Stuck in Act One

Image: Simon Matzinger

There are many models of life out there, but one that I’m finding particularly useful (and revealing) right now is this one…

We seem to have two halves— two acts, if you will — of life.

The first act is concerned with creating a container. We establish an identity and set up security measures for that identity. Survival and reproduction and/or sexual orientation are also big parts of this act. The lizard brain is king here.

But then there’s a second chapter… This second chapter has to do with filling the container. Now that we have this thing set up and secured, what do we do with it? How do we live? How do we love? What is the meaning of all of it?

As we turn the page to Act Two, this is where a lot of the structures we built in Act One fall apart. We see that we’ve outgrown our G.I. Joes and Barbie Dolls and are looking for something deeper and more meaningful. We look towards deeper friendships, taking care of people, finding a deeper appreciation with nature, and crying when we see a father hug his daughter who thinks no one is looking (or is that just me?).

These acts often times correspond with age, but not always. There are plenty of older people stuck in the middle of that first act and there are many teenagers who’ve jumped into Act Two.

There are even some of us (me included) who tend to flip back and forth between acts. However, one can only flip back to Act One after they’ve reached Act Two, but once you’re there, you can dance between the two at will (it’s just that Act Two proves far more interesting).

Looking at the news today, I see how adolescent we are as a culture. Our political/social structures have an enlightened basis, but are still stuck in Act One.

It seems we’re still all about marking our territory as a country. 
It seems that we’re still on the brink of blowing each other up.

Is anyone else out there as bored as I am with Act One? Isn’t human life about more than constructing borders, creating tribes, defending identities, and a contrived chastity? Is life not about more than offensive/defensive behavior? Can we not grow beyond this already?

Act Two, friends… Are we ready?

Jonas writes short daily stories and preachments on the daily here in Higher Thoughts. Get one to enjoy with your coffee every morning by subscribing below.