The short answer is that it feels good, to them at least. The slightly longer (and more useful) answer is that it takes extreme , risky or even criminal behavior on their part in order to feel anything at all.
Sociopaths (some shrinks use the term psychopath , but I reserve psychopath for criminal sociopaths) are those people for whom the personal experience of emotionalized sensation is severely muted or even absent.
In simpler words, sociopaths don’t (can’t) experience feelings like the rest of us. Their inner volume is turned down, in some cases way down. They are often highly intelligent (in the strict IQ sense of the word ) so they clearly see the vast sweep of the human experience taking place around them. But they cannot experience or feel the humaness of that experience for themselves.
They are literally starved , which usually leads to all sorts of really bad consequences resulting from the things they do to fill that void.
The closest they ever get to emotional feelings are those temporarily heightened states of awareness that come from fear, aggression , drugs and sex . In other words : jack up the biochemicals in any way they can , natural or otherwise , or both.
Picture this archetypal scene from a corny Western to visualize what I’m trying to explain :
The Hero vs Villain Gunfight
Two men stand twenty paces apart in the dusty main street of some western town. Closeup on the hero’s face shows a grim yet resolute visage. He’s not happy in any sense of the word, but he is determined to do what must be done, a bead of sweat graces his brow. Now the camera pans over to the bad guy. Amazing ! He ain’t unhappy at all. He’s lovin’ it ! Disdain slowly draws thin lips into a cruel smile. He looks keyed up and cool both at the same time. Death (for someone) hangs in the air but the villain is relishing every second of it ! This is his element . There is no place that he would rather be.
Now that’s obviously not a slice of real life by any stretch , but which of those two guy do you think is normal, and which one the sociopath?
Unfortunately for villains , even when jacked up on hormones of one kind or another, the sociopath still isn’t feeling the finer and more complexly nuanced emotional experiences enjoyed by normal human beings. At best they are stuck with muffled , drastically reduced , experience of the baser sensations (sights, sounds, aroma, flavors and textures , sex and bloodlust) yet still lacking the ability to deeply experience the full spectrum even of those.
Therefore, the typical sociopath places absurdly high importance on the strictly physical sensations. Now, everyone enjoys good tasting food and drink, but the sociopath will tend to be an over-the-top epicurean gourmet and wine connoisseur . Same goes for sight, sound, and touch . Everybody likes pleasant sensation, but for the sociopath these ordinary commodities become unduly important , even obsessively so (and ironically unattainable) because for them that’s all there is!
Oh the cruel justice of it all! To crave sensation and yet be so numb! Truly, they live in Hell.
Hence the drugs, alcohol, boundless greed and a myriad of sexual perversions , anything and everything that might jack up the hormones enough for them to feel the sensation, and yet never be able to genuinely partake . Their solution , all too often , is to escalate the extremeness of their risky or destructive behavior until it kills them , but not soon enough for their countless victims.
This emotional deafness extends to, and explains, their characteristic lack of empathy and penchant for cruelty as well. Lack of empathy is a defining trait , as are the corollary cruelty and sadism.
This telltale lack of empathy for others is not due to any deficiency in the powers of imagination.
Indeed, sociopaths are often gifted in the aspect of imagination that we call abstract reasoning. What’s missing from their mental imaging is the same crucial component that’s missing in them : the experience of emotional feelings . No, it is not that they can’t imagine; It’s that they can’t accurately imagine something that they have no capacity to experience for themselves in the first place.
For example, since they cannot themselves feel love they cannot then imagine love in others as being anything other than foolishness, avarice , lust or some other miscalculated ploy of self interest. That’s how come they’re so talented and ruthless in recognizing and using other people’s love as a means of furthering their own ends.
To a normal person the expression “Love is blind” is wistful poetry. To a sociopath it’s simply rule #1 for exploiting suckers.
In other words, to a sociopath everyone else is a sociopath too, only dumber. They believe that every human being is running a lifelong scam motivated by self interest alone. The only difference (in their view) is that their victims are weaklings and chumps who deserve to be victimized because they are weak and stupid.
It’s not curable, by the way. It’s not possible to talk a sociopath into a nicer frame of mind . They are “Mind Blind”. They don’t possess the mental hardware to perceive the world in any other way than they do. No matter what you say to a sociopath you are still talking to a sociopath. In fact, the only thing that might get changed, is you , and not for the better either.
If you’re lucky and they’re just some garden variety sociopath, you might get away with no worse than a broken heart or empty checking account. But if those smiling eyes belong to a psychopath you could wind up in a landfill with various parts missing.
So, all you #PizzaGate investigators and faithful supporters , I’m not suggesting that you be careful out there. Be as enthusiastic as you like. But do be observant . Know full well that psychopaths and the sociopaths who cover for them are not nice people gone bad. They are just plain bad, and don’t you ever forget it.
Now, go get ’em !