The Crowd in the Cage

You are an entertainer. The crowd thinks they are looking at you but you are looking at them. It is it, the crowd, that is in the cage. And as any animal tends to act when packed together…

We are not a unique species in that we can collaborate, corroborate, coordinate, yet sometimes choose not to. We can choose or not choose to join in, but have to put in an appearance once in a while to show our existence is pertinent to others and to counter petty meanness that amuses itself at the expense of those who are not present.

Always subjected to determinant conditions and group dynamics, we are objectified by the impulse voice in the other who is reading another person as part of their own narrative. His imagination objectifies the other by casting the form of the other as a symbol in his ongoing narrative of existence. When he sees you his brain functions as it does when it is dreaming and hears a noise outside. The brain integrates the sound into the dream so quickly that it seems as though the sound were required in the dream. In the same way his imagination reacts to you as though you were an object that is being adapted into the theater of his imagination. Ethics involves being willfully cognizant of interacting with dignity in the theater of the other individual and a collective of others.

On a group level the sensations that give way to impulsive imagination are shared and taken for granted as though fact. For instance, a person who seems to be sneering all the time may simply be making a face because of a tummy ache or back pain. But our reaction takes personal the appearance of the other as though it is that person’s intention to engage others, that his consciousness is not on the routine workings of his inner thoughts. We each become that narcissistic childhood bully who says “ what are YOU looking at?” and really cannot understand an answer like “well,” NOW I am looking at you because you are forcing me to. But before I was just looking at myself.”

Film casting involves the recognition of a certain appearance in the character to be the right look to play the part. We feel impulsive like or dislike for characters in a film often times before we even hear them speak. An actor has done a splendid job to make me suspend disbelief when the language of his body and tongue integrate.

But self absorption, no matter how much we would like to get away from it, is something that can’t ever be shaken – the shadow, the knower, and the known, a rebellious and mischievous child voice of impulse to which the “I” says “no, I won’t have that. I don’t think that way and I don’t accept it.”

“What do you mean “I”? says the child.”

“You are right, “WE” don’t accept it.”

And the child resigned for an instant says. “Ok.”

That child is he who wrestles with you and makes you angry with yourself, that unknown knower who becomes the entertainer who is really watching you. And he sees you in Des Moines, he sees you in Salt Lake City, he sees you in Austin, and believe it or not he sees you in Detroit.

Right now he is observing you reading this.

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