I am but and actor, and the world is my stage. Was it Shakespeare who said
that? Whoever it was, he was right. The world is a stage on which
we enact our little dramas, comedies, and, if we are very unlucky, our
the roles we play have nothing to do with luck. Luck is what the weak blame
for their misfortunes. The bard I quoted also said: "It is not in
our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings".(1)
If we only knew that our season on this stage is no more than a brief stint,
tailored-made to learn a very specific lesson, we would not take our roles,
not to mention ourselves, quite so seriously.
us discover the role we are supposed to play early. This discovery is called
self-realization. People lucky enough to make this discovery are those
who fulfil their purpose in life. They are the few, the chosen. Or perhaps,
they just looked harder. They come in all walks of life but they have one
thing in common. They are a happy lot.
we discover our purpose, the role we are supposed to play, we take part
in various productions. First we are allotted the roles of children. Most
of us are very good at that, although even this category seems to be split
into the nice, well-behaved children, and.... the obnoxious brats. The
latter group really comes into its own during the rapacious teen-years.
The know-it-all-teen, the don't-tell-me-what-to-do-teen, the how-come-you-can-and-I-can't-teen.
There are many variations on the theme. I refer to these years as rapacious,
because they subsist on greed and prey. They claim what is not theirs,
what they haven't earned. Their demands are not integral to their consciousness.
This, in fact, is the first, indispensable lesson for all of us.
And then we come
of age. We start performing our adult roles. We step on this audacious
stage somewhere between our middle twenties and late sixties. Assuming,
we ever do, of course. According to Winston Churchill, some of us crossover
from juvenile delinquency directly to sterile senility. Some of us never
go through the stage of adulthood.
Not us, of course.
We are all very mature. Right? Then why do we act as animals, emotional
dunces, pseudo-intellectuals and even as saints - on occasion. Surely,
most of us do indulge in these passing fancies. Don't we?
An average adult
(that's us) has to juggle several roles at once. The stage of life is much
more demanding than a theatrical illusion. Nevertheless, most of us must
perform our roles of understanding, loving husbands-wives, strictish but
affectionate fathers-mothers, self-abating breadwinners-homemakers (often
both), obedient employees, responsible bosses, compassionate neighbours
and, if we are very undeserving: important personages. Now, as long as
we remain firmly committed to role playing, all's well and good. The problems
start when we forget that we are on a stage. When we do forget, all hell
begin taking the world seriously - then ourselves. We confuse the stage
with the permanent reality and ourselves with the roles we play. We forget
that we keep rotating our roles all the time, to make sure this cannot
happen, but - it still does.
of us. Sometimes.
can we do when this happens? What is our retreat from this pathological
condition? Can we run, escape, step on another stage? Can we
fight this mirage? How many times have we all asked ourselves:
"How could I have been so stupid?" "So irresponsible?" "So
ungrateful for the blessings all around me?"
is as simple as it is unexpected: Nothing.
we recognize our condition as one in which we do not wish to remain, we
have to do absolutely nothing. Whatever role we are emoting, and that's
all it is, overacting, the particular part, scene or play will dissolve
- the moment we stop thinking about it. If we feel guilty, ashamed, angry
with our fate, the world, husband, wife, boss or whatever, we shall only
prolong the scene we got stuck in.(2) If, on the other
hand, we simply sit back and wait for the stupid condition to pass - it
will. We shall either earn applause or some boos, but that is the worst
that can happen. Providing that we do nothing. This is the glory of being
an actor: we can always improve on our performance the next time.
But if we try to improve a bad performance while emoting, i.e.: if we fight
evil, we give it reality. That is what evil is: a false image, mirage,
Maya, being mistaken for reality. By fighting it, we make it so real that
we, ourselves, begin to believe in it.
with this knowledge, we can play any part we choose. We can, and should,
play our role as best we can. We must try to give a Royal Command Performance
every time. But we should never forget that we are only on a stage. That
our true reality is not the theatre but, what Deepak Chopra called, the
Field of Infinite Possibilities (3). A Stage of
Infinite Parts. Every actor's paradise!
all are masters of our own universes, everything and everybody in our own,
personal universe is exactly what we believe them to be. It cannot be otherwise.
We, and only we, can create our own reality. If it weren't so, the scriptures
would hardly call us gods! Right? We create not only our parts,
but also the stage, the audience the theatre itself. For a while. It is
always only for a while.
immortal, but the plays are transient, ephemeral. Once we truly accept
this concept, we shall never worry about over-acting again. Because even
if we do emote, emotionalize, sentimentalize, carry on, rage, rant... once
in a while, well, it is only a play. A drama, a comedy or even a tragedy,
in an endless procession of plays. And roles. So we might as well enjoy
our parts, our dramas. The world is but a stage. And let us not forget...
we are also the directors!
Stan I.S. Law (a.k.a. Stanislaw Kapuscinski)
William JULIUS C?SAR [Cassius addressing Brutus].
(2) There are
4 principle symptoms of alienation from True Reality: 1, we feel
bad, depressed; 2, nobody seems to understand us, we feel left out,
apart; 3, we feel a great need for a change (i.e.: an escape
from the false reality); 4, we tend to blame others for our condition.
(3) Chopra, Deepak
AGELESS BODY, TIMELESS MIND [Harmony Books, div. of Crown Publ.]
Essay from BEYOND RELIGION volume
Stanisław Kapu¶ciński (aka Stan
I.S. Law) - writer-architect-sculptor. Was educated in Poland and England.
Since 1965 he has resided in Canada. His special interests cover a broad
spectrum of arts, sciences and philosophy. His fiction and non-fiction
attest to his particular passion for the scope and the development of Human
Potential. He authored more than forty books, twenty of them novels. Under
his real name he published twelve non-fiction books sharing his vision
of reality. http://stanlaw.ca (Montreal)