Richard G. Petty, MD

An Addendum to "Empathy"

I promised that I would be posting more on some of these important matters. If you’ve had the opportunity to look at the posting on empathy, and why it is likely more than just a neurological phenomenon, I would now like to pose two questions for you:

1. Is there any down side to being a powerful empath?

2. What would be the consequence of a complete lack of empathy?

I am not going to try and answer my own questions, but instead make a couple of suggestions. I think that strong empathy, if attached to amorality would produce the perfect con man. Hervey Cleckley’s classic book, the Masks of Sanity, identified a small proportion of sociopaths (a.k.a. psychopaths) whom he described as "charismatic" and could be totally charming and apparently warm and caring. But only in as far as it suited them. These people tend to have a weird kind of empathy, in that they can use empathic skills, but do not attach them to any emotion.

The much larger group of sociopaths seem to have a lack of empathy, no conscience and an inability or unwillingness to learn from experience. There is clearly a genetic component to this type of behavior and personality, but as I pointed out in the earlier post, biology is not destiny. There are some interesting points made at:

I would also like to make another suggestion, and that is that a good definition of human evil is a complete lack of empathy."

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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