Wednesday, March 14, 2012
We Are All Social Actors
Society oftentimes - if not always - requires us to behave, speak, walk, or dress according to certain conventions. Sometimes we're lucky and those conventions allow us to express who we are without having to censor or repress the interesting sides of our personality; sometimes, though, we can't fully be ourselves, or, let's say, we need to moderate our self.
It's not necessary to think of "huge" events such as public speeches, gala parties, or presidential dinners when referring to a social context. A first date, for example, will do.
Can we really say we are being ourselves on a first date? Speaking for myself, yes, I am being myself. Of course, I am not fully being myself, in the sense that it is in the best interest of my intentions to show my date the most pleasing side of me first; so, I try to coherently convey my personality in a more charming, dim-lit, and vibrant way. But mind, this doesn't mean I'm lying or giving a distorted image of me. Maybe some people do; I don't.
Same goes for a job interview: we dress up in ways we wouldn't normally do and, during the event, we probably speak with a pitched voice or find other ways to impress our possible employer.
Sometimes I smirk when people ask me, "You're an actor, how do I know you're not acting?". My favorite answer is, "Why, are you not acting now?".
Personally, the best actors I've seen - and the "best" liars, and the "best" fakers too - were not in the movies or on the stage, but in real life contexts and - marvel of all marvels - they were not professional actors, in a manner of speaking.
The bottom line is, we all act, even if we're not always aware of it.
I don't think it is a bad thing per se; social acting should mean to me conveying our personality through forms that enhance its qualities according to the context we're in. Certainly, like for everything, the proper balance is required and certain lines should not be crossed.
Then, if social acting robs us of our spontaneity or it simply means lying, that is a totally different story.
Do you consider yourself an actor in life?
Do you think social acting limits the expression of your personality or it's a good tool to enhance it?