To make an omelette, you must break a few eggs!
Some individuals would argue that, to make the world a better place, you must break a few social and legal constraints. The belief that social norms and the law are unjust and hinder social improvement is not uncommon. Most individuals at times imagine how they could make the world a better place if only they were free from the shackles of society and the law. The majority do not follow up these views with behaviour due to the costs involved. A small subset of altruists, however, pursue their prosocial desires and goals via behaviors that would be classified as antisocial. Due to the high costs involved in such behavior, these individuals are Extreme altruists.
Comparatively little research has been done on the phenomenon of Extreme Altruism. This research seeks to address that. A literature review of the Dark Triad suggested that individuals high in antisocial personality traits are not incapable of acting prosocial as originally considered. Instead their reliance on cognitive empathy may direct them towards utilitarian approaches of helping others. Furthermore, a systematic review of the positive relationship between prosocial behaviour and antisocial traits suggests that narcissists and psychopaths are capable of altruism, if given the means to express this behaviour. The lack of evidence of such expression may be due to an inherent bias in the reporting of such individuals’ actions.
An extreme altruist subculture, the Real Life Superhero movement (RLSH), was used to test the proposed relationship between antisocial traits and extreme altruism. Analysis suggests that components within the narcissism spectrum may be the most likely candidates to be related to extreme altruism. The findings of this thesis not only support the proposal that traits from within the antisocial personality continuum can fuel the extreme altruism but also suggest an exciting new direction for research into altruism as a whole.