Sociopaths Frequently Succeed in Competitive Environments

Sociopaths don't mind lying or manipulating others if it achieves their goals, especially in competitive environments.
Sociopaths Frequently Succeed in Competitive Environments

Last update: 17 October, 2021

Sociopaths are characterized by systematic contempt and ignorance of the rights of others. These types of personalities have no problems in instrumentalizing and trampling over anyone, either to achieve their own goals or simply out of habit.

Unfortunately, the above description applies to a large number of people today. Furthermore, many of them are leaders in various fields. According to psychiatry, sociopaths have a mental disorder. However, in their own environments, they’re often viewed with admiration, and can even become role models.

Sociopaths don’t respect rules. That’s because they see them as restricting their own desires and that’s enough for them not to recognize them. This is precisely why sociopaths are harmful, they damage the fabric of society. As a matter of fact, they don’t understand that laws and norms are made, at least in principle, to establish necessary limits to allow for stable coexistence in communities and societies.

I am the projection of the lie in which you live.”

-Charles Manson-

Competitive contexts

In principle, competition is healthy because it helps to channel certain aggressive impulses that arise in human beings. However, society tends to limit individual desires and this causes frustration, generating a kind of violent desire. The act of competing partly dissipates this as well as other aggressive desires, in a way that doesn’t affect the stability of a group.

Nevertheless, healthy competition is governed by rules. It doesn’t condone winning by the practice of resorting to illicit actions. Nor does it consider it legitimate to lose in a competition in which the rules of the game aren’t respected. At least, this is what should happen in theory.

The problem is, we now live in an ultra-competitive society, in which rules have become increasingly diffuse. In fact, winning now holds the greatest value, no matter how it’s achieved. Success has become a fetish, the totem that most want to possess. This concept has been driven mainly by marketing and the psychological currents that support it.

However, it hasn’t always been this way. For example, for the Greeks, creators of the Olympics, the merit of victory was the fact that it was only obtained by those who most deserved it. In other words, by those who exhibited a special talent or virtue. Consequently, winning was a reward for excellence.

Sociopaths and success

Western society and consumer culture have led to merit equalling the possession of money or fame. In fact, both are synonymous with success and hardly anyone cares how people achieve them. As we mentioned earlier, to be the best athlete in Ancient Greece, you had to work hard and develop exceptional talents. On the other hand, to become a millionaire in today’s society, sometimes you just need to be unscrupulous.

Sociopaths and groups with sociopathic traits see this unscrupulousness as a virtue. However, they use terms to describe it such as having  “a practical mentality” or being “cold-blooded”, among others. Nevertheless, it’s the absence of morality and lack of feelings of guilt that define these traits.

Sociopathic people tend to always achieve their goals, provided they’re in a highly competitive and ethically poor environment. This obviously reinforces their ideas. As a matter of fact, money even allows them to buy themselves a good name; and fame guarantees them a decisive social influence. Hence, the circle nourishes itself and stays stable.

Manipulating hands

A world for sociopaths

Unfortunately, in many parts of the world today, a lack of morals and scruples bring great benefits. In fact, based on available data, one in 25 people fits the classification of a sociopath. Psychologist, Robert Hare, points out that  people with these kinds of traits are four times more likely to reach the top of the corporate ladder and that they’re “the gear that drives the contemporary world.”

A sociopath doesn’t mind lying and manipulating others. In fact, cheating effectively is one of their aims, they consider it an achievement. In addition, they’re adaptable and extremely keen to pick up on the weak points and expectations of others. As a matter of fact, some will steal and then publically carry out charitable works. They play to the audience.

Many diagnosed sociopaths have now started to “come out of the closet” and publish books and Internet posts with their secrets. However, these people are directly responsible for thousands of injustices and atrocities in the world. They exist because societies validate their logic. They’re arrogant and cruel, but successful. This is thanks to their audiences, those unsuccessful and naive individuals, who offer no resistance to their cunning ways.

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  • Kotsko, A. (2020). Por qué nos encantan los sociópatas. Melusina.
  • Sirvent Ruiz, Carlos. La sociopatía adquirida. En: Revista Española de Drogodependencias, 2007, Vol. 32, no. 3