Cheers for Truman’s Deep Change!
For 30 years Truman was a “good boy” adjusting to his current circumstances on the verge of experiencing slow death. Despite all the small and trivial changes in his environment that happened time to time—like Sylvia showing up and telling him that this is all fake, Truman chooses to ignore them. Other symptoms of slow death are also observed from Truman in the beginning of the film. He is caged by the ‘big assumption’ that he cannot explore around the world and go anywhere beyond the island, Sea Haven. It is because he believes himself as a person who is unable to do anything with water such as crossing a bridge or riding a boat. Putting his dad’s death in the sea into consideration, his fear might be understandable. However, deep change occurs when one tries to confront his or her fear and step forward to the unknown world. In that sense, Truman was a coward who never even tried to jump over his limits and abandon what he feels comfortable with in order to go through deep change. Yet, everything changes when he becomes 30. Whatsoever happened in the beginning of the movie that shows Truman indulging himself in slow death, it is only the starting point for his deep change.
Truman realizes that there is something very weird going on in Sea Haven. He continues to question about his current circumstances and tries to end the ‘taping’ life. He finally decides to escape the island despite the fear that is hindering him from leaving all the comfort—unfreezing stage of his deep change occurred. It is when he figures out that there is the real terror hiding behind small and artificial terrors which tries to make him give up. He then constructs a new framework for movement. For the new framework, he sets a clear vision which is leaving the island to meet his first love. His vision is based upon the mission that is to explore the world for new discoveries in humankind as Truman dreamt to be an explorer when he was a little boy. The new paradigm created in his mentality reshaped the path of Truman’s life and lead him to deep change. With his strong willpower to overcome his fear of change as well as clear vision based upon a broader scope mission, Truman was able to fight against all the difficulties he faced during the process of unfreezing and reframing. Being ready for an adventure to the unknown world, Truman did not give in to the director of <Truman Show> when he tried to stop him with artificial waves and typhoons. These hardships Truman confronted for taking the risk of change would have been scary for sure. However instead of being intimidated, Truman shouts out. “Is that the best you can do? You’re gonna have to kill me!” This finally results in deep change in Truman’s life. He fully overcomes his fear of change and his paradigm has totally reversed as he stepped forward to the exit door.
Now it is time for people to watch Truman embedding his deep change into his life—the refreezing stage in the ‘real’ world.
Truman is a normal salary man in ‘Sea Haven’. He wanted to go to Fiji Island, but in real, he is in path of ‘slow death’. He externalized the cause of ‘not going to Fiji now’ like shortage of money, and time. He repeated ‘I’m going to Fiji’ but actually, he didn’t become a ‘Doer’. However, Truman began to realize something is weird and realized that he is a hero of the TV program. At this point, he became ‘Doer; Deep changer’.
Basically the reason people cannot change is that they are in cage. The cage makes people’s own habits, acts which are called ‘Mental Model’. Truman could not change his life and even not realized he was in TV show. This was because he regarded all of his surroundings are ‘in reality’. So his routines were produced continuously in ‘Mental Model 1’. In addition, the trauma of his father’s death in the sea became his seriously fear about ‘sea’. Because he had bad experiences associated with the sea, the assumptions that ‘Sea is the most furious thing’ became ‘the belief’ thorough several verification experiences. It is called ‘framing of Mental Model 1’. If Truman corrects the past ‘Mental Model 1’, he can get the chance to ‘Deep change’ instead of ‘slow death’.
There are 3 steps in the ‘The new Lewin’s Theory’;Unlearning, Learning, Relearning. The first step, Truman had to come out of the Mental Model 1. So he decided to go out of ‘Sea Haven’ by sailing alone. Even if he had tough fear at the sea, he overcame that and sailing. Director wanted him to and made dangerous storm. But it was of no use at all. Truman was already overcame his trauma and full of his will to ‘deep change’.
The second Step is making ‘Mental Model 2’. Truman threw away the ‘Mental Model 1’ and he has to set the new ‘Mental Model 2’. The components of that is ‘Mission, Vision. Value’. The Mission is the purpose of existence. Truman’s mission is ‘adventure the unknown world’. The Vision, is the picture of his future. Truman’s vision is to meet Sylvia who was his first love at Fiji Island. Last, the value is the role of ‘guideline’ in his life. Truman’s value is that ‘change myself although there is difficulty’ like obstacles by director. Through these components, Truman’s Mental Model 2 was confirmed.
The last step is ‘Organize the System’ to support the Mental model 2. This step was not apparently showed in the movie ‘Truman Show’. The movie was ended step 2 because the Truman left the ‘Sea Haven’(Model 1) with his will to go Fiji(Model 2).
Truman, in the movie, got rid of his mental model 1 with determination, and went through the ‘exit’ of sea haven TV sets. Truman changed himself; overcame trauma at the sea, finally he got the chance to deep change. It is important that Truman became deep change himself. After exit the sea haven, it’s important step 3; support firmly his mental model 2. We can’t see his life after exit the ‘sea haven’, but if he got propert step 3 to deep change, his deep change would be definitely in success.
Many people and organizations often need fundamental and deep change. However this process is not easy at all. Since abandoning its old mental model which provides safety zone for them is difficult. Then why is that so? The idea of leaving safety zone and moving to uncertain status brings about ‘fear’. The fear makes us hesitate to start changing ourselves.
Truman Burbank always wants to go to Fiji where his true love lives that he met in college. Moreover, he wants to explore new world since he never gets to leave his city Sea haven for his entire life. However, he is not able to leave the city ever. It is because he has to give up this comfort and stable life in Sea haven for the unknown world. Second of all, He has the fear of crossing over water. (This is intentionally created)
However, He starts to realize that his entire life in Sea haven has been manipulated for TV show. Then he faces another fear; the existence fear that his entire life is fake and will be last as it is if he does not escape from Sea haven. The recognition of this bigger fear beats the smaller fear and lets the change start. The time comes to deal with and to overcome the contrived fear for deep change. One day, he just throws himself into the rough storm of the ocean that he was most feared of and gets newly true life out from the TV set.
<The Truman Show> lets us know about the importance of recognition of bigger and existent fear in terms of deep change. It is easy to detect contrived fear since it is based on old mental model that already exists. In other words, we tend to take contrived fear as “actual fear” because existence fear is rather somewhat “far away possible happening” scenario than something that can be felt urgently right now. That is, when we want deep change, we should focus on finding out what is existent fear and what is contrived fear that we should over come. Once it is realized that existent fear is the one that has to be overcome, contrived fear will be vanished like the waves crashed against the rocks indeed. Then we are one step closer to making deep change successfully.
Changes in Truman Burbank
The Truman Show, I saw this movie when I was in elementary school. At that time, I just saw this movie as a comic show, but now, at this distance of time, I think this movie give us great lessons such as violation of one self’s whole life, What the real world is and the changes in Truman and so on. From among the great lessons, I would like to talk about the changes in the movie. I think Truman made real deep change in himself, in spite of disturbance of the family and friends, and obstacles made by the producer.
Everyone has their own mental model, which can help to understand, explain the world. Through the model, people act what they believe. It is like a mental map. Also people get psychological comfort in their mental model. It is very hard to break the mental model. I think Truman was in the mental prison stronger than the others, because his mental map is made deliberately by the producer, who wants to make show more interesting. So it is much harder to Truman to break the mental model. However, after all, Truman escaped from the mental prison.
What I think is that emergence of Silvia, Truman’s first love, is the beginning of Truman’s deep change in himself. He always wondered the strange way she left him and the words she said to him on the last night. And he always misses Silvia, and he always think about her face and trying to remember her face. Also he always dreamed the island Fiji where Silvia might go. I think those behaviors constantly missing Silvia and dreaming Fiji is the power finally he made deep change. Also the emergence of his father, who thought to be dead, is the trigger which makes Truman break his mental model and put his deep change in practice.
Everyone sets limitation to themselves, like the honeybee which did not come out from the cup because of their own traits, or the flea which set a limit of their jump height, Truman also set limitation on himself which is the sea. Truman has a very bad experience about his father’s death in the sea. He got trauma about the sea. The first time when he tries to go to Fiji, he experienced frustration because he could not get on the boat to go outside. However, in the end, Truman overcame his limitation. In addition to overcome his limitation, he confronted limitation. He went across the wide sea by himself although there are many interruptions such as rainstorm and the threat from the producer.
I think Truman’s deep change is great, because there is no one to help him to make deep change. Everyone surrounding him try to stop him to change. His mother and wife kept saying that Truman has to have a baby and his friend kept saying there is nowhere like Seaheaven. These make Truman think the result of change could be more dangerous and hard. He thinks the bottom line would be lower than he thinks. That is why I think Truman’s change is brave and great. Also usually people fail to make deep change, because they stall before make change. But Truman sensitively reacted and observed the change in the environment, and he immediately put into practice. As we learned from the class, change is very difficult, especially in case of deep change is more difficult, because we need to change everything. I learned a lot from this movie and this is really good chance to let me think about the change and the process.
Truman Burbank is a man whose life is a totally fake one for the TV show. After he found this out, he escaped from the set which called “Sea Heaven”.
I think this story is definitely about a “Deep Change” of Truman Burbank. He escaped from his old mental model which was peaceful, normal and looks happy, and then he made up his new mental model which is dangerous and unpredictable but focused on finding out his “real life”.
Because of his past experience of tragic boat accident (which took his father away) Truman had phobia of water which cause a contrived fear for his change. Christof, producer of “Truman Show” provides Truman this contrived fear when Truman tried to escape from the “Sea Heaven”. Christof made a violent storm and thunder while Truman’s voyage to the real world. But Truman overcome this threats (contrived fear) and finally got the door to the “real world” (Deep change).
This voyage is the “Hero’s journey”. And this journey is also a Revolutionary Change which caused by external factor (realizing his “fake” life) and needed second order (changes of one’s hole mental gene and identity).
According to Lewin’s model, throwing away Truman’s old mental model is his unfreezing stage. He “unfreezes” his old fear and old thinking and started sailing. This sailing journey is Truman’s “Movement”. Finally when he got there, he will be on the stage of “Refreezing” and he made the “Change”.
Christof is the one who experienced “Slow Death”. He already knew that this show had ethical problem but ignored this problem. He believed that he was doing the right things from beginning to end even though not only Truman but also all the viewers realized that something is wrong. He had attitude like “Don’t rock the boat.” and never changed his mind even if he could. Eventually, by the end, he might be sensed his death, but he practiced “Peace and Pay” and finally he faced his “Death”.
Lauren (or Silvia), Truman’s first lover, is the one who also made a big decision for a change. She tried to tell Truman the truth. She had courage to do the right thing even though she knew that she will lose her current statue and will be criticized by audience. She was a kind of whistle-blower.
That is the end of my analysis. This was my third time to see the movie “Truman Show”
Always a touching story.
The Truman Show is a 1998 American drama film directed by Peter Weir and written by Andrew Niccol. Truman Burbank is an ordinary insurance salesman living in earthly paradise, Sea Heaven. One day he finds out that his entire life is actually a TV show and decides to escape from Sea Heaven. This movie suggests lots of message like human rights or criticism of the media. However, I focus on ‘deep change’ that Truman shows us.
In this film, Truman describes the fear of leaving this invented world. This fear can be explained easily by mental models. A mental model is an explanation of someone's thought process about how something works in the real world. However, outdated mental model only offers the fear of escaping from present and basis of reckless optimistic thinking. We can’t change our behavior and habit without changing our existing mental model. People don’t prefer to change something and tend to stay where they are because the process of changing mental model require fear, pain and sacrifice. Nevertheless, Truman succeeds to change his mental model. It is easy to explain through Lewin’s change model, how he changed his mental model.
Lewin’s change model has largely three steps, unfreezing, moving and refreezing. In the first step, Truman is started to make doubt about his world, try to find any clue and promise to escape from here himself. In the next step, he prepared materials and way to escape. At this point, the key he endeavored to free his mind from fear of water. He, finally, got to the beach and got board on a ship. In the final step, he kept to go forward even though the director of ‘Truman show’ tried to interrupt his escaping with bad weather and threat. However, he finally got to the end of Sea Heaven studio and passed the exit door. At this point, he had more incentive (power of leading to change) than disincentive (power of denying change). As like this, he could get away from his outdated mental models and achieve deep change.
If he just stayed in Sea Heaven, he is nothing but a monkey in a cage. There will be no self-development and go into slow death. In the film, the director said, “There is no more truth out there than there is in the world I created for you. Same lies. Same deceit. But in my world, you have nothing to fear.” He could have not felt fear of change, but he decided to travel hero’s Journey. He made his own travel story and put himself into ocean of uncertainty. He changed his own paradigm, reinvented his own frame and scenario with his own goal, getting out from Sea Heaven and finding his first love.
Truman’s fear is similarly like our feeling. In the movie, there was one quote that made me think a lot, “He could leave at any time. If it was more than just a vague ambition, if he was absolutely determined to discover the truth, there's no way we could prevent him. Cue the sun!” We can make deep change, travel hero’s journey anytime, but we are reluctant to break our outdated mental model and prefer our cell. Through watching Truman’s deep change, I hope people take courage to pass through Lewin’s change process.