“Why Philip Why?” – Thoughts on the tragic passing of a stranger I spent so much time with.

It’s amazing how the death of a total stranger can move people who’ve had a meaningful relationship with their work. Especially when that death is so hard for people to understand.

“Why Philip why?” the internet cries as we witness one of the great actors of his generation leave us; a man who lived a life that so many see as a dream come true is suddenly gone, apparently for the sake of a heroin hit.

The artists, musicians, writers and performers who really move us, who produce work that is visceral, powerful and intense, are often the ones who, intentionally or otherwise, connect with the darker sides of themselves.

They spend months on end inside themselves, often mining the most extreme experiences and emotions in order to make you scream, laugh, cry, sweat and cheer.

It’s all too easy to equate external success with internal happiness, especially when that success comes amidst the glamour of Hollywood but in many cases the psychology that leads to one seems to preclude the achievement of the other.

Just because somebody has a life that seems to provide everything you imagine you want doesn’t mean they have the satisfaction that you imagine you’d have in their shoes.

I’ve never stuck a needle in my arm but I have spent the majority of my adult life with a clenched fist hovering perilously above the self destruct button.

I’d love to share why I’ve been dogged by darkness and doubt since an early age but I’m not even sure that I really know why.

All I’m saying is don’t assume you know somebody or what they’re going through just because you know their work or have an observer’s view of their life

Before you ask why Philip Seymour Hoffman felt the need to what he did ask why you do what you do.

Whether it’s booze, coffee, cigarettes, religion, gambling, sports, homeopathy, self-help books, reality TV, role play, pornography, chicolate, fried chicken, Facebook, Twitter, shopping, tattoos, celebrity gossip or crack you’ve all got a vice.

Everyone has something in their life that, consciously or otherwise, they mercilessly cling to as they try and weave a path through life’s many minefields.

Some are more immediately damaging than others but in their own way they all take their toll.

So please stop asking “why Philip why?” and be content to say “Thank you and goodbye” to another human who gave his all and moved on when the tank was empty.

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