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Amusing Ourselves

"The world is like a ride in an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it you think it's not real because that's how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it's very brightly coloured and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question: 'Is this real, or is this just a ride?' And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say 'Hey, don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.' And we kill those people." ~Bill Hicks

I have been wondering about the edges of what we believe as I have spent the last two days immersed in the Universal theme parks. As great as the Harry Potter park décor and action rides were, the massive crowds made believing in the story and the setting difficult. More interesting even then the wonder of Harry Potter's Wizarding World was the remarkable mastery in combining visual stimulation and motion to so totally confuse the mind that you can't tell when you are in motion or just when your brain thinks you are.

Creating alternative reality is the life blood of theme park existence. We go there to experience fear and risk that has no real risk attached. We go to participate so deeply in stories that others have designed for us, that it is easy to forget who you are and where you are going. The story is compelling and entertaining. Much more difficult to match the intensity that these places will feed us with our own life.

That is the key though, to realize that our own lives have the same potential for drama, excitement, conflict and resolution. In fact many of the story lines in the theme parks are based on life issues common to all of us. It is fun to suspend disbelief for a few days inside the sets of these world class amusement parks. Better still to suspend disbelief about the movie set I am working to embody in my real life.

The key to that is also recognizing that it is just part of the play.