Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Hollywood Actors: A Living Metaphor for Postmodern Pluralism

Often when we examine the life of a hollywood actor we assume their high probability for personal tragedy simply comes with the territory of wealth and celebrity. However, sometimes I think the negative spiral of an actor’s life has more to do with the intrinsic nature of their profession then we often realize.

The hollywood actor is intimately connected to the postmodern concept of fractured worldviews and the idea of play within a pluralized individual autonomy of choice. A well trained actor will assume a new perspective on life with each new role. When an actor performs, their deep devotion to the role is often illumanting but can be dangerous for their personal well being. I question the coincidence of Heath Ledger committing suicide after intricately putting inside himself the deep Nihilism that is at the heart of the Joker.

I think it is due to the very nature of their profession that quality actors often become uneasy with their own personal worldviews. My sense is that with each new role you become less able to ground yourself in a single foundational perspective on life. For some (including myself) this might seem exciting, but I think ultimately it ends in uncertainty and fear.

Interestingly, actors with a fixed worldview tend to play the same type of role. Clint Eastwood is always the tough quiet type, Arnold Schwarzenegger always has a Gun, and Chuck Norris is always well Chuck Norris.  While I am sure we can find examples that fit outside my theory, the analogy generally seems to fit. The more we play with different metanarratives throughout our life, the more uncertain and shaky our world seems to become.

The beauty of this pluralistic life is that we are able to be open to different viewpoints and other ways of living life. The tragedy is often the loss of belonging and foundations for living. Searching for a balance between these two frameworks has often lead me back to my own faith. Christianity declares that objective singular truth chose to enter into the diversity of created human beings. The Word of God remains the Word of God whether it is translated into Greek, Hebrew, or Swahilli. Followers of Christ are being transformed into his image whether we are male or female, Jewish or Chinese. Christianity teaches that diversity and singularity are not so much contrasting as they are paradoxical. We are one in Christ but have individual roles to play. We are different colours in the spectrum of light.  

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