Quote #229

If people are clamping their body together as if it might fall apart, perhaps the same is true of the mind. Could it be that our instructions on how to use our consciousness are as a damaging as our advice about posture? Should we really be told to ‘Think!’ and ‘Try to concentrate!’ and ‘Be original!’ as if thought required effort, and as if originality lay somewhere outside of ourselves? Should we really think of ourselves as ‘one consciousness’ and force our imagination to confirm this?

It’s not easy to kill the curiosity of an ape, but sitting at a desk for year after year of organised boredom might do the trick. Our preoccupation with trivia suggests that the urge to learn is intact, but that learning anything of significance has become stressful. The Executive producer of the David Letterman show, Robert Morton, said ‘If you walk away from this show learning something, then we haven’t done our job’. If entertainment is designed to pass the time without teaching us anything, then I have to presume that it’s a spin-off of our education system. Other cultures have feasts, celebrations and morality plays, and they may tear out hearts to ensure that the sun comes up, but I think that entertainment is peculiar to us, and many of us are entertained for most of our waking hours

Keith Johnstone, in Impro for Storytellers (1999, p338)

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