Life is a play named “Terrific.”
A play in three acts.
Terrific in the 19th century meant horrible/terrible and has since transitioned into meaning wonderful. Likewise, the “Terrific” begins as a tragedy and ends as a farce.
Birth and Socialization
Act 1 rightfully begins at birth. While the birth of a child is often the most joyous moment in a parent’s life, birth is a tragedy for the child. While parents celebrate, newborns quickly realize their arrival on the stage of life is tragic and enter the stage crying. Crying because before birth they were in the womb and one with everything, infinite, and upon birth they transition into bodily form and self-perception as a finite being, apart and separate from the infinite. The transition gives rise to a duality between their finite being and the other, that which it is not themselves. This is animal consciousness which is the basis of much of the conflict and stress in our lives as we interact with the other to our realize basic needs of food, shelter, security, health and companionship.
In Act 1 we learn the ways of human life on Earth. We are socialized to perceive, think and behave in the ways of the socialization circles (family, religion, nationality, education, special interests, etc.) in which we are members. Thus ends Act 1, the transition from otherworldly, the time before birth, to this world.
Once socialized, we begin Act 2 wherein each of us assumes various roles for our Earth experience. Roles include career, family, religion, personal relationships, social group identities, pastime interests, etc. We tend to take these roles seriously, take ourselves seriously and forget that these roles are simply roles in a play. We often become oblivious of who we are before we are born, one with the infinite.
In taking our roles and ourselves seriously, we also take seriously our Earth experiences after they have passed and are no longer. From our limited memories of passed experiences, we create stories that are the foundation of our identities. These stories frame our experiences in the present. The stories attribute meanings to our experiences in the present, though our experiences in the present are meaningless. Thus, we experience reality not as it is what it is whatever it is but as our reactions (happy, sad, angry, etc.) to the meanings we attribute to reality. This is karma. Karma often leads to tragedy, hurting ourselves or others or limiting us from realizing our potential. However, our karma is an entertaining farce to those in the audience viewing the play.
We know it’s a farce for the audience, for the gods are the audience. The gods from Mount Olympus as told in Homer’s “Odyssey” are known for their deafening sound of laughter.
In Act 3 we transition from our Earth experience to bodily death wherein each actor’s role is written out of the script. The transition is marked by experiencing the wonder of creation and the realization that life is a play. It is the realization that we are not finite but one with everything, interdependent and temporary. This is divine consciousness. We are as we were in Act 1 but now with wisdom and compassion. Upon exiting the stage, each actor joins the gods in the audience to enjoy the farce on stage. As such, at the end of our days, life is terrific.
Unfortunately, most of the actors don’t realize they are just actors in a play. They take seriously their roles in Act 2 until their bodily death. They are oblivious to whom they were before birth, one with everything, and as such oblivious that at the end of days they will be again one with everything. Thus, they never appear in Act 3. Moreover, their Earth experience in Act 2 is stressful, living without the relief the comes from knowing they are one with everything.
Those who never forget where they came from know where they are going. They are enlightened actors who realize that life is a play and that we are gods with temporary roles. For the enlightened actors, regardless of their various roles, life is terrific as they have a good laugh making their way through the play of life.
The three Acts in “Terrific” collectively and individually occur simultaneously. We are learning, playing our roles and experiencing the wonder of it all invariably each day, though we are principally in one Act or another.
Ultimately, what can be said of this life but that it is what it is whatever it is or “the play’s the thing.”