Posts Tagged ‘synchronicity’

Merciless or Manly

November 14, 2013

Self_coverIn the Sunday talk on Subhashitamala (literally, garland of proverbs) Swamiji mentioned the book, Self-Help by Samuel Smiles. The next Sunday I was early to the Math and looked up the library for this book.  It is an old book; a 1859 publication.  I flipped open the book for cursory reading and the words India, uprising and Nicholson caught my eye.  It was the chapter entitled Energy and Courage.  I had just finished reading The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple, which was full of details on the 1857 uprising, alternately called the Sepoy mutiny, and my memory was fresh.

I found the description of Brigadier General John Nicholson in The Last Mughal and  at contrast.  John Nicholson played an important, possibly crucial role in subduing the Sepoy mutiny in Delhi.  Samuel Smiles is all praise for John Nicholson.  He is described as the finest, manliest and noblest of men.  He is among the modern heroes of India with no precedence and quotes Montalambert (a contemporary of Smiles) that they ‘do honour to the human race’.  As an illustration of his sustained energy and persistency, Smiles cites his pursuit of the mutineers: ‘when he was in the saddle for twenty consecutive hours, and travelled more than 70 miles.’TheLastMughal

On the other hand, Darlymple introduces Nicholson as one who had personally decapitated a local robber chieftain and then kept the man’s head on his desk.  He was something of a legend among the British during the uprising because among other ‘manly’ qualities he had a merciless capacity of extreme brutality.  There were few among the British troops ‘who remained immune to the hero-worship of this great imperial psychopath.’

 War times change the definition of qualities.  Do they? A soldier could be described as merciless or manly depending on the side one takes: the winners’ side or the losers’.

Its strange. I just thought about it yesterday!

June 6, 2012

dejavuThe other day i visited a temple and saw a swamiji (monk) distributing prasad. After distributing prasad for a while he walked to the shrine when i noticed him limp. His right leg had swollen abnormally; he had encephalitis.  Today i was reading up news and came across the news item that talked about the number of occurrences of encephalitis in Bihar.  This happens to me very often. I did not find exact word that can describe it but its something like Deja Vous. I was wondering if there is something special about it until i read this article on the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. This article demystifies it by explaining clearly the reason behind it.  Brain is a pattern recognition engine and promotes the information that is repeated because that begins a sequence. For more read the article; it is an interesting read.

Here is another article about it. Apparently, a linguistic Prof. at Stanford, Arnold Zwicky, first termed this phenomenon as ‘frequency illusion’. Baader-Meinhof  was a west-German left wing militant group and has got nothing to the phenomenon per se. It’s strange of the wrong names catch on.

%d bloggers like this: