Are you one of the people who can’t resist those “Which Fairy Tale Character Are You?” quizzes? So am I, though I’ve never gotten what seemed to me like a surprising or insightful answer. (Finding out from “Which Science Fiction Writer Are You?” that I was Robert Heinlein merely meant that the quiz-maker hadn’t read Alexei Panshin.)
Anyway, the quizzes clearly speak to something deep (or should that be shallow?) in many of us. That raises the question whether a more interesting and illuminating quiz type could be developed. (Yes, of course there are MMPIs and Enneagrams and Koans; I’m talking about something quick and fun.)
This came into focus as I was looking at the Analects, and it occurred to me that the Confucian junzi (a technical term of which “gentleman” is the approved, though in many ways misleading, translation) treats life as a ceremony, while a modern celebrity or politician treats it as a performance. Those aren’t the only options if one is likening a life to an activity: others might be journey, search, quest, task, celebration, feast, dance, prayer, education, game, struggle, contest, war, and so forth. (No doubt the ones I’ve listed say something about me, and the ones I’ve omitted say more.)
So we have a quiz question, or rather set of questions:
If your life were an activity, what activity would it be?
Which would you like it to be?
Note: Given the large number of perfectly good conceptual metaphors for a life, and the myriad ways they could be arranged — If your life were a document, would it be a novel, a short story, an official dossier, a folktale, a riddle, or a joke? — there is obviously a self-help, pop-psych “I’m OK, Your Parachute is from Venus” best-seller here somewhere, and I’m open to offers co-author it: pseudonymously, of course.