Awareness of an audience

The audience awaits a truly wonderful performance of my favorite play, Arms and the Man, at the California Shakespeare Theater, July 2003

The audience awaits a truly wonderful performance of my favorite play,
Arms and the Man, at the California Shakespeare Theater, July 2003

“Glory is largely a theatrical concept. There is no striving for glory without a vivid awareness of an audience.”Eric Hoffer

While I’m not sure Hoffer’s assertion is 100% correct (and it may depend upon how “glory” is defined), he definitely has a point.  Certainly many types of glory for which people strive are closely connected with adulation, admiration or adoration.  But such striving also comes with the distinct possibility of failure; hence the common saying, “no guts, no glory.”

If “glory” is defined as widespread praise and fame, I think we would certainly do well to avoid seeking it.  In the first place, we’ll get distracted from our priorities if we are always playing to the reactions of the crowd.  And besides, the audience we may imagine is probably much smaller in real life than in our own minds.  In reality, most people are focused on their own day, their own troubles and efforts.  It’s a bit narcissistic to suppose that people are watching us as closely as we watch ourselves.

So relax!  While it’s more easily said than done, we will be much happier and more productive if we don’t worry about what our imaginary audience may be thinking.  If we lose our self-consciousness by concentrating on things we know to be good, right and honorable, the rest will take care of itself.  Kudos to everyone with the guts to disregard glory!

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Chris

    Hey Julia,
    I agree; not too sure about this quote. The essence for me is your next to last sentence!
    And what are we, mere mortals, to do? Act justly, show compassion, and walk humbly with God. (Micah 6:8). 😊

    • That’s one of my favorite verses. It was one of two passages that I had them read graveside at Jeff’s service.

  2. Interesting observations. I had thought of “glory” being something on the side, something that happened when one was striving for something else. Hmm.
    It seemed inherent that the thing being strived for was for someone else’s benefit (not there striver’s own gain), otherwise it would be a selfish striving, and where’s the glory in that? Thus, by my reasoning, there is a sort of audience, or recipient, whether the recipient knows it or not?
    I guess I hadn’t really pondered this before.
    Thanks again for yet another cognitive adventure, Julia!

    • The entire meaning of “glory” changes when seen in light of scripture, at least for believers. Hence Jesus spoke of glorifying God with his own death, and Paul spoke of glorifying God through suffering. To name just two instances. It would be interesting to do a word study of the term “glory” as used in the Bible. Of course there may be several different words (and therefore meanings), in almost as many languages, that our English translations render as “glory,” much the same way as the four Greek words for love all use the same word in our language. As with many such topics, you can dive into them deeply and never reach the bottom.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

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