Do you have what it takes to be a psychopath?
“The great epochs of our lives are the occasions
when we gain the courage to re-baptize our evil
qualities as our best qualities.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
According to the author of “The Wisdom of Psychopaths, What Saints, Spies and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success” the primary characteristics of a psychopath can be narrowed down to seven main categories. One critique of Kevin Dutton’s book claimed that one can’t so easily create a psychopath by moving up and down a variety of dials that relate to aspects of personality. But… maybe we can. From studying hands, it is clear that there is a spectrum from one polarity to another in most behaviors. What surprised and excited me the most was realizing that several of his seven traits, or skill sets as he calls them, fit like a glove into a group of four specific and inter-related areas of the hand that traditionally had each been given the same descriptions in hand analysis.
“In ancestral times, the most prolific and accomplished hunters were not, as one might expect, the most bloodthirsty and indefatigable. They were, in contrast, the most cool and empathetic. They were the ones who were able to assimilate their quarry’s mind-set — to see through the eyes of their prey and thus reliably predict its deft, innate trajectories of evasion, its routes and machinations of escape.”
~ Kevin Dutton “The Wisdom of the Psychopath”
The seven skill sets of the psychopath according to Dutton are:
4) Mental toughness
Sliding up and down the dials on these seven characteristics can result in all kinds of personalities, including yours and mine. We need these ‘skill sets’ in order to thrive socially in our environment.
Hand showing interdigital pads of 90 year old woman
Our palms in many ways resemble advanced paws. Extra nerve endings and sensors fill the pads. For at least a couple hundred years a number of researchers that have studied nature have felt these pads not only sent information to the brain from the environment but were also capable of relaying data to our environment from ourselves. Carl Gustav Carus (1789-1869) was one such person. He also thought that the human hand had evolved from a place in evolution somewhere between the fin and the wing. Interestingly, science just this year reported findings that the human hand and the fin have common ancestral beginnings. Elvis didn’t just leave the room but a mermaid descendant might have.
We have several pads in our palms and fingers where the ridges can form patterns. Five of which are on the thumb and finger tips. Four are the interdigital pads. Three of these at the top of the palm are sometimes mistaken in palmistry for misplaced mounts. The interdigital pads lie in the space on the palm in between the digits but can spread out into the areas under the fingers. Across the palm under the fingers these fleshy pads relate to various kinds of empathy to others and to our environment. There are other pads found in other areas of the palms which I’ll write about in a future post. As I was reading the descriptions for the seven skill sets, and he combined them in some cases, I immediately recognized them as matching a set of behavioral descriptions that have evolved in hand analysis over the last few decades for specific areas of the hands. Four of these I would like to introduce in this blog post.
Interdigital I: Courage, fearlessness, and action
In between the thumb and the index finger can be found the first interdigital area. Here you may see wrinkled extra skin, a firm almost flat or hollow surface, or you may also find a bulge ranging from just noticeable to large full bulge. Sometimes on this pad a pattern will form in the ridges. Typically the ridges here flow curving down around and over the fullness of the thenar muscle while aiming toward the side of the hand above the wrist on the thumb side. They can also make a chevron shape as well as include loops, whorls and fancy vestiges.
Focusing here on the area shown as Interdigital I, this bulge describes a person’s ability to initiate action and move forward. The firmer and more full the bulge the more likely its owner is a take charge, never wait to be told, up early and ready to go type of person. They are better at giving orders than receiving them. The flatter this area the more push a person needs to take action and move forward. A loop on the dermatoglyphic or ridged surface here in Interdigital I is known to relate to a love of competition, a do-it-myself attitude along with a kind of fearless show of courage. Too large of a bulge here can lead to a dominating, bullying attitude in combination with supporting features to that effect.
Interdigital II: Charisma, Charm and Leadership
In this area of the palm there’s a fleshy bulge that sometimes stays fairly centered in the space between the fingers. From there it can spread in its fullness to bulge across the surface under the index finger and even continue to fill a space moving down a bit toward the hollow of the palm. Sometimes it crowds into the space under the middle finger. The fullness here, or lack thereof, relates to a person’s abilities to take the lead. A loop found in the dermatoglyphics of this interdigital area has a tradition of relating to royal blood. In fact, a number of people with this feature offer recollections of stories or genealogy records showing their family lineage dates back to this or that royal family. Personality wise, those with loops here seem to have a greater ability to charm people. They are magnetic in their presence and are often assigned leadership roles in a spontaneous and unexpected manner.
Diagonal creases rising here from the thumb side of the hand often relate to a person being very susceptible to picking up on others feelings and easily associate them to their own past experiences. A clear area under the index finger represents a person’s ability to not succumb emotionally. They usually have an attitude of overcoming situations that could emotionally block them from moving forward unlike their empathetic friends, who can’t help but to get caught up in feelings that are not their own.
Raja Loop in Interdigital II
“Run from what’s comfortable.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
I have tried prudent planning long enough.
From now on I’ll be mad.”
Interdigital III: Responsibility, Conscience and Ruthlessness
The bulge in between the index and middle fingers usually forces a valley in the terrain under the middle finger. Sometimes there is a flat surface or a bulge. Each shifting the indications of how seriously a person takes in the information they are perceiving. This can range from the hollow valley indicating a person who can take life with ‘a grain of salt’ to a rare full bulge, directly under the finger, showing someone who may overly take things straight to the heart. Typically a loop pattern in the ridges here relates in hand analysis to people who can be very responsible and take their role in life quite seriously. They can feel guilty when they let others down or they may just feel bad when they let themselves down. Either way they like to live up to their convictions. They may feel guilt easier than others. In society it is important that we can count on each other in team efforts. Lacking or repressing these qualities leads to ruthlessness.
Ruthlessness. What an interesting word. I had to look up its roots. It’s not related to the woman’s name Ruth. Instead, the word ruthless has its roots in very old northern European countries with the word rue meaning to feel sad or sorrow. People who are ruthless can do things with little remorse that would seem cruel to others. Sometimes we have to call upon this energy within ourselves when we have to fire an employee or evict a non paying tenant. At times, it’s needed for survival when faced in a situation of who will make it out alive.Interdigital Loop in III
Interdigital IV: Cunning, Persuasion, Communication
Down in the space between the ring and little finger is found another pad. During development the pads, the places where patterns can form in the ridges, are called volar pads. This pad can bulge from under the middle of the little finger over to under the ring finger or be flat as well as hollow. The ridges that form here often take some interesting turns forming vestiges and singular as well as multiple loops.
In my search for understanding how the ridge patterns play out, I have discovered some patterns that form here show how a person relates to their body in space. Some patterns can show extra skills in sports requiring keen awareness of self, and other patterns have shown the opposite with their owners occasionally tripping over their own feet. A common form of pattern that is found here relates to good communications skills, a special way with words and sometimes the ability to be persuasive or witty. In hand analysis this area is associated with Mercury which is also associated with the magician and the trickster. We can use our communication skills to reach out to others and draw them into our worlds as well as enter into theirs. The little finger side of our hands hold our most intimate stories and vulnerabilities. Having strength here can make a person a charismatic communicator as well as adding persuasive techniques.Loop in Interdigital IV
In his book, Dutton explains how it takes a combination of extreme qualities that you’d find in the psychopath in order to take on jobs such as a brain surgeon, sniper or a hero. Their tasks involve being able to stay emotionally detached, being focused and to have initiative and courage. It’s a fascinating book and opens up a whole new way of looking at the people in leadership roles and what kind of personality characteristics they need in order to wield their power and influence. We all have varying degrees of these traits in ourselves. It is when there are extremes of too much and too little that we get our fringe personalities, the killers and the saints.
Rudy Giuliani said today “Until the war is over, anything’s legal.”
Check out these well known people and their interdigital areas:
George W. Bush
Pope Benedict – Note the emphasis on interdigital IV
Nelson Mandela “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Ted Bundy – Serial Killer
‘Dr. Ben Carson – Pediatric Brain Surgeon – Presidential Candidate
“Study me as much as you like,
you will not know me,
for I differ in a hundred ways from what you see me to be.
Put yourself behind my eyes and see me as I see myself,
for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see.”
More to come about the characteristics of the psychopath in our palms in Part 2. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Thank you for reading!