virus: Level Three-Belief and Utility.

Ken Pantheists (
Wed, 30 Oct 1996 01:20:40 +0000

I have been very busy over the past couple of days and have tried too
keep up with the mammoth that has bedome the Level 3- bashing/defending

Incidentally-- I have posted about three messages in the last week or so
that have not made it to the list.

I have an opinion on level 3.

Most of it is in reaction to the criticism I have read labelling Level
three as hypocritical or in complete disregard for the Truth (which,
incidently doesn't exist and that's the truth.;-)

I find it hard to be cynical about people who change their beliefs.

Some people would say that if you change your mind about what you
believe you are opportunistic and shallow.

Well... I suppose any good idea or good meme is opportunistic, that's
what makes it good. And as for being shallow-- A lot of post modern
critics and thinkers have come around to the idea that we actually are
not beings of any depth at all, but folds of surface. That's it, endless

I like the idea of level three. I understand it. It turns me on. Not
because it makes me think that maybe I can operate on a higher or
better level than others, but because it helps explain something about
my own craft.

I am a professional actor.

Which means, I suppose, I am a professional spreader of memes. We all
spread memes, but my area of specialized training has been in believing
memes-- other people's memes--- to be my own.

one of my favourite monologues I like to do is the Ghost from Hamlet.
His speech to his son, Prince Hamlet in which he explains how he was
murdered by his own brother.

To top it off- he was murdered "unhouzeled, dissapointed, unaneld, no
reckoning made, but sent to my account with all my imperfections on my
head. O horrible! Horrible! If thou hast Nature in thee, bear it not!
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be a couch for luxury and damned

Oh sorry---

Uh. The point is. When playing this role it is difficult to say Oh
horrible! and even more difficult to say it a second time with any
degree of conviction or clarity unless you sit down and think to
yourself, "shit. Here I am in fucking purgatory because I died without a
confession. What Horrible Luck. And to top it off----" Well you get the

Secondly the ghost has to be suitably enraged about his predicament in
order to start Hamlet thinking about killing Claudius.

I mean, would YOU murder your uncle just because YOUR father's ghost
told you to?

There starts the great play... Poor Hamlet, tries so hard to get at the
Truth. Never siezing the memes that will end his suffering and set the
world aright.

My point is-- in order for me, as a performer, to feel the rage and loss
and grief that the language demands. I have to believe that killing your
brother is wrong, and that purgatory is a real nasty place, and that
Hamlet is my ticket for revenge. Those memes are extrememly useful in
helping me get the task done-- convincing the world (the audience,
Prince Hamlet) that a great injustice has occured and it must be

Imaginary response from a skeptic: "Yeah right Steve--- but that's
acting--- it's not real life!"

Without even pulling out the old line "the world is but a stage....." I
have to say that there is very little difference.

The information doesn't know if it's in a play or a newspaper article.
The information still gets me enraged to the point of choking back tears
of fierce hatred toward my "murderous brother". The information still
evokes pity in the mind of the listener. The information becomes a
revenge meme.

We all play roles, which are made up of memes. Sometimes we savor the
roles that make us feel like we have the situation under control, that
we are setting the world aright.

We say things like "go ahead punk, make my day."

Does the person need the gun, the punk, the police badge or the squinty
eyes to have the right to say "go ahead punk...?" No. It just makes you
feel better to use that meme.

Although, using it in conjunction with a gun would make it more
effective :)

Most people are happy with the meme as a simple reference-- a small
invocation to Dirty Harry, a minor demigod in our pantheon of legendary

Dirty Harry is like the voodoo spirit. You call on him to get things
done-- to intimidate others.

And, he is a role you play. A spirit you posess (or who posesses you)
for as long as you need to intimidate someone.

This is why actors started off wearing masks in temples-- to allow
spirits to inhabit them.

Sorry-- this post is getting way too long. I have started to ramble on
to a topic I need to think about a little longer.

I am running out of steam (1:00 a.m.)

I hope I have made a point (I don't know if I have or not.)

Ken Pantheists                   
Virus Theatre         
TooBa Physical Theatre Centre