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sociopaths/pathological liars

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I would like some people's perspectives/stories of dealing with sociopaths or pathological liars.  The realm of human interaction seems to be the one great uncertainty in life which there is no science to predict.  Since people have free will, how do you know who you are really dealing with?  If there are people out there smart enough to say what they know you want to hear and you can only go by what people say or do in your presence, how do you ever know?  Obviously dealing with factual information, it is easy to decide whether or not you believe what a person is saying or whether they are mistaken.  But when there are people who will mimic you, your beliefs, and behaviors, in order to trick you into befriending them or getting into a relationship and putting emotional energy into them for their own idiotic purposes, this is just perilous.  I feel that I have known an overwhelming majority of pathological liars in my relatively short life, what is the deal?  Was it always like this?  People will pretend they understand you and get in close with you, but they are just humoring you or pandering to you, until one day the entire thing blows up like a nitroglycerin factory.  On the one hand there are story tellers who are more harmless, on the other we have the people who pretend to be whatever they infer you want them to be.  The latter are the more dangerous.  They are human chameleons, so to speak.

Edited by bioengine
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"Others" cause constrination.

 

How does it follow that "others" can elivate same?

 

 

Wax on Wax off

 

Hmm.. not sure what you mean by that, especially about waxing.  If you are asking whether I think others can alleviate consternation, that is not what I was proposing.  I am just curious why so many I meet these days are liars who are capable of weaving and attempting to live out an entire fantasy world and they feel no compunction about the destruction they cause thereby. 

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I am very selective on who I will emotionally and mentally invest in for a friendship. It wouldn't be based on one occasion and it wouldn't be until I felt as if I knew the person (as much as you can know someone). It is very easy to spot inconsistencies or tell when someone is faking it. The best way is 1) to observe how they are around other people and 2) get deeper than surface level topics. Someone may be able to mimic your ideas on the surface, but if they don't understand them, they won't be able to fake them for very long.

Edited by thenelli01
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    You have to audit people. Take account of how much they have actually benefited you compared to how much they have cost you. Someone can't take advantage of you if you keep track of what they should be providing in a relationship. This means understanding what different values are required to have a relationships. 

 

    Do they admit when they are wrong? How do they make amends? Do they ever anticipate your desires and fulfill them? How do they communicate their grievances with you? Do they express disagreements they have with you? Do they express their desires? When you tell them secrets do they tell you secrets? What kind of situations do they prefer to be around you?  How much do they know about you compared to what you know about them?  Do they acknowledge when their stories seem unlikely? Have they ever admitted to a mistake when they did not have to?  When you do things together how do they behave? Are they cooperative and interested?

 

   I can't consider someone my friend until I have answers to all of these questions (and a few more). 

Edited by Hairnet
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I am very selective on who I will emotionally and mentally invest in for a friendship. It wouldn't be based on one occasion and it wouldn't be until I felt as if I knew the person (as much as you can know someone). It is very easy to spot inconsistencies or tell when someone is faking it. The best way is 1) to observe how they are around other people and 2) get deeper than surface level topics. Someone may be able to mimic your ideas on the surface, but if they don't understand them, they won't be able to fake them for very long.

 

I don't base friendships on one occasion either so I disagree that it is very easy, although, that could just be a personal difference.  There are people who are intelligent enough to understand the basic principles you are talking about and to pretend to agree.  Any inconsistency would be shrugged off as they are still learning or had an objection or whatever.  There is always excuses and enough consistency to keep things afloat.  Then you might find in actuality they don't care about anything.

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    You have to audit people. Take account of how much they have actually benefited you compared to how much they have cost you. Someone can't take advantage of you if you keep track of what they should be providing in a relationship. This means understanding what different values are required to have a relationships. 

 

    Do they admit when they are wrong? How do they make amends? Do they ever anticipate your desires and fulfill them? How do they communicate their grievances with you? Do they express disagreements they have with you? Do they express their desires? When you tell them secrets do they tell you secrets? What kind of situations do they prefer to be around you?  How much do they know about you compared to what you know about them?  Do they acknowledge when their stories seem unlikely? Have they ever admitted to a mistake when they did not have to?  When you do things together how do they behave? Are they cooperative and interested?

 

   I can't consider someone my friend until I have answers to all of these questions (and a few more). 

 

Hmm.. that seems like a pretty sound list.  I honestly can only think of a handful of people I've known who would pass the test.  I used to keep a similar standard but then talked to no one for about three years, so tried to excuse certain things and find other things in people that were positive.  That is how you get lulled into it.  So I already sort of know the causal sequence of how or why it happens, I just find it curious that as I get older I find more and more people are like this.  It's because people don't take ideas seriously.

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I don't base friendships on one occasion either so I disagree that it is very easy, although, that could just be a personal difference.  There are people who are intelligent enough to understand the basic principles you are talking about and to pretend to agree.  Any inconsistency would be shrugged off as they are still learning or had an objection or whatever.  There is always excuses and enough consistency to keep things afloat.  Then you might find in actuality they don't care about anything.

 

Yeah, I agree, there are people intelligent enough to fake it. Can you give a more detailed account of this happening to you?

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Yeah, I agree, there are people intelligent enough to fake it. Can you give a more detailed account of this happening to you?

 

Sure.  When I was first going to a certain University, I fell in with a group of friends.  One guy in particular seemed like a good guy, a strong contrast to most of the loud-mouthed, with something to prove people I met.  He liked to talk about everything including ideas and we shared some lifestyle factors that bring people together at university.  Especially when you are practically living with someone it is easy to begin to consider them a friend just through shared experiences and hobbies  and so forth.  Anyway, over the course of about a year and a half we became closer and closer through conversation in which he would mostly agree with what I had to say or if he disagreed would qualify it.  He led me to believe that we shared values and that the ideals i was pursuing were just as important to him as they were to me.  Obviously such a person adopts an important place in your life.  Eventually, after about a year and  a half he revealed that he doesn't believe in anything and there is no such thing as facts and that I had never convinced him of anything.  In fact it was a philosophy professor in a freshman course that had led him down the path to this way of thinking or so he told me.  I won't go into details of my reaction to this but, safe to say, these experiences are many and unpleasant always; for this is clearly not a worst case scenario.

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Yeah, I agree, there are people intelligent enough to fake it. Can you give a more detailed account of this happening to you?

 

As a more humorous example I once agreed to drive a co-worker home from the summer job I was working.  They told me their house was nearby.  Every mile we went down the road they said that their house was just another mile down or just around the next corner.  Every time I got there and said, "Well?", they apologized and explained that it was really just beyond the next stop sign.  Finally when I started getting angry they began pleading and giving more realistic estimates of where the house was, which were also nevertheless false.  In the end I told them I would never give them a lift again, not because of the distance, but because of the lies.  They said simply, "I know".  In this situation the person could still lie without shame even though my finding out wasn't a gamble but an inevitability.

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It sound like most people (Hairnet?) here want surety - much like James Taggard and a few others.  It's not going to happen.  People may be unsure of how they feel, or they may change their minds.  Anything can happen.  The better you get to know someone, the more sure you can be that he/she is telling the truth.  But that requires communication and an established relationship.  "Auditing" someone may work for Scientologists, but then they're a creepy bunch.

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Hmm.. that seems like a pretty sound list.  I honestly can only think of a handful of people I've known who would pass the test.  I used to keep a similar standard but then talked to no one for about three years, so tried to excuse certain things and find other things in people that were positive.  That is how you get lulled into it.  So I already sort of know the causal sequence of how or why it happens, I just find it curious that as I get older I find more and more people are like this.  It's because people don't take ideas seriously.

 

 Now that is interesting. Just because people do not meet those standards,  that does not mean that I do not communicate with them. I friendly with most people I know and I even spend time with people who I am not sure about. Those people are valuable for the time they spend with me, but they don't get the full benefits of my friendship either. It sounds like you need to learn to create proper boundaries for different kinds of people. 

 

  Claire, if you want to be a part of the conversation please pay attention to what others are saying. I never said a thing about surety and none of what I said contradicts the idea that long relationships or communication skills are an important part of trust.  

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"    Do they admit when they are wrong? How do they make amends? Do they ever anticipate your desires and fulfill them? How do they communicate their grievances with you? Do they express disagreements they have with you? Do they express their desires? When you tell them secrets do they tell you secrets? What kind of situations do they prefer to be around you?  How much do they know about you compared to what you know about them?  Do they acknowledge when their stories seem unlikely? Have they ever admitted to a mistake when they did not have to?  When you do things together how do they behave? Are they cooperative and interested?

 

   I can't consider someone my friend until I have answers to all of these questions (and a few more)."

 

Exactly how long do you think you need to know a person before you have your answers?  Are you under the impression that someone will react the exact same way every time?  Someone will express their disagreement exactly the same way and never vary?  Someone will always be interested in what you say and not have some own concern on their mind?  Hmmm  Really?

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It sound like most people (Hairnet?) here want surety - much like James Taggard and a few others.  It's not going to happen.  People may be unsure of how they feel, or they may change their minds.  Anything can happen.  The better you get to know someone, the more sure you can be that he/she is telling the truth.  But that requires communication and an established relationship.  "Auditing" someone may work for Scientologists, but then they're a creepy bunch.

 

Hmm.. probably we don't need to analyze one another.  It is the liars who are interesting to analyze.  If you can't think of a cultural/philosophical reason that so many people are blatant liars usefulness has come up short on this thread.  Or perhaps you disagree?

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Exactly how long do you think you need to know a person before you have your answers? 

 

  You should never stop asking those questions about people. 

 

Are you under the impression that someone will react the exact same way every time? 

 

  No.

 

Someone will express their disagreement exactly the same way and never vary?  Someone will always be interested in what you say and not have some own concern on their mind?  Hmmm  Really?

 

  No. 

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As a more humorous example I once agreed to drive a co-worker home from the summer job I was working.  They told me their house was nearby.  Every mile we went down the road they said that their house was just another mile down or just around the next corner.  Every time I got there and said, "Well?", they apologized and explained that it was really just beyond the next stop sign.  Finally when I started getting angry they began pleading and giving more realistic estimates of where the house was, which were also nevertheless false.  In the end I told them I would never give them a lift again, not because of the distance, but because of the lies.  They said simply, "I know".  In this situation the person could still lie without shame even though my finding out wasn't a gamble but an inevitability.

Well, that's called a plain old liar (and a douchebag), not a sociopath or a pathological liar.

If you can't think of a cultural/philosophical reason that so many people are blatant liars

That's a much better phrasing of the question. But you can't expect us to give you an answer to this question before you ask it.

Yes, there is a philosophical reason why so many people lie. It's not so much that honesty is not regarded as a virtue, but rather that virtues altogether have no or very little role in the dominant philosophy of Pragmatism.

This is however not the reason for the existence of the medical conditions you referenced in the OP.

P.S. Regarding the issue of figuring out who is honest and who isn't, I think it's best to look at a wider array of virtues than just honesty. If a person is virtuous (on principle) in other areas, he is likely to also be honest. On the other hand, if a person cuts corners every chance he gets, he's gonna do the same when it comes to being honest.

I'm saying "look at other areas", because it's much more difficult trying to fake productivity, self-esteem, competence, a sense of justice etc. than it is to fake honesty.

Edited by Nicky
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Well, that's called a plain old liar (and a douchebag), not a sociopath or a pathological liar.That's a much better phrasing of the question. But you can't expect us to give you an answer to this question before you ask it.

Yes, there is a philosophical reason why so many people lie. It's not so much that honesty is not regarded as a virtue, but rather that virtues altogether have no or very little role in the dominant philosophy of Pragmatism.

This is however not the reason for the existence of the medical conditions you referenced in the OP.

P.S. Regarding the issue of figuring out who is honest and who isn't, I think it's best to look at a wider array of virtues than just honesty. If a person is virtuous (on principle) in other areas, he is likely to also be honest. On the other hand, if a person cuts corners every chance he gets, he's gonna do the same when it comes to being honest.

I'm saying "look at other areas", because it's much more difficult trying to fake productivity, self-esteem, competence, a sense of justice etc. than it is to fake honesty.

 

 

 

My intention in the phrasing of the question was to draw someone in to general conversation on the phenomenon.  Given that this is a philosophy forum I expected the response to be geared in that sense.  I’d rather hear people share their own experience than analyze me or someone else with little information.

 

I agree with you on pragmatism, especially in the sense that for the past century the education system has been based on this philosophy.  As many have pointed out it is geared toward socialization rather than factual information so it is not surprising that so few have a high regard for the fidelity of what comes from their mouth.  The reason I posed the question is I don’t believe there was always so many liars or people incapable of emotions such as guilt.  It is like those stories about once upon a time before WWI everyone had good will towards their fellow man and those born in modern times cannot even imagine what it was like because it is so different today.

 

I have recently listened to Peikoff’s lecture on schizophrenia and modern philosophy.  He points out the similarity between how schizophrenics proclaim and how modern philosophers proclaim.  Basically what the two groups have to say is similar enough that it would be one wild coincidence if the two weren’t somehow related even if very indirectly.  I have my own fledgling opinions on the root cause of mental illness but it cannot be ruled out that culture can shape the form in which mental illness manifests itself (as a co-factor), despite the root cause of mental illness.

 

P.S.

seems like soud advice

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It seems to me if you look at humankind and its history in a meta-view, you can see periods of progress and regress and specially in the developements of culture. Those cultures that work toward embracing reason and its application tend to progress, commerce developes and populations tend to expand. Does the expansion of the population bring unfortunate 'unintended' consequences? The theme of AS expresses this , I think. The moochers and the looters are only possible because of the productiveness of the rational. The 'better' the rational are at what they 'do', ultimately the more unintended moochers will be possible to try and devour the 'goods'. This can apply to different segments of the culture eg the academic world .

 

'Modern' philosophies come from more rational philosophies generating the environments that crackpots and the like( along with the actual malevolent types) can then invade and flourish.

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