Tag Archives: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Bill Murray and Actualizing the No Self

1 Feb

billmurrayimprov

Somehow I was not surprised when this quote from Bill Murray appeared to me and synchronized so seamlessly with the title of this blog.  His face has become way too familiar to me since I often show Groundhog Day to my Composition Classes for a Film Analysis assignment.    After my 20th time of seeing this movie, I wonder to myself: has his face somehow now become a canvas for the everyman?  How is it now that I might have merged character and actor into the cheeky poster boy for the hero’s journey – a life lived by making one’s own path through the forest?  How did this once seemingly silly man  become Nietzsche’s Ubermensch?  (Okay – I know I took it too far…AND, I am unqualified to drop a Nietzsche reference.)

I make the students write an analysis about the changes in Bill Murray’s character, Phil, who goes through a life journey by reliving a single day. (Sometimes good insight can slip in a door that looks like fluffy pluff.)  While discussing the movie, I often found myself using the phrase SELF-ACTUALIZATION and remembered that the phrase came from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.   When I first learned about Maslow’s theory in high school, his outlook so fully articulated the consensus of the life path within our modern culture that, at that time,  I internalized “belief” in this chart without realizing it.

Here it is:

maslows-hierarchy-of-needs

The basic idea implies that we need to start at the bottom and work our way up in life.  In this theory, we first figure out how to make enough money or situate ourselves to get our basic needs met, then we can gradually get all the other stuff on the pyramid, working up to greater levels of psychological and spiritual development in the process.

My life has led me up and down this pyramid over and over again, wiping out whole rungs at a time.    The way I see it now, some of the levels of this pyramid can actually get in the way of self-actualization, concepts such as security, achievements, belonging, safety, self-esteem!  These concepts are rabbit holes of delusion, stories of a false self, each one of them.

Think about how many are living by this idea.  Think how conditional self-actualization would actually be, according to this chart.  First you get enough physical security, then enough conditional love and acceptance from others, then enough status and respect, then finally, you are ready to learn who you really are enough to find purpose and meaning.

This is one of the lies that constructs our world.  You cannot find enough security, acceptance, and status to know the self; it isn’t even the right trail, yet most everyone is marching around as if this were true.

If you know the true self, you don’t need the other steps to prove your worth.  You take another journey altogether, a journey that doesn’t require you to be GOOD ENOUGH to know yourself.  The bloody pyramid is a constructed  mental HELL…sorry.

Seems to me  that self actualization in the human journey could be the first step, and then the other needs would either take care of themselves or become irrelevant.

Or do we need to go up and down the pyramid steps a bit in life in order to learn to point toward self-knowledge?

And what about this term  SELF-ACTUALIZED?

The path of remembering (the TRUE self beyond this world of duality) takes away the faulty concept of the constructed self so perhaps it should be, ACTUALIZATION of the NO SELF.

hmmmmmmm

Happy Groundhog Day!

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