Some souls reach more people than others. That is their mission in life; to inspire us all. This is the case of Robin Williams, a man who projected his vision and his message to the world as a leading actor. His choice of projects was deliberate and follow a constant in order to continue delivering a personal dream to the world. But he never did it alone. In following his dream he managed to find the support of others. He could have not done all that work alone. The films that brought his light to shine upon us required a collective effort from countless people who were and continue following a dream. To pursue happiness, we must make conscious choices. It was not only his passion to act, but the work of countless people, authors, screen writers, actors, producers anda large number of dreamers who in a joined effort made the final product possible. We only watched the end result. In order to create beautiful projects and a better world we must do this together. An individual effort is necessary, but it is the conjoined effort of all individualities that makes the difference.
In 1986 Robin Williams starred in a the film 'Seize The Day', based on a novel by Saul Bellow, one of the great American writers, whom also left us in recent years. Robin insisted in participating in this project. The message couldn't be clearer: Seize the day. It is no coincidence that his death serves as a reminder to what we lost and what we might have taken for granted. No one is eternal, although in his case, he somehow reached immortality for as long as all those who admired him are alive.
In 'Seize The Day' Robin Williams portrays a salesman who after losing his job moves to Hollywood in order to pursue a career in acting. Throughout the story, he meets with a psychologist, that in reality is only a charlatan, a guru offering false hopes in order to make a living. He also engages in a journey to face his disapproving father. The clashes between father and son represent the male identity which is challenged generation after generation. With each new generation, the figure of the patriarch tumbles a bit more. The dream of youth versus the stagnation of the old system. Each new generation is more challenging and has the power to break with patriarchal society, and yet, somehow somewhere during the struggle we become what we fight, although our position as men becomes weaker and less sustainable.
Saul Bellow's novels are a great example of male writing. Robin Williams introduces a few elements to the essence of the book; the vulnerability, the sensitivity and the portrayal of the conflict in male identity. On paper we're all strong. In real life we are weaker by refusing to accept our own vulnerability. The most vulnerable will in the end be the strongest, as it is only when accepting, exploring and feeling our vulnerabilities that we reach that state of simplicity which expresses the soul at its best. And Robin Williams knew how to explore and express vulnerability in all his roles. He touched every soul he came in contact with, as what the soul most wants is playfulness and laughter.
In his role as a messenger, Robin Williams was a man who not only did not fear to expose his vulnerability, but who didn't hesitate to explore his feminine side and show it to the world. Three years after 'Seize the Day', he touched an entire generation in 'Dead Poets Society' with an equal message: Carpe Diem, seize the day. No one better than him to share this message with the world, as he struggled with depression throughout life. In his career, he was involved in projects that not only touched our souls, but that were acceptant of all those topics patriarchal society refuses to accept and explore: homosexuality, femininity, transgender, and a wide array of lost souls in search of laughter, to love and being loved.
Robin Williams chose his works to express the soul, reason for which he touched so many; for it is only with our soul that we can touch other. Perhaps the message he transmitted and which stands above everything else, is that we should be not afraid of depression and we must continue seeking the dream regardless of how we feel. Society should and has to begin to move towards a more accepting position of our vulnerabilities and the integration of the soul. May his death serves us all to reflect upon this fact: that money and fame do not equal a happy life and that after all, what we want is love, peace, laughter and happiness. And Robin Williams represented this. Regardless of his depression, he was a man who seized the day until he felt he could no longer continue doing so.
I could write much more about depression, what represents, what it means to all of us and how to go about it until we beat it. For today only to say that it is a growing concern that affects more and more people and that perhaps we all should look at the world we have created. Maybe; only maybe after some introspection we decide to change the way we live. A society which makes most of us unhappy and relies on medication to continue existing is in need of much more than self-reflection. A change in the way we live is long due and only our actions, both individually and as a collective can transform the madness of the world into something more meaningful and kinder to everyone. Being inspired by a message is not enough, we must live this message by action.
From here I can only say that the message of Robin Williams got to me deeply, not as a revelation, but as a reminder of who I am and who we are, and that we cannot take anything or anyone for granted; that the beauty of life lies in every day, in the here and now, in seizing the day, for there is no tomorrow, as there is no yesterday no matter how much we persist in viewing the future as a repetition of the past. And who are we to judge in which way he left? What is so extraordinary about our choices that gives any of us a superior moral ground to criticise his choice? We fear what we don't understand and more than that, we fear that what we see in others might happen to us. Do not be fooled by any religious beliefs that his final action has taken him to a dark corner in a different dimension. He is now in a wonderful place enjoying the laughter he could never find in life. As a reminder here's a quote from Henry David Thoreau:
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what I had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
Robin Williams gave everyone the smile and laughter he could not find within. It is now when he is gone that we feel the need to watch his films again, to remind us what we have taken for granted for so long and what we have lost; our resistance to let go. But we didn't lose anything. He still remains here. His soul lingers in all of us. Perhaps it is now that we can take a closer look at his message and truly live a life that seizes the day as if there was no tomorrow. Farewell for now my fellow traveller. We shall meet again. Oh Captain, My captain!
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