What’s Your Reality?

By Jim Whitt

This is an excerpt from Chapter 6  of The Transformational Power of Purpose: Finding & Fulfilling Your Purpose in Life:

In the movie, The Truman Show, Truman Burbank has been the unwitting star of a 24 hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week TV show even before his birth. Everyone knows they are members of the cast except Truman. The set is a giant self-contained dome. Truman has a beautiful, loving wife and leads a happy-go-lucky life. It’s a perfect life — too perfect.

As a young boy, Truman’s father drowns while they are sailing. The incident leaves Truman with a fear of the water which prevents him from exploring beyond the boundary of the sea which surrounds the utopian island city where he lives. Of course, his father didn’t really die. It was part of the script. The whole episode was an elaborately designed exercise in classical conditioning to keep Truman confined to the island.

A series of events leads Truman to become suspicious that everything isn’t quite as it appears. You’d think he would have figured it out years ago. Everything is orchestrated in his life.  Every day is eerily like the day before. Everyone, even his wife, mother and best friend, are actors and their every word and action is scripted. Truman is the only actor who is spontaneous because he doesn’t know his verse in this carefully crafted version of life’s powerful play. He merely responds to the scripted stimuli designed to manipulate him for the pleasure of the viewing audience.

A rare interview with Cristof, the creator and director of The Truman Show, provides us with an answer to the obvious question, “Why do you suppose Truman has never come close to discovering the true nature of his world until now?” Cristof turns philosophical: “We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented — it’s as simple as that. He could leave at anytime if his was more than a vague ambition. If he was absolutely determined to discover the truth, there is no way we could prevent him.” When a former cast member calls in to chastise Cristof for keeping Truman captive he is unrepentant, “I think what distresses you really, caller, is that ultimately Truman prefers his cell, as you call it.”

Truman does indeed start seeking the truth. First, he escapes the island by facing his greatest fear — he sets out in a sailboat. When Cristof discovers Truman is escaping, he has the stage crew create a storm. That doesn’t deter Truman. As a last resort Cristof orders a tidal wave to capsize Truman’s boat. Truman survives and eventually his craft collides with the world of his reality — the wall of the dome which serves as the set for his program.

In the end, Truman discovers the truth, and faces it. Cristof, in a last-ditch effort to keep Truman from leaving speaks directly to him, “You’re afraid. That’s why you can’t leave.” But Truman is no longer controlled by his fears and takes the leap of faith. He leaves the security of his orchestrated world to venture out into the real world. He seeks the truth, finds it, chooses it and lives it.

What’s your reality?

The Transformational Power of Purpose: Finding & Fulfilling Your Purpose in Life contains exercises at the end of each chapter that will help you find your purpose in life and set you on the path of its fulfillment.

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