Thursday, November 11, 2010

Identity and Role Playing, Part II

This morning at work, I wrote some things in my mini-notebook that really sturred me and got me thinking more about issues and questions of identity and why or how we go through life playing roles. For instance, as a question (of many) to consider, is there/are there (a) claim(s) that the beliefs people have are the only beliefs that they carry, and cannot believe or carry any more than that? There are pros and cons to this, depending on the worldview or lifestyle of the person, for instance. To be fair, there is so much more we can learn and discover beyond limitations, and we can grow and build in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. But again, there are aspects that are very provoking and require a good amount of discernment at said times.

The movie "Dead Poets Society" comes to mind, in terms of the traditions and so forth that occupy the university that the story is set against. There are also pressures from certain parents who want their children to achieve what they were not able to achieve. While it is important to respect and honor one's parents, it's fair to say that the pressures some parents put on their children also put limits on them regarding what siad children are told to do and what they believe their children should do. John Keating (played by Robin Williams) represents the door that opens for students to achieve more than they ever thought they could and seize opportunities they never thought they could. It, in turn, changes their character and their roles as students and maturing adults. (I should note that this is, in no ways, an endorsement to go against authority or dishonor that authority.)

To add to the above subtopic, there's another issue regarding who we are in one place and who we are in an entirely different environment. For instance, say you are a college student going to school. When you go home for a holiday or what have you, you are the relative, the sibling, the child to your parents. It's the same with education. There's a difference between learning actively (really taking the time to do your work) and learning passively (finishing a class for the day and going on Facebook or what have you). I just finished a class about a half-hour ago, and decided to blog right away. Yes, I am procrastinating in some ways when I should be doing some school work, yet it can be considered active depending on the purpose and meaning behind it. These issues and topics have gotten me interested for the last few weeks, so therefore I consider myself doing something active at the moment, because I am passionate about writing it and discussing it.

To conclude, I have a few examples that came to mind that may question what people feel about certain things, how they feel about them, and how they respond to them:

- Reading reviews that say how great something is and agreeing that it's great. How did you come to that conclusion? (Ex. of a pro to this: People are entitled to their opinions.)

- A student sitting at the same desk in class everyday. Does he or she choose to sit there and not anywhere else, or does he or she believe they need to sit there because that's how they believe the rest of the semester should be? (To put it simply, is it "Once you sit there, you always sit there"?)

- Watching a film adaptation of a book, play, short story, article, etc. How are we suppose to respond or feel about it, based on its faithfulness or inaccuracy? A few things to consider along with this: Choices made by the screenwriter, director, and actor(s) involved; how the characters should act; and how the scenes are structured.

- Perceptions or first impressions of people.

More to come soon.

B.E. Kerian

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Identity and Role Playing

I am a brother. A cousin. An uncle. A son. A grandchild. A friend.

I am an actor. A student. A clerk. A singer. A musician. A writer.

I am a hypocrite. A procrastinator.

I am humorous. Serious. Optimistic. Easily frustrated (but working on it). Caring. Humble.

These are just a few qualities and personality traits (and rough notes) I'm using for a current potential poem for a class. At the same time, they are the representation and example(s) of who I am.

The idea of going through life playing roles has intrigued me for the last few weeks. One of my professors gave a lecture on this idea last month, in terms of the metaphor of acting, as well as the search for a true self. To use a few of the examples above, I am currently a STUDENT finishing school. Right now, though, I am just somebody who happens to be blogging. At two o'clock, I will be the STUDENT again. Later tonight, I'll be the ACTOR, rehearsing for a show. When I call my family, I am the SON to my parents, the BROTHER to my siblings, and the GRANDCHILD to my grandparents.

In addition to the question of identity regarding true selves, there are also questions of how what we do it for, how we want to be viewed (as a projected image, for ourselves; or a self image, in terms of how we see ourselves).

I thought of a few film examples like "V for Vendetta" and "Citizen Kane," as well as literary examples like Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" and Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author". (The latter was recommended by one of my professors, and I have yet to read it.)

The best thing I can consider (and challenge you to be intentional about) at this point is being honest and true in your character, in who you are and what you do.

(More discussion coming soon.)