Loving Oneness Now

THE THEATER WE MADE

[Page K08]

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This is a story I wrote to illustrate the nature of the myopic "ego-cosm" we humans have made for ourselves on this planet. We have invented a vast theater of make-believe within which we play out our insane psychological and physical dramas, comedies and tragedies. We do this with incessant merciless zeal and mindless excitement. I am by no means the first to use this analogy for the human condition; the Bard of Avon stated it at length in his play, As You Like It, beginning with the words, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players…" Incidentally, I had to learn this As You Like It quotation by heart in English 101 and it left an indelible impression on me.

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All the World's a Stage…

A large group of people, called humans, decided to build a huge theater within which they could live in splendid isolation, and act out their endless theatrical activities and strange dreamlike fantasies. Once the structure was finished, these humans all rushed inside to examine their handiwork. They decided there was far too much light inside, so some closed all the window shutters tightly, while others slammed the doors shut and then barred them to prevent anyone outside from intruding. The shutters and bars also made it difficult for those inside to leave.

This theater included a vast main stage as well as numerous peripheral stages so that almost everyone, if they wished, could participate in some way in whatever plays were currently being enacted. Bright lamps were lit and the number of available props and stage settings was almost limitless. Several workshops, which had been included in the original construction, could produce practically any variety of scenery or costumes for those participating.

Everyone inside the building was emotionally involved in the action because this was mostly an impromptu theater. Of course, some individuals were better actors than the others so they tended to volunteer for lead roles more often, while those with less talent, or who had little ambition to be key players, tended to just watch, criticize and express their emotional reactions and judgments to anyone around them. However, any large-scale productions written and directed by ambitious actor-playwrights, usually portrayed world-conquering dictators, ambitious leaders, or multi-billion-dollar disasters.

During the plays some actors would get ill or die, but as soon as the curtain came down they would promptly stand up and walk off-stage as if nothing had happened. The death of one of the principal actors was a favorite device most authors used to solve their intricately twisted plots. In fact, these people were so preoccupied with death that it was a rare play that did not involve a character pretending to die. Battle scenes were especially enjoyed because the players and the audience invariably chose to take sides in accordance with the polarized beliefs and philosophies being portrayed in these unfolding dramas. Occasionally, sections of the audience would get so excited that fighting would erupt between the opposing groups of spectators. These humans even invented team sports and all manner of games that preserved many of the battle scene thrills and side-taking without quite so much mayhem. Eventually they even created dramatic morbid movies to watch when the "real" action was not available.

After this theater had been in operation for millennia the humans inside firmly believed that everything happening there was absolutely real. This was what life was all about, right down to the costumes, props and scripted dramas. Did not everyone know that genuine living was all about winning and losing, gain and loss, disease and health, good and evil, fear and anger, acceptance and rejection, conflict and reconciliation, domination and submission, truths and lies, believers and non-believers, the faithful and the heathens, conservatives and liberals, leaders and followers, and, not least, excitement and boredom? A "best-seller" author or script-writer would build into his or her plot as many of these themes as possible. Whenever anyone pointed out that there might be much more to human life than the events that occurred in the theater, they were told to "get real" or that they were buying into "pseudo-science." The number of such "sound-bite" clichés was almost endless and all the players loved to recite them.

One day, the wisest human looked around and had a tremendous insight. He realized he was sitting in a vast theater of meaningless imaginative activities within which everyone was playing make-believe ego-roles such as, "I'm the King of the Castle, and you're the dirty rascals." Other inane, ego-identification roles abounded.

This wise person decided to explain to anyone who would listen that both the theater they had made, and the characters they were playing, were totally fake, but everyone thought he was just scripting yet another play so they soon slipped into their familiar stances, stereotypes and attitudes. When the wise author-actor started doing "magic," many of those who played the roles of his followers just asked him to do yet more "tricks." But others, whose ego-authority was challenged by this upstart, soon decided he was becoming too popular and too difficult to control. Besides, he was distracting too many of the audience from paying attention to all the traditional work and entertainments.

At this juncture, this wise one thought that all the inhabitants of the theater needed a more dramatic shaking up to Reality. Therefore he threw open the shutters and unbarred the doors thus allowing bright Light to flood the darkness inside. 

"Look," he shouted above the din of thousands of astonished voices, "there is much more to life than the darkness of this theater we have made. Come here and see for yourselves that there is Light outside, and there is an infinite Loving Kingdom of God for you to joyfully experience in place of the dismal, fearful, make-believe plays we have been inventing!" 

Some followers cheered him for this sensational turn of events that his play was taking, but the frightened leaders quickly directed their own supporters to seize him and march him up to the center of the main stage. The doors and shutters were slammed shut.

Then they crucified him. Of course, after his body died on stage and the curtain came down, he got up on his feet and walked off. But inside the theater the play continues -- until we, the role-players, let in the Light of Reality.

 

Loving Oneness Now -- Copyright © 2007 Alexander Bannatyne, PhD

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