In my novel True Monsters Detective Virginia Smythe has to call favours from her longstanding political ally Rob K. Oldsole, fictional Mayor of Victoria and supporting character.
His character can be defined as a “Good Sociopath”. To understand what I mean by that, let's examine the traits of a “normal” sociopath.
To a "high-functioning" sociopath, every single action he (or she) takes is mechanical. It's devoid (by and large) of emotions; of human feelings; of sincerity; of compassion. Everything has an angle; every action is carefully-calculated. They anticipate your moves; they plan five, ten, fifteen steps ahead. In their heads, when they look at the "chess board" of life, they "know" what their moves will be under all kinds of scenarios (in the board).
"Normal" people are highly-influenced by emotions, and feelings. If something bad happens, when they cry in angst, they really feel like crying. When they are worried, they look worried; when they are sad, they look sad. If someone hurts their feelings, they look hurt. When they express an opinion (most of the time), that's really what they believe. In other words, with "normal" people, what you see, is what you get. They are genuine.
To a "high-functioning" sociopath, "normal" people are chumps to be manipulated and taken advantage of.
They observe you; they analyze you; they find out what makes you tick. They find out what your believes are; they play on your emotions. If you are motivated by praise (as most of us are), then he praises you; he tells you how smart are; how good looking; how friendly.
And once he gains your trust, he manipulates you and uses you to get what he wants; to get ahead. He uses every tool at his disposal in every single step of the "game" of life, to get what he wants. When that tool is the ability to manipulate people is all he has, then that's what he uses. When that tool is raw power over you, then he'll use that.
Because of the nature of "power," "normal" people could never, ever, be in charge; rule the world; rule the top organization, and businesses, and society. The "high-functioning" sociopath will always be in charge, unless, of course, we are some how able to build an Utopian society.
I do think that there is a difference between these "leaders" that rule (everything.) And the difference is their motivation.
You have the sociopath that's motivated by pure greed and lust for power. Those are usually the tyrants that rise to the top to rule many societies. That would characterize much of the power structure in the U.S. today, where you have a sociopathic pack of hyenas (as it were) at the top of the power structure, in the form of criminal Wall Street bankers, and organizations like ALEC, etc. And the sycophantic, money-grabbing and corrupt political power structure (both major parties) that use their power to manipulate, subjugate, exploit, and now beat up peaceful protesters in the face (by the new "brown shirts" that are now the "white shirts" tools of the system).
And then, of course, there is (what I term) the "Good Sociopath."
The good sociopath interacts with "normal" people much in the same way that the "bad sociopath" does... There are no emotions involved; every move is calculative (20 steps ahead); he (or she) knows what to do (or how to react) given any particular situation.
However their motivation is different. They are not motivated by greed and lust of power. They are motivated by an altruistic world view. They understand the awesome power they have over others (by the fact that they have no emotions, by and large), and they seek to use that power to help bring about (what they believe is) a better world.
My take is that the "bad" high-functioning sociopaths outnumber the good ones, probably 10 to 1, and that's because since they are mainly motivated by unadulterated greed, you'll find most of them in the "business" side of things, versus government.
What I term as the the "Good Sociopath" usually becomes useful to societies in times of social strife and struggle against oppression.
The reason for that is because, being as much of a sociopath as the oppressors, he understands the mindset. He understands how they think. He anticipates their next moves, and prepares for it. Again, everything is mechanical, automated, devoid of real human emotions, and hence, extremely efficient and effective.
He understands where the "weak" spots are in the power structure; he accurately understands what power (or lack thereof) is available to him, and how to use it.
And the most important part of all, he would know the right moment when he has the power and influence to completely annihilate his opponent, and when that time comes, will do it without hesitation, and without compassion.
This is essentially the character of Oldsole. He is in a position of authority and uses his influence to manipulate people and events to bring about change or peace within his community. He is uncompromising and every word is a statement.
In the third novel of my True Monsters series, Mayor Oldsole will feature as the main protagonist.
The second novel is yet to be written for this series, but it will feature Dr. Adam Manikin and his character will be fleshed out in regards to utilitarian Bio-ethics.
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