Podcasts/Sacred Tension-ST Psychopathy and Compassion FINAL9mwo9
ST_Psychopathy_and_Compassion_FINAL9mwo9 SUMMARY KEYWORDS people, person, emotional, empathy, tst, psychopathy, compassion, emotional empathy, satanic temple, psychopath, cognitive empathy, feel, friends, antisocial personality disorder, sociopath, hear, conversations, life, behavior, emotionally SPEAKERS Will, Dex Desjardins, Stephen Bradford Long
Will 00:00 You're listening to a rock candy podcast. Hey, I'm Will and they call me the doctor. And I'm Joe, the maestro, we host a podcast called common creatives, where we break apart the art, we love to see what makes it tick. Basically, we give you the definitive take on whatever or whoever we're discussing, you don't need to go anywhere else. So check out common creatives wherever you listen to podcasts.
Stephen Bradford Long 00:32 This is sacred tension, the podcast about the discipline of asking questions. My name is Steven Bradford long, and we are here on the rock candy Podcast Network. For more shows like this one, go to rock candy recordings.com. And as always, this show is brought to you by my patrons. My patrons are my personal lords and saviors they ensure that I can bring you interesting content and fascinating conversations every single week. So for this week, I have to thank Bridget, Reverend Jayden, and Greg Rogers. Thank you so much. I truly could not do this without you. There are other ways to support the show, though. And one of the best ways is to leave five stars on either Spotify or Apple podcasts that tells our digital overlords that this show is worth sharing with others. So I will read a quick five star review on Apple podcasts. This is from a reviewer in the United States a name that I will not attempt to pronounce. And they say new TST member. I'm so glad I came across your work and podcast. I'm a new member and deciphering books, articles, interviews, etc. to really find my place is a little overwhelming. And the content here is really helpful. So I'm incredibly glad that the content here has been helpful. And of course, we don't just cover Satanism, we also cover all kinds of other stuff. All right, well, with all of that finally out of the way, I am delighted to welcome Dex to the show. How are you?
Dex Desjardins 02:12 I'm doing well. Thank you. How are you?
Stephen Bradford Long 02:14 I'm great. So we are colleagues in the Satanic Temple. We see each other on a near wait near weekly basis. We work on ordination stuff together. But I wanted to have you on the show not to talk about Satanism, although that might come up over the course of this conversation, but to talk about your fascinating recent coming out. And you've written incredibly movingly about this on your website. And your writing. And your conversations about this have just been so interesting that I wanted to have you on the show as a friend to talk about this because it's such a misunderstood subject. So you recently came out as someone with antisocial personality disorder? Yes. So first of all, tell us some about who you are and what you do. And and then we can get into some definitions.
Dex Desjardins 03:12 Yeah, sure. Dex Desjardins, I'm a minister with the Satanic Temple. I'm a member of the ordination Council which oversees the development and administration of the ordination program, among other things. We've been working with Satanic Temple for a long time. I was co founder of our Albany chapter now. CONGREGATION I worked I was served on international council. I've just been doing various things over the past six years.
Stephen Bradford Long 03:38 Yeah. So and you've been part of TST way longer than I have. I think I joined in 2017. But you, you've been around, and for people who are new to the show, TST stands for the Satanic Temple, but like you've been around since like, what 2015? Or 20? Yeah, yeah.
Dex Desjardins 03:55 I joined the week after the unveiling, which was July 2015. I, in fact, that was that was sort of the impetus for joining was learning about that event. And then, you know, I had heard of the Satanic Temple before, but not in any real depth. At that point, I was already dabbling and Satanism had been for some time, but the existing groups didn't really speak to me. And after the unveiling, and I had a chance to really look into, let's say, 10 examples, you know, beliefs and whatnot activities. I was like, okay, yeah, this seems like a cool group. And the rest was history.
Stephen Bradford Long 04:30 Yeah. And the unveiling being the unveiling of Baphomet. Is that right? The our Baphomet statue?
Dex Desjardins 04:35 Yep. When it was first unveiled in Detroit, and there was a big event to celebrate there is
Stephen Bradford Long 04:39 there is a big Bach and Alia, to celebrate, I'd be fascinated to hear how TST in particular kind of intersects how Satanism intersects with your experience of antisocial personality disorder. But before we get to that, what is antisocial? personality disorder.
Dex Desjardins 05:02 So antisocial personality disorder, or ASPD, as I'll probably be shortening it, as we as we talk is the clinical diagnosis, that's given to people who are colloquially known as psychopaths and sociopaths. So, psychopathy is not an organic disease, the way that say, you know, pancreatic cancer or measles is, you know, there's not a specific cause you can point to, there's not a specific regimen of treatment that's known to cure it, or to prevent it in the first place. So when I'm talking about this, I'll be talking largely in terms of manifestations instead of symptoms. That's my own term, it's not a clinical term, but I find it applies better. So basically, you have antisocial personality disorder, when over the course of many years, you exhibit certain symptoms that are defined as psychopathy in nature. So these are this is including things like not experiencing emotional empathy or experiencing it to a much lower degree than other people, it involves having a shallow emotional effect, or just kind of a narrow emotional range. And I can talk more about that later as well. It can affect interpersonal relationships. So someone's ASPD is much more likely to have, you know, a large number of shallow sort of superficial relationships and have a lot of difficulty forming meaningful bonds with people. For some, it's impossible. And for others, it's just far more difficult. And something that's important to recognize about this. And this is true with a lot of neuro divergence, ease and personality disorders, it exists on a continuum. It's a, it's a, what's the word I'm looking for? It's a spectrum disorder. So not everybody is affected as severely as others, and not everybody experiences in the same way.
Stephen Bradford Long 06:55 What struck me when you came out, as someone with a SPD is, and I will admit that this is just kind of the assumption that I had lodged in my mind was like Hannibal Lecter, or, you know, a serial killer as the archetypal sociopath or psychopath or whatever. And I know you to be an incredibly good and compassionate person. And I would describe you as a very good and compassionate person. And we've worked very closely together. And I think that dissonance is what I find so fascinating. because it suggests to me that the reality is very different from the assumption, right? That the reality is very, very different that that real life, psychopaths are maybe a bit more complicated than like the cartoonish caricature that we have of them as almost like these, you know, mastermind, villains. Does that. Does that make sense? And oh, well, well, and have you? Have you dealt with that stereotype since coming out? Like have? Have you confronted people assuming the worst about you because of this?
Dex Desjardins 08:25 Well, so I've definitely encountered some substantial pushback, some of which I could describe as being like, kind of almost angry and not angry at me. I don't even know exactly how to explain it sort of like this outrage reaction, where disbelief, and I think it comes exactly from what you said, you know, you hear about psychopathy. And if you even know the term antisocial personality disorder, it's usually associated with people who do terrible things. It's, it's associated with terrible behavior. And there's a very good reason for that. It's because people who have a SPD, whose manifestations land them in prison, or things like that are the ones who get studied, you know, the people who are kind of quietly existing, and are able to control the manifestations of the disorder or who just have personalities that don't lend themselves to terrible behavior in general, they kind of get missed, you know, so who are the study groups when they're looking at this? It's it's serial killers. It's violent felons. It's it's anecdotal reports of people who were toxic and relationships, and, and that's really all you hear about, and there's plenty of pop psychology books out there that reinforce these stereotypes. You know, you go on Netflix, and I feel like every third show right now is some documentary about a serial killer or something like that. And so, you know, this is this is the impression that media leaves people with, and it's true that those people do exist and they are part of that population of people who have ASPD. But you also have and this has become increasingly recognized now. People who are you know, I'll use the term psychopath. It's sort of a colloquial term. I don't use sociopath, it's so ill defined that it's meaningless.
Stephen Bradford Long 10:06 Is there a difference between those two terms, by the way?
Dex Desjardins 10:10 Sort of so you know, depending on on on the source, there's a lot of disagreement around the nature of ASPD in psychology and psychiatry communities, generally speaking, and this is, you know, again, we're working a lot with colloquialisms here. So, sociopath is generally considered to be somebody who has picked up and learned behaviors over the course of their life frequently as a reaction to trauma or you know, things like that they've they found a way to kind of seal themselves off emotionally, they probably have a lot of other comorbidities that are contributing to troubling behaviors, and the other. Whereas for those who are prone to psychopathic behaviors, they tend to be more inborn. Like you can usually tell pretty early on in life, someone is functioning differently. And that's how I, I generally think about this disorder is it's a different internal processing mechanism than most people have. And I'll talk more about that too.
Stephen Bradford Long 11:07 So colloquially, a sociopath is developed whereas a psychopath is born.
Dex Desjardins 11:13 Yeah, that's, that's sort of the thinking on it. And there's some research, there's some neurological research to back this up. And then of course, there's other traits that are assigned to the to like, sociopaths are generally considered to be more explosive, less organized, have harder times, presenting normally, I guess, you could say holding down jobs holding relationships, they tend to bounce between marriages go in and out of jail, things like that. They're more obvious. And those who would colloquially be described as psychopaths are generally sort of more, they're generally able to function better. And to present, I guess, normally would be the term like, you know, people interacting with me, unless they know me very, very well, generally have no idea. But you know, just as much as I pushed back when the diagnosis was revealed, those who are closest to me, we just kind of nodded. You have that? That sounds about right. And they actually, it's funny. So I've got I've got two partners, Liana and Elise. And the first the first person that I actually broach this topic with was Liana because we live together. And I said, kind of, I've been thinking about this for a while. And then one day said, Hey, do you think I'm a psychopath? And literally, without even stopping to think so? Oh, yeah, definitely. I was like, Okay. Well, that's, that's a pretty big indictment, right there. Maybe this is something worth looking at.
Stephen Bradford Long 12:35 If if your partners are like, yes, without hesitation. Yeah,
Dex Desjardins 12:41 exactly. And, and, Charlize, if I remember the conversation correctly, it was more kind of like, it was sort of like an after the fact, at this point had already gone for some of the diagnostics that they use to diagnose ASPD. And it was, you know, kind of said, like, Yeah, I've seen some things where I kind of could tell that you were a little different from other people. And conversations I've had with other friends and family members they've talked about one of the ones that comes up several times, is that there's a delay in emotional reaction.
Stephen Bradford Long 13:15 So I've noticed that too, by the way, yeah, yeah. Yeah, it's fascinating.
Dex Desjardins 13:21 And it's and it's a translation delay. So what's happening is, my emotional life is very, very shallow, there's, there's not a ton going on. It takes a tremendous amount of stimulation to move the emotional needle or rattle my cage. And and that's true with most people with ASD. And that's part of why so many of us engage in high risk thrill seeking behavior, it's because you need something to stimulate the emotions to a point where you feel a thing and feel somewhat human. And that's been a big part of my life since childhood. And they don't they don't diagnose ASPD. And children, they start looking at symptoms, usually around age 15, and tend not to make the diagnosis until you're 18 or older. But anyway, yeah, so here's what's happening with that delayed reaction thing. I am looking at a person I'm listening to them speak, I'm thinking about what I know about them in the context in which they're communicating with me, and I'm determining what their emotional status and then I have to figure out how to appropriately respond to that in a way that makes sense to the person because I've got basically two options. I can sit there and be an automaton and not smile and not laugh and, you know, just kind of be flat and boring and seem uncommunicative. Or I can mask you know, masking, you're finding a way to outwardly present in a way that seems what most people would see. Feel is like more naturally human. But when you have to go through a whole process of discerning emotions and figuring out what the appropriate responses, you know, do you smile, do you frown? Do you, you know, give some half assed chuckle at something that said, and so there can be a little delay there, and that delay can be picked up on over time, usually People don't notice it right away, but they start to notice the pattern after a while. And that's and that's what that is. It's this delay in processing where you're going, all right? What's this person thinking? What are they feeling? Okay? What's, what's the appropriate response to this emotion that I'm on perceiving here. And a big part of that is learning, cognitive empathy. And if you had a chance to listen to my December 7, Temple Tuesday service, that the reason I gave that service, it was actually a reaction to the diagnosis. That was the impetus for it. And you know what, when we talk about Satanism, how it intersects, there's a very place where these things collided very, very rapidly when I first joined the Satanic Temple. But anyway, so you know, I've taught myself cognitive empathy over the years I can, I can easily decipher a person's emotional state, I'm not sharing it with them. That's one of the big things that separates someone from as with ASPD, from everyone else, I don't share in people's emotional states, if something terrible happens, I can intellectually acknowledge that I can act with compassion toward them, but inside I'm not feeling it. And to many people, that seems just awful. I mean, for a lot of people, that's the definition of a monster is seeing someone in pain, and not responding to it in a visceral, emotional way. I just don't, it's just it just my brain works differently. And, but that doesn't mean I won't go out of my way to help the person. And that's, I think, where one of the popular notions about ASPD falls flat is this idea that because you're emotionally different, because you're not sharing the emotions of others, therefore, you're going to somehow be a subpar human being, or an actively bad human being.
Stephen Bradford Long 16:41 It doesn't result in Machiavellianism. In other words, it like doesn't equal, it doesn't necessarily equal cruelty. It can, but it doesn't necessarily those. There might be a Venn diagram, but there but one does not necessitate the other.
Dex Desjardins 17:02 Correct. So one of the things that's left out in a lot of discussions about disabilities, mental illnesses, neuro divergence, ease, is the existence of individual personalities, you know, we're all different. And we can all have values, we can all have things we believe in and think are important. And those don't necessarily have to be based off of strong emotional feeling. They can be intellectual. So, you know, when I was a teenager, late in my teens, it's actually probably around the age of 20, I decided that the social contract was a very important thing. Because I felt like, if, if we're in a society that works better, we all benefit, including me, you know, there's a self centeredness to it to a degree.
Stephen Bradford Long 17:40 So just, I am so sorry to interrupt. So, but was that process? A? So it was self interested? Which, of course, it will, I mean, of all, I won't say all, but many of our moral choices, have some measure of self interest in them. And that's true of like, everyone, in my opinion, I think a lot of our moral choices are self interested to some degree, maybe not all of them, altruism does exist, but it sounds like you're also saying that there was an element of this is also good for other people. So there was a consideration for other people. Even if you can't necessarily mirror your their interior emotional experiences is Am I right? About that?
Dex Desjardins 18:32 Absolutely. Okay. And, and we do this cross species all the time, we do not share the exact same emotional life with animals, generally speaking, you know, I mean, sure, your, you know, your cat can be sad or happy, but it's not the same exact thing as what a person experiences, I'm pretty sure. And yet we can act with compassion toward animals, you know, or whatever. I mean, I know people who put googly eyes in their toaster, and they're like, don't fuck with fret, I'll kill you, you know? And that's, you know, you're,
Stephen Bradford Long 18:58 you're describing my relationship with my cats. And actually, okay, you putting it that way, is really clarifying. Because it's like, yes, of course, I can, you know, look at one of my six cats and C distress, I can see distress and I have to decide, you know, and, and, you know, there there are times when I have to take my cat to the vet. And but it takes a while to for me to figure out that they're in distress, and it's like, okay, they're doing this behavior. I have to figure out what's going on, because I want the best for them. But because I just because I can't relate to their specific kind of pain. I don't understand it. I can't feel it doesn't mean that I don't care deeply for them and I want them to be better. Is that like a? Would you say that is a good way of articulating what it's like?
Dex Desjardins 19:51 Yeah, I think I think it's about as close as I can come to a parable that makes sense. And not
Stephen Bradford Long 19:56 to say that we are comparing you or anyone to At, but, but I mean, it's, uh, you know all metaphors have their limitations but yeah, like that makes sense. Like you can care deeply for some for someone, but that doesn't mean that you that you can reflect or mirror their inner landscape.
Dex Desjardins 20:17 Right? Yeah. So you have to find a way to, to communicate to show compassion to find an understanding that works for you. So I think that's the best metaphor I can come up with for it.
Stephen Bradford Long 20:27 That's fast. That's, that's so helpful. Oh, good. Yeah,
Dex Desjardins 20:32 yeah. So I mean, as far as, as far as, you know, going back to stereotypes, and, you know, again, I'm not going to sugarcoat it. A lot of people with ASPD are diagnosed because they're in prison for, you know, sometimes very bad things up to and including serial killers. So we, you know, we can come back to that later and talk about the fact that in many cases, it's, it's, it's the opposite. In many cases, it is a person's capacity for emotion and their capacity for emotional empathy that drives them sometimes to unbelievable violence. So you know, there's, there's not a one to one correlation at all. So I think what the important thing to understanding ASPD and how it manifests in different people, is that if you are a person who is already by your personality prone to disliking people, you're prone to violence, you're an angry aggravated, you know, malcontent, or you've got crossed wiring, and you associate violence with sexuality. The problem with ASPD, then, is the natural breaks that your brain would put on you to stop you from doing terrible things are either broken or malfunctioning. And so those things are, you know, empathy for others, guilt, remorse, impulse control, fear of consequences. And those are the things that for those that ASPD are, are missing or are malfunctioning somehow. So it's easier to engage in really terrible behavior, if that's what you're prone to. If you have ASPD, the Big
Stephen Bradford Long 22:00 Five personality features things like agreeableness, disagreeableness, introversion, extroversion, neuroticism, et cetera, et cetera, I forget all of them. But it's like whatever personality makeup that you have that can compel you towards, you know, being more quarrelsome, or whatever, more aggressive, or whatever. So you can have a very agreeable psychopath. You can have a very agreeable, or you can have a very disagreeable psychopath, but like you can have different configurations of personalities. Is that what I'm hearing you say?
Dex Desjardins 22:39 Yeah, yeah, basically. So it kind of, you know, so for me, manifestations, historically have included things like when I was younger, we're talking about here, behavior that was criminal in nature, like I was shoplifting. By the time I was five, like habitually, wow. Yeah. And, and got caught every single time. It had never dissuaded me. And so you've got two different things going on there. You've got the impulse control issues, that, you know, for a lot of people, they'd say, Oh, I really want this thing, but I'm not going to steal it. Because my brains telling me that's a bad thing to do. You know, you've got the internal braking mechanism that's like, no, stop, don't do the thing. Well, if that's malfunctioning, especially if you're young, you're a child or a teenager, then it's easier to engage in those kinds of high risk behaviors. And then of course, one of the other things that's often missing, for folks that ASPD or is greatly reduced is fear. I am as one therapist but have a pathological lack of fear of physical danger. I'm literally not afraid of anything. And as a result, my body is a carnival of scars and burns and implants and prostheses you're
Stephen Bradford Long 23:46 kind of a like, you're kind of a Frankenstein is kind of awesome. Like you're, you're like a bionic man, like you have you showed me like your iPod that connects to your spine. Like all kinds of amazing shit. Oh, yeah,
Dex Desjardins 24:03 I've got plates and screws and one hand, they've got screws on my wrist, there's a prosthesis in my nose, my front teeth are all fake. And you know, and this happened, because I have habitually in my life engaged in high risk behaviors that, you know, carried substantial amounts sometimes of personal danger, and I just didn't care I wasn't afraid of in the moment, and I didn't worry, I didn't think ahead about consequences. There was no fear of consequences. So if I get injured, I just be like, Yeah, whatever, you know, I'll do it again. No problem. And, you know, when in the more recent work that's been done, studying psychopathy specifically and why psychopathy I'm talking about personality traits that accumulate to this kind of colloquial idea of a psychopath. It's not a clinical diagnosis, as I said before it was starting to find successful surgeons tend to be psychopaths. A lot of leaders successful leaders tend to tend to be psychopath That's, you know, I've had to do work in TSP, where I defy are very good friends from physicians that were incredibly meaningful to them. And they had breakdowns and stuff like that. And I rolled my eyes and sighed heavily, because I was having to hear them make mouth sounds and stuff. And, you know, it's it's not the kindest mindset, and I recognize that, but it made me very effective, and made me very fair as a leader, and people like, absolutely can't stand would come to me for help and TST matters. And I would give them help, because I'm not like, emotionally invested in this, it's just like, Okay, this is my job, this person needs this, I'm going to help them, you know, to the extent that I'm able to stunt people, you know, who just do things that are going to probably get them killed? Chances are they have some, you know, psychopathy going on in their brains as well. And so, you know, and actors, too, so there's, there's a lot of different ways that these personality traits in a person who's not fundamentally violent, or in some other way terrible, it's not necessarily a bad thing it can, it can bring certain very strong benefits. So like, for me, you know, I'm sort of outgoing, friendly person in general. So not having any inhibitions, you know, has allowed me to be basically a social butterfly. Yeah, you know, I'm very good at that I'm very good at cultivating at least sort of superficial friendships. And, you know, having people around who I respect and whose company I enjoy. And if I was a shire person, if I worried about things like other people's thoughts on me and stuff like that, that would probably be a lot harder to do.
Stephen Bradford Long 26:41 Hmm, what got you interested in being tested for antisocial personality disorder,
Dex Desjardins 26:48 I have known for a very long time that I process the world differently for most people. And this was very apparent in my school days, were really the only way I fit in for a very long time was with other social misfits and juvenile delinquents, you know, people who basically were, you know, risk taking narrow do wells, which I was, and then growing up and just kind of realizing more and more as time went on, that I was having to work within the world, and with people I know, differently from how they seem to be interacting with each other. And it got a little lonely for a while, because I started to wonder, you know, am I, it's like, FOMO? Like, am I missing out on all these amazing, rich experiences that other people are sharing together? Is my definition of friendship the same as other people's? Is my definition of love what most other people mean? And not knowing the answer to that? And well, to a degree, I do know the answer. And the answer to a degree is, I am missing out on a lot of stuff, you know, there's people sharing feelings and experiences on a very deep, deep meaningful level that I miss out on, and I can, I can fake it, you know, I can, I can do my best I can have my version of that. But I know that it's different from from what most other people are, are experiencing. So there was this kind of this confluence of different streams of thought I was having in conversations with people. I think the first person, I can actually tell you exactly when it was a very good long term friend of mine, we were talking about something and they literally use the word psychopathy in describing parts of my personality, it was the first time I'd ever actually heard the word spoken out loud, in that context. So that's kind of I guess, what got the ball rolling most immediately. And this happened, I think back in like the spring of 2021. So this is all kind of unfolded pretty rapidly, you know, had other conversations with friends and family, and, you know, they were all kind of have have at least a similar mind. They weren't all using the same terminology. But so definitely this idea that, you know, something was different, you know, that, I tend to speak with a bit of a monotone I my face doesn't emote much rigid body language and stuff like that. So, you know, people just noticed, you know, the people have said, I have callous humor, which is why I tend to only use self depreciate Tory humor these days, because I don't know,
Stephen Bradford Long 29:15 I love your callous humor. I'm personally like, I adore it. But anyway, we can go on.
Dex Desjardins 29:22 Well, thank you. But you know, at a certain point, I realized that things that I thought were funny, were hurtful to other people. And, and this is where that not sharing in the emotional reality can can bite you in the ass. And people think you're a dickhead. So when I realized, and this was a big problem in my 20s, and I kind of got a handle on it by by my late 20s, that I just can't joke about other people because it's not going to come across well, I'm going to be hurtful. And it's not because I just liked the person. It's just that I wouldn't react the way they're reacting. My emotional life is different things that wouldn't faze me can be deeply hurtful to other people. So I just have To avoid those topics completely, because my attempts to be light hearted and funny, when it comes to other people flopped very hard most of the time. So I don't joke around about other people as much as I can avoid it.
Stephen Bradford Long 30:11 That's so interesting, because you just have like a different emotional, social makeup. And so things that wouldn't bother you at all, if they were joking, if they were joked about are deeply hurtful to other people, is what I'm hearing you say? Yeah,
Dex Desjardins 30:28 yeah. And it works both ways. It's not just with negative things. So a couple of really good examples of how my emotional innards work. I had a girlfriend back in toward the end of high school, and, and we broke up and it was fine. We remained friends after where we had a large mutual friends group. And so we saw each other quite frequently in non romantic settings. And it was good, you know, we got along really well. And then she died. And she, she was hiking with a friend, and she fell off a cliff and died. And I got this news that she had died. And they said, Well, how did it happen? And they told me this horrific thing. And I said, Oh, and, and that was it. And they were like, oh, you know, like, where's the rest of the response? I'm like, I have this all I got friends, like, you know, stinks that this person that I liked is gone. I'll I'll miss them. But that was as far as the emotional needle moved. Now, conversely, I was unemployed for a period in my 30s. It was brutal. I mean, it was brutal. I lost a very good job over budget cuts, and found myself basically unhireable in the field in which my expertise was, so I was, you know, on the verge of bankruptcy, the lights had been turned off in my apartment, I was a month away from homelessness, and I get a call from my former employer, and they're like, We found a bunch of money. We'd like you back. So I get this call, while I'm sitting at a bar with a friend. And I know I take the phone call and I hang it up. And my friend says, what was that? And I said, I got my job back. And he's staring at me. I'm like, what he's like, aren't you gonna react? I'm like, Oh, yeah. Wow, great. Now I'm not gonna be homeless next month, you know, but there was there was just not budging the meat, the needle just didn't move. So when that's your reality, were big, big, big things like that. Just kind of, you know, roll right off you. It can be very easy to miss calibrate. Uh, how behaviors will affect other people emotionally? And so you know, how do you deal with this? If that's if that's your emotional life? Well, you you you get into risky behaviors, you're promiscuous, you go out and, you know, perform stupid stunts, you shouldn't do you like riding on top of subways, which I love to do when I lived in New York City, you know, because it was good. It was nice thrill and riding over the Manhattan Bridge on top of the whatever was the J train, I think, you know, ducking under girders and stuff trying not to be decapitated. Yeah, you know. Yeah, or, you know, having several score of sexual partners by your mid 20s, things like that. And these are, you know, their ways of are today like today, like, really extreme emotional kink play that would crush most people. makes me smile, you know, the needles moving? You know, this is cool, huh? Yeah. So it's easy to get into trouble when you need that kind of stimulation.
Stephen Bradford Long 33:24 So do some things move the needle more than others? Like, like, what, what moves the needle for you? And are there some things that move the needle more than others? Like, does does humor move the needle for you? Versus tragedy versus like, what, what, what does and doesn't move the needle? Or is it all just kind of have to be at the same loud volume to move it?
Dex Desjardins 33:48 So something you know, I get too personal, but there's certain like kink plays I indulgent at times that do the job that believe me, for most people would and it's, you know, mental emotional stuff. It's not like, you know, whips and chains, that for most people would just, I mean, they wouldn't even consider it, you know, and for me, I'm just like, oh, this is cool. You know, wow, I'm feeling something neat. So there's that my dad died, you know, that was a crushing blow to me. I felt that one. Very, very strongly, probably more than more than most things I've experienced. And I can form tight, emotionally strong bonds, and, you know, loving bonds, like I have with my partners, and, you know, interactions with them affect me very differently from interactions with most other people. And, you know, even even with them, like if one of them's crying, I'm probably not feeling what they're feeling, I can recognize it. I can respond to it appropriately. I can, you know, display compassion, I can try to, you know, make them feel better and fix the problem. Even in those cases. I think it's a somewhat different experience than what most people would have. But I do you know, loving into reactions with them does definitely move the needle. So there's, it's very complicated.
Stephen Bradford Long 35:06 Yeah, that's what it sounds like. And so you are part of an organization committed to compassion and empathy and to, you know, serving humanity and the outsider, I think that a lot of people would look at the organization that you're in, which is the Satanic Temple, and then look at your diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder and be like, and have the assumption that there is a fundamental conflict there. And I don't think that there is, but in your words, why isn't there a conflict between, you know, being having some, you know, being someone with antisocial personality disorder, who verse, you know, while also being in an organization that is about serving humanity, and and creating a better world, and, you know, pursuing the religious principles of compassion and empathy, showing compassion towards all creatures in accordance with reason? How do those things gel for you, because I feel like to a lot of people listening, they won't.
Dex Desjardins 36:22 In fact, one of the first things that happened after I became actively involved in tst. So before the Albany chapter existed, I was a member of the New York City Chapter, it was the closest one to me, and I would go to every meeting, on a monthly basis, you know, 150 mile drive each way. And one of the very first conversations I had was around the topic of empathy, because it already at that point, I was very well aware that I did not, I don't really have much of a capacity for emotional empathy. It's not completely without, but it's close enough. And I had this discussion with members of the old New York City Chapter, which largely folded, you know, a couple years later, and now is rebuilt, largely with new people, but anyway, and the discussion I had with them back then was, well, empathy and compassion, great, but what if you can't like what if? What do we mean by empathy basically became the conversation and some people respond to that very, you know, with curiosity with open mindedness, and we talked about different manifestations of empathy. You know, I didn't have the terms, emotional and cognitive empathy in my vocabulary yet, so I called them hot and cold empathy. And hot empathy was like, you know, passion, strong emotion, sharing an emotional experiences. And cold empathy, as I was calling it is what you know, I now know is cognitive empathy. It's thinking through and determining appropriate responses to emotional stimuli of others, and knowing how to interact with them in positive ways, even if you're not feeling what they're feeling. And so basically, the conversation ended up in a place of, you know, sure, cold empathy, or cognitive empathy is good enough. But there was a conflict early on that I was kind of like, oh, shit, can I can I do that first tenant? You know? And the answer, I think, is yes. And compassion is an action. Yes. Anything else? Absolutely. Passion is what you do. And you don't really need to have any particular internal mechanism at play to, to display compassion. You can do that. Even if you actively hate the person you're showing compassion toward, you know, that's just alleviating people's distress. Yes. So, you know, I figured between the cognitive empathy and the ability to exercise compassion, but I would, I would not fundamentally have a conflict with the tenants of the Satanic Temple. And I think my experiences have borne that out very well. You know, there's certainly people in TST, current and former, who are not fans of me, and that's okay. But I don't think any of them can say that I'm cruel, or you know, that I treat people badly. I've heard that I'm very cold. I had someone describe me as sinister once. Which, which I thought was actually very insightful. Because what was happening was they were seeing past the mask. They were seeing that there was something else at play here, besides what was being outwardly displayed. And they assumed that that meant that I was up to something nefarious. So while I, while I appreciated the cleverness of recognizing that there was masking going on, they were incorrect. And assuming that that meant that I was up to no good because you know, that then you're just you're just keeping your prejudices on to someone's diagnosis, basically.
Stephen Bradford Long 39:40 You know, yeah, sorry. Go on. Go on. No, no, you go ahead. Well, I've been thinking a lot about all of this lately, actually, since reading, reading your work and reading your posts online and whatnot. And I would type of fie myself as an intensely emotionally empathetic person. And it that has not necessarily been a good thing for me, honestly. And so I feel like I am actually intensely aware of the pitfalls of empathy. And I think that if we emphasize emotional empathy too much, then all we're going to do is just fall down our biases, we are more likely, on average, to feel emotional empathy, for people who look like us, who have our skin color, who are who speak the same language as us, who share the same political views as us. I mean, our empathy, our emotional empathy works along tribal lines, and I have been intensely aware of that within myself, where I am a deeply empathetic person, but I'm, I'm aware of, of how limited my empathy actually is. And I've realized that the antidote to that is what you call cognitive empathy. It's like, it doesn't matter or and even. And even beyond that, even beyond cognitive empathy, simply compassion, it doesn't matter how I feel about a person, the right thing to do is to act compassionately towards them, if someone needs food, we give them food, it doesn't matter if I relate to this person or not, you know, and I so often sometimes feel like we are, by we, I mean, you know, kind of good hearted progressives, almost doing this emotional blackmail, that's, that is like, you know, quote, you know, get up those good feelings of compassion, of get up those good feelings of empathy for people so that you can act. But the problem with that is that empathy as a feeling is unbelievably unreliable. And instead, the thing to do is to just do the right thing, act compassionately, people across the world, who need our help, or in our, or the homeless people, the the unhoused people in our own neighborhood, it doesn't matter if we relate to them, they need our help, period, end of story. So let's give it to them. You know, and so I've been thinking a lot about this. And I think that there is an innate conflict that comes up, because part of Christianity is so much a part of our culture Well, in, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, If you so much as lust after another woman, you have committed adultery in your heart. If you, you know, have hateful thoughts towards your brother, you're guilty of murdering your brother. So it's like from the very beginning, a lot of the teachings of Christ removed the barrier between your thoughts in your inner life and your outward life. And I think that that is just a catastrophe. And it's like, no thoughts are just thoughts, feelings are just feelings or lack of their love, or just lack thereof. What matters is how we behave. And this conflation of thought and feeling and action, the way Christ conflated them to basically say, you know, we're all sinful and full of shit, it has catalyst, I think that it actually makes it harder for us to do the right thing. I think that makes it harder for us to be good people meaning to behave in a just manner. I don't know if what I just said makes any sense. But these are the things that I've been processing and thinking about while reading your stuff online.
Dex Desjardins 43:56 Yeah, I completely agree. And, you know, people conflate the emotional empathy with with being a good person with doing the right thing. And it's just a false dichotomy. It's
Stephen Bradford Long 44:07 just not true. It's just untrue. It is just not true. And I think that some sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt, but like, some of the most intensely gross people I know, are also some of the most deeply empathetic but the reason is because empathy is highly Miss Miss emotional empathy is highly misguided. I think it's valuable to try to learn where other people are coming from to cognitively understand what other people are going through is like we can do that, even if sometimes that emotional experience is is far from us, but we can try to understand it. And that to me, is what that's what you're saying when you talk about cognitive empathy. Am I right about that?
Dex Desjardins 44:56 Yes. It's the it's the act of thinking ruin processing and, you know, determining how to appropriately respond to the emotional states of others. And you don't have to like the person to do it. And you know, as you, as you said, basically, emotional empathy is biased. It's heavily biased. Yes. You know, it encourages people to support their friends, those who are similar to them into dismiss or even demonize people who are different. You know, I mentioned before that empathy and emotion can lead to some of the worst behavior you can imagine. And that's absolutely true. A lot of it's out of misguided empathy. You know, the feeling of loyalty to
Stephen Bradford Long 45:35 white nationalism, white nationalism, white, like white nationalism is empathy on steroids, because it is intense empathy, with the quote, unquote, right White Race to the degree of being unable to connect meaningfully with anyone of any other skin color. But that's those are the lines that our natural empathy works along. It biases us towards people who are like us.
Dex Desjardins 46:02 Yeah, absolutely. It does. I had a thought and I lost Oh, I'm sorry, I interrupt. That's okay.
Stephen Bradford Long 46:07 I think that a lot of people would hear this conversation and would be like, okay, but where does the impulse to do good come from? If you don't feel? The the heartbreak of another human being? The way others do? Or to the level to the extent that others do? If you don't feel that, then where does the impulse to do good come from? Why follow the seven tenets? Why strive to act with compassion and empathy? towards all creatures in accordance with reason? So without, a lot of people might be listening to this and be like, Okay, well, without emotional empathy? Where does the impulse to be good? How can you be good? Without that?
Dex Desjardins 46:56 Well, there's no reason emotion has to drive any of those things, intellect can, you know, values you hold can. So I saw I talked to social contract earlier. And, you know, I strongly believe that's true. I think if we had a world where there was less suffering, and less greed, that all of us, myself included, would benefit highly from that it would be less stressful, you know, people would be, I think, less inclined to criminal activity in general, because I mean, most most, you know, theft and things like that are caused by poverty, you know, not by being a bad person or other factors. So I can recognize the importance of doing good things in the world. Even if I'm not feeling it, I don't, I don't need to have an emotional connection, to understand that something is the right thing to do. And, and I think that's frightfully hard for a lot of people to wrap their heads around, even though I think they do it all the time and just don't realize it.
Stephen Bradford Long 47:54 Yes, I agree. I 100% agree, Sorry, go on.
Dex Desjardins 47:56 An example of of, you know, where, where this fails, because it does sometimes. And you know, I don't, I don't, I would not recommend ASPD to anybody. It's a it's an isolating thing, it makes it much easier to get into trouble. You know, you're missing out on a lot of fundamental human experiences, and they're there, you cannot replicate those things fully. So I decided one day that part of my social contract work would be to volunteer for hospice, because, and this was literally a thought process. I was like, well, someday I'm going to die. And it's, it might suck, you know, the process of, I don't fear death, I don't care about it. It's irrelevant. You know, if I stopped to exist, I won't exist to be aware of it. So who cares? But the process of getting there could suck. It often does, you know, cancer or whatnot, you know, who knows how it's going to happen. And in those times of suffering and fear, you had hope that there's someone who's there to help to alleviate that, I want that I want to have that palliative care if it's needed. And so I'm like, well, and I've always had a strong work ethic. So I was like, well, it's one of those things where, you know, if I'm not willing to do it, then who is the answer? And it was a very stupid thought. It turns out, so I did volunteer for hospice, and it was in hospital setting. So I'm hanging out with terminally ill patients who have got hours left. I mean, I was watching people die left and right. And, you know, like, three or four weeks, which is believed me plenty, and some of them were dying very terribly. I was terrible. As a hospice volunteer, I just couldn't do it. And that's one of those places...
Stephen Bradford Long 49:32 I don't mean to laugh. I'm so sorry. But oh, no, no, no.
Dex Desjardins 49:35 It that's one of those things where you just if you do not have lots of emotional empathy, don't be a hospice volunteer, for God's sake. Don't do literally any other things. I was just got off, but the only the only patient I had any helped at all was someone who I think was a lot like me. They just wanted to do drugs and curse a lot while they died and you're like, hey, brethren, yeah, pretty much And it was fun. I mean, we had a piece of cake. It was his birthday, he died later that night. But, and then again, I was like, alright, well, you know, I guess I'll call the nurse and you know, didn't didn't think any more about it. And, you know, that's one of those things would be like, Oh, here's a little cold hearted. Well, I guess. But you know, it's not because I wanted to kill on the guy, I've just don't share most words, but
Stephen Bradford Long 50:22 it's also worth pointing out, you were there to be with him. I was I was trying my I might be cold hearted. I mean, people could call it cold hearted, but you were also the one there eating cake with him on his last day, like you were doing your best, right. But also know that that makes complete sense that like, if you're a hospice worker, you might want to have a broader, you know, emotional range. However, what you describe just before that is literally like the golden rule, like, well, I don't want to be alone when I die, so I won't, I will be there for other people when they die like that is that's literally like the golden rule, like one of the underlying, most ancient principles of religion and morality, like Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Right? And, and so you can, and you know, you were just talking about how a lot of people engage in a moral way, or, or are concerned about things, even if they don't feel them. I think we all do that to a certain degree, right? Like, sure, there are causes that matter to me, not because I feel them, but because I just know, they matter. I know that unhoused issues, matters. I don't feel it, I can't feel it. i It's so I have been housed my entire life, it's hard for me to empathize. That's okay. I don't need to empathize in order to act on it. Same with same with certain social issues that are just so huge, it's hard to grasp, like, if, like climate change, the consequences of climate change are going to be so gargantuan and so far reaching, if you sit around waiting to feel empathy about all of the horrible shit that's going to happen, you will never stop you, you will never, you'll never be able to get off the ground. And, you know, pull yourself up off of the ground and actually get work done to mitigate that harm. Right? Like, there's some, there's some problems that are just so huge that you can't even like it's a failed effort to try to emotionally contain it.
Dex Desjardins 52:43 Yeah, here's, here's another way of thinking about it. When when you're training to be a doctor, or you know, an emergency medical technician or anything like that, you know, where you are, you are basically the pinnacle of compassion, you know, you are working to save a person's life, to cure their illnesses to reduce their pain. What's one of the first things they teach clinical detachment? Yes, they teach you clinical detachment, because you need to be able to make hard decisions. You can't be paralyzed by how sad you are about a person's situation, you have to be able to distance yourself from that and act. And I think that's part of why, you know, they, they're finding more and more that a lot of surgeons have, you know, high degrees of psychopathy. And it helps to make them successful. I would probably be a very good emergency medical technician, I've never done it. I was a firefighter, though, and I was super good at that, you know, I can make hard, fast decisions and dangerous situations where someone
Stephen Bradford Long 53:40 like me, whereas someone like me would just freeze, like, I would just be like, in the corner crying, like covered in blood and, like unable to function. No, but like, you know, what you're talking about really reminds me with my partner. I don't talk about my family much, but my on the show, but my partner works in suicide prevention, the shit that he sees unspeakably horrific, and he is incredibly good at it. And one of the reasons he's incredibly good at it is because of that detachment that you're talking about, where it's like you can, you can be 100% present in the moment to this person, and then when it's done, it's done. And you move on to the next thing. And, you know, among all the social and because, you know, my partner is a social worker, I hang out with a lot of social workers here in this area, like our friends group is all social workers who work in just unspeakably horrific conditions. I mean, they, they are going into settings that are just unbelievably hard. And what makes them good at it is the ability to be 100% present to the suffering in front of them in mitigating that suffering. And then when it's not in front of them, it's out of their mind, and they can go on to the next thing and be as completely effective as they Ken and, and we might interpret that as cold hearted but at the end of the day, it's alleviating suffering. Like it's it's making the world a better place as a result.
Dex Desjardins 55:10 Yeah. Yeah. And in some in some in some settings, it can be a superpower.
Stephen Bradford Long 55:15 Yeah. And then in other settings, not so much like you did in hospice, but yeah, for sure. It can absolutely be a superpower. And you know, what I think this draws. What this kind of brings home for me is that there are there just, you know, there is not one single ideal type of human being, there are so many different types of human beings on this planet, and, and we all have different attributes, and some of us are really fucking weird. And there is give and take. There is there is there is there is a, what's that? What's the term that I'm looking for? There's a give and take in different situations for those different attributes. And that's fine. That's okay. And if anywhere, Satanism is the best place to explore that, like, we can all be weird, we can all be neurodivergent. And that's fantastic. You know, we can we can kind of understand that different types of people have different strengths and shortcomings and different situations. And that's fine.
Dex Desjardins 56:23 Yeah, absolutely. Do you want to hear about how this diagnosis actually happens?
Stephen Bradford Long 56:27 I would love to hear that. All right.
Dex Desjardins 56:29 So in my case, I sought this out, because I sort of had an inkling of where things were going to go based on the conversations I've been having. And just, you know, I tend to be a self reflective person, you know, I'm very honest about my foibles and stuff like that. And I was curious, I just wanted to know, and to a degree, it was very liberating. Because when you're not sure why your experience is so different than or why people are thinking of you as being different. It can, you know, it's a little obnoxious it can, it can be very alarming at times. So usually people find out because they're in prison, and someone's like, Oh, my God, what's going on with this person, you know, because they've done something terrible. And that goes back again, to where the stereotypes come from. And the stereotypes exist for a reason. It's because, you know, like I said, if you have bad tendencies, ASPD makes it very easy to indulge them. Because you're not experiencing emotional empathy. You don't have the inhibitions most people would have, you don't experience remorse with just like I can talk about later as well. So it's easier to be a shithead if that's if that's how you're inclined to behave. So in my case, I sought it out myself, I went to my therapist, because I have bipolar two as well, and had been treated for that since 2012. And so I, you know, I've had a longtime relationship with a therapist. And I went in, and I just kind of asked, I was like, you know, you've known me for a while you've worked with me in this clinical setting. Do you think there's anything else going on besides just bipolar? And they're kind of like, well, you know, you certainly have, you know, shallow emotional effect and talk about certain things very flippantly that most people would really struggle with psych All right, well, you know, what do we where do we go from here? Is there anything there's like a diagnostic tool or anything we can run? And the answer was yes, there's there's a couple of different instruments that are used to diagnose psychopathy or ASPD. And there it's not just those things alone. It's multifaceted process to arrive at that diagnosis. So the actual diagnostic instruments are the PCL R. And the the I don't actually know how you pronounce it. It's spelled like try pm try trying to remember
Stephen Bradford Long 58:56 so so these are like diagnostic tests like questionnaires that you take Yeah. Is one of them. Is one of them the hair? Yes. The which one is the hair test
Dex Desjardins 59:06 the hair, the hair cycle, psychopathy checklist revised the PCL are that okay, that's one. That's the first one. Okay, got it. Yep. And so they're looking for things like abnormal amounts of fearlessness, disinhibition, neuro emotional banned, lack of empathy or remorse risk, a history of impulsive risk taking behavior, promiscuity, adventurousness substance abuse and a lot of these things fit me very strongly. You know, as you may know, I'm actually in recovery from alcoholism right now. And, you know, that's, that's very common of people ASPD to have substance abuse issues, sometimes for self medication reasons, sometimes because of impulse control, and sometimes for thrill seeking, or some combination or sometimes just addicted to drugs and alcohol. So, you know, it was a combination, so I know it was kind of a party animal, way too late in life. I love drinking. I love Being drunk. Are you?
Stephen Bradford Long 1:00:01 Were you the were you the guy who had always come back for the frat boy parties? Like 20 years after you graduated? Was that you? Were you that guy?
Dex Desjardins 1:00:12 Oh, thank god no, no, no, no, I don't. I've got other stuff going on too. And I get sensory overload very badly. So I tried to avoid saying, yes, yeah, in general, when we recently had a little private event up in Salem, for a friend of ours, and there was there was a few more people there than I was ready for. And we actually took the library headquarters and made it into a quiet space, it was just lit by some artificial candles. And the rule was, you only go in there to sit quietly if you get overloaded. And myself and a couple others spent, you know, a substantial amount of time in there just chillin in the dark and not saying anything, because we bring ourselves down. That sounds like the best party ever. It was really it was it was necessary. Otherwise, I wouldn't have had to like go outside and stamp around a lot. And just be friendly. And I did become unfriendly as the as the as the first few days that went on and got actually pretty actively unfriendly towards some people. I like quite a bit in tst. In person, like with them, and I wish I hadn't, but nothing I can do about it. Now. I did, I did apologize to them. Because I recognize that this was not how I should have behaved.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:01:21 Hey, which is, which is like, for real? I'm just bringing back bringing it back to actions are what matter?
Dex Desjardins 1:01:30 Yeah. And that's that cognitive empathy. You know, you exactly recognize you've done a thing that's hurt a person. And you can go, oh, well, that tough shit. And I didn't feel guilty for it. I just didn't, you know, I just didn't want this person to think or these couple people to think I disliked them. I didn't want them to feel bad. So I took the time to go and actively speak to them. And that's that cognitive empathy, you recognize an emotional state you calibrate a appropriate response? And then you act on it. That's that's the whole point of it, and show that compassion. And I don't have to have an emotional investment and to do that, absolutely. So So yeah, so I sit down I take the the, the the PCL are the one you'd mentioned, which is, you know, a series of questions that are basically phrased in a way to elicit how you would behave in certain circumstances. And then the other one is the triarchic psychopathy measure, or the as I call it, the trip, and it's probably tri pm, I have no idea. And it's sort of a similar thing, they're, you know, they're psychometric instruments. The one you can do yourself the tri PM, you can take online, it's three, and it's self scored, and anybody can do it. And it can be probably fun to do and see, you know, just how much of a psychopath you are. Because everyone's got some level of these things. Like I said, it exists on a spectrum.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:02:50 I want to do that. What is it called?
Dex Desjardins 1:02:53 It's called the triarchic psychopathy measure, or te R I P, M, T, capital T, lowercase ri, capital P, capital m. p. m. I mean, if you search for it online, you'll find it Yeah. How are easy to take.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:03:05 I'll do it. And then in our next meeting, I'll tell you my results. I will tell you how I psychopath I am perfect. Yeah. So
Dex Desjardins 1:03:13 oh, the hare psychopathy checklist revised, the P CLR. is much more complicated. And that has to be scored by a highly trained clinician, you cannot you cannot self administer that one and you cannot cannot self score that one. There's complicated algorithms that go into the scoring of it. And and then and those those but that under that on its own, that's not the diagnosis, then there's also you copy like a extensive social history that's needed. They look at you know, criminal records, if you have one, I don't they have they look at your other mental health history. And the diagnosis is made on the basis of a combination. And part of it is not just that you have these inner workings you also have to have acted in certain ways. So you have to have done the promiscuity not just wanted to have to have done the shoplifting or, or the risk taking things or actively violated the rights of others, if that's, you know, the type of person you are and and the diagnosis is made based on that a combination of those various things.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:04:15 Does it ever you've talked to some and we should wrap this up soon. We're we're reaching time, but does it ever get lonely? And if so, what is that loneliness? Like, if you could describe it, I know that that's, that's, that's probably too broad to be helpful. Let me see if I can like, Oh, okay. Yeah,
Dex Desjardins 1:04:36 no, it definitely is, you know, when you when you see people having interactions that are deep and meaningful on an emotional level, and you can't partake in those in an authentic way, you know, your options are either just to fake it and I try not to do that. I try not. I try to have authentic relationships, even if they're different. And if you can't partake in those, just like any other thing, you know, you feel like you're missing out. You know, you wonder are your friendships real friendships are your relationships, what everyone else means by them. And, you know, I can tell you that I have a couple of very strong friendships and of course, my actual intimate relationships that are, I experienced profoundly differently from most other ones. So I know what it's like to have strong emotional bonds, you know, I do experience emotions, they're just turned way down. And it's much, much harder to create those bonds. And, you know, so a lot of people are able to make friends very deeply, very easily, where they're strongly emotionally connected, they miss them terribly when they're not around, and, you know, experience their pain and stuff like that. And that's, that's usually not my case. You know, if I'm away from Liana, for an extended period, I miss her I'm frequently away from she leaves for long periods of time, and I miss her terribly, you know, and, but for most people, that's not the case. Just, it just isn't even even friends of mine I've had since I was in my early 20s, I will go for months or years without seeing them, and then just kind of like just doesn't really matter that much. And I'm happy to see them when they come back. But it's not an emotional reaction one way or the other. It's just kind of blah, and yeah, that that's isolating. It gets lonely. There are times where I wish it was very different experience, but it's not. And you know, there's some evidence that there's an actual physical difference in the brain of people with ASPD, there's often on PET scans, dark areas in the spot where the frontal the prefrontal cortex and a camera with the fucking other parts called, I don't know, it starts with an A and an M. I don't know, brain words are
Stephen Bradford Long 1:06:47 about remembering right now. I mean, we're really on top of my brain words, but I'm forgetting that one,
Dex Desjardins 1:06:52 it basically the part that regulates emotion, and the part that regulates into the ocean, amygdala, amygdala, that's it. Yeah. So on a lot of, on the, on the PET scans of a lot of people who are diagnosed with psychopathy, or ASPD, those areas are dark, to their various degrees, there's just not much going on there. And that's, and that's increasingly become known in neuroscience that, you know, there is an actual physical difference in the brains of certain people. So it's not a thing you can counsel somebody out of necessarily or medicate away. And I have applied for a study, actually, that will, if I get into it would include a PET scan to look for that exact physiological occurrence.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:07:35 I think that when a lot of people hear the word psychopath, or sociopath or less commonly antisocial personality disorder, they assume kind of this, for lack of a better term, like almost like a vampire, like something in human who does not need someone who is inhuman, who does not have who does not have a need for human connection. The same the need for human contact, and it sounds like you still crave or you still want human connection, maybe just in a different way, and maybe you don't have as as ready access to it. But you still want it. Am I hearing that correctly?
Dex Desjardins 1:08:21 Yeah, I think so. And, you know, even if you're talking about psychopaths who are just terrible, like, you know, your your Jeffrey Dahmer, for example, right? I mean...
Stephen Bradford Long 1:08:30 Gay icon, honestly.
Dex Desjardins 1:08:33 Well, I mean, I don't think anyone would argue he wasn't a psychopath. It happens.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:08:36 I mean, just 100% a psychopath.
Dex Desjardins 1:08:38 I mean, it's Hannibal Lecter is you can basically come in real life, I think. Yep. And what was a lot of what he was doing, I mean, not the eating people part. But, you know, he was trying to make companions, he was trying to make sure people would never leave, and he was looking for human connections he could otherwise not make. So I would think I would say that that's probably a very common occurrence, when people ASPD is wanting authentic human connections that they have a lot of difficulty making, you know, and apparently unpleasant to be around, people seem to enjoy my company, for the most part. And so I have not had problems, you know, having having people around me that I like, and appreciate and respect, which is very nice. You know, I've got my very, very, very valuable and, you know, beloved relationships and my partners. So, you know, not completely without, but yeah, it definitely. I do wish that I could experience more of that. But, you know, the mechanism is just malfunctioning that allows that to happen. I think it's probably more common than people realize, I think a big part of is just that, you know, strong emotion and emotional connections is just such a big part of what a lot of people associate with being human as opposed to an Android. So, you know, if you're, if you're low on those things, or lacking Those things completely. Yeah, I mean, people will often find a recoil. And you know, if they sense that those things are absent or turned way down, they will, you know, wonder if this person is safe to be around, what are they thinking, you know, are they are they sinister as the one person said, yeah, and, you know, I don't think I am. It's just funny. Longtime former leader in TST, once said to me, that I was drama proof. And, you know, because you know, God has some drama, sometimes.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:10:34 I would 100% call you drama proof. It's a superpower.
Dex Desjardins 1:10:39 In this case, it's a superpower, it is a superpower. People have come in and out of my life, to TST sometimes so rapidly, and I've had to counsel a lot of people who are new to leadership, who are struggling with the emotional elements of making and losing friends left and right now, like, oh, it's easy, just don't make any. And that's literally the advice I gave somebody one time they looked at me, like, I was fucking insane. And I was like, Alright, let me rephrase this. Be more cautious over building friendships, there you go nice, will come and go very quickly and end explosively. So you know, if you're like me, and you don't make those connections easily, then you can break those connections much easier. So people can come and go in and out of my life, and you know, they need help with TST stuff or whatever, or whatever, they just want to bitch about, you know, their lives or whatever, I'll listen, and I'll try to give the best advice I have. But I'm not emotionally invested in it the way where it's going to hurt me if it all blows up. And it often, you know, it does sometimes, and I've lost friends, some of whom I wished I had lost. But you know, it just kind of rolls off me. I'm like, Oh, that stinks. And then I move on with my day. So yeah, it's it's helped me to be very drama proof. And I think it's part of my longevity in this organization, is the ability to not be personally affected by that constant, you know, making and breaking of friendships. Yeah.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:11:55 Whereas, like, for me to survive, I have to, like, surround myself with layers upon layers upon layers of of, you know, emotional padding, and, and, like, hard boundaries and self care and all of this shit, just to like, get through the fucking day. So yeah, it is kind of like a superpower. But well, we are, we're getting close to time. And we and I have to run to the temple service soon. But this has been great. And to reiterate what I said at the very top, I feel like I know you to be a very just, and good person. And I love working with you. And it's like, I work with both you and police on ordination Council. I consider you a colleague and I just love working with you. And so I hope that this conversation is helpful for people to kind of get a sense of what it's like to be you. Yeah, I
Dex Desjardins 1:13:00 hope so. It's been an interesting exploration for me. And I think it's been interesting for those close to me to interact with these ideas. And you know, I know she at least aside it's helped her to understand me better and apparently loves me more for it, which is wonderful, because love her a lot too. And intensely and yeah, I guess you know, if you want to if you want to read about some of my experiences, it's it's Dec stage ardene.com/blog. That's where I post my mental health stuff. Dr. Dean spelled exactly like it's pronounced de SJAR. I don't know how the fuck it spelled di
Stephen Bradford Long 1:13:36 in any way. Yeah, I'll put I'll put it in the show notes. And everyone go read his work. It is absolutely fascinating and very, very interesting. And really moving as well, like you writing about your childhood is just so good. Very, very well written. But all right, well, that is it for this show. The music is wild by eleventy seven. You can find it on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to music. This show is written, produced and edited by me Steven Bradford long and as a production of rock candy recordings, as always, Hail Satan. And thanks for listening