First of all, let me clarify this is not a fan art piece for American Psycho (even thought I loved the movie). This is a personal piece exploring the concept of pseudo science as part of the pop culture phenomena. In specific approaching the term psychopathy.
I chose Christian Bale in his role as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, because it's the epitome of what the general public know of "psychopaths". The unemotional predator in sheep's clothing, powerful, charming, lethal; a serial killer, a successful business man.
"Psychopaths" are today, what demons represented for people in the past.
Psychopathy is no longer a term used by the medical community, they have a different term for it, Antisocial Personality Disorder. Neuroscientists have proposed there's a link between violent criminals diagnosed with ASPD and specific structural abnormalities in their brains. Prefrontal cortex and the amygdala dysfunction have been named as the responsible for the lack of empathy, fearlessness and poor impulse control. Beyond this fact, there's actually little know for certain about "psychopaths", many theories but nothing concrete. There's a consensus that a group of individuals do fall within the same behavioral patters to be studied as a condition; but not all people called "psychopaths" do fall under the modern criteria for diagnosis.
And yet, we see the term thrown around constantly. There are several reasons for this:
- Misinformation and outdated information spread around by works of fiction. This is not uncommon in our era of the information, today we're more likely to receive information filtered by the entertainment industry, based on half truths respecting sciences and history, than we're to receive it via actual experts in a determinate field.
- The need for moral scapegoats and moral self righteousness. And this is exactly what brought me to explore this concept. There are many sites and books that offer information and advice on how to deal with and avoid psychopaths. There are groups for "people who survived a psychopath", I'm not talking about the climatic horror scene where the victim runs for safety from the maniac holding a chainsaw, but people who had abusive parents, partners, coworkers and so on.
It reaches the point where everyone who had wronged you at some point, can be given the label. Everyone from a contrary political position. Every politician you don't like. Trolls on the internet. People who are more successful than you are and therefore make you feel like a loser. Every single person you don't like, can be given this ambiguous label with dismissive moral implications - ironically dehumanizing them in the process.
We have traded our gods for ideologies; our monsters for psychiatric terms; religion for pseudo science. We've advanced, yes, but the majority has seldom gone over the superstitious simplistic mindset. We still believe in the moral extremes, the shallow "good and evil". We never got rid of mythologies, we just created new ones.
Want to know more about the criteria for diagnosis of ASPD? Check this out [link]Facebook | CGPortfolio | CGHub | Homepage | Comissions Info