“Over the great doorway of one of New York’s skyscraping office buildings three colossal sculptured figures are posed in crouching attitudes. With their great bowed heads, grimly tense features, and muscles strained like whip- cords they seem to hold on their broad shoulders the terrific weight of twenty or more stories of solid masonry. They are really only—pompous shams. Theirs is only a Herculean pose. Theirs is only the pretense of the strenuous—not its reality. They were put in after the building was completed; they could be removed without endangering the safety of the edifice in the slightest. They have no more real responsibility than a wandering fly, tarrying for a moment on the flag-pole on the roof.
There are thousands of such sculptured figures in the world of society today. They are men whose powers are evidenced in ounces, whose pretense is proclaimed in tons. They are those whose promises out-soar the eagles, whose performance is lower than the flight of the mud-lark. They are constantly posing physically, mentally, morally, socially, or spiritually. By juggling with excuses of their vanity and selfishness they may mislead themselves and others for a time but usually—they deceive only themselves. They are most often like the village fool who thought he played the organ when he only—pumped the bellows.” ~ William George Jordan
I’ve noticed over the years that there are many who are content with merely playing a part and few who are truly living life. The former envision what they think their life should be like and then set about to actualize that vision through intention and often Herculean self-activity, while the latter allow the vision of their life to unfold form the inside out, without arbitrarily shaping it in their mind’s eye beforehand. This is the true secret between living and merely existing.
It is easy to get caught up in the passion play of human existence, where, in the absence of an awareness of true meaning and purpose, substitute aspirations are clamored for with fervor and vigor. Fame, fortune, the accumulation of personal knowledge and power are but a few of the surrogates that captivate the softened minds and hardened hearts of men divorced from true purpose, indeed, there are thousands more. Unfortunately, these contrivances are but hollow symbols of the real thing.
Everyone worships something. Why not have reverence for the real thing? I believe that many of our present leaders are doing the best they can within the framework of this disconnected state, where true purpose is largely supplanted by imaginative yet self-concocted distractions, but I also can imagine an integrated state, where true purpose is matched with the boundless determination of human beings everywhere. In such a state leaders would be respected, selfless and genuine.
When one person is out of position with respect to his true purpose, another must step in locum tenens to balance the books. When millions are out of position the accounts become increasingly difficult to balance. The surface appearance of time marching on gives evidence of progress, yet scratch just below the surface and you find that most do not equate the so-called advances of civilization with an increase in happiness, meaning or purpose.
Many through history have been fooled by this great deception. Will more money or power lead you closer to your fulfillment? Will fame and renown bring the lightness of heart and peace of mind desired by so many through the ages? Given the preponderance of evidence to the contrary, you are wise to give pause and consider your options.
In saying this I do not advocate asceticism or hermitism. Removing yourself from the world is not the answer. Neither do I support rushing headlong into denial under the banner of carpe diem. I have long been intrigued by the merciful suggestion that we can be in the world but not of it. The world today more than ever is in need of those who have discovered their true purpose and who are unafraid to remain true to it in daily function.
What say you? Are you tired of striking a pose? Why not give up your acting career and be yourself, once and for all?