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My Philosophy on Acting -- An Open Secret -- How It's Anti-Philosophical

Updated: Feb 17

An empty conference room.

Acting: A Philosophical Perspective

Acting is a strange notion from a philosophical perspective. On the one hand, it is a luxurious industry that exists primarily in movies, shows, and so on. Actors are met with fame and glory.

On the other hand, acting is arguably unproductive to society. It is praised even though it is, essentially, a glorified, accepted form of hypocrisy. This hypocrisy leads to another hypocrisy from some viewers: they may condemn hypocrisy, and yet support pretenders with their time and money, in the name of entertainment and culture.

How is acting a form of hypocrisy? Hypocrisy happens when someone pretends to be someone else that they are not. Usually, the problem with this, which does not apply to acting, is that the hypocrite deceives either others, themselves, or both. When they deceive themselves, they become delusional. When they decieve others, they manipulate (like when they "love-bombing" you). The reason why acting is a special form of "deception" is because it is an "open secret"—both the audience and the actor recognize that the actor is pretending.

Perhaps it is the biggest open secret there is among humanity. And pretending that we do not know what we know, enables the experience of acting to be effective.

Nowadays there are so many fandoms to countless pieces of fiction. We all know these pieces are not real, but many of us, fans or otherwise, may speak about them and the actors within as if they existed, as if whatever they were doing happened. We may also emote in accordance, even though the subject of fiction is nothing more than an illusion.

Some people may go even further and be quite melodramatic regarding fictional pieces, like with the case of a YouTuber called Super Eyepatch Wolf who claimed that he "wasted his life" over a video game he didn't like.

It's a game that didn't go well. We all know it is an imaginary piece, but the affect of it on our hearts can be so deep that we may react to it beyond proportions. The same goes for other forms of fiction such as movies. They are just there to entertain us by delivering acted up experience, sometimes in exchange for our fees and loyalty to their brand, which will allow future transactions.

There is nothing more to it objectively. It's business. The business of meddling with your hearts.

The audience that attends the cinema already knows that the actors are acting and are not being themselves, usually. There are some exceptions, like in the sitcom "Seinfeld", where the main character plays as themselves, but the rest of the characters do not.

Open secrets do not logically remove the fact that hypocrisy exists in certain areas of life. Even if we know that the character we view isn't the person's true identity, it doesn't contradict the essentiality of acting being a well-accepted form of deception. After all, the actor acts. That's the whole idea. That they do not behave in a spontaneous matter.

Covering up our faces with features can also be regarded a form of deception. That is even though there is some honesty in it sometimes, like when we use make-up or facial hair to express ourselves. Other than that, it's a good way to deceive. If you're a man, for example, you can alter the world's perspective on you buy having a beard.

Ironic, isn't it? People may like you if you're a good actor. Being a good actor means, behaving in accordance to what people want to see from you. Their adoration for you is conditional to your pretending. And professional actors are well-liked because they do just that. They sell you a reality to escape to. An ideal reality. A fantasy.

And we may apply the same desires to real life as well, when we expect others to act in accordance to our interests, and not in accordance to who they really are or who they want to become.

Pathetic, in my eyes. Many people don't want the truth. They want a reflection of what they think to be the truth. Plato knew about it already.

They more often than not are given a script, and do not improvise. They memorize the text, the behavior, and so on, so their hypocritical immersion will entertain the audience who consume their content. They are giving you what you want to hear and see. For you do not care for them as a person, necessarily. You mainly or only care to have your desires filled by their pretense.

Therefore, by this logic, every actor is, in some way, a professional hypocrite. Unless they are amateurs, which in this sense, they are amateur hypocrites. And they are only doing this to please you, as pleasing you will mean they will earn their keep.

We do not expect the "employed hypocrite" to apologize, as it is largely accepted that this employee is doing this as a job whose purpose is clear to both sides: Be someone you're not in exchange for providing entertainment, and be credited for your effort in a project (a show, a movie, and so on).

We adore professional hypocrites. We adore people who are not themselves on the screen and/or in real life. We put them in high regard and some of us even become obsessive towards them. They are just that good at pleasing us that some of us throw away our money, just to be entertained with these open-secret falsehoods.

This can serve as a basis as to why documentaries are not that interesting in comparison, even though their purpose is about presenting reality and not fantasy.

As to why people don't accept that some forms of hypocrisy are normal and accepted, is beyond me. It could be because they are denying reality. That what they adore is a lie. That it's just a movie, a book, a video game and so on. It is the interest of corporations that you take these pieces seriously because taking them with high regard will increase loyalty brand. And loyalty to brand means the retaining of a consuming audience.

Readers are loyal to the Philosocom brand because it is a mine of insights. Billions are loyal to companies in the entertainment industries because they entertain them with lies or half-lies, marketed with emotion.

We all act according to scripts any how. We do it to survive in a world whose connections remain conditional. It matters less what you feel by yourself. It matters for others that you act in a way that will be nice and kind to them. Norms are the script, society is the stage.

Fail to act in accordance to the script, and you'll be rejected countlessly until you will be in a stage where you will be accepted for your pretense. Improved, or otherwise.

It goes to show how uninteresting is the truth to many. I was deemed irrelevant by a former love interest, for example, because I was honest with my feelings. She failed to appreciate the value of truth. I retribute by building an empire of truths.

Why is this form of hypocrisy being very well liked?

I'm asking sincerely. One of the most famous actresses in my country is Gal Gadot, who made it to Hollywood, and for some reason, achieved great approval by pretending to be a superheroine in some movies. How can one approve of hypocrisy, and at the same time, condemn it? Would not it be making themselves, hypocrites?

Sometimes the pretender knows they pretend. Although some hypocrites may be sunk by self-delusion, I don't think it's likely that Gadot believes she's Wonder Woman, now, does she?

Ironically, there may sometimes be cases where authenticity is problematic when acting. Why? Because self-insertion, or not pretending enough you're someone else, can be met with disapproval.

It's one of the reasons why I don't like writing fiction. I don't like pretending when pretending does not suits my interests. I don't even like it when it does. If I need to pretend, I'll pretend. If not, I will not use your discomfort from honesty as an excuse for me to pretend.

There is a specific form of acting that mainly exists in more geek-like hobbies, such as online games and the well-known Dungeons and Dragons board game. It's called roleplaying. As a role-player, you are usually expected of yourself to be someone you're not, or in other words, create a character that is distinct from yourself. While it provides a good way to develop creativity and pass the time, it should not be denied that role-playing is also a form of acting, or in other words, a form of an "open secret" hypocrisy.

People worldwide may even host and participate in physical areas where it is encouraged to be someone you don't, in the open-secret matter of role-playing. It is often called LARP-ing. There are also other types of roleplaying but I think I made my point by claiming that people love to act up, and watch others act up.

I myself hate both. I am only interested in the truth and I live to study the truth. It's the only way to give greater meaning to my life. It is the only way to gain true love -- to be interested in the truth, and not in masks.

Philosophy is also a way of life. It makes you act differently. And since philosophy is the logical study of the truth, philosophy teaches us to act in accordance to the truth. And not in accordance to deception.

You cannot be a good philosopher if you are not interested in the truth above falsehood or above fiction. You cannot be a good philosopher if you escape or hide from the truth. Lastly, you cannot be a good philosopher if you want others to lie to you.

Therefore, the notion of acting is anti-philosophical when taken seriously.

Why should it be condemned to be yourself?

Actors need to work too, of that I am aware. But why should they be praised for their professional dishonesty? Maybe we can expand this to a more general perspective: Why should people be condemned when being honest, if honesty is a virtue? Why is it a "mistake" to say to someone you love them, for example? Why is it expected that one is better off putting on a facade, while the truth is, or should be, far more desired?

Philosophy is a potentially endless quest for truth. If we are to support this endeavor, then why support things that contradict it, like hypocrisy and dishonesty? I find great appeal in my choice to philosophize, because it is through honesty where depth can be found. And depth in human connection is the general key to solve existential loneliness. How, then, can philosophy not be relevant, when it can ease the very problems many of us escape from? Escape, at times, to the realm of fantasy?

An Analogy

Let's say you have a certain person you hate, and you stumble upon two pictures of him: one with a T-shirt and one with a business suit. Why would your feelings towards him change, just because of their clothing?

Deception, whether it wears a T-shirt or a business suit, whether it is an actual secret or an "open secret" -- is still deception/hypocrisy. I care not for general disagreement. I care only for the truth, for the truth sets us free from the shekles of delusion. Because in the end, you may still hate that person, should you search your feelings and know it to be true.

A Personal Conclusion

And I need not to be pleased by the deception of appearance or masks. I need not be fooled, for I have no use for trickery. I only have use for the truth for the truth can help me make this world a better place using the wisdom I may extract from it. Wisdom, I may use to help others. Be it general readers, be it apprentices, be it other connections I gained using Philosocom.

Of course, fiction can also be used for study, which I did countless times in previous publications. However, even if a form of deception can provide possible truths, by studying it, it doesn't make itself true like a piece of journalism or a documentary. It would only be natural for a genuine philosopher, therefore, to not see the notion of acting, and the stardom that may follow, as that important, or even luxurious.

They merely doing the job of toying with your hearts. Why take their creations so seriously?

How can a committed philosopher betray his or her core values in exchange for greater renown? An honest person, acting dishonestly? As such, I will only act up when it is necessary, not to entertain others and not for my own amusement. I will continue writing philosophical non-fiction because reality deserves to be looked into the eyes, not escaped from or denied. You all have enough places to escape to. I may write fiction, but as usual, very rarely. And will only entertain stories in this blog as a niche category.

I am never pleased whenever I am behind masks.

Philosocom is a content empire that aims for the truth.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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