The Quickening

The Quickening

I was just lounging on the couch sorting through a myriad of thoughts when one catchphrase stood out completely in my mind.


Now for those who are fans of fictional characters this should invoke vivid imagery of a pony tailed Scotsman by the name of Quinton McLeod or Duncan McLeod depending on the literature you read or movie/series you watched. This character was based on and included a group of people known as Immortals who could not die save through beheading. They were supposed intellectual greats. They however had a perchance for killing off one another at every opportunity.

Quinton/Duncan McLeod was known as THE HIGHLANDER because he was from the Scottish Highlands and he was very adept at a quickening or two. This conversely made him a master of several disciplines. The phrase “they can only be one” essentially was a prophecy that though, they were quite a few immortal sages running around, they could ultimately only survive one who would be a know all and be all.

The quickening was a barbaric if somewhat very novel way in which they, the immortal sages assimilated the knowledge of those they had killed (spelled beheaded) into themselves. You see, once they met up with a fellow immortal there was a sort of SPIDEY SENSE that alerted them to that fellow sage/immortals closeness and instinctively they would be compelled to duel each other to the death. The victor thus gained all the knowledge possessed by the vanquished and beheaded immortal.

I found it totally awesome and surreal though, how they could produce a sword literally from nowhere. This of course was their weapon of choice, the sword. For the beheadings you see. Now each immortal was essentially a guru type who had immense knowledge in regards to a particular field of expertise, say aviation. By beheading one, one could then imbibe that knowledge into themselves and be a master of two or several disciplines.

Now as all these thoughts were doing a tango in my head I kept thinking how we are in a way always striving to be the best. TO BE THE ONE!! We go to school and strive to be intellectual greats, as we are nurtured to equate knowledge to success. Think about it for a minute!! The more knowledge you seemingly possess the more successful you would be deemed to become. Well ceteris paribus of course.

From the time we could essentially walk and talk our parents tried to infuse as much knowledge into our beings as they could manage. From teaching us to count to picture books and colouring books they tried to give us a leg up. Then in pre school, primary and secondary education we were also then continually pushed to be the best we could be. To be the one, the only one that rose above all others. Self actualize eventually that is. This moulded us into who we are today in way.

There are those however especially affected by this negatively because they had very controlling parents who literally dictated every facet of their life altering decisions. You could not make your own decision. You had to be an artisan because your dad knew best and was probably one too, an accountant because your mum was one, a lawyer because your dad was a stenographer and had always dreamed of being one. This is the pattern we subconsciously and consciously followed based on how much control we had over our life decisions.

The issue that kept coming back to me after all these thoughts was, do we now as grown ups ever have regrets about a certain path we took. Be it the combination we took at A’level to the Degree Program we chose to do at varsity, say engineering instead of medicine thereby setting us on a particular course for the rest of our lives. I know I have one or two regrets about the decisions I made. I have, second guessed myself a couple of times. But is that the norm with everyone else??

Maybe the question is a tad bit too personal on some level and some may find second guessing oneself as a form of inert weakness and impotence. But aren’t we are all flawed in that regard? We have to, in a way understand that we can’t all be the one, THE HIGHLANDER minus the quickening of course. We can’t master everything but we can master our own lives. Its never too late in a way to alter the decisions made in the past. I could switch professions right now and still excel and be great I think. I have thought about it actually and it remains a viable option worth exploring.

Decisions don’t have to define us, but we them. Life would be easier though with a quickening or two the McLeod way!!


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