Friday, September 26, 2008

How’d I Fared the Marshmallow Test?

This week is what I like to call Petix (Petiks) Week; that is, idle at work – who can blame me, there are no tasks coming from my boss. But it doesn’t stop me from becoming productive. Say I’m just being a wasted company resource of the week; I’m pre-occupied with myself reckoning the things around me nonetheless. And thanks to Yahoo! Messenger and my friend Joya, those things circling around my head finally rendezvoused.

Since our Globe Telecom days (or aptly, the day we became seatmates) Joya and I started a pun on the so-called Marshmallow Test.
“Bagsak ka sa Marshmallow Test nung bata ka noh?”, you’ll hear us throw this line to the other whenever one of us would crack on a seemingly difficult exercise on restraint. Though neither of us underwent this (or so our memories say), it’s an added fun after a burst of half-meant revelation or near-miss remark on our pseudo-secrets. Plus, it relieves the tension on our feet iron-chained to our former job.

Then today (the last of the Petix days, so far) Joya greeted me over the chat line with “Bagsak ka ba ng Marshmallow Test?”. I became numb; wondering if I had made an unintentional comment on some of our recurring email group thread. Then I remember our chat early this week; a virtual conversation (minus the lattes) about
waiting. I should have known better!

Waiting. Marshmallow Test. Seems like two things on each end of the spectrum. But who says impromptu conversations are random? Interestingly enough, this psychological test by Walter Mischel four decades ago is all about waiting: four-year olds being given a marshmallow and promised another, only if they could wait 20 minutes before eating the first one. Some children could wait and others could not. And, as reported, those who waited became successful later in life. Could have I passed the test? Well, I consider myself nearing success but why does it make me think otherwise? Maybe because I'm yet to be halfway on my journey. Maybe because until now I'm haunted by that test lurking behind me. Maybe because I'm yet to respond on my own marshmallow. Darn! My pre-school teacher should have given me the test already.

The test leads us to Sigmund Freud's theory of personality. It reveals that our psyche is composed of 3 parts:

id - pleasure
ego - reality
super-ego - morality; the conscience

He says that id rules our early life. But as one matures, one begins to learn the need sometimes to endure pain and to defer gratification because of the exigencies and obstacles of reality (ego), guided by a higher consciousness (super-ego). Tell me about reality and morality slapping the face! And I like Freud's theory. It explains everything. The test is not a one-time early childhood activity. It is a continuing endeavor for the rest of our temporal life. Id. It is my immature self always whining within me. It is the very thing that is impatient on waiting. So how to get rid of this id? I believe it will never go away just as like childhood memories becoming part of who I am; they form a trinity that defines me. Moreover, I believe that id can be more of an ally than a foe. It is considered my driving force. A force that, in the first place, kept me waiting. But allowing the id to further rule over ends sanity. There should be a balancing factor that would keep me from being sent to a psychiatric ward.


And it bites. So why not have reality for breakfast, lunch and dinner until I get stifled? Then maybe, just maybe, I get to have my marshmallow for dessert. Afterall, the rewards of patience is sweet. I now understand that my ego and super-ego should be ruling my life onwards; the physical and the metaphysical; this temporal world and the Kingdom of Heaven. I won't rush. The days are young and I'm stronger than you think.

So how'd I fared? I may have flunked some of the previous tests but there are more to come. Trust me.

They say there will be a surprised test next week.

I'll be waiting then we'll see.

GMT -3 Sao Paulo, Brazil


joya :) said...

im beginning to get used to fried reality, sinigang reality and adobong reality for my meals. Though sometimes, I can't help but get a marshmallow from the fridge... :)

Kamandagan said...

But one must discern if the marshmallow is ready for the taking. It can be offered right in front of our faces without us knowing it or we just choose to ignore believing that we are still in the process of waiting. But we are not meant to wait forever. The things we wait in this temporal world will come in our lifetime. So here we need to get in touch with our own super-egos to help us discern. There's no problem prematurely eating our marshmallows as long as we acknowledge this weakness and come up with a new strategy to resist the next. It's how we learn to live life.

I'll see you in the finals. :)