10 Sep The Act and The Essence
I am saddened by the death of Robin Williams. I enjoyed watching him in so many movies. More than his comedic roles, though, it was his more serious performances that resonated made me love him.
Dead Poets Society is one of my favorite films of all time. His role in Good Will Hunting – playing the part of a mentor with a steadfast belief in the inherent genius of a disenfranchised young man – inspired me. In these roles, I feel as though I got to see Robin for who he truly was.
I believe Robin’s comedic brilliance was his coping mechanism- the way he tried to make sense of a world he fundamentally couldn’t conform to. For me, his huge heart and ability to inspire and uplift was actually his Soul Signature. Beneath the one-liners and witty repartee, he was a champion for the underprivileged; he helped those who had lost hope in themselves.
When you become a hot commodity, your essence can often be compromised or lost. You are expected to play a role to satisfy the expectations or standards of others. Sometimes stars, in order to remain stars, bend and contort themselves to fit the conventions of their industry rather than being their authentic selves. As a result, addiction, depression, and feelings of loneliness often ensue.
At some point, no matter your station in life, you have to stop and ask: Who am I really? Am I, deep down, the person I present to the world? Am I an act or am I my essence?
Robin’s essence shone brightly but sadly, it seems, he couldn’t see it. That, to me, is the greatest tragedy of all and a heartbreak that plagues the lives of most famous people. When you live in the glare of the limelight, you’re terrified of being alone in the dark. Most people are too afraid to know themselves in the absence of projections and too scared to face the truth of their experience once the laughter has faded away.
In real life, I wonder how much Robin needed someone to play the role of John Keating or Sean Maguire for him?