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8. Beyond Opposites

The Electrical Journey Between Simplicity and Complexity

For everything that exists, its opposite also exists. We call this the Law of Polarity, I call it the "Bouncing Principle". All opposites exist simultaneously. Polarity means having both positive and negative. Without hard, no soft, without tension, no relaxation, without motion, no stillness. After inhaling comes exhaling, after contraction, expansion. The journey of this existence through simplicity and complexity, a sort of ball bouncing "up" and "down", between the "ceiling" and the "floor", and like an electrical spark in perpetual motion, we try to find balance and exist in a way, to find equilibrium between the two worlds, the "here" and "there", the "visible" and the "invisible". That's probably how the universe was born, through electrical impulses, a kind of conversation between matrices.

We really cannot perceive things unless we separate them. We divide and we divide, and the more we divide, the more we have the positive and the negative. We are here and we want to be there. Eventually the time comes when the dividing process stops. Division precedes uniting. There is a Oneness, one consciousness, underlying all things. One root. One beginning. Different manifestations, one essence.

Each of us has his own center which is like the center of a circle. It is the place where we know who we are. It is the place we go our from and return to, identical with the Center of all things, the One. Artists and mystics want to go directly to that center of things. When you work from there, you are solid as a rock.

An important part of our work is learning to be harmonious with opposites, or becoming, as we say, "lovers of paradox." This is indeed difficult, but unless we do it, we cannot enter the palace of true art. We are all limited beings, but we have to reach for the unlimited. Effort requires effortlessness. At the edge of ugliness is beauty.

In our mime work we learn to embody the paradox in thought and action. For example, we have to express weakness with strength. Our point of reference, the body, is a structure made of both the hard and the soft. It has the appearance of permanence; actually, it will die. This is a paradox we can play on easily. If someone hurts you, play the opposite: say thank you. Break the logic of life, and laughter or crying result spontaneously. That is when education happens. If a bullet hits you, don't die; pull it out, throw it back at the gunslinger, and watch it hit him! Accept the paradox, perform it, and then you transcend it.

In theater, there is the performer, the performed, and the performance. In thinking, there is the thinker, the thought, and the expression of the thought. These three are one. When we realize this, then we know totality. The paradox here is that the expression of totality happens through separation.

That which appears still, is essentially in motion, and that which appears to be moving is, in essence, still. The earth turns and the sun seems to move across the sky every day, but we don't notice its motion. We only see it now, above that tree, and then later, above that mountain. Each time it appears still. We can't tell where the motion originates. A whirling dervish turns in a continual spiral, never wavering for an instant, but there is a profound stillness at his center that keeps him on one spot.

There are many other examples of this paradox in every day life: the hub of a wheel turning, the eye of a hurricane, the frames of a film. When a person sits perfectly still, the blood continues to course through her body and breath fills and empties her lungs. Time is the fluid in which all this motion takes place.

There is no stillness on this earth. But in art, in painting, and sculpture, time is arrested. Moments are captured in space. These moments are the spaces in between. It is the work of the mime artist to perceive them. He is the sculptor of space, the shaper of force. His medium is space and time, and his paradox is that he must work simultaneously in the moment and in the timeless. The mime artist knows that he shares the same space and the same consciousness with all other beings. His work shows the marriage of subject and object. In order to know the architect, you have to know the architecture. The true mime artist must know the illusion of separateness so intimately that he ceases to be separate. When he sees the One, he is free to reflect all the forms of the duality of the world.

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."

 

- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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Le Centre Du Silence
P.O. Box 745
Lafayette, CO 80026

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About LCDS

LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.