Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Playing a Role

The question recently came up about playing a role.

One of the significant points about playing a role is that the actor never expresses his own desires when he is playing a role. The desires that have to be expressed when playing a role are the desires that belong to the role, not the actor; and I can understand a bit more about the question of playing a role in life once I see this more clearly.

 I need to be separated from myself, and, most specifically, from my desires, when I am playing a role. If I am vested in sensation and accept it, if I allow it to assume its voluntary position in my life, then the separation is much more distinct, and even though my desires drive me quite strongly, I can build a firewall between my own desires and the desires that the role requires. It's quite important to be clear on this, because it's very common, when playing a role in life, to discover that my own desires are actually in contradiction to the role. This is, in fact, entirely normal; it's why everything in life is arranged to the way it is, and why so many things work out badly. Here is yet another reason that Mr. Gurdjieff indicated the need for our nondesires to prevail over our desires.

In playing the role, the actor must be the servant of the role. Arrogant actors who do not accept direction turn out to be bad ones; they have too much of themselves in the part, and it's transparent. The next thing you know, they aren't playing the role; they are being themselves, pretending to play a role. Results of this kind are painfully obvious.  This is possibly the worst kind of acting; yet this is how I am all the time. It's strange that we so easily recognize it on stage, and are so poor at seeing it in real life.  This is part of the reason that the "stage" of organized work in groups is necessary.

The question of sensation is essential, because I do not acquire enough individuality to distinguish between myself and the role unless I am rooted in an organic sense of being. Now, it is impossible to understand this unless I let the organic sense of being manifest; unless I get out of the way, and allow it to emerge in the is a real thing, a participant. Once that happens, perhaps I can distinguish more clearly between my own desires and the desires that the role ought to be expressing. My ego needs to become subservient to the role.

There are other questions at hand here; every actor in life is asked to play many roles, and he also has to choose and discriminate between the various roles he is offered. One doesn't, perhaps, want to play the villain or the tyrant; yet these are necessary roles, and we discover that it is the selfish people who assigned themselves these roles, which are entirely appropriate to them. The fact is, unfortunately, selfish people are very good at these roles, because their desires usually coincide with the need for the role. It's much more difficult to play more altruistic or compassionate roles. Well, one could go on, but the astute reader will get the gist here.

One of the interesting questions that occurred to me about this is that our entire life is a role. If I can see it that way, perhaps I will see my life differently.

Perhaps I will even see it a little differently today.


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