MAGIC THEATER FOUNDATIONS
SEPTEMBER 27, 2011. Now that I’ve set a date and place for the first Magic Theater workshop (Dec. 10-11, San Diego), I’ve been thinking back on several moments when all this started to come together.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, in 1958, there was a whisper of an idea that, if you could understand and experience more fully what A POINT OF VIEW was about, you would crack a code and finally know something about metaphysics. Because the parade called the history of Western thought was, at the root, a series of points of view looking at cosmos from various angles and proposing various irreducible and “ultimate champions” of reality: Plato’s ideal forms; Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover; Spinoza’s underlying Substance; Leibniz’s Monads; Kant’s reality beyond appearances…
Once I began painting, in 1962, I found myself glimpsing the notion that every inanimate object in the universe actually has its own invisible point of view.
Well, in the Magic Theater, those questions and possibilities come to fruition, because we play roles and we speak from those roles, in dialogue, and we do experience many points of view—including those of inanimate objects. Because, well, ANYTHING can be a role, and we can play that role.
That which doesn’t seem to have a voice now has a voice.
The silent universe speaks.
And therefore, eventually, our visceral and emotional and energetic and mental and physical sense of the universe changes, expands, and becomes more alive.
In the Magic Theater.
This is metaphysics and cosmology in action.
About eight years ago, I studied traditional archetypes and began inventing some of my own. I saw how much energy could be released by interacting with archetypes—but now, in the Magic Theater, the energy is multiplied many times over, because we are actually playing the roles of archetypes. We are speaking AS them, and TO them.
Most of us assume the universe is asking us to be a part of it, to take our correct spiritual place in the great order of things, but I would suggest something else: the universe is asking to participate in OUR future, our open destiny—and we can accomplish that by speaking as and from the elements and things and processes of universe, empowering IT, giving more life to IT.
It’s no longer a question about whether we fit into cosmos or cosmos fits into us—we are acting out all possibilities, speaking as them, from them, and to them.
War is the outcome of the refusal to speak AS the enemy. “That’s a role I won’t play. I want to destroy it instead.” Well, giving up that battle-stance is futile and suicidal, unless there is an opportunity for each side to inhabit the role of the other.
You want to understand a star, a galaxy, a black hole, a space storm? Take it on as a character. Speak from it and as it.
In the Magic Theater, the difference between a noun and a verb is bridged. The psychic distance between a thing and an action is closed. The artifact of linguistic distinctions and the accompanying architecture of perception is surpassed, because, again, any thing, action, or process can be embodied as a character. And so we experience what it is to see directly.
All this is achieved through imagination, and imagination is given a voice so it becomes real.
POINT OF VIEW ceases being a hardened bunker—but that change is not one that involves transforming into a zombie. Power isn’t sacrificed; it’s expanded.
In the Magic Theater, the universe speaks to God, and God speaks to the universe. A table speaks to a tiger. A quantum of energy speaks to his brother a hundred light years away. A beggar speaks to a president, and vice versa—and then they switch roles. The gold rush of 1849 speaks to the first human journey beyond this solar system. The lowly ant and a mighty galaxy hold a conversation.
All this is improvised.
The relentless approach of spring speaks to a permanent sheet of Arctic ice.
Spirits and souls in transit speak with hardened materialists.
WE play the roles.
I believe this was on the mind of the old magicians of Tibet and the medieval alchemists and the first biologists who caught a whiff of life in process. It was certainly on the mind of Jacob Levy Moreno, who founded Psychodrama nearly a hundred years and staged a revolution that holds the potential to change the world. The Magic Theater is an extension of his work, just as his breakthrough created a living river that ran from the universe of art into daily life.
The alchemists searched for a”universal solvent,” a substance that could dissolve everything. The psyche already knows what that is:imagination. But imagination can and does invent…anything. It is both solvent and creator. In the Magic Theater, imagination dissolves boundaries between that which can speak and that which cannot speak, between hostile forces, between Process and Object, between Is and Might Be, between Dark and Light. It, however, invents new realities by the ton, at the same time.
What we fear, what we shrink away from, what confuses us, what puzzles our minds, what engages our problem-solving capacity, what intrigues our outlook on the unknown, what we seek to control, what we hope for, dream about, calculate, propose, question—all of it is a catalog of roles.
The universe is waiting for imagination, always waiting, and now the curtain is going up on a new act in the play.
To inquire about attending the first workshop of the Magic Theater: firstname.lastname@example.org