If You're Not Failing, You're Not Succeeding Either...
Article ID: 15185
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 415
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Posted: October 21st. 2012
Times Viewed: 1,562
No one enjoys failing. It should go without saying, but there is an important reason that failure in our life is necessary. It is the only process that offers real growth. Your achievements make a more memorable impression upon you if you have failed in their execution prior to your success.
As a child did you feel more accomplished slipping on a pair of flip-flops, or by finally tying your own shoes? It took days, maybe weeks of practice. You failed miserably many times, and Mom had to cut the knots out of your shoelaces and buy replacements more than once. But eventually, you did it! You saw the finished product and the amount of pride and accomplishment you personally felt at that moment was greater than the ‘congratulations’ that your parents lavished upon you. They, as the teachers, were not only happy that you had learned and accomplished the task, but also RELIEVED that they weren’t required to follow you around anymore to ensure that you wouldn’t trip over your own feet. As both parents and teachers, we do our best to give only correct information to our children and students. It serves us no good to give out information that is false; we should, at all times, only give out The Truth! There’s a life analogy in there somewhere, kids and adults, if you care to hear it.
As a species, we abhor failure. We shy from failure to such an extent that we determine ahead of time that the chance of failure far exceeds the prospect of success, and therefore isn’t worth the effort. How further from the truth could we possibly be? Our climb up the evolutionary and intellectual ladder is built upon countless failures, and finally the one success that made all the difference.
In Nature, we can see the product of all the successes by just observing life. Butterflies abound by the thousands of species. The variety of fish in the ocean is absolutely staggering. All this came about because of natural selection, of course. Life changed subtly and found a niche in which to survive and thrive. Innumerable obstacles were overcome to reach that eventual success. One organism didn’t fight every obstacle that it encountered in its path; a guppy doesn’t become a Great White. But, the slow and meandering path to final success for its offspring was eventually achieved.
In the same way we, as searchers along our individual paths, build upon what others have learned from their past failures, as well as successes. It is our imperative to perform experiment after experiment, testing and retesting theories and hypothesis, to find the wheat amongst the chaff. If we, after careful study, determine that a cherished ‘belief’ is false, we should not feel bad, but glad, that an untruth is purged from us and we can now move forward with correct knowledge. We might feel embarrassment that we held a false belief or believed false information, but wouldn’t the harm to our advancement be greater by holding on to something that is untrue in the face of the facts? We should respect ourselves enough to laugh at our foibles, then put them away and continue marching upward.
We must not forget an important process: We must constantly challenge the findings of the past to ensure that new discoveries and insight do not negate that past information. What does that mean? It means that although ‘we read a book about it’, and ‘they’ said ‘this is how it works’, we must experiment and find out for ourselves the truth of that information. Yes, we build upon what others have experienced in the past, but what if that person was a lying hypocrite? Just because someone is published doesn’t mean that they aren’t full of horse-pucky. It is our imperative, as students of life and searchers for truth, to verify ALL information that we come across. Then, and only then, can we move forward with the implications of the gained knowledge.
“Gasp!” You mean that someone who published a book might have been a raving lunatic and led us all astray? Of course that’s what I mean. Authors, after all, do like to get paid for what they write. There isn’t a lot of altruism in the publishing world. We read things every day that we know from first-hand experience are untrue. Or worse, only one aspect of the truth is given, which, taken out of context, leads a person to draw wrong conclusions, which is almost the same as telling a lie. Half-truths do more harm than a purposeful lie, in my opinion.
The information which you have just verified, or, through the process of critical thinking, hypothesized is factual, leads you to improve your processes. This applies to meditation, chakra work, divination as well as spell casting. Taking in the information and knowledge from others is important, but only after you have experimented with it to see if it is actually true!
Let’s take a moment to better define some commonly used words we throw around.
Information: Data that may or may not be factual. This data still requires debate and experimentation to verify that it is true, or untrue. Pizza with mushrooms is awesome! This is opinion, and based upon those persons who enjoy mushrooms on their pizzas. You, being allergic to mushrooms, or disliking their earthy taste, are disgusted that others think mushrooms are good! How wrong they are! This is simply a demonstration that we take in information and think it truth, when in fact it is only opinion. We must never forget this.
Knowledge: Information that is factual and can be verified by anyone performing the correct procedures. I hear/read that if you place a cold glass into a warm moist room, that water will condense on the outside due to a physical process. I’ve performed several tests of this, and have noted this is true according to my experiments. I’ve also noted that these same phenomena happen when others perform the same test. This information has proved true, and therefore can be further classified as knowledge. The understanding that something is either true or false is knowledge.
Belief: After reading, hearing, or hypothesizing on a subject, through a preponderance of evidence, I think a thing to be true, even though there is not proof to back it up. A belief is still open to reformation, and should not be written in stone because the jury is still out. We can, however, follow a belief without ever finding out the truth.
Wisdom: Having knowledge, and understanding How and When to apply it. If you know you should always check if the toilet seat is down before sitting in the darkened bathroom, but never check, you have knowledge, but no wisdom.
Much of what we do as searchers is based upon faith. I believe a thing to be true, but I have no way to prove to you that it is true. I can only describe to you my reasoning for coming to the conclusion that a thing is true, and you can either accept that or not. Critical thinking can lead us to many faith-based understandings, and we award them the term of Knowledge. There is nothing wrong with this, with one addendum: It is only true for you.
Through your own trial and error, and through much experimentation and struggle, you achieve a divine understanding of something. This understanding only applies to you and what you have discovered. A divine revelation only applies to the receiver. There is no way to apply it to others, as it will mean nothing, since they didn’t do the work to gain the insight. You can advise that a course of action worked for you in a certain circumstance, but that is as far as you should go. Telling someone that ‘this is the way’ might just lead him or her down a path to a wrong conclusion, for him or her.
Don’t assume that what worked for you will work for others. Your truth will not be their truth. At best, we should only be advisers, and those who we tell can take that information and turn it into their own knowledge.
I peruse these forums that we place here, and read a great many of the articles that you have all published. Truly, if anyone searched these essays, they would find answers to most of their questions. All it takes is time and perseverance… well, and an open mind. However, all these essays and ‘knowledge’ passed on is individualistic. Even my own ramblings, I fully admit, aren’t applicable to everyone. It is still our jobs to learn and apply though, that is the common task for all of us. To take in what we read, experiment and verify.
Often I find that our minds can be more closed than mainstream religions. Not that we openly oppose our fellow searchers in their path, or that we call their personal beliefs false, but we do tend to push our personal points of view for what we have individually discovered along our way. Our open minds can be SO open that our brains fall out. It’s one of the hazards of our larger community. Some believe in fairies and sprites. Others look at them and wonder, “are you from space?” Some follow Tarot based upon the Sepher Yetzirah; others’ think that only the “True Blood” deck has any meaning. “Really?” In honesty, we all really need to back up and regroup, and perform strenuous experiments to prove or disprove our cherished beliefs. Only when we can determine reality from falsehood or superstition can we hope to progress individually.
Once again, I’ve done my best to stomp on toes. Yes, I do it on purpose in order to get everyone thinking. We, as a community, are held back by the amount of disinformation that gets thrown around as if it were empirical data. Through my own research, I’ve discovered that there is a horrible amount of skewed information, or outright lies, being flung out to the masses as truth. Differentiating all of it isn’t a waste of time, however. It is profitable for us to determine what is good, and what is bad. You can only find out which is which after putting it through the paces.
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