Is it possible for a human to be born without a conscience?
It seems no one really knows, though most people agree that sociopaths have a very weak conscience, and psychopaths have no conscience at all.
We understand the conscience to be our moral compass – the ability to distinguish right from wrong, and more importantly, our ability to feel empathy; that our actions affect others and to feel guilty when we hurt others.
Does Keith Alan Raniere have the ability to feel empathy?
Does he have a conscience?
KAR spun a web of lies and deceit so profound and intricate to harm others and gratify himself with luxuries and sex that most of us can’t comprehend it. What he accomplished appears absolutely insane. What he got others to do is insane.
Does this behavior come naturally to him or did he design to do so from the beginning? Who knows? One thing is for sure. His motives were to gratify himself with no regard for others.
The truly remarkable thing about KAR is his charismatic character seen in the likes of Adolf Hitler, David Koresh or Jim Jones. That charisma can be used for good or bad. There have been good charismatic leaders.
But, does KAR have a conscience? Did he ever have one? Is it through so many selfish choices that he diminished it to nothing?
The answer to that question lies at the heart of what he believes. Does he believe his own lies? Does he believe he is the smartest man in the world? One would ask, how could he, knowing he fudged his own IQ test?
The answer to these questions is “yes.” He does believe his own lies.
No, he does not have a conscience or empathy.
And here’s why, and also how he accomplished such insane results: If KAR was given a polygraph test, I think he would pass.
When one truly believes their own lies, it becomes their truth. It doesn’t matter what the truth really is. On some level, he must know he’s a fraud, right? He faked his own IQ test.
Wrong, he actually believes he is the smartest man in the world. He actually believes in his mission, whatever that is. He actually believes he is the Vanguard. He would pass a lie detector test because he actually believes his own lies to the point of them becoming his truth.
How does one live in such a fantasy world? Is he a sociopath, a psychopath, or is he insane? The answer is yes, yes, and yes.
Can he be fixed? My answer is no. Whether or not he was born without a conscience and the ability to feel empathy doesn’t matter anymore. If he did have one, he smothered it out long, long ago. It is gone and it isn’t coming back.
Does that mean he isn’t even accountable for his actions? No. He is accountable because his goals have been obvious: luxury and sex. He might be called the most selfish man in the world. But, whether or not he is accountable, I will leave that to God at his judgment day.
For now, KAR will continue in his delusions without the possibility of remorse. It is commendable though that he has gotten this far and accomplished (destroyed) so much through his own confidence and beliefs. I mean, that’s commendable. Most people are too insecure or lack the charisma to follow their dreams. It would take someone truly insane to do what he has done. That’s because he is insane.
He’s a psychopath, yes, but he is also truly insane.
The evidence has become rather clear. Psychopathy is genetic, and heritable. Sociopathy is another matter.
Crazy like a fox in the hen house.
He’s a terrible man, but he turned stolen bullshit into a million dollar company with the perks of a harem.
His success was greater and lasted longer than many careers of same legit businessmen.
Executive Success…for a while.
There’s plenty of examples and evidence to show he knew right from wrong. The secrecy alone screams guilt or rather the consequences he knew he’d be facing
That’s a BINGO!
Garrity hits the nail in the head yet again!!!
He’s not insane, at least not in terms of the legal definition of insanity. Someone who is insane is unable to make decisions for themselves, and they are legally not responsible for their own behavior. Do you really think Keith Raniere is insane? He definitely has sociopathic and psychopathic traits, but I respectfully disagree with insanity.
Jarhead: you are wrong. The definition from “Psychology Today” writer Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP is as follows: “To be clear, insanity is a legal term pertaining to a defendant’s ability to determine right from wrong when a crime is committed. Here’s the first sentence of law.com’s lengthy definition:
Insanity. n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.“
It does not mean the person is crazy and incapable of making decisions. It means their moral compass is quite literally broken.
According to the definition above, Keith Alan Raniere fits the bill. He is the poster child of insanity. They might as well put his photo next to the word in the dictionary.
And, Jarhead, you are right about the legal definition. But that definition is different from the actual psychological definition. To be clear, I do not think the legal definition should be applied to him. I think he should fry – spend the rest of his lifetime in prison for all the evil things he has done. He was capable of making evil decisions to satisfy his lusts. I just believe that his brain cannot calibrate fantasy from reality or right from wrong. He is broken. And for all the evil he has done to fulfill himself, he should pay the ultimate price so he can’t hirt anyone anymore: Life in prison.
Yupper. Totally agree. He’s pretty fucked up. He deserves to be treated as an animal because of how he has proven to treat others. Ethics? Humanity? Please. Keith was, and still is nothing more than a spoiled brat.
Fair enough. He nuts!
Agree that KAR’s ET ALL’s mad efforts to cover their tracks — the collateral, the secrecy, the vow, the quashing of critics by extreme means, etc. — prove they most ALL well knew right from wrong if it comes to that.
And as this writer and comments deftly explain; doesn’t mean KAR’s not bonkers in the worst psycho way — that knowingly pursues evil and spawns the perpetration of it by Satan’s greatest trick: “PRETENDING HE DOESN’T EXIST.”
I don’t need to read this to comment on it. I am a genius. Anyone who would manipulate others to fulfill their own corrupt desires is simply EVIL. We are all capable of it and we have all chosen evil in our lifetimes. Mr. Raniere chose to magnify his and because he was greedy he was caught.
True, Soccermom. One might say he is “insanely greedy”.
Somebody is completely correct.
Congratulations on your degree from the Frank Parlato School of Forensic Psychiatry.
Anonymous: You think he has a conscience? He has empathy? I thought the rebuttals would be more like duh! Captain Obvious! Everyone already knows that!