Would you kill a baby if you knew he would grow up to be Hitler? Psychologist and author Kevin Dutton explores the mindset of psychopaths as a window into this fascinating ethical question.
Why do cold-hearted psychopaths make good surgeons and world leaders?
You try and stare a baby out on the metro and you’re on a loser pal.
We are never more persuasive than on our very first day on earth. If you think about it on our very first day on earth, as newborn babies, we had to convince those around us, without intention, without consciousness, without any of the techniques of modern linguistic sophistry currently at our disposal, to take care of us, to see us on our way, to subjugate their own interests at the expense of ours. And you know what? We did it, didn’t we? Because otherwise we wouldn’t be sitting here this afternoon talking about it.
Would you kill a baby and save millions of lives further on down the line in history?
The trolley problem is this: Imagine you’ve got a train and it’s hurtling down a track. In its path, five people are trapped on the line and cannot escape. Fortunately, you can flick a switch, which diverts the train down a fork in that track, away from those five people, but at a price.
One of the benefits of being a psychopath is you are not depressed and you are not anxious.
When you talk about anxiety disorders, when you talk about depression, these two kinds of common colds of mental illness are non-existent in psychopaths. Psychopaths don’t get depressed. Psychopaths don’t get anxious.
Dr. Kevin Dutton is the author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success. Dutton is a research psychologist at the Calleva Research Centre for Evolution and Human Science, Magdalen College, University of Oxford.