:50 Would you like
to introduce yourself, your background?
Sam twice diagnosed with malignant narcissism
Wears many hats, but most relevant to this interview
has written a series of books on personality disorders and narcissism,
including book: Malignant Self-Love
1:47 How do you
Serious debate ongling whether learned or not. Is it
learned or innate? Children display empathy, so born with something, but
full fledge empathy is a process of socialization.
Empathy has two elements
Cold empathy – intersubjectivity – cognitive - the
ability to identify moods, emotions, feelings, affects in other people. No
emotional component. Depends on a common dictionary that cannot be
confirmed. Probably learned. Depends on introspection (and
Emotional arousal – recognized what is happening to
someone else & react emotionally. Likely innate. Babies smile at their
mothers, children display similar emotions to others around them.
We cannot know if what one person experiences as a
certain feeling or a color etc. is what another experiences as are the same
We all have private languages and project our own
emotions onto each other.
08:42 You mentioned the emptional and affective, that happens through
mirror neurons…? [Edwin mirrors Sam’s picture]…
That’s an action, not an emotion. Empathy is putting
you in another’s shoes emotionally. Doesn’t have anything to do with
Mirror a gesture or action – Edwin feels emotion
associated with that. Sam says Edwin cannot know what he (Sam) was
feeling when photo taken.
Sam: no way to prove that. “Mimicry and gimmickry”
won’t prove that.
Dualism – are reports of the same emotion or pain –
are they really?
Correlation is not causation
Changes in brain – seem connected to pain – so what?
Doesn’t mean the experience is the same.
Edwin is confusing “between”.
Phenomena “co-occur” – that’s it
Sam: When Edwin uses the word pain, hunger or
happiness, and then I do. There’s no way of proving that we’re experience
the same thing
Edwin gives example: Monkey reaching for something
and a neuron would fire. When money saw someone reaching for a
peanut that same neuron fired.
Sam: “Next question?”
18:18 Do you have
a metaphor for the two kinds of empathy?
Cold empathy: library system (Dewey decimal)
Emotional arousal: debate, Carl Rogers not that we
empathize, but want to avoid pain in ourselves – feeling guilty and
blameworthy. Metaphor – Mirror
Psychopaths & Narcissists have the library and not the
mirror. They are hyper sensitive and hyper intuitive – they have the
library function, watch catalog, dissect and classify. Don’t have the
emotional complement – someone else’s plight predicament.
Sam diagnosed with borderline – not a full-fledged
Mainly interested in people’s vulnerability and how to
get to know someone intimately. No trace of emotional arousal, recognition.
People are instruments of gratifications, extensions,
and tools to obtain benefits. Needs to learn how to manipulate the
person to gain the utility.
People are sources of narcissistic supply. Is a
junkie, drug addict. To force people to pay attention to me I need to learn
how to manipulate them, what makes them tick and then get them to tick.
You have to empathize with people in a cold way in
order to do this. But not in a warm way.
Emotions have no utility, so I don’t use them.
24:47 What’s the
difference between Psychopathy and Narcissism?
Unclear. Psychopath is extreme form of
narcissism. N is more restrained re. Antisocial behaviors.
25:53 What do you
want to extract from people?
N wants to extract N supply – attention. Regulate self
worth and support grandiose fantasies. Has view of him as omnipotent,
P wants tangible – money, power. Attention
regulation, not so much.
If I were an alien I couldn’t interact with people as
I do. P is a con artist or scammer – cannot defraud people without being
able to understand people.
Want to control – “body snatching”
Is a life and death situation? Falls apart
We’re discussing empathy, not control or narcissism.
There is some empathy there – cold empathy.
Everyone is like a text. If you’re deprived of
reading skills you cannot read text. N’s and P’s can read, but don’t
31:44 How do we
build a culture of empathy with N’s and P’s?
Hopeless because they are structurally unable.
No emotional arousal. Equipment damaged beyond repair at an early age.
You can modify social behaviors to limit damage. They are beyond
developing empathy skills.
Society is becoming this way, and N & P have no reason
to change. It pays to be a N or P in modern society.
Business environment is utterly psychopathic, army,
foreign affairs. All of human society – Western part and East becoming
N could be headed off by training at an early age.
Phone connection dropped.
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/11/2005
The Encyclopaedia Britannica (1999 edition) defines empathy as: "The
ability to imagine oneself in anther's place and understand the other's
feelings, desires, ideas, and actions. It is a term coined in the early
20th century, equivalent to the German Einfuhlung and modelled on
"sympathy." The term ...
Empathy and Personality Disorders
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/21/2007
What is Empathy? Normal people use a variety of abstract concepts and
psychological constructs to relate to other persons. Emotions are such
modes of inter-relatedness. Narcissists and psychopaths are different.
Their "equipment" is lacking. They understand only one language:
self-interest. Their ...
The Demise of Empathy in Business
and the Workplace
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/3/2012
Empathy is at the foundation of both altruism and collaboration. Thus,
while it does consume scarce resources, empathy confers important
evolutionary advantages both from the individual's point of view
(cooperation) and from the species' (altruism.)
The Demise of Empathy at Home and in
the Family and the Role of Technology
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/4/2012
Empathy is on a precipitous decline in the family and home environments.
Technology is partly to blame, but so are other social and economic trends.
Cold Empathy and Warm Empathy -
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/20/2012
Empathy is comprised of two components:
I. Cold Empathy: an intersubjective
agreement as to the mental content (especially emotions) of two or more
II. Warm Empathy: the emotional response
to Cold Empathy.
Psychopathic Narcissists: The
Uncanny Valley of Cold Empathy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/22/2011
Cold Empathy evokes the concept of Uncanny Valley, coined in 1970 by the
Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori. Mori suggested that people react
positively to androids (humanlike robots) for as long as they differ from
real humans in meaningful and discernible ways. But the minute these