Old Wives' Tales
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Toxin du jour
Claim: The Dalai Lama created a personality test.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2005]
Origins: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, head of state and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, has had a number of cyberspatial tin cans tied to his tail over the years, including the spurious "Instructions for Life"
The Dalai Lama Personality Test is but another item of similar ilk. Years before it came to be associated with the Dalai Lama, this "personality test" was circulating online without any such claim of authorship. (We found it posted to a USENET newsgroup in 1998, where it was then presented merely as an "identity test.")
The best way to regard this "personality test" is to consider it similar to a horoscope or a fortune cookie: all of them make broad, general predictions which seemingly apply to a great many people. The skeptical dismiss such predictions as random shots which occasionally hit their marks (in the same way that a stopped clock is still right twice a day); the credulous marvel over their accuracy, find ways to make the results apply to themselves, and overlook the parts that don't fit.
As for e-mailing it to others to ensure that your wish comes true, that instruction is a standard component of a great many
Barbara "chain linked" Mikkelson
Last updated: 31 March 2007
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