Book Review of Robert Hare’s “Without Conscience”
Robert Hare’s book “ Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us” is a transformational book that takes the reader deep into the woods where one gets in contact with the psychology of those we consider out order with our usual human emotions. While reading this book, one gets the feeling of being in one with the mind of a psychopath. In addition, the book answers questions of our mind revolving around the mindset of psychopaths as well as the protective measures to take to shield oneself from the attacks of a psychopath. Besides giving a detailed examination of a psychopath, Hare’s book examines aspect of psycho life such social deviance, behavioral problems, the need for excitement that supersedes the normal limit, and the palpable lack of responsibility on the part of psychopaths. While delivering his arguments, Hare uses real life psychos instead of imaginary characters.
First, it would be prudent to understand the meaning of what a psychopath means. Because of the ubiquity of the word psychopath, many people of asked the meaning of the word. According to Webster’s Online Dictionary, a psychopath is an individual who is emotionally and behaviorally perturbed. The definition goes ahead to say that Psychopaths are uncharacteristic in their understanding of reality which is often based on an individual’s social and moral obligation. As such psychopaths defy the traditional norm of human relationships. In the contrary, the usual understanding of the world psychopath as used in popular culture and regular conversations alludes to a dangerous person who has limited conscience, highly skilled at lying, and perfect in the art of faking emotions. People reason that psychopaths understand the consequences of their actions but fail to take cognizant of their depurations. In Hare’s book, an understanding of the mindset of a psychopath evolves that defy the threshold enslaved in the English language as well as popular culture.
Perhaps the most important characteristic of a psychopath that Hare illustrates is the obvious lack of sympathy. Empathy refers to the ability of individual to humanly understand other people’s problems. But in the mindset of a psychopath, the humanity is devoid. A psychopath has no rationale of understanding that other people have rights or feelings. Possibly, this provides an explanation why crimes committed by psychopaths are imbued by a distinctive advantage in terms of cruelty. Psychopaths kill in a manner similar to how a hungry lion would hunt down an innocent gazelle. Hare used the example of a man whose specialization was the murder of homeless people. In uncharacteristic manner, the psychopath bragged by remarking “Oh well, all those bums are better off now anyway” (Pg. 68).
Robert Hare makes a case that for ordinary people to understand the mind of a psychopath, it would be appropriate to reckon with the fact the most psychopaths are above average people with very high IQ. For example, con artists, also a classification of psychopaths are synonymous with their clever, phony, and egocentric nature. Corn artist usually seem to have a niche over regular people when it comes to initiating conversations, usually called the spark off. In most cases, they are transformational characters that can easily mold themselves into characters fitting to the environment. These individuals see themselves as the centre of the universe, superior people, with the right to live over other people, and usually walk chest-up bolstering with self-confidence. In the book, Hare writes that one psychopath serving time in the federal prison remarked that “on a scale from 1 to 10, I am a 12”
In his book “Without Conscience”, Hare reasons that a psychopath is an individual with a high degree of deceitfulness and manipulation. For example, serial killers are known for pretending to be sick so that they can lure victims easily. They could also use manipulations such as faking love, friendship or building relationships so that they can have access to people’s lives for the sake of murdering them or using them for their own selfish reasons. In the book, Hare records the story of Ted Bundy who faked being a cripple so that he could lure two women into his car with the intention of killing them.
Of all qualities of a psychopath, the one that warranty examination is the fact that psychopaths have no remorse or guilt. Psychopaths have the unusual ability to commit a crime and not feel guilty about it for an inch. It is even astonishing that most psychopaths go ahead and feign being victims for the crimes that they committed. Using an example, one man stabs a man and goes on parole for five years. When asked to make a statement the stabber remarks that “that man only had a few stabs and spent a few weeks on the hospital, he even have to work!” But I’ve had to stay in this prison for one year! Its not fair! The point is that even after serving term which is usually meant to correct behaviors, the stabber did not get the concept behind his incarceration. In the argument of Hare, the lack of remorse is probably the biggest reason why it would be prudent to reexamine our thoughts about psychopaths. It must be understood that they do not wish to be the people that they are.
On my point of view, Hare’s book gets a triple A for ease of read, accuracy, and correct depiction of situations. I personally think that the book is important for anyone interested in psychology. I enjoyed reading about how people mind work. In terms of structure, I liked how the book was broken down into smaller sections for ease of flow. Similarly, the use of real life examples allowed the reader to take notice of how the actions demonstrated in the book are replicated in the society. Perhaps the side kick for the book was that it is a slow read, and getting through it requires commitment of time.
In conclusion, Robert Hare’s book “Without Conscience” is the true definition of word psychopath. Argued correctly, Psychopath is the apparent lack of feelings or moral conscience in the usual human world. While making his case, Hare argues that people must understand that psychopaths have a freedom of choice because they are not oblivious to the rules of the society on human relationship. While most psychopaths have emotional baggage behind them, they make the rational choice to use the baggage to harm those who are completely red healings in a game of chase. The good thing about the book is the fact that the writer admits that he has no answers to all the problems.
Hare, Robert D. Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths among Us. London: Warner, 1994. Print.