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This morning I read the following quote: “Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job “. – Franklin Pierce Jones.

I began scratching my head. Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job? – But how…Mr. Jones?

I am not sure about either the quote or the quoted. However, it’s clear to my sharp canine senses that the quote could have many implications. It could imply any of the following and more, depending completely upon who reads it. Some of the Many Possible Interpretations of the Quote:

If you are a risk-averse human (you’d be surprised to discover how risk-averse humans can be,) it could mean that you can sit on your haunches, scratch your dog, and you’d be set for life.

If you are a dog-loving human, it could mean that if you scratched a dog, every dog in the neighborhood would be queuing up to have you scratch their backs.

If you are a normal human being with a propensity towards scratching backs, it could mean that you could earn your living by scratching the backs of those dogs whose owners prefer not to put their manicured hands in a dog’s fur.

If you are not a dog-person, you could for once get over your canine apathy and scratch the back of your boss’s dog to get a “permanent job.”

All in all, I don’t think that this is a dog-friendly quote – I read in it some serious advice for humans. Don’t you?

Some of the Many Possible Intentions of the Quoted:

Now let us review Franklin ji’s intentions.

The gentleman in question who was known by a complex human name “Franklin Pierce Jones” was a humorist and wrote this in jest. Thus, I’d say that his intentions were above-board and honest.

Yet, we could ask:

Did he have a dog?

Did he scratch the dog?

Did he really find a permanent job, scratching his dog?

Was the job to scratch his dog, other dogs, or other humans?

Was the job something else entirely?

Perhaps he scratched a publisher’s dog and it helped him publish this wonderful quote and then many other quotes such as these? Or…

Did he scratch a pretty young woman’s dog and ended up marrying her, thus, finding a permanent job of scratching all her dogs?

Whatever be his reasons for writing this quote might’ve been, he sure wrote a quotable quote!


In Hindi they call this” Baal ki khaal nikalna ”!!

Bow wow bow wow!!


A young banker was crossing a road when a frog lying on the road called out to him and said, “If you kiss me, I will turn into a beautiful princess.” He bent over, picked the frog up and put it in his pocket.
The frog spoke from his pocket, “If you kiss me and turn me into a princess, I will tell everyone how smart and brave you are and what a darling you are to me.” The young fellow took the frog out from his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket.
The frog spoke again, “If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will be your loving companion for an entire week.” He took out the frog from his pocket, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.
The frog told again, “If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I will stay with you for one whole year and do anything you want.” He took it out again, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket.
Finally the frog told, “Hey, what is the matter? I have told you that I am a beautiful princess and that I will stay with you for a year and do anything you want. Why don’t you kiss me?”
The young banker replied, “Look, I am a banker and I don’t have time for girlfriend or romance. But, a talking frog is cool!”



Types of Dilemmas
A dilemma is a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which is practically acceptable. One in this position has been traditionally described as “being on the horns of a dilemma”, neither horn being comfortable. This is sometimes more colorfully described as “Finding oneself impaled upon the horns of a dilemma”, referring to the sharp points of a bull’s horns, equally uncomfortable (and dangerous).

The dilemma is sometimes used as a rhetorical device, in the form “you must accept either A, or B”; here A and B would be propositions each leading to some further conclusion. Applied incorrectly, it constitutes a false dichotomy, a fallacy.

Types of dilemmas
Colorful names have been given to many types of dilemmas.
Double bind: conflicting requirements ensure that the victim will automatically be wrong.
Ethical dilemma: a choice between moral imperatives.
Extortion: the choice between paying the extortionist and suffering an unpleasant action.
Fairness dilemmas: when groups are faced with making decisions about how to share their resources, rewards, or payoffs.
Hobson’s choice: a choice between something and nothing; “take it or leave it”.
Morton’s fork: choices yield equivalent, often undesirable, results.
Prisoner’s dilemma: An inability to coordinate makes cooperation difficult and defection tempting.
Samaritan’s dilemma: the choice between providing charity and improving another’s condition, and withholding it to prevent them from becoming dependent.
Sophie’s choice: a choice between two persons or things that will result in the death or destruction of the person or thing not chosen.
Zugzwang: One must move and incur harm when one would prefer to make no move (esp. in chess).

Related terms
Several idioms describe dilemmas:
“Between Scylla and Charybdis”
“Lesser of two evils”
“Between a rock and a hard place”, since both objects or metaphorical choices are rough.
“Between the devil and the deep blue sea”

A dilemma with more than two forks is sometimes called a trilemma (3), tetralemma (4), or polylemma.

The errant spelling dilemna is often seen in common usage. It appears to have been taught in many areas of the United States and all over the world, including (but not limited to) France, England, Jamaica and Australia. There is no prima facie reason for this substitution error and there is no erroneous parallel to be found with the word lemma, from which dilemma derives.
Use in logic
In formal logic, the definition of a dilemma differs markedly from everyday usage. Two options are still present, but choosing between them is immaterial because they both imply the same conclusion. Symbolically expressed thus:
A \vee B, A \Rightarrow C, B \Rightarrow C, \vdash C
Which can be translated informally as “one (or both) of A or B is known to be true, but they both imply C, so regardless of the truth values of A and B we can conclude C.”
There are also constructive dilemmas and destructive dilemmas.
Constructive dilemmas
1. (If X, then Y) and (If W, then Z).
2. X or W.
3. Therefore, Y or Z.
4. All are possible.
Destructive dilemmas
1. (If X, then Y) and (If W, then Z).
2. Not Y or not Z.
3. Therefore, not X or not W.



A trilemma is a difficult choice from three options, each of which is (or appears) unacceptable or un-favorable..
There are two logically equivalent ways in which to express a trilemma: it can be expressed as a choice among three un-favorable options, one of which must be chosen, or as a choice among three favorable options, only two of which are possible at the same time.
The term derives from the much older term dilemma, a choice between two or more difficult or un-favorable alternatives.
The earliest recorded use of the term was by the British preacher Philip Henry in 1672, and later, apparently independently, by the preacher Isaac Watts in 1725.
Trilemmas in Religion
Epicurus’ trilemma
One of the earliest uses of the trilemma formulation is that of the Greek philosopher Epicurus, rejecting the idea of an omnipotent and omni-benevolent God (as summarized by David Hume):
if God is unable to prevent evil, he is not omnipotent
if God is not willing to prevent evil, he is not good
if God is willing and able to prevent evil, then why is there evil?
Although traditionally ascribed to Epicurus, it has been suggested that it may actually be the work of an early skeptic writer, possibly Carneades.
Apologetic trilemma
One well known trilemma was put forward by Christian apologists as a proof of the divinity of Jesus, and is most commonly known in the version by C. S. Lewis. It proceeds from the assumption that Jesus claimed to be God, and that therefore one of the following must be true:
Lunatic: Jesus was not God, but he mistakenly believed that he was.
Liar: Jesus was not God, and he knew it, but he said so anyway.
Lord: Jesus is God.
The trilemma, usually in Lewis’ formulation, is often used in works of popular apologetics, although it is almost totally absent from discussions about the status of Jesus by professional theologians and biblical scholars. In his 1993 book The Metaphor of God Incarnate, John Hick recalled having been taught this argument as a child, and states that New Testament scholars today do not support the view that Jesus claimed to be God.
Trilemma in law
The “cruel trilemma” was an English ecclesiastical and judicial weapon developed in the first half of the 17th century, and used as a form of coercion and persecution. The format was a religious oath to tell the truth, imposed upon the accused prior to questioning. The accused would find themselves trapped between:
A breach of religious oath if they lied (taken extremely seriously in that era, a mortal sin, and perjury);
Self-incrimination if they told the truth; or
Contempt of court if they said nothing and were silent.
Outcry over this process led to the foundation of the right to not incriminate oneself being established in common-law and was the direct precursor of the right to silence and non-self-incrimination in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Trilemmas in philosophy/ The Trilemma of censorship
In Mill’s On Liberty, as a part of his argument against the suppression of free speech, he describes the trilemma facing those attempting to justify such suppression (although he does not refer to it as a trilemma, Leo Parker-Rees (2009) identified it as such). If free speech is suppressed, the opinion suppressed is either:
True – in which case society is robbed of the chance to exchange error for truth
False – in which case the opinion would create a ‘livelier impression’ of the truth, allowing people to justify the correct view
Half-true – in which case it would contain a forgotten element of the truth, that is important to rediscover, with the eventual aim of a synthesis of the conflicting opinions that is the whole truth.
Trilemmas in economics
In 1952, the British magazine, The Economist, published a series of articles on an “Uneasy Triangle,” which described “the three-cornered incompatibility between a stable price level, full employment, and . . . free collective bargaining.” The context was the difficulty maintaining external balance without sacrificing two sacrosanct political values, jobs for all and unrestricted labor rights. Inflation resulting from labor militancy in the context of full employment put powerful downward pressure on the pound sterling. Runs on the pound triggered a long series of economically and politically disruptive “stop-go” policies (deflation followed by reflation). John Maynard Keynes had anticipated the severe problem associated with reconciling full employment with stable prices without sacrificing democracy and the associational rights of labor. The same incompatibilities were also elaborated on in Charles Lindblom’s 1949 book, Unions and Capitalism.
In 1962 and 1963, a trilemma (or “impossible trinity”) was introduced by economists Robert Mundell and Marcus Fleming in articles discussing the problems with creating a stable international financial system. It refers to the trade-offs among the following three goals: a fixed exchange rate, national independence in monetary policy, and capital mobility. According to the Mundell–Fleming model of 1962 and 1963, a small, open economy cannot achieve all three of these policy goals at the same time: in pursuing any two of these goals, a nation must forgo the third.
In 1989 Peter Swenson posited the existence of “wage policy trilemmas” encountered by trade unions trying to achieve three egalitarian goals simultaneously. One involved attempts to compress wages within a bargaining sector while compressing wages between sectors and maximizing access to employment in the sector. A variant of this “horizontal” trilemma was the “vertical” wage policy trilemma associated with trying simultaneously to compress wages, increase the wage share of value added at the expense of profits, and maximize employment. These trilemmas helped explain instability in unions’ wage policies and their political strategies seemingly designed to resolve the incompatibilities.
Steven Pinker noted another social trilemma in his books How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate: that a society cannot be simultaneously fair, free and equal. If it is fair, individuals who work harder will accumulate more wealth; if it is free, parents will leave the bulk of their inheritance to their children; but then it will not be equal, as people will begin life with different fortunes.
Arthur C. Clarke cited a management trilemma encountered when trying to achieve production quickly and cheaply whilst maintaining high quality. In the software industry, this means that one can pick any two of: fastest time to market, highest software quality (fewest defects), and lowest cost (headcount). this is the basis of the popular project-management aphorism “Quick, Cheap, Good : Pick two”.
Trilemma in computing
The RAID technology may offer two of the three desirable value: (relative) inexpensiveness, speed or reliability (RAID0 is fast and cheap, but unreliable; RAID60 is extremely expensive and reliable, with correct performance and so on). The phrase “fast, cheap, good : choose two”. It had been pastiched in silent computing as “fast, cheap, quiet: choose two”.
The Münchhausen trilemma
In the theory of knowledge the Münchhausen trilemma is a philosophical term coined to stress the impossibility to prove any certain truth even in the fields of logic and mathematics. Its name is going back to a logical proof of the German philosopher Hans Albert.
This proof runs as follows: All of the only three possible attempts to get a certain justification must fail:
All justifications in pursuit of certain knowledge have also to justify the means of their justification and doing so they have to justify anew the means of their justification. Therefore there can be no end. We are faced with the hopeless situation of an infinite regression.
One can stop at self-evidence or common sense or fundamental principles or speaking ‘ex cathedra’ or at any other evidence, but in doing so the intention to install certain justification is abandoned.
The third horn of the trilemma is the application of a circular argument.
The Trilemma of the Earth
The “Trilemma of the Earth” (or “3E Trilemma”) is a term used by scientists working on energy and environment protection. 3E Trilemma stands for Economy-Energy-Environment interaction.
For the activation of economic development (E: Economy) to occur, we need to increase the energy expenditure (E: Energy) however this raises the environmental issue (E: Environment) of more emissions of pollutant gases.
The Žižek trilemma
The “Žižek trilemma” is a humorous formulation on the incompatibility of certain personal virtues under a constraining ideological framework. Often attributed to the philosopher Slavoj Žižek, it is actually quoted by him as the product of an anonymous source:
One cannot but recall here a witty formula of life under a hard Communist regime: Of the three features—personal honesty, sincere support of the regime and intelligence—it was possible to combine only two, never all three. If one was honest and supportive, one was not very bright; if one was bright and supportive, one was not honest; if one was honest and bright, one was not supportive.


Noun: A situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, esp. equally undesirable ones.
A difficult situation or problem. Synonyms: quandary – fix
1. A situation that requires a choice between options that are or seem equally unfavorable or mutually exclusive.
2. Usage Problem: A problem that seems to defy a satisfactory solution.
3. Logic: An argument that presents two alternatives, each of which has the same consequence.
Usage Note: A dilemma is a situation in which a choice must be made between alternative courses of action or argument. Although evidence attests to widespread use of the term meaning simply “problem” or “predicament” and involving no issue of choice, 58 percent of the Panel in a 1999 survey rejected the sentence: Historically, race has been the great dilemma of democracy. It is sometimes claimed that because the di- in dilemma comes from a Greek prefix meaning “two,” the word should be used only when exactly two choices are involved. Nevertheless, 64 percent of the Panel in a 1988 survey had accepted its use for choices among three or more options.

On the horns of a dilemma
Figurative: having to decide between two things, people, etc. Example: Mary found herself on the horns of a dilemma. She didn’t know which to choose. I make up my mind easily. I’m not on the horns of a dilemma very often.

On the horns of a dilemma
Meaning: unable to decide between two things because either could bring bad results. Example: Nonprofit groups are often caught on the horns of a dilemma – they have to satisfy their donors, but at the same time, they need to attract new donors.

The origin and meaning of “(Caught) on the horns of a dilemma”
The origin and meaning of “(Caught) on the horns of a dilemma” turned out to be more difficult than I had imagined. The meaning was the easier part, and the origin more difficult.
Meaning: Refers to a situation where one is confronted with making a decision based on two options, the results or consequence of either decision having equally unpleasant results. So, no matter what decision you have to take, the outcome is un-favorable.
From the 1933 print of the Oxford Shorter Dictionary, Dilemma has Greek origins. Di meaning two and lemma an assumption or a premise. According to the same source dilemma was a form of argument,(Rhetoric), in which an adversary was given the choice of usually 2, “but possibly more” alternatives equally un-favorable. The alternatives are the horns of the dilemma, either of which can cause pain.
The origin of the horns I could not determine. Most refer to the horns of a bull, and even to the devil’s horns. An example of the phrase in modern terms by Oxford: “the dilemma of a swimmer among drowning men, who all catch at him” (Page 510).



You will be wondering at the title of this posting! Just a moment.
I will explain what I mean. Recent reports (dated 08.08.2013) in newspapers about Raghuram Rajan, who is to take up the job of the present RBI Governor D. Subbarao in September, said that:
” He must solve a tough ‘TRILEMMA’ ”. Now what the hell is a trilemma? Well frankly confessing, I had never heard of this word before, till date. Dilemma? Yes! Trilemma? Never!

So, I did a little research and made an effort to understand what exactly trilemma meant. I also tried to find out about various expressions like: ”on the horns of a dilemma ”,”between the devil and the deep sea” etc.
Why so much effort about this word? Well I recall a famous couplet in Hindi, learnt in my school days : ”Jin khoja tin paayiaan,grhrey paani paith, main pugli borin bhayee,rahi kinaarey baith ! ” Loosely translated this means: ” Those who search for pearls, will get them only if they dive into the deep waters of the sea. I, like an insane person, just sat on the shores of the sea. ( hoping that the pearls will reach me through the action of the waves of the sea, without me making any efforts )

Friends, what follows next, are three pearls of wisdom, titled: DILEMMA,TRILEMMA,TYPES OF DILEMMAS and fourth, a story titled “THE BANKER’S DILEMMA”. Keep watching.