I thought that I’d write this post to share with you all my residual self-image, and perhaps a short message about self-actualization. Many of you may have seen the first Matrix movie; in it, the character Morpheus makes a statement about why Neo looks the way that he does when he’s in the blank zone of preparation before entering the actual matrix. Neo looked a certain way; he was dressed in certain clothes and had a certain hairstyle. This was a self-projection of how Neo subconsciously saw himself.
What Is "Residual Self-Image"?
When I use the term “residual self-image”, the nearest popularized version would be something very similar to that, only my contextual use of the term is not merely in reference to aesthetic physical appearance, but an entire state of existence within reality itself: the ideal and complete version of oneself with full access to their true potential.
Thus, my personal use of the term “residual self-image” is like a fusion between Morpeus’s use of the term in that there is an actual visual mental image of the result of oneself having reached such a stage, and Abraham Maslow’s work on self-actualization.
To give a thorough anecdotal example, please allow me to describe my own residual self-image. I know it’s going to be heavily criticized by people who dislike me, because this is really personal stuff that I’m putting out there, and even my “ideal” self would still be human and thus inherently flawed. However, the reason why I define it to be ideal is because upon having evolved to reach this version of myself, I believe that I will have become perfectly secure in myself, which means being comfortable with not being liked by everyone. I have this belief, because the closer I get to matching my residual self-image, the more content I become, even though I’m not a person who has many friends.
So here is a description of my residual self-image; as a disclaimer, I’m going to use some flattering adjectives that are only meant to come from a place of self-confidence, but not from a psychological area of thinking that I’m intrinsically superior to other people. I may also speak in third-person in the description but only as a means to linguistically distinguish where I am now in contrast with the image of my future self, an acknowledgement that what I dream is not neccessarily reality. You will also read about my home, which is actually just another extension of the self in the dream, such as what I described in the memory palace article in the past:
My Personal Residual Self-Image
I dream of my fully actualized self as a wealthy, brilliant, entrepreneurial physicist who is an extreme introvert and very eccentric. He owns multiple business that are primarily online, that he figured out how to run from his home, which he’s set up to never have to actually leave if he doesn’t want to. Occasionally, though, he may go out into the forests and mountains to wander either alone or with his loved ones. His home is a castle within which he has built an impressive library of hundreds if not thousands of books that he has either legitimately read or is working toward reading completely, with a cobblestone floor and massive fireplace.
He spends most of his time in this room, this study, which also doubles as a laboratory. It’s a massive room, as if a public library had been converted into a home, or that a home had been attached to a public library. There are bookshelves lining all walls except the wall with the fireplace, with long rectangular tables down the center of it that are used for multiple purposes, such as whatever new project he’d be building for either personal enjoyment or what he plans to sell in the global free-market. Hanging from the walls are drapes of European family crests, tokens of genealogical history and heritage that he combines with tokens of other cultures that he knows contribute to making him who he is. Europe is the most predominant theme; however, despite his skin color, because that’s simply what he most closely and comfortably identifies with, considering how he grew up.
He designs and builds things in this room, prototypes of ideas that come to his imagination that he converts from dreams into reality. He works on them at his own pace until they’re completed. Once they are, he then sends them to a warehouse with his company label for mass production, duties that are delegated to other people who need the jobs to provide for their own selves and families.
He has the intelligence to have won awards on par with the MacArthur, and many of the awards that he has won are on display by the fireplace, but because many of these awards have age cut-off dates, he doesn’t have many of the hugest named ones because it took him time to earn the constituents needed for him to finally explore his true potential. In fact, his greatest accolade is actually his own life story, in which he sees and projects himself to be almost a kind of tragic hero that could have won fame if not for circumstances that he could not control in his youth, and the psychological scars of such a past explain why he is the way he is in eccentricity.
But despite the tragedy of his story, what he leverages as meant to be inspiring is the fact that he didn’t give up on himself and still ended up becoming a highly contributive member of society.
Vannoken tribal tattoos (which have many similar elements to Nordic tribal tattoos) line the left side of his body in a detailed and organized sleeve that compliments highly conditioned muscles but are not immediately visible because of the dark clothing he wears. As he studies, he often wears a custom replica of King Baldwin IV’s mask. He wears it not because it’s Halloween, but because the depiction of Sir Ridley Scott’s rendition of the historical character is one that he highly relates to in metaphor. This inspires him to keep studying and to stay focused, keeping him suspended in a state of imaginative engagement because as he imagines himself to be King Baldwin IV, he is, in reality, advancing faster in his own acquisition of knowledge.
This means that even though he is a fully actualized version of myself, he still uses his imagination. However, this version of myself has learned to use imagination not to escape reality (as most people use their imagination for) but to actually enhance his progression through it. The self-actualized version of myself has developed the psychological strength to face the demons and bear the weight of the countless harsh truths of objective reality, yet has mastered the utilization of imagination as a tool, almost a real-world superpower that he uses to guide his way through building things and solving problems, instead of as an escape from those problems.
And it is because of his imagination that he is able to create all different kinds of creative games that he plays with his family, carefully mastering the balance between his inner child and a warrior-esque adult.
How Far From My Residual Self-Image Am I?
As I’ve gone through life, the remnant vestiges of my youthful angst have often manifested in the form of apprehensiveness; I was always racing against the clock to get somewhere because of my awareness of my own mortality. This created a persistent feeling of failure, of never being good enough, of continual dissatisfaction with life, instead of self-contentment and health.
Until about two days ago, I had to slow down and realize just how close to my own residual self-image that I've actually come; my feelings of apprehensiveness came from my lack of self-awareness in a kind of paradox. It is because of self-awareness that I felt the apprehensiveness to begin with, but also because of self-awareness that I was able to dissipate those feelings of apprehensiveness.
I realized this yesterday, while I was listening to the London Philharmonic orchestra's rendition of some of Led Zeppelin's classics as I paced around my living room with a mathematics book and blue highlighter in my hand.
I came to realize that who I am now almost matches my residual self-image exactly, even down to my dreadlocks. What's missing are merely some aesthetics, such as the castle, but the person, who I am, is the exact same.
I am who I dreamed to be. Right now, I'd say I'm at about a 90-98% match. For a perfect match, I would need the castle, and a new and better mask of King Baldwin IV. Maybe some more tattoos.
I would also need to finish my physics degree and put out the first real product of my technology company, but that’s not far off; that’s a matter of when, not if, because I’ve already made it this far.
...but besides those four aesthetic things...I'm there.
I am an eccentric introvert who is studying physics, building things in his spare time within the comfort of his own home (such as the nuclear fusion reactor I’m working on in my living room). I run a digital marketing business thats gradually growing, etc.
And I'm happy with who and what I've become. I realize this whenever I slow down and ask myself: “What would my residual self do if he were standing right where I am, right now.”
…the answer? Exactly what I’m already doing right now. The only thing causing apprehension is the lack of emotional control, the patience needed to delay instant gratification.
I’ve already developed an action plan to get the castle, which really aren’t that expensive if you do your research on them. There are apartments in New York that aren’t even that impressive yet cost more than a castle in Europe, or one that you could even build.
The castle serves multiple purposes both metaphorically and literally. I remember the story of how Black Wall Street was raided and destroyed by white nationalists; castles are used to defend against raids. When I finish this degree and leave England, I’m going to need to protect whomever comes with me to the settlement with the wisdom gained from the story of Black Wall Street. This is the logical reason why a castle would be used, which would buy time for legitimate authorities to arrive and dispel and harmful attacks on my tiny tribe.
What Can You Take From This?
What you can take from having read all of this is inspiration to review and clarify your own residual self-image.
Following Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, what is it that you would need to do in order to attain your residual self-image? How far are you from it? Some people are closer to it than others.
And here’s a deeply cutting question about it: What are you lying to yourself about your own mentality and behavior that are keeping you from attaining it? You’ll be able to tell the answer to this question if you ask yourself what your residual self-actualized version of yourself would do in your current situation. If the answer is anything other than what you yourself would do now, if there’s not a personality/behavioral match, then that means there’s something about your own psychology that you’re not facing, a demon you haven’t conquered, something blocking your personality from evolving into the kind of person you’d truly like to be.
We all have limits, myself included. So, is your residual self-image based on what can be attainable for you in objective reality? Your residual self-image can be as grandiose as you’d like it to be; so long as it follows the laws of physics and economics, I’d say it’s attainable. If you build a residual self-image that’s too far from what we know about the laws of the universe, you’ll create an unattainable version of yourself that will only increase your own mental anguish. I’ve had to modify my own residual self-image many times as I’ve learned to come to grips with the harshness of my own reality. My residual self-image now is not the same as it was when I was 15; however, it was always a residual self-image that I was striving to achieve, even if I didn’t consciously realize that’s what I was doing.
You’ll be able to tell if your residual self-image of actualization is realistic, no matter how seemingly unattainable it is, if you can write a step-by-step action plan of how to get there. If you can’t do that; if you can’t clearly visualize it in extensive detail and be able to articulate it, along with a plan from how to get to there from where you are now, that’s your key indicator that it may not be realistic for you.
If you believe it’s truly realistic but you simply don’t know how to get there, then that’s different; all that signifies is that you need to increase your knowledge. Therein, the next question becomes this: Can you seek a mentor? What books to you need to read? etc.
What is your residual self-image and how close are you to it in objective reality?
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