"Everything is as it should be."

                                                                                  - Benjamin Purcell Morris



© all material on this website is written by Michael McCaffrey, is copyrighted, and may not be republished without consent

Eternal Darkness of the Artist's Mind

Estimated Reading Time : 4 minutes 03 seconds

A friend of mine, the inimitable Johnny Steamroller, sent me this short, six minute documentary about Jim Carrey today. I was hesitant to watch it because I figured, how interesting could a Jim Carrey documentary be, right? But after some hemming and hawing, I relented and watched. I was very glad that I did. I highly recommend you watch it now…here it is (again it is only 6 minutes long).

I found this brief glimpse into Carrey's mind and soul to be stunningly insightful, profound and deeply moving. What struck me most about the film was that I was unable to specifically pin point exactly why I felt the way I did about it. Maybe it was discovering that even though Jim Carrey and I are very different people living very different lives, we share a great deal in common, so much so that I would say we are kindred spirits nearly identical in our essence. Or maybe I just related to Carrey's desperate yearning to grasp anything tangible in the blinding hurricane that is life. 

Upon further reflection I have come to wonder if the film resonated so much with me because Carrey and I share a similar affliction and suffer from the accompanying symptoms of that affliction, namely a desolation of spirit and isolation of heart. From that desolation and isolation comes the quest for…something…be it Truth or meaning or purpose, to be a salve for the existential despair and discomfort. 

We do not get to choose the cross we will bear in life, the cruel twins of fate and destiny do that for us. Most would say that Jim Carrey's cross is a pretty sweet one to have, but when it comes to suffering, the cross on the other fellows back always seems lighter. Jim Carrey is a millionaire and very successful, but his humanity is just as delicate and fragile as the rest of us. Unlike a child born in Yemen or Sudan, Jim Carrey is not in danger of starving to death, but that doesn't mean he doesn't suffer from a form of hunger that could consume him if not satiated.

I realize this post is a bit…unfocused…but that might be the point of it. A lack of rigid clarity and coherence is the only way to find the esoteric sweet spot where the world recedes, the veil thins and the Truth enters. It is in this no man's land where illusions fade away and cracks in reality reveal things as they truly are. In this in-between state where shamans pass between the worlds with ease and artists, poets and prophets sojourn, if you keep still you are able to hear the trees conversing with one another in the midst of a raging blizzard, or see Deer materialize out of the hazy dusk air to welcome you to their secret haven, or receive messages from Hawk, unseen by others, who brings you greetings and messages from A, or THE, Great Spirit. Like trying to grasp water, holding onto this sweet spot too tightly results in it slipping quickly through your fingers. 

The artist, poet or prophet is just like the rest of us, a drowning man lost and doomed in the middle of an endless ocean, but the artist, poet and prophet has the wisdom to not waste time and energy swimming for a distant and entirely unattainable shore, but rather he repeatedly dives beneath the tumultuous seas to catch the briefest of glimpses of where he is destined to spend eternity. When the artist, poet and prophet surfaces from the deep gasping for air, he shouts out what he has observed fathoms below the surface, these cries are his art, his poetry and his prophecy, hopefully heard by some other drowning fool frantically swimming for the horizon. Maybe that lost ill-fated soul, upon hearing the penetrative howl of the artist, poet and prophet will momentarily feel slightly less alone on his hopeless scramble for survival.

It is in these icy depths of his soon to be watery grave, that the artist, poet and prophet discovers that it is, in fact, HE who is the artwork, a masterpiece of complex simplicity from an unknown, virtuoso master artist. The artist, poet and prophet does not come to understand this revelation, he comes to remember it, as this knowledge was at his fingertips all along but consciously just out of his reach. Only in the depths of the unconscious can the artist discover what at once seems so foreign yet so familiar. It is in these same dark depths of his quiet sea that the artist, poet and prophet overcomes his fear of spiritual death, and ultimately becomes immortal by returning to the mystery from hence he came.