Gap Between the Worlds

In his book Impro Keith Johnstone (in the section "Intelligence" of the chapter "Notes on Myself") describes the discovery, in his early 20's, of the fact that cleverness, even intellectual brilliance, is far from the only important human quality. His description of how he came to awareness is in one gloriously detailed, uninhibited paragraph about Alexander Dovzhenko's 1930 film Earth:

... there is a sequence in which the hero, Vassily, walks alone in the twilight. We know he's in danger, and we have just seen him comforting his wife, who rolled her eyes like a frightened animal. There are shots of mist moving eerily on water, and silent horses stretching their necks, and corn-stooks against the dusky sky. Then, amazingly, peasants lying side by side, the men with their hands inside the women's blouses and motionless, with idiotic smiles on their faces as they stare at the twilight. Vassily, dressed in black, walks through the Chagall village, and the dust curls up in little clouds around his feet and he is dark against the moonlit road, and he is filled with the same ecstasy as the peasants. He walks and walks and the film cuts and cuts until he walks out of the frame. Then the camera moves back, and we see him stop. The fact that he walks for so long, and that the image is so beautiful, linked up with my own experience of being alone in twilight—the gap between the worlds. Then Vassily walks again, but after a short time he begins to dance, and the dance is skilled, and like an act of thanksgiving. The dust swirls around his feet, so that he's like an Indian god, like Siva—and with the man dancing alone in the clouds of dust something unlocked in me. In one moment I knew that the valuing of men by their intelligence is crazy, that the peasants watching the night sky might feel more than I feel, that the man who dances might be superior to myself—word-bound and unable to dance. From then on I noticed how warped many people of great intelligence are, and I began to value people for their actions, rather than their thoughts.

... rather like the observation in Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club, about people who are too clever by half!

^z - 2013-01-12