Art and Suicide

“The passion for destruction is also a creative passion.”
— Bakunin

“The road to creativity passes so close to the madhouse and often detours or ends there.”
― Ernest Becker


True artists are a different breed. They don’t live conventional lives or think conventional thoughts. Their art is inseparable from who they are.

Artists like Robin Williams have this unique ability to tap into the deepest caverns of the human condition and reveal it to the world. They live from within, from the center. They are mad– they have to be.

Painters, writers, poets, sculptors, and comedians all are. Williams was brilliant, but his art was dying. When an artist sees this happening and recognizes that their purpose, their creativity, their art, is dwindling, it’s the end. The final act. Some hang on miserably, or end up in mad houses, or cope with drugs & alcohol.

Some, unfortunately like Williams and many more,  grow unbearably weary from the daily rage against the dying of the light within. They fall deep into depression, a depression so dreadful that they choose the ultimate end.  But every man and woman have their reasons for every act they choose to do in life. Even the last.

As the beautifully mad poet Sylvia Plath once wrote prior to her suicide, “Dying / Is an art, like everything else.” And the great novelist Carson McCullers, “How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?”

With all the outrage and criticisms of Williams’ suicide hurled from simpletons who lack the basic understanding of the complexity of the human being, I’m reminded of a short poem by Charles Bukowski:

Cause and Effect

the best often die by their own hand
just to get away,
and those left behind
can never quite understand
why anybody
would ever want to
get away
from
them

RIP Robin Williams

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