Friday, October 11, 2013

A Fly On The Wall, October 11, 2013


Darkness and Light
by Jim Murchison 

If there are regular readers of my column out there you will have no doubt noticed that I am concentrating a great deal lately on madness and journeys into darkness. Largely this is because of where I stand personally in my own life at this moment and because of my interest in the incredible power of humanity when pushed to the edge of its limits. This is not to say that comedy and escapism and just mindless fun don't have their place in art. We need it. Extreme silliness that has a complete commitment is wonderful and entertaining, but if it doesn't ring at the core of understanding - some deeper aspect of human nature - it will usually fall flat.

I am more apt to cry at the plight of someone's downfall or sorrow if I have had a chance to laugh with them first. It is the same thing in reverse for comedy. Many of the greatest comics of all time have a sad and pathetic quality to them. Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Emmet Kelly, Lou Costello and John Candy all knew how to make an audience empathize  with them. At the same time that you're laughing at their lame efforts you're rooting for them to succeed. 

Human spirit is a lot like an eggshell. We are able to take a great deal of pressure when everything else is in balance and it is perfectly applied but that moment when it slips off centre, spirit cracks under even a little pressure and can be completely crushed if there is greater stress on it. The difference is that humans can sometimes repair the cracks and find that balance again.

I started off talking about darkness which to me is an interesting place that helps us understand and appreciate light. We sit in a darkened theatre and watch stories and lives unfold and just before that moment when the lights come up and the bows are taken there is usually a moment of darkness where you hold your thoughts. We usually sleep in darkness as well and that is when our minds rest and also where we dream. 

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