Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Difference Between "Seeming" & "Being"

Or why Hamlet was only crazy North by Northwest, rather than just plain crazy.

I never graduated from college. I admit it. But one of my favorite classes was a creative writing class where we covered Shakespeare's Hamlet. We critiqued film performances and did scene studies in class. It was obviously something that was a watershed moment in my life for me to remember the details of it close to 15 years after the fact.

In the wee hours this morning, I was contemplating certain things that have transpired on a certain online forum I frequent and the difference between two factions POV on a certain issue. While the details are largely irrelevant to my musings, it is interesting to me how the difference between seeming and being plays out. Recently, Lorenzo has been waking up at 2-ish with a coughing fit and a wet diaper. I usually don't go to sleep until these have been remedied because it is worse for me to sleep a couple of hours and wake up than to just stay up too late and get less sleep overnight. So tonight I was testing my Zen (the media player, not the state of being) and enjoying audio like I'd never enjoyed it before and my mind started to drift... This can be a dangerous thing because once the wheels in my head start to turn, sleep is an impossibility. Good thing "today" is Saturday.

Seeming and Being. So close and yet so far...

For purposes of discussion, we will call the two fractious factions "Polonius" (pronounced PollyAnnas) and "Hamlet". The point of contention between the two is "to be or not to be". Polonius insists that "to be" is the more correct form and Hamlet insists that it ain't necessarily so. Polonius insists that Hamlet is being "glass half empty" all the time and spreading a negative vibe while Hamlet maintains that Polonius just doesn't want to hear his side of things. A disinterested third party would note that the question is NOT "to be or not to be", but rather that both Polonius and Hamlet are seeing but one side of the coin and that at any given time the tide could go either way.

Both sides perceive something to be the case, when it isn't the case at all. It SEEMS to be one way, but the reality (if anyone cared to look closely) is that Hamlet makes a remark, Polonius jumps to a conclusion and blames Hamlet for spreading a negative vibe. Hamlet reacts by channelling Jack Nicholson: "You can't handle the truth" and Polonius points a finger saying "SEE! I TOLD YOU! NEGATIVITY!"

The fact of the matter is that Polonius sees any public verbalization of "not to be" as a negative vibe and pulls a DIPS (Dubya-Inspired Preemptive Strike), trying to squash the negativity. And Hamlet sees THAT as a threat to honesty.

The reality? Both Polonius and Hamlet are right. AND WRONG. All at the same time. To be or not to be. The key is not to be ~threatened~ by the thought of either "being" or "not being" and not to try to foist your state of being (or not) on your compatriot while having empathy for their state of being (or not). Assume a positive intent rather than a negative one. There but for the grace of God go we all.

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