Speaking of “from which anxieties do i speak?” I think one of the anxieties from which I and others speak is a fear of performance.
Performance, in this sense, is the fear of performing something which is not real.
An idea which is interesting to follow, because it gets at something interesting about the word PERFORMANCE — which is that it implies fakeness. And yet, even in the word itself, in the english meaning, to “perform a task” means “to do a task,” where doing and performing are one and the same.
In other words, performance is both fake and real.
Perhaps thats why I love the word performance and the complex meaning of it, because, like so many other things in life, our relationship to this idea of performance (fake/real) requires the same tolerance of holding two seemingly contradictory concepts in our hands and moving forward. And indeed, these concepts feed each other.
When performing the fake, it can become real. And when performing the real, it can become fake. Maybe because performing, or doing, is always and ever both real and fake. Because actions are never just one thing in any case and yet we pretend that they are or could be.
Interestingly, the fear is more specifically, that others will perform fakeness for me–I rarely fear my own fakeness, and I believe many may identify with me. It is much easier to hold our own contradictions rather than to hold others’ contradictions.
It struck me again this morning when thinking about Covid-19 and the demotivating malaise that it is generating for me.
It can be paralyzing really, if I let it be. I dont want to let it be. I dont want to let it paralyze me.
There are so many things in the world which could paralyze my action at anytime.
Yet it is Covid-19 that is making a performance right now and like performance — anything is performance if you put it on a stage, if you give it a mic, if you frame it like that. If we platform this over everything else, it can create panic.
It is not that this pandemic doesn’t deserve a platform — this is certainly very serious and very grave. But does it deserve a platform above all else, or why now, and in this way. That is the question.
Panic could or should exist for so many other things in the world right now. But at this moment it is this one.
The challenge is holding both presence and future in our hands. Holding both panic and calm in our hands. Holding both gravity and every-day-ness in our hands. These contradictory things in our hands at the same time – giving importance to the gravity of events in our world while also proceeding forward with our passions and joy. This is and always has been challenging, especially in a linked world where it is impossible to turn a blind eye.
I hope this particular performance can lead us to holding each other and caring for each other better and more.
I’m hoping this can lead me personally towards action and not wallowing and failing and sadness.
Its hard, I’m really fighting it personally, to stay positive and to commit to continued future thinking.