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3

 

 

MEHER BABA

On the Spiritual Potential of the Film-World

 

For better or for worse, the world of motion pictures has grown up extensively within the larger world of so-called realities. But the film-world is not foreign to the "real" world—the two are affiliated so intimately that they can be seen, essentially, to be made of the same fabric. For everyone is, in a sense, an actor and the world has often been compared to the stage by poets and philosophers. In point of fact, much of what goes for "action" in modern life can be called little but "acting"; and so the larger world has little ground to regard only the film-world as being imitative. In the film-world, the actor has to think, feel and act according to the pattern held before him; to mirror, though temporarily, the personality of the character being portrayed by him. This can be said to be equally true, to a considerable extent, of those outside the world of motion-pictures; who struggle to follow the conventional pattern of living as they imagine it is expected of them, even if it cramps their inner individual expression. This is so not only figuratively but literally. While looking in the mirror, people often see themselves more through the eyes of others than through their own. The reflected image evokes in their minds the impression they will make on others and the expectations which others have of them— and the best that most can do is to try to look the part they play. Thus the mirror, literally and figuratively, has become such a seemingly indispensable part of modern life that we might almost name this age a mirror-civilization.

 

When the actor plays the part of a king he knows it to be an illusion and has, in a sense, an advantage over the king in the outer world who is not necessarily aware of any illusion. Both, however, are equally helpless in their failure to find the Real. No one condemns the actor who plays the part of an emperor or reformer as a hypocrite, for although he appears to be what he is not, his honesty is taken for granted because his audience knows that he is acting a part. But there are many outside the world of stage and screen who, in actual life, do not appear as they really are. The former are on the screen of their creation, the latter behind the screen of their creation.

 

There are specific claims and privileges as well as specific duties and potentialities that no actor can afford to ignore. An actor who may be

 

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