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This attitude of abstinence only now clouds people
The Killing of Robin Williams
I never found Williams funny. His brand of humor, manic-stream of consciousness riffing is the hardest to pull off. Jim Carrey does it exceptionally well, but very few others can. To me, Robin's stuff was really obnoxious and grating. The kind of stuff that was so over the top that who ever he was with (say, Johnny Carson) was forced to laugh hysterically to cover for him because anything other than a big laugh that equalled Robin's energy would have let him fall flat. On the other hand, he seems to have been a genuinely nice guy and I'm glad to hear that. Also, I liked him a lot more in his dramatic roles (like with Deniro) than his comedic outings.
The outpouring of sentiment from his band of showbiz cronies and the public for that matter has been obscene and silly, but this is not surprising. In our silly world of celebrity worship Williams is now a saint, a genius. Well, of course he was neither. He seems to have been a decent man with a lot of problems that in the end, he couldn't beat. That's really all there is to say.
However, the two areas I wanted to focus on were these; firstly, why shouldn't anybody be allowed to kill themselves and two, from what I've read his treatment, his path, seems to me to be all wrong.
First, the big debate on killing yourself. I would say that if he wanted to kill himself he should be able to do so. And I'm not just talking about people with obvious physical and/or mental problems. I believe anybody, at anytime should be able to kill themselves for their own reasons, whether you or I judge those reasons to be good or bad. Our opinions are irrelevant.
The great cultural taboo against killing yourself emanates like so many other things, from our religions. For, if god created us, then...blah blah blah goes the story. So what we have is a phony god created by our fellows, the savage simple-minded upright lung-fish to assuage their emotional pain. Then they insist that their non-existent god takes a rather dim view to killing yourself. God wants you to live and live long in your twisting agony and suffering you stupid son of a bitch. I think one of the main reasons people don't like it when you kill yourself is that they really hate to see anybody escape the pain. Stay here and live with us and suffer along with us! They feel your cheating the game by refusing the pain. One could almost laugh if it wasn't all so sad and stupid.
One quasi-religion that did get a few things right was Buddhism. The first noble truth-Life is Suffering. Very few people seem to understand why this is true. Even Buddhism itself got it wrong. Buried in Dukkha? Loss? Good sentiments but it misses the mark a little. The reason the general "human condition" is one mostly of suffering is because our creator-evolution-wanted it that way. Fear, pain and suffering helped us survive. The happy tranquil ones got chomped by the tigers long ago. This is why nothing we ever get, attain or achieve can ever change this basic default setting of the human being.
Looking specifically at Williams--fame, money and success? I'm sure it lifted him for a while, but then his built in hemostat, (the notion of an internal emotional set point) overrode any temporary palliative and returned itself to its set point. None of the highs from his money and fame could last long as our bodies simply weren't built this way at the big monkey factory in the sky. My reason for broaching all of this? Evolution wasn't kind to any of us. Forced to exist in a life of built-in pain, fear and suffering is good for our survival, but not good for us as individuals and I don't think anybody should be forced into living it out unless they actually want to. Society, people and the law should butt the hell out of it.
Despite the silly blithering nonsense you see on TV and in our garbage culture and media, life for most people is fraught with all kinds of pain and suffering as evidenced by their heavy, heavy consumptions of all manner of painkillers such as alcohol, food, drugs, tobacco, religious opium and painkillers themselves, plus an almost endless list of other types of no-chance remedies.
The only caveat I would include here is that if someone wants to kill themselves, they should give it some degree of time, some number of months. Our moods can and do change and the person that kills themselves today may desperately want to live 3 months from now, if they were alive. So I see it as a decision that should be tested over time.
The last thing I wanted to touch on is this information that Williams checked into the Hazelden drug clinic to "protect" his sobriety. What? Really? Now that really was genius.
The world is filled with all manner of idiots. Some of them reside in the A.A.-N.A abstinence is everything world. Obviously I don't have access to all the inside information here, I can only go by what I've read. Williams, to protect his sobriety went to Hazelden for a month to maintain his sobriety. Some people on TV said that Williams was already so depressed it seemed to late to save him.
First off, what is he doing at Hazelden? He should have been hospitalized for his depression which was the immediate and largest threat. Fuck his sobriety. No, I'm serious. Sobriety can be regained, life cannot. The priorities here seem all wrong, but that is frequently the case when these A.A-ers get involved with their political posturing and ideas of how things should be done. And yes, A.A. also does do some good things too, I should add.
I can only guess, but if he was suicidal and/or threatening suicide (Don't know) the priority should be saving his life. (And again, only if he wanted help to not kill himself). Sometimes in this life you have to think outside the box. (Frequently) So, I'm going to guess that all manner of traditional treatments and drugs were used and failed. Let's just put it this way, if it had been me, I would have tried opioids. Opioids have a rather remarkable counter intuitive effect on people with depression, it frequently lifts the depression, much in the same way speed slows the hyperactive down.(Ritalin). Nothing is certain of course, but a regimen of opioids can frequently lift otherwise immovable depressions.
So here's the big takeaway line. I think this attitude of abstinence only that is so prevalent in our society now clouds people's judgment and puts some people in the grave. ( I think Cobain was another one whose drug problem was mishandled.) Me, I would much rather be alive and with a drug dependence, than shouting up from the grave, "I didn't break my sobriety, I'm still clean, yeah I'm dead, good point, but at least I'm still freakin' clean." And to drug dependence let me also say this. Many many people do beat their addictions everyday. In fact, Williams had beaten prior addictions so who's to say he couldn't have done it again. And I would also add this, quite a number of people survive and actually functiuon on methadone. I know a few. I don't recommend it but...Like everything else in our society, there is always a prevailing zeitgeist as to what is right and wrong and how to best proceed. Once in a while it would be nice to come across a particular zeitgeist that was actually correct. Some people endure unimaginable agony that you cannot fathom. There isn't a one size fits all solution for these things. Jesus, if I could only find a pair of roller skates and a really good flame thrower...
Chris Volkay, Political Columnist: Mr. Volkay is an iconoclast, skeptic and libertarian, jerk, and I'd like to say secular humanist (but how can I? Humanism denotes some sort of belief in humanity and I have less belief in humanity than I do in the non-existent gods.) He believes the world has been destroyed by the religious beliefs of both the utopian left (aka liberals-progressives) and the god-fearing right. However it's largely not their fault-most of them are simply dumb as rocks and how can you get mad at the dumbos? It's... (more...)