Last Friday, I was watching ABC World News Tonight. At the end of the program, ABC announced its “Person of the Week” — Col. Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian astronaut to walk in space.
Col. Hadfield is famous for his magnificent cover of the classic David Bowie song, Space Oddity, recorded while he was the commander of the International Space Station.
Although the video has 24 million YouTube views, I just saw it for the first time. Hadfield’s Space Oddity is absolutely breathtaking. It’s such a tribute to the capacity of the human race to reach beyond our grounded existence that it brought tears to my eyes.
The video was just one of many Hadfield made from space. He spent 15 months at the International Space Station, from December 2012 through March 2013. While in space, he was a prolific social media user, with a blog on Tumblr and a million Twitter followers.
Hadfield retired after the space station mission and wrote a book called An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. One reviewer wrote, “Hadfield’s story oozes the kind of stereotypical Canadian basic decency and humbleness that we Canucks just eat up.”
Hadfield just came out with another video called An Astronaut’s Guide to Optimism.
Person of the Week
Col. Chris Hadfield seems like a man of honesty, integrity and empathy. I’m sure that’s why ABC selected him as the Person of the Week.
Astronaut Chris Hadfield shares his 2015 ‘Guide to Optimism,’ on ABCnews.go.com.
During his interview for the ABC story, Hadfield said:
“Everybody wants a better world for their kids, a little bit of grace, and a chance to lead a good life.”
“Life is all about trying to get myself ready for the things that might happen, so I can appreciate them more.”
“The onus is always on each of us. How am I going to change myself this year? Or what am I going to deliberately learn this year, so I can do a better job? That’s what actually changes the world.”
His words reflect optimism about the human condition. ABC’s treatment of his message is inspiring. Watching the segment, I felt warm and hopeful.
There are exceptions
This type of media story, however, should come with a disclaimer:
Although this message emphasizes the best of humanity, please be advised that there are exceptions. Some people, although they can appear to show love and concern, are primarily interested in exploitation.
Regardless of the warm and fuzzy media messages, millions of sociopaths live among us. These people don’t care about benefiting the human race. They only care about benefiting themselves.
So, contrary to the words of Col. Chris Hadfield,
Not everybody wants a better world for their kids, a little bit of grace, and a chance to lead a good life. Some people want to take everything they can get.
For sociopaths, life is not about trying to get ready for the things that might happen, so they can appreciate them more. Life is about amassing power and control.
From the perspective of a sociopath, your role is to provide the sociopath what he or she wants. Sociopaths see no reason to change themselves. But they will learn, so they can do a better job of exploiting you. If the world changes, their goal is to figure out how to take advantage of it to get even more of what they want.
People with personality disorders are fundamentally different from the rest of us. They have no ability to love. They are motivated only by power and control.
Unfortunately, the media do not talk about them
Scope of the problem
The number of disordered individuals living among us is massive.
Lovefraud uses the word “sociopath” to describe people who live their lives by exploiting others. Clinically, they would be diagnosed as having antisocial, narcissistic, or borderline personality disorder, or as psychopaths.
Experts estimate 1% to 4% of the population have antisocial personality disorder, 2% have borderline personality disorder, and as many as 6% have narcissistic personality disorder.
Add them up, and as many as 12% of the population are disordered. That’s 37 million people in the United States.
But there are no media messages warning us to watch out for these exceptions to the goodness of humanity. Instead, we’re told that we’re all basically the same, everyone has some good inside and we all just want to be loved.
So we are clueless about the human predators living among us. Until we find ourselves targeted — and then it’s too late. We will most likely be damaged.