Saturday, January 29, 2005

As You Like It

I have just finished reading my second Shakespeare play and this time it was As You Like It. Even though I have only read two of his plays, he is definitely becoming a favorite of mine. I am glad to report that his writings, so far, have been easier and more enjoyable than I expected.

One of the interesting characters in the play is Jaques who thinks himself to be a philosopher but is really a man who stands outside of the messiness of life and only peeks in as a critic. In spite of being a bystander in people's lives, Jaques chooses to be a judge although he lacks the wisdom one finds through life experience. Because he lacks relationship with people, he has developed in a critical attitude that only reaches outside of himself; he fails to look inward to examine his own faults. A wise philosopher is someone who, as a seeker of truth, examines himself first and then engages in life as a means of learning and growing. Judging the life, actions and motives of other people just sucks up the energy a person should be using in exploring their own life.

Jaques also happens to be the speaker of these famous lines:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts.....

Jaques sees life as a play. Pre-scripted parts to play, a tidy beginning and a planned ending. In truth, life lacks these qualities when we choose to engage in it. Releasing control of life and including people in it takes some of the neatness out of life, but the result is an unscripted, unclear life that is actually worth living!

Somthing to think about:

A great many people think they are thinking, when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.

William James