What’s It Like Being You? Bill Murray Has the Perfect Answer



When it comes to the tough questions, one man always seems to have the answers: Bill Murray.

As a kid, I was fixated with the thoughts in my brain. Not the content of the thoughts, exactly (unless they included chocolate), but the fact that they were just there being thought in my head. How was it that I was thinking this or that? Was there a God in my head making me think?

For a long time, I sort of just assumed that everyone had a similar mind to mine. Thoughts come into our consciousness and we tend to them as needed—deciding how to deal with an urge to pee, or to roll around in the grass (OMG, am I a dog?), when or what to eat, what it means to be alive.

But as I got older, I became increasingly aware that my hive mind theory was total bullshit. Other people thought way differently than me. Like, another planet different. And not people on the other side of earth, but my own parents, siblings, neighbors. Our ability to communicate and cooperate with others is kind of amazing when you consider just how differently our minds work.

In today’s world, we gawk at successful people (and criminals) because they seem so different than most of us. We try to imagine what it’s like inside their heads. You know, what it’s really like, not the stuff that comes out of their mouths, but the other stuff. It’s a weird human fixation, one Bill Murray says we need to stop, “we get confused sometimes…[we] try to compete” he recently told a reporter at the  Toronto International Film Festival, who asked Murray what it’s like to be Bill Murray.

Who we are, he suggests, doesn’t matter as much as the fact that we just are this person or that person. Identities, after all, are constructs. Transport us to another time, another place, and surely the thoughts in our heads, the idea of what it’s like to be us, completely changes.

“It feels good to be you, doesn’t it? It feels good, because there’s one thing that you are — you’re the only one that’s you, right?” Murray asked.

“So, what’s it like to be me? You can ask yourself, ‘What’s it like to be me?’ You know, the only way we’ll ever know what it’s like to be you is if you work your best at being you as often as you can, and keep reminding yourself: That’s where home is.”

Check out Murray’s interview here.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.