A Reply

This morning S asked me to find an online copy of Atlas Shrugged and it wasn’t tough to find one. He was interested in a particular section and when he sent the extract over, my mind felt refreshed!

  • I remembered why I love her writing so much.
  • I fell in love with Ayn Rand once again.
  • I could verbalise one of the reasons why I left Infosys.
  • I remembered those moments when I felt lonely at work.
  • I realised how much I hate mediocrity.

So here goes the extract from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged –

Miss Taggart, do you know the hallmark of the second-rater? It’s resentment of another man’s achievement. Those touchy mediocrities who sit trembling lest someone’s work prove greater than their own—they have no inkling of the loneliness that comes when you reach the top. The loneliness for an equal— for a mind to respect and an achievement to admire. They bare their teeth at you from out of their rat holes, thinking that you take pleasure in letting your brilliance dim them—while you’d give a year of your life to see a flicker of talent anywhere among them. They envy achievement, and their dream of greatness is a world where all men have become their acknowledged inferiors. They don’t know that that dream is the infallible proof of mediocrity, because that sort of world is what the man of achievement would not be able to bear. They have no way of knowing what he feels when surrounded by inferiors—hatred? no, not hatred, but boredom the terrible, hopeless, draining, paralyzing boredom. Of what account are praise and adulation from men whom you don’t respect? Have you ever felt the longing for someone you could admire? For something, not to look down at, but up to?

PS: The post is dedicated to S who sent it and ‘S2‘ whom I love and look up to and admire. Also to all those whom I respect.

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Evolution

I attended a party last night and was amazed to see how my nieces and nephews are going on. They are a bunch of riot – absolutely fabulous. What struck most was that the younger they were, the more sharper they seem to be. The younger of the two siblings dominates the elder and comes out to be much more intelligent and street smart. 

As per Darwin’s Theory of Evolution – The Premise 

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is the widely held notion that all life is related and has descended from a common ancestor: the birds and the bananas, the fishes and the flowers — all related. Darwin’s general theory presumes the development of life from non-life and stresses a purely naturalistic (undirected) “descent with modification”. That is, complex creatures evolve from more simplistic ancestors naturally over time. In a nutshell, as random genetic mutations occur within an organism’s genetic code, the beneficial mutations are preserved because they aid survival — a process known as “natural selection.” These beneficial mutations are passed on to the next generation. Over time, beneficial mutations accumulate and the result is an entirely different organism (not just a variation of the original, but an entirely different creature).

I feel that Darwin talked about the possible mutation of simpler species to more complex and completely different ones, preserving some of the beneficial genetic code, which is required for survival. The generation gap these days seems to have narrowed considerably where a difference of 2-3 years makes one see the difference. I was definitely not this sharp at age 1, as is my dear niece and nor was there even a hint of competitive or possessive spirit in me then. So with each passing year, the children of today seem to be bettering themselves and becoming better than their predecessors, in this case, their very own elder siblings. 

I wasn’t very skeptical about evolution or the various theories prescribed, but somehow looking at this fast paced mutation, I seem to take a liking for Darwin sir’s theory.

Amygdala

Many times we come across situations when the feelings of others have an immediate effect on us. A genuine smile accompanied by a cheerful greeting can pull us from the sullenest of moods and on the contrary someone’s anger, wrath, impatience, etc can spoil our perfectly happy day.

I came across an interesting piece of reading about this common behavior of the brain which said that emotions are contagious. Apparently, the brain catches these strong emotions, just like the body succumbing to a severe infection. This dose of exposure to positive or negative feelings stays with one as a mood and reflects in an afterglow (or afterglower). The sum of interactions with various people over the day adds and subtracts to finally result in the resulting mood that we carry home at the end of the day.

Amygdala is an almond-shaped area in the midbrain that triggers the fight, flight, or freeze response to danger. But, fear most powerfully arouses the amyglada. Driven by any alarm, the complex circuitry of amyglada strengthens its perception and we become attentive to all the smiles or frowns which give help us interpret the danger or someone’s intentions better. This heightened sensitivity can also increase our susceptibility to others toxins.

Effectively, this little part of the brain acts as radar for the brain, by calling its attention to anything puzzling or important to learn.

Amyglada is not just an early warning system to our brain, but also one of the reasons why we get effected by others moods. So the next time someone yells at you for no reason and you feel low, blame it on the amyglada for spreading the emotional contagion.

Have happy day! 😀

(Hope I have managed to spread a positive emotional contagion 😉 )