As an artist in acting and writing, you can’t help but study other people as you explore the mediums of reaching others as well as those places in yourself. I found myself recently reflecting on the path an acting coach led me to explore in 2015-19. Prior to the pandemic, I’d been led to explore Sherlock Holmes, Lex Luther, Robert Mitchum and Herman Hesse. On my own I morphed into side projects studing lives of Sanford Meisner, George Gurdjieff and Alan Krakower – as well as the characters created by several popular playwriters and screenwriters. As you shake off the norms of society and let your humanity feel into good writing, it’s like eating ice cream. Sometimes the fantasies created in drama have their own healing built into them as opposed to the rugged study of reality.
The parallels between Meisner and Gurdjieff were brilliant for a deep feeler like myself who hides behind my intellect and appearance unafraid to let life knock me down and show that I can get back up without eating Doritos or adhering to the cookie cutter cliche’s ascribed to how you have to be to get by in American life.
So having worked on my craft for years without bending overly to conform or play the engineer or athlete in life where I could have made millions, I’ve not done that as a film actor, either. I just get by on what comes my way. I play things my way and as my time has not and may never come to enjoy great influence or even a shadow of a lime light, I do enjoy being me – not even because I could, as some artist do, use the rejection and obscurity to feed some inner dialogue that whispers of an outdated model of sacrifice and truth.
But the interesting things I just realized is how similar the work of Alan Krakower and Rudolf Steiner appeared to me recently after I deeply felt along their lectures. The content is actually quite similar in many respects, between the Grey Courses offered orally by Krakower and the lectures on Elemental Beings by Steiner. Gurdjieff was an admitted rascal that actually rambled in something communicatively equivalent, but he was in a different league of actual lifelong experience, research and travels that dwarf these two. Hesse as well.
In following a transcription of a lecture, you learn a lot about how someone structures their thinking (or lack thereof). You begin to get a glimpse into motive, if one exists and one usually does. It may not be the headline or the title that drew you into listen or read. You, as an audience, may get tricked into following along.
As a spokesman, not “actor”, I had the frustration of working with a consumer product company and its marketing team. The marketers today as you probably know are reaching you in subversive ways through social media and understanding as much or more about the viewing consumers than the consumers know about themself. They know how to flip on that “I want a Dorito” switch.
In these spokesman projects I began to understand what was going on. I knew I – was playing along to learn something. But it took a few weeks, actually months, for me to get clear. These scripts to sell consumer goods were teasing the interest of people. Questions were posed that caused people to listen or play along. Then they’d reach for the heart and try to get a sale. The questions remained unanswered, however, as promised.
Interesting these ads were targeting people that looked and had been in the life I left behind. So these were smart and affluent people. Well, some of the target audience actually knew me and contacted me to get answers to the questions that were not answered in the seduction process. The entities behind these consumer goods wasn’t really interested in supporting me or the information channel that opened up through my past real world connection with board members of prominent corporations and affluence in Texas and around the world, so I got hung out to dry. No answers and no more work.
But let me share something. In my experience, pieces of work that deserve time and attention, be it writing, acting, education or even a story, they will have some element of human dignity and truth that attracts and holds you, the viewer. The scripts that organically flow from Steiner or Krakower or even the manipulated, contrived advertising scripts behind social media pushing consumer goods all have a rambling pattern that could hold your attention for hours without satisfying anything concrete in your life.
You may as a result, reach for your pocket book, PayPal or just keep listening. It’s almost become a given that some external visual and audio must be running, as someone recently said to me, “We have to have something on in the background. Nobody does silence.”
But I am one who after all these decades of my own quest, finally likes to get to the point at the risk of loosing a viewer here or there. Not that this is some guarded truth or anything. But these points made by Gurdjieff, et al are rather simple. Pay attention and look deeper than you did yesterday because someone may be taking you for a ride and distracting you from your own life. Without declaring that we’re running out of time, just do it because. If you don’t want to do it because you’re curious and notice something deeper is really going on in life, that the marketers and entertainers are counting on you getting confused and loosing yourself – well, I’ll stop there. I’m not here to provoke fear. If you’re not seeing or more importantly feeling the need to look deeper, it’s just not time.
Leave a Reply