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Most people live based on a routine…you know, go to school, 9-5 job, make plans for the weekend… the usual stuff.  Sure, in the back of our minds we fear we may fail a class and not get into our desired grad program, or that our husband/wife might leave us or the firm we work for shuts down. However, few people really contemplate what would occur if the system all of this is based on, the very society we live in, with its infrastructure and laws, were to suddenly collapse.  Who would perish and who would thrive? Might psychopathic traits be an advantage in such a scenario?

Contained here is a test for psychopathic traits:  http://madamenoire.com/191222/are-you-a-psychopath-take-this-quiz-to-find-out/2/  To sum it up, a person who is either a borderline psychopath (high score of, let’s say, 20) or right up there at the top this person would be expected to be cunning, clever, unwilling to let anything stand between her and her goal of survival, not too high in empathy aside from those closest to her, and ruthless and with a strong sense of grandiosity.  One could say such a person in a collapse of society would not give up, not let the sorrow that many would feel in such an event cloud their judgement and would employ any means necessary to make sure they and their family endured.

I think one can get a picture of this in the fictional world of, “The Walking Dead.” While most might just enjoy the action there is a character development that might get overlooked…that of Rick Grimes.  He starts out in the first season as a good-guy cop who wakes up after the apocalypse has decimated humanity except for a few human survivors who are hunted by zombies for food.  Once he meets up with his family he quickly learns that the only way to survive in this world is to become as fierce as it is. And he becomes an archetypal alpha father willing to do anything to preserve his children. On a side-note one of the favorite villains of the series is “The Governor.” Yet while he is an evil and disturbed leader he originally has established a thriving community in this dangerous world.  In a sense it was not his ruthlessness that is his end but his unwillingness to allow another community to exist nearby.

In my own work, “Freedom from Conscience – Deliverance from Evil” http://finest.se/jasmincroft/2014/09/04/freedom-from-conscience-its-time-to-launch-book-3/ the main character, who has been a vigilante serial killer before getting married and becoming a psychologist, is kidnapped by a cold-blooded serial killer who is preparing for an apocalypse, but hunts the innocent until it occurs. He has studied her work and sees something in her that inspires him to seek to make her his apprentice. The valuable lesson Melanie incorporates from her interplay with Vincent is how to survive under the most harsh of conditions; to the point that she, like Spartan warriors as youth, is even taught how to survive naked in the wilderness and hunt down and kill large game with her bare hands.  Vincent is able to bring out her animal instincts of survival, self-reliance, and, ironically, the ability to resist his over-powering persona.  These skills become extremely valuable in preserving her life in later novels of the series.

Of course there is the concept of preparation as well. Recently Germany’s Angela Merkel urged citizens to stockpile 10 days food and 5 days water. Perhaps she is aware of things to come beyond what most western leaders are sharing with us? What could cause a societal breakdown? Well, war for sure but also massive terrorist attacks that could severely affect the infrastructure, a pandemic equal to the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1917-1918 or…well, you get the point. No need for zombies to get a zombie-like scenario. And of course you will get some people taking precautions while others will dismiss warnings and go about looking for Pokemons. Others will say they are good Christians and God will provide. Strange though, many Christians have died in famines in the past. Did God step in? Maybe God expects people to employ their brains in conjunction with inspiration. In the Bible Joseph told the Egyptians to store 7 years of food in anticipation of a severe reduction of agricultural production. He listened to God and saved many people. Are Christians really following God by neglecting some sort of not taking chances? Will they expect others to take care of them in case they are wrong?

Sadly people who say things like, “I hope I never live to see the day things collapse.” or, “I will hope for the best if things get nasty.” are the ones who would be at a severe disadvantage when things would get tough. Perhaps people need not transform into what a bandit on, “Mad Max” might resemble but I do suspect that toughness mixed with a bit of hardness, not allowing emotions to cloud judgement or incapacitate when struggle for existence may be essential, may be a big plus in such an environment.  This is why those with even a hint of psychopathic tendencies may indeed have an edge.

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