January 14, 2023

I just watched and would highly recommend the new film Argentina, 1985.  The film relates the Trial of the Juntas, where Argentinian military leaders were tried by a civilian court.  The trial dealt with human rights crimes that took place between 1976 and 1983. Yesterday Democracy Now hosted an interview with the movie’s director, Santiago Mitre.

Another good (but disturbing) film is Welcome to Chechnya. It is a documentary on the ongoing human rights abuses in Chechnya of LGBTQ people

One doesn’t have to see films like these to recognize that evil exists.  Evil exists everywhere.  However, watching these movies got me thinking even more deeply about what humans are capable of doing to other humans.  I’ve been thinking of humans who have no ethics, or those who lack empathy or remorse.

When discussing psychopaths, the nature vs. nurture argument often comes up.  Modern science seems to conclude that both nature and nurture can contribute to this type of personality.  I hope it’s at least part “nurture.”  That means, anti-social behavior can at times be prevented.

But I don’t think the “nature” perspective has been adequately explored.  I recently watched this fascinating video by The Moth: Confessions of a Pro-Social Psychopath.  In it, the speaker James Fallon, discusses how specific brain wave patterns have been found among identified psychopaths.  Fallon, a scientist, was astounded when he found his own brain showed similar brain wave patterns.  He began questioning others about his own behavior and he concluded that he was a pro-social psychopath.

A pro-social psychopath is someone with a neurologically impaired lack of conscience or empathy (like so many of our politicians).  Unlike their anti-social counterpart, pro-social psychopaths can function within the limits and rules of society.  In fact, they may even do things to benefit society as Fallon did as a researcher.  However, their psychopathy can still be harmful to others and show up in a variety of ways.

I wonder about tools such as brain waves.  Could these possibly be diagnostic tools that might be used to diagnose and perchance treat?  Or if not treat, contain? 

Published by susancasslangmailcom

Susan Casslan is a writer and a nurse. Her writing touches on spirituality and issues pertaining to social justice. Casslan lived for a decade in the San Francisco Inner Mission District, and she was greatly inspired by the Latinx culture of that neighborhood. The Inner Mission emerges in her books Conversations with Richard Purcell: The Adventures and Reflections of a Renegade San Francisco Priest and That Which Wavers with the Night, as well as in her chapbook 24th Street and Other Poems. Additionally, Casslan’s nonfiction articles have appeared in El Tecolote, an Inner Mission newspaper.

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