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ZetaTalk: Distinguishing Characteristics
Note: written May 15, 1996
A great deal of confusion reigns regarding the spiritual orientations, and how to determine whether someone is leaning in this direction or that. Key characteristics
may come into play when the chips are down, but this is seldom the situation and most of life allows the true orientation to be masked by personality, subterfuge, or
such structured situations that the orientation of the individual does not have an opportunity to express.
Take the example of an office setting, where assignments are meted out to individuals but team work is stressed. To the manager, the extroverted young man
recently hired may seem to be doing more than his share, at least to hear him talk, as he has many stories detailing how his expertise or enthusiasm for challenge
came to the rescue of the group. But check with the individual members of the team, and one learns that the reverse is true, as he was the one who required
rescuing and feigned ignorance until other members of the long-suffering team did his work for him. When he gets a raise and a nod, the team is puzzled, as it would
not occur to them to report him to the manager for taking more than he is giving. They considered him in need of help, a youth in need of guidance, and took him
under their wings. This type of going behind the back and taking credit is a frequent sign that the individual is operating primarily in the Service-to-Self, or is heading
in that direction.
- Take an example in the military, where soldiers train and then suddenly find themselves on the front lines in a conflict. During training exercises, the officers in
charge can be lead greatly astray by bravado in safe and controlled exercises. Those individuals who excelled, exhorted their fellows to greater efforts, and
who showed leadership are assumed to do the same in battle. Yet more often than not, it is the quiet soldier who made no efforts to take the spotlight who
must step into the fray and assume the true leadership position. This de facto leader may find himself put into danger, deliberately, so the leader with the title
can take credit afterwards. Dead men tell no tales, and the record in combat stands at odds with the awards and promotions, so any rumors are discounted.
Placing someone else in danger to retain a title or position is a strong sign of an individual in the Service-to-Self, and rarely occurs unless the individual has
made their orientation decision.
- Take the example of a nurse, required by law and the rules of the hospital where she works to maintain life in her patients regardless of the level of
unremitting pain they are experiencing or the pleas they may be laying before her. She has at risk her job, her status, her ability to support her family
financially, and most certainly her freedom should she be persecuted under the law, but she determines to listen to those pleas. Certain medications that
sustain the living dead, the writhing mass of agony that is in a certain death march, are flushed down the toilet rather than forced into the arm of the patient.
Who is to know? Most certainly the patient, who can barely speak except to whisper pleas, will not complain. This type of risk taking, when there is utterly
no benefit to the self but rather great risk to the self, is a strong sign of an individual in the Service-to-Other.
- Take the example of children in a household where the mother is ill, chronically so, and the children expected to assume her responsibilities. The father
works long and hard, and has no patience with chores undone. Some of the younger children need help with their chores, especially as they fail to watch the
clock and can be caught rushing to do them when father walks in. The oldest is a girl who herself slips her chores to her younger siblings, leaving them half
done so it is not clear who was inattentive. If this girl is to dry and put away the dishes but another child is to set the table, she places the dried dishes on the
table rather than into the cupboard, confusing the issue. That her little brother gets whipped for pulling too many dishes out of the cupboard bothers her not.
She thinks of hairstyles and makeup and meeting the right boy at the mall. The chips can fall where they may. This type of lack of concern for others can be
attributed to inattention, but where one has seen a sibling whipped and can anticipate this in the future, it is not inattention but lack of regard, a sure sign of an
individual oriented to themselves, in the Service-to-Self.
- In this same example, one of the younger children, a boy, does half the chores for two of his siblings. He works with them, showing them how to do the
chores, and in this way not only makes sure the chores are done but are done to the exacting father's measure. In this he doesn't take credit for the chores,
but praises his siblings. He also gives up after-school games and parties to ensure that his siblings aren't caught with poorly done chores, knowing the father
is awash in fatigue and worry and can take all this out on the household if given half an excuse. This boy, still only a child himself, is giving evidence of his
strong orientation in the Service-to-Others. The characteristics are not only that he is helping others, but that he seeks to make them strong and self sufficient
and will sacrifice his own pleasure to ensure that others do not suffer.
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