The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us

By Martha Stout (2005)

You will be able to keep others alive in your heart long after they are gone. You will have genuine friends. Unlike the hollow, risk-pursuing few who are deprived of a seventh sense [conscience], you will go through your life fully aware of the warm and comforting, infuriating, confusing, compelling, and sometimes joyful presence of other human beings…

My Notes

Research tells us that adequate attachment in infancy has many happy outcomes, including the healthy development of emotional self-regulation, autobiographical memory, and the capacity to reflect upon one’s own experiences and actions. Perhaps most important, attachment in infancy allows the individual to create affectionate bonds with other people later on.

Indians believe that interpersonal duty is a natural part of what most individuals are inclined to do anyway, as opposed to Americans, who believe that social expectations and personal wishes are almost always opposed to each other and that one must somehow strike a “balance” between them.

When an “ordinary man” was in charge, instead of a man in a white lab coat, obedience on the part of the subjects dropped from 62.5 percent to 20 percent.

☝️ Milgram experiment.

Often a person who disobeys finds himself at odds with the social order, and may find it hard to shake the feeling that he has been faithless to someone or something to whom he pledged allegiance.

The actions taken by the covetous sociopath are often so outlandish, and so gratuitously mean, that we refuse to believe they were intentional, or even that they happened at all.


Moral commitment exemplars [1],


[1] Some Do Care: Contemporary Lives of Moral Commitment (Anne Colby, William Damon). 1994