Bible for Future Saints Has A Rite of Passage Theme
Here is some music about self-acceptance and self-actualization to inspire us all to be true to who we really are and even to OWN IT. This seems to be the theme of the new “Bible” (Bible for Future Saints), which replaces the traditional Bible that God the Father cancelled. Jesus learns that he can’t emerge into adulthood until he owns who he is, an asexual and aromantic supreme deity.
To hear all the music I’ve compiled thus far for the new Christianity, check out this page entitled Music for Jesus Christ’s Updated Christianity (2022 and forward).
Rite of Passage
The “Rite of Passage” script is about a character trying to get through the pain of a universally relatable life stage. Save the Cat Goes to the Movies breaks each genre into five subgenres, and these go a long way toward helping a writer understand the genre. The five “passages” that he noticed successful “ROP” scripts sprung from were:
The main character of an ROP is struggling with one of these, and in the opening ten pages, their status quo life is dramatized in such a way that we can feel and relate to the pain they’re in, and see how it is inextricably tied to that particular life stage. It’s important that this pain not be so hugely specific to them that it goes far outside what most people can relate to, as central elements of that stage. So if your main character is an adolescent, but their pain is really about the fact that both of their parents were just murdered in front of them, then their problem isn’t the life stage, and it’s not an ROP. Their problem is the murder.
NOTES FOR BIBLE FOR FUTURE SAINTS: This is a work of non-fiction. But we experience with Jesus his growing pains as he leaves adolescence and enters adulthood as a god. It seems the theme for the new “Bible” is that we all need to be true to who we really are and not live with our false self.
So here’s what the normal, relatable pain of each stage looks like:
Mid-life: “Is that all there is?” The main character is no longer officially a “young” adult, and their life seems stagnant. Maybe they’re married, with kids, a mortgage, and a decent job, but that doesn’t fulfill or excite them anymore. They crave meaning, stimulation, adventure. Or maybe they’ve reached mid-life, and life hasn’t turned out how they wanted it to. They lack the things one is supposed to have by this point.
Separation: The main character has just gone through, or is now going through, a break-up, and finds themselves, in the script’s first act, single and alone. So there’s the grieving. The self-pity. The sense of being unable to live without the person who dumped them. The fear and loathing about being single. Or maybe the freedom and excitement of being single, but it’s colored by pain. Always, it’s about pain. They’re on the rebound. They’re raw. They’re vulnerable.
Death: Similar to “Separation,” this can be about losing someone and not being able to easily get over it. Or it could be about one’s own approaching mortality.
Addiction: Maybe this isn’t as universal as the other four, but most of us have seen addiction and had some form of it, even if it’s not super serious. In the movie version, it’s serious enough to be the main problem of their life.
NOTES FOR BIBLE FOR FUTURE SAINTS: The “villain” is Satan who appears to also have an identity crisis (like Jesus) where Satan won’t admit he’s a sex addict and substitutes sex addiction in place of true intimacy. Satan needs to admit he’s a sex addict before he can go forward and needs to explore what caused him to become a sex addict. Jesus needed to admit he’s asexual and aromantic and that it’s perfectly okay to be that way.
Adolescence: “Nobody understands me or loves me.” These movies are about the pain of not belonging, and not being able to be popular, especially with desired romantic partners. Parents can’t or won’t help. One feels a prisoner in their boring existence, not sure who they’re going to be, not sure who they really are, but feeling everything super deeply. When people talk about a “coming of age” story, it’s usually one of these.
NOTES FOR BIBLE FOR FUTURE SAINTS: Jesus suffers the pain of not belonging, not being able to be popular, especially with desired romantic partners (i.e., the goddess Lakshmi). Parents (God the Father) can’t or won’t help. Jesus was not sure who he would be or even who he really was, but felt everything super deeply.
Each of the five stages is characterized by a kind of pain we can mostly all relate to, or have seen in our lives. It’s universal to people in the particular “passage.” And the main character wants to escape that pain.
Now here’s the key: they identify a goal or approach that they think will fix what ails them, and they chase and/or wrestle with it throughout the movie.
And it’s the wrong way to deal with this life stage.
NOTES FOR BIBLE FOR FUTURE SAINTS: Jesus tried to deal with how he felt he didn’t belong anywhere by concluding he had to pacify his friends by giving them sex, and would not admit, even to himself, that deep down he is asexual and aromantic. So he lived in his false self to try and generate intimacy in his life, substituting true intimacy with sex.
What they’re doing is trying to self-medicate. They can’t face the pain of their situation anymore. And this goal or approach seems like a way out.
NOTES FOR BIBLE FOR FUTURE SAINTS: Living in his false self and telling everyone he was heterosexual, was Jesus’s attempt to self-medicate. Asexuals are neither heterosexual or homosexual because they aren’t attracted to anyone.
But it never is. In the end, it doesn’t lead to what they want. They might fail at their goal, and be disappointed. Or reach it, but it’s unfulfilling. And they have to face the pain of the life stage, head-on. Typically they’ve learned a lesson in the process, and can do so with more maturity now. And we can sense that soon, if not right now, they’ll get past the pain. By accepting it and going through it, perhaps with more perspective than they had before.
NOTES FOR BIBLE FOR FUTURE SAINTS: Eventually, his false self came back to haunt him and almost killed him as Satan used it as justification to almost permanently kill Jesus. When Jesus realized that living in his false self almost caused him to lose permanently all the things and beings he truly cared about, he had to stop using his false self as the solution for his feelings of alienation. Bible for Future Saints just shows the conversations we had with Jesus and we get to experience what led to his black moment (when God the Father canceled Jesus’s Bible) when he had to face himself and think. His wrong goal was trying to get a church bride and give her the obligatory sex he felt he needed to prove to his dad he was ready to emerge into adulthood as a god. But Jesus’s identity crisis came to a head and he just couldn’t go on until he became true to his asexual and aromantic nature and would learn that this is just fine and he didn’t need to apologize for who he really is, that living in your false self never brings you authentic companionship.
This wrong goal can be winning over, and/or making a relationship work with a member of the opposite sex, as in 10, Superbad, My Best Friend’s Wedding, An Education or Her. This is probably the most common ROP goal. In some separation passages, it can be a revenge plot, as in The First Wives Club or The War of the Roses. It can involve a massive lifestyle change, as in Sunset Boulevard or Lost in America. Or the main character might not have a clear goal, but a big specific problem, and is struggling with their life circumstances in not the most healthy way, as in Ordinary People, Good Will Hunting, or most Addiction Passages — where the addiction is the problem, and they can’t seem to overcome it. (Though they might also have an external additional goal, like a relationship with Scarlett Johansson in Don Jon.)
As in any genre, the main character must be actively involved in trying to get what they want, or in struggling with their problem, and things must be complicating in the process. As Save the Cat’s story structure tool, the “beat sheet” teaches, this usually builds to an “all is lost” crisis late in Act Two, and a “final battle” over the goal in Act Three.
But somewhere in this third act, the main character wakes up and realizes the “wrong way” isn’t going to cut it. And they’re going to have to make peace with that approach having not been the answer, and face their life without it.
Rite of Passage is the one genre where the audience doesn’t tend to agree with the main character’s approach or goal. They can sense that it’s the “wrong way.” But they can also understand why they would choose it. This is very important. Because you don’t want the audience judging the main character, looking down on them, disagreeing with them at every turn, not getting them, not liking them. They must essentially “become” the main character so that they are really emotionally engaged in the story. So they must be on the same team. They just know, in the end, that this isn’t the best way of dealing with this life problem.
The biggest issues I see in scripts that are trying to be Rites of Passage is that the situation isn’t all-consumingly difficult enough, relatable enough, high stakes enough. Actually I see this as the key issue in most genres, and most scripts. The difference here is that the main character’s obsession needs to be “wrong,” and they need to grow in the end. Another thing to be careful of is not mixing in other problems with higher stakes, because they will tend to take over the movie, in the audience’s mind. When done right, the pain of this life stage, and the one obsessive wrong road the main character is going down, is the whole movie.
Because we are dealing with Jesus as a teenage god for most of Bible for Future Saints and it’s about his emergence into adulthood as a god, it is a typical coming of age story.
What Is a Coming-of-Age Story?
A coming-of-age story focuses on detailing the growth of the protagonist from a child to an adult. The majority of these works typically follow pre-teens and teenagers who are traversing into the world of adulthood. This genre of literature has been around for centuries and can be found in children’s stories, classic literature, contemporary novels, as well as in movies and television. It’s a genre that is applicable to all of humanity, which makes it a meaningful and popular way in which to present various ideas regarding the maturation process.
Coming of Age Story Definition
Throughout the plot of a coming-of-age story, a youthful protagonist goes on a journey, which can be physical, psychological, or spiritual. Overall, coming of age stories typically contain the following characteristics:
- Loss of innocence: The loss of innocence within a coming-of-age story can happen in a variety of ways, which can be narrowed down to two general methods:
- The protagonist loses their innocence at the beginning of the story and must navigate their world without it, thus leading to transformation or personal growth.
- The majority of the plot focuses on the gradual loss of innocence, or the protagonist shedding their innocence during the story’s climax. Throughout the majority of works, the protagonists’ loss of innocence is not something they purposefully cause, as it is due to ignorance of how the world truly functions.
- Journey: After the protagonist has lost their innocence or is in the process of losing it, they characteristically begin a journey that leads to their transformation and growth. This journey can be physical, psychological, or spiritual. The trials and tribulations experienced by the protagonist can often be painful and cause suffering, yet it is this discomfort that allows them to completely shed their youthful innocence and become a more aware (and hopefully mature) adult.
- Transformation and personal growth: The transformation the protagonist faces is mainly due to the experiences they have on their journey, whether positive or negative. Since the conflict typically arises due to the protagonist’s misunderstanding of their society, the growth they experience is entirely internal, as it is their understanding and shift in perspective that allows them to mature.
- Change in perspective: The new perspective the protagonist achieves due to the growth they experience along their journey provides them with a better understanding of the world. This understanding can help them improve the way in which they navigate the world, whether it opens their eyes to the benefits of maturation or highlights how to traverse through both the positive and negative aspects of reality.
By Ayesh Perera, published September 04, 2020
- Self-actualization is the complete realization of one’s potential, and the full development of one’s abilities and appreciation for life. This concept is at the top of the Maslow hierarchy of needs, so not every human being reaches it.
- Kurt Goldstein, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow are three individuals who have contributed immensely to our understanding of the concept of self-actualization.
- The present day understanding of self-actualization, tends to be more aligned with the view of Maslow than with the perspectives of Goldstein or Rogers.
- According to Maslow, the internal drive to self-actualize would seldom emerge until more basic needs are met.
- Self-actualized people have an acceptance of who they are despite their faults and limitations, and experience to drive to be creative in all aspects of their lives.
- While self-actualizers hail from a variety of backgrounds and a diversity of occupations, they share notable characteristics in common, such as the ability to cultivate deep and loving relationships with others.
Self-actualization (also referred to as self-realization or self-cultivation) can be described as the complete realization of one’s potential as manifest in peak experiences which involve the full development of one’s abilities and appreciation for life (Maslow, 1962).
The attainment of self-actualization involves one’s full involvement in life and the realization of that which one is capable of accomplishing.
Even though the term “self-actualization” is most associated with Abraham Maslow, it was originally introduced by Kurt Goldstein, a physician specializing in psychiatry and neuroanatomy during the early part of the 20th century.
Goldstein (1939, 1940) viewed self-actualization as the ultimate goal of every organism, and refers to man’s’ desire for self-fulfillment, and the propensity of an individual to become actualized in his potential.
He contended that each human being, plant and animal has an inborn goal to actualize itself as it is.
Goldstein pointed out that organisms, therefore behave in accordance with this overarching motivation.
In his book, “The Organism: A Holistic Approach to Biology Derived from Pathological Data in Man”, Goldstein argued that self-actualization involves the tend
According to Goldstein’s (1940) view, self-actualization was not necessarily a goal to be reached in the future, but an organism’ innate propensity to realize its potential at any moment under the given circumstances.
Carl Rogers described self-actualization the continuous lifelong process whereby an individual’s self-concept is maintained and enhanced via reflection and the reinterpretation of various experiences which enable the individual to recover, change and develop (Rogers, 1951).
According to Rogers (1967) the human organism has an underlying “actualizing tendency”, which aims to develop all capacities in ways that maintain or enhance the organism and move it toward autonomy.
Carl Rogers believed that for a person to achieve self-actualization they must be in a state of congruence. This means that self-actualization occurs when a person’s “ideal self” (i.e., who they would like to be) is congruent with their actual behavior (self-image).
ency to actualize an organism’s individual capacities as much as possible (Goldstein, 2000).
Rogers (1967) posits that the structure of the self is a consistent yet fluid pattern of perceptions of oneself which is organized and formed via evaluational interactions.
However, tension between one’s ideal sense of self and one’s experiences (or self-image) can produce incongruence, a psychopathological state stemming from the perversions of one’s unitary actualizing tendency.
For Roger, a person who is in the process of self-actualizing, actively exploring potentials and abilities and experiencing a match between real and ideal selves, is a fully functioning person.
Becoming a Fully functioning person means “that the individual moves towards ‘being’, knowingly and acceptingly, the process which he inwardly and actually ‘is’. He moves away from what he is not, from being a facade. He is not trying to be more than he is, with the attendant feelings of insecurity or bombastic defensiveness. He is not trying to be less than he is, with the attendant feelings of guilt or self-deprecation. He is increasingly listening to the deepest recesses of his psychological and emotional being, and finds himself increasingly willing to be, with greater accuracy and depth, that self which he most truly is (Rogers, 1967)”.
Fully functioning people are in touch with their own feelings and abilities and are able to trust their innermost urges and intuitions.
To become fully functioning, a person needs unconditional positive regard from others, especially their parents in childhood. Unconditional positive regard is an attitude of acceptance of others despite their failings.
However, most people don’t perceive the positive regard of others as being unconditional. They tend to think they will only be loved and valued if they meet certain conditions of worth.
Maslow, as did Goldstein, viewed self-actualization as the realization of one’s potential. Howver, Maslow (1967) described self-actualization more narrowly than did Goldstein by applying it solely to human beings—rather than all organisms.
Maslow pointed out that human beings have lower order needs which must be generally met before their higher order needs can be satiated, such as self-actualization. He categorized those needs as follows (Maslow, 1943):
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
1. Basic needs:
a. Physiological needs (ex- water, food, warmth and rest).
b. Safety needs (ex- safety and security).
2. Psychological needs.
a. Belongingness needs (ex- close relationships with loved ones and friends).
b. Esteem needs (ex- feeling of accomplishment and prestige).
3. Self-actualization needs (realizing one’s full potential).
Self-actualize is the final stage of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, so not every human being reaches it.
To Maslow, self-actualization meant the desire for self-fulfillment, or a person’s tendency to be actualized in what he or she is potentially.
Individuals may perceive or focus on this need very specifically. For example, one individual may have a strong desire to become an ideal parent. In another, the desire may be expressed economically, academically or athletically. For others, it may be expressed creatively, in paintings, pictures, or inventions.
Maslow further explained that self-actualization involves the intrinsic development of an organism. He contended that self-actualization is more growth-oriented than deficiency-focused (Gleitman, Fridlund, & Riesberg, 2004).
Maslow acknowledged the apparent rarity of self-actualized people, and argued that most people are suffering from a psychopathology of normality.
Unlike Sigmund Freud whose psychodynamic approach was focused on unhealthy individuals engaging in disturbing conduct, Maslow was associated with the humanistic approach which focuses on healthy individuals.
Consequently, Maslow’s perspective is more consistent with a positive view of human nature which sees individuals as driven to reach their potential. This humanistic perspective markedly differs from the Freudian view of human beings as tension reducing organisms.
Examples of Self-Actualized People
Moving beyond mere theory and speculation, Maslow identified several individuals whom he considered has having attained a level of self-actualization (Maslow, 1970).
Noteworthy herein are the diversity of occupations and the variety of the backgrounds which these individuals represent while still meeting the criteria of self-actualization.
- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865; American President)
- Albert Einstein (1879- 1955; Theoretical Physicist)
- Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965; Writer, Humanitarian, Theologian, Organist, Philosopher, and Physician)
- Aldous Huxley (1894- 1963; Philosopher and Writer)
- Baruch Spinoza (1632- 1677; Philosopher)
- Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962; Diplomat and Activist)
- Jane Addams (1860-1935; Settlement Activist, Sociologist, Public Administrator)
- Thomas Jefferson (1743- 1826; American President, Architect, Philosopher)
- William James (1842- 1910; Philosopher and Psychologist)
Characteristics of Self-Actualized Individuals
Abraham Maslow based his theory on case studies of historical figures whom he saw as examples of self-actualized individuals including Albert Einstein, Ruth Benedict, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Maslow examined the lives of each of these people in order to assess the common qualities that led each to become self-actualized.
Based on Maslow’s description of self-actualizers, one can find several striking similarities which these supposedly self-actualized individuals share in common.
Some of such characteristics which distinguish self-actualized individuals from the rest of humanity are as follows (Maslow, 1954, 1970).
- Self-actualized people are accepting of others’ as well as their own flaws, often with humor and tolerance. Not only do self-actualized people fully accept others, they are also true to themselves rather than pretending in order to impress others (Talevich, 2017).
- Self-actualized people also tend to be independent and resourceful: they are less likely to rely upon external authorities to direct their lives (Martela & Pessi, 2018).
- Can cultivate deep and loving relationships with others.
- Tendency to exude gratitude and maintain a deep appreciation even for the commonplace blessings in life.
- Can often discern between the superficial and the real when judging situations.
- Seldom depend upon their environment or culture to form their opinions.
- Tendency to view life as a mission which calls them to a purpose beyond themselves.
Despite the popularity of self-actualization as a concept associated with positive psychology and motivation theories, it does not cease to draw criticism.
The Canadian psychiatrist Eric Berne for instance, has called self-actualization the game of self-expression based on the belief that good feelings are to be pursued (Berne, 2016).
Additionally, critics have pointed out that self-actualizing tendencies can lead to a positive but non-relational approach to human beings (Thorne, 1992). Moreover, Fritz Perls has noted that the focus can easily shift from striving to actualize one’s sense of self, to merely attempting to build an appearance of self-actualization which can be misleading (Perls, 1992).
Vitz (1994) has contended that Maslow and Rogers have turned the psychological concept of self-actualization into a moral norm. Finally, the possibility of self-actualization has also come to be seen as a special privilege reserved only for a select few.
In response to these concerns, Maslow has acknowledged that expressions of unrestrained whims and the pursuit of private pleasures have often been mislabeled as self-actualization (Daniels, 2005). Maslow too, shared the concern that the concept might be misunderstood.
In fact, when many people wrote to Maslow describing themselves as self-actualized persons, Maslow doubted whether he had sufficiently articulated his theory (Steven, 1975).
However, Maslow did not hold that only an elite few could attain the state of self-actualization. On the contrary, he pointed out that often people living in strikingly similar circumstances experience enormously different outcomes in life.
About the Author
Ayesh Perera recently graduated from Harvard University, where he studied politics, ethics and religion. He is presently conducting research in neuroscience and peak performance as an intern for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, while also working on a book of his own on constitutional law and legal interpretation.
How to reference this article:
Prera, A (2020, Sept 04). Self-actualization. Simply Psychology. www.simplypsychology.org/self-actualization.html