Life as a Play: Finding Your Role in the Grand Performance

Shakespeare said that the world is just a stage. If this is true, life is just a drama. A play needs to be acted and watched. If there is no one to act, there will be no play to watch. If there is no one to watch, there will be no one willing to act.

The actors walked on the stage, made postures, raised their voices, laughed and cursed, and performed joys and sorrows, performing heartily and beautifully; the audience in the audience were dumbfounded and applauded. Both parties are very happy, and the happy thing is that life is so lively, at least this moment of time has not been let down.

There are people in this world who are born to act in plays, and there are also people who are born to watch plays. The difference between acting and watching is mainly reflected in how to settle oneself.

When acting, you need to be in the middle of the situation, pointing out “I” at all times, so that “I” becomes the hub that drives the operation of the machine, producing changes in the world, and realizing yourself in this change; when watching a play, you need to stay outside the situation, and always point out “I”. “I” put aside, always maintaining the status of a spectator, absorbing all the changes in the world, making them into appreciable pictures in the eyes, and then realizing myself in the process of appreciating this changeable picture.

Because of this difference, acting needs to be hot and dynamic, while watching a movie needs to be cold and quiet. When it comes to calculations, both parties have their own gains and losses: the actors lose the opportunity to linger and ponder because they are full of the beating of life, and the theatergoers lose the excitement of “immersing themselves in the scene” because they ponder the image of life. Being able to enter and exit, “getting in the ring” and “beyond the outside” are difficult to balance.

This distinction seems very ordinary and trivial, but in fact it contains the big issue of life ideals. Many great philosophers and great artists at home and abroad in ancient and modern times have explored and argued about the ideal of life. What they have come to is nothing more than three simple conclusions: one is that the ideal of life is watching a play, the other is that the ideal of life is acting, and the other is that it simultaneously Watching plays and acting.

All plays performed in the world are accomplished through the look of the theatergoer, and the importance of seeing is self-evident; Schopenhauer found relief from his miserable life in this “seeing”.

According to him, the source of all suffering in life is the will, the driving force of action. Will arises from need or lack. When one lack is filled, another lack will follow, so the will will never be satisfied.

The satisfaction of desires is only “like alms thrown to a beggar, so that he can live on today and prolong his suffering until tomorrow.” Although this will is the cause of suffering, it is innate and cannot be easily eliminated. The only relief is to radiate it into an image and turn it into an object of sight. In other words, life’s troubles come from acting, and life’s liberation comes from watching.

The modern Italian philosopher Croce had another view. He divided human spiritual activities into two major stages: knowledge and practice. He believed that practice must be based on knowledge and interpretation, while knowledge and interpretation can be independent and self-sufficient.

A person can end up as an artist and realize the value of beauty; he can end up as a thinker and realize the value of truth; he can end up as an economic politician and realize the value of practicality; he can also end up as a moralist and realize the value of kindness. This means that both watching and acting can become the destination of life.

Let people who are born good at theater go to the theater and people who are born good at acting let them act.

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