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Psychopathology – From James To Jackal

Jack Rasmussen is a leader in the worlds of performance science, the food industry, religion, education, and entertainment. Growing up in Silicon Valley and studying Business, Cinema, and Journalism at the University of Southern California has allowed him to explore creative pathways to raise people's vibration and meta-awareness within their respective fields.

 
Executive Contributor Jack Rasmussen

The human mind is a fascinating, dynamic, and complicated concept. Psychopathology is the study of mental illness and maladaptive human behaviors. From natural life to fictional characters, it is intriguing to try to understand the actions of a psychopath, sociopath, or anyone who may be acting differently from what society considers the norm. What is normal anyway? It changes almost every day. 


The day of Jackal poster.

It’s all mental

Psychopathology is the study of mental illness or disorders. Therapists devote their lives to studying people, where they come from, who they are, and what they crave. The three categories that inform psychopathology are biological, psychological, and social factors. Of course, one may consider the acronyms OCEAN (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) or CANOE (conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness, and extraversion) to understand one’s true personality. I have taken those tests more often than once, and several of my peers have also been coerced in school to understand themselves better. 


Regarding psychopathology, Psychologist Ronald J. Comer (1999) outlines four Ds to describe abnormality: deviance, distress, dysfunction, and danger. Each one of these Ds is very much dependent on the environment and norms developed within a society. It is always interesting to delve into the layers of moments and history that may affect the way our brains work or do not work, for that matter. For instance, how do psychopaths and sociopaths develop?


Psychopaths versus sociopaths

Psychopaths are different from sociopaths. Psychopaths have no moral compass or conscience but can follow social norms to suit their wants and needs. Sociopaths cannot feel any sense of empathy. Sociopathy is officially called antisocial personality disorder (APD), while psychopathy is not technically an official diagnosis. Whereas sociopaths justify what they do as correct when they know it is wrong, psychopaths believe all their actions are accurate and have no remorse for those actions. The common denominator between the two is a lack of empathy, irritability, sporadic behavior, anger issues, and risk-taking (Purse, 2022).


The psychopathic intrigue

Americans are interested in watching psychopathic characters because of the risks they are willing to take. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (2022) is interesting because it makes us question humanity and what humans can potentially say and do. The legendary psychologist Robert D. Hare points out the character traits of a psychopath: charm, need for stimulation, lying, lack of guilt, impulsivity, many short-term relationships, sexual promiscuity, etcetera (Taylor, 2021).


The intrigue of the psychopath is deep, from Norman Bates to Hannibal Lecter, Gordon Gekko, and Tom Ripley. Sometimes, action and psychopathy go hand in hand, like two peas in a pod. Even James Bond, back during “The Sean Connery Years,” featured head chopping while making a pun, sexual promiscuity, lack of behavioral control, and lack of empathy (Taylor, 2021).


A story often overlooked is The Day of Jackal, a 1971 novel by Frederick Forsyth. The story was made into a 1973 thriller by the same name and remade as The Jackal in 1997. It is now becoming a TV series. The main character, “Jackal,” is hired to assassinate the French President Charles de Gaulle, and he goes through anything in his way. The elusive character almost acts like a machine, killing people, seducing people, and dressing up as an elderly veteran man without so much as the blink of an eyelash (Zinnemann, 1973).


How far is too far? Is that even a question for a psychopath like James or Jackal? The world may never know. That is why we collectively love fantasy.


Steel handcuff

 

Jack Rasmussen, American Author and Actor

Jack Rasmussen is a leader in the worlds of performance science, the food industry, religion, education, and entertainment. Growing up in Silicon Valley and studying Business, Cinema, and Journalism at the University of Southern California has allowed him to explore creative pathways to raise people's vibration and meta-awareness within their respective fields. He is the award-winning author of Fine Dining: The Secrets Behind the Restaurant Industry (2022) and Yin Yang: The Elusive Symbol That Explains the World (2023). He has worked with the National Science Foundation, California food banks, and international directors to help alleviate food waste and teach cultural literacy, among other expressions of his storytelling interests. He wants to continue to help serve and inspire global citizens to explore the unexplored and become more cognizant of and comfortable with their authentic presence through sharing his own. His artistic aim stays true: spread thought-provoking peanut butter and connective jelly. 

 

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