I guess Jim Carrey meant well when he posed the question “What does the world need that my talent can provide?” but the answer to this is “absolutely nothing”. The world doesn’t need you. It doesn’t need Jim Carrey either. It doesn’t need anything.
There is part of the sentence missing in my opinion and should read: What does the world need “in order to keep on existing” that my talent can provide? The answer is: nothing. Fact is, the world/Earth, as far as we know, won’t exist as we know it no matter what anyone does. In other words, whatever you can experience with your five senses will cease to be no matter what you do. It makes his and anyone’s speech(s) illogical and worthless at best or detrimental at worst.
Even though his easy-to-hear verbiage feels good to think about, it doesn’t help in the long run. He’s just like every other celebrity–someone who needs attention and got it. Ironic he also says one’s need for acceptance can make one invisible as if he’s not invisible to most of the people existing in the world today.
Carrey egotistically states:
When I was about 28, after a decade as a professional comedian, I realized one night in LA that the purpose of my life had always been to free people from concern, like my dad. When I realized this, I dubbed my new devotion, “The Church of Freedom From Concern” — “The Church of FFC”— and I dedicated myself to that ministry.
What’s yours? How will you serve the world? What do they need that your talent can provide? That’s all you have to figure out. As someone who has done what you are about to go do, I can tell you from experience, the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is. (applause)
Everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart, and all that will be left of you is what was in your heart. My choosing to free people from concern got me to the top of a mountain. Look where I am — look what I get to do! Everywhere I go – and I’m going to get emotional because when I tap into this, it really is extraordinary to me — I did something that makes people present their best selves to me wherever I go. (applause) I am at the top of the mountain and the only one I hadn’t freed was myself and that’s when my search for identity deepened.
I wondered who I’d be without my fame. Who would I be if I said things that people didn’t want to hear, or if I defied their expectations of me? What if I showed up to the party without my Mardi Gras mask and I refused to flash my breasts for a handful of beads? (laughter) I’ll give you a moment to wipe that image out of your mind. (laughter)
But you guys are way ahead of the game.
Notice how he jerks off his listeners? See all the applause? See how his motivation is people’s positive attention? See how he asks himself a tough question (“Who would I be if I said things that people didn’t want to hear, or if I defied their expectations of me?”) but then goes back to being a comedian/porn star jerking off the audience without actually addressing his own question? (“What if I showed up to the party without my Mardi Gras mask and I refused to flash my breasts for a handful of beads?… But you guys are way ahead of the game.”)
What a pandering whore! HE wants to free you from your concern and distract you from whatever it is you are trying to distract yourself from. HE wants people to present their best selves to HIM.
In short, he tells people what he (usually correctly) thinks people want to hear so they react a certain way when he’s around.
I prefer the wisdom of Alan Watts who said:
“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”
“Tell people something that will save them from themselves” (Alan Watts) vs “…the purpose of my life has has always been to free people from concern, like my dad.” and “What do they need that your talent can provide?” (Jim Carrey). In other words, free people from themselves (empowering people to help themselves) vs free people from concern (distract them from issues they might be better off attending to rather than distracting themselves from) and the ego-based and overused and childish sentiment of how-can-I-use-my-unique-gifts-to-make-the-world-a-better-place as if anyone could really make the world better than it already is. What about the world being fine? Watts has spoken about this too noting:
I’ve just come back from Los Angeles. I was down there to meet with a group of rather important people. People in the movie industry, scientists, and so on, who were considering calling a congress of the best minds in the world to meet in Los Angeles in the near future, to be a kind of planetary alarm conference. They wanted scientists and statesmen, religious leaders, to do something to impress upon the world through all the media that we are in very serious danger of destroying the biosphere, that is to say the whole envelope of living creatures which covers this planet, through pollution, overpopulation, nuclear fallout, poisoning of our food, and very lack of food. And we met to discuss the problem of organizing this conference, and here were all these brilliant people, and it came over us that we really didn’t know what we ought to say!…
And so the consensus of almost everybody at the meeting was that in some way or other the human race has to learn how to leave the world alone and let what is called the natural homeostasis, that is the self balancing process of nature, take care of the mess.
It can be argued that people who go around doing what Carrey does (stroke his own and other people’s egos for the sake of getting attention and being loved or, as Carrey put it to “do things that make people present their best selves” rather than actually being their best selves naturally) are phonies. God knows I was one of these types! I behaved in ways that made people be nice to me. As an actor, his goal is to get other to act too. Notice how his words don’t concern themselves with helping others actually be or become their best selves. All he’s concerned with is having them be “their best selves to me wherever I go”. At least that’s what his words are conveying.
Now, I don’t mean to dog the guy. And I wouldn’t argue with anyone who wanted to defend him because there are other points-of-view and no-doubt Carrey has helped a lot of people with his words or at least a lot of people would probably argue that he’s helped them. But, I wonder, has he actually helped people? Who can really judge that, if indeed anyone can judge such a thing?
I will echo Watts again and again though.
Now is far as I can see, the basic mistake is that we’ve invented this wonderful system of language and calculation and that it is at once too simple to deal with the complexity of the world, and also we are liable to confuse that system of symbols with the world itself, just as say we confuse money with wealth.
It bears repeating and it is the only defense Carrey has that I can see.
Here it is again in an even shorter form:
We’ve invented this wonderful system of language and calculation that is too simple to deal with the complexity of the world, and we are liable to confuse that system of symbols with the world itself.
This is so important that I’m going to say it again in my own words and in Carrey’s defense. Our fucked up, stupid languages don’t even come close to being able to communicate what we’re really feeling because our inner world/emotions are too fucking complex to be expressed with words or any other art form including music, painting, dance, etc. Plus, when we do use words or other symbols to communicate, it’s all too easy to confuse the words (which are nothing more than symbols) with the actual world itself. And even dancing, music, and other art forms are misinterpreted.
Where does that leave me, and you, my future reader? How should I know? I’m still working on figuring out how to save myself from myself and, from the looks of it, so is the beloved Jim Carrey. When/If I do figure it out, I’ll let you know what I did to do so and maybe that will save you from yourself, inspire you to be your best self all the time (and not just when you’re around a celebrity or someone you want to impress), and free you from attachment rather than distract you by pacifying you with temporary folly.
Signing off for now fellow space travelers. Who knows when we’ll meet again?