Thursday, February 7, 2013

Psychopathy and the Dark Patch of the Brain

Childe Roland to the Dark Patch Came

Recently my attention was grabbed and squeezed by the vitals by a news item linking frontal lobe deficits to psychopathic behavior. While the association between brain abnormalities and anti-social personality disorder is nothing new, this article was noteworthy for throwing around the term "dark patch", where supposedly "evil lurks" in "killers, rapists, and Nickelback fans"; and while some may object that this smacks of sensationalism, unjustified claims, and Popery, I find myself compelled to defend this finding with all of the earnestness and gravity that is equal to such a weighty subject.

Let us begin with the so-called "Dark Patch"; a name which, unfortunately, carries an unsettling connotation with other patches in various locations on our integument. If this is truly the seat of our turpitude and of all that is base, immoral and wicked; if it is the root of all our evil, of all our intemperance, incontinence, gaming, pimping, whoring, murdering, pilfering, bribing, prevaricating, and a thousand other vices inflaming the natural passions beyond their reasonable bounds, and creating yet new ones to decrease our contentment and increase our sorrow; then it is clear that, in order to rid ourselves of the noxious effects of the Dark Patch, it should be identified, targeted, and devitalized and withered, using any of the numerous methods of neural alteration we have perfected in our progressive era, whether surgical, chemical, or aspiratory; or else restored to its proper function through the use of drugs, shunts, sandbox therapy, or a combination of all of the above, as is seen fit.

One possible objection that may be raised against this approach is that perhaps too much emphasis is put on the Dark Patch, and consequently less scrutiny given to our own choices, actions, and the surfeits of our own behavior. An admirable evasion by whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of the Dark Patch! Proponents of this theory will tell me that a person such as Himmler was, by all accounts, a mild-mannered chicken farmer before seizing upon a position allowing free and irresponsible rein to a deep-seated and heinous ideology, resulting in the deaths of millions and untold suffering to scores of millions more; and likewise, I have heard from a reliable but old-fashioned prison psychiatrist that he never ceases to be amazed that individuals with supposedly uncontrollable addictions to murder and mayhem are somehow able to restrain themselves when meeting with him, a man they detest, given an adequate threat of punishment.

While I understand these concerns, antiquated though they may be, I am pleased to learn that we are trending toward a deeper understanding and appreciation of circumstances outside of our control, of which the Dark Patch is only the most recent and terrible declension. I envision a reformed world in which punishment is meted out, for example, by taking into account the size of one's Dark Patch; and that, instead of inflicting greater and undeserved punitive measures against an individual with an abnormally large Dark Patch, instead care is taken to reform and resocialize them through the techniques mentioned above. For it is the height of hypocrisy and ungenerous in the extreme for those with smaller Dark Patches to rail against and excoriate those who merely happen to have bigger Dark Patches; and I have good reason to believe, based on my observations of all individuals being predisposed to licentiousness, cruelty, and cheating, when it is advantageous to them, that we all possess a Dark Patch to some degree, and that those unfortunate souls who happen to get caught are simply victims of the untimely caprice and vicissitudes of their own Dark Patch. However, I do admit to being at a loss to explain the behavior of otherwise perfectly well-adjusted and functioning individuals, who can commit acts of the most wanton stupidity and barbarity, be it stealing from or maiming another, or sapping the foundations of an otherwise happy relationship through cheating and abuse. I am confident, however, that the root causes of these unfortunate incidents will be pinpointed at some location within our system, and with time, perhaps even whittled down to an individual cell, observed to cause a cascade of anti-social impulses culminating in a febrile desire to listen to Nickelback.

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