In my last post I explained the meaningful relationship between experience and emotion. One could argue that the way in which these things interact form the very essence of what it is to be human. The human is a uniquely intelligent design because of its exceptional ability of perception. The way in which humans are able to understand their experiences in an analytically meaningful way is what sets us apart from every other species. However, the way in which we are able to also attach meaningful and symbolic emotional sensations to this data is what sets us apart even further. Remarkably, not only can the human make sense of the world around it, but they can also develop that very understanding into something emotionally meaningful. While most mammals have a certain level of mental interaction between emotional sensation and experience, they all fall short of the human experience. This is because the emotional-system within the human brain is both extremely sensitive to information via experience and also directly connected to experience-perception-systems within the brain. While emotions may seem like an evolutionary disadvantage in some ways, they drive the very nature of modern day civilisation.
The lack of connection between emotion and experience helps us to understand why the antisocial brains may hurt, manipulate, and destroy meaningful relationships. But how does a lack of emotional connection affect me on a personal level? I would consider myself a high functioning antisocial. A sociopath in the business of harm minimisation is what that means. And even then, if you knew the truth you’d perceive me to be a monster like most of the others. The difference is that I am able to keep up a very convincing act while my harm goes unnoticed. It’s not that I don’t try my best, it’s that I fail quite often – but I am good at making the world believe that I am a great guy. Is this bad? I don’t know. I struggle deeply with trying to be a good person but I fail quite often and hurt people in awful ways. I manipulate my environment and the people within it uncontrollably at times, yet no one knows it but me. I look calm and happy and normal. I appear to be whatever society and the people around me need me to be, while quite a different world exists inside my head.
I mean, you don’t exactly go around telling the world, “Hey, I’m a liar sometimes, well, a lot. I will lie to you. I will lie to me. I won’t even know it most of the time, and you won’t know it all of the time. I could manipulate you and you won’t know about it, but neither might I. I don’t mean it, it just happens. But I will definitely be trying my best to not hurt you, I’m one of the good antisocial’s. But I probably will hurt you. But you won’t know it’s my fault”.
But sometimes I wish I could do that. I wish I could lay it all out on the table. I wish I could do that with the girls who fall for me. I’m a harm minimiser – a sociopath – a high functioning antisocial. Whatever you wan’t to call it. Every girl I have been with has gone through hell. I appear to be prince charming each and every time, because as soon as I want something I work hard to get it. I used to confuse it with love back when I had no idea about my condition, but it was a feeling of pure hunger. A need. Not ‘people of desire’ – just people that I felt were already mine – or should be mine. For me this feels like what I think would feel for everyone else to be innocent desire, lust, love and attraction. Which, it probably is, but your emotions help to regulate your behaviour.
With no emotional-system working in my reality, my mind is fuelled by pure hunger for my desires. With no moral compass guiding any of my experiences, the human brain acts purely on information gathered by its experience-perception-system. The emotional-system is a vital mediator between “information-perception” and “action-desire”. While emotions are what cause the average person to sometimes act illogically, they highlight the influence emotions hold in decision making. If there are no emotions attached to any decision making, we may face issues. While most antisocial’s probably don’t care, it’s the one’s who do care that suffer from this dilemma.
While most may focus on the lack of emotions of an antisocial that impact the lives of others, my personal experience is one that matters to me. While I experience things such as ‘lust’ and what I feel is close to ‘love’, I struggle every day to show the care, compassion, and emotional connectivity that comes with any relationship. Every impulse, thought, craving, desire, want, and need runs freely through my brain without an emotional system being able to hold it down to regulate its efforts to make a gain. Instead, I must consciously regulate myself. This may seem quite normal to the average person, but it’s far from the reality you live in. Whether you know it or not, your decision of control is limited. And luckily so – because your emotional system subconsciously holds your raw urges from running wild – you just don’t fully realise it. Or maybe you do, but in “choosing” to be a good boy or girl, you may not fully appreciate what your emotional-system is doing behind the scenes. The iceberg analogy is a good visual representation that exemplifies just how much goes on beneath the surface.
Of course this is not to sympathise with the antisocial, more so to understand how decision making processes are impacted by this ‘brain-wiring impairment’. While I attempt to create and maintain a meaningful life, my mind is hard at work trying to manually hold down each and every impulsive urge. With societal expectations and norms to abide by, and of course the desire and need to treat those I ‘love’ with care, antisocial’s such as myself forever strive to live like the rest of the world. As I have grown, I have come to appreciate just how much work the average human brain normally does on a subconscious level. I have found that the more I try to be a good, loving, and caring person, the more stronger the urges grow to satisfy my natural desires – resulting in life-long depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. While I am not so much emotionally attached to these negative impacts either, they serve to highlight my main problem with life itself. It is the very fact that I am not impacted by any ‘good’ or ‘bad’ emotions which leave me with a deep depressive void – one that drags on almost as if my entire life were just one long continuous day searching for sparks of emotional worth.
Sparks of emotional worth – because honestly, any long-term emotional search for meaning seems to be non-existent. Forget love for a second, I find myself unable to emotionally connect with the people in the same room as me, my mum and dad, my siblings and cousins, pets, my social life, work, day-to-day experiences, the thousands of conversations and interactions I experience, my free-time, even my own hobbies and interests. Can you imagine? The entire experience of life missing on an emotional level? Whether it be long-term satisfaction and happiness, or sadness felt like a powerful storm ripping through your chest.
The destruction cannot be known or felt, nor the joy, because the storm exists within a field that does not interact with it in any way – a meaningless void. But even so I can witness the true beauty, destruction, and potential of emotions forming all around me – I see it . I can see it unfolding – the ’emotionally driven world’ – I am aware of it. I just can’t ever connect with it like you can. It is this very fact causes a type of depression that cannot be explained in words.