This is an addendum to my post Rational Thinking -2 (Elephant and the Rider). It occurred to me that my own mother was a classic example of this metaphor. I want to share the related information.
My mother passed way a few years back at the age of ninety. Though physically weak, her mind was very active almost till her last day. Reading was her hobby and she also spent lots of time in solving riddles and puzzles. She was one of the most intelligent persons I have come across in my life. Her education was up to Class VIII only (she got married at thirteen and became a mother at sixteen). But still she coached me and my brothers and sisters in arithmetic even up to Matric level.
With regard to customs, traditions and rituals she used to study them very analytically, try to find the origins and causes in each case and make interpretations from health and hygiene points of view. She was aware of the meaninglessness of many customs. She used to ridicule the hypocrisy and double standards adopted by our community (which incidentally very orthodox). That was her rational or conscious mind, the Rider.
Yet, as far as I can remember there was not a single custom or ritual which she did not follow strictly. She believed in and subscribed to all the prevailing superstitions. That was her emotional or subconscious mind, the Elephant.
In her case, there were many factors responsible for this conflict which I have already elaborated.
Finally I want to tell about a very strange superstition which was prevalent in a small town in Karnataka where I grew up. It is: “The yield of a tamarind tree can be enhanced by driving a nail in its trunk on a new moon day coinciding with Sunday.”