Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


An Actor Playing The Lead Role In A Play Called "My Life"

Isla Vista Beach, Goleta, California, USA

July 27, 2012



"I want you to shift your perspective from living your life, to being an actor playing the lead role in a play called 'Your Life'."  ... 
This essay, An Actor Playing The Lead Role In A Play Called "My Life", is the companion piece to
  1. An Actor Playing The Lead Role In A Play Called "My Life" II
  2. Performance Artists
  3. Write Your Life!
in that order.

It is also the ninth in an open group inspired by Landmark Programs: It was conceived at the same time as An Actor Playing The Lead Role In A Play Called "My Life" II.

I am indebted to Professor Sanford "Sandy" Robbins who inspired this conversation, and to Werner Erhard and Professor Sanford "Sandy" Robbins who created and lead The World Is Your Stage workshop in which they first originated, distinguish, and articulate the ideas drawn on by An Actor Playing The Lead Role In A Play Called "My Life". The World Is Your Stage workshop is presented by Landmark Worldwide.




Act I



At the start of Scene I of Act I in the play called "My Life", I'm born.

I don't simply mean I'm born into the world's physicality  as a body. Although my body is a big aspect of being human, it's really my most fixed  aspect of being human, even though from time to time throughout Act I, I consider it to be my least fixed aspect of being human - in the sense that it's easily transportable  and relocatable. Rather, I mean I'm born into the world's culture  as a conversation  - that is to say I'm born into a climate, into a way of thinking, into a way of expressing, into a way of being I inherit both from my family, as well as from the societies, local and global, I grow up in, ... and  ... from Life itself.

This aspect of being human, this conversation I'm born as  (if I may say it this way), is my least fixed aspect of being human, even though throughout Act I, I consider it to be my most fixed aspect of being human.

Thereafter, all the remaining scenes of Act I in the play called "My Life" are acted out while the body I'm born as, changes over the next nearly three decades, growing, and traveling all over our planet. They are changes I expect, allow for, and look forward to. But the conversation I'm born as, the culture, the climate, the way of thinking, the way of being I'm born into, hardly changes at all. It's more than that really. It's not only does it hardly change at all: it's I prevent it  from changing. In a kind of naïve loyalty, I suppose, to the particular broader conversation I'm born into, I protect it, I nurture it, I hold on to it because if I'm honest, I 'fess up that I identify  with it. As a sub-plot  of the script of Act I in the play called "My Life", that's how my role is scripted:  as an identity.

... at least, that's how I say it in Act I. But the truth is really closer to "that's how I scripted my role"  rather than "that's how my role is scripted". I don't get this subtle yet profound distinction until much later, long after the curtain falls on Act I.

In Act I of the play called "My Life", the whole idea, the entire perspective of living my life as being in a play in which I'm the actor playing the lead role, hasn't yet occurred to me - and no one has suggested it to me yet. But that's grand theatre for you, and such is the nature, the dramatic irony  of this particular play.



Act II



Following Act I in the play called "My Life", Act II ends at exactly the same time  Act II starts.

Say whut?  Did you get that?

That is to say transformation  (which is Act II in the play called "My Life") takes no time at all ie it happens out of time  - which further implies Act II in the play called "My Life" lasts for all eternity.

Act II in the play called "My Life" is really the heart of this play. It's its pièce de résistance. Act I, in which I'm born as a body and as a conversation, lays the groundwork for Act II to follow. As an actor in Act I playing the lead role in a play called "My Life", I diligently follow the script. But there's a wonderful "aside"  which is revealed in Act II of this play, one of those moments of pure drama when the audience is let in on a secret even the cast doesn't know. It's this: I diligently follow the script in Act I but I don't know I'm in a play  so I don't know it's a script I'm following - I think I'm just living my life.

It's even more than that actually. It's in Act I, I'm not only unaware I'm in a play and unaware it's a script I'm following: in Act I, I'm also unaware I wrote the script.

In Act II, I begin to see the possibility of living my life as the playwright, which is to say I begin to see the possibility of living my life as an act of creation. In Act II, I begin to see that since I wrote the script anyway, I can follow the old script or I can write a new one  - and if I do follow the old script, I begin to see I can do so as its author not as its reader / victim. In other words in Act II, I begin to see the conversation I'm born as, isn't fixed.

As an actor playing the lead role in Act II in a play called "My Life", I begin to see I'm responsible for creating it all, and I begin to see the possibility of being the victim of none of it.

After the curtain falls on Act II in the play called "My Life", Act III comes out of what Act II makes possible.



Act III



(The pages of my script for being an actor playing the lead role in Act III of a play called "My Life" ... are all blank  - I've yet to write them.)



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