All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts,
William Shakespeare – from As You Like It 2/7
I had a rather disconcerting dream a few nights ago. I was living my life (I thought) only to discover that I was on a movie set. I tried exiting but every time I walked through another door I discovered that I was only on a much larger movie set. It was like being a player in a movie, about people making a movie, about people making a movie. There seemed to be no end to the rabbit hole.
Every encounter I had with a friend, loved one, acquaintance or stranger turned out to be part of this huge movie undertaking. It was really weird, like waking up in the middle of a reality show and you can’t find the door to get off the stage.
As dreams go this was a long one. It seemed to go on for days. At some point I gave up trying to find a way out and just went along for the ride as an observer. I pondered everything that anyone said to me, no matter how trivial it seemed thinking, “I wonder why they are saying this. Is it part of a script or is this improvisation?” Do they really think that or believe what they are saying? Or are they just going along with the script.”
As time rolled on in the dream I began to realize that of many of the statements people were making they did, in fact, think they believed what they were saying. But in “reality” they were subconsciously following a script. They were simply parroting what they heard on the news or talk radio, or a discussion they had with like-minded friends. They were caught up in a mutual admiration society of people who held views similar to their own. As a result no one challenged anything they said or did. There was no “reality check.” Everyone was comfortable in their role and held no desire to alter it in any way.
I began to wonder. “Do they realize what is going on here? Do they know that we are filming a movie? Do they think that this is reality?” And then, Oh my God, “Do I know what is going on here? Is the joke on me? That was a distressing thought.
Eventually I woke up. I’ve been wandering around the last few days thinking about it. I began to wonder how much of the time I spend on auto-pilot. I do what I do out of sheer habit. I think what I think because I already thunk it before. It is way easier than thinking or doing anything differently.
I think part of what is happening here is that my “reality” meter got reset last week in the emergency room. There’s nothing like writhing around in agony, alternating between fear that you are dying and hoping that you were dying to escape the pain, to make you look at things a bit differently.
Mr. Husband who does love me dearly in his own way, for some odd reason, chose this point in time to lecture me about the “evils of Obama-care.” I remember thinking “Dude, are you serious? I’m laying here on a bench in an ER, clutching a metal mixing bowl in case I puke again on the next wave and you pick this moment, right now to attempt to ram your political views home. My political views are directly opposite of his. He’s a republican, I’m sort of a mixture of democrat/libertarian – take it from there. We pretty much disagree on everything political.
So there I lay wishing I had enough strength to beat him over the head with my bowl, but barely enough strength to lift my arm. I’m glad that I was too weak because I don’t think assaulting my spouse in the ER would be good for our relationship.
Anyway, I’m left thinking: How much of what we think we believe even remotely resembles the truth? Maybe it’s not that much. How much of the time do we let other people do our thinking for us? We listen to some opinion broker in the media and think “Oh, that’s sounds reasonable, I think I will believe that for a while” until something else comes along that sounds more believable. I wonder…..