“Acting is what I love to do. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I don’t think of it as work. It’s really fun for me.”
Dakota Fanning has also said, “It’s fun to know what I want to do – you know, when I grow up. I have friends who say, ‘Oh, maybe I’ll be an astronaut or whatever.’
“But it’s cool to want to do this forever. I knew from my first commercial that I wanted to be an actress.” [imdb.com]
So is this just about fun – or something deeper?
In his article What is Happiness? Dr. Russell Razzaque, a UK Psychiatrist, notes:
“There are two general theories as to what happiness means.
“One is the hedonic theory. This suggests that happiness – or well-being – is entirely about the attainment of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. The more pleasure you have and the less pain you experience, the happier you are and the greater your well being. Simple.
“On the other side is the Eudaimonic theory. This focuses on meaning, and defines well-being in terms of self realization, i.e. the extent to which we are fulfilling our potential in life.
“The Eudaimonic view counts among its supporters, not just philosophers and psychologists but visionaries including spiritual and religious teachers from both East and West.
“Aristotle believed that true happiness was to be found in the expression of virtue – i.e. in doing that which was worth doing. More recently [psychologist Erich] Fromm described true happiness as deriving, not from momentary pleasure, but from human growth.
“He attached greater value to pursuits that were of importance to humanity as a whole, rather than the individual’s own pleasure alone. This is a more holistic view, seeing the individual as part of a wider organism and defining happiness as that point at which your own fulfillment coincides with that of wider society.
“This is when you live in accordance with your ‘daimon’ i.e. ‘true self.'”
Russell Razzaque is author of the book Breaking Down is Waking up: The connection between psychological distress and spiritual awakening.
For more on the concept of the daimon see post Do we all have genius? Does it get drummed out of us?
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“People say that money is not the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made.” Joan Rivers
[Photo from facebook.com/joanrivers]
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It seems to me that Fanning was expressing something of both ideas: pleasure and having fun, and also fulfilling her potential.
Many other actors talk about finding satisfaction in helping both themselves and audiences better understand the complexities of being human.
Juliette Binoche thinks, “As actors, I think we are responsible for making people more aware of their inner world.”
Jessica Chastain has also talked about what inspires her to be an actor:
“My New York experience made me realize that my desire had nothing to do with becoming famous or making money, I was interested in exploring the human soul, its complexity, I wanted to work to understand something about life and myself.”
Acting coach Larry Moss once noted, “Acting is about showing people what it is to be human, both the beauty and the ugliness.”
From my Inner Actor site post Entertainment psychology – Making people more aware of their inner world.
The Eudaimonic concept also includes the idea of meaning – both for ourselves and others.
Happiness is a choice?
Gretchen Rubin is author of the book The Happiness Project and thinks “You’re not happy unless you think you’re happy.”
And Drew Barrymore says, “It feels as if I’m willing myself to be happy. I do feel as if I am thrusting myself forward all the time.”