Cast the movie of your life.
Hmm… This brings up those imponderables like the tree falling in the forest when no one’s around.
Are we capable of casting ourselves in a movie, or are we in fact the sum total of other people’s perceptions of us? Are we chameleons, who change depending on who’s there to perceive? If Hitler’s mother cast Adolf, would he be warm and fuzzy, as opposed to a brilliant and magnetic idealist (pre-war Germany) or a raving racist monster (anytime after 1939)?
People in solitary confinement tend to lose the plot, after a while (see the National Geographic documentary on “administrative segregation” in Colorado State Prison). There are obviously a lot of highly complex reasons for this, but is one of them the fact that those in solitary exist in a world totally devoid of other people’s perceptions, and thus have no idea who or what they are?
Squillions of trees have been felled to produce a veritable avalanche of books instructing us in the art of “finding ourselves”. But do we ever? You are not your job, they cry. But we all define ourselves to some extent by our roles in life: child, parent, social animal, loner, employee, leader… And if any of them change, it causes enormous upheaval. Your children leave home, you retire, you win the lottery – or you lose the lot – and in each case, you’re thrown into chaos. You have to redefine yourself – but who are you really? Without the guidelines, are you good, bad or indifferent? Sociable, shy or wallpaper? Aggressive or amenable? Or are we, in fact, simply layers of habit and conditioning tacked onto our one innate characteristic: the will to survive?
So how can you cast yourself in a movie? Me, I’ll settle for Caspar the Friendly Ghost.