Aug 27, 2008

Student's Corner:- Brain Strain

Each of the following questions has a paragraph from which the last sentence has been deleted. From the given options, choose the one that completes the paragraph in the most appropriate way:


In some ways Freud can be regarded as a modern Hobbesian. Hobbes had insisted that at bottom humans are savage brutes whose natural impulses would inevitably lead to murder, torture and pilferage, if left unchecked. To curb this beast within, they entered into a social contract in some distant past and subordinated themselves to a larger social unit, the state. Like Hobbes, Freud regarded the basic human instincts as a seething cauldron of pleasure-seeking that blindly strives for gratification regardless of the consequences.

(a) This savage, munificent human nature has to be unrestrained by civilisation.

(b) This savage, atavistic human nature has to be unfettered by civilisation.

(c) This savage, egocentric human nature has to be tempestuous by civilisation.

(d) This savage, selfish human nature has to be tamed by civilisation.


I move now to my substantive notion of free will. I claim that we choose a large number of things. To begin with, we choose our beliefs. Secondly, we choose many of our bodily movements. Thirdly, we choose many of our mental processes (by analogy, mental movements) such as whether we will think and what we will think about. A more precise breakdown would be difficult, but fortunately everyone already has a pretty clear idea of the boundaries: the pumping of the heart is involuntary, whereas speaking is; accepting a belief is voluntary, but having an emotion is not.

(a) Unfortunately, many a soul does not have a clear idea about the differentiation between the two.

(b) Hence, life is more of a choice than a chance.

(c) Thinking about free will is voluntary, but seeing what is in front of my face when my eyes are open is not.

(d) Fourthly, we choose many of our day-to-day decisions.


"There is one thing that worries me, Mr. Hill", said the cargo egghead. "It’s Steve," said Hill. The company has always maintained the tradition of first names, from the highest to the humblest, with the sole exception of the Chief himself.

(a) The Chief considers himself to be above all and sundry.

(b) Steve brought in the concept of first-name greeting.

(c) The informality underwrites the one-team ethos.

(d) Steve was deliberately being humble so as to achieve the deal.


Nature is regulated not only by a microscope rule base but by powerful and general principles of organisation. Some of these principles are known, but the vast majority are not. New ones are being discovered all the time. At higher levels of sophistication the causeand-effect relationships are harder to document, but there is no evidence that the hierarchical descent of law found in the primitive world is superseded by anything else. Thus if a simple physical phenomenon can become effectively independent of the more fundamental laws from which it descends, so can we. I am carbon, but I need not have been.

(a) I may have been silicon, but nature seems to have other ideas.

(b) I have a meaning transcending the atoms from which I am made.

(c) The fundamental laws will remain independent irrespective of which I am made.

(d) I may have descended from other phenomena, but the fundamental laws never change.


The man from the Tora Bora spoke of the destruction of his family by an American rocket and of his joy that he would soon see them again while bringing justice at last to the Great Satan. As he spoke, he realized that none of this was ever going to reach any shore in physical form. It would all have to be transmitted by Suleiman in data-stream before he too died and his equipment with him. What no one seemed to know was how they would die and what justice would be visited upon the USA - the exception being the explosives expert and Suleiman himself.

(a) Every cloud has a silver lining; Suleiman is bribable.

(b) Nevertheless, the revenge of the man from Tora Bora is soon to be realised.

(c) But they revealed nothing.

(d) But the explosives expert and Suleiman hate the Great Satan far more than the man from Tora Bora does.


Andy on 12:20 AM said...

That was fun.

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