On Spotting The Bad Mentee

I completed Spotting the Bad Mentee in Jorge Luis Borges’ “El Muerto”, on Sunday September 27th and finished it Tuesday morning. These were my responses to the questions.

I feel like deep down everyone has characteristics similar to Benjamin Otàlara. Problematic, troublesome , challenging, and the list goes on. People often become turned on or thrilled by the idea of danger. This is why most people endure rather dangerous and life-threatening adventures so that they can feel the thrill. Majority of people actually say that by doing impulsive activities they finally” feel alive”. When we take a look back towards Medieval Times , people actually paid money to sit and witness ruthless and brutal fights. Whether it was between two competitors , or a man fighting an animal, the sight of someone fighting for their life thrilled the audience.

As a child I was always raised to run away from danger . If you hear someone arguing mind your business , if you see someone fighting you need to go the other way because a bullet has no one‘s name on it. “Wrong time wrong place”. A phrase that I’ve heard too often and has taken too many lives. However , despite being raised hearing these words, and these words becoming installed in my skull there were still instances where I did the opposite. In high school if there were fights happening I would want to watch the fight phone open, and camera on. Now as I’m writing this I am not proud of my actions but this just shows me how we all have qualities similar to Benjamin even if they don’t happen too often, we all have urges and danger excites us.

WhileI was trying to think of someone I know who fits Benjamin‘s profile ,I honestly could not think of a name. I thought of a few faces and people that I have interacted with who acts like Benjamin and then I realized something. I don’t and never surround myself with people like him. I am a firm believer that you are the company you keep and based on who you surround yourself with makes you a part of it. For example , if you hang around people who have nothing going for themselves and all they do is party and drink, from the outside looking in anyone would assume that you also are involved in these activities, even if you aren’t . The company you keep represents you and that is why I’ve always been skeptical about who I let in my space.

So , even though I don’t have a specific person , a specific group came to mind. The dropouts , the class clowns , the troublemakers. Those who did not care about much , did not have any respect for authority, and fed off of negative things such as fights. For some reason students gravitated towards these troublemakers and thought they were funny and cool. In my opinion , they were so like because they did what most wanted to do , but did not have the guts to do so. They were able to manipulate and control the minds of others and get them to do stupid acts as well, but not me . I actually was disgusted and turned off because of how they would act.

I don’t believe that people with these characteristic features would be a good leader. Someone who is selfish, conniving, impulsive and troublesome is not fit to lead. You will be teaching others bad traits and these are not the “ bad but good and needed traits”. Someone who is impulsive cannot only put themselves but their followers in danger. Altogether, these are not characteristics you should be teaching others and I don’t think any of these traits are strengths. You would be weakening the community by spreading this message.The government has ways of dealing with citizens in leadership positions who threaten or weaken society. For example, the license to practice or serve can be revoked if their actions are seen as unjust . A lawyer for instance, can be disbarred if their practices are seen as unjust and unacceptable. They can also face jail time depending on what they actually did.

Bandeira does enrich himself and others by using Otàlara the way he did . The whole time Otàlara thought he was making progress and slowly taking Bandeira’s place but Bandeira was two steps ahead of him the whole time. He allowed him to love, be in charge , and triumph , all because they had already considered him a dead man. The story ended with a realization of his reality right before he died. Well I was reading I was thinking how dumb he was. Why would you think Bandeira’s right hand man will turn on him to help you ? You don’t think you’re the first to come and try to take over the business? He should have been smarter and not so impulsive and maybe things would have turned out better for him and he will still be alive. This is why I don’t think someone like Otàlara would be a good leader. His character traits in my opinion is not what it takes to be a leader but the opposite.

Otàlara meets the diagnostic criteria for the narcissistic personality disorder, as described by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (2013). He matches five of the behaviors listed the first being having a sense of entitlement. He has unreasonable expectations when it comes to favorable treatment, shown in the passage when he befriends Ulpano Suārez, Azevado Banderia’s bodyguard. It was unreasonable for him to expect that Banderia’s right hand man would turn on Banderia to help him scheme against Banderia. He also is interpersonally exploitative, he takes advantage of others to achieve his on ends. In the story he provokes one of his companions to fight, wounds him, and takes his place. Which brings me to his next narcissistic behavior, lacking empathy. He has no feelings towards others and doesn’t care who he has to step on to get what he wants. Benjamin is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited power, success, and the ideal of love, which explains why he wanted to take Banderia’s place. The women, the saddle, and the bay horse are attributes and trappings of a man that he aspired to destroy. Lastly, but most importantly he is envious of Azevado. The whole story is about him being jealous of what Banderia has and as a result trying to undermine and take control of Banderia’s empire.

Otálora meets the diagnostic criteria for the antisocial personality disorder, as described by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (2013) as well. He fails to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behavior, and he is deceitful. He repeatedly lies, uses alises and cons others for his personal profit . Benjamin is irritable and aggressive, as indicated by repeated physical fights he has encountered in the story. In addition, he is impulsive and reckless, has no regard for his safety or the safety of others. Lastly, his lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another, is seen all the way up to his death. When he had an epiphany right before he died and realized that he was outsmarted from the start, I don’t think he was remorseful at all . The red head was crying over him, but he was not crying, nor was he sad.

In class on Tuesday we were put in groups and were asked to compare and contrast Benjamin with other characters from previous stories we have discussed, and I was surprised and impressed by some of my classmates’ responses. The first comparison was between Philoctetes and Azevedo; both are somewhat deemed “ugly”. In “El Muerto” Benjamin describes Azevedo as being “poorly put together” and while he’s still considered an “insider” in this story, there’s still that connection to both of them being labeled as physically unattractive. Secondly, Benjamin compares closely to Odysyeus in many aspects, when observing/looking at Azevedo Bandeira he dehumanized him speaking about the way he is built “even though he is burly, being poorly put together” Philoctetes compares to Azevedo in the same respect. Another similarity between Odysseus and Benjamin is that they are both manipulators. Odysseus was able to manipulate Neoptolemus to get the bow from Philoctetes. In comparison to Benjamin, he manipulated Bandeira’s bodyguard into helping him be on top. Another comparison between Benjamin and Odysseus that my group discussed is their narcissistic and somewhat psychopathic behavior traits. Both have no sense of empathy and use others to achieve their goal. Odysseus uses Neoptelemus to try and steal Philoctetes bow, and Benjamin tries to befriend Azevedo Banderia’s bodyguard in order to take control of his empire. When I stated this in class , Professor Sandridge mentioned to me how psychopaths are known for instrumental aggression while “normal” people are known for reactive aggression.

A contrast that was noticed is the ways in which Lysistrata and Benjamin obtained a leadership status. Lysistrata stepped up to the plate after realizing something had to be done about the Peloponnesian War while Benjamin stabbed and stepped on others and even tried to oust Azevedo to be at the top and that was his downfall. Another contrast is Benjamin compared to Bitni. Binti was reluctant but ended up helping not only herself but the Meduse and the people at Oomza University while Benjamin only wanted to help and further himself for riches and status. Binti’s father (mentor) and Bandeira (mentor) .Binti’s father used rooted teachings to guide his daughter into the harmonizer that she was. Bandeira did it in a careless way, in other words he did not have much of a connection with Benjamin Otalara.

To wrap it up, this is the first lesson so far that showed bad mentorship behaviors. These behaviors of narcissism and antisocial personalities should not be tendencies in leadership positions. Like Windsor said in class, our president is a prominent example of what happens when people with these tendencies have leadership positions



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