The Spiritual Philosophy of JIM CARREY | Atoms Playing Avatars
Create Your Own Avatar in 4 Easy Steps
When the curtain came down, Jim Carrey was a changed man.
After playing Andy Kaufman in the movie Man on the Moon, he wasn’t sure who Jim Carrey was anymore.
His existential crisis led to an epiphany.
“As an actor you play characters and then if you go deep enough into those characters you realize that your own character is pretty thin to begin with. And then you suddenly have this separation and go, “Who’s Jim Carrey?” Oh, he doesn’t actually exist. There is just a relative mass of manifestation of consciousness appearing and then someone gave him a bunch of ideas. They gave him a name, religion, nationality, and then he clustered them into something that’s suppose to be a personality. It doesn’t actually exist. None of that stuff if you drill down is real.”
He concluded we are all playing avatars even though fundamentally we are everything. We are nothing. We are atoms.
“Ultimately, we’re not the avatars we create. We’re not the pictures on the film stock. We are the light that shines through it. All else is just smoke and mirrors. Distracting, but not truly compelling.”
But if we are not our avatars then how do we detach from them?
He wants us to first recognize we are playing an avatar and then focus on living in the present.
STOP being a character and START being in the now.
But he admits he can’t completely detach from his own avatar after 55 years of mental programming.
Jim Carrey, as he sees it, is a set of deeply ingrained behavioral, psychological, and physical traits, such as his desire to “free people from concern.”
But the distinction he draws between his current “self” and his younger self is that he no longer tries to uphold his avatar.
Walking into a room, he would be the funny man because that’s what people expected of Jim Carrey, but nowadays when he walks into a room he just does whatever feels natural in the moment, which could be a philosophical speech or a well-timed fart joke.
In his daily life, he tries to pull himself into the present by focusing on painting or acting or whatever it is he’s doing.
He wants to do things without the “idea” of him in it.
“Jim Carrey doesn’t exist.” — Jim Carrey
He believes people become depressed because they’re trying to live up to their fake avatar and the more we can detach from the ego ,and even thought itself, the happier we’ll be.
I think Jim Carrey speaks a lot of truth and people shouldn’t just write him off as nuts. Too many people lazily label the messenger (conservative, liberal, nuts, fake, b*tch) so they don’t have to entertain the message.
Let’s evaluate the message head-on in all its glory…
Are we just atoms?
I think part of the flaw in Jim Carrey’s thinking is he doesn’t see where the science ends and the spirituality begins. Yes we are made up of atoms, but that doesn’t mean we are atoms.
We get to choose the perspective in which we perceive the world. He chooses to perceive the world as an atom. I choose to perceive the world as a human whereas you may primarily perceive the world as a mother, teacher, Italian American, Christian, alcoholic, etc. Each mode of perception offers its pros and cons, but I think things become dangerous when one sees one’s perception as thee perception.
Are we just avatars?
He believes we get to choose our character in life just as he gets to choose his character in a movie. In other words, we have complete control over who we are, which means if he’s correct, then we can consciously create the avatar that makes us happiest…
Create Your Avatar
Step 1: Choose Identity
Step 2: Choose Belief System
Step 3: Choose Routine
Step 4: Choose Personality
Congratulations You Chose: Eccentric Writer with a Drinking Problem!
But this poses another philosophical (and scientific) question… how much control do we really have in creating our avatar?
Sometimes people say “I was born this way” to absolve themselves of responsibility and ward off criticism.
I tend to fall more in the Jim Carrey camp.
I don’t think we have absolute control over who we are (DNA and upbringing play a role), but I think life is less about finding who you are and more about creating who you are.
When I was a kid I wanted to be an actor like Jim Carrey.
I would jump out of the bathtub and run around the apartment screaming…
Then as I got older I wanted to be a rapper like Eminem and then a politician like Theodore Roosevelt.
Nowadays I still adjust my avatar, based upon my goals, beliefs, habits, strengths, weaknesses, and role models, to strike a balance between serious and funny, certain and humble, inspirational and philosophical.
But overall I agree with Jim Carrey that an obsession with one’s avatar can be unhealthy. I see this in SE Asia where people are obsessed with taking selfies.
But simultaneously I see the financial benefit of creating a personal brand.
I think one of the modern challenges of creating a personal brand/avatar is that in yesteryear we could be a different avatar for different people.
For example, when I was in the 3rd Grade I was a Grandma’s boy in the company of my Grandma, but in other circles I was known simply as Pimp Daddy (true story).
“The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly. Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.” — Mark Zuckerberg
Social media is now forcing us into a single avatar, thereby dragging Pimp Daddy out of the shadows.
And regardless of how much control we think we have over our avatar, we’ll have even more control in the future.
With advances in augmented reality, genetic engineering, and plastic surgery we’ll be able to change characteristics once seen as unchangeable, such as sexuality, gender, skin color, extroversion.
This should give us pause.
But once we have the power to be any avatar we want, sort of like Jim Carrey is able to do now via his acting, then maybe we’ll come to a similar conclusion as him that who you are matters far less than what you do.
Thanks for reading! Anthony Galli writes about the great men and women who made history so that we may make history in our own time. Watch his series @ The Great Life.