Liz wrote:Pg. 370. “In the deep velvet radish of his heart, he must have realized that it was highly unlikely that he would ever see those Pippi-made stilts again, yet had he been unwilling to lie to himself, he would have been a very poor romantic, indeed. Why, he might have asked, did it seem so tricky, so difficult, to lead simultaneously a romantic life and a fully conscious one?”
Is possible to have it both ways?
Yes. And Johnny is the proof of it. I think "a romantic life and a fully conscious one" describes him very well indeed.
I can't find the extract you have quoted here (different edition) but I have found this definition of fully conscious:
"not so much to a state in which a person always behaved in a manner he or she knew to be just, regardless of public opnion...nor even to an awareness so keen that the person never allowed fear, ego, desire, or convenience to delude him or her...the clear and persistent realization that at bottom, all human activity was cosmic theater: a grand and goofy and epic and ephemeral show, in which an individual's behaviour, good or bad, was simply the acting out of a role, the crucial thing being to stand back and observe one's performance even as one was immersed in it."
There are lots of ways in which this extract can be applied to Johnny. His sense of perspective, lack of fear and ego, and so on. But maybe especially his awareness of the ephemeral show. I think this feeds his romanticism, which I think is the result of deliberate choice, to view people romantically: characters he plays; actors he works with; those he loves. He seems determined to cherish what is best in those souls he encounters, which is a kind of romanticism, I think. And then there's what he said on Oprah about romantic things with Vanessa - hiring a theatre to watch a silent movie, if I remember right. It's the way he views things, and it does semm to be a fully conscious decision. But maybe I'm the one being romantic, here.