Acting and Deception

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Acting and Deception

Postby Pandora » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:56 pm

A question was asked: What is the difference between a good actor and a bad actor?

Most will agree that a good actor is one that is believable in his act by the general audience, or, as we say, that his acting appears “natural”. But does that not make a good actor, essentially a master liar? And why do we, as culture, praise and exalt those that are skillful in presenting a fantasy as reality? As culture, we usually do not see anything wrong with lying for entertainment sake, even, as Patrick Fuery in his book Madness and Cinema, pointed out that every time we watch a movie, we experience a temporary (and voluntary) form of psychosis, or madness. But were it a con man, we would have a big problem with it, even if the roots of both are the same - a passive suspension of critical thinking and an implied willingness to be deceived, or a state of receptability.

Also, if acting is awanted withdrawal into fantasy (escapism) could it be a modern form of secular religion, not unlike the rituals of ancient magicians and priests? Weren’t they, too, essentially engaged in a convincing acting for their intended audience?

Someone had mentioned that acting (as an act of deception) is a matter of actor’s perceived sense of own pride and superiority, but could it not also be driven by the public and its need for unreality, whereas the actors simply act as channels or mediums? Is this driven by a need to deceive, or be deceived? And is this again like the rise in power of the priestly class, whose powers lie in a convincing...lie? In an ancient word, the actors would have had a separate niche of their own (like art), but in today’s globalized, media saturated word, the effect of acting (and unreality) is much greater, and the boundaries are more blurred.

If the ancient peoples’ need for fantasy lay in their fear and ignorance of reality, I do not see that such fear as still present in the modern world. And yet, most people are still driven to convincing fantasy, when instead they can engage reality with all the tools and knowledge available at hand.
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Re: Acting and Deception

Postby Pandora » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:11 pm

Why we mix up movies and real life.
https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/prog ... -real-life

A psychologists, Jeff Zachs, talks about the use of Mirror Rule, Sleeper Effect, and Supernormal Stimulus in the movies.
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Re: Acting and Deception

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:47 pm

Many of us were actors as kids, and our parents acted when they read stories to us, getting into character when saying lines, perhaps role-playing characters or animals without books. Some want to be simply entertained, some learn by playing roles, some by watching. There can be deep learning, catharsis, subversive probing, complexification, challenges in watching something acted out. Acting well is a skill and one can learn about oneself at the same time. Of course most of it is trash, soap opera or worse, but the good is lovely, interesting, moving, challenging and you can learn and grow from it, like you can from any art.
IN psychosis you do not choose and cannot immediately pull out.
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Re: Acting and Deception

Postby Pandora » Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:37 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:...but the good is lovely, interesting, moving, challenging and you can learn and grow from it, like you can from any art.

I understand that for the most part, this involves more or less willing participants, but from a moral standpoint, can one not achieve these same things without acting and pretending? Is there something indispensable about it (besides that particular kind of satisfaction or pleasure) which cannot be found in other forms of activities?
There is also a debatable notion that playing on sports team is a form of acting as it is also often seen as a “performance”, so there may be a connection between theater and sports.

Historically, professional actors and athletes did not really have a regular line of work and were dependent on the patronage of others people (slave owners?), as they were often slaves themselves, and in Rome, a part of the infamia class, along with gladiators, prostitutes and pimps... likely because the nature of their work oriented around entertaining and pleasure-giving (...with potential subversive elements).

It is said that acting supposedly evolved from religious rituals appealing to the gods, (and is often associated with Dyonisius), which, somehow evolved into entertainment. (If acting came from religious rituals, I wonder if at that transition point acting may have even be considered as blasphemy, or mockery?) in any case, the Romans did not have very high esteem for the acting profession.

On evolution of theater from religious rituals:
http://semiramis-speaks.com/from-ritual ... t-theater/
If this theory is true, then originally it would have been only high class people who would be honored to perform them, such as priests and kings. (Perhaps there was a dichotomy between the sacred and the profane: acting only for entertainment (or money) vs. acting as form of sacred ritual).
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Re: Acting and Deception

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:08 am

Pandora wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:...but the good is lovely, interesting, moving, challenging and you can learn and grow from it, like you can from any art.

I understand that for the most part, this involves more or less willing participants, but from a moral standpoint, can one not achieve these same things without acting and pretending? Is there something indispensable about it (besides that particular kind of satisfaction or pleasure) which cannot be found in other forms of activities?
You can have documentaries, people telling their life stories, non-fiction books, photographs, etc. I am not sure why we need to restrict ourselves to this, but there are others ways to achieve things without acting. But I am not sure why we need to restrict our toolbox or palette. Part of what we are as humans is we make stuff up and then get information and pleasure from this. We and other mammals, probably birds and some other species, learn by playing. Play involves lying. We are fighting, but we are not. I am hunting you, but i am not. Animals learn via pretending. Humans take this much further with complicated childhood role playing games, taking on roles like animals and superheroes and people they will never be or could be. There may be magical elements to these games. Could you say what your concerns are with pretending? To me it seems like a fundamental aspect of our being in the world. Naturally it can be detrimental, as pretty much any tool, or way of acting could be. But I see no reason to throw out the baby, just point out when pretending is problematic. It can be argued that all cultures demand acting. No, I am fine. What a nice dress. Looking forward to it, boss. Some of it wag the dog, some politeness, some hiding all the things each culture says we should not have. I do think a lot of this is negative, but I don't know many people willing to notice what they and others actually feel.
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Re: Acting and Deception

Postby Magnus Anderson » Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:38 am

All practice is simulation, imitation or mimesis. You practice public speech by pretending you are speaking in front of a big crowd. You practice mental strength by imagining yourself in difficult situations. And so on. We solve problems by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable, problems. That means we take problems out of their context -- we replace real-world problems with imaginary problems. If you want to attain some goal X that is too big for you, the best course of action is to break it down into sub-goals X1, X2, X3, ..., Xn and attain them in that order before attempting to attain the main goal. If you want to carry a heavy sack from one place to another, and you are not up to the task, the best course of action is not to "face reality" and "carry the god damn sack" but to start with something sufficiently lighter.

[I]n any case, the Romans did not have very high esteem for the acting profession.


That's a different thing. Most Ancient peoples did not have very high esteem for any class other than the warrior class (which includes not only actors but also farmers, artisans, artists and merchants.) Higher classes generally look down upon lower classes.

Nowadays, however, it is merchants and artisans (and also actors) who are considered the elites. Gates, Jobs, Bezos . . . all artisans.
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Re: Acting and Deception

Postby Pandora » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:48 pm

Magnus Anderson wrote:All practice is simulation, imitation or mimesis.
but not all is equal, as some is more based on probable reality while other in unrealistic fantasy.

We solve problems by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable, problems. That means we take problems out of their context -- we replace real-world problems with imaginary problems. If you want to attain some goal X that is too big for you, the best course of action is to break it down into sub-goals X1, X2, X3, ..., Xn and attain them in that order before attempting to attain the main goal. If you want to carry a heavy sack from one place to another, and you are not up to the task, the best course of action is not to "face reality" and "carry the god damn sack" but to start with something sufficiently lighter.
. This would not be the same comparison, as there would be no audience or intent present. Also, would one need to imagine himself to be a different person in order to accomplish a task? I mean, do you need to imagine yourself a Superman when you break down a goal into smaller tasks? I think a better equivalent would be pretending (in this case, to self) to be someone else. Children naturally mimic adult world, and that’s because they will need it in the future, so in this case, it’s a useful practice. Even pretending to be an unrealistic fantasy creature, or villain, or hero, may be somewhat morally questionable, but forgivable for children...but for adults? What purpose, does pretending (especially by an adult), say, to be a Batman, have, other than a pleasure that one derives by giving his fantasy a hold? Will he ever be a Batman in the future? Does he even know what it is like to be a Batman? Perhaps, a somewhat similar thing can be observed in the emergent lgbt+ community where we encourage such mimicry that is inconsistent with one’s reality. And here, I’m just drawing comparisons - not saying one actually caused the other.

[I]n any case, the Romans did not have very high esteem for the acting profession.


That's a different thing. Most Ancient peoples did not have very high esteem for any class other than the warrior class (which includes not only actors but also farmers, artisans, artists and merchants.) Higher classes generally look down upon lower classes.
Well, I’m not saying that farmers were esteemed class or anything, but I think prostitutes and actors were of even lower rank than farmers, so I wouldn’t just lump the two together. (At least farmers produced something real and essential).

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Re: Acting and Deception

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:24 pm

As culture, we usually do not see anything wrong with lying for entertainment sake, even, as Patrick Fuery in his book Madness and Cinema, pointed out that every time we watch a movie, we experience a temporary (and voluntary) form of psychosis, or madness.


The same logic should be applied to all other artforms e.g. theater, novels, paintings, sculptures and music.

The same logic should be applied to any activity that involves a decrease in level of consciousness e.g. daydreaming, hypnosis, dreaming and sleeping.

Normally, we don't say that sleep is a form of psychosis or a form of madness. Just because you are ignoring your surroundings (i.e. limiting your awareness) does not mean you are psychotic or mad.

Therefore, what Patrick Fuery is doing here is abusing language and thereby misleading people. The words he's abusing mean something very specific. They are not generic terms that mean "any state of reduced consciousness [in relation to what Patrick considers to be the highest, or at least the optimal, degree of consciousness]".

But were it a con man, we would have a big problem with it, even if the roots of both are the same - a passive suspension of critical thinking and an implied willingness to be deceived, or a state of receptability.


That's because the consequences are different. Being "deceived" by movies (another misuse of language) is not the same as being deceived by other people. Watching a movie means being inside a fantasy world that you can leave at any point in time. Movies aren't taken seriously. What other people say often is. That's the key difference.

Also, if acting is awanted withdrawal into fantasy (escapism) could it be a modern form of secular religion, not unlike the rituals of ancient magicians and priests? Weren’t they, too, essentially engaged in a convincing acting for their intended audience?


Priests want to rule the world. Actors generally don't. Actors are mere entertainers. Priests are much more ambitious than that.

I do, however, agree that they have much more influence than they really deserve. (But so do singers such as Justin Bieber and artisans such as Elon Musk.)

If the ancient peoples’ need for fantasy lay in their fear and ignorance of reality, I do not see that such fear as still present in the modern world. And yet, most people are still driven to convincing fantasy, when instead they can engage reality with all the tools and knowledge available at hand.


They simply don't have enough time and energy to think through certain things.

I am not saying they are lacking in energy (unable to do demanding tasks) nor that they are lacking in intelligence (unable to think.)

If you use all of your energy to solve your business problems then you'll have no energy left you can use to solve other problems in your life.

No energy means you're tired. And when you're tired you want to avoid conflict. And the best strategy to avoid conflict is to do whatever you are asked to do.

Suppose your wife wants you to adopt feminism. What's the best course of action? To adopt feminism, of course.

You don't have enough energy to critically evaluate the position of feminism and to argue with your wife.

I mean, yes, you DO have energy, but you're using it elsewhere. You'd have to reduce the amount of it you use at work so that when you get back home you have some energy left. But doing that would almost certainly mean losing your job.

Let's say you decide to quit your job. Now you have enough time to discuss feminism with your wife. Of course, she's so difficult it looks like it will take you FOREVER to get anywhere. But even if she weren't so difficult, the chances are you still won't be able to get anywhere because you wouldn't be able to survive long enough.

The world is quite simply too stressful and in order to deal with it you must reduce your engagement with it. But you must do it the right away. Not any imaginable reduction would do.

Feminism wasn't invented by men, it was invented by women. Men merely adopted it out of convenience.

There's too much information and it's impossible for any single individual to process it entirely. Instead, we must rely on shortcuts. We must trust other people that they are telling the truth. Thinking on your own and doing so thoroughly is an expensive process. You have to be rich enough to be able to afford it. Thinking on your own but doing it in a superficial manner is cheap but it is very risky. Adopting other people's opinions is cheap and it also tends to be more reliable. That's why the third option always wins.
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Re: Acting and Deception

Postby Pandora » Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:29 pm

Shortcuts.

Professional mourners - for when you got shit to do and no time to mourn, or just don’t feel like doing it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJUQxelrZX4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWO7XosC758

Or better yet - funeral service as paid entertainment:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.someec ... -viral/amp

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qle8mItqNvE
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Re: Acting and Deception

Postby Pandora » Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:16 pm

I am becoming more convinced that acting emerged from religious rituals, as most ancient cultures have used ritual masks (maybe first kind of acting?), and I suspect that these were not used so much to deceive other people as to deceive and influence “gods” and “spirits”. Most of ritual masks are used to communicate with divine powers, but why then hide yourself from that which you are communicating with, unless you’re afraid of it or unable to understand it? Is it fear, or shame? And what was the purpose of death masks?
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