Acting Anyone?

September 12, 2009 by  
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The sound of expletives rising from behind a wall at the outdoor cafe where I have my morning coffee usually just means that there’s a couple rehearsing a theatrical scene, rather than any real conflict unfolding. It is LA after all, and the sense that things are not as they first seem is validated often enough in this city to become a part of one’s daily habit. It’s so that I don’t even experience a moment of alarm as the harsh words drift into earshot, just a twinge of annoyance at yet another pair of adults playing make believe.

It’s sad really, the cynicism with which I’ve come to view what is after all an art-form. In theory at least, I am in full support of both creative expression and the construction of imaginary worlds that their creators can escape into. But I ‘m as guilty as the next Angelino when it comes to harsh judgments regarding such pastimes.

I suppose there is something simultaneously superficial and enviable about these activities when viewed from the outside. The dream of being swept up on a magic carpet of creativity, of connecting with an elusive, heightened experience of aliveness, on the enviable side. The sense that the lives of the participants in these dramas have drifted off the rails somewhere along the way, that it’s all driven by wayward and hungry egos, on the darker more superficial side.

Or maybe these are all just projections and ruminations of a mind that’s crying – “I want to play too”, even though I’ve been an adult for a while now. It’s the very same impulse that would raise its voice when there was a game underway in the schoolyard, a game that I was on the outside of looking in.

So tricky, this mind with all its conflicting messages and cross-currents. When I tune in a bit and take a poll of the competing ideas, views and opinions that seem to crop up around almost any experience, it seems like a scene from the movie “Rashomon”, in which multiple witnesses to a crime deliver wildly varying accounts of how things really went down.

Which I suppose is the theme of that movie – that not only do individuals inhabit divergent realities that lead to unique versions of events, but that their minds are filled with a buffet of possible interpretations, some of which are randomly discarded, some held up as truth.

All of which leaves me with a sense that this jungle of views that buddhism describes as the normal state of the human mind should be dealt a healthy dose of skepticism. Of course that’s just another view and it seems like it might be a long way before I find my way out of the jungle, and am able to bask on the beach of enlightenment.

In the meantime I’m thinking of doing some acting.

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