Thursday, May 31, 2018

How to Act

My musings on this blog lean toward the entertainment world, but sometimes, I think we can all gain from the same lessons.  As much as an actor’s goal is to behave and speak in ways that effectively demonstrate a fictional character, so might we all realize that the way we behave and speak demonstrates our own, real-life character.  We reveal ourselves as compassionate, as bullies, as thoughtless, as caring…as whatever our words and deeds prove.

That said, a fairly simple rule to follow is to say and do no harm.  I know I've talked about this before, but it bears repeating.  By living this philosophy of mindful kindness, we become better people and the world, as a result, becomes a better place.  When you say or do harm, you not only are harming the object of your words or actions, but you are harming yourself, because you are assassinating your character.  So, it’s better for everyone, including yourself, to be thoughtful, courteous and kind.

Some will say “But it’s a free country; I can do and say what I want”. That’s nonsense.  We have libel and slander laws to help prevent and punish those who intentionally aim to cause harm with their words.  We have assault and battery laws for those who commit specific, unacceptable actions.  And so on.  While you are indeed free to do and say what you please, you must accept the consequences.  Rights come with responsibilities; freedoms come with limitations.  Balance is everything.

The recent Rosanne Barr incident has given us a great example in the abuse of freedom of speech and the corrective balance.  She tweeted a racist comment and was fired for it.  Harm spoken, punishment resulted.  Then, some of you will say “But freedom is getting eroded because of sensitive snowflakes” or something along those lines.  Remember: one sign of a healthy, quality society is how it treats its weakest members; carrying that through, the stronger individuals should be caring for the weaker.  So, if you have “thick skin”, you should be caring for those who are more sensitive, not bullying them.  We all have infinite ways in which our personalities and psyches vary; we should respect them all and be considerate.  Otherwise, we are brutes and not worthy of the term “civilized society”.

So, we are all actors: that is, we are all playing our roles in this world. Make your role shine. Make your character inspire.  

Be kind.  Be courteous.  Be mindful.

Be a hero.