Impro World Tour

Ramblings and Wonderings of a world of Improvisation

Controlled Folly


I remember a writer, Carlos Castaneda, wrote something interesting about a topic: CONTROLLED FOLLY.  He wrote lots of interesting things.  This one interested me.

Consider that the scene you are in and the life you lead is like a movie.  With movies, (good movies) you are wrapped in the complete experience.  You jump with fear at the Zombies, your tears fall when the lovers die, you laugh when the guy walks naked from his bedroom into his surprise party with his family and close friends… unless it’s happened to you.

With a movie, you know that this is only real in an imaginary sense.  You know that in 93 minutes, the story will end.  You may even know the ending.

Why do you feel the emotion?  Colombia joy

You choose to.

We want to feel something.  It’s a more enjoyable way to live.  Given the choice to FEEL something or go like cardboard through a grey life, I would choose the “something”.

The problem comes when YOU become the fear and sadness and lose perspective.  When you won’t let the movie end and you hold onto that emotion because you accept the emotion as you, you lose true connection to the world.

There is little difference with the experience and emotion of a movie and the experience and emotions in life and on stage.

You have the choice to react to nothing and feel no emotion.  The safety you live by will be rewarded in an unexceptional experience for you and the audience.

On stage, if you choose the emotion strong and commit to it, the audience will thank you  by feeling a piece of what you feel.  (more-so if you feel it as close to honesty as you can).  But keep perspective.  See the story.  See your partner.  Don’t lose the path because you have become the rage, the confusion, the love.

And, when the scene is done, failure or success, let it go an move on to the next moment fully.  You aren’t the success.  You aren’t the failure.  Leave that behind and be the moment now.

You control it.  Whether you choose to BE it 100% for the moment or not is up to you. Whether you choose to disengage is your choice too.

Here’s a little quote from Castaneda:

You should know by now that a man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting, nor by thinking about what he will think when he has finished acting. 

A man of knowledge chooses a path with heart and follows it; and then he looks and rejoices and laughs; and then he sees and he knows.  …he knows, because he sees, that nothing is more important than anything else. 

Thus a man of knowledge …is just like any ordinary man, except that the folly of his life is under control. 

Nothing being more important than anything else, a man of knowledge chooses any act, and acts it out as if it matters to him.  His controlled folly makes him say that what he does matters and makes him act as if it did, and yet he knows that it doesn’t; so when he fulfills his acts he retreats in peace, and whether his acts were good or bad, or worked or didn’t, is in no way part of his concern.  ‘

Carlos Castaneda (1931 -)

posted under Ideas, South America

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