The test

People talk about life being a test. Islam is one of the religions that speaks of a God who put us in this world to test us.

If we are to think of it this way, what is life, this life as a test?

It could be a test of integrity: how many illegitimate temptations (chocolate, atheism, consumerism, anal sex, etc) can we resist? It could be a test of endurance: how much shit we can put up with and still remain cool under pressure. It could be a test of bravery: exposed to the freaky face of God, the roar of the triple headed lion, the Void of Oblivion that Devastates All You Hold Dear, can you place your head upon the guillotine of fana?

It could be an algebraic test: one to flummox the nerdy Rabbinical student at his desk, piecing together the shards of the shattered vessels in tikkun olam, cracking the Ari’s holy code.

For me today, I am thinking it’s a test of Heideggarian authenticity. A test, an exam, where you pass as long as you don’t cheat. We’re all thrown into different examination papers. And our answers are ours alone, we’re responsible for our answers: not only that, we’re responsible for the rubric by which these answers are to be assessed, by a teacher we create out of our own imagination.

The only rule is: don’t blame some other candidate for your answers. Even if you cheated and peeked at their answer – these are your answers alone. Why? Because the other candidates are emptiness, like you are emptiness, but your peeking, that’s a decision, that’s motion of emptiness, the closest thing to a “you” there is. Peeking is the same as blame, the same as castration: a cheat. (It’s like the poor old nowhere man constantly deferring truth in a thesis that cites all sources other than himself.) Don’t spoil the illusion by cowardly pinning (castrating) this empty motion onto someone else (another examinee, an ex wife, colonialism, the state). It is a distraction from the motion: and motion is all we’ve got, what the Quran calls a tie of kinship (to the Cosmic Womb).

It’s about freedom. The examination paper is more or less given to you, you are thrown into it. But all that happens after is your responsibility.


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