Scientific American excerpts a chapter from Kevin Dutton's book The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, describing a visit to a high-security ward at Broadmoor Hospital in England, seeking insight into the positive aspect of a psychopathic mindset:
Leslie's pragmatic endorsement of the principles and practices of what might otherwise be described as mindfulness is typical of the psychopath. A psychopath's rapacious proclivity to live in the moment, to “give tomorrow the slip and take today on a joyride” (as Larry, rather whimsically, puts it), is well documented—and at times can be stupendously beneficial. In fact, anchoring your thoughts unswervingly in the present is a discipline that psychopathy and spiritual enlightenment have in common. Clinical psychologist Mark Williams of the University of Oxford, for example, incorporates this principle of centering in his mindfulness-based cognitive-behavior therapy program for sufferers of anxiety and depression.
“Feeling good is an emergency for me,” Danny had commented as he'd slammed in his fourth goal for Chelsea on the Wii. Living in the moment, for him and many psychopaths, takes on a kind of urgency. “I like to ride the roller coaster of life, spin the roulette wheel of fortune, to terminal possibility.”
A desire to feel good in the here and now, shrugging off the future, can be taken to an extreme, of course. But it's a goal we could all perhaps do with taking onboard just a little bit more in our lives.
Wisdom from Psychopaths?
(via Hacker News)
Previously: Which professions have the most psychopaths? The fewest?
AskSmithsonian always has a fascinating and eclectic collection of reader questions and answers from Smithsonian Institutions experts on topics ranging from scientific phenomena to art history to pop culture. (What exactly is duck sauce? Has anyone ever run for president from prison? How does a hippopotamus swim so fast?) In the current issue, a reader […]
Have you ever wanted to find a book, but you don’t know the title? This video and article from Make Use Of has some ideas that could help. Suggestions include using Google Book Search, BookFinder, WorldCat, The Library of Congress, and Ask a Librarian. Image: Jumpstory/CC0
If you’re in the market for book recommendations to fill up your stay-at-home hours, here’s a short list of favorites from Bill Gates. Check out his longer list on his blog, GatesNotes blog.
Right tool for the right job. You probably heard a parent or grandparent say it at least once at some point. And it’s true in so many cases. If you spot a small tear in your living room curtains or near to hem a pair of pants, you can always use the good old fashioned […]
The world is holding its collective breath. As states begin cautiously reopening, no one is sure exactly what to expect. But one thing is clear: most Americans are worried about their bank accounts. By the end of March, the average American household was spending 40 percent less on their credit cards than they were one […]
Over 25 years, eBay has carved out its space as the commerce hub of choice online. With 182 million users worldwide, that works out to about 35 percent of all US mobile users who shop those eBay storefronts. But did you know there are usually around 1.3 billion — with a B — active for-sale […]