I did not realize what a philosopher he is. I must say that he has missed the major point of his brilliant insight. In his recent article entitled "Why I call myself a socialist; Is the world really a stage?" published on Huffington Post.
The reason he felt that he "caught a glimpse" of a hidden and mysterious insight was that he did!!! The reason why it was gone just as quickly was because he failed to follow it in the direction it was leading him in. The inspiration was from the Holy Spirit and it was revealing the Dignity of the human person to him. This is the innate value indelible to each and every human being from the pimp and the prostitute to the leper, the Queen of England, the Pope and the Dalai Lama.
What Wallace Shawn missed saw was that the "costume" each of us wears is our free will. It is what we "choose" to do with our God given abilities and talents. Yes, each of us are born into specifics that can either impede or propagate our "choices" however, the costumes we wear are put on one leg at a time, meaning, we of our own free will must choose to put it on.
I think the ache inside of Mr. Shawn's heart was that in seeing the dignity of the human person, while at the same time knowing that we live in a world in which that dignity is trampled upon, filled him with grief because he was connecting to the mystical body of Christ in which we are all a part of. Every action has a reaction therefore, we are all actors upon a common stage. The hustler in the street, has a dignity and value, his free will chose to use that life for himself. It may be true that he was born into a life of poverty or less privileged but that does not predetermine our outcomes as demonstrated by many successful athletes that grew up in slums yet become great athletes. In fact, in a world where American Idol and Youtube creates celebrities overnight, it seems as if the walls of opportunity are being knocked down. The possibilities become endless. At the same time, many of us do not realize the greatness of someone until after their death. This is a reality of many artists. So it seems, dignity and greatness are not something that can be distributed fairly or passed around so we all get our equal share. Rather is has already been given by and exists as an objective reality within each of us.
If Mr. Shawn, could understand, that when each of us give our yes, and live out our destinies, that call for greatness, we set the world ablaze with who we are and what we can do. A girl living in a third world country working 16 hours in a day in a factory making it's owner rich, may have less choices or opportunities than a girl living in the United States whose father is a Plastic Surgeon yet both can make a profound statement with their lives. The girl in the factory can invoke compassion in others, she can be a sister, a friend, a wife, a mother and through those relationships can bring great joy and love into the world, even the darkest places. The fact that she is not growing wealthy does not determine her life's value. The girl who is born rich, can through acts of mercy and love, be filled with compassion and realize that through corporal works of mercy she can use her gifts and financial resources to bring hope to the world by feeding the poor, giving clothing to the naked etc.
A great movie to watch is "The Human Experience". It shares the dignity of the human person with the viewer. The purpose of life is not success, wealth and quality of life. The purpose is love. Love that gives itself away as a free gift to others. It is a free gift and faithful and it bears much fruit. It desires to enter into union and communion with others because it knows that this is a foretaste of heaven right here on earth. Suffering is not something to be avoided because often, it is the very mold in which a beautiful treasure takes it form.
See my youtube commentary">