Albert Camus wrote an essay titled An Absurd Reasoning in which he argued that there is really only one serious question humans have to ask themselves. Is life, or is life not, worth living? It is, essentially, a question each of us must ask ourselves, consciously or not, each day. This morning one of my favorite actors decided that it was not. Robin Williams took his own life today.
Ironically, I watched one of my favorite movies last night. Robin Williams played a ‘Fagan” like character (Fagan was the evil character that held Oliver Twist in bondage and forced him to steal). August Rush is about joy, music, the search for love, and that desperate question posed by Camus. If you haven’t seen it, do.
In the film each of the main characters reaches that place. That point of decision about going on, about the value of the life they find themselves living. For the characters the answer, while not easy, was simple. Life is worth it, even in the worst of times. But life, if it is to be lived, carries with it a responsibility to act.
I cannot tell what was in Robin Williams mind or heart at the end. We have all been in terrible places, with little hope, and less light. But to find life no longer worth living, one must indeed be in a hopeless, helpless state.
I have no idea what waits for us beyond the boundary line. It would be nice if there were more. But even if there isn’t, I hope that by my end I will have made a difference in someone’s life beyond my own. Robin Williams can count me among the many he has helped to smile, and cry, and laugh, and act. I feel badly that he couldn’t see his value any more.