This is the second part of my more than 2.5 hour interview with M. E. Thomas, author of Confessions of a Sociopath.
Rob Kall: Okay, so, we lost the signal and now we're back. I wanted to talk about what you described as your weak sense of self, what's that about? You there?
M.E. Thomas: Yes.
Rob Kall: Okay. So, we're back in the recording. I wanted to talk about your weak sense of self that you've described. What, what's that about?
M.E. Thomas: You know to me, a weak sense of self is that I have a very fluid sense of self. I don't really identify, or even really think about myself in terms of, you know I am female, or I am this particular race, or this particular age, or even religion, Mormon, or a law professor or smart. I don't, I don't necessarily spend a lot of time thinking about myself, and in terms of how, what I do or say reflects on my concept of self.
Rob Kall: Okay. I was talking to a friend of mine about this interview, he's kind of a Jungian approach kind of guy, and he predicted that you, that sociopaths don't have much of a sense of self. And in a sense it's almost like they have no, they have little super ego and a lot of id, that their shadow is, is what is expressed. Way more than the average empath or other person, non sociopaths. Any thoughts about that?
M.E. Thomas: That sounds right. I, I'm not, it sounds like as knowledgeable about these things. But that, that basically sounds right.
Rob Kall: Do you have anything to say about it? What about the shadow part?
M.E. Thomas: The shadow part, yeah you could say shadow part. I mean, I, I kind of don't understand a little bit what its like to feel the other way about things. I think that to a large extent, even being able to identify that I have a weak sense of self, you know how do I know that about myself. I think it's because I notice that it's very easy for me to be a chameleon. You know it's very easy for me to adapt to other people, and to you know, let's say in a sort of friendly seduction type way, for me to become the person that the other person wants to see, to be a mirror. It's not difficult to do those sorts of things.
And I'm not really results oriented, or results driven about anything. I, I think I describe myself in the book, as I feel like a process more than anything else. You know I'm not the result of a, of an equation, a mathematical formula, I am the formula itself. I'm the way that the formula works, and you apply that formula to different numbers and it works the same way. And it doesn't matter what the inputs are, and it doesn't even matter what the results are. What matters most to me, and is most interesting to me is the, the way it works.
So the idea of shadow, seems to be a pretty accurate description.
Rob Kall: Okay. Lets talk about morals, and your morals, your way of of approaching morals, your, your opinion about morals, and how you deal with them.
M.E. Thomas: Yeah, morals to me, I don't really understand morality. I don't think. I am kind of maybe a little like an idiot about it. And to some extent I really don't understand things like philosophy too.
I do understand and am interested in ethics. I think ethics are interesting. And I at least certain sorts of ethics. Utilitarian ethics, they seem very similar to the way I kind of have naturally adapted to live my life. Where, you know, what is a right and wrong decision. Are people gonna be angry, is there gonna be a mob with pitchforks and, you know fire torches, if I do a particular thing? Probably not as long as it's utilitarian, that is as long as I can make some sort of justification that what I'm doing leads to the, the greater good. You know that it's going to lead to greater utility for everyone, even if it seems selfish. There's certain selfish things that we do that are still utilitarian.
So ethics I think is more what I'm interested in. I'm interested in efficiency, I'm interested in, let's try to find a stable way that everybody's happy. I've always been sort of that way as a, a middle child in my family, a little bit of a power broker. You know, if it's, if there's a small problem, lets just solve the problem that way we can all be happier. And have, maybe because it's growing up in a big family its able too, I'm able too look at society that way too. That society is better if we do these small things, if we act politely to each other if we use good manners.
But the idea of morality, I don't really think I understand it. It seems like morality is, has an emotional component to it that's different than ethics.