(25) Conscience is a sense of obligation ultimately based in an emotional attachment to another living creature (often but not always human), or to a group of human beings, or even in some cases to humanity as a whole.
(47) …what a sociopath wants…controlling others – winning - is more compelling than anything or anyone else.
(9) About one in 25 people are sociopathic, meaning, essentially, that they do not have a conscience.
(50) Instead, when confronted with a destructive outcome that is clearly their doing, they will say plain and simple, “I never did that,” and will to all appearances, believe their own direct lie. This feature of sociopathy makes self-awareness impossible, and in the end, just as the sociopath has no genuine relationships with other people; he has only a very tenuous one with himself. In general, people without conscience tend to believe their way of being in the world is superior to ours.
(63) Milgram’s pronouncement – “ A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do, irrespective of the content of the act and without limitations of conscience, so long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate authority.” Milgram believed that authority could put conscience to sleep mainly because the obedient person makes an “adjustment of thought” which is to see himself as not responsible for his own actions.
(91) We are seduced as well by the acting skills of the sociopath. Since the scaffolding of a life without conscience is deception and illusion, intelligent sociopaths often become proficient at acting, and even at some of the particular techniques employed by professional actors. Paradoxically, the visible signs of emotion at will can become second nature to the cold-blooded…
(93) In a confusing irony, conscience can be rendered partially blind because people without conscience use, as weapons against us, many of the fundamentally positive tools we need to hold society together:
(107) How can I tell whom not to trust? The best clue is, of all things, the pity play. The most reliable sign, the most universal of behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, at our fearfulness. It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy.
(156+) 13 Rules for dealing with sociopaths in everyday life:
(188) Sociopaths cannot love, by definition they do not have higher values, and they almost never feel comfortable in their own skins. They are loveless, amoral, and chronically bored, even the few who become rich and powerful.
Martha Stout, Ph.D Broadway Books: NY (2005)