Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Greatest Show on Earth

"How it feels to me, and I guess to you as well, is that the present moves from the past to the future, like a tiny spotlight, inching its way along a gigantic ruler of time. Everything behind the spotlight is in darkness, the darkness of the dead past. Everything ahead of the spotlight is in the darkness of the unknown future."
Richard Dawkins, from Unweaving the Rainbow.

Pic by dandel grosso

The theater is cosmos.
The stage is our world.
The spotlight the ever moving present time.
When it hits the stage you are on.
This is your life.

The theater was erected 
14 billion years ago.
The stage was empty for a billion years
Before The Greatest Show on Earth 
began its continuously running performance  
3.5 billion years ago.  
The longest running season ever.
The first three billion years were a bit boring.  
But things changed with the Cambrian Explosion.
The spotlight of present time has hit many acts
water circus, dinosaur menagerie,
mainly animal acts up until recently.
All players in a never ending soap.

As others' present becomes past
your name is called. 
Your spotlight hits the stage and you are on.

Life is incredible 

The theater clock shows Geological time. Not minutes and seconds but eons and epochs. 
Life is a continuously running vaudeville theater.  
Life, the Greatest Show on Earth, is coming to a theater near you.
I am going to be a player.  
If the spotlight is actual life I'm only alive when I'm in it, and dead for all the rest so I want to make it count.  
My time is brief. 
15 min on the stage of the world. Life lasts from the second the spotlight hits me until I again disappear into darkness.  
Life is like a roll of tape, once unwound it can't be rolled back. You can try but it will never be the same.
So as the boy-scouts say: Be Prepared.
I Remember the Great Santini's five P's: PPPPP = Perfect Planning Prevents Pathetic Performance.

What do I know.
Any act has a beginning, middle and end. 
In theater less is more. In sideshow less is not enough. 
The entrance and exit is very important.
Try and have more than one thing going on at the same time.
Be mindful of the Crowd.
Don't waste your time, or theirs.
When my time comes I want to be ready. I don’t want to get half way through my spot and realize I wasted half my act by not being in the moment. I want to be present in the present, try my best to get it right. Nobody knows whether Management will ever let me back on if, or when, I die on stage.
I want to be prepared, 
I want to connect with the Crowd and my fellow performers, 
and I want to Play.  

I would also like to understand the running order I'm part of. 
I want to know the history of the show and to glimpse its major themes, structure and dramaturgy. 
To understand why the show has been so successful and how it always manages to reinvent itself. 
Its almost been shut down a few times. Last time 65 million years ago. Some say its success is waning at the moment. Apparently there are less and less acts joining and acts are dropping off the bill faster than ever. 
I love the Greatest Show on Earth and I would like my spot to make the show stronger. How awesome if I could help relaunch this show into a new golden age. That would make me feel like my act mattered. 
That is my purpose, to make a difference.
To Crowds, to my fellow Showmen and to the Show.
If it was up to me the Greatest Show on Earth would run forever.

"After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn't it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked -- as I am surprisingly often -- why I bother to get up in the mornings. To put it the other way round, isn't it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be a part of it?"

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