I woke from a dream in which I was playing the role of Romeo, and I had forgotten my lines. I substituted massively funny ad-libs. No one in the imaginary audience was laughing, neither were my acting colleagues. I had acted shamefully on this subconscious stage but my ego felt healthy as I chuckled myself awake. I got up and shaved humming the Gillette ad; “Be the best a man can be.” These quirky thoughts sent me into the day wondering what it means; To Be.
In some ways we become a being through our doing. Our actions, behaviours and creations enable us to define ourselves in a world filled with other individuals. The person we are, starts with our organic self, but when you factor in our ability to think and feel we open a spiritual plane. These soul thoughts will help us to become our true self. Being a human being carries a responsibility beyond our biological nature.
In another play by William Shakespeare, Hamlet mused; “To be or not to be, that is the question.” In my interpretation the titular character is filled with existential angst. On the surface he is trying to choose between life or death but I hear, “Who am I anyway?” Hamlet may profess to know Yorick very well yet he struggles to know himself. Just what is the essence of being, is the better question. Much to my sadness, my sister had a hard time being satisfied with a meaning behind life. To her, life was simply hard with intervals of manic pleasure. When those pleasures dried up she ceased to have a reason to carry on. Being requires meaning.
Books are part of my being to be sure. I have not always been a reader, boys tend to come to the joys of reading late. I truly have become better through reading. My library keeps a record of the books I’ve checked out. The list astonishes me in its quantity and variety. It’s a reading rainbow of authors’ views on ways to be a person. Life is a journey to discover who we are, where we fit in and what we stand for. In the film ‘Against the Ice’ the main character, an arctic explorer, is asked why he continues to put himself at risk. He confides that it is because he is good at it, that he plays the part well.
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” is a line from Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ Many people, men particularly, define themselves by their job. Military life is toasted as the be all and end all of purposeful employment: Become a man while seeing the world. I’m all for travel as a learning tool, but there’s that expectation of killing/dying for your country that puts me off.
Here’s a toast to your future, to our future:
Be still and know that I am everywhere
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know