Reflection: Our perception of the world around us is an accumulation of perspectives we’ve gathered from birth combined with the structure of our brain. Throughout life, we learn from our parents, friends, and our teachers, but we also learn from ourselves. And even though our mind is open to growth, there are some things we just don’t understand. What I have learned from my family and from society is what is perceived to be morally right. And people who do harm to others are bad people. That’s the mindset I’ve been living with for the last 17 years. But the book The Jigsaw Manby Paul Britton, a forensic psychologist, taught me that people always have a motive for their actions, and that their motive is triggered by a past event that was out of one’s control and motivated by the structure of their brain, which is also out of one’s control. For example, people who have more activity in the amygdala, an integrative center for emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation in the brain, are prone to be more aggressive and act out accordingly. Therefore, how can you really blame anyone for doing something “bad”? The Jigsaw Man is non-fiction in which serial killers who have committed unspeakable crimes are analyzed and profiled by Paul Britton himself. As he explains what kind of personality the suspect has based on how, where, when and who the suspect kills, he also analyses why they do the things they do. And what’s surprising is that most of the serial killers had rough childhoods; it was then I realized that these people who assail other people aren’t “bad” people, but that they are just people, all of them victims of their past experiences. And due to a trigger, which could be a demotion, a relationship failure, or a death of a loved one, they escalate to become an executive predator. Our actions are basically a chain reaction of our past experiences, thus a serial killer’s working should be judged as both innocent and guilty. Since this is a hard concept to grasp, I think the most important thing to get from this is understanding someone first, before assigning blame or judging another’s actions. Although I was already taught to not conclude anything based on surface information, for some reason “bad” people did not get the same attitude. And it’s frightening to contemplate the fact that I could have been put in such a situation. It took me 17 years, but I think from now on it’s time to be more understanding of everyone’s actions; even the bad ones.
persuasive piece: Power is the ability to make a change; to influence, inspire and direct people. As we follow four power-seeking politicians in the book First Among Equals by Jeffrey Archer, the author also guides us through each of their lives; the mistakes they make, the failures they endure, and the achievements they behold. The pursuit of power is a struggling journey, filled with drama, deceit, and daunting decisions. It’s an excellent and easy read, and the author’s way of storytelling keeps you from putting down the book until it’s finished. I personally don’t care much for politics, but this book isn’t just about that. It’s a realistic portrayal of human life. As the four politicians compete against each other for the highest political position as Prime Minister, they also struggle in their personal life. Heartbreak, infidelity, bankruptcy and death are all aspects in these men’s life they have to cope with. Reading this book is like an emotional roller coaster; you’ll feel sad, betrayed, angry, ashamed, happy, excited and maybe even in love. One of the politicians is called Raymond. He is red-haired, competitive, and he cheats on his wife. That escalated quickly, didn’t it? Well, it’s one of the first things you read about him. When I read it, I despised him, but if put in his shoes, would I have done the same? Would you? Another politician is called Charles. He is intelligent, married, and he manipulates his way to the top. But, is intelligence and manipulation a good combination for a family man? The third politician is Andrew. He is down to earth, caring, but has many struggles starting a family. How will he cope with these issues as he’s trying to reach the top of his political career? Then finally there’s Simon. Simon is persuasive, a family man, and incredibly articulate. But as he’s loved by most of his co-workers, how is he going to handle three rivals who have it aimed at him? You’ll have so many concerns and so many questions, but you’ll also have many pages filled with answers. However, certain questions will always remain, and those will be the ones concerning your own life. But before finishing the unwritten story of your life, perhaps indulge in the suspenseful lives of the ones already written.