Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Character Comparison--Fifty Years Later

I was sitting by a stream the other day, musing over the difference between dramatic characters of today and the characters of my youth.

Today's dramatic characters are often leaves dropped into the streams of life unwillingly and deterministically from fragile trees . Once there, they hopelessly bob about, hurtling downstream willy-nilly to an unknown fate. Their only chance of survival is a moment-to-moment attempt to maintain buoyancy, helplessly careening off the flotsam and jetsam of life which threatens to ensnare them--to fragment them, disintegrate them into such small pieces that soon they will no longer even be called a leaf.

Fifty years ago, in the art and culture of my youth, dramatic characters had more positive sense of their possible interaction with their personal flow. Their leaves fell into the same streams, true, but they believed they could will their eventual survival. They felt their banks on either side of their river created an opportunity for escape; they believed they could--and would--swim to those shores and thereby avoid being drowned into a larger ocean ahead.

They believed in will: confront the streams rapids, positively define the parameters of the flow within those shores, fix hard on a destination (will, remember) and swim like hell toward freedom. Their fate was not up to the streams flow, but to themselves. Life was manageable; their destiny was not fixed, but could be made positive by an expenditure of effort.

Character in these fifty years had changed from belief in will to the acceptance of futile fate.

1 Comments:

Blogger Giancarlo said...

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12:09 AM  

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