Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ken Wilber Interviews Sharon Stone

"We are so taught to be good that we never become great."
--Sharon Stone

I was surprised to discover that the actress Sharon Stone was Ken Wilber's interview guest on Integral Naked this week. I was even more surprised that she, despite her reputed intellectual brilliance, didn't have more to say about things relevant to Integral Naked's membership and better ways of saying it. She sounded quite guarded and uncomfortable and not exactly on intimately friendly terms with Ken. Nevertheless, I guess it's a good thing that Ken is willing to branch out and interview people outside the relatively narrow circle of the Integral Naked and I-I community and to even talk with people who don't even seem to be familiar with Integral theory. Or is that just a waste of time?

I did particularly enjoy Stone's recounting of how she got hired for her first film, Woody Allen's Stardust Memories. She says she was waiting in line for a chance to be an extra when Allen walked by and saw that she was reading a book about infinity. He sat down with her and they discussed the book, and then he hired her to play the part another actress had just backed out on.

Unfortunately, Ken didn't ask her about the first film I ever noticed her in--Steven Seagal's electrifying debut film Above the Law. I would guess that neither he nor she hold as high an opinion of that film as I do.

Here is Integral Naked's synopsis of the entire discussion along with some background information. Part 2 will follow one of these Mondays.

A Hollywood star who has refused to limit her shine to any one dimension of her being shares her life experience as a high-profile blonde bombshell who has broken all the rules, and forged a more integral, inclusive path for living, working, loving, sharing, creating.

Who: Sharon Stone, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominee, and Ken Wilber, founder of Integral Institute and the man behind the idea of Integral Actors Studio.

Relevance: The appeal of an Integral Approach spans a truly astonishing number of disciplines, communities, and professions—Hollywood being a perfect example. Sharon has had a rather extraordinary life and career, and together, Ken and Sharon walk through the first segment of this remarkable trajectory, touching in always with the orienting contours of an Integral View….

Summary: Our story begins in Meadville, PA, where Sharon was born. At the age of 15, Sharon was transferred from her local high school to enroll in Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. With an IQ of 154, an honorary doctorate from the aforementioned institution, and ordination from the Universal Life Church, Sharon is just about as far from the "dumb blonde" stereotype as you could possibly get (which is hard to avoid if you live in Beverly Hills).

In fact, Sharon has had a decidedly integral tilt to her life from just about from the word "go." She has been active in independently pursuing her own spirituality since the age of 10, she's extremely intelligent and unabashed about her opinions ("Nice girls aren't supposed to act this way"), she crafted her physique into lean, muscular fighting form for an on-screen brawl with Arnold Schwarzenegger, she has raised $1 million in five minutes for humanitarian aid, and, need we say it, she's simply drop-dead gorgeous (one of the top 25 sexiest women ever to appear in Playboy magazine, one of People magazine's 50 most beautiful people in the world, one of Empire magazine's 100 sexiest stars in film history, etc.). This is a woman who has been intuitively "touching on all the bases" all her life.

After getting her first break when Woody Allen picked her out of a line and she became the "pretty girl on train" in his 1980 Stardust Memories, Sharon's career steadily picked up speed until it simply shot through the roof a short decade later. Starting with Total Recall in 1990, then Basic Instinct in 1992, and then Casino in 1995, Sharon describes those years as something like "hanging onto a rocket while trying to not fall off or get burned." For her role as Ginger McKenna in Casino, Sharon received a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination.

In one of the many fascinating sections of this dialogue, Sharon and Ken discuss what it was like for Sharon to allow herself to truly "become" the bisexual serial killer in Basic Instinct, Catherine Tramell. As Sharon recalls, the prospect of really diving into the darkest aspects of her own being was terrifying, and the actual process of doing so was extremely difficult—but at the end of it all, she looked back and said, "Is that it? Is that all there is?" Ken summarizes that "really good acting is really good psychotherapy," and in the year or so of shooting for the film, Sharon probably got five years worth of psychotherapy.

Why Integral?:

To really discover and learn about the life and work of any person (whether Sharon Stone, or anyone else), you of course would want to touch on as many aspects of their being as possible—otherwise, you might miss something really important. What an Integral Approach provides is a simple, clear, and accurate map of the human experience, one that you can check in on whenever you want to get your bearings. Everyone has body, mind, and spirit in self, culture, and nature. Those dimensions are there whether one acknowledges them or not, so why not take a moment to check in with all of them? It's quick, easy, enlightening, and fun.

An Integral Approach is behind the concept of Integral Actors Studio, where Ken envisions a convergence and integration of manifold modalities brought to bear on the actor's craft and guiding vision. In a dialogue that you can find here, Ken describes what such an "integral package" would entail, and reveals how personal, cultural, and institutional dimensions can be mindfully engaged through psycho-synthesis, yoga, meditation, peer work, technical exchange programs, and other practices. Many people in entertainment have expressed a great deal of interest and excitement about creating an Integral Actors Studio, from Julia Ormond, to Steve Brill, to Saul Williams, and more.

transmission time: 37 minutes

keywords: Meadville PA, feminism, Pussycat Dolls, Carl Jung, Dzogchen, Maha Ati, Dalai Lama, Ford Modeling Agency, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Humphrey Bogart, William Powell, Stardust Memories, Woody Allen, Irreconcilable Differences, Blake Chandler, United Church of Christ, Baptist Church, Scientology, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Casino, Ginger McKenna, Catherine Tramell, shadow work, psychotherapy, Integral Actors Studio, Zen Buddhism, Roy London, Susan Sarandon, Larry Wachowski, Speed Racer, Integral Spirituality, "What Is Integral?," The Integral Vision.

most memorable moment: "We 'barbie dolls' are not supposed to behave the way I do. People like it so much more when you just smile and nod. But I really don't believe in the end that that's doing your best."

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