Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Are Less Powerful People More Corrupt?

Least powerful people cannot be too corrupt because their corruption is easily caught whereas the most powerful keep on misusing power for enough long or perhaps forever.

An interlocutor who thinks that people with little power are more corrupt wrote:

I was walking through a local store a while back and saw a grandmotherly and motherly type pushing a baby carriage through the ailses. I looked in past the swadling blankets and saw - not a baby, but groceries. This is a common enough occurrence that I've overheard clerks in another store saying about people pulling the same scam, "We're going to call the cops this time." Can you imagine someone like Pratibha Patil even attempting this, let alone getting off with a warning the first few times?

Example is amusing. First: Pratibha Patil doesn't enjoy much power. She is merely a representative of a title which has no power with it, because Indian presidents, unlike USA presidents, are there, merely for a show and they don't do much. They are elected, they serve their term and then part away, silently. Prime ministers on the other hand have great deal of power and there has been a history of misuse of such power in India.

One late Prime Minister of India has set an example of great abuse of power. He was charged heavily in a scam,  and even today, people say that the account with biggest sum in Swiss bank is in his name and this black money is enough to let India have tax-free time for at least next 20 years! [ These claims do have some substantiality because a statement officially released on behalf of Swiss bank confirmed it.]

So, this PM would not be found walking in a store, attempting to steal a ' Johnson & Johnson Baby Sahmpoo,' because he can have deals that matter under the table and behind the scenes. No poor man can steal bread from millions of children! You're right, powerful people cannot attempt these small feets, therefore, they attempt big things. 

Why Drink A Lot of Water?

I cannot give you better reasons than this article does:

Twenty Benefits of Drinking Water

The article is both inspirational and motivating. Many of us might look at many of the points given with skepticism, which is very obvious and healthy thing to do, but slight experimentation would not do much damage, especially if you're already aware of Hyponatremia and you don't drink too much of water too fast in your experiments.

I have observed that keeping a water bottle handy increases our water intake. It's because we're not very motivated to move too often to drink water, which seems such a trivial thing. Moreover, going to urinals too often becomes a compulsory if you drink too often and that seems to be something to be managed, especially if you're engaged in something which needs sustained focus. Most trivial things become key points and even life altering factors in our lives if neglected long enough. My suggestion is to give this article (link above) a thorough read and it will not harm you in any way. It will hardly take your 10 minutes even if you are the slowest of the readers.

 I feel that most of us drink less water than our bodies need. I observe people most of the time overlooking this vital factor in their busy schedules. It will not be long enough to observe changes, positive and vital improvements in your health, once you start increasing water intake in your routine.

Why Not To Drink Too Much Water?

I think all your life you might have received suggestions from your parents, friends and colleagues about drinking a lot of water in order to boost your metabolism. Well, these suggestions are indeed important but should not be taken at face value. You must determine about your daily water intake, depending upon your age, daily-activity-levels, climate in which you live and other factors. 

Don't just blindly follow any routine involving great water intake.

It's a fact that there have been cases of deaths due to excessive water intake. The condition which caused these deaths is known as Hyponatremia and it's because sodium concentration in the serum dips to fatal levels because of too quick consumption of large quantities of water. It's very rare, still a possibility, especially in water drinking contests, where ignorant hosts risk lives of contestants(who are equally ignorant!) It also happens in the athletic activities like marathons where athletes keep on consuming a lot of water without replenishing their bodies with Sodium.

The death is caused by the Osmosis, because, cells(especially brain cells called 'neurons,') which have relatively higher concentration of Sodium, let more water come into them and swell, and since size of skull is constant brain cannot expand and this results in death.

Therefore be very careful about not drinking too much too fast. It's not drinking too much water which kills you, but drinking too much of it in a very short span of time. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Your kidneys can process upto 15 litres of water in a day! But make sure that if you drink water very often, then you go to urinals as often as well and you don't let all of the electrolytes and salts get flushed away from your system.

Sibling Rivalry

I don't know why, but April 10th is celebrated as 'World Sibling Day,' which brought my attention back to one very interesting topic 'Sibling Rivalry.' Wikipedia article on Sibling Rivalry is quite intriguing. Sigmund Freud has associated sibling rivalry(like many other things) with Oedipus Complex, do you think that it's a possibility and what about effects of Sibling Rivalry, do you think that it's helpful in upbringing of children or it's a hindrance?

And if you know why April 10th is celebrated as World Sibling Day, do let me know.

Unquestioning Obedience: A Conversation

Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons. 
                                                                                                       ----Bertrand Russell


I don't know about others but I feel that unquestioning obedience in military if it's also known as 'patriotism' doesn't impress me much. Fighting in a war doesn't eradicate any problems. Unquestioning obedience is almost always forced, either by conspicuous use of force or by subtle subliminal programming.

"What use 'unquestioning obedience' has in world anyway?" A fellow interlocutor asked me. She was pointing towards wonders of the world and asking if unquestioning obedience really played role in the creation of those marvellous architectures. To take an example- as far as Taj Mahal is concerned people were forced and the chief artisan was killed after the completion of the project( or so I am told.)

Is there a role played by large group of people having faith in bigger picture? In my opinion large groups of people having faith in the bigger picture, without any questioning, give rise to Fascism, Nazism, Proselytizing and so and so on. 

In my opinion, Socrates, Galileo and countless others died because of questioning for truth. Socrates tried to inculcate honest questioning in all of the people he met along as a way to know the self.Unquestioning obedience is merely a meme helping some 'isms' thrive. More this 'unquestioning obedience' factor a religion has more and quicker it seems to proliferate and thrive, creating a force of fanatics which is hell-bent on killing sanity.

"What about a scenario where a group of people is equally inspired to do something?" She asked. If it is an act of 'group inspiration,' as you call it, I don't feel that there is any need of 'coercion' or 'unquestioning obedience.' If the whole group is equally inspired there is no need of anyone telling anyone else about 'what to do.' I answered.

This gives rise to another question: What if a group of people is equally inspired to follow someone? Then it's not any coercion but it might give rise to unquestioning obedience. Yes, It's a possibility and you can observe many cults around you to find out what happens to such groups and I don't mean that it's necessarily evil.

Even in case of pyramids, you might like to speculate that these wonders of the world were created because there was 'unquestioning obedience.' But I would very well speculate that masses did rebel. Slaves used to rebel but only some of them could ever got converted into mutiny. If you have read or watched movies about Moses, you would know that in Egypt there were so many slaves and many of them were driven away in exodus by Moses. It was a rebellion in my opinion.

As far as army being forced to do heinous acts is concerned, you need not go far in history, USA army has done some really marvellous things in recent past and almost everyone is aware of such hierarchies in other eras. For example: You might question how Hitler commanded such a vehement force to carry out his plans of world domination at cost of millions of humans.

My friend also pointed towards the peaceful cabal of some Taoists. I don't say that there cannot be peaceful coexistence and that too accompanied with unquestioning obedience; but it should sustain for enough long, which is rarely the case, because it's against the very nature of truth in my opinion. If you carefully look into the nature of Taoism or Buddhism or Zen: None of these would really make one an individual having great faith in unquestioning obedience or group ideologies. This I would say despite what you have observed in world as Buddhism Zen or Taoism. And I say so because they ask you to enquire and question everything until your mind disappears. 

A flowering of consciousness, like Buddha, Laozi or Gorakhnath is never really interested in creating groups but rather in imparting wisdom to individuals, but as soon as they depart, a flag appears and appears an umbrella, people start gathering under these flags and umbrellas and everything which was started with an intention to achieve blooming of consciousness starts rotting and groups are almost always as a rule, cause of deterioration, especially when power hungry leaders start asking for unquestioning obedience. That is what happened to much of Zen which was considered purest of Buddhism.

"What about the country where military is needed just for self-defence? Is unquestioning obedience needed in such a scenario or not?" She asked.

I know if I say yes: You would say that in such case 'unquestioning obedience' is needed part of soldiers in order to serve their country. I agree, but it's because we're looking at the fragment of the 'whole' problem. This unquestioning obedience in certain fraction of soldiers calls for the same in hundreds of other groups. What if, in the first place there is no attack by any country on any other country? There would be no need of 'unquestioning obedience.' I know what I am talking about is not reflected in history. But that is what I am trying to say. If these soldiers start thinking and all of them, then they would ask questions and if all of them ask questions the critical mass reached will lead to passive resistance and if it continues for enough long there will be no violence.

If all soldiers in the world started rejecting unquestioning obedience, the world would soon be a less violent and more peaceful place. Though, I could also not be too sure about implications but mass killings in world wars and civil wars have heavily outnumbered sadistic killings. It takes much more than just disarmament to see a really peaceful world.

This conversation is an excerpt from my discussion with libertygrl on The Couch discussion forum. In order to access full thread and in order to participate in such discussions, if you will, please visit: The Couch

image sources: 
1. Bertrand Russel
2. Osho 
3. Socrates 
4 Laozi