Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rational or Irrational?

In response to last night’s post about the psychopathy of Anders Behring Breivik, our longtime reader and commenter Blogger sent these brief observations on the apparent mental state of the killer:

People who don’t work in mental health have no idea how “normal” psychopaths (as well as irrational people) can present.

I work as a mental health nurse and we sometimes get patients who have written long narratives about various beliefs and philosophies. Their manuscripts are often included in their medical record, and the professionals read them to get background on the patient.

To the untrained observer, these people can come across as incredibly sane, often displaying even more developed ideas that we thought our own were. Those inexperienced in treating the mentally ill may wonder about their own sanity. But we nurses are used to it.

This Norwegian killer was your typical psychopath, and since they are often good-looking and intelligent, people also assume psychopaths are ‘rational’. But the actions of this psychopath are both evil and irrational. It makes no sense, logically, to advance a political stance by presenting it as evil.

An Islamic terrorist, on the other hand, is instructed by his or her highest authority, Allah, and the examples of Muhammad, whose actions Muslims are told to emulate. They are brainwashed.

Therefore the actions of a terrorist carrying out the commands of Allah are evil, but rational.