Random thoughts on filmmaking, life and science. Subscribe via email.

The path to Self Actualization

Hierarchy of Needs
Hierarchy of Needs

I'm in the same starubucks where I mapped out my last film. I didn't write the film here but this is the exact place where I mapped it out and here I am back again mapping out a new film. A science fiction film and this time and it feels easier.

It's not easier but it feels that way; it's quicker. But I'm bloging instead of writing so in the long run it'll probably even out.

For the past several years and maybe more I've had turmoil in my personal life. I don't intend to get into any detail but trust me I'm going somewhere with this. For the past twelve years if you were to ask me where I see myself in the future, my response would be a list of career goals as if it were my sole purpose for being on this planet. Science tells us our purpose is simple... to reproduce.

Well, yes but that's not enough! It's inadequate.

Then their's the religious argument that I won't get into because I'm no expert in that. But to be clear I have no problem with the religious argument so long as it produces persons that are complete and non judgmental which there are plenty of examples of.

Then I remembered a chart my coworker showed me which is shown above that I famously altered in ac3 fashion. Albeit slightly. (shout out to RL) A Hierarchy of Needs chart. I added the numbers to remind myself that order is important (more on that later) and I also added a 6th level which is the "Eye of Providence". It is not a masonic symbol so don't go there. It is there to remind me to look to God (or whatever name you chose to give him.. this is inclusive after all) who watches over all of the needs to reaccess that they're all in order. That nothing has gotten out of whack.

The key in life, the path for me... is step 5/6 self actualization. Self actualization is the simply to reach the full potential of all of your abilities. Wikipedia quotes Carl Rogers as saying (self actualization is) "man's tendency to actualize himself, to become his express and activate all the capacities of the organism". This is not anything earth shattering. It is something we can connect to.. realizing our potential.

Arrogantly I thought, heck this is why I am an scientist/filmmaker. I could easily settle with a much simpler life just doing one of those things. But I spend all of my spare time obsessing over story and contemplating how to portray it on film.

I became serious about filmmaking nearly twelve years ago and have always thought that after I reached a quantifiable measure of success that I would be self actualized. Goals and waypoints were my measure for self actualization but I realize now that this is a trap. If you follow this model you will reach all of your GOALS but will have nothing to show for it. You will not be self actualized. In fact you will be worse off and disillusioned because your GOALS didn't deliver what you expected. So now you've spent all of your life, delaying your life, waisting time, to reach a GOAL that didn't deliver what it promised and left you disillusioned.

F that! I want off this train. It's destroyed every special relationship I have and would have had in the future. And It almost cost me my life. The damage is irreparable because you cannot undue actions, inactions or wrap the space time continuum.

Twelve years of my life wasted beacuse my focus in the wrong place. My Hierarchy of Needs was lopsided.

Lopsided Hierarchy of Needs
Lopsided Hierarchy of Needs

An imbalance that's not healthy or fulfilling. The bright side is that I've caught this imbalance early so that I can bandage the personal relationships, make healthier choices and aim to live a self actualized life. You can too.