Interview / Susan Sarandon: Love, like every muscle in the body. Practice strengthens
For life, for love, for religion, for politics, actress Susan Sarandon has given a long interview for "The Talks". She tells how every day she turns her life upside down to start from the beginning and how she has dedicated a tattoo to this philosophy.
Is it necessary to turn your life upside down from time to time?
Life is upside down. I see my life as an organism and not as a linear path where it reaches a certain point, reaches certain things and stops. You need to look at your life and relationships as part of a breathing organism, as a living thing. Not as a machine, but as a kind of plant that continues to grow. One of my greatest talents is that when I face something unknown, I am able to recognize it and change direction until I give it the right solution.
I'm sure this has opened many doors in your career.
Yes, life is much more creative than I would be able to create it myself. I think we should look at the full picture of things and not worry about the little things. I have a tattoo around my right wrist that looks like barbed wire, but it's actually ANDAND which means: 'A New Dawn, A New Day'. So wake up every day knowing you have a chance to start all over again and forgive and leave behind what happened yesterday.
How do you do that?
The best thing is to be curious, lead an authentic life and put yourself in a lot of new situations with people who have challenging ideas. Life becomes more and more interesting as you learn who you are and listen to your inner voice.
Does this philosophy make life even easier?
Not necessarily easier, but better yes. I am at a stage in my life where my children are educating me. I am learning many things through them. I am rereading books they are reading for the first time, which is really great. We have fun reading them at the same time. We talk about music, movies, philosophy. After spending some years of my life raising them, they are able to influence me and open my mind to certain things.
Do you still think it is possible to change the world?
I came to life between the ’60s and’ 70s and because the world was changing, there was a belief that the US would be part of various revolutions. Over the years you tend to forget the idealism and belief of that time. With age it becomes more and more difficult for you to believe in action. There is a certain amount of naivety that allows you to think you can change the world, but you can definitely have an effect.
There is a fantastic story to Dr. Benjamin Spock, pediatrician at the time of the Vietnam War. Everyone was reading his book on baby and child care at the time, but something changed when he saw three young mothers with their babies on their arms protesting on the steps of the White House for the Vietnam War. He thought to himself: What am I doing? He realized that it was not enough to work and talk only about the health of babies, he also had to talk about war.
I have the impression that those women never learned this?
I'm sure not. Yes their influence on democracy was great. They influenced a man who became a powerful voice against war. Too often these injustices happen because of poverty, because of racism, because people have no voice, so when they go out and want to dialogue, especially if they can do it in a public forum, the change comes naturally. But it may not be something you see right away.
What if you do not see the results in real time, how can you motivate other people to fight for a certain cause?
In a world that is falling apart, if you want to have hope, you have to join some kind of organization that has a purpose. Finding time to meet another person and try to listen to them and help them is so healing for yourself.
Has your way of loving changed over the years?
Everything changes. The longer you live, the more you err, the more compassionate you are, the more you forgive. Priorities vary according to how you define love and what you want from someone. You hope to go towards something that is a kind of non-possessive love and loyalty. It is like any other muscle in the body. The more practice, the better the love becomes and the more open it can be. What you think about love changes when you are 18 and when you are 48 years old. hopefully it changes.
And what is your definition now?
Love is a respect for the virtues of every person. Love is the generosity of the soul. If you truly love someone, trust and honesty are definitely involved. You can practice love every day without having a partner. I think love is first and foremost about a deep gratitude for your life. If you are able to know the sacred in every person, you will have the opportunity to establish good relationships with every person. Think about the difference a smile gives to someone and try not to get angry when someone is not interested in helping you. If you try to see humanity in that person, it makes your life so much better because you are not taking it personally. I see love as the lady to transform everything at any time.
Sounds like something religious…
I consider myself a spiritual person, but I do not practice any particular religion. It is very good that people find comfort in faith, but I do not understand why many religions claim to be the only one and exclude people who believe otherwise. This is a bad omen.
This is part of human nature. It's the same as American politics. All parties think they are right and everyone else is wrong.
There is a great deal of polarization in the US and I do not know what will bring people together, but I have no choice but to remain optimistic. While I was working in the South, a guy came to me and asked for my autograph. On the forearm was tattooed the Second Amendment on the right to bear arms. I'm sure he knew my position on this issue, but we still had an interesting conversation together.
Yes, I asked him questions about guns, he tried to explain to me and I listened. What we need to do now is at least listen to each other. This would be just the beginning. And I have a lot of confidence in young people. I look at my kids, I look at my little boy, he is gorgeous. So we'll see.
* The Talks article was adapted in Albanian by Tiranapost.al. Reprinting without the permission of the editor is prohibited