Senses and Performability
I wrote a manifesto immediately after college. Well, let's say I started a manifesto. I didn't get more than a dozen pages out. It was intended as an exploration of what the future of performance would be in a technological age. One of my favorite things about Cornish College of the Arts was a fairly multidisciplinary approach to the education. Obviously, I had a theater not a dance education, but at various points I took dance classes and at other points I took some music theory classes. Also, there was one course that is still shaping how I see the world and performance as a whole.
Progress, not Perfection
I did write a little bit last week, so this may be good for me. I hope it continues to progress. Also, I was listening to the Bhagavad Gita while doing a small workout today. A lot of it is enlightening, but this part in particular stood out to me.
“Therefore, one who has renounced the fruits of his action, whose doubts are destroyed by transcendental knowledge, and who is situated firmly in the self, is not bound by works, O conqueror of riches.”
As it was expanded upon, the section seems to be more about engaging in the world without a need to have the results of one’s actions immediately visible. When I was training people, I kept reminding them that it was about “progress, not perfection.” I find that a focus on a specific weight - either to lift or lose - can do one of two things. Often, when it isn’t achieved as quickly as desired (for we always desire attainment of our goals before they manifest themselves) one can lose motivation to keep with the practice. Or, if the goal is achieved, then there isn’t another mountain to climb. One has reached the peak.
However, if the focus is on improvement, or on the self-actualization of the self, then the goal can never be reached. There is always another mountain to climb, or another day in which one can make one’s bed. Sometimes that in itself is an accomplishment, I can tell you from experience. And if the goal is on self-actualization, there are an infinite number of ways to move slightly closer to it. And even if one, a la Zeno’s paradox, only cuts the distance in half every time, is it not still a little bit closer to the best version of yourself? And is “best” even attainable?
Obviously failure is a constant hallmark of life. That last rep that can’t be made. The books that haven’t been read. The skill that was laid to rest and rust months or years ago. But life goes on, and there is always another day to try again and see what kind of joy can be met in the life as it presents itself. Can you remember the way the breeze felt on your face when you were last with the one you are thinking of as you read this sentence? Is that not a way to fill the soul itself?
Life is beautiful, and every moment that can be made more joyful for those who you love and love you in turn is a moment lived properly. It’s always a struggle to find the way to be a better version of yourself. I think that is part of what Kierkegaard meant. Have faith that they are worth it, and make yourself into the person who would be worth that which you have faith in. One of the most beautiful quotes comes from someone who would reject the idea of a singular force that would guide humanity to improvement.
“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?” - Richard Dawkins
I’ve been having a writer's block for, well, it feels like years. I have drafts I’ve worked on. Mostly on a single play I’ve played with since Shakespeare, which is the verbiage Rhonda would suggest for me. Still, it’s nothing with a complete arc, beginning middle and end. So I’d say that’s a block. I mean, I’ve plotted it out, I have the key events I know it needs to have happen. It will make them happen.
Went to school for theater, learned to make a living in food, fitness, sales, and public education.