What made Robin Williams so funny was that he could play with reality. He could step into an insane perspective on the world and speak from that skewed angle on the world to poke fun at the day-to-day grind of reality that we call “normal.”
But there is a price tag for playing with reality like that. To do so, one must live beyond the safe confines of “normal” and expose oneself to all the perils that “normal” was created to keep at bay in the first place. And one of these perils is to deal with the famous observation made by Hamlet,“To be, or not to be. That is the question.”
This tragic death gives me pause for I know that I too live beyond the safe confines of “normal.” That has always been the case; but only in recent years have I found the courage to give up the desperate desire to convince others that I “think” correctly. I don’t. Never have. And never will. And I am exposed to the aforementioned perils but none of them appears to be the temptation to take my own life….or the life of anyone else! And perhaps that will be a demon I will have to face at some point but I don’t think so. I guess I have accepted death already as an intrinsic part of life and so, in some fashion, believe that I’m dead already. And once one is “dead already” there is no need to worry about death but to merely focus on life and what it presents to you in the present moment.
I think it is Ken Wilbur who has made this very point, that life and death and inextricably interwoven. And each day of our life we are often called to death, to “climb the rugged cross of the moment and let our illusions die.” (W. H. Auden) Each day of our life there are moments when we can opt to not stubbornly obey the dictates of our ego and in that moment make room for another person and/or to be “present” in the physical world. And Wilbur’s teachings presents that moment as a paradigm of death, a discipline that can prepare us for the Big Death that comes to all.
I share in our collective sadness over this tragic death. I deeply admire men and women who can think…and live…outside of the box like Williams did. They are gifts to humankind. Their ability to share a “skewed” view of the world can give us “self” awareness for a moment, a brief glimpse into our precarious grasp on our world, a grasp that we think of as our personal “reality.”
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