After Hours

Geeks, functional deviant behavior, and evolution

TR member dcolbert looks at the stereotypes between deviant behavior and antisocial nerds. He thinks it's possible that functional deviant behavior may even give some people an advantage by being more effective at their jobs. Do you agree?

I've been interested in the role of sociopath and psychopath for years, and I was reminded of this when I read Toni Bowers' recent article, "Your boss could be a sociopath, No, really."

About a year ago, there was a meme of sorts going around Facebook, "As your profile picture, put up a doppelganger or a picture of a celebrity you've been told that you look like." I put up a picture of Edward Norton, the Judge from Night Court, Dana Carvey, Reba McEntire, and finally, Beaker from the Muppets. I'm such a funny guy.

An associate I've known since early grade school posted on my wall, "I always think of you when I watch Dexter, but it isn't so much about how you look..." Hmmm. I always thought I kept my Dark Passenger better concealed.

Honestly, I've always had trouble with empathy, and certain social situations make me uncomfortable - just like Dexter is depicted. I'm sure this could be traced back to some childhood trauma or repressed memory, and we could rip off a 35-year-old scab and start the healing process - but you know, I'm good with letting sleeping dogs lie and being a little uncomfortable in situations where I'm supposed to feel an emotion that I really can't fully connect to. Seriously, I can't. Most of the time, I fake it because it makes people uncomfortable when someone doesn't act emotionally appropriate at a wedding, funeral, graduation, or other moving event.

I think knowledge industries that rely on higher intellect seem to attract more employees with these kinds of issues. Using Dexter as an example again, look at the two lab rats - Vince Masuka and Dexter. Vince has blatant deviant behavior, and he's an antisocial nerd. What leads writers to stereotype geeks in this manner? Well, I think it's partially that there are quite a few people in geek industries who fit this stereotype.

A lot of the time, the more brilliant the geek, the more present and less hidden the antisocial behaviors are. Take a look at Hollywood stereotypes, like Mark Zuckerberg's character as portrayed in The Social Network. High functioning autistic spectrum disorders, psychopathic and sociopathic behavior... and... Bill Gates rocking back and forth on a stool when he used to give presentations? How about Steve Jobs and his well-documented personality disorders?

I think the problem is that the science of mental health and study of mental disorders is still outrageously crude. They're still inclined to draw a line right down the middle between "sane" and "abnormal/deviant." Toni makes that mistake in her post when she says, "If your boss yells at you and then feels sorry later, they're probably not a sociopath." Sure, by a strict clinical definition, maybe... but maybe that strict clinical definition is what's wrong, not your feeling that your boss may be a high-functioning psycho or sociopath.

Science seems to approach these issues as binary - on or off - and that has caused a lot of stigma. People who feel that they may be different don't exactly want to come forward and say, "Yeah, that describes me! Maybe you should lock me up and cut bits of my brain out and study me at the worst, or treat me like I'm a freak at the BEST!"

From the perspective of anthropology, these traits exist in human populations because they have an evolutionary place and advantage. There are studies that show that sociopathic and psychopathic behavior is seen most frequently among males, and the peak of anti-social behaviors manifests between the late 20s and mid 30s. This is, not surprisingly, also the period when people contribute the most to the forward progress of society and in business. Executives are most productive in their late 20s and mid 30s, with performance starting to decline as they enter their 40s.

The lack of empathy, the inability to accurately draw a distinction between risk and reward, often leads to bold and rash decisions among psychopaths and sociopaths. The results might be a failure or tragic, but they just as frequently conclude with the subject being labeled a "hero." Once the sociopath gets into his 40s, the high risk behavior declines dramatically year after year, and - you know, you move him to the board of directors and replace his role as CEO with someone a little more brash and unconventional.

When you look back in history, prior to Jack The Ripper, the idea of a serial killer was less concrete. Is that because serial killers are a relatively modern development in the characteristics of mankind? I have a hypothesis that it's because the moral compass of modern society has made the serial killer chronically underemployed.

There are only so many tinpot dictatorships looking for a good royal torturer these days. But in the glory days of the Government Inquisition industry, there was a high volume of torture centers filled with employees who really loved what they did. They probably came home after a hard day of pulling out people's teeth and applying hot pokers in the dungeons, thinking to themselves, "I am the luckiest man in the world." Let that sink in.

Serial killers are like underemployed IT workers. They're a skill set looking for a niche in society where they can make a living - a niche that no longer exists. But nature knows that this personality disorder has a role in human evolution, probably since the beginning, or shortly after we decided to walk upright. Sure, we'd rather that nature put a hold on placing more serial killers in society, but nature is unlikely to listen to our wishes anytime soon.

The point is, there are degrees to these behaviors - and I think the line between a "normally adjusted" individual and a deviant one is probably far less cut-and-dried than psychologists would lead us to believe. There's a body of research that indicates that there are many more functional psychopaths and sociopaths in our society than we recognize, and that most of these go through life contributing to society. It's quite possible that their functional deviant behaviors may even give them an advantage at being more effective in their roles.

Your boss may have sociopathic traits, and that may indeed be why he or she has risen to that position in the organization. Those traits probably help make him or her more effective at what they do for your company. But we all know the truth - that there are people with really severe emotional issues and personality disorders in almost every company ... and those people inevitably work in Human Resources.

About

Donovan Colbert has over 16 years of experience in the IT Industry. He's worked in help-desk, enterprise software support, systems administration and engineering, IT management, and is a regular contributor for TechRepublic. Currently, his profession...

50 comments
cd003284
cd003284

Casuistry and fear-of-gray can make for interesting and entertaining articles and discussions - I enjoy them myself, including this one - but people are complex. Identical symptos can arise from different causes, and identical root causes can produce different symptoms, and to different degrees. Then there's the organization, its staff, its health, and its behaviors. All in all, I'd have to have to say my geekishness has sometimes been an advantage and sometimes not, and sometimes to a great degree and sometimes barely significant. So good wishes to all freaks and geeks and nerds and dweebs and feebs and dweeges and whaever else THEY call us. THEY buy stuff, but so do we, and we can fix it and make it better.

davidibaldwin
davidibaldwin

at least I often tell people that. And I've noticed that 'happy, normal, well-adjusted people' usually don't want to change things while irritating obsessive compulsive and possibly irrational people want to change everything.

mozquito13
mozquito13

As someone who has recently had a family member diagnosed with demintia, I can whole-heartedly agree. We have been seeing the progression and growing problems for years, but until they met specific criteria, no one would accept it. I believe that with mental illness, nothing is that cut and dried....I suspect we all "suffer" to varying degrees, with the more brilliant seemingly more afflicted. As far as the business world is concerned....I have worked with & for many as you describe - to the point where I wonder if we have worked for the same companies! Some poeple may be offended by the generalisation, but experience tells me how right you are. For good or for bad, these pepple stand out within any organisation.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Deviated from what? I've never met an anti-social geek, they are all social with me. :p

blackepyon01
blackepyon01

Someone may have said this before me, but I like to say this: "There is no genius... without madness."

rquance
rquance

Years ago I was the Quality Control Supervisor for a large International company. My employees loved me, except for one that had issues taking suggestions. What I found was that the Vice president of the company and President were both somewhat psychopathic in their everyday relations to their underlings, as they saw us. They had a hard time even expressing thanks for the many times I saved their butts with US government contracts since they did not know what was going on most of the time. My self I am a sociopath somewhat and can not relate to some situations due to being brought up to be very logical and correct even at the expense of my interpersonal relationships if needs be. I find the two types of personalities do not seem to work well together so now days I try my best to avoid managers and others that can not understand logic. If possible I work alone and get things done well. I am married 34 years and my wife understands me very well and we get along great most of the time but sometimes logic is beyond her capabilities.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Great wartime leaders tend to not fit well in a peacetime military. McArthur, Patton, Custer, and LeMay are some examples. There are many more.

sboverie
sboverie

I read a book by Kilgore Trout, the fictional character in Kurt Vonnegut's "Breakfast of Champions". The book was called "Venus on the Half Shell" and one of the chapters described the problems with interstellar embassies. The ETs were a strange mix with weird customs. One race sniffed each other's butts like dogs, the ambassador from Earth had to be able to adapt to such customs. The Earth government was able to fill these positions with perverts, fetishists and other personality types considered to be low life. Earth was happy to get rid of all of the non normal types and was looking forward to being a population of normal people until they found that the next generation had the same mix of perversion. The idea was funny that certain disgusting personality disorders could be useful as a cultural exchange with aliens who have their own personality disorders. I guess what makes this more amusing is that it was written by a fictional character. The identity of Kilgore Trout was taken over by another Sci-Fi writer; I'll leave his name out for those who like a challenge.

hauskins
hauskins

The Selfish Gene? Sound like you did.

hauskins
hauskins

Hate to so picky but it is Mark Zukerberg not Mark Zukenberg

dcolbert
dcolbert

http://www.gordonbanks.com/gordon/pubs/donjuan.html A very thought provoking essay on this topic. Read this link and think in the context of Bill Clinton, Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Charlie Sheen and other high profile celebrity train-wrecks. And although I claim that most examples are male, the most brutally effective functional sociopath/psychopath I've ever personally know is a woman who is effectively like a sister to me at this point in my life. (Keep in mind, I'm relatively estranged from all of my sisters). Watching her practice her art is frightening and awesome. She destroys everything she comes in contact with, leaving a path of desctruction and misery behind her in every thing in life she sets her mind to, and yet she consistently comes through the flames and chaos with barely a scratch on her. I've seen her control and manipulate entire rooms full of people with tales that were paper thin and full of holes, but her charm and charisma seems to make people part with their ability to reason through those obvious untruths. I learned long ago not to try and warn people away from her, because once they are ensnared in her orbit, it is futile to even try - instead, over the years I've learned to sit back, light a cigarette, have a drink, and marvel that the spectacle when she has set an agenda in motion. When I think of her doing what she does, it always makes me think of the ballets of ultra-violence accompanied by classical masterpieces performed by Alex in Stanley Kubrick's Clock Work Orange. It is a beautiful, awesome, fearful and terrible performance to witness. Perhaps if I were more empathetic, I would connect more with the frequently tragic consequences of her behavior (which is never criminal, though rarely what most people would term ethical). If that were the case, It is ironic that if she reads this, which is possible, she will know I am talking about her, she will be offended, but she will realize that she can never confront me without admitting that she recognizes these qualities in herself. And, as for the possibility of "reforming" or "rehabilitating" the functional sociopath, I don't know that it is possible, or that it should be attempted, even if it were. This is like claiming to be able to cure other "deviant" behaviors - for example, mismatched gender identity or alternative sexual preference.

Kparks1012
Kparks1012

You had me thoroughly engrossed up to the last sentence. I had to laugh at myself when I read your closing sentence, as I am the HR manager at my company. Enjoyed the read!

codepoke
codepoke

And in consequence, I'll post as if you're sincere. Toni's post caught my imagination, too, so I'm glad to read your followup. It seems some commenters are taking this as if it were a joke, but to me you sound like you're being pretty honest (if maybe a little tongue in cheek at places.) I'll answer at that level. > Most of the time, I fake it because it makes people uncomfortable when someone doesn???t act emotionally appropriate at a wedding, funeral, graduation, or other moving event. Sociopathy is not a choice like drinker versus dry. It's a real condition, and it hurts people including the sociopath himself. If you can't feel joy and fear at a wedding, then you can't feel those things. Believe it or not, you can learn to feel them without ripping off scars. The question you pose is whether you should. The argument of this piece is that you should not because that insulation from feelings empowers you in your profession. In the end, though, professions don't matter and people do. We work to have wealth to help wives, children, family and, if we're particularly fortunate, neighbors. We work to help our customers. In the tech field we create and support tools that give our customers leverage, and we hope they use that leverage to help others. When we focus on "mankind" we get lost in philosophical abstractions. Sociopathy begins to look like a group dynamic of some sort, but that's neither accurate nor helpful. Society is people, and when we're healthy we help people. So, the question with which a sociopath can start is, "Am I faking this feeling at this wedding to advance my chances or to help this family celebrate something exciting and scary?" Similarly, "Am I coding this wizardly solution to advance my chances or to help people help people?" I'm braced for the mockery, but when the question is framed accurately around people, it becomes more obvious we're all vulnerable to sociopathic behaviors. We all have room to grow.

jkameleon
jkameleon

First, they recognize and share feelings they want me to have, and I don't have, of course. When they realize that, they whine, bitch and act offended.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Evolution doesn't [i][b]know[/i][/b] _shit. Which is why it doesn't make mistakes either, stochastically. You also seem to think that "normal" is pretty stable. Which could be right of course, but I sure as hell don't think so. I think "normal" is like a velocipede, wobly, going downhill on a cobbled road. Only momentum keeps it upright, and only if the minuscule variations in steering, direction, bumps in the road, the movements of it's rider and pure random chance all conspire to keep it that way. And if the road keeps going straight. Normalcy is a dynamic equilibrium, or an approximate equilibrium, subject to random-walking. Stone crazy, homicidal, religious epiphany, stroke of genius... all of those are just accidents waiting to happen to our velocipedalist. That is, technically. The fact is, that it's a tiny little thing that makes the difference between a loon to be contained and a normal person. Some little thing that can be broken by genetics, by chance, by drug experiences, by accident, by electric shock, etc. etc. That said, given the stochastic nature of normalcy, it's a pretty wide range of possibilities. And definitely being weak in some aspects of normalcy can lead to being strong in others.

dogknees
dogknees

>>I think the problem is that the science of mental health and study of mental disorders >>is still outrageously crude. They???re still inclined to draw a line right down the middle >>between ???sane??? and ???abnormal/deviant.??? It's not the scientists that see it as black and white, it's the general public that tend to have fixed ideas about what these words mean. Sociopath is not an intrinsically bad thing, but all the public think about is the TV crime show version of a sociopath. Things are no where near as simple as that.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Excepting, "...with performance starting to decline as they enter their 40s." I have you near, at, or just beyond that point. I turn 68 tomorrow. Lay some wisdom on me.

DaveDonaldson
DaveDonaldson

I've long thought that the most extreme personalities tend to rise in any organization. Sometimes they are extremely committed, sometimes they are extremely competitive, sometimes they are extremely political. Rarely are they extremely competent at what they do, which I suppose proves the point that the spoils go to he who wants it the most.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I've heard of it, and I've been interested in reading it, I've read *about* it... reviews and analysis, but haven't actually read it. Sounds like I *should*. :)

dcolbert
dcolbert

I noticed this error, it is mine, not my editors. I went to send her an e-mail. Last night, my battery died on my Netbook and my machine shut down hard/gracelessly while running JoliOS... When I booted JoliOS today to send an e-mail to my editor, it wouldn't boot, couldn't find the kernel. Linux... fail. A mobile OS has to be able to shut down gracelessly without eating its own kernel on the way down. Anyhow, if it hadn't been for Linux letting me down, I would have beat you to having this corrected. Another example of where "Free" isn't actually "Free" with Linux. I am disappointed.

Snak
Snak

.... or a very reasonable facsimile thereof - nah, there can't be two of them can there? To be honest, an observation that is often concurred by women is that women have a far greater capacity for 'evil' than men. It's often said (including several times within this thread) that men have a greater capacity for sociopathy than women. I just wonder if women are so good at it we just don't see it.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Is probably a symptom of how/why I am different than most people. I would suggest that you're on to something here, sociopathy is not choice just like sexual preference is not a choice. The idea that something is a deviance from the norm does not mean that it doesn't have a purpose, role or advantage in society, though. It is completely politically incorrect to suggest that people should be "cured" or seek out psychological therapy for the sexual preferences (as long as those proclivities are within legal boundries within a society, anyhow). I cut a huge part out of my original post where I discussed the hypothesis that the sociopath could possibly be the evolution to homo-superior - that the functional psychopaths among us may be the Mutant X-Men who are the future of humanity. Frequently I find that what I think is rational and patently clear is roundely derided by the mean opinion of any group. One hypothesis about sociopaths is that they have a fundamentally *different* understanding of syntax and meaning than "regular" people. When I first read about how that understanding of syntax differs, the perspective of the sociopath frequently seems more rational, realstic, and honest to me - if brutal and abrupt. Again, let's take it back to people like Gates and Jobs, who are infamous for their no-nonesense approach to solutions that dispense with human emotions and niceties. Honestly, working with society, professionally, blogging, or just living my daily life constantly irritates me in countless different ways - mostly because of what I think of as the "BS" that everyone willingly engages in to pretend that everything is civil and polite. People constantly suspend rational thinking as part of getting along - most of society *is* a hive mind, and I am not plugged into that circuit and I can generally quickly see the OTHER people who are "off the grid" too. There are WAY less of us unplugged than the rest who are plugged in. Those that aren't part of the group-think are generally moving along with society *pretending* to be, though, for the reasons I point out in the article. In the movie Inception, the dream manifestations would become hostile toward the lucid dreamers when the dreamers manipulated the world in ways that disturbed the illusion of the dream. This might be a little bit like that... I love my kid dearly. I love my wife, I have friends I am very fond of - I have a full, fulfilling life with rich relationships. But there is a difference between my relationships and the relationships that "average" people have with one another. I've been able to perceive that since I was very young. But just because my experience is *different*, doesn't mean that I think there is any reason it should be "fixed". I am who I am, where I am, because of WHAT I am. (Someone pass me the spinich). And a "healthy" society in times of peace and plenty may reward those who walk with the herd and help one another. But in times of war, adverisity and scarcity then strong, decisive individuals motivated by self preservation and willing to contemplate very unpleasant realities are who you want to be aligned with. Socipaths are NOT a group dynamic. But they are a functional part or component of how humanity moves through time and advances. Without them, Humanity is going to miss critical beats and be off-time. Sometimes the best way for me to help you and everyone else you care about, is for me to care *most* about *myself*. I'll act in ways that you won't because you're too busy worrying about how your actions will affect everyone else around you. The sociopath won't - the sociopath worries only about how it will affect himself. This is frequently why sociopaths get recognized as "heros". They're in a situation and they do what they must to save THEMSELVES, and as a consequence, others are saved too. The people who do not think selfishly are immobilized by the empathy of worrying about getting other people hurt. And right there is your evolutionary reason for why this trait still exists in nature. Because frequently, the selfish, self-absorbed, non-empathetic sociopath is acting as the sheep-dog for the rest of the human race. Don't try to cure me, some day, I may save your life.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

You made me laugh so hard I hurt my neck! ;)

hauskins
hauskins

People don't really understand evolution even when they supposedly except it as fact. They seem to have the idea that evolution follows some track that will only have positive outcomes for us, Homo sapiens. We will simply evolve more and more into super intelligent beings and we will live longer and longer. When in fact, you may go extinct or evolve into something somewhat different than we would like. Of course, we do have one upper hand, genetic engineering, but who knows if that will really work in the long run.

dogknees
dogknees

Is a meaningless concept from a scientific point of view. As you post effectively points out. This is the real battle. Getting people to use terminology accurately and without the "baggage" of meaning that common terms bring when speaking about this sort of subject. It's the same as discussing maths, the moment you are in that domain, words take on precise meanings. For example, equal, identical. equivalent, congruent, and several others all have very specific and different meanings in maths. Most people find it difficult to think/speak in this mode. "Natural" is another one. Try to define it in a formal scientific way so that it includes all the things you consider to be natural and excludes everything else, and I think you'll agree.

hauskins
hauskins

drive their thinking with ideology not facts. Just look at our political process. You can put the facts out on the tablet and there is always someone who will try and negate them via some type of subjective world view, like religion or morality.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Science probably DOES draw a picture that is far more granular and flexible - and it is the layman who turns it into a black and white dogma of "Healthy" and "Abnormal" equating to "Good" and "Bad". I struggled with that part when I was writing the article because it didn't ring true to me. Good point.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I am 41 - and in many ways looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel that is putting my time as a young-adult behind me. I can't speak for your performance, but studies indicate that as workers move into their 40s, they tend to gravitate to positions that are less exciting, less unstable, and they begin to make decisions that are more conservative, as an average. Likewise, there is a corresponding reduction in achievements as they become more risk adverse. Now, they serve a role in a company as the voice of elder wisdom, of prudent caution (and I'm sure we can extrapolate this to society... it is easy to see that the older members became tribal elders and were the ones that frequently said, "Maybe we should try to TALK to the other tribe before we go right to war"...)

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

It's already tomorrow where I'm at ;) What's it like to be on top of the mesa? I figure it's a good thirty years wide, how about you?

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

If, say, the drive has an aneurism in the wrong spot. For me it usually happens in the MBR, which would have the same results as what you describe, no boot.

hauskins
hauskins

some empathy for this problem? :-) Come on! Linux letting me down.. in the end we can only let ourselves down.. ;-)

dcolbert
dcolbert

I think more importantly, women are so good at it THEY don't see it. You know how you pass a polygraph test? You believe that you're not lying.

carlson1
carlson1

"They're in a situation and they do what they must to save THEMSELVES, and as a consequence, others are saved too." Heros/villians are often elected by the victors. Hitler was saving himself/mankind from the Jews and other non-humans but there are few who having seen what had been done would elect him a hero. Your relationships with your fellow human beings is the only way to check your normalcy.

remy.bouvier
remy.bouvier

When a ship is sinking, 60% of the people are stuck and incapable of doing anything on their seat , 30% of the people are running and shouting on the deck, 5% are escaping on rafts with some jewels, sometimes it is the same who also make holes in the hull and 0.1% of the people fill the holes , throw away extra luggages and bring back the boat to the harbour. This is an image to explain why, breaking the barrier of your assigned competence makes 95 % seeing you as a criminal and 5% as a competitor to eliminate.

hauskins
hauskins

Atlas Shrugged. I am no Ayn Rand fan, I find her philosophy stark and harsh but parts ring true for what some people are like.

codepoke
codepoke

Reminds me of a commercial from the 80's. A counselling firm listed several frightening symptoms of a disturbed teen, then listed the confusing behaviors of a normal teen. It was, of course, the same list. The commercial ended by saying we might have difficulty distinguishing between the two. All personality systems identify a spectrum of thinking versus feeling. It's not sociopathic to be a thinker and it's not sociopathic to be weakly empathetic. Sociopathy is a disregard for others, a dispassionate willingness to steal a radio from a car causing $1000 worth of damage in order to make $10 at the local pawn shop. A thinker will also make his decisions dispassionately, but not disregardingly. A sociopath doesn't really believe his wife and children are real people, but treats them like non-player characters in World of Warcraft. He derives from them whatever pleasures come to mind and avoids only those actions that will affect his gameplay experience at life. A thinker will dispassionately regard his family's needs as the people they really are, and that's a boon to all society. I agree, it's those kinds of people we want with us on the Titanic.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

...is the name for distributions that follow a specific type of curve ;)

Marc Jellinek
Marc Jellinek

The debates around what is mental illness and what isn't, what the criteria are, how they are measured isn't nearly as "scientific" as one would think. Allen France, the lead editor of the DSM-IV has some pretty pointed comments about the DSM-V (the next version). "There is no definition of a mental disorder. It's bullshit. I mean, you just can't define it". "these concepts are virtually impossible to define precisely with bright lines at the boundaries". That's pretty pointed. Here's an experiment for you: Go to your local library (remember libraries?). Open the DSM-IV to a random page. Pick a diagnosis at random. See if you meet the criteria. Rinse and repeat 4 or 5 times. Bring a friend. Ask them to do the same experiment. I'm betting between the two of you, you'll qualify for at least 3 "disorders" or "syndromes". There are two choices (maybe a false diacotomy, but what the heck, I scored 8 out of 9 in the experiment above). - We all really, really messed up. - The "mental health" industry is over-diagnosing in order to sell services. Shocking that aggressive people get ahead. Just last week the guy on the corner was handing out six and seven-figure jobs with great perks. It's horrifying that someone who spends their life in front of a keyboard has less social skills than someone who spends their life talking with people face-to-face. But to draw parallels between technical professionals and fictional serial killer is just plain silly. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/dsm-5/content/article/10168/1425378 http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/12/ff_dsmv/all/1

jack
jack

(great article btw) I think people here in the U.S. are particularly quick to try to see things in black and white.. to polarize an issue in an effort to remove the complexity of it. I'm not saying we're the only ones who do this, but it's a trait that seems to border on virtue here. Thoughtful pondering is often seen as a sign of weakness or ignorance. I've been accused of being "slow" because I like to take the time to think things through. My father has the same problem.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Look at WWI... the old guys, the brass, were the ones to send the younguns to the trenches. After all, it's not *their* heads being shot to bits out there.

hauskins
hauskins

I just turned 59, I am a manager but most of my time is doing technical work. At this juncture in my life, I am getting bored with IT in the sense that it is mainly all about the content not the delivery mechanism. I am actively looking for a new path that will give me the hands on experience and the fulfill that follows from that interaction. I very much dislike most of my management tasks and would rather put together linux servers and add software that needs compiling, not just drop in packages. For me, I am not looking for 'retirement', I am always looking for something new and at this time, my something new may not be IT anymore.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

What's this, does TR have a no-subject-random-walk allowed policy now? :p

dcolbert
dcolbert

I'm posting a response in the appropriate thread to you on this, Ansu...

Con_123456
Con_123456

The percentage of sociopaths is very different in different population groups. But not allowed to be said. This concept is part of the neo-marxist struggle for the destruction of democracy.

dcolbert
dcolbert

You would use the following example: Sociopathy is a disregard for others, a dispassionate willingness to steal a radio from a car causing $1000 worth of damage in order to make $10 at the local pawn shop. Because... well, generally speaking, when stealing something like an Alpine or a Blaupunkt out of say, an 80s era Porsche 911, most car stereo thieves would take the stolen item right to their drug dealer - where they could generally expect to get a $20 bag of meth or a quarter gram of cocaine for the stereo. Most criminals cut out the pawn shop, who is just a middle man, and deal direct with the distributor. Or... um, so I've heard. I could be wrong. ;)

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

So waht you are saying it wasn't their fault their battle plans relied on technlogy they didn't have or technology they didn't know how to exploit.... Trenches were the correct solution for lower casualties in defence, basically because only total buffoon attacks the enemy from the direction they expect because it's the only one available with an expectation of low casualties. And both the germans and the british developed methods for getting round trenches. Time on target artillery, tanks, aircraft, storm troopers.... Blitzkrieg was far from new, it was an old tactic the the germans aplied exteremely successfully using more modern technology. Going for the weak point, dividing up your enemy, getting into rear areas, have been around since General Ug realised running straight onto a pointy stick was bad for his neighbour's morale. Sun Tzu, attack where your enemy least expects you to. Move into attack faster than your enemy expects you to. Would that the pillocks organising WWI had read his wee book, or that he' d been about, because he'd have executed the lot of them for blithering incompetence before they could say O (ver the top) In fact he wouldn't have even started the damn war in the first place. Mobility is always the key, fixed defences are a more of a political solution, than a military one.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

...is an incompetent moron who needs to have his backside removed. What you're saying is, that because they had better communication than ever before, they were hampered? I think you're judging their technology by today's standards, and not by that of their predecessors. The solution isn't new, it's ancient : The best defense is an attack. The best attack is an ambush. It follows straight from there that a defender must fall back, ambush, fall back, ambush. If the numbers and equipments are even, no attacker can prevail against that. So the entire war is revealed as an exercise in futility.

jslozier
jslozier

WWI generals were more competent than you give credit for being. They were the ones who developed the prototypes of modern blitzkrieg (British not Germans) and modern infantry tactics. What failed the generals was communication, morse code no voice radio communication; any voice communication was done by telephone using buried cables. Communication problems meant the defender could withdraw a short distance and seal holes before the attacker could get organized to exploit them. Trenches were the correct solution to lower casualties. The casualties among general officers were higher in WWI than you think, they were often at the front.