MrBenjamatic

The folly of modern psychological analysis and diagnosis

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About two months ago I was researching modern psychological analysis and diagnosis and I was astonished at how many symptoms were neutral terms like selfish. Anti-social personality disorder (or psychopathy) is a great example of this; symptoms of this folly disorder include selfishness, lack of guilt, grandeoise sense of self worth, the lack of acting on emotions (described as being emotionally shallow), lack of empathy and pity (lack of altruism). I'd like to highlight the 'grandeoise sense of self worth'. That is, essentially, arrogance. Arrogance pressuposes presumptuousness; an invalidly high opinion of oneself. But to call anyone with a high opinion of oneself arrogant is a wish to wipe out of existence all those whose high opinions of themselves are valid: Ayn Rand, Coco Chanel, Henry Bessemer, Frank Lloyd Wright. I could discuss the fallaciousness of the Anti-social personality disorder and other modern psychological diagnoses' for a while, but I won't. Does anyone know of any other follies in regards to modern psychological analysis (manic bipolar disorder is one of them I think)?

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About two months ago I was researching modern psychological analysis and diagnosis and I was astonished at how many symptoms were neutral terms like selfish. Anti-social personality disorder (or psychopathy) is a great example of this; symptoms of this folly disorder include selfishness, lack of guilt, grandeoise sense of self worth, the lack of acting on emotions (described as being emotionally shallow), lack of empathy and pity (lack of altruism). I'd like to highlight the 'grandeoise sense of self worth'. That is, essentially, arrogance. Arrogance pressuposes presumptuousness; an invalidly high opinion of oneself. But to call anyone with a high opinion of oneself arrogant is a wish to wipe out of existence all those whose high opinions of themselves are valid: Ayn Rand, Coco Chanel, Henry Bessemer, Frank Lloyd Wright. I could discuss the fallaciousness of the Anti-social personality disorder and other modern psychological diagnoses' for a while, but I won't. Does anyone know of any other follies in regards to modern psychological analysis (manic bipolar disorder is one of them I think)?

About two months ago I was researching modern psychological analysis and diagnosis and I was astonished at how many symptoms were neutral terms like selfish. Anti-social personality disorder (or psychopathy) is a great example of this; symptoms of this folly disorder include selfishness, lack of guilt, grandeoise sense of self worth, the lack of acting on emotions (described as being emotionally shallow), lack of empathy and pity (lack of altruism). I'd like to highlight the 'grandeoise sense of self worth'. That is, essentially, arrogance. Arrogance pressuposes presumptuousness; an invalidly high opinion of oneself. But to call anyone with a high opinion of oneself arrogant is a wish to wipe out of existence all those whose high opinions of themselves are valid: Ayn Rand, Coco Chanel, Henry Bessemer, Frank Lloyd Wright. I could discuss the fallaciousness of the Anti-social personality disorder and other modern psychological diagnoses' for a while, but I won't. Does anyone know of any other follies in regards to modern psychological analysis (manic bipolar disorder is one of them I think)?

Manic bipolar disorder is not about psychology at all. It is a measurable physical condition based on neuroscience as well as observations of symptoms.. In many cases it is treatable by conventional medicine, sallowing the individual to return to a normal healthy self.

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About two months ago I was researching modern psychological analysis and diagnosis and I was astonished at how many symptoms were neutral terms like selfish. Anti-social personality disorder (or psychopathy) is a great example of this; symptoms of this folly disorder include selfishness, lack of guilt, grandeoise sense of self worth, the lack of acting on emotions (described as being emotionally shallow), lack of empathy and pity (lack of altruism). I'd like to highlight the 'grandeoise sense of self worth'. That is, essentially, arrogance. Arrogance pressuposes presumptuousness; an invalidly high opinion of oneself. But to call anyone with a high opinion of oneself arrogant is a wish to wipe out of existence all those whose high opinions of themselves are valid: Ayn Rand, Coco Chanel, Henry Bessemer, Frank Lloyd Wright. I could discuss the fallaciousness of the Anti-social personality disorder and other modern psychological diagnoses' for a while, but I won't. Does anyone know of any other follies in regards to modern psychological analysis (manic bipolar disorder is one of them I think)?

About two months ago I was researching modern psychological analysis and diagnosis and I was astonished at how many symptoms were neutral terms like selfish. Anti-social personality disorder (or psychopathy) is a great example of this; symptoms of this folly disorder include selfishness, lack of guilt, grandeoise sense of self worth, the lack of acting on emotions (described as being emotionally shallow), lack of empathy and pity (lack of altruism). I'd like to highlight the 'grandeoise sense of self worth'. That is, essentially, arrogance. Arrogance pressuposes presumptuousness; an invalidly high opinion of oneself. But to call anyone with a high opinion of oneself arrogant is a wish to wipe out of existence all those whose high opinions of themselves are valid: Ayn Rand, Coco Chanel, Henry Bessemer, Frank Lloyd Wright. I could discuss the fallaciousness of the Anti-social personality disorder and other modern psychological diagnoses' for a while, but I won't. Does anyone know of any other follies in regards to modern psychological analysis (manic bipolar disorder is one of them I think)?

Manic bipolar disorder is not about psychology at all. It is a measurable physical condition based on neuroscience as well as observations of symptoms.. In many cases it is treatable by conventional medicine, sallowing the individual to return to a normal healthy self.

Not to discredit you, as I don't know anything about neuroscience, but I read differently online (in regards to it being psychological).

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Not to discredit ytou either, but reading online is not the same as studying a subject. I have researched this subject, though I of course am no expert. I have personal knowledge and experience, with family members, and have done considerable homework on it.

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You are absolutely correct in your pointing out the difference between online research and subject study. And as I said, I know absolutely nothing about neuroscience, perhaps until now.

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I know you are newly enthused Rand fan, and it is an intellectual joy to fit the world into her shining vision.

But remember, she said herself, that she knew very little of psychology. And as to psychiatry I do not think she knew anything.

I think some of the psychological theories and "therapies" that flourished under her aegis did a lot of harm.

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I know you are newly enthused Rand fan, and it is an intellectual joy to fit the world into her shining vision.

But remember, she said herself, that she knew very little of psychology. And as to psychiatry I do not think she knew anything.

I think some of the psychological theories and "therapies" that flourished under her aegis did a lot of harm.

Carol is absolutely correct.

One suggestion is to read Nathanial Brandon's works. He was her disciple, lover and advocate.

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I know you are newly enthused Rand fan, and it is an intellectual joy to fit the world into her shining vision.

But remember, she said herself, that she knew very little of psychology. And as to psychiatry I do not think she knew anything.

I think some of the psychological theories and "therapies" that flourished under her aegis did a lot of harm.

But how can it be valid to use neutral terms such as selfish as symptoms for diseases?

Also, I've actually been studying Objectivism for about a year and a half. I made a point to understand the entire Fountainhead speech and the John Galt speech and I understand them both now with the exception of minor details in the Galt speech which I'm working out now. I've made mistakes but I'm ironing them out. What made you think I was new to Rand? I've always been enthusiastic about philosophical truth, I'm suprised I didn't stumble upon her before researching for my case.

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I know you are newly enthused Rand fan, and it is an intellectual joy to fit the world into her shining vision.

But remember, she said herself, that she knew very little of psychology. And as to psychiatry I do not think she knew anything.

I think some of the psychological theories and "therapies" that flourished under her aegis did a lot of harm.

But how can it be valid to use neutral terms such as selfish as symptoms for diseases?

Also, I've actually been studying Objectivism for about a year and a half. I made a point to understand the entire Fountainhead speech and the John Galt speech and I understand them both now with the exception of minor details in the Galt speech which I'm working out now. I've made mistakes but I'm ironing them out. What made you think I was new to Rand? I've always been enthusiastic about philosophical truth, I'm suprised I didn't stumble upon her before researching for my case.

Medical terms are not about precise semantics but about observable symptom patterns.m In medical context they serve as shorthand for these patterns. It is philosophy that seeks to rightly define, or redefine words. I repeat, Rand was a philosopher with little interest or knowledge in medicine. The speeches in her novels were about philosophy, and somewhat about economics and aesthetics. Not about medical science.

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I know you are newly enthused Rand fan, and it is an intellectual joy to fit the world into her shining vision.

But remember, she said herself, that she knew very little of psychology. And as to psychiatry I do not think she knew anything.

I think some of the psychological theories and "therapies" that flourished under her aegis did a lot of harm.

But how can it be valid to use neutral terms such as selfish as symptoms for diseases?

Also, I've actually been studying Objectivism for about a year and a half. I made a point to understand the entire Fountainhead speech and the John Galt speech and I understand them both now with the exception of minor details in the Galt speech which I'm working out now. I've made mistakes but I'm ironing them out. What made you think I was new to Rand? I've always been enthusiastic about philosophical truth, I'm suprised I didn't stumble upon her before researching for my case.

Medical terms are not about precise semantics but about observable symptom patterns.m In medical context they serve as shorthand for these patterns. It is philosophy that seeks to rightly define, or redefine words. I repeat, Rand was a philosopher with little interest or knowledge in medicine. The speeches in her novels were about philosophy, and somewhat about economics and aesthetics. Not about medical science.

But would a psychiatrist not need proper terminology of symptoms in order to properly diagnose? Philosophy applies to everthing in existence as the laws of logic apply to everything in existence; Objectivism is based on reason and the laws of logic and axioms.

For instance selfishness, a neutral term, is used as a symptom of anti-social personality disorder also called psychosis. The first man who discovered how to create fire was selfish and so is a burglar. Thomas Edison was selfish and so was Ted Bundy (It was in his interest, as a psycho, to kill). Psychosis, I strongly believe (not in pertaining to faith), was a term invented for dubious purposes.

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I know you are newly enthused Rand fan, and it is an intellectual joy to fit the world into her shining vision.

But remember, she said herself, that she knew very little of psychology. And as to psychiatry I do not think she knew anything.

I think some of the psychological theories and "therapies" that flourished under her aegis did a lot of harm.

But how can it be valid to use neutral terms such as selfish as symptoms for diseases?

Also, I've actually been studying Objectivism for about a year and a half. I made a point to understand the entire Fountainhead speech and the John Galt speech and I understand them both now with the exception of minor details in the Galt speech which I'm working out now. I've made mistakes but I'm ironing them out. What made you think I was new to Rand? I've always been enthusiastic about philosophical truth, I'm suprised I didn't stumble upon her before researching for my case.

Medical terms are not about precise semantics but about observable symptom patterns.m In medical context they serve as shorthand for these patterns. It is philosophy that seeks to rightly define, or redefine words. I repeat, Rand was a philosopher with little interest or knowledge in medicine. The speeches in her novels were about philosophy, and somewhat about economics and aesthetics. Not about medical science.

But would a psychiatrist not need proper terminology of symptoms in order to properly diagnose? Philosophy applies to everthing in existence as the laws of logic apply to everything in existence; Objectivism is based on reason and the laws of logic and axioms.

For instance selfishness, a neutral term, is used as a symptom of anti-social personality disorder also called psychosis. The first man who discovered how to create fire was selfish and so is a burglar. Thomas Edison was selfish and so was Ted Bundy (It was in his interest, as a psycho, to kill). Psychosis, I strongly believe (not in pertaining to faith), was a term invented for dubious purposes.

I know you are newly enthused Rand fan, and it is an intellectual joy to fit the world into her shining vision.

But remember, she said herself, that she knew very little of psychology. And as to psychiatry I do not think she knew anything.

I think some of the psychological theories and "therapies" that flourished under her aegis did a lot of harm.

But how can it be valid to use neutral terms such as selfish as symptoms for diseases?

Also, I've actually been studying Objectivism for about a year and a half. I made a point to understand the entire Fountainhead speech and the John Galt speech and I understand them both now with the exception of minor details in the Galt speech which I'm working out now. I've made mistakes but I'm ironing them out. What made you think I was new to Rand? I've always been enthusiastic about philosophical truth, I'm suprised I didn't stumble upon her before researching for my case.

Medical terms are not about precise semantics but about observable symptom patterns.m In medical context they serve as shorthand for these patterns. It is philosophy that seeks to rightly define, or redefine words. I repeat, Rand was a philosopher with little interest or knowledge in medicine. The speeches in her novels were about philosophy, and somewhat about economics and aesthetics. Not about medical science.

But would a psychiatrist not need proper terminology of symptoms in order to properly diagnose? Philosophy applies to everthing in existence as the laws of logic apply to everything in existence; Objectivism is based on reason and the laws of logic and axioms.

For instance selfishness, a neutral term, is used as a symptom of anti-social personality disorder also called psychosis. The first man who discovered how to create fire was selfish and so is a burglar. Thomas Edison was selfish and so was Ted Bundy (It was in his interest, as a psycho, to kill). Psychosis, I strongly believe (not in pertaining to faith), was a term invented for dubious purposes.

You are all over the place here intellectually.l Selfish is a term used in many contexts. It has a specific philosophical meaning in Objectivist philosophy.. Rand specifically tried to redefine it.

Psychopath is a term invented, I think, by psychiatrists, and used by criminologists for a certain type of criminal.

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Yes! And look what innocent selfish, greedy, virtuous industrialists are consitered as and convicted of being criminals! Their (the inventors of the diagnosis of psychopathy) purpose is now clear: to "justify" the arresting of and court room arguments against industrialists & business owners.

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But how can it be valid to use neutral terms such as selfish as symptoms for diseases?

MrBenjamatic,

Without getting into the merits of your condemnation of psychology and keeping only to the epistemological method of your question, I suggest you open any dictionary and look on any page. You will usually find more than one definition for each word.

That's how a "neutral term" can have a different meaning with other usages. Using the same word with different meanings is a universal human habit.

In fact, let's do it backwards--and here is something to think about. How can there be different languages (like German, French, Portuguese, etc.) all with different words and different grammars that stand for the same concepts?

Michael

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But how can it be valid to use neutral terms such as selfish as symptoms for diseases?

It cannot be valid, of course. Selfishness is not a self-evident, stand-alone symptom of a disease

Philip, we can first make reference to the actual syndrome described, variously, as anti-social personality disorder, dissocial personality disorder, psychopathy, sociopathy..

Two large diagnostic complexes form the 'holy books' of psychiatric providers. The history of each is too long, but the ICD is from the World Health Organisation ("Intenational Statisticial Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems") and the DSM is from the American Psychiatric Association ("Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders").

Here are the criteria from the ICD:

It is characterized by at least 3 of the following:

  1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
  2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.
  3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them.
  4. Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
  5. Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
  6. Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.

Here are criteria from the DSM:

A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:

  1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
  2. deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
  3. impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
  4. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
  5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
  6. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
  7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;

B) The individual is at least age 18 years. C) There is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years. D) The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or a manic episode.

"Selfish" is not a word used in either official classification scheme, as you can see. When you ask if a psychiatrist would not need 'proper terminology of symptoms in order to properly diagnose,' you go to the heart of the matter -- and you also expose the grounds for much of the controversy that has dogged the DSM.

But, put aside the cogent criticism of the DSM formation, or the sprawl of conditions, disorders and illnesses that could be nothing but a folie-a-plusieurs among clinicians. Go back to your original question and decide what you were trying to get at.

As far as I can see, you wanted to challenge that one particular diagnosis (anti-social), and for good reasons: what if the 'symptoms' were not anything particularly damaging or indicative of problems? What if 'selfish' and 'arrogant' people were being needlessly and cruelly labeled as mentally defective, simply because of an altruist prejudice? What if the clinicians employed to diagnose anti-social disorders could not reliably tell the difference between a dangerous (to others) sociopath and a standard achiever (in business, sport, military, politics, what have you)?

Return to 'selfish.' The ICD criterion that comes closest to 'selfish' is "callous unconcern for the feelings of others." Not quite 'selfish' ... but within the ballpark perhaps. Yet, what does callous unconcern mean? What might it mean to you in your own situation? Let me ask if you felt your mother and father callously destroyed your artworks, without concern for your feelings about the destruction?

Is there a point at which your parents should have been concerned about you?

Also ask yourself what kind of parents could not only harm their children deliberately, but could also feel nothing at the harm: no remorse, no guilt, no sense of responsibility. Have you ever met or known someone like this, someone who fits the profile?

See where I am going with this? If your parents, gawd forbid, either of them, fits the pattern of an uncaring, unduly selfish and disempathetic brute who lies, manipulates, cons and otherwise treats people like boxes of cheese, does this mean you might change your mind about the utility of such diagnoses?

Over to the DSM.

Here, again, no 'selfish' plain and simple. But "pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others" ... the key words being pervasive pattern.

So, what can we do with the rest of the information in the two diagnostic lists? What kind of activities lead to a diagnosis?

As you might suspect, it is the criminal justice system that most often meets acts that seem sociopathic, for sociopathic behaviour harms people. A con is a fraud. A fraudster is a criminal. A sociopathic fraudster is one who does not give one shit about the pain or suffering the fraud caused to real persons. Moreover, the sociopathic criminal is one who persistently shows a pervasive pattern of not giving a shit about other people -- to the point of callous disregard of their safety (and of their lives).

All this to say to you that the closest you get to another person's claim is the closest you get to understanding it. Now that you have seen the criteria, and that they do not simply describe an arrogant, successful, 'selfish' Randian person but a stone-hearted monster, can you see that at least some of what is described as 'sociopathic' is not the kind of person you want to be, and not the kind of person you will be safe to befriend?

In this sense, the DSM/ICD are eqivalent to Four Sure Fire Signs That Dog Is Dangerous. Mad Dog Syndrome. For your protection and mine.

The social norms noted in both criteria should not, I think, be smudged into mere 'social conventions' -- I think they should be seen as moral conventions: if you contract a debt, you are bound to pay it back. Normal in all societies. Same with Assault, robbery, rape, extortion, kidnapping, murder: these are things that are against all moral conventions, they are common to almost all societies as crimes

Here we are very very far from the notion of 'selfish' (Rand's new meaning) you have in mind, I think. In her newly-coined version of 'selfish' there is no downside -- she acknowledges and trumpets the truism that every person has a right to think of themselves, to consider their own feelings, to reach for their own goals, to be concerned primarily with their own health and achievement, dreams and plans. The 'selfishness' we celebrate in Randian heros is not callous disregard, inability to take responsibility for ignoring the rights of others. A truly and properly selfish person in Rand's coinage does NOT disrespect or disregard the rights of others. And a properly selfish Randian hero would not commit murder, extortion, robbery, kidnapping, torture, rape or other violations -- and most definitely would not exhibit blaming behaviour, denial of responsibility, disdain for their suffering, or enjoyment of cruelty for its own sake.

To recap, 'selfishness' is not a neutral term, not simply, not completely, not for all time. And it is by no means a 'symptom' of the disorder you take issue with. A callous disregard for the rights (and feelings) of others is not selfishness.

Inventor Thomas Edison may have been selfish (in the Randian term) but you cannot use the same word to imply the same scale as you scope out the personality of sex-killer Bundy. The word just can't do that much work on its own.

On to psychosis, psychotic, crazy, having lost touch with reality. What 'dubious' reason do you think led to that 'invention' ?

I mean, did it describe a real danger (to self and others) or did it describe something else? If I warn you against a psychotic person or a dangerous agressive dog, am I helping you in one instance avoid harm, but not in the other?

Follow on your own the rest of the criteria, the actual criteria, and see if you have been fair. If a person known to you actually had the same suite of behaviours cited above, would you trust them to treat you fairly, according to norms like honesty, non-initiation of force, and so on?

Now that you see the Dx (in its short form), which describes Bundy and which describes Edison.

Carol, despite her crippling socialism, is a very nice and understanding woman. She is not trying to trip you up, but helping you to sharpen your perceptions.

____

PS, your drawings and sculptures are wonderfully manic and creative. Something is urgent in you to create, and no parent was able to quash it. No one here will be able to quash it.

Please be trusting to the degree that you might accept some of us here will actually help you think things through, and by so doing, help you get where you want to be in life -- realistically, and with least wear and tear on your heart.

Edited by william.scherk

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One of your best, William. You are surely a gentle teacher.

Yes, DSM and its "indicated by three or more of the following..." recalls

the time I 'read' it cover to cover, raising "frustration" and "irritability"

in me for its dull generalizing.

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But how can it be valid to use neutral terms such as selfish as symptoms for diseases?

It cannot be valid, of course. Selfishness is not a self-evident, stand-alone symptom of a disease

Philip, we can first make reference to the actual syndrome described, variously, as anti-social personality disorder, dissocial personality disorder, psychopathy, sociopathy..

Two large diagnostic complexes form the 'holy books' of psychiatric providers. The history of each is too long, but the ICD is from the World Health Organisation ("Intenational Statisticial Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems") and the DSM is from the American Psychiatric Association ("Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders").

Here are the criteria from the ICD:

It is characterized by at least 3 of the following:

  1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
  2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.
  3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them.
  4. Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
  5. Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
  6. Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.

Here are criteria from the DSM:

A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:

  1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
  2. deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
  3. impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
  4. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
  5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
  6. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
  7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;

B) The individual is at least age 18 years. C) There is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years. D) The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or a manic episode.

"Selfish" is not a word used in either official classification scheme, as you can see. When you ask if a psychiatrist would not need 'proper terminology of symptoms in order to properly diagnose,' you go to the heart of the matter -- and you also expose the grounds for much of the controversy that has dogged the DSM.

But, put aside the cogent criticism of the DSM formation, or the sprawl of conditions, disorders and illnesses that could be nothing but a folie-a-plusieurs among clinicians. Go back to your original question and decide what you were trying to get at.

As far as I can see, you wanted to challenge that one particular diagnosis (anti-social), and for good reasons: what if the 'symptoms' were not anything particularly damaging or indicative of problems? What if 'selfish' and 'arrogant' people were being needlessly and cruelly labeled as mentally defective, simply because of an altruist prejudice? What if the clinicians employed to diagnose anti-social disorders could not reliably tell the difference between a dangerous (to others) sociopath and a standard achiever (in business, sport, military, politics, what have you)?

Return to 'selfish.' The ICD criterion that comes closest to 'selfish' is "callous unconcern for the feelings of others." Not quite 'selfish' ... but within the ballpark perhaps. Yet, what does callous unconcern mean? What might it mean to you in your own situation? Let me ask if you felt your mother and father callously destroyed your artworks, without concern for your feelings about the destruction?

Is there a point at which your parents should have been concerned about you?

Also ask yourself what kind of parents could not only harm their children deliberately, but could also feel nothing at the harm: no remorse, no guilt, no sense of responsibility. Have you ever met or known someone like this, someone who fits the profile?

See where I am going with this? If your parents, gawd forbid, either of them, fits the pattern of an uncaring, unduly selfish and disempathetic brute who lies, manipulates, cons and otherwise treats people like boxes of cheese, does this mean you might change your mind about the utility of such diagnoses?

Over to the DSM.

Here, again, no 'selfish' plain and simple. But "pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others" ... the key words being pervasive pattern.

So, what can we do with the rest of the information in the two diagnostic lists? What kind of activities lead to a diagnosis?

As you might suspect, it is the criminal justice system that most often meets acts that seem sociopathic, for sociopathic behaviour harms people. A con is a fraud. A fraudster is a criminal. A sociopathic fraudster is one who does not give one shit about the pain or suffering the fraud caused to real persons. Moreover, the sociopathic criminal is one who persistently shows a pervasive pattern of not giving a shit about other people -- to the point of callous disregard of their safety (and of their lives).

All this to say to you that the closest you get to another person's claim is the closest you get to understanding it. Now that you have seen the criteria, and that they do not simply describe an arrogant, successful, 'selfish' Randian person but a stone-hearted monster, can you see that at least some of what is described as 'sociopathic' is not the kind of person you want to be, and not the kind of person you will be safe to befriend?

In this sense, the DSM/ICD are eqivalent to Four Sure Fire Signs That Dog Is Dangerous. Mad Dog Syndrome. For your protection and mine.

The social norms noted in both criteria should not, I think, be smudged into mere 'social conventions' -- I think they should be seen as moral conventions: if you contract a debt, you are bound to pay it back. Normal in all societies. Same with Assault, robbery, rape, extortion, kidnapping, murder: these are things that are against all moral conventions, they are common to almost all societies as crimes

Here we are very very far from the notion of 'selfish' (Rand's new meaning) you have in mind, I think. In her newly-coined version of 'selfish' there is no downside -- she acknowledges and trumpets the truism that every person has a right to think of themselves, to consider their own feelings, to reach for their own goals, to be concerned primarily with their own health and achievement, dreams and plans. The 'selfishness' we celebrate in Randian heros is not callous disregard, inability to take responsibility for ignoring the rights of others. A truly and properly selfish person in Rand's coinage does NOT disrespect or disregard the rights of others. And a properly selfish Randian hero would not commit murder, extortion, robbery, kidnapping, torture, rape or other violations -- and most definitely would not exhibit blaming behaviour, denial of responsibility, disdain for their suffering, or enjoyment of cruelty for its own sake.

To recap, 'selfishness' is not a neutral term, not simply, not completely, not for all time. And it is by no means a 'symptom' of the disorder you take issue with. A callous disregard for the rights (and feelings) of others is not selfishness.

Inventor Thomas Edison may have been selfish (in the Randian term) but you cannot use the same word to imply the same scale as you scope out the personality of sex-killer Bundy. The word just can't do that much work on its own.

On to psychosis, psychotic, crazy, having lost touch with reality. What 'dubious' reason do you think led to that 'invention' ?

I mean, did it describe a real danger (to self and others) or did it describe something else? If I warn you against a psychotic person or a dangerous agressive dog, am I helping you in one instance avoid harm, but not in the other?

Follow on your own the rest of the criteria, the actual criteria, and see if you have been fair. If a person known to you actually had the same suite of behaviours cited above, would you trust them to treat you fairly, according to norms like honesty, non-initiation of force, and so on?

Now that you see the Dx (in its short form), which describes Bundy and which describes Edison.

Carol, despite her crippling socialism, is a very nice and understanding woman. She is not trying to trip you up, but helping you to sharpen your perceptions.

____

PS, your drawings and sculptures are wonderfully manic and creative. Something is urgent in you to create, and no parent was able to quash it. No one here will be able to quash it.

Please be trusting to the degree that you might accept some of us here will actually help you think things through, and by so doing, help you get where you want to be in life -- realistically, and with least wear and tear on your heart.

I unknowingly made friends with sociopaths. I took the altruist philosophy on faith but broke it as I wanted to be evil so to gain and keep my values and avoid sacrifice at any price (an obvious contradiction). I considered myself a brilliant villain so I made friends with another villain. I eventually discovered that we are opposites and he really is a villainous sociopath (in respect to the negative aspects). I wanted to discover the differences between us and I most certainty did. It was too funny when he would always say angrily, "Why don't you ever believe me (take me on faith?" -especially after studying Rand for 1.5 years. Without initiating physical force, they can only destroy you if you take them on faith, act on emotion and accept unearned guilt and I don't regret for a second knowing those sociopaths as they were so eloquent examples of true villains; it very much helped, while studying Objectivism (especially upon just discovering it), to have examples of pure evil on tap.

As for Carol, we both know we're civilized enough to have a respectful disagreement.

I joined this website for the purpose of showing my work and having my premises checked- and rigorously! I know I have to be right in order to remain in existence and to gain and keep My Voluptuous Benjamin (that which I call the empire which is my work). If I am wrong and don't know it yet, what better place to be corrected than an Objectivist philosophical conversational website! Unlike most, I very much enjoy having my premises checked. Its no longer stressful to correct my premises as proved and accepted my epistemological contradictions as being wrong; now the contradictions I hold, if any, are small enough to correct without stress. Philosophical conversation is utterly intriguing! And as for damaging my heart, it must be made of Buckeypaper!- which will be available in 5 to 10 years and is proven to be 500 times stronger than steel and 10 times lighter)!!!

Lastly, *THANK YOU* for your compliments to my work and romantic pursuit! I know I deserve recognition but seldom have I ever received it- at least the recognition of complimenting my ability, talent and virtue; not that much of a hassle and once pencil is put to paper I forget their hatred and ignorance completely.

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But how can it be valid to use neutral terms such as selfish as symptoms for diseases?

MrBenjamatic,

Without getting into the merits of your condemnation of psychology and keeping only to the epistemological method of your question, I suggest you open any dictionary and look on any page. You will usually find more than one definition for each word.

That's how a "neutral term" can have a different meaning with other usages. Using the same word with different meanings is a universal human habit.

In fact, let's do it backwards--and here is something to think about. How can there be different languages (like German, French, Portuguese, etc.) all with different words and different grammars that stand for the same concepts?

Michael

You're right and I agree. The point I was trying to get across was that the modern diagnoses' are wrong in not being clear enough in regards to which specific definition(s) they're using. As I said Ayn Rand would be diagnosed as having Anti-social personality disorder. None of the definitions of disorder can rightfully apply to any creator's virtuous pursuit. That was my point and the grounds on which all my condemnation of psychology rest.

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But how can it be valid to use neutral terms such as selfish as symptoms for diseases?

It cannot be valid, of course. Selfishness is not a self-evident, stand-alone symptom of a disease

Philip, we can first make reference to the actual syndrome described, variously, as anti-social personality disorder, dissocial personality disorder, psychopathy, sociopathy..

Two large diagnostic complexes form the 'holy books' of psychiatric providers. The history of each is too long, but the ICD is from the World Health Organisation ("Intenational Statisticial Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems") and the DSM is from the American Psychiatric Association ("Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders").

Here are the criteria from the ICD:

It is characterized by at least 3 of the following:

  1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
  2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.
  3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them.
  4. Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
  5. Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
  6. Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.

Here are criteria from the DSM:

A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:

  1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
  2. deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
  3. impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
  4. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
  5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
  6. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
  7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;

B) The individual is at least age 18 years. C) There is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years. D) The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or a manic episode.

"Selfish" is not a word used in either official classification scheme, as you can see. When you ask if a psychiatrist would not need 'proper terminology of symptoms in order to properly diagnose,' you go to the heart of the matter -- and you also expose the grounds for much of the controversy that has dogged the DSM.

But, put aside the cogent criticism of the DSM formation, or the sprawl of conditions, disorders and illnesses that could be nothing but a folie-a-plusieurs among clinicians. Go back to your original question and decide what you were trying to get at.

As far as I can see, you wanted to challenge that one particular diagnosis (anti-social), and for good reasons: what if the 'symptoms' were not anything particularly damaging or indicative of problems? What if 'selfish' and 'arrogant' people were being needlessly and cruelly labeled as mentally defective, simply because of an altruist prejudice? What if the clinicians employed to diagnose anti-social disorders could not reliably tell the difference between a dangerous (to others) sociopath and a standard achiever (in business, sport, military, politics, what have you)?

Return to 'selfish.' The ICD criterion that comes closest to 'selfish' is "callous unconcern for the feelings of others." Not quite 'selfish' ... but within the ballpark perhaps. Yet, what does callous unconcern mean? What might it mean to you in your own situation? Let me ask if you felt your mother and father callously destroyed your artworks, without concern for your feelings about the destruction?

Is there a point at which your parents should have been concerned about you?

Also ask yourself what kind of parents could not only harm their children deliberately, but could also feel nothing at the harm: no remorse, no guilt, no sense of responsibility. Have you ever met or known someone like this, someone who fits the profile?

See where I am going with this? If your parents, gawd forbid, either of them, fits the pattern of an uncaring, unduly selfish and disempathetic brute who lies, manipulates, cons and otherwise treats people like boxes of cheese, does this mean you might change your mind about the utility of such diagnoses?

Over to the DSM.

Here, again, no 'selfish' plain and simple. But "pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others" ... the key words being pervasive pattern.

So, what can we do with the rest of the information in the two diagnostic lists? What kind of activities lead to a diagnosis?

As you might suspect, it is the criminal justice system that most often meets acts that seem sociopathic, for sociopathic behaviour harms people. A con is a fraud. A fraudster is a criminal. A sociopathic fraudster is one who does not give one shit about the pain or suffering the fraud caused to real persons. Moreover, the sociopathic criminal is one who persistently shows a pervasive pattern of not giving a shit about other people -- to the point of callous disregard of their safety (and of their lives).

All this to say to you that the closest you get to another person's claim is the closest you get to understanding it. Now that you have seen the criteria, and that they do not simply describe an arrogant, successful, 'selfish' Randian person but a stone-hearted monster, can you see that at least some of what is described as 'sociopathic' is not the kind of person you want to be, and not the kind of person you will be safe to befriend?

In this sense, the DSM/ICD are eqivalent to Four Sure Fire Signs That Dog Is Dangerous. Mad Dog Syndrome. For your protection and mine.

The social norms noted in both criteria should not, I think, be smudged into mere 'social conventions' -- I think they should be seen as moral conventions: if you contract a debt, you are bound to pay it back. Normal in all societies. Same with Assault, robbery, rape, extortion, kidnapping, murder: these are things that are against all moral conventions, they are common to almost all societies as crimes

Here we are very very far from the notion of 'selfish' (Rand's new meaning) you have in mind, I think. In her newly-coined version of 'selfish' there is no downside -- she acknowledges and trumpets the truism that every person has a right to think of themselves, to consider their own feelings, to reach for their own goals, to be concerned primarily with their own health and achievement, dreams and plans. The 'selfishness' we celebrate in Randian heros is not callous disregard, inability to take responsibility for ignoring the rights of others. A truly and properly selfish person in Rand's coinage does NOT disrespect or disregard the rights of others. And a properly selfish Randian hero would not commit murder, extortion, robbery, kidnapping, torture, rape or other violations -- and most definitely would not exhibit blaming behaviour, denial of responsibility, disdain for their suffering, or enjoyment of cruelty for its own sake.

To recap, 'selfishness' is not a neutral term, not simply, not completely, not for all time. And it is by no means a 'symptom' of the disorder you take issue with. A callous disregard for the rights (and feelings) of others is not selfishness.

Inventor Thomas Edison may have been selfish (in the Randian term) but you cannot use the same word to imply the same scale as you scope out the personality of sex-killer Bundy. The word just can't do that much work on its own.

On to psychosis, psychotic, crazy, having lost touch with reality. What 'dubious' reason do you think led to that 'invention' ?

I mean, did it describe a real danger (to self and others) or did it describe something else? If I warn you against a psychotic person or a dangerous agressive dog, am I helping you in one instance avoid harm, but not in the other?

Follow on your own the rest of the criteria, the actual criteria, and see if you have been fair. If a person known to you actually had the same suite of behaviours cited above, would you trust them to treat you fairly, according to norms like honesty, non-initiation of force, and so on?

Now that you see the Dx (in its short form), which describes Bundy and which describes Edison.

Carol, despite her crippling socialism, is a very nice and understanding woman. She is not trying to trip you up, but helping you to sharpen your perceptions.

____

PS, your drawings and sculptures are wonderfully manic and creative. Something is urgent in you to create, and no parent was able to quash it. No one here will be able to quash it.

Please be trusting to the degree that you might accept some of us here will actually help you think things through, and by so doing, help you get where you want to be in life -- realistically, and with least wear and tear on your heart.

I unknowingly made friends with sociopaths. I took the altruist philosophy on faith but broke it as I wanted to be evil so to gain and keep my values and avoid sacrifice at any price (an obvious contradiction). I considered myself a brilliant villain so I made friends with another villain. I eventually discovered that we are opposites and he really is a villainous sociopath (in respect to the negative aspects). I wanted to discover the differences between us and I most certainty did. It was too funny when he would always say angrily, "Why don't you ever believe me (take me on faith?" -especially after studying Rand for 1.5 years. Without initiating physical force, they can only destroy you if you take them on faith, act on emotion and accept unearned guilt and I don't regret for a second knowing those sociopaths as they were so eloquent examples of true villains; it very much helped, while studying Objectivism (especially upon just discovering it), to have examples of pure evil on tap.

As for Carol, we both know we're civilized enough to have a respectful disagreement.

I joined this website for the purpose of showing my work and having my premises checked- and rigorously! I know I have to be right in order to remain in existence and to gain and keep My Voluptuous Benjamin (that which I call them empire which is my work). If I am wrong and don't know it yet, what better place to be corrected than an Objectivist philosophical conversational website! Unlike most, I very much enjoy having my premises checked. Its no longer stressful to correct my premises as proved and accepted my epistemological contradictions as being wrong; now the contradictions I hold, if any, are small enough to correct without stress. Philosophical conversation is utterly intriguing! And as for damaging my heart, it must be made of Buckeypaper!- which will be available in 5 to 10 years and is proven to be 500 times stronger than steel and 10 times lighter)!!!

Lastly, *THANK YOU* for your compliments to my work and romantic pursuit! I know I deserve recognition but seldom have I ever received it- at least the recognition of complimenting my ability, talent and virtue; not that much of a hassle and once pencil is put to paper I forget their hatred and ignorance completely.

*P.S. I notice your interested in psychology as it says under your name. I think I might have mania and I think I know the solution, which, incidentally, I've been acting on. Mania, it seems to me, is very similar to an emotional rush. I always construed it to be an excitement sparked by existing and by my knowledge that I can draw and create whatever I want within the bounds of reality- which is very, very exciting. I hold, as my solution which I've, to a great degree, been using all my life subconsciously, is to treat all mania as an emotion- I don't act on it but I express it (as opposed to holding it in). It has worked wonderfully. I haven't a single regret. Like I once said to my room mate in college, "If I were ever to wake up as someone else, I'd kill myself".

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