Men, Their Motivation, & the Narcissists
Last Thursday, the 24th of September, we gathered on Zoom for class as scheduled. We continued our discussion on Philocetes. The main theme we discussed was dehumanization. Philocetes was dehumanized by the Greeks for the purpose of winning a war. The war was more important than his health to them. He was suffering from a snakebite and abandoned on a deserted island, Lemnos. Odysseus and the Greeks came back and were only interested in his bows and arrows. They used Neoptolemus to lie and the tactic of the ends justifying the means. Odysseus claimed he was doing this to win the Trojan War and did not consider Philoctetes feelings. Dehumanization is very common and noticeable in life. You dismiss the fact that they too are human and have value through the satisfaction of achieving your own selfish goal or for your own safety. We discussed establishing leadership by eliminating dehumanization in our breakout rooms. My group talked about eliminating social dehumanization. We related it to the current state of America and Black people. We believe that children should be taught human decency from a young age in schools similar to how skills such as reading, writing, and learning the English language are ingrained in our minds from a young age. Teachers should undergo training on how to work with a classroom of students ranging from different backgrounds and races. The curriculum should reflect social aspects of different groups and not be limited to the account of the majority within the society. This is a current issue with Donald Trump trying to ban training on racism and the 1619 Project by the New York Times. He wants to teach pro-American curriculum which is the glorified version of history that does not acknowledge the raw truths and racist cores of the fundamentals of our democracy. We thought of how classism is another huge problem in America and the role that it plays in dehumanization. To eliminate or alleviate this particular aspect, we believe there should be more diversity and inclusion. Reversing policies such as stop and frisk or nonviolent crimes that are contribute to overpolicing which could help the dehumanization of black people in the eyes of the police. As I review this before submitting, the presidential debate has taken place since I started this journal. Donald Trump contributed to the dehumanization of the minorities in our country when we chose not to denounce white supremacy and told the Proud Boys to “stand back, and stand by” on Wednesday night, the 30th of September. The Proud Boys are a prime example of a dehumanizing group, they believe that they are superior since they are the majority in this country, white men, and use the tactics of violence to incite fear among minorities.
On Friday, the 25th of September, I followed my routine as normal and read El Muerto with my favorite snack, chocolate ice cream of course. At first, I was a bit confused while creating questions at figuring out the type of person Benjamin Otalara was. Some questions I formulated were:
- Does he not feel a sense of belonging ?
- Does he not have a sense of his own identity ?
- Does he feel content with his own life ?
I had a lot of questions in common with the assessment at the end of the chapter as well. I believe Otalara wanted to be Azevedo Bandeira desperately and the underlying cause was because he is a narcissist. His thinking and actions align with those of a narcissist because he has an inflated sense of self-importance and arrogance. He craves power throughout the whole short story. I was able to see this when he wanted Bandeira’s woman, horse, and saddle proving the point that he is preoccupied with fantasies or unlimited success, power,
brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. This is displayed in Chapter 22, “The woman, the saddle, and the bay horse are attributes and trappings of a man that he aspires to destroy.” He wanted to strip Bandeira of all his power because he is selfish. Rather than attain these things through hard work, he feels a sense of entitlement. These possessions such as the horse and his relationship with the red-haired woman is a token of Bandeira’s authority. I believe Otalara is jealous and has a desire for Bandeira’s lifestyle even more since they comprise his power. He also Is interpersonally exploitative (i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends). An example of this would be when he wounds a man that was going to smuggle rum. Otalara exploits him by injuring him and then taking his place which is unfair. Instead of climbing to that level as the rest of them do to become a smuggler, he decides to cheat his way through. Otalara displays another narcissistic behavior because he has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements). He does this by taking Bandeira’s place and shouts out orders to the Uruguayans. This particular action shows that he is power-hungry and wants to be the chief or shot caller. This reminds me of people that do work above their pay grade or means in terms of bossing others around. For example, we have all had that one coworker, or classmate, or teammate that believes they are in charge in the absence of the real supervisor, teacher, or coach. They are often not respected because they did not work hard to attain that type of authority. Another narcissistic behavior exemplified by Otalara was when he lacked empathy for missing Buenos Aires. He disregarded these feelings by continuing to drink until the point of becoming drunk.
On Sunday, the 27th of September, I re-digested the text and made comparisons between his actions and Antisocial Personality Disorder. He is deceitful, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure. Otalara’s personality seems fake to me throughout the whole story from the beginning when he is looking for Bandeira and does not reveal the letter of introduction after getting involved in the brawl between the cattle drovers. Another trait of Antisocial Personality Disorder that aligns with Otalara’s behavior is Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults. When described witnessing the knife fight between the cattle drovers, he was intrigued and eager to join. He also wounded a man to replace him and become a smuggler. Otalora is no stranger to violence and the previously mentioned examples of his physical encounters display this. His impulsivity or failure to plan ahead is shown when he tells Suarez his plans to replace Bandeira. He clearly was not thinking thoroughly when he did this because it backfired and would be his downfall or reason he was killed at the end of the story. He is antisocial to the point that he does not know how to build trust with people.
On Monday, the 28th of September, I took the time to read Dr. Sandridge’s article on Donald Trump and the beliefs of him being a narcissist. I learned about the Goldwater Rule which states psychiatrists are unable to give their professional opinion about public figures whom they have not examined in person. I believe this rule has been upheld because in fairness to the patient, how can they be diagnosed if they have not met with the doctor in person. People, especially celebrities, do not show their true selves in the public eye due to many reasons and privacy being one of them. I do believe there needs to be a more thorough and effective way to assess the mental health of our presidents because they are the leaders of our country and responsible for over 300 million people. If they are not right in the mind, this will just cause havoc and civil wars upsetting our democracy. I fear that we are headed to that place currently with Donald Trump acknowledging the Proud Boys at the national presidential election debate and pinning them against Antifa or the Left.
I decided to do further reflection and was perplexed by how Otalora figured out he was being set up from the moment he got there. I believed Bandeira was acting as a mentor to him, or Otalora was the sidekick to Bandeira. The story became blurred when Otalora wanted to replace Bandeira. This is a timeless and common story of jealousy. The person that does the most to be recognized because they envy another, always ends up getting hurt in the end. My initial language that I associated with Otalora, or my initial impression, was that he wanted to be “the man” or popular like Bandeira. He was seeking validation in the wrong places I believe. He resorted to cheating rather than working hard to be respected. A lot of people see this as the easier option or easy way out. This is a characteristic common among celebrities or in big industries such as music or fashion, they would rather get romantically involved or succumb to the pressures of society by altering their natural body, or simply changing their personality to become famous or get their “big break.”
On Tuesday, the 29th of September, we discussed the similarities between characters in El Muerto and other works we have covered since the semester began in breakout rooms among our groups. My group believes Otalora shares the journey of seeking leadership with Binti, and Telemechus. The only difference is that Otalora’s attempt is a failed one. He does not go about it in an honest way and his plan backfires. He can also relate to Binti because they left their hometowns. We also discussed how the suitors and red haired woman are symbols of temptation and intimacy. The suitors wanted to have sex with the women and were trying to distract them by complaining that they could not take care of the babies. The red-haired woman was a temptation for Otalora and he ended up sleeping with her. The women in the Lysistrata are similar to the red-haired woman because they are seen as a possession or for sexual pleasures. She was demanded to kiss Otalora in front of everyone before he died.
Dr. Sandridge talked about motivation. Binti is determined not to die. Neoptelemus wants to take Troy, but Philoctetes influences him otherwise, and finds motivation. He mentions his friend Jimmy Ranskin who said you discover true motivation when you’re doing it, not when you’re setting out to beware of motives and think of good and bad ones.
After reading, I decided to reflect on plotting my leadership development by figuring out my motives for being a leader. I was able to identify with having a sense of duty or obligation. I feel as though I have an obligation to my family and especially my parents who immigrated to this country from Jamaica.
They have sacrificed so much moving here and facing discrimination so my siblings and I could have better opportunities than they did without the distratcions of violence and hardships. I also want to establish generational wealth for my family and continue the developing legacy that my parents initiated with the brave or bold decision to move here. I also can identify with a love of humanity because I believe all of us deserve equal rights, freedoms, and pay. I hate the systemic racism that has been institutionalized into our country. It has divided humanity between skin colors and although there is no legal segregation, there is still no integration. Two good examples of this can be observed through gentrification and redlining. This has caused minorities to succumb to violence due to the lack of funding and opportunities in their communities. I was raised to love and appreciate all. I am a Christian ad well and I feel as though it is not up to me to be the judge, jury, or executioner. I believe that is God’s place. I can also identify with nurturing concern. I want to be a medical doctor when I get older to create more representation of black doctors and help alleviate the statistics that show wide disparities between Black people developing heart disease, dying during child labor, and contracting cancers. I want to provide care for people that are constantly overlooked. This feeling has grown stronger especially since black and brown communities are suffering more from COVID-19 at disproportionately high rates.
My sense of leadership is motivated by these factors because I owe to the people that brought me into this world and the future generations I will hopefully bring into this world later on.black