Friday, December 28, 2012

ARTICLE - Synopsis of I, Psychopath

 A tutorial for understanding Craig and the other psychopaths we are encountering in this process. 


I, Psychopath, Part One

I, Psychopath
I, Psychopath - Synopsis
Thu, 25 Mar 2010 09:42 CD
Despite the best advice of the world's top experts, Australian documentary-maker Ian Walker was naive to think he could study a psychopath in the wild and not get hurt.

"I didn't really understand how manipulative a psychopath can be," the director of I, Psychopath now admits. "I thought it would be a fair fight. After all, the filmmaker has the power, really. The power of the camera and the edit."

But, as it turns out, Walker chose his subject well. 47 year-old Israeli-born Sam Vaknin is a former corporate criminal and a self-proclaimed master of manipulation and reinvention. Walker first interviewed him several years ago as the author of the book Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited.

Walker was intrigued by a throwaway line where Vaknin professed he thought himself a "corporate psychopath". Afterwards, the film-maker spent several years researching the subject, but always wanted to make a film which might show psychopathic behaviour in action. Because of his narcissism, Vaknin was almost certain to say "Yes".

So, in February 2008, joined by Vaknin's long-suffering but ever-loyal wife Lidija, the threesome embarked on a diagnostic road trip to the world's top experts in psychopathy. Via a battery of psychological testing and brain scanning experiments, Vaknin becomes the world's first civilian to willingly seek a diagnosis for psychopathy.

The scientists are pleased to meet him. The "non-violent" or "white collar psychopath" is a test subject they rarely find in their labs. Much about them, including how their brains work, remains a mystery.

"They don't come to the attention of the science but also not to the attention of the social system because they are not criminal," explains German-based neurobiologist Professor Niels Birbaumer. "They are not violent, viciously violent and that's why we don't know them. But their impact on society is tremendous, and it was never studied."

In I, Psychopath, there are effectively two films happening in parallel. As the encounters between Sam and the scientists unfold, the relationship between subject and director shifts and changes, inadvertently supplying a voyeuristic first hand account of what it is like to deal with an everyday "non-violent" psychopath.

Vaknin proves to be the real thing, scoring an 18 out of 24 on the official Psychopathy Checklist (Screening Version). Most people, outside of prison, would score a zero or one, according to the Checklist's inventor Professor Bob Hare.  MORE

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