Natured or nurtured?

I have been working through some ideas for a character who is for want of a better word a psychopath. Not the axe wielding homicidal maniac type, more the person who leaves a trail of destruction in his wake.

This got me thinking about whether or not the psychopaths behaviour is something constructed by environment or naturally occurring, is it some genetic deficiency or part of some contemporary malaise?

Is their behaviour natured or nurtured?

I’m not a great believer in nature as the organising force of society. It seems to me we left nature behind when we moved into cities, and allowed every aspect of our lives to be controlled in some way. From birth to death, there is an organising principle in place, a body to categorise, normalise, institution to reward and punish.

I think nurture is the dominant force in our lives, and holds much greater sway than nature. I can see there are some elements of what we do that are natural, that come from some deep genetic imperatives, but from where I stand, the vast majority of our behaviours, the rituals we adhere to, how we interact, are all nurtured into us.

Therefore, if we’re all taught to behave in certain ways by the world around us, the psychopath must be a personality type constructed by society. If that is the case, what lay the foundations for their behaviour? Is it some twisted version of competitiveness, amplified by early setbacks, or a personality trait brought on by repeated rejection by a parent?

I’m guessing it was both, on top of some as yet to undiscovered traumas.

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