John Gielgud: The Act Of Discovering

John Gielgud as Hamlet, 1934.

By Telephone

The fact of life--the truth of life--I think is that we are engaged in an act of remaining relevant and afloat. I think the world truly looks upon all of us and asks if we are necessary to the uses and functions of life. There are too many people for too little space; too many needs for too few supplies. I do not look idly upon the term 'survival of the fittest.' This is true in life; it is true in the arts. We must always be asking if we are necessary; if we bring anything to the larger arena in which we are asking to work. There are too many people seeking to engage in this great task. What is tragic is what happens to those who come to realize that opportunities will not arrive; challenges will not be met. A horrible sort of calcification sets in; anger arises. I don't know what the answer to this is, I only know that I have long been aware of this, and I have worked hard to prevent anger from arising in me when I have failed, and I have tried to be helpful to those who find themselves falling away and behind. All of this leads me to say that we are always in the act of discovering who and what we are and if any of it matters. And this examination is a good and necessary thing, and we need to be there for others who are on the same path. There is no easy answer; no solution. It is merely what we must do. 


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