Monday, 24 May 2010

Thinking that You Are, but Knowing that You're Not

Earlier this spring I happened to channel-hop into an episode of Inside the Actor's Studio featuring none other than the divine diva supreme: i.e. Bette Midler. Now, the interview was interesting and I stayed with the program till its end, but one thing in particular stood out a little more and has stayed with me ever since. In responding to a question on what it takes to be an actor and to make it as one, Midler said, "You have to think that you're the greatest thing since sliced bread, but you have to know that you're not."

While Midler's comment was intended to define the paradox of being, or rather making it as, an actor, I think it can be applied further. Certainly to all other art forms (be they literature, music, painting), but also to other activities involving some kind of creative input or use of the imagination. Here I would certainly include the sphere of Academia (and no, that is not the nut, although some of us may sometimes seem a little nutty), where you also have to believe that your own point of view, what you bring to the table, is unique and important, while maintaining a little realistic humbleness in the face of history.

So, what does this paradox really mean? In some sense, there is another old adage that seems to reverberate well with Midler's notion, and that is: "Fake it till you make it!"

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