Peter Baofu, PhD
Series: Advances in the Arts
Is the art of acting really so much linked to the audience that, as Ingrid Bergman once said, “It’s not whether you really cry. It’s whether the audience thinks you are crying”? (WQ 2018) This affirmative view on the audience can be contrasted with the opposing one by Marlon Brando, who instead observed that “there isn’t anything that pays you as well as acting while you decide what the hell you’re going to do with yourself. Who cares about the applause [from the audience]? Do I need applause to feel good about myself?” (BQ 2018a)
Contrary to these opposing views (and other ones as will be discussed in the book), human acting (in relation to attachment and detachment—as well as other dichotomies) is neither possible (or impossible) nor desirable (or undesirable) to the extent that the respective ideologues (on different sides) would like us to believe, such that there is no attachment without detachment (and vice versa), to be explained by different principles in “existential dialectics” (in Chapter Four).
Of course, this challenge to the conventional debate does not mean that human acting, as a field of practice, is useless, or that those diverse fields (related to human acting)—such as aesthetics, performing arts, creative thinking, physical education, acoustics, semiotics, rhetoric, communication studies, psychology, culture studies, sociology, political science, religion, ethics, and so on—should be dismissed. Surely, neither of these extreme views is reasonable.
Rather, this book offers an alternative (better) way to understand the future of human acting (and related fields) in regard to the dialectic relationship between attachment and detachment (and those in other dichotomies)—while learning from different approaches in the literature but without favoring any one of them (nor integrating them, because they are not necessarily compatible with each other). More specifically, this book offers a new theory (that is, the attachment-detachment theory of acting) to go beyond the existing approaches in a novel way and is organized in four chapters.
This seminal project will fundamentally change the way that we think about human acting (in relation to the dialectic relationship between attachment and detachment—as well as those in other dichotomies) from the combined perspectives of the mind, nature, society, and culture, with enormous implications for the human future and what I originally called its “post-human” fate.