Given the influence of Hollywood, most of us think of knife-wielding crazed killers when we hear the term Psychopath. Though there certainly are what we refer to as "bloody psychopaths," there is a different kind of predator who would fall into the category of a psychopath, yet without a crazed look in his eyes, and no physical blood on his hands. It is the category of what is referred to as white- collar psychopaths. And, though the academic literature would have us believe they are few and far between, it is our contention that there are many of them. White-collar psychopaths are actually all around us, are astute tacticians, function at a high level, and are rarely victims of circumstance.
As was recently noted in the Fall, 2018 special edition of Time-Life Magazine, Inside the Criminal Mind, the prevailing research shows that "psychopaths are controlled by their genes and sociopaths by their life circumstances" (pg. 17). However, clinical qualitative research over the course of 11+ yrs working with approximately 4000 sexual predators (and thousands more criminals of all stripes), revealed that is not an entirely accurate assessment, as it misses the primary factors for the most sophisticated of kinds: self-disciplined (as opposed to impulsive), methodical (as opposed to whimsical), emotionally controlled (as opposed to emotionally reactive), capable of experiencing emotion (just not from your average perspective), patient (as opposed to impatient), and can plan strategically (as opposed to driven by impulse and fancy). The Degree of Psychopathy has to do with the extent to which someone willfully overrides his conscience.
The findings from modern research are clear. The Psychopath's brain is different from a normal person's brain, in terms of structure and function. Once the changes happen, they are irreversible and permanent. There have crossed the point of no return. But, instead of it being a unique genetic trait (since we all have the trait by degree), it is better understood as a progressive condition, corresponding to the degree to which conscience is overridden. The resulting changes produce an inner state now called psychopathy, but used to be known as a "reprobate mind".
The primary characteristics of a psychopathic min is it is one which no longer experiences empathy or remorse. Why? Because it no longer has a conscience.
Without the inner constraints of conscience, the resident selfishness within a person is free to morph into an all-consuming reality, which always results in a view of people as something to be used for personal benefit, satisfaction (i.e."objectification"), and gratification. People simply become a means to an end.
Additionally, and most frightening, as the process of psychopathy progresses, the person actually loses the desire to be any other way, for they experience the "new change" as a type of enlightenment, as a type of exhilaration, of becoming more alive. Thus, he will actually desire to double-down on the pace of transformation. Which simply means, in terms of how he views his former self as having been too constrained by artificial restrictions, emotionally inhibited by the values of others, shackled by manufactured guilt, lacking in sophistication, and living with only limited personal power. In essence, he will say that he is finally free to be true to himself, to experience his best life now, as he has tapped into his full potential and "the magi within", and unlocked the giant within him, so that he is no free to internalize the success strategies found within the book 'The Art of War', and his new favorite book: