Life is Theatre


Life is theatre. We present ourselves on stage everyday; we wear masks; we play roles; we perform like actors in agreed upon situations. Yet in the quiet hours, in the privacy of our homes, if we are lucky or perhaps brave enough, we might drop the public performance, the costume, and script. Some argue that this is not possible, that who or what we are is undiscoverable, that our identities are not only unstable, but dependent upon context and personal interaction. Welcome to this week’s dot429 Philosophy blog where we will examine Performance and the Self through the sociological lens of Erving Goffman, one of the most academically cited intellectuals of our time.

“The self … is not an organic thing that has a specific location, whose fundamental fate is to be born, to mature, to die; it is a dramatic effect arising diffusely from a scene that is presented.” In essence, the self is in a continuous manufacturing process via collaboration with others, ongoing, arising and diffusing with each personal and societal interaction.

I wonder if this theory extends to a community identity. Look at the performance of the LGBTQ community in the last few decades, the roles we’ve played, the communal masks we’ve worn, our interaction with general society. Have you noticed a change in performance from a sociological perspective? I dare say the stereotypical roles of the homosexual that society has become used to seeing have changed. We’re no longer your affected and tweezed hairdresser or frumpy crunchy mechanic. Is it possible that we are reconstructing our communal identity? I think the dot429 network is an example of this. I see dotgay as a new frame in which to build a richer community context: layered, professional, powerful, lush, and nuanced.

What role do you anticipate for the dot429 community to play on the much larger world stage? What are the implications? On an individual level, what role do you intend to play in dotgay? And for fun, what are your favourite masks to wear (are you aware of them)? I’m eager to hear from you.

Photo Credit: pixdaus

About The Author

Cynthia Vale is a budding scholar and doctoral student in Transformative Inquiry at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She writes the dot429 philosophy blog. You can reach Cynthia at

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