone out of its way to act directly against the very basic interests of its constituency in favor of maintaining this picturesque, fairy tale backdrop of the 1930s frozen in time.
After experiencing the SF housing market first-hand I honestly have a changed view of the city. When you're just visiting, the old houses, the low density, the unique architectural style, it all feels so picturesque and lovely. Nowadays to me the city feels like a an embalmed corpse - superficially resembling some idealistic long-ago era while lacking any real semblance of function. It is utterly broken, mismanaged to absurdity, all so a small number of people can live in a slowly-crumbling fairy tale.
Nowadays I live in NYC, and frankly have no desire to go back to SF. It's cheaper (!!!), the city has done a remarkable job of preserving old architecture, mixing old with new (see: Hearst Building), and new development. There is a constant stream of development that keep both commercial and residential prices in relative check. And despite the loud cries of San Franciscans, the density and Manhanttanization has created no shortage of culture, interest, and unique neighborhoods.
Hardly surprising. After all, a city is primarily defined by its people, not colorful paints and period-architecture. Keeping people around, at the end of the day, is your best shot at preserving the spirit and character of a place than any sort of architecture.
You're not crazy, lots of people agree with you. Just please don't be like so many SF residents and complain that all the people "who made SF what it is" are being replaced by tech hipsters making 6 figs, while simultaneously complaining about any new construction in their neighborhoods. It's a hypocritical position. There either needs to be more tall buildings or people with sub 90'th percentile incomes are going to have to GTFO from SF until Silicon Valley collapses.
Transportation. The bulk of the economy is still on the west side of the Bay, and crossing the Bay can be a huge pain in the ass. BART is frequently unreliable, expensive, infrequent, and stops early.
On top of that the transportation on the Oakland side is also highly lacking, further increasing the friction for people working in SF but living in the East Bay.
On top of that the transportation on the SF side is also highly lacking. If you work within walking distance of a BART stop, power to you. For everyone else it means catching a transfer to the worst transit agency I've ever seen: MUNI.
In other words, the only commute that really competes with living in the city proper is one where you're living walking distance to a BART stop, and you work within walking distance to a BART stop at the other end. Any other use case becomes an irredeemable mess, substantially limiting the attractiveness for residents.
Transportation has, and is, and will continue to be, the Achille's Heel of San Francisco and its surroundings. The continuing utter failure to invest in transit infrastructure will be the city's undoing.
Says someone not looking at $2,800 for an apartment right now.
And the peninsula isn't really much better. They tend to be bigger, but nothing is within a half mile, nobody walks on the street, it's a miserable place to be. All that, for an apartment that's $300 cheaper? It makes no sense.
What exactly are the density restrictions on residential buildings in San Francisco? I'm slightly familiar with DC and Philadelphia and in neither case is building height or zoning the key issue. Unions and crime figure in.
I'm rather against high-rise residential construction. Big buildings are fine for hotels, but for homes it leads to really shitty residential neighborhoods where people can't recognize their neighbors. I'm all in favor of three story limits. Just make thin row homes. God forbid people actually have to deal with neighbors and maintain sidewalks and so-forth. Maybe some people actually do like checking in and out of their concrete cell block on floor 50.
Well said. Those are the two opposing sides of labor in capitalism. As Marx pointed out, a company does best by commoditizing labor. To make a worker as replaceable as possible is in the best interest of the company: They can pay less and hold his replace-ability over his head. "I demand a higher pay or I'll quit" is met with "Fine, your position will be filled tomorrow morning" and realizing his replace-ability the employee feels it's better to at least have a job, thus creating the illusion of employee loyalty.
Now with companies like Google you see what happens when the pendulum swings toward the workers' favor. Google employees are top-notch. They are much harder to replace, so the company offers amazing things on top of great pay to keep them. Again, it appears to be loyalty but it's always in their own interest. Keeping and taking care of these amazing employees is how they create great things.
It seems that the best option as an employee is to find an industry/position that requires a unique, hard-to-replace set of skills and dominate that position.
On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity.