Thorn

The Diagram and King T's IQ

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Small spoilers if you haven't read it.

 

So one of the things that I noticed about King T in the book is that when he was discussing why they had to test his IQ and limit what he could govern and change based on that, I found it a bit odd that on one of his better/smarter days he thought everyone below average intelligence should kill themselves.  

 

Correct me if I'm wrong on that as I dont' have the book in front of me.  However, if that's the case how is that a display of intelligence?  The minute you kill everyone below average IQ is the minute you simply establish a new average...the killing wouldn't stop.  

 

Made me wonder how accurate his Diagram was at all, or if Sanderson made a poor choice of words.  Then again could just be he's displaying the flaws in even T's supposed IQ...much like Nin and Skybreakers enforce the law regardless of whether it is truly righteous and just or not. Certainly seems the Diagram loses accuracy the farther away from the point in which it was written.  

 

 

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Correct me if I'm wrong on that as I dont' have the book in front of me.  However, if that's the case how is that a display of intelligence?  The minute you kill everyone below average IQ is the minute you simply establish a new average...the killing wouldn't stop. 

 

Er, I don't think he intended to keep killing below-average people. That would be stupid. He just wanted to kill the below-average people so that the new average was higher.

 

As to his intelligence, it seems more or less that small boosts in his intelligence remove his empathy and make him unable to understand people. He can't deal with other people when he's smart. When he's hyper-smart, like when he wrote the Diagram, it seems that he's so smart he doesn't need empathy anymore and can just model people inside his big beautiful brain and predict their actions that way.

Edited by Moogle
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Here's the exact passage you're thinking of:

 

He'd been convinced that if he could just explain his condition to the city, they would all listen to reason and let him control their lives perfectly.  He'd drafted a law requiring that all people of less than average intellect be required to commit suicide for the good of the city.  It had seemed reasonable.  He had considered they might resist, but thought that the brilliance of the argument would sway them.

 

So, to your point, average is just a function of the overall population.  Would the culling continue on?  Probably not, as Moogle points out, but we don't know.  This is sort of like the Eugenics stuff of times past in the United States.

 

Looking at this further, however, brings up a point about the Diagram.  Taravangian made a rule that he couldn't pass laws when he was super smart to prevent laws like this from being put in place.  Not many of us need to have it explained why a law like this is a bad idea.  But consider that he wrote the Diagram was he was even SMARTER and he and his group treat that as the ultimate law.  I think this is an interesting bit that is design to show the the Diagram is probably a bad solution to the problem.

Edited by Terisen
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This question has been brought up before, most recently by me. ;)

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But consider that he wrote the Diagram was he was even SMARTER and he and his group treat that as the ultimate law.  I think this is an interesting bit that is design to show the the Diagram is probably a bad solution to the problem.

 

I think it's perfectly reasonable. It's obvious that Taravangian is people-stupid when he's merely smart (see: his law, and thinking people would just commit suicide). When he's Diagram-level smart, though, he obviously understands people enough that his plans are not doomed to failure. There's a huge gap between super-smart Taravangian and hyper-genius-Diagram-writing Taravangian. One is not someone you want in charge, the other is someone you want to listen to fanatically.

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I think it's perfectly reasonable. It's obvious that Taravangian is people-stupid when he's merely smart (see: his law, and thinking people would just commit suicide). When he's Diagram-level smart, though, he obviously understands people enough that his plans are not doomed to failure. There's a huge gap between super-smart Taravangian and hyper-genius-Diagram-writing Taravangian. One is not someone you want in charge, the other is someone you want to listen to fanatically.

 

I guess that's where we would disagree.  I can see your perspective, but I feel that hyper-genius-T would be even further down the path of not understanding people.  He's so singular in his brilliance that he can only see the forest but not the tree (so to speak).  He can certainly project events with uncanny accuracy, but he's lost all connection to the individual person.  They're just tools to be read and used.

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I guess that's where we would disagree.  I can see your perspective, but I feel that hyper-genius-T would be even further down the path of not understanding people.  He's so singular in his brilliance that he can only see the forest but not the tree (so to speak).  He can certainly project events with uncanny accuracy, but he's lost all connection to the individual person.  They're just tools to be read and used.

But that doesn't matter if he can predict their actions. He still won't pass laws like "you have to pass a test before breeding" because he's smart enough to know how badly that would go over. Basically, as he gets smarter his prediction powers go up but his empathy goes down. At first this can be bad, since he starts out simulating humans are rational agents, but as he gets smart enough he can predict how people will react without needing empathy.

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I guess that's where we would disagree.  I can see your perspective, but I feel that hyper-genius-T would be even further down the path of not understanding people.  He's so singular in his brilliance that he can only see the forest but not the tree (so to speak).  He can certainly project events with uncanny accuracy, but he's lost all connection to the individual person.  They're just tools to be read and used.

 

I don't think it's possible for him to "see the forest but not the trees", as you put it. To underside wide-scale behaviors of nations, he has to understand individual kings, queens, and their motives. He certainly doesn't seem to care about the welfare of individual person, but he's ultimately doing what he's doing to save as many individual people as he can. A lack of empathy doesn't mean his plans won't succeed, nor does it mean they aren't the best option. Though we've certainly seen enough to question the Diagram, given it's already been off-course somewhat. Hopefully Diagram-Taravangian put enough error tolerance into his calculations that it won't matter.

 

Taravangian could use another Diagram-level day.

Edited by Moogle
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Perhaps the better way to say it is that though he is smarter, he isn't necessarily wiser?  Rejecting empathy leaves a glaring blind spot, as someone like Kaladin who will defend the weak and even those he doesn't like, entirely throws off the predictions.  

 

Thanks for the replies guys.  As to the average issue though, in a sense you'd raise the average temporarily, but by definition of the law being average intelligence, you'd only establish a NEW population and average.  Thus you'd still have to cut those below it the next day.  Average is based on the current living population and would shift with the new population by definition.  

 

Plus, on a bad day, he'd have to kill himself...

 

 

 

 

 

@Kurkistan - sorry to rain on your parade, I failed to look through older threads.  

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Perhaps the better way to say it is that though he is smarter, he isn't necessarily wiser?  Rejecting empathy leaves a glaring blind spot, as someone like Kaladin who will defend the weak and even those he doesn't like, entirely throws off the predictions.  

 

This might be true for regularly smart Taravangian, but not Diagram-level Taravangian. At the point where he's able to write the Diagram, he can obviously understand that people will defend the weak and can accurately predict their actions. He can't do it when he's regular-smart, because he loses empathy and isn't smart enough to understand people without it.

 

Also, I'd argue he's not smarter when he's "smarter". He's an idiot in many ways, since "social intelligence" (if that's a thing) is the most important in a medieval society like Roshar's, and he loses that.

 

Thanks for the replies guys.  As to the average issue though, in a sense you'd raise the average temporarily, but by definition of the law being average intelligence, you'd only establish a NEW population and average.  Thus you'd still have to cut those below it the next day.  Average is based on the current living population and would shift with the new population by definition. 

 

Why are you assuming he has to keep killing people after the first half of the population dies? Why can't he just stop after the first day?

Edited by Moogle
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Thanks for the replies guys.  As to the average issue though, in a sense you'd raise the average temporarily, but by definition of the law being average intelligence, you'd only establish a NEW population and average.  Thus you'd still have to cut those below it the next day.  Average is based on the current living population and would shift with the new population by definition.  

 

This is really an Exact Words problem more than anything else (in particular, you are assuming 'average' is the current, instantaneous average over living individuals; it's not really accurate to say 'by definition' the average is based on the current living population). One of the obvious solutions (as several others have described) is that the 'average' is not a moving value, but a colloquial term for a static value, either determined at the beginning of the program, historical norms or by definition (e.g. IQ = 100). The other obvious solution is that the 'average' is not 'average in Jah Keved', but 'average over the entire continent', in which case you can in fact have a floating cut-line while not going into infinite regress.

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One thing that I have thought of after reading this thread, that I have not seen mentioned before in various threads is that his hubris, or at least faith in his own brilliance, seems to increase along with his intelligence.  He was able to predict the resistance to the suicide law, but had faith and confidence enough in his own abilities that it would not be a problem.  His advisors were able to slap that idea down.

 

Imagine for a moment what happens when a man is capable of genius that can literally change the world, but has a fair number of people that help prune his crazier and more insane ideas.  Then imagine what that man can create when everyone bows to his whim and gives him an almost slavish devotion, with no one questioning anything he writes or says, due to the perceived genius of it.  Imagine, in other words, Mr T on his 'perfect intellect' day, or George Lucas when he created the prequel trilogy.  They are the same person.

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Imagine for a moment what happens when a man is capable of genius that can literally change the world, but has a fair number of people that help prune his crazier and more insane ideas.  Then imagine what that man can create when everyone bows to his whim and gives him an almost slavish devotion, with no one questioning anything he writes or says, due to the perceived genius of it.  Imagine, in other words, Mr T on his 'perfect intellect' day, or George Lucas when he created the prequel trilogy.  They are the same person.

 

Does that mean there's a picture of Jar Jar hidden somewhere in the Diagram.  Heaven help those poor Rosharans....

 

This was the point I was trying to make above, but I think you've said it a little better.

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This might be true for regularly smart Taravangian, but not Diagram-level Taravangian. At the point where he's able to write the Diagram, he can obviously understand that people will defend the weak and can accurately predict their actions. He can't do it when he's regular-smart, because he loses empathy and isn't smart enough to understand people without it.

 

Also, I'd argue he's not smarter when he's "smarter". He's an idiot in many ways, since "social intelligence" (if that's a thing) is the most important in a medieval society like Roshar's, and he loses that.

 

 

Why are you assuming he has to keep killing people after the first half of the population dies? Why can't he just stop after the first day?

I think what happens is that the Nightwatcher's magic changes the structure of the analytic part of his brain to be more rational, efficient, etc. However, much of the analytic part of our brains is evolved specifically to predict how people will react, because that's how you survive and reproduce when societies exist. The enhanced rationality and processing power has to overwrite that, so he's not as empathetic and worse at predicting how people will react. Once he reaches Diagram-level, though, he can account for all variables, and can successfully model human action.

The reason that he failed to predict Kaladin is because the Diagram wasn't intended to be perfect forever in every way. It was meant to provide the path that, given the information he had on that day, had the highest probability of success. He didn't know who would become Radiants, or what Orders they would be. He did what he could, on that day. His failure will come about because he's not updating it based on new information.

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The reason that he failed to predict Kaladin is because the Diagram wasn't intended to be perfect forever in every way.

 

The Diagram did predict Kaladin, actually. Or rather, it predicted one "favored by winds" who miraculously survived, which was enough to single out Kaladin.

 

They will come. You cannot stop their oaths. Look for those who survive when they should not. That pattern will be your clue.

...

“No. It’s more.” They had survived. Taravangian stood up. “Wake every Alethi sleeper we have; send every agent in the area. There will be stories told of one of these bridgemen. Miraculous survival. Favored of the winds. One is among them. He might not know yet exactly what he’s doing, but he has bonded a spren and sworn at least the First Ideal.”

 

Then we have this:

 

One danger in deploying such a potent weapon will be the potential encouragement of those exploring the Nahel bond. Care must be taken to avoid placing these subjects in situations of powerful stress unless you accept the consequences of their potential Investiture. —From the Diagram, Floorboard 27: paragraph 6

 

Which explicitly says that "if you put Surgebinders under stress, you had best accept the consequences". Graves then promptly ignored the Diagram and put Kaladin under a lot of stress.

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The Diagram did predict Kaladin, actually. Or rather, it predicted one "favored by winds" who miraculously survived, which was enough to single out Kaladin.

 

Then we have this:

 

Which explicitly says that "if you put Surgebinders under stress, you had best accept the consequences". Graves then promptly ignored the Diagram and put Kaladin under a lot of stress.

Ah, okay. Thank you.

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It's unsuprising the Diagram didn't predict Kaladin specifically. It wasn't produced via precognition, so it could only work on information Taravangian actually had. Also, it's most likely based on probabilities, and if those probabilities used are accurate the predictions based on them are far more likely to be correct with more instances. For instance, if people have a 1 in 1000 chance of becoming a Radiant, then for any individual the Diagram would predict they wouldn't, but would predict that a group of ten thousand contains about ten Radiants.

 

Even on the grand scale, though, it isn't perfect. The number of factions in the Jah Keved civil war wasn't accurately predicted. Taravangian might have built in alternate scenarios, or he might be counting on his future self to adapt the plan on smart days.

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"Favored of the winds" seems to apply specifically to Windrunners, or possibly Skybreakers, rather than any other group of Radiant. Do we have anywhere that the diagram itself uses this wording? Is the diagram specific enough to let him know that one of those orders would come first, or do we think "favored of the winds" would be something applied to all the groups of Radiants? 

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"Favored of the winds" seems to apply specifically to Windrunners, or possibly Skybreakers, rather than any other group of Radiant. Do we have anywhere that the diagram itself uses this wording? Is the diagram specific enough to let him know that one of those orders would come first, or do we think "favored of the winds" would be something applied to all the groups of Radiants? 

Perhaps he could predict it because Windrunners are the order most likely to crop up in an army camp? I mean, most people in a battle are trying to protect someone, whether it's themselves or the soldiers under their command. Or the bridgemen, if you're Kaladin.

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Also, reverse lashing is what gives the best chances of survival (to someone who surgebinds unconsciously) while on bridgerun, so the two Orders with gravity surge are the likeliest to survive, thus the 'favored by the winds' expression.

Edited by Aleksiel
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It's also possible that any KR could attract stories of being favored of the winds by surviving a Highstorm thanks to getting a Stormlight charge in the middle.

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This might be true for regularly smart Taravangian, but not Diagram-level Taravangian. At the point where he's able to write the Diagram, he can obviously understand that people will defend the weak and can accurately predict their actions. He can't do it when he's regular-smart, because he loses empathy and isn't smart enough to understand people without it.

 

Also, I'd argue he's not smarter when he's "smarter". He's an idiot in many ways, since "social intelligence" (if that's a thing) is the most important in a medieval society like Roshar's, and he loses that.

 

 

Why are you assuming he has to keep killing people after the first half of the population dies? Why can't he just stop after the first day?

Where are we given the assurance that Diagram smart level Taravangian is able to be empathetic?  Shouldn't he have had no empathy at that point?  The information is just information?  Why would he gain empathy back all of a sudden at his zenith?  I mean this seems to be the case anyway as he's killing off anyone in the name of saving the species.  The smart/dumb King T is just following the Diagram the incredibly smart King T drew up.  (Yes, they interpret it later, but that only makes it more apparent that the interpretation will be flawed against empathy if it's merely smart King T doing the work)

 

Even if you are predicting responses of those who will protect or rise up, it doesn't mean you are valuing them or including them.  Radiants are a nuisance to the Diagram as they are inevitable but uncontrollable and thus unpredictable.  The more you try to control/stop them the more stress it creates and thus more of them to the deal with.  As prime King T is producing the Diagram, it can't account in its predictions for the Radiants even if it knows they are coming.  Thus as they arise the Diagram will be more and more useless.  

 

We also see the pride in King T's response that everyone would agree if they'd listen to his brilliance.  He's been given knowledge but he lacks wisdom.  And so that's a glaring blind spot not only for him but for the Diagram as the farther it moves away from that point in time it was created, the less accurate it will be as it is not a fluid document at all nor is it calculating all the variables like Radiants.  

 

King T wouldn't stop a suicide law because his underlying reasons for doing it in the first place is submission and control in relationship to him.  

 

This is really an Exact Words problem more than anything else (in particular, you are assuming 'average' is the current, instantaneous average over living individuals; it's not really accurate to say 'by definition' the average is based on the current living population). One of the obvious solutions (as several others have described) is that the 'average' is not a moving value, but a colloquial term for a static value, either determined at the beginning of the program, historical norms or by definition (e.g. IQ = 100). The other obvious solution is that the 'average' is not 'average in Jah Keved', but 'average over the entire continent', in which case you can in fact have a floating cut-line while not going into infinite regress.

 

That's why I was asking really.   You infer he would be "smart" enough to preface/bind it, but his pride is glaring and he makes no suggestion of one time only.  The whole point is to have control of the world/population though.  With his pride I don't see it as static as he'll just find the next day's population to be just as annoying to him and his goal.  (New population still isn't smart enough to listen to his brilliance...) What would stop him from just using the same, a new, or revised law to do it again?  How would he ever expect the below average to listen to his reasoning (to dumb), much more so to expect the above average to accept his control via his reasoning (to smart/prideful/arrogant on their own)?  Even if it's not a floating point, he's clearly too stupid to notice that won't solve his underlying issue of lack of control/submission.  Why else has he been killing off a lot of smart/powerful people around the world through Szeth as well?  

 

 I think King T's pride and desire for control are a glaring weakness to any intelligence he was given.  It will affect the interpretation of the Diagram if not simply reflect the guy's nature who wrote it in the first place.  The only accuracy it will continue to achieve is that which King T intends to do anyway.  

 

King T to me is the epitome of every self absorbed power hungry thinks he's genius tyrant, when in reality, he's just a psychopath.  

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...

 

The idea is that above a certain IQ Mr T's intelligence compensates for the lack of empathy and he is able to correctly predict human behavior. 

 

Why do you consider Vargo a control freak with pride issues? How is he hungry for power and self-absorbed?

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Where are we given the assurance that Diagram smart level Taravangian is able to be empathetic?  Shouldn't he have had no empathy at that point?  The information is just information?  Why would he gain empathy back all of a sudden at his zenith?

Empathy is the result of specialized neural structures designed to model and predict the actions of others. Taravangian's intelligence overwrites those, giving him more brainpower but less empathy. Once he reaches Diagram-level, though, he's got enough brainpower that he doesn't need specialized structures for predicting humans.

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Even if you are predicting responses of those who will protect or rise up, it doesn't mean you are valuing them or including them.  Radiants are a nuisance to the Diagram as they are inevitable but uncontrollable and thus unpredictable.  The more you try to control/stop them the more stress it creates and thus more of them to the deal with.  As prime King T is producing the Diagram, it can't account in its predictions for the Radiants even if it knows they are coming.  Thus as they arise the Diagram will be more and more useless.  

 

Radiants are not unpredictable; Taravangian even makes an educated guess about Kaladin with the barest help from the Diagram. I don't think Mr. T opposes the Radiants at all. He doesn't order Kaladin killed, he just has him moved out of the way of Szeth. Mr. T is prepared to destroy the Radiants if they oppose him, but there's no real reason to do that in the middle of a Desolation unless the Radiants want to doom the entire world. Within a few short months, Mr. T will be indispensable, as he will be king of most everything - removing him would throw the entire world into chaos. I think Mr. T would be fine with the Radiants killing him after the Desolation, and I think the Radiants miiiiiight be willing to wait that long.

 

 

We also see the pride in King T's response that everyone would agree if they'd listen to his brilliance.  He's been given knowledge but he lacks wisdom.  And so that's a glaring blind spot not only for him but for the Diagram as the farther it moves away from that point in time it was created, the less accurate it will be as it is not a fluid document at all nor is it calculating all the variables like Radiants.  

 

This "pride" you're speaking of applies when Mr. T is "smart", and no one disagrees with you that he's stupid when he's "smart". He lacks empathy, and can't predict human behavior when he's having a good day. Appropriately, he has made himself a prisoner on those days - not very arrogant of him at all, since he acknowledges his flaws.

 

And, as Mr. T acknowledges, the Diagram does become less accurate with time, though they've been keeping it reasonably on course (since he became King of Jah Keved, like the Diagram said would happen).

 

 

King T wouldn't stop a suicide law because his underlying reasons for doing it in the first place is submission and control in relationship to him.  

 

Citation needed on this one. Here's the quote from the book:

 

“I was smart on that day,” he said. Smart enough that Mrall had declared he needed to be locked in the palace , lest he reveal his nature. He’d been convinced that if he could just explain his condition to the city, they would all listen to reason and let him control their lives perfectly . He’d drafted a law requiring that all people of less than average intellect be required to commit suicide for the good of the city. It had seemed reasonable. He had considered they might resist, but thought that the brilliance of the argument would sway them.

 

He's not doing out of a desire for control, but a desire to help the good of everyone (and he needs to control them as a way to achieve this). Whether or not suicide would help is debatable, but it's clear his motivation was to make the world a better place.

 

 

That's why I was asking really.   You infer he would be "smart" enough to preface/bind it, but his pride is glaring and he makes no suggestion of one time only.  The whole point is to have control of the world/population though.  With his pride I don't see it as static as he'll just find the next day's population to be just as annoying to him and his goal.  (New population still isn't smart enough to listen to his brilliance...) What would stop him from just using the same, a new, or revised law to do it again?  How would he ever expect the below average to listen to his reasoning (to dumb), much more so to expect the above average to accept his control via his reasoning (to smart/prideful/arrogant on their own)?  Even if it's not a floating point, he's clearly too stupid to notice that won't solve his underlying issue of lack of control/submission.  Why else has he been killing off a lot of smart/powerful people around the world through Szeth as well?  

 

As I said above, his goal is to help people. If he has to kill people repeatedly, day after day, then he's not helping people and he's smart enough to realize that, I would argue. He would be smart enough to do the mass-suicide on one day.

 

 

King T to me is the epitome of every self absorbed power hungry thinks he's genius tyrant, when in reality, he's just a psychopath.  

 

"Power hungry"? He doesn't want to do what he's doing. He cries over what he does almost every night. "Power hungry"? I'm sorry if this comes across as rude, but I think if you're calling him power hungry then you've completely misinterpreted the character.

 

He doesn't want this power at all, but he sees the world about to be destroyed and is willing to do anything, sacrifice anything, to save it. The Almighty is dead, every world leader is squabbling and unable to do anything, and the one man who was willing to try (Gavilar) is now dead as well. Taravangian is all that's left in his mind, and he's willing to cry every night and suffer to save it. Taravangian is a man who would have taken the place of a Herald in Damnation if it meant protecting the world from a Desolation.

 

 

“Either way,” Taravangian said, folding the paper. “This was not the answer I wanted.”

“Since when has it mattered what we want?”

“Never,” he said. “And it never will.” He tucked the sheet into his pocket.

 

Yes, he does terrible things, and the efficacy of what he's doing is debatable, but the motivations of Taravangian are spelled out very clearly in the text. He wants to help.

 

And psychopath? The defining characteristics of a psychopath are, according to a quick glance at Wikipedia: impulsiveness, high levels of aggression, and a lack of empathy. Taravangian has so much empathy that he spends nights crying, he's not impulsive at all, and he's so non-aggressive that he started hospitals that were free to everyone and spends hours each day (normally - not after the Diagram) visiting patients. Psychopath doesn't describe him at all. He loses empathy when he's in super-smart mode, but he doesn't become aggressive or impulsive, so I don't think psychopathy is a word you can use there.

Edited by Moogle
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