Thandie Newton’s “Being and Nothingness” Experience

I share a video clip below from a young actress, Thandie Newton, who speaks at a TED conference about an identity crisis she experienced when just a girl and continuing as she became a fledgling young actress. She had the courage to find wisdom in her early twenties that I am only now trying to discover at thrice the age.

She speaks of self and separateness and uses the term “self” as I would use “ego.” She describes this self as a “vehicle to navigate a social world comprised of the projections of other people,” and noted that it is designed only to cope with the fear of death. She presents it as a false reality which left her feeling empty and alone.

She spoke of her discovery that “awareness of the reality of oneness can heal us” and described this realization as the loss of the false self, the ego self. Newton experienced what I would call “grace” as she embraced the world as she realized that it embraced her. She stopped drawing the distinction between “me and thee” that Western culture is so intoxicated with.

I want to conclude with an observation by Pema Chodron about our “shared humanity” and how that we can experience this “oneness” when we are willing to come out of the darkness that Newton was born into just as we all are:

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. (Pema Chödrön, The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times)

(You might have to copy and paste the following clip.)




26 thoughts on “Thandie Newton’s “Being and Nothingness” Experience

    1. literary lew Post author

      Well, you’ve stolen my heart already…so just go ahead and help yourself!!!!! Seriously, I’m pleased that you appreciate this. I was deeply touched by the young woman. (And again my Baptist guilt insists that I apologize for the feigned flirtatiousness!)


  1. InnerDialect

    Thank you so much, but specially for being such a gentleman Literary Lew… your blog has wisdom,brilliance, fun and such kind words from the Host ! Oh wow, in an insane world, an oasis…. thank you God… 🙂


  2. wizardseed

    Hey Literary Lew. Thank you for your comment on my blog a couple weeks ago. I don’t get very many intellectually minded people. My readers are pulp fiction, everyday average kind of people. That’s alright as a base, but I’m a little shaken up because I like to post dense intellectually minded pieces over the straighforward stuff. I was thinking you’d be the person to turn to for a little intellectual evaluation. I posted a chapter about attraction and how to use power. It’s offended one person and I haven’t heard back from anyone else yet. I’m wondering if I missed something and its recieved in the wrong way. The chapter is called “tales of seduction: Manipulation”. If you feel up to reading about leadership and corruption, this would be the literature to turn to. It’s dense and takes some time to digest, but if you’re up for it, I could use constructive feedback. Thanks. Jo.


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    1. literary lew Post author

      Thanks for your note. But, a question for you. Since I posted the Thandie Newton video, every response I’ve received has been spam. You appear to be legitimate. Please confirm for me that you are. Otherwise, I will “spam” you. Thanks.



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