Posts Tagged ‘character’


 Pursuit of Happiness is a slippery slope for some.

 I am an incorrigible reader of news and where these are reporting human frailties my antenna goes up instantly; and with experience I know a good story even before I settle down to read it.

Take the following news for instance:

In the month of June 2012 one Patricia Smith, the former controller of an auto dealership in Pennsylvania, was headed to jail after embezzling $10 million from her former boss in a stunning case of a trusted employee looting the business then squandering the cash on luxuries.

Smith, who worked at Baierl Acura located in Wexford, Pa., an upper-middle class suburb of Pittsburgh, was convicted of systematically stealing for seven years–some $4,000 a day on average–for private jet travel, special trips to the theatre, fancy clothes and other goods, according to the court.

According to Shannon Pierre, of ABC Pittsburgh affiliate WTAE, who reported on the story from court, Smith’s reason for her crime spree was she felt like a “horrible daughter, wife, mother and friend” and the gifts were a way to “earn their love” because she wanted to see “what happiness looks like.”

Oh that was a good one! Pursuit of happiness was a phrase that made sense to Patricia. Here was happiness in its lurid colors and it didn’t work for her. In fact ‘pursuit of happiness’ was not simply a catchphrase but a whole sentence. Nearing retirement age she must serve 78 months in prison, three years of probation, and pay restitution of $10,349,569.14 for the fortune she obtained by making more than 800 money transfers from the Baierl Acura’s coffers to her personal accounts. (Good Morning America, June19, 2012).

When you are among lemmings watch out. Pursuit of happiness could land you in trouble.


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Samuel Foote(1720-1777) wit
Dear Son,
I am in prison for debt; come and assist your loving mother.-E. Foote

Dear Mother,
So am I; which prevents his loving duty being paid to his loving mother.-Your affectionate son.
Samuel Foote
P.S_ I have sent my attorney to assist you; in the mean time let us hope for better days.
John Ruskin (1819-1900)

John Ruskin once received a request for donation to pay off the mortgage of the Duke Street Chapel and I have given here below an excerpt of his reply. It would seem he was addressing our present world; and for those who want buy now and pay later it may even be an eye opener!
Brentwood, 19 May,1886,
I am scornfully amused at your appeal to me, of all people in the world the precisely least like to give you a farthing! My first word to all men and boys to hear me is”Don’t get into debt. Starve and go to heaven-but don’t borrow. Try first begging_ I don’t mind if it’s really needful_stealing!. But don’t buy things you can’t pay for!”….
Isn’t it surprising how what we hold up as a virtue and a proof of a solid character is chipped away so slowly that none notices the enervation of personal values? In his essay ‘Unto This Last’ Ruskin wrote ‘There is no wealth but life.’
Dulled senses of a person who has chased a mirage at the cost of his or her personal values,-character, take the place as a slave driver. No pity or no worthwhile example but the constant goading the person to acquire branded items that he or she doesn’t really need. The victim scarcely notices what is branded right through the flesh to the spirit.

Moral: Virtues of one Age are the vices of another. Capitalism invented mass consumerism and made the bible for the lost and the damned. One only needs to see the mess we are all in.


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From a toddler to a doddering fool you realize all that you did as a matter of duty was expected of you. So no thanks mate.
All that you did as time and inclination permitted gave you some satisfaction. No comments mate. You did your thing.
When you are past deeds sans teeth, sans joy sans friends all that come to haunt you is not what you could do but what you have left undone or is too late to mend. I don’t know what is all this bother about.
This is where you and your society part company. They haven’t a clue what makes what you are.

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“Hopelessness of a situation in life is not decided by what we must do without; but what we may learn to draw strength from hope an unknown quantity. This hope is all we can tease out of ourselves– religion, morality and social identity are all mercurial colors that we flash in translating it. Our hope must stand the wave of helplessness that is from without. Those who have survived shall know when the storm is past they found strength because it was a genuine article, their character”.


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Nucleus of an atom is made up of protons and neutrons, collectively known as nucleons. These are fermions (spin-half particles) of almost the same mass (in fact it is often useful to think of them as two different states of the same particle, distinguished by different values of quantum number, isospin).

 Nucleons interact with one another via certain type of force while the protons also interact via another: a nuclear force and electromagnetic force respectively. What is fundamental in nuclear physics may be used as an analogy to explain the working of an individual in terms of nation. Individual takes the place of quark. Even as individuals interact it produces a force that make certain changes in the ideals of nations. This force law created by individuals will show on what flimsy grounds the much vaunted  ideal of a nation stands.

 Nations hold certain ideals and so does an individual. ‘In God we trust’ but business of America is business. Where making money is an ideal and citizens are encouraged to make money and lack of money is held out for ridicule in a subtle manner, the force law of greed works on individual,- and Bernard Madoff is a classic example. Several hundred spectators crowded Monday into a courtroom in Manhattan to witness the sentencing of Bernard Madoff for a multibillion-dollar fraud scheme. Among them were many who some time ago didn’t think it amiss to ask the disgraced financier, “Can we kiss your behind, Mr. Madoff?” They were all for catching a favorable nod from one who turned out to be no better than a common thief.

Last year the crowd was for singing his praises and come Monday the crowd wants blood. It seems to me they are behaving like fermions as two different states of the same particle.


A quote from Antony and Cleopatra:

But when we in our viciousness grow hard,-

O misery on’t! -the wise gods seal our eyes;

In our own filth drop our  clear judgments…

While we strut to our confusion.(Ac III;Sc XIII)

‘Snorting coke may be to turn off but it comes to a point it shall take much more than that to turn oneself in’.


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Not so long ago there lived in Green Acres a toad who thought very highly of himself. He was yellow in colour. As yellow as a buttercup in full bloom. Among so many toads clad in drab colors his yellow always stood out. Besides he had his warts all in right places and these added to his personality greatly.( He was proud of the third wart away from his right shoulder.) He, in short made a splash wherever he went. Having born with a feeling he was quite a class apart he set out to prove himself. “None is clever as I am!” he exclaimed assuredly one morning. He looked about and saw to his delight he stood right in front of the most exclusive club in town. ‘Why didn’t I think of this before?’ he asked himself. The Club For Exceptional Toads admitted only those toads who had exceptional qualities. Our hero saw the imposing building. Everything about it had something special. He hopped along the broad steps and passed through ornate front door into the office. He preened himself before he announced thus, ”You must be pleased to know I am here (ahem) for membership. Highly gifted, I dare say, I am.” The secretary with his green skin flecked with brown spots averted his eyes as he took out the club register. His face showed that he acknowledged quality the moment he saw it. The caller casually dropped he would have joined earlier had he time to stop counting his many-sided talents. “Everyday I stand astonished at myself!” said he in a whisper. It was a whisper alright but those toads in the back-room looked askance at one another and fled. The common toad knew the toad standing before him needed an answer. “Don’t I look exceptional?”the caller asked. The toad clutching at that Club register dared not express an opinion. Having opened at a fresh page he looked up and asked his name. It was the turn of the toad as yellow as a pat of butter to turn purple. He felt embarrassed and the third wart away from his right shoulder showed it. He blurted out that he had no name. “You see my parents died in rather unfortunate circumstances before they could choose one.” The secretary pointed to the rules of admittance and said it was indeed unfortunate. “The door shall remain shut on any one who has no name to speak of. That is the rule.” He mechanically repeated the same. Having done so he waited for the toad to leave. The toad remonstrated that the rule he quoted was for those who had nothing else than being exceptional.” Whereas I am much more.” He went on to demonstrate his point. “I can do hundred things at a time.” said he at the end. It was a performance worthy of a toad as accomplished as he. “Well, you are a paradigm of talent. Exceptional. One in a trillion. But rules are rules.” Said the secretary. He had now at hand the difficult task of turning down one so exceptional as he. He said finally,”Get a name and come again. Good day!” The yellow toad left. He was mortified at his lapse. Forgetting such a simple matter as a name did no credit, so he thought. ‘Not my parents but myself is to blame.’ He vowed to correct the matter without any delay. So he went far and wide in search of a name. One day he found himself in a forest which he thought was very peculiar. Every sapling had a pot to itself and a name pasted on its sides. Also its scientific name. He never realized trees carried their names or began their lives in pots. ”Most peculiar,” he wondered. His travels showed he still had a long way to go. There were gaps in his knowledge, a painful realization that was as bad as not having a name. Later in the night he found himself among other travelers as he, around a camp fire; and when his turn came he narrated his curious experience he had earlier in the day. Others were intrigued. They asked for particulars and he said he would take them to the forest himself. Next morning he did as he promised. To his surprise they broke out into a titter that soon escalated into the gale force of laughter. Some were doubled up with laughter while a few rolled on the ground unable to contain themselves. Some slapped each other in thundering hilarity. One said at the end, ”It is no forest! It is a nursery. OOOH!” The yellow toad would have lost his temper but he realized they were right. At least he learnt something new. Learning by such methods, of being taken for a fool however for an hour or two, was not pleasant. He said to himself,”These wiseacres who laugh me down shall soon leave. No more foolish than they came in. But I leave this place wiser!” While he groaned he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up and saw another yellow toad, as yellow as he, looking at him curiously. “Will you walk with me?” He instantly felt sympathy in her voice. She was rather pleasant chatting of this and that. While trying to keep track of her conversation he forgot his earlier humiliation. On the other hand he felt a new lease of life. He did not know what it was but she made him new. All new and complete! As they reached a rain forest she said,”I have a confession to make!”He was not sure if he were keen to hear one. Since her company did a world of good he could not refuse her. So he waited. She said,”I have no name. My parents were washed away in a flashflood before they could give me one.” He almost jumped out of his skin! He was so astounded at the coincidence. Later in the day they were chatting before supper. A plump grasshopper made a leap from among the grass, which did not go unnoticed. Both toads shot their tongues out. At the same time. “Half-Half!” he said. “Half-Half!” she said. He had the grasshopper in his grip and asked how she liked to have her supper done. “Braised with a touch of honey.” She replied. He cooked the meal exactly the way she wanted it and gallantly offered the whole. She offered him his share but he refused it. Having quickly found another, he ate his meal in perfect enjoyment of her company. She also was delighted. “I found my name!” she exclaimed after clearing the plates.”Half-Half,”said she. “I also found mine!”he said in his turn, “Half-Half!” “Half-Half!” They said in unison. They were deliciously happy.


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