This evening I caught up on the most recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. One of the guests was comedian and actor Jim Carrey. I looooved Jim on In Living Color when I was growing up and can still do pretty mean Fire Marshall Bill and Vera Demilo impersonations. I didn’t grow to love many of his movies later on, but I continued to admire him as an artist and person and have been interested in what’s going on in his life to this day.
I think the reason I’ve always had a soft spot for Jim is because of how candid he’s been about his struggles with depression and (in the past) drug-use. I don’t know if it’s because I’d mourned the suicide of a loved one so early in my life, but sometimes I feel like we’re a bunch of delicate paper dolls just one bad thought away from crumbling and being swept into the atmosphere. I admire all who suffer and decide the next day might be better than the last. It’s not always easy.
Anyway, Bill Maher remarked on Jim’s struggles with depression and how he always considered him a “seeker”. Then he said something that really struck me.
Bill: I always thought of you as a seeker. You’re always seeking…something. Right? Cause you’re not always happy.
Jim: No, no I’m not always happy, that’s for sure. Happy is the weather.
Bill: But that is the mark of a seeker. It’s hard to find what you’re looking for—especially when it’s deep.
Who knew your stoic self could be so profound, Bill? Thanks for articulating what I never could.
It’s hard to find what you’re looking for—especially when it’s deep.
Yes. Yes it is.
A year ago, Jim was accused of acting bizarre and awkward in an interview during New York Fashion Week:
Jim: I wanted to find the most meaningless thing that I could come to and join, and here I am. I mean, you’ve gotta admit it’s completely meaningless.
Interviewer: Well, they say they’re celebrating icons. Do you believe in icons?
Jim: That is just the absolute lowest aiming, you know, possibility that we can come up with?
At that point he goes off on an existential tangent, but I was all I don’t see what’s bizarre-o about this. He was speaking my language. It also made me think of something he said many years ago
I think everybody should get rich and famous, and do everything they ever dreamed of, so they can see that it’s not the answer.
What is the answer, then? Is the benchmark of happiness different for everyone? Or is it some universal thing that’s managed to elude most of us? Is it love? Is it faith? Even those concepts are subjective. Are some people just wired for a morose life despite their good circumstances? If happiness is weather, how do we turn it into climate?
Sometimes being a seeker-type can feel self-important, futile, lonely. You wonder why you can’t just experience life, its most mundane and magnificent moments, without perusing its interconnectedness and meaning. If only you could float easy at the surface, eyes closed with the sun beaming down on you instead of soliciting the darkest trenches for answers yet to be found by mankind. What makes you think you’re going to find them? And at times you are floating easy at the surface until you remember there are individuals, groups, species, ideals that are drowning. That’s enough to pull you right back under.
See, this post already feels self-indulgent. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s late at night and I spent some time on this, my inclination would be to delete it. That’s the loneliness and dichotomy of a seeker—to feel, to question, to have the audacity to seek and return to you empty-handed.
Can anyone relate?