The Quest for the Ultimate Test:

To discover who you really, truly are.

by  Stephen Bray   


When a company advertises for a graduate or professional in Turkey up to 4000 individuals may apply.   Understandably this creates a niche for others to develop Human Resource businesses that exist to filter applicants using a range of personality assessment tools. 

Filling in the answers correctly to such tests becomes a useful skill to acquire.  Indeed another niche must exist for those who may effectively train aspirants to provide the right answers.   In England when I was 10 my school certainly helped me in this way.   For the year prior to taking the 11+ Examination I would be faced with examples of this kind of question.  

Please fill in the blank in the example below : - 

If A is to C and B is to D then ____ is to E.    

This was supposed to measure my intelligence (I.Q.) so that adults could decide if I should receive education to prepare me to become a professional such as a doctor, teacher or bank clerk, or if instead I would become a plumber, labourer or shop assistant. 

This seemed nonsense at the time and remains nonsense now.   Incredibly adults still feel that belonging to a profession provides a better quality of life than having a trade.   This reminds me of a story. 

A plumber presented his bill to a psychologist.   The psychologist exclaimed: 

“Why are you charging me £100 an hour for your time?   That’s more than I charge as a psychologist”.    

The plumber replied: “Yes I also charged less when I was a psychologist.” 

Those adults were not thinking of us as children, but of how society could best use us when we grew up.   But we must not blame adults for this attitude because like most adults their awareness sleeps, hypnotised by a lifetime of conditioning.   Testing reinforces this conditioning.   The ability to provide approved answers to tests is recorded and accorded status as to our inner lives, motor and spatial abilities.   Incredibly we are supposed to believe these results and conduct ourselves as if they are the truth. 

When I practiced as a psychotherapist, a colleague gave me a computer program that would analyse 360 questions.    It would sift and sort the answers and produce a DSM III· diagnosis.  It would also evaluate my clients’ work aptitude; and write something nice to flatter them in case the other two reports were gloomy. 

Naturally I tried it myself and was accorded some unfavourable diagnosis.   But my clients fared better.   One in particular was, according to the test, so healthy and employable that if I had had a vacancy I should have employed him on the spot. 

But sadly he constantly complained of premature hair loss, which was not apparent to me.    He also reported visions of hell, blood and vomit when thinking of his self-image.   His nasty condition, known to psychiatry as hebephrenia, remained undetected by the test.   Had the test posed the wrong questions, or had the patient provided the wrong answers? 

Recently testing has gained status due in large respect to the writings of people such as Daniel Goleman, Danah Zohar and Ian Marshall.  Goleman has popularised Emotional Intelligence (E.Q.), whereas Zohar and Marshall claim that the only true intelligence is Spiritual Intelligence (S.Q.). 

Emotional Intelligence is said to include self-awareness and impulse control, persistence, zeal and motivation, empathy and social deftness.   These qualities apparently mark people who excel: whose relationships flourish, and are stars in the workplace.   Importantly E.Q. is the basic requirement for the appropriate use of I.Q. 

I.Q., which is essentially the ability to match patterns, can be achieved in computer robotics.   E.Q. may be conditioned into higher mammals such as dogs and dolphins.   Do you remember the 1970’s T.V. series ‘Flipper’ in which a dolphin displayed emotional behaviours toward a family?  

Those who object to the idea that E.Q. is related to conditioning delude themselves.   Goleman shows precisely how E.Q. can be nurtured and strengthened in all of us.   He also provides detailed guidance as to how parents and schools may use E.Q. concepts to ‘sculpt the brain’s circuitry’.    

Spiritual Intelligence differs from I.Q. and E.Q. because it is thought to be a uniquely human quality.   It refers to our need for meaning, vision and value.   It underlies the things we believe in and the role that our beliefs and values play in the actions we take and how we shape our lives. 

And according to Intelligence Pundits I.Q., E.Q. and S.Q. can all be measured.  Assistance may then be applied to help people to remedy deficiencies in their Quotients. 

But the Turkish usage of testing is not remedial.   Like the 11+ examination of my youth testing is used as a filter, which may well deprive those who most need help and compassion, from socially enhancing work.   I think tests are often used in this way. 

And there is an even stronger argument against testing and the whole idea of intelligence at all. 

I used to believe that life was like a journey, and that one progressed in intelligence and awareness with the passage of time.   As a result I borrowed some concepts from Abe Maslow, Deepak Chopra, The Kabbalah and Yoga Psychology and produced the QuietQuality™ table below. 

Seven alternative ways to Fulfilment

[Copyright 2000 Stephen Bray with acknowledgement to Abraham Maslow and Deepak Chopra]

Survival: (Danger/Threat)

You fulfil your life through family, community, a sense of belonging, and material possessions.

Precipitation: Drama, arousal, danger and rescue. 

Competition: (Striving/Power)

You fulfil your life through comparisons with others in terms of: success, power, influence, status and a sense of personal identity.

Precipitation: Specialised skills in music, sport, entrepreneurship and academic achievement. 

QuietQuality™: (Restful Awareness)

You fulfil your life through self-acceptance, presence, and inner-silence.

Precipitation: Premonitions, knowing what to do and when to do it, lucky co-incidences. 

Insight: (Understanding and Forgiveness)

You fulfil your life through understanding that others are different from how you choose to be accepting them for who they are and learning by experiencing the differences.

Precipitation: True friendships and prophetic powers. 

Discovery: (Play/Inspiration)

You fulfill your life through creativity, experimentation and openness to learning.

Precipitation: The ability to express original ideas that inspire others. 

Vision: (Reverence and Compassion)

Your self-acceptance and self-knowledge enable you to revere life and cause you to do your best to serve and preserve it.

Precipitation: Thinking outside of the current paradigm, taking part in miraculous occurrences by witnessing them in an altered state of consciousness 

Unbounded Unity

You experience life directly, as ‘It’ is without ‘whistles and bells’ and the need to be or do anything.

Precipitation: The ability to take life as it comes knowing and doing what’s necessary whilst stating the obvious, when asked. 

When I developed this table I, like Goleman, Marshall and Zohar, believed that people could be trained to develop themselves beyond survival and competition into the higher regions of human experience.   But this is an illusion because nothing gets trained to do anything, it’s all in the mind! 

Now this paragraph is very important.   Life is not a journey, or a rehearsal, or a network of relationships, or whatever other banal or complex metaphor you want to use.   Life is not a competition; it is not discovery, enlightenment or goodness.   Life is not possession, health, values, education or potential.   There is nothing more that you need to learn, have or know other than to recognise who you are right now.   Life transcends understanding.    You are life.   Forget your personal history, nationality, religion, social status, body, mind, personality you’re not any of those even if all of them reside within you. 

By the way I am not exhorting some ‘lose your mind and come to your senses’ insanity.   Please don’t remove all your clothes and rush around naked in the street, or if you do it’s your responsibility and nothing to do with me.   All I am saying is Marshall, Zohar, and Jung and Frankl before them are wrong.    We do not need to seek meaning in order to be Spiritually Intelligent.   Instead we need to wake-up! 

Waking up means dropping our conditioning rather than acquiring more conditioning to get us somewhere.   Right now you are where you have always been and that is nowhere.   Your outer circumstances may appear to have changed over time.   Your behaviour may appear to have been manipulated or controlled by forces seemingly beyond your control.   But who you really are cannot be conditioned.   Nor can it be tested for truly you are beyond space, and therefore timeless. 

You don’t need self-help, development, nurturing, workshops, psychotherapy, a guru or teacher in order to awaken.   Certainly you won’t need any kind of assessment or test to inform you of some inadequacy and convince you to change something that the test has recognised, but you have not. 

And if you are a parent you particularly don’t need to harass your child if they cannot decide if a banana is more like the letter A, the letter Z or the letter C.   Who cares? 

But take all the tests you want, and attend all those fashionable courses and expensive trainings if you like.   It really doesn’t matter. 

So where does this leave you?   You must choose whether you think of yourself as an O.K. person in a God-awful world, or a God-awful person in an O.K. world.   Be careful to answer correctly for your Spiritual Intelligence is at stake if you fail this test J


Chopra, D. (2001) How To Know God: The Soul’s Journey Into The Mystery of Mysteries. London: Rider.

Frankl, V. (1959) Man’s Search For Meaning. New York: Pocket Books.

Goleman, D. (1996) Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than I.Q. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Goleman, D. (1998) Working With Emotional Intelligence. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Goleman, D. (1997) Vital Lies, Simple Truths: The Psychology of Self-Deception. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Halevi, Z’ev ben Shimon (1979) Kabbalah: Tradition of Hidden Knowledge, Art and Imagination. London: Thames and Hudson.

Jung, C. (1955) Modern Man In Search Of A Soul. London: RKP.

Maslow, A. (1971) The Farther Reaches of Human Nature.  Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Rama, S., Ballentine, R., and Weinstock, A. (1976) Yoga and Psychotherapy: The Evolution of Consciousness. Illinois: Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of USA.

Zohar, D., and Marshall, I. (2000) S.Q. Spiritual Intelligence: The Ultimate Intelligence. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

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· The Third Edition of The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

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Stephen Bray was born in Dorset and educated at Blandford Grammar School, and
Universities in Plymouth, Manchester, Santa Cruz and London. He currently lives in Istanbul. Trained in the arts of dynamic therapy, family therapy, gestalt,
process oriented psychology and NLP, he now spends his time supporting those who wish to help others. Details of his work and his contact information may be found at