The scrupulous/unscrupulous personality

A slight tendency to autism or Asperger’s syndrome, sometimes considered to be an extreme version of the male brain, seems to have some interesting effects on the moral reasoning of those affected.

What I write here is based on observation only. But it seems to go some way towards explaining the behaviour of certain cold personalities, in a moral sense including sexual morality.

Many such people, it seems to me, have to “learn” to be human. Unlike “people persons” who are apparently born with an instinctive understanding of people, less socially adept people seem to need to learn how to understand people.

Such people may gradually learn to understand the behaviour of normal people. But they do not intuit things like flirting; or the way in which people can hold logically contrary ideas; or that people are often insincere; or the extent to which the average person wears a social mask.

It also seems to me that excessively scrupulous people, especially those who might be said to suffer from scrupulosity, are trying to cover over an uncertain control of a mass of emotion by applying rules in areas where rules do not clearly apply.

Such people over-analyse. They are indecisive. They show a marked inability to “move on”. Scrupulous people turn everything into a deep moral question to be pondered.

The danger in this is precisely that such people are like those who never learn to dance fluidly but are always counting out steps. And there is a danger that they will simply abandon the effort. Left without real moral intuition, they may make serious moral errors, should they lose patience with their excessive efforts. It is surprisingly common to see the very scrupulous sometimes make the most appalling moral  blunders.

They have never internalised their morality because it is only the result of constantly shifting analysis, not deep intuition.

A subset of such men seem to bring a certain sociopathy to their relationships with women. Not having strong empathy for beings unlike themselves (women) – a possible result of high testosterone – they are inclined to view women as somewhat alien. They will have a cold instrumental view of women and not understand the nuanced and subtle signals women characteristically send.

Such men may be attractive to the opposite sex but inclined to – at least psychologically  – “collect” women. And such a man may have a certain type he collects, another sign of his tendency to objectify women.

He may be warm to women whom he has come to have regard for, but view other women as not quite human.



5 responses to this post.

  1. The extreme male brain theory was put forward by Simon Baron-Cohen and in my personal experience, is over simplified and not correct. People with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome (ASD) have empathy, often to high levels. The problem is they do not know how to process the information.

    The term ‘normal’ from someone who does not have ASD (usually referred to as neurotypical) is misleading. People with ASD are normal, they simply have a differently wired brain which can lead to problems in intimate relationships. They are certainly not like the scrupulous You describe here.

    It’s a spectrum disorder, with people fitting all the way along the spectrum up to full autism. While it is true they do not pick up on things like facial expression, body language and tone of voice to gain levels of information in communication, it can be learnt over years. For someone with ASD, the world can be a chaotic place, because of over stimulation of the brain. When You walk down the street, You can choose to filter out irrelevant information like fire trucks 2 streets away, other people on the other side of the road, etc. People with ASD can’t. They are unable to filter anything out and to make things worse, they often experience them at 50-100 times more intense than a non ASD person. Imagine sitting in a cafe with people talking, the clock on the wall ticking, a tap dripping, coffee being made and the radio going. Now imagine you can’t filter any of that sound out. Your brain picks it all up as of equal importance and tries to process it all at the same time. Then add to that information you see and smell and your brain is trying to process everything – up to 1,000 bits of information – at the same time. It can’t tune anything out.

    i am not sure where You get the idea such people are indecisive and unable to move on from. Are You talking about people with ASD here or scrupulous people? For people with ASD, they like routines because when it’s a routine, they know what to expect each time so the brain doesn’t have to work overtime trying to process new information. They like things the same, but that doesn’t mean they can’t move on. As for ‘collecting’ women, not so. Some have issues with setting barriers and understanding what would be considered unspoken rules in relationships so may give attention to many women at once. Others not at all.


  2. Posted by some random guy on June 30, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    “He may be warm to women whom he has come to have regard for, but view other women as not quite human.”

    Quite hilarious, coming as it does right after “Real Barbie Dolls”.

    To be serious a moment, there was much in this description that I see in myself.


  3. Posted by Jim on July 1, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    “And such a man may have a certain type he collects, another sign of his tendency to objectify women.”

    Eh, women objectify men too. People are always doing that to each other in some way.


  4. Posted by Michael Kozaki on July 1, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    or the way in which people can hold logically contrary ideas

    Basic sanity to me. What’s the point of further discussion with people like that, unless you absolutely have to?


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