Heroes vs. Psychopaths ~ Do you ever wonder what really makes a hero? Is it their courage or maybe a death wish? or a little of both? In this article we will explore what truly differentiates heroes vs. psychopaths in an everyday human. Throughout history since man has begun to understand himself, learning to talk was the biggest achievement in humanity.
Heroes of Men
A noble act can be described as having or showing qualities of high moral character, such as courage, generosity, or honor. But does this make heroes? Most of humanity, along with many species of life on earth evolved the desire to help one another because cooperation within large social groups was essential to survival. However since larger groups had to compete for limited resources, the willingness to kill opponents was crucial.
Enter what scientists call extreme altruism. The selfless act to help those unrelated to oneself at the risk of grave personal harm or death. Heroes such as Leroy Petry who found himself in the Paktia Province of Afghanistan on a mission to capture a Taliban target. He was clearing the courtyard of a house that potentially contained high-value combatants.
While crossing the courtyard, he and another Ranger, Private First Class Lucas Robinson, were engaged and wounded. A Taliban fighter threw a grenade and 28-year-old Leroy Petry lunged forward toward the grenade, picked it up, and tried to throw it away from his fellow Rangers. Just as he opened his hand to release it, it exploded, amputating his right hand at the wrist and sending shrapnel into his body.
Heroes vs. Psychopaths
In contrast to noble acts, is humanities ability to commit murder, rape, kidnapping, and even torture. Considering the man who locked himself in the 32nd floor of The Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas and randomly sprayed bullets down into a concert killing 58 people and wounding 546. Or the Florida high school shooting led by Nikolas Cruz, 19 who killed 17 students while shooting students in the hallways and on school grounds. The list goes on and on.
Surprisingly enough, extreme altruists and psychopaths display the best and the worst instincts all stemming from the same brain function of the frontal lobe. From one end of the moral spectrum of opening a door for someone out to risking our lives as policemen or firefighters being traits we recognize as good, and on the other end selfishness, violence and destructive impulses that we see as evil.
“We are the most social species on earth, yet we are also the most violent species on earth.” – Jean Decety, social neurology at University of Chicago. “We have two faces because these two faces were important to survival.”
With advanced technological research, scientists today have addressed what differentiates good vs. evil in the mind of heroes vs. psychopaths and thru this science they have determined one common trait.
Empathy is an intrinsic ability of the brain to experience how another person is feeling. Scientists have found that empathy is what kindles compassion compelling us to help others. On the contrast, a lack of empathy is traced to violent psychopathic and antisocial behaviors. All in all as we are raised to process information from those who raised us, a lack of empathy can be a sign in a child that restructuring their way of thinking is crucial.
Empathy helps us help others,and a lack of it will foster separation and hate that over the years can build up and explode at any moment. When it does it can take months and even years for one to premeditate a mass killing, or simply for survival, hold up a liquor store for money to feed your family in a matter of hours.