While handling problems in life, you can either pass the problems from difficulties, or get stuck in understanding the difficulties i.e. fail to realize the importance of time.
Life is nothing but an interval between birth and death. Reality means that which is permanent and not subject to change. All life has to die — even the gods, when they manifested themselves in this world in physical form, had to leave behind their mortal bodies after fulfilling the objective of their manifestation.
Every one of us has to die one day. Even if we have performed only good deeds, thought good thoughts and harmed no one, even if we live in a congenial home, death is inevitable. Life is but an interval before death. How we spend the time while we are alive depends on each one’s attitude and mental make-up.
Some are passing time making money, others by earning name and fame, managing family, state or countries, giving discourses and performing religious rituals, or working hard to make both ends meet. Every activity is “time pass” because whatever we do or achieve by these actions will be left behind here in this world itself. Nothing would be carried further except mental impressions.
From one perspective, everything in this world is without any purpose. A rich man would die one day leaving behind everything here itself in this world. A poor man leaves behind his meager belongings. A thief, a pious person, a politician or a religious leader or spiritual master too would leave this world leaving everything behind. So, what they did was some time pass while waiting for their death.
The difference of Time Pass between one person and another is only that some have passed their time happily and others in pain. Some had enjoyed their time pass while others suffered. How we pass our time solely depends on us. However, the experiences we undergo while passing time, has an influence on the second eternal reality of this world and that is LIFE.
Imagine a large airport wherein hundreds of thousands of passengers are waiting for their respective flights. In the process of waiting for the flight they are all passing time in different ways. Some are passing time gossiping, some by eating food, some by shopping, playing video games, getting massage and others by reading, taking naps or strolling up and down in the corridors of the airport. Some are anxious about the flight they are going to experience, some are angry at the fellow passengers dirtying the place, and some are happily waiting for the flight arrival or departure. Everybody’s flight has taken off from some place to come to this airport and carry them to their destination. Our flight (death) has also taken off and is in the process of arriving in our life at some point or other to take us to our destination — that is, take the soul to next birth or leave the soul merged with Pure Divine Consciousness in the space.
LIFE is the second eternal reality of this world. Even after death of physical body, life exists. Life exists in two ways. One as Soul and another as Pure Consciousness. In the form of soul, it takes rebirth in another physical body and goes through the worldly experiences (pains and pleasures) once again, and as Pure Consciousness it does not take rebirth, remains merged in space with the Universal Divine Consciousness and experiences bliss. It all depends on us as to what kind of life we want to live while passing time and waiting for death in this world and what kind of life we want to live after death, life of a soul or life of pure consciousness. Each one needs to take this decision and move towards that direction.
Then, living Life will be a different experience altogether.
Perhaps of all the humanities, the creative arts come closest to valuing failure. Poets and painters don’t expect to get it right the first time. That’s the idea of work shopping as pedagogy, right? Still, there’s a real difference. I’d be willing to bet that most creative writers bring a piece of work into a workshop secretly hoping it’s a success. Sure, they know they need help on aspects of their story or poem, but that’s not the same as failing.
A computer program that doesn’t run is a failure. A program that produces no usable data about the text it was set up to analyse is a failure. Why don’t those failures devastate the developers? Because each time their efforts fail, the developers learn something they can use to get closer to success the next time.
That’s what we should be teaching students of humanities — to look at what went wrong and figure out how to learn from it. OK, that didn’t work. But my next try isn’t then going to be a complete ground-zero beginning. I’ll be starting with the knowledge that my last try didn’t work. Maybe it worked up to a particular point, and I can start over from there. Maybe it didn’t work because I took on too much, so now I will start smaller. Maybe it can’t work at all, and I need a new text from which to begin — a text in a different genre or a text in combination with something else.
Teaching teaches us to learn from failure, certainly. No course is 100-percent effective for 100–percent of our students, and we tweak the syllabus, the assignments, the policies every semester, trying to get closer to perfect. But that’s an important difference between computer science and the humanities. When a program runs and produces a good result, it’s perfect. It’s awfully hard to define success the same way in the humanities. What we do, teaching or writing, can always be better. The program will never simply run.
In computer science, we can iterate through our programs again and again until we get them right, and only then we get to turn them in. Even if we don’t get a perfect grade, we know that the app will compile and run well enough to meet all the basic criteria, so we can just elaborate on what we got right before in the next iteration.
In a humanities course, your paper is your deliverable and if you do it badly, you can’t just put in a breakpoint and try again. Unlike a computer program, you can’t say “aha! Variable x should be 15 here but it’s set to ‘kettle of fish’ so I need to find the bad assignment call” because a humanities thesis or research paper isn’t an inherently objective document that should work with X% accuracy as measured by the final output of Y variables.183
Colleges want students. Bad papers lower one’s GPA and if that GPA is not high enough for the next step in education or doesn’t look great on a resume, what you learned how to do right from all your failings doesn’t mean zilch to the HR manager or the admissions committee of Acme Graduate School. This is why humanities majors want perfect papers. They need almost perfect grades.
In short, the stakes are very different and while a comp science as well as any other STEM curriculum has a certain amount of acceptable failure built into each project and each assignment, the stakes are much higher for other disciplines, and so are the consequences of failure.
Bottom line is, learn from failures and accept the challenge to convert every difficulty into happiness.
Originally published at medium.com