Monday, June 14, 2010

Secrets There

He who would search for pearls must dive below.

John Dryden
People are strange. They spend a lot of time and effort underestimating other people. I suppose it's the nasty habit of making comparisons that prompts people to do it. "He can't be as smart as I am. Can he?"

I was coming out of a performance at the Metropolitan Opera House one evening and saw a guy I knew somewhat. He said he was surprised to see me there. He didn't know I was an opera goer. I thought to myself, what would make him think I wasn't? What image did I project of myself which would convince anyone that I wouldn't enjoy the opera" He knew I was in the arts, why not an opera lover?

Another time I was working on an original play and after rehearsal I was having a beer with the author and discussing the play. I said that I thought the character was going through an obscure night of the soul. He said he was surprised that I would know that. Again I wondered what would make him think that about me. After all, one cannot live with going through an obscure night of the soul every now and then, those times when one is confused, things don't make sense and everything seems dark.

If you underestimate people you are in danger of patronizing and condescending. I try never to do it.

I was having a discussion recently with someone who said she never realized that a work of art was actually supposed to have a meaning. She referred to a particular painting of mine and asked if it was allegorical. She was seeing something in it that caused a personal response in her. I replied that all art is allegorical. But then I thought about it and revised my remark to say that all art is allegory.

I could have gone on to say that everything is. All is allegory, metaphor, parable. One doesn't need to go through live analyzing everything to get it to reveal its secrets. That would be an exhausting thing to do. It is enough to know that the secrets are there to be found if one wants to dive deeply.

Another play I was working on had a scene where the other character threw a fit on the stage. The director wanted to know what I was thinking about during it. I said I was trying to figure out the tactic. The other actor said there was no tactic and quoted "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." I said a cigar is always a cigar but on the stage it has a meaning and I want to know what it is even of your character doesn't know. He was surprised to think there was a meaning behind something that his character wasn't aware of.

One who is content to go through life with a smile and not much on their mind is in for a surprise, hopefully not a shock, when all of a sudden, like a flash of light, something opens up and reveals its mysteries. That is the first big step into wisdom. Pearls to be found.

(This is not a contest.)

In your opinion what is the most amazing thing that could happen during this decade? Make it as outrageous as you want but keep it within the realm of what you consider a possibility.

15 responses so far.

Answers will be published the first day of Summer.

Thank you.

DB - The Vagabond


Beth said...

More often than not, I find myself overestimating. I take for granted that someone will understand logic and reason, or that they are basically decent folks who won't intentionally hurt anyone. I am often disappointed. But I'd rather be more trusting than completely cynical.

Trees said...

This has given me food for thought, dont really know if this is overestimating or under-estimating someone. A friend of mine who had a recent birthday, said her sister carved from a knot of wood this amazing birdhouse when you turn it around it is a lighthouse with waves all done in wood. She said she knew her sister had talent but never imagined she was that creative. For me sometimes, I tend to look at someone and as time goes on realize that they are much more than what I originally thought. There are many mysteries in the world and it is so very enlightening to see hidden talents or interests in a person come to light when oneself, never could have imagined that that person had that in them. To touch on the subject of paintings, I could stand and look at them all day and each time I look at one or maybe look at it twice I always see something different in it and yes truly there are many hidden meanings and mysteries in art as in people. Thanks for pointing that out Db. I dont know if I even make any sense but that is what came out of me, lol.

Valerie said...

I really appreciate this post, DB.

"If you understimate people you are in danger of patronizing and condescending." So true.

This, I believe, is done by self-centered and egotisitical people.
When it is done all of the time.

Someone saying, "Ah, I didn't know you liked the opera?" may have been a way of opening up a conversation. Unless he was really surprised to see you there. I guess it is all in how something is said, too.

Bonnie Bonsai said...

Very commendable phrase

when ... something opens up and reveals its mysteries. That is the first big step into wisdom. Pearls to be found.

Another powerful one that I love too: an obscure night of the soul

Arts (painting, charcoal, watercolour, collage, photography and sculpture) is poetry expressed in pictures, visual or graphic or let me put it this way: arts is poetry in pictures. Poetry is an artist portraiture.

As to strange people? I came across like them. In fact, instantly, this subject reminds me of someone or two that made me smile silently (of amusement).

Have a nice day DB.

Big Mark 243 said...

Hmm, what IS your obscure night of the soul..?

When I first saw the phrase, I thought to myself '... it could be similiar to my 'ny-quil nights', nights where you greet the wee hours of dark morning, body awash with a syrupy fuel, pushing unconsciousness away from you despite its proximity.

Is a cigar just a cigar? Maybe not... perhaps a cigarette is just a cigarette. I don't care what the habit once was, other than the obvious, a cigarette is nothing more than an addiction and a charmless one at that.

We are nearly all guilty of it at one time or another, the taking for granted that what we see in someone is what the person is. I think it is out of necessity that we do so, try to place and somehow personalize or identify one of the many players in the play that is our lives. Many times there is no offense meant.

On occasion, there is a slight intended. It comes after, in the realization that yes, you too, love the opera. It strikes a person's ego to learn that even you can apprieciate something that they felt made them special and unique.

Takes the rareness out of the activity. Dag, ANYBODY can like the opera!! I guess I will have to find something else that is obscure yet valued for it membership to belong to...

Sometimes it isn't about finding secrets out as it is about confirming that you are doing the searching and finding of secrets in your own soul. Jus' sayin... I don't think it matters if I am underestimated as much as it matters if I am overestimated.