I’m trying something new here – writing a very brief post. Some ideas don’t need explication and elaboration; they can be simply stated and quickly read. I would be very pleased to hear any comments from readers on this format. (Additional query: do I post too often for your tastes?)
On his very first day as a sole – and very green – psychologist at a maximum security prison, Robert Hare encountered his first client, ‘Ray’. It went something like this:
Ray: Doc, I want to discuss a problem with you.
Hare: Sure, tell me about it.
Ray pulls out a knife. Hare decides not to press the alarm button.
Ray: I’m going to use this on an inmate who’s been making moves on my punk.
That’s it. A perfect paramoralism.
It has the emotional discombobulation: from gratification to fright to relief. It has the double-bind which leads to intellectual confusion: do I tell the authorities and ruin my trust among the inmates or do I not tell them and so break a professional rule and possibly get someone killed? And it has the moral corruption.
Someone has been ‘killed off’ – Hare himself. The psychologist may as well pack his bags and go home – no matter which of the two paths he takes he has been completely morally compromised.
A paramoralism has two goals: to get something and to erode another’s moral thinking. Here we see that for the psychopath the second of these goals – destruction of another person – is far more important that the first.