February 14

21st Century Living

Thursday’s Big Idea

Supersanity

What can we learn from psychopaths? That's the provocative question at the heart of Dr. Kevin Dutton's provocative book The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success.

So what is the link between success and psychopathy? In order to create the greatest happiness for the greatest number, Dutton argues, someone needs to bite the bullet. That is the definition of utilitarianism. Dutton's insight is that we need a psychopath who isn't afraid to pull the trigger to make it all happen. In other words, we need psychopathic qualities in our leaders as well as in other professions that involve "dirty work." A functioning psychopath can channel certain traits to become a productive member of society, even perhaps a CEO. 

Then there is the dark side of psychopathy. Psychopaths are by definition narcissistic and highly manipulative. When you add charm to the equation it is not difficult to see how psychopaths are able to get away with abhorrent behavior. In today's lesson, Dutton walks us through the telltale signs of psychopathy, in order to help us determine whether we have encountered these behaviors in our relationships. 

 

  1. 1 Are You Dating a Psychopath?
  2. 2 Valentine’s Day: Its Gory, Unrom...
  3. 3 Is Love Different Across Sex and ...
  4. 4 What Is Love?
   
  1. Are You Dating a Psychopath?

    Are You Dating a Psychopath?

    Kevin Dutton walks through the characteristics of psychopathy, and how these behaviors play out in relationships. 

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  2. Valentine’s Day: Its Gory, Unromantic Secret History

    Valentine’s Day:  Its Gory, Unromantic Secret History

    The origin of Valentine’s Day has nothing to do with love and everything to do with “torturous martyrdom.” On second thought, perhaps the origin of Valentine’s Day has a great deal to do with love.

    Read More…
  3. Is Love Different Across Sex and Orientation?

    Is Love Different Across Sex and Orientation?

    Is what I experience when I feel love qualitatively different from what a man experiences? Or what a lesbian may experience? 

    Read More…
  4. What Is Love?

    What Is Love?

    Some of Big Think's top experts--including Eliot Spitzer, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Noam Chomsky--weigh in on the nature of love.

    Read More…