Category Archives: phantom thinker

The power of suggestion: Nudging India into a conflict?

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, said:

“Al-Qaeda is trying to destabilise the whole of South Asia hoping to provoke war between India and Pakistan. India might not show restraint if it suffered another attack like the one in 2008 on Mumbai.”

Hard to tell if he is is echoing India’s frustrations, or if he is nudging India – after all, the power of suggestion is pretty strong. India has shown extraordinary restaint so far, and 26/11 was not a unique case. What makes Mr. Gates think the next attack could be the last straw? I wonder if he is suggesting to India that she could make the next one the last straw if she so chose.


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True Character

The true character of an individual, group or a nation is revealed not in good times, but in bad.

A nation that stays true to its core beliefs and principles in good times and in bad is honourable.

A nation which delivers sermons to others about liberty, freedom [or all kinds including trade] and other noble virtues, but doesn’t walk the talk, is dishonourable.

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I recently watched two very different movies that explored the role of ‘destiny’ and how it shapes our lives – Slumdog Millionare [good] and Luck By Chance [very good].

Since then, I have had this background thread spinning in my phantom mind – contemplating the role destiny plays in our lives. Does destiny really shape our lives, or do we shape our own destiny [as the principal character from Luck by Chance believes]?

And then this morning I came across a news item that announced that Scientists have confirmed the existance of a ‘Happiness Gene‘.

Positive people may owe their optimism to a gene variant that helps them dwell on the good and ignore the bad.

When I read the news item, I found my answer – destiny does play a role indeed. However not in the way it is portrayed in cinema or how we generally think it does – but in an entirely different way.

Our destiny is not whether or not we win a million dollars on a game show, or whether or not we ‘make it’ as a film star. Our destiny is how we are equipped to deal with the events we face in our lives. It is our destiny whether or not we inherit the ‘Happiness Gene’. [atleast till the time scientists find a way to ‘inject’ the happiness gene into people born without it.]

What shapes our lives is not what happens to us, but how we deal with what has happened.

We have examples of successful people like Owen Wilson, who as it appears have the best of everything that life has to offer, and yet try to kill themselves.That is their destiny.

On the other hand, we also have examples of people like Lance Armstrong or Christopher Reeve, who on the face of it have nothing to be cheerful about, and yet they are ever hopeful, never giving up. That is their destiny.

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