Reading: The Ten Types of Human

Author: Dexter Dias

Neighbours,

One of the reasons I enjoy reading is to make sense of the world around me, of myself and others. I picked up this book not knowing exactly what to expect (hurried book shopping) and from reading the first few pages I knew it was a book I was willing to pay attention to.

The biggest feature of the book that made it worth my time is the fact that Dexter Dias based all this work on research, and where he doesn’t have the answers he says so. The ten types of human in the book explain our behaviour and what our mental structures have to do with it.

Each type has a name and under each one he strives to figure out why that type is so and if there is any evolutionary explanation to that type. He explores our genetic inheritance and social learning, and how they contribute to our behaviour.

In the first type he explores what (if we do) we owe to those around us. Our ability to empathise, what it costs us and how our brains have systems that help us with this ‘cost’. Another chapter looks at ostracism, how it works and the effect it has on us. Think about how you feel when unfollowed or not followed back on social media, or when you were not picked for a game when you were kid, or not being included in certain gatherings. How do we cope and respond to being ostracised and how do we repair that pain of invisibility?

Dias asks and searches for answers about us and aggression. Are we naturally aggressive or is it an adaptation? One of my favourite chapters (not easy to choose one) was the one on nurturing, where I learned so much about parenting and/or nurturing. There’s a lot of valuable information here on childhood experiences and how they affect, say, our future nurturing, whether parental love is conditional or conditioned, and how nurturing and caregiving impact the behaviour of children and the structure of their brains.

This book is mind-blowing, it is page after page of enlightening information. Dias travels to different countries and meets a variety of people who are these types and their stories are heart-breaking as well as inspiring. Not only does the book ask and attempt to answer these questions about humanity, but it also stirs something in you to ask questions, always.

The Ten Types of Human is necessary to help us engage with each other in a different way, with understanding and an open-mind to how we are and why we do the things we do. It can help you clear some things about yourself and figure out certain things that you’ve probably not been able to deal with within yourself. It’s absolutely great for parenting, in understanding your children and dealing with parenting or caregiving, as well as understand our parents and some of their decisions.

It is a huge book but I promise you, every page is worth it.

Enjoy, Neighbour!              

bell hooks Urges Us To Return To Love

Reading All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks

“love’s in need of love today

don’t delay, send yours in right away…”

(Love’s In Need of Love Today, Stevie Wonder)

Neighbour, remember when Stevie and George did that back in 1985? This was the song that played in my head while reading bell hooks’s All About Love: New Visions.

The book is a call for love, in our personal lives and in society as a whole. Love is needed as the thread that runs through the garment we dress the world in. bell hooks lays out 13 chapters of how and why we should redefine love, where we learn how to love and be loved, the benefits of a society that runs on a fuel of love, and so much more.

My favourite chapter was on how childhood is the original school of love. She dives into the way the patterns of love in our childhood affect us as adults. She challenges the idea of placing abuse and love in the same room and explains how the two cannot co-exist.

It made me think of how some of us in our childhoods, getting a beating for punishment was a way our elders showed us they loved and cared, doing it to steer us in the right direction. hooks offers an alternative, a method of discipline that is loving in its nature.

She also discusses lying in its different forms and how it is used as a form of power, and that it falls outside of the practice of love. She encourages us to commit to living by a love ethic, detailing the benefits of doing so and how that can transform our lives for the good.

The book is packed with so many ways that love reaches into so many spaces of our lives, and how we do things that get in its way. She talks about community, forgiveness, racism, sexism, and how love can be such a transformative force.

With all that we witness around us, there were parts of the book that sounded like unreachable tasks, or rather things we can only hope for. However, hooks is confident that by making certain changes, we can return to love and in these thirteen chapters she tells us how we can love again.

Happy reading, Neighbour. 😊

The Power of Namina Forna’s ‘The Gilded Ones’

If you’re into African fantasy, say “Aye!”

It’s the Ritual of Purity and sixteen-year-old Deka is nervous, anxious, and excited about this monumental ceremony where girls her age are to have their purity tested. Being proven to be pure means being eligible to be married and have a family.

Something else takes place on this day, the arrival of the deathshrieks and the discovery of who Deka is. This is followed by torture beyond her imagination, as well as watching the people she loves turn against her because of who and what she is. Discovering her state as an “alaki”, an impure creature, unwanted by all “normal” people has implications that she herself does not understand. After being recruited to kill the deathshrieks, the road leads to finding herself, discovering her strength and her power.

When I started reading it I got Children of Blood and Bone vibes, and the deathshrieks reminded me of the dementors in Harry Potter. Reading on, I found that The Gilded Ones is its own story, there are no wizards here but some powerful girls and women who are going to rewrite history.

I love the feminist theme in this book. Girls and women are taught that their significance is to serve men. The story brings patriarchal ideas to the fore, breaks them down, and challenges them. We see, for example, the way patriarchal values are knit into religious practices as a way to control and subdue girls and women.

I absolutely loved the way the girls realise their power and the taking back of the power that was taken away from them by the men who wrote history for their own agendas. Another important element in this book is the power of friendships, sisterhood to be precise. Other important themes in the story are misogyny, xenophobia, child soldiers, and trauma.

The only thing I would criticize is the pace. The story drags for over two hundred pages, and you have to have the patience to get there. Ahead though, lies adventure and excitement, as well as a satisfying end.