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Is Dexter a True Sociopath?

charleslb
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1/23/2011 6:17:25 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The Showtime television series Dexter raises some interesting ethical and philosophical questions. Such as, is the lead character, Dexter Morgan, even a true sociopath; i.e. what is a sociopath, and can being a sociopath be equated with being evil; for that matter what is "evil", and conversely what does it mean to be a "good" human being?

Okay then, first question first, is Dexter an authentic sociopath? He certainly has the stereotypically cold, flat affect indicative of a lack of humanizing emotions that one would expect in a sociopath. And he claims to be devoid of any empathetic feeling for other people. His personal philosophy of life is quite nihilistic, he just feigns middle-class mores to fit in and avoid suspicion. His relationship with the woman who became his wife is a case in point, it began as a coldly calculated ruse to make him look normal to the outside world. And oh yeah, there's the little fact that he's a proficient serial killer who isn't at all squeamish about cutting up corpses. Superficially, at least, the character of Dexter Morgan seems to pass muster as a classic sociopath.

But setting aside the fact that he seems to have a rudimentary sense of decency, for example he disapproves of child molesters as much as you or I, and there's his "code" that dictates that he only take the lives of murderers, which is the same retributive morality that many death penalty advocates espouse (Dexter just takes its implementation into his own hands), and bracketing off his protective feelings for his family, we're down to the interesting criminological fact that being a serial killer quite simply does not ipso facto and simplistically equate with being a sociopath.

Yep, it's just a popular culture myth that serial killers are all sociopaths, and vice versa. First of all, there are many sociopaths who don't have a vicious streak and don't express their sociopathy by violently depriving others of life. And on the other hand there are serial killers who are not without human and remorseful feelings, other factors are at play in making them homicidal maniacs, such as damage to the prefrontal part of the brain, mental illness, and having experienced abuse as a child.

This leads into the question of the way the term and concept "sociopath" is facilely used nowadays. It seems to be another instance of the tendency of scientists to simply name something, give it a technical sounding nom de science, and make like they've thereby explained it. Also, categorizing folks who do heartless things to their fellow man and woman under the sciencey rubric of "sociopath" seems to be another example of our modern materialistic tendency to medicalize human behavior in general, and human evil in particular.

The reductive diagnosis "sociopath" takes "evil" out of the bailiwick of morality and relocates it in the fields of psychiatry and neurology. Where it's understood in ethically sterile terms of brain abnormalities and the failure to bond with another human being at an early stage of development. In other words, organic and behavioral explanations, i.e. materialistic explanations replace "airy-fairy" moral perspectives on good & evil.

But does a materialistic, scientistic diagnostic category such as "sociopath" really eliminate the ethical issues surrounding the badness of murderers and other malefactors? Most people certainly don't seem to buy that it does. If we did, if we really believed that serial killers, for example, were dead-on-the-inside sociopaths, that they lacked any capacity for compassion or conscience, then it would make no more logical sense to us to be righteously angry with and vindictively punitive toward them than it would be to revile and punish a bear who kills a camper or a shark who kills a surfer.

Well, does anyone ever really take the view that a sociopathic killer is just dangerous like a shark, but not a morally reprehensible specimen of humanity? I can't remember ever hearing anyone say that poor ole Ted Bundy was just a victim of sociopathy who couldn't help acting on his murderous impulses, not a morally bad guy! Is this just because our anger toward serial killers who terrorize modern society is irrational? If we were more dispassionately logical would we regard and treat serial murderers like people with a disorder; would we say, as we now do about alcoholics, that they just have a disease?

That is, in glossing over the science and holding serial killers responsible, in a moral sense, for their actions are we just clinging to an old, pre-scientific way of thinking about "evil", are we just wallowing in emotionalistic vengefulness? Or are our emotions expressing and keying us into a deeper, intuitive truth about our accountability, our humanity, and the very nature of the reality we inhabit?

Perhaps we react with visceral anger at serial killers and other damaged "bad guys", despite the discoveries of the behavioral sciences, from our gut instinct that materialism doesn't cut it as a theory of everything, that our minds do not simply reduce to the emergent by-product of the gray matter between our ears in motion, that the nature of life embodies but does not deterministically circumscribe itself in our genes, that there's a freedom inherent in the reality we partake in that blesses and sometimes burdens us with choice and responsibility.

Contrary to what materialists would have us believe, physiological explanations do not set the bounds of the mystery of human nature, just as the mechanistic worldview of 19th century physics never really got a conclusive handle on the mysterium tremendum, the great mystery of existence. But this doesn't prevent what's really a defunct, 19th century materialistic ontological attitude from persisting into the 21st century. Materialism, as an intellectual paradigm, by all rights should be passé by now, quantum physics has thoroughly disconfirmed and outgrown it. But scientism has such a philosophical stranglehold on science that a paradigm shift toward acceptance of a more aesthetic, poetic, and spiritual ontology is resisted and yet to come.

Be this as it may, the splendorous freedom of the creative self-expression of the mysterium tremendum, the measureless magnitude of the miracle of existence, the internal intangibility and transcendentalness of the material superstructure of reality can be and is incarnate in genes and brains, but is not by any means incarcerated in them. The pathologies sometimes visible in the brains of criminals in PET scans are not the last word on what makes one a villain and a killer. Evolution's hardwiring of aggression into our makeup is not the bottommost explanation of why we brutalize and butcher each other.

Rather, the ultimate explanation is too unquantifiable for the taste of materialistic science, it's this, "evil" is the result of the (malevolently and destructively exercised) liberty of the human mind, which reflects and evokes the unfettered, uncoercive nature of the mysterious creative process that's the essence of all existence. Perhaps what the paradox and oxymoron of a "good-guy" serial killer like Dexter hints at is our intuitive sense of this, our intuitive sense that the mind can't be simplistically pigeonholed in hard and fast scientific categories such as "sociopath", that although the mind and reality are not supernatural, they're more transmundane and full of wonder than materialism and its adherents can fathom or admit. That is, perhaps Dexter, in his own perverse way, hints at the validity of the spiritual worldview! Yes, if the lethal manner in which Dex practices his nihilism doesn't stereotype him as a sociopath, if he succeeds in transcending such cliché stereotypes and categories, maybe what's being apprehended is the inherent, spiritual intangibility of reality.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
M.Torres
Posts: 3,626
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1/23/2011 6:18:25 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Holy crap. That is the longest post I think I've ever seen on this site. 0.0
: At 11/28/2011 1:28:24 PM, BlackVoid wrote:
: M. Torres said it, so it must be right.

I'm an Apatheistic Ignostic. ... problem? ;D

I believe in the heart of the cards. .:DDO Duelist:.
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
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1/23/2011 7:22:07 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Charleslb, you do realize that Dexter is actually played by an actor and is not a "real" person?
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
M.Torres
Posts: 3,626
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1/23/2011 7:29:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/23/2011 7:09:05 PM, Sieben wrote:
Meet charles.

Hi Charles. 0.0
: At 11/28/2011 1:28:24 PM, BlackVoid wrote:
: M. Torres said it, so it must be right.

I'm an Apatheistic Ignostic. ... problem? ;D

I believe in the heart of the cards. .:DDO Duelist:.
M.Torres
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1/23/2011 7:54:49 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/23/2011 7:53:59 PM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
Too long, didn't read it.
: At 11/28/2011 1:28:24 PM, BlackVoid wrote:
: M. Torres said it, so it must be right.

I'm an Apatheistic Ignostic. ... problem? ;D

I believe in the heart of the cards. .:DDO Duelist:.
Korashk
Posts: 4,597
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1/23/2011 8:11:18 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/23/2011 7:22:07 PM, annhasle wrote:
Charleslb, you do realize that Dexter is actually played by an actor and is not a "real" person?
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
Korashk
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1/23/2011 8:14:03 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
But no, Dexter is not a sociopath.
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
bluesteel
Posts: 12,301
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1/23/2011 8:28:58 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
It's his humanity that gets him into the most trouble, like with following Trinity for so long to see how he lives such a normal life. He obviously has sociopathic tendencies - like with his dark passenger - but the way he contains these urges seems almost . . . healthy.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
charleslb
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1/24/2011 12:22:54 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/23/2011 10:37:10 PM, Loserboi wrote:
your posts are always ridiculously long

Or perhaps it's your attention span that's sadly short?
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
PARADIGM_L0ST
Posts: 6,958
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1/24/2011 12:27:38 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/24/2011 12:22:54 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 1/23/2011 10:37:10 PM, Loserboi wrote:
your posts are always ridiculously long

Or perhaps it's your attention span that's sadly short?:

You tend to be redundant and verbose.
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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1/24/2011 12:41:15 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/23/2011 7:22:07 PM, annhasle wrote:
Charleslb, you do realize that Dexter is actually played by an actor and is not a "real" person?

Say what, I always thought it was a hidden camera reality show featuring the sanguinary shenanigans and soap-operaesque life of a real serial killer, and that the police let it go on because he only kills bad guys. Thanks for making me aware that the character is fictional.

Okay, now I'll take my tongue out of my cheek and point out that the fact that Dexter is only a fictional character doesn't mean that he and the show of the same name raise no interesting or significant questions. As for critically analyzing the character as if he's a real-life person, that's just part of prefacing and exploring those questions. It's done with characters in novels by people in book clubs and students in literary criticism classes all the time. Admittedly, my post does not consist of "literary criticism", and Dexter is only a TV show, not a great novel (although it's inspired by a novel), nonetheless it's perfectly legitimate to analyze a fictional character as if he's a real person, and to sarcastically ask if I know that he's just a character played by an actor is simply petty. Instead, if you disagree with any of the points I make in my post why don't you share your criticisms and thoughts, that would be much more interesting than sarcastic comebacks.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
askbob
Posts: 7,254
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1/24/2011 12:42:31 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
too long didn't read
Me -Phil left the site in my charge. I have a recorded phone conversation to prove it.
kohai -If you're the owner, then do something useful like ip block him and get us away from juggle and on a dofferent host!
Me -haha you apparently don't know my history
Kohai - Maybe not, but that doesn't matter! You shoukd still listen to your community and quit being a tyrrant!
Me - i was being completely sarcastic
Kohai - then u misrepresented yourself by impersonating the owner—a violation of the tos
askbob
Posts: 7,254
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1/24/2011 12:43:02 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/24/2011 12:22:54 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 1/23/2011 10:37:10 PM, Loserboi wrote:
your posts are always ridiculously long

Or perhaps it's your attention span that's sadly short?

attention is paid to those who warrant it.
Me -Phil left the site in my charge. I have a recorded phone conversation to prove it.
kohai -If you're the owner, then do something useful like ip block him and get us away from juggle and on a dofferent host!
Me -haha you apparently don't know my history
Kohai - Maybe not, but that doesn't matter! You shoukd still listen to your community and quit being a tyrrant!
Me - i was being completely sarcastic
Kohai - then u misrepresented yourself by impersonating the owner—a violation of the tos
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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1/24/2011 12:45:41 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/24/2011 12:27:38 PM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
At 1/24/2011 12:22:54 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 1/23/2011 10:37:10 PM, Loserboi wrote:
your posts are always ridiculously long

Or perhaps it's your attention span that's sadly short?:

You tend to be redundant and verbose.

You tend to be a libertarian, and so do the majority of my harshest critics here, methinks it's because my left-leaning politics biases you-all against me, but that's just my suspicious speculation.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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1/24/2011 12:57:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/24/2011 12:43:02 PM, askbob wrote:
At 1/24/2011 12:22:54 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 1/23/2011 10:37:10 PM, Loserboi wrote:
your posts are always ridiculously long

Or perhaps it's your attention span that's sadly short?

attention is paid to those who warrant it.

Okay, but if you didn't read my post how can you make the judgment that its contents include nothing that would warrant a few moments of your attention? You must have based your decision to not read it on it's length (which isn't actually that prolix, it's just long relative to the average length of Debate.org posts). So, you're like someone who opines about a movie being trash without having viewed it, pretty lame. If you want to be a critic I suggest that you muster the attention span to actually read the original post and then tear into it all you like, otherwise it's your opinions that don't warrant any interest.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
PARADIGM_L0ST
Posts: 6,958
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1/24/2011 1:02:41 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
You tend to be a libertarian, and so do the majority of my harshest critics here, methinks it's because my left-leaning politics biases you-all against me, but that's just my suspicious speculation.:

Oh, so thaaaaaat's why you have a Karl Marx avatar. But in all seriousness, I kind of do have a short attention span. Oh look, a shiny object!!!
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
askbob
Posts: 7,254
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1/24/2011 1:26:29 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/24/2011 12:57:14 PM, charleslb wrote:
Okay, but if you didn't read my post how can you make the judgment that its contents include nothing that would warrant a few moments of your attention?

you are talking about a television show on a debate website. Even i you were telling me something interesting in person I wouldn't listen to you. You are verbose as shitt. If everyone has "small attention spans" then find the common denominator in the problem. You. Read aloud what you write before you post it and you'll realize I'm correct.
Me -Phil left the site in my charge. I have a recorded phone conversation to prove it.
kohai -If you're the owner, then do something useful like ip block him and get us away from juggle and on a dofferent host!
Me -haha you apparently don't know my history
Kohai - Maybe not, but that doesn't matter! You shoukd still listen to your community and quit being a tyrrant!
Me - i was being completely sarcastic
Kohai - then u misrepresented yourself by impersonating the owner—a violation of the tos
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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1/24/2011 1:30:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/23/2011 8:28:58 PM, bluesteel wrote:
It's his humanity that gets him into the most trouble, like with following Trinity for so long to see how he lives such a normal life. He obviously has sociopathic tendencies - like with his dark passenger - but the way he contains these urges seems almost . . . healthy.

Thanks for a reply that actually addresses the content of my post. Well, yes, Dexter is a somewhat human, even healthy sociopath, and it's the very oxymoronic concept of a human and healthy sociopath that I assert illustrates the shortcomings of psychiatric profiles and categories, as well as the scientistic, materialistic credo and attitude toward life that underlies them. In other words, Dexter breaks the deterministic mold of the "sociopath" and thereby demonstrates that the it's-all-in-your-genes-and-brain way of thinking that holds the deterministic, medicalizing mold together is not as solid as some would lead us to believe.

Well, as someone has pointed out, Dexter isn't a real person and therefore doesn't actually demonstrate anything, but our willingness to suspend disbelief and accept the premise of the show indicates and reminds us that deep-down we don't really believe in the mechanistic-materialistic worldview according to which our whole character and destiny lies in our brain chemistry and genome. Deep-down we intuit that our human freedom and the freedom of life isn't so neatly boxed in by the code written into our brains by evolution, not as neatly as the adherents of scientism would have it. This is indeed a spiritually significant and uplifting implication of the show's premise, at least it's why the show has existential depth and isn't just a downer about an emotionally dead serial killer.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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1/24/2011 1:41:45 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/24/2011 1:26:29 PM, askbob wrote:
At 1/24/2011 12:57:14 PM, charleslb wrote:
Okay, but if you didn't read my post how can you make the judgment that its contents include nothing that would warrant a few moments of your attention?

you are talking about a television show on a debate website. Even i you were telling me something interesting in person I wouldn't listen to you. You are verbose as shitt. If everyone has "small attention spans" then find the common denominator in the problem. You. Read aloud what you write before you post it and you'll realize I'm correct.

Surprise, surprise (NOT!), I see in your profile that you're another libertarian with harsh things to say to me. As I said elsewhere, I think the "common denominator" is that the majority of my detractors here are libertarians. Hmm, maybe intolerance is a part of the libertarian psychological makeup, maybe that's why you-all would like to live in a form of society in which you're free to go it alone from all the folks you find yourselves so averse to sharing life with? In other words, is libertarianism perhaps pretty much just an ideological facade for an intolerant, misanthropic, and egoistic mentalité?
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
PARADIGM_L0ST
Posts: 6,958
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1/24/2011 1:51:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Surprise, surprise (NOT!), I see in your profile that you're another libertarian with harsh things to say to me. As I said elsewhere, I think the "common denominator" is that the majority of my detractors here are libertarians. Hmm, maybe intolerance is a part of the libertarian psychological makeup, maybe that's why you-all would like to live in a form of society in which you're free to go it alone from all the folks you find yourselves so averse to sharing life with? In other words, is libertarianism perhaps pretty much just an ideological facade for an intolerant, misanthropic, and egoistic mentalité?:

Yes, there is a conspiracy operating against you by libertarians -- libertarians who also happen to be sociopaths.
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
askbob
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1/24/2011 1:51:17 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/24/2011 1:41:45 PM, charleslb wrote:
Surprise, surprise (NOT!), I see in your profile that you're another libertarian with harsh things to say to me. As I said elsewhere, I think the "common denominator" is that the majority of my detractors here are libertarians. Hmm, maybe intolerance is a part of the libertarian psychological makeup, maybe that's why you-all would like to live in a form of society in which you're free to go it alone from all the folks you find yourselves so averse to sharing life with? In other words, is libertarianism perhaps pretty much just an ideological facade for an intolerant, misanthropic, and egoistic mentalité?

how the fvck does my political philosophy have anything to do with your inability to summarize and quit using flowery verbose terminologies to describe simplistic musings.
Me -Phil left the site in my charge. I have a recorded phone conversation to prove it.
kohai -If you're the owner, then do something useful like ip block him and get us away from juggle and on a dofferent host!
Me -haha you apparently don't know my history
Kohai - Maybe not, but that doesn't matter! You shoukd still listen to your community and quit being a tyrrant!
Me - i was being completely sarcastic
Kohai - then u misrepresented yourself by impersonating the owner—a violation of the tos
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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1/24/2011 2:08:54 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Of course Dexter isn't a sociopath. I mean, sure his sister drives him crazy by breaking everything in his lab, but he's just a kid after all, so it is only natural that he would have a hard time controlling his emotions, I mean come on, give the kid a break!
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
vardas0antras
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1/24/2011 3:30:45 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Its a greater skill to convey ideas in fewer words than vice versa.
"When he awoke in a tomb three days later he would actually have believed that he rose from the dead" FREEDO about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
nonentity
Posts: 5,008
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1/24/2011 3:57:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I actually read the entirety of the first post but I don't really understand the crux of what you are saying, probably because I've never watched the show Dexter. I don't know how accurate their portrayal of "sociopathy" is or even if that was the writers' intention, but I do think you brought up some interesting points.

It's like, if our actions are pre-determined (ie. by our personality/psychological issues and antecedent events) then how responsible are we for them... is that kind of what you were saying?
PARADIGM_L0ST
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1/24/2011 4:44:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
To answer the OP directly, no, I don't think Dexter's character is a good candidate for sociopathy. While he clearly exhibits anti-social behavior, he still exhibits empathy for victims and a sense of justice. Most sociopaths are very charming and manipulative, not aloof.

This is a sociopath... Can't keep a job, grandiosity, charming behavior... Not Dexter Morgan

http://www.break.com...
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
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1/24/2011 10:04:17 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/24/2011 12:41:15 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 1/23/2011 7:22:07 PM, annhasle wrote:
Charleslb, you do realize that Dexter is actually played by an actor and is not a "real" person?

Say what, I always thought it was a hidden camera reality show featuring the sanguinary shenanigans and soap-operaesque life of a real serial killer, and that the police let it go on because he only kills bad guys. Thanks for making me aware that the character is fictional.

Your welcome.

Okay, now I'll take my tongue out of my cheek and point out that the fact that Dexter is only a fictional character doesn't mean that he and the show of the same name raise no interesting or significant questions. As for critically analyzing the character as if he's a real-life person, that's just part of prefacing and exploring those questions. It's done with characters in novels by people in book clubs and students in literary criticism classes all the time. Admittedly, my post does not consist of "literary criticism", and Dexter is only a TV show, not a great novel (although it's inspired by a novel), nonetheless it's perfectly legitimate to analyze a fictional character as if he's a real person, and to sarcastically ask if I know that he's just a character played by an actor is simply petty. Instead, if you disagree with any of the points I make in my post why don't you share your criticisms and thoughts, that would be much more interesting than sarcastic comebacks.

You appeared to have a loose grasp on the fact that he's a fictional character. Now, sure -- you can analyze the "real world implications" of the TV show and how a sociopath was portrayed... But that's going to get you nowhere. TV is for ratings and rarely for intellectual insight. Personally I watched (and LOVED) Dexter since he was funny -- gotta love the dry wit -- and the amount of blood was awesome. I did not watch it for a social or psychological experiment into the depth of a sociopaths psyche since he is not in fact a sociopath. I would much rather analyze a REAL sociopath (and I have done so) then waste my time on an actor.
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
charleslb
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1/24/2011 11:00:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/24/2011 3:57:37 PM, nonentity wrote:
I actually read the entirety of the first post but I don't really understand the crux of what you are saying, probably because I've never watched the show Dexter. I don't know how accurate their portrayal of "sociopathy" is or even if that was the writers' intention, but I do think you brought up some interesting points.

It's like, if our actions are pre-determined (ie. by our personality/psychological issues and antecedent events) then how responsible are we for them... is that kind of what you were saying?

Human freedom (and therefore responsibility) can not be kicked to the curb of our self-understanding by handy psychiatric stereotypes such as "sociopath", and materialistic theories of behavior that see consciousness and its qualia, such as moral choice and decision making, as a mere side effect of brain activity or as coded in our DNA.

This is essentially a spiritually uplifting and empowering realization, having to do with our inner freedom and capacity for transcendence; as well as a morally weighty one, having to do with the burden of responsibility our inner freedom places upon us. The TV show Dexter can perhaps suggest such a realization by showing a character transcend what his stereotype should destine him for, and choose good over evil, despite emotional and moral deficits that supposedly should make this impossible.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.