Hungry and Hungover: How Our Emptiness Tells the Truth
by Jonathan Parnell
Everyone knows what a hangover feels like.
Jim Carrey certainly does. At the Golden Globe Awards last year, the two-time award winner took the stage to introduce the nominees for Best Motion Picture Comedy, and it marked the first spectacle of a change happening in the veteran actor.
He started with a personal introduction that quickly turned into a painfully honest critique on the search for meaning. After he cracked a couple jokes about what it’s like to be a two-time award winner, Carrey remarked,
And when I dream, I don’t just dream any old dream. No sir. I dream about being three-time Golden Globe winning actor Jim Carrey — because then I would be enough. It would finally be true, and I could stop this terrible search for what I know ultimately won’t fulfill me.
Everyone laughed at what Carrey said, and people are still laughing at it — with nearly five million views on YouTube. But what’s hidden in the laughs is that we all know he’s right. Our laughing at his words is really a laughing at ourselves, and it’s a nervous kind of laugh. It’s laughing at the absurdity of trying to find ultimate fulfillment in fleeting things. Carrey and the rest of us are tiptoeing around what has been called the “argument from desire,” and it’s making a comeback.
You Know What I Mean
Perhaps you’ve run into the argument from desire before when reading C.S. Lewis. Lewis puts the argument’s conclusion about as straightforward as it gets in Mere Christianity when he writes, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
That sentence alone is worth kicking around in your mind for a while. When it comes to longing and satisfaction, nothing is more ubiquitous to our species and yet so rarely investigated…
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