Am I a sociopath?

In this boing boing post Cory Doctorow writes:

"Content isn't king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, you'd choose your friends -- if you chose the movies, we'd call you a sociopath."

Now, that's not the point of the post. It's basically an addendum wrapped around an opinion. However it really got me thinking about the scenario that he presents. He didn't provide many details, so I'm going to flesh it out a bit based on "I sent you to a desert island". Also, keep in mind, Cory Doctorow is a published author who is paid to write and think, and I'm not.*


So, I've been approached by a guy who tells me that I'm going to be sent to a desert island forthwith and I can either choose to take my friends with me, or my movies. This will be a one-way trip. There are secure structures on the island with electricity and water, and there will be a once-a-month food drop, although at times foraging may be necessary. They might also forget about me after a few years and I'll have to be prepared to go full-on Robinson Crusoe. What's my choice?

Here is what I'm thinking:

- I have over 600 movies and TV shows on DVD, many of which I've seen only once and some I haven't found the time to watch at all – mainly the TV shows – and a fair number of VHS tapes as well.

- There are around 20 people, including close family, that I would consider "friends".

- At a guess, I could live another 15-20 years tops on a desert island if nothing goes wrong and I'm lucky.

- Do my friends have any say in the matter? Or do large men in black coats load them in a cargo van at gunpoint, bundle them onto the plane/ship/whatever and off we go? Let's assume they have no say, lucky little pumpkins.

- Do they know that I'm the reason their lives have been disrupted?

- Assuming they don't, can I live the rest of my life on that island with those 20 people and the knowledge that it's my fault we are all in this situation?

- And if they do, how long will it be before they exact their revenge? Can I spend the rest of my life sleeping with one eye open?

- Or can I count on my friends being forgiving and understanding?

- Do my friends have the skills and knowledge to build a boat or a raft so that we can get off the island and back to civilization?

- If they did, and they blamed me for being there – since it IS kinda my fault and all – would they leave me on the island, friendless and movie-less, laughing the laugh of the avenged as they paddled for freedom?

- Can my friends bring movies?

That all said, my ideal answer is that I would bring my friends AND my movies: "Yeah, I know, this is my fault and you all hate me, but look! I have three seasons of 'CSI', three seasons of 'Monk', two seasons of '24', the full set of 'The Prisoner' (huh? huh?) one season of 'Lost' (c'mon now, that's funny!) and a ton more! I have comedy, drama, horror AND I even managed to toss in some last minute "survivalist" DVDs before they were able to finish packing! It's movie time! ...please don't hate me."

But, if I had to choose one or the other, I'm afraid I would have to choose the movies simply because they won't blame me for being there.

Does that really make me a sociopath?



A person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

One who is affected with a personality disorder marked by antisocial behavior.

* If you're ever told, "I'm not paying you to think!" believe it or not, the best response isn't, "Consider it a perk." That just gets you labeled "not a team player" and "smart ass" if not outright fired.


Heather said…
Well, if you took all the movies, I'd have to go with you. I wouldn't blame you...not until we'd watched Lost for the 22nd time! :)

No, baby, you're not a sociopath. i don't think.
Derek Knight said…
Oh, you're a sociopath. You're a sociopath who's become quite adept at rationalization...

But a sociopath nonetheless.
andy K said…
You can take the movies, but there's no TV on the island. MUHAHAHAHAHAH!!!
Debra said…
Ditto what Andy said... desert island has TV and electric? On what planet is this? lol

Otherwise though, I'd be in agreement with you... who would want the end of 20 people's lives as they know it to be blamed on themself? Ouch.
Collin said…
I took it as a given that the island had to be set up so that you could actually watch your movies, otherwise what would be the point of chosing them? Most of them don't even have inserts these days.
Kathleen said…
Even before I started reading your ideas, I had the same thought. Could I do that to my friends? Would that be fair?

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