Monday, November 30, 2015

Is Life a Big Test?

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A classic story tells of a job interviewer rejecting a candidate because they put salt on their lunch before tasting it. According to the company’s values, to salt right away shows closed mindedness and hasty decision making, and not being willing to analyze data before making choices (and it also shows rudeness toward the chef, in that one doesn’t trust their skill). However, I’ve heard the story in reverse too: If one tastes their food first before salting it, then that can be considered weakness because the candidate doesn’t have the confidence and assertiveness to swiftly express their will and vision.
Another story is about military officers seeking promotion, in which the candidates are asked to dig a ditch. Some of them ask why they need to do that in the first place, or argue about details of the best way to do it, until eventually someone remarks “who cares why they want a ditch” and actually starts digging, at which point they get the promotion because they can follow orders and take action. However, in a related situation, anybody who starts digging gets rejected for promotion, because labor like that supposedly “isn’t an officer’s job” and they don’t know how to delegate. In other words, the right thing to do is find the nearest soldier and order them to dig the ditch! ;-)
In the “Wheel of Time” fantasy series, those in the Aiel clans training to be “Wise Ones” would eventually be only given more and more menial tasks to do, until they finally put their foot down and said enough already, at which point they were wise enough to actually become a “Wise One”. Sometimes refusing a test because it serves no purpose or goes against your values is the real test! Of course, balance is needed, in that if one refuses required discipline too early, they can be kicked out of training altogether.
What do all these cases have in common? In all of them there’s a dominant power defining what’s right, and a submissive applicant being judged based on their conformity to those standards. The nature of any test is the same, in that there’s some authority defining what it means to “pass” or “fail” the test. Many people try to pass various tests in life, however fewer people have the independence to question the validity of a test in the first place. Some tests aren’t based on positive qualities, in which technically failing them can be considered a good thing. Samuel L. Jackson in the movie “xXx” saw this when he quoted, “Why is it always the a**holes who pass the test?” Ultimately, the real tests in life are given by ourselves to ourselves, and it’s up to ourselves to determine which tests are important in the first place, and what it means to pass those tests.
Of course, it’s possible to err in the opposite direction and go too far in refusing tests, and out of pride or rigid independence refuse to learn from sources that can actually teach you something. Similarly, it’s okay to recognize someone else’s test and intentionally conform with it, if the circumstances are appropriate. If you want a job, you by definition want to do what your prospective employer is looking for. Therefore, however they define tests and how to pass them is what you want to align with during an interview, provided you don’t have to sacrifice your morals to do so. Whether the best thing to do is to methodically analyze data or quickly promote a vision (story #1), or whether it’s better to start work yourself or receive help from others (story #2), or whether it’s best to put up with minor things or take a strong stand (story #3), all depend upon the job or situation in question.
Even our planet and the afterlife is often believed to be a test, in which after physical death one will be judged by various criteria as to whether they lived a good life, and as a result experience levels of hell, purgatory, or heaven, or receive bad or good karma. Many believe they’ll be judged by various Angels or guides with human-like personalities. However, a more esoteric view is that afterlife conditions aren’t decided by somebody as much as they’re natural outgrowths of energetic cause and effect, and therefore don’t require Lords of Karma or whoever to decide how one gets rewarded or punished. For example, a life of hatred and paranoia will fill one’s aura with dense vibrations, and on non-physical realms will naturally make one experience such energies in return. Similarly, love can expand one’s perceptions and identification to include others, which naturally brings in new and exalted energies, resulting in enlightenment, wisdom, and joy. ♥