Groundhog Day

Harold Ramis: Serenity is an illusion, but if anything is possible and I can do anything, then there’s a limitless capacity to do good. That’s what Groundhog Day is about. In Groundhog Day, Bill destroys all meaning for himself. Buddhism says our self doesn’t even exist. The self is a convenient illusion that gives us ego. In conventional terms, of course, it exists. There’s a name and picture on your driver’s license, you have to get dressed in the morning, and your paycheck is addressed to somebody, so you have a self. But it’s really an illusion. I did a group exercise, and we were asked to face another person and describe ourselves in two minutes. I started describing myself, and from the very first statement started thinking, That’s not really true. That’s what I like to think about myself, but I’m not as good as I’m saying. It’s all a projection. So then we switched partners, and they said, “Now tell this person who you are.” So I did a corrective on the first, wrong view of myself, and as I’m talking I’m thinking, That’s not me, either. The whole point of the exercise is that we’re not who we think we are. We’re only occasionally who we want to be. We’re not what other people think we are. The self kind of evaporates as a concept. If you can take yourself out of these existential issues, life gets a little simpler. If life is full of possibility, and I stop thinking about myself, I end up where Bill ends up at the end of the movie: in the service of others.

~Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow