Perhaps Fame Isn’t That Great
For Robin Williams, the world was a stage. Everyday brought the possibility for performance; every personal interaction was an opportunity to generate a reaction.
But about a week ago, Williams decided that the world’s adoration didn’t suffice anymore, and killed himself. He was 63.
Robin Williams, a world-famous actor who lived the ‘American dream,’ lost the desire to live. His personal relationship with this planet grew so ugly, so treacherous and so unbearable that he deliberately made the decision to take action towards ending his time on this planet. And he succeeded.
Sure, Williams’s history with depression and alcohol are well-documented. But the fact remains that Williams had, in his 63 years of life, achieved far more than the average person. In America, he was a household name. Though he had recently fallen under financial duress, he had earned millions of dollars in his lifetime. He was ‘famous.’
Fame is attractive. That’s how today’s world works. Children flip on the television, see a movie or a sporting event, and observe the glamorization of the participants in said program. People that act in movies don’t just go to work from 9–5 every day and earn a paycheck; they’re STARS. Everyone knows who they are. They are adored. Thus, from a young age, the idea is instilled that attracting attention from a large audience is exceedingly desirable. Living a normal life is devalued as boring, while fame and wealth are infinitely valuable.
Not only is the sentiment misconstrued and illogical, it’s dangerous.
“You can do anything you put your mind to!”
“Shoot for the Stars!”
“Do your best!”
Such are just a few of the ubiquitous cliched phrases that have become synonymous with the American capitalistic ethos. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing one’s passion and working hard; but the process of chasing fame just for fame’s sake is inherently crippling.
In essence, celebrities are only paid attention to because people buy into the notion that they should simply because that’s the way things are. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Fame is an illusion, with society’s accreditation acting as a fulcrum for its omnipresence.
I’m not going to speculate on the inner workings of Robin Williams’ mind; I am neither qualified to do so, nor do I have the slightest clue of his thoughts and issues.
But if Robin Williams, arguably one of the more well-known people in today’s country, could simply lose the will to live — then who are we, as a society, to compartmentalize individuals into a virtual social caste system based on such a superficial thing as fame?
So, my question is — Is fame really that great? Depression is not exclusive to a specific socioeconomic archetype; it’s portentous shadow hovers over people of all shapes and sizes.
Robin Williams, on the surface, appeared to have it all, but deep down he harbored incredibly deep-seated self resentment. I’m not trying to diminish Williams or condemn his life; like I said, I never met him, I didn’t know him.
But perhaps now, people will begin to reconsider their perception of fame and their unbridled desire to achieve it. Everybody in the world could know your name. But if you can’t look at yourself in the mirror and smile, then you’re not going to make it.