Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In life, our wills, characters, and true stances will be tested. This seems like an inevitability. I've had several myself. Many cost me, dearly. Some, I'm still paying the costs in different ways. Nonetheless, I don't regret them, taking the stands. I doubt I ever will. You need to take a stand. It may cost you. No one does anything alone, though. However, you can make a change and an influence as an example for others. So, instead of avoidance of the issue, we best deal with them headfirst. What are the meanings of trials and tests in life, in hindsight?
Dr. Herb Silverman: Regarding trials and tests in life, here’s a paragraph from the preface of my book, Candidate Without A Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt: “When I was a graduate student in the 1960s, I occasionally took breaks from mathematics to write what I thought were clever stories. Then my roommate showed me a quote from Henry David Thoreau, ‘How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.’ So, prodded by Thoreau, I stopped my creative writing and focused on completing my PhD in mathematics. Now more than forty years later, I’ve written about a few of the times I stood up to live, about the times I couldn’t or wouldn’t, and about the times I stood up and should have remained seated.” Life consists of trials and tests, and we need to learn from them. Before committing to an action, we should think about whether it will make a difference and to whom. For most of my life, I was a mathematics professor. I think I made a positive difference with some students, and though my research was respectable, it was not significant enough to make much difference to the mathematical community, nor did it have an impact on people outside the world of mathematics.