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In his book The Wisdom of Psychopaths, Kevin Dutton argues that America’s corporate giants have more in common with the likes of Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy than we realise.But nothing illustrates that point more than a quote from a successful young British attorney Dutton interviewed.
“Deep inside me there’s a serial killer lurking somewhere,” the unnamed attorney told Dutton. “But I keep him amused with cocaine, Formula One, booty calls, and coruscating cross-examination.”
Dutton describes psychopaths as brilliant, calculating, often highly intelligent people, who feel no emotion and don’t even understand what an emotion is or why non-psychopaths feel them.
To bolster his argument that lawyers have a least a bit of psychopathy inside them, Dutton highlighted Al Pacino’s character in The Devil’s Advocate.
Pacino, playing the Devil, was the head attorney of a top law firm who gave advice to his colleagues that made lawyers seem a lot like calculating, chameleon-like psychopaths.
“Don’t get too cocky. No matter how good you are. Don’t let them see you coming. Be the hick. The cripple. The nerd. The leper, The freak. Look at me — I’ve been underestimated since day one,” Pacino said.
That “consummate ability to pass themselves off as normal everyday folk, while behind the facade — the brutal, brilliant disguise — beats the refrigerated heart of a ruthless, glacial predator” is what links psychopaths with lawyers or business leaders, Dutton wrote.
Dutton actually argues psychopathy in small doses is actually good for society. The ability to cut off emotions can help a lawyer win a tough courtroom battle, for instance.
Still, the notion that an attorney knows he has a serial killer lurking somewhere inside of him is a bit unsettling.