O Captain! My Captain!
Tribute to Robin McLaurin Williams
(July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014)
who has passed away on Monday at age 63. Although Robin is no longer with us now, his work and contributions will be an everlasting legacy that serves as an inspiration to many generations to come.
His wife, Susan Schneider, said in a statement on Monday, “This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings.”
She added: “As he is remembered, it is out hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”
My initial exposure to Robin Williams was from the film “Dead Poets Society” where he starred as John Keating. An unorthodox English teacher, he taught us how to look at the world in a different way. To always Seize the Day – Carpe Diem, to make our lives extraordinary, to challenge social norms and status quo, and to be passionate about what you love and have the courage to follow your dreams despite discouragement from neysayers.
Below are some famous quotes you can find in the film Dead Poets Society:
“I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life… to put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
“There’s a time for daring and there’s a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.”
“Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!”
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?”
Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
17/8/2014 – Just finished watching Good Will Hunting. Written by Affleck and Damon, the film follows 20-year-old South Boston laborer Will Hunting (Matt Damon), an unrecognized genius who, as part of a deferred prosecution agreement after assaulting a police officer, becomes a patient of a therapist (Robin Williams) and studies advanced mathematics with a renowned professor (Skarsgård). Through his therapy sessions, Will re-evaluates his relationships with his best friend Chuckie (Affleck), his girlfriend Skylar (Driver), and himself, facing the significant task of thinking about his future.
Sean: Thought about what you said to me the other day, about my painting. Stayed up half the night thinking about it. Something occurred to me… fell into a deep peaceful sleep, and haven’t thought about you since. Do you know what occurred to me?
Sean: You’re just a kid, you don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talkin’ about.
Will: Why thank you.
Sean: It’s all right. You’ve never been out of Boston.
Sean: So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. And I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, “once more unto the breach dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you… I don’t see an intelligent, confident man… I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you’re a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my fucking life apart. You’re an orphan right?
Sean: You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally… I don’t give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can’t learn anything from you, I can’t read in some fuckin’ book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t want to do that do you sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
Will: [about Skylar] Don’t worry about me, I know what I’m doin’. Yeah, but this girl is like, you know, beautiful. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s different from most of the girls I’ve been with.
Sean: So, call her up, Romeo.
Will: Why? So I can realize she’s not that smart, that she’s fuckin’ boring? Y’know? I mean…this girl is like fuckin’ perfect right now, I don’t wanna ruin that.
Sean: Maybe you’re perfect right now. Maybe you don’t wanna ruin that. I think that’s a super philosophy, Will, that way you can go through your entire life without ever having to really know anybody…My wife used to fart when she was nervous. She had all sorts of wonderful idiosyncrasies. You know what? She used to fart in her sleep. [they laugh] Sorry I shared that with you. One night it was so loud it woke the dog up. She woke up and gone like “oh was that you?” I’d say yeah…I didn’t have the heart to tell her…[cracks up] Oh God…
Will: [laughing hysterically] She woke herself up?
Sean: [in hysterics himself] Yes!…. Oh Christ….aahhh, but, Will, she’s been dead two years and that’s the shit I remember. [Will stops laughing] Wonderful stuff, you know, little things like that. Ah, but, those are the things I miss the most. The little idiosyncrasies that only I knew about. That’s what made her my wife. Oh, and she had the goods on me, too; she knew all my little peccadillos. People call these things imperfections, but they’re not — aw that’s the good stuff. And then we get to choose who we let into our weird little worlds. You’re not perfect, sport. And let me save you the suspense. This girl you met, she isn’t perfect either. But the question is: whether or not you’re perfect for each other. That’s the whole deal. That’s what intimacy is all about. Now you can know everything in the world, sport, but the only way you’re findin’ out that one is by givin’ it a shot. You certainly won’t learn from an old fucker like me. Even if I did know, I wouldn’t tell a pissant like you.
Will: Why not? You told me every other fuckin’ thing. Jesus Christ. Fuckin’ talk more than any shrink I ever seen in my life.
Sean: I teach this shit, I didn’t say I know how to do it.
Will: Yeah…You ever think about gettin’ remarried?
Sean: My wife’s dead.
Will: Hence the word: remarried.
Sean: She’s dead.
Will: Yeah…Well, I think that’s a super philosophy, Sean. I mean that way you could actually go through the rest of your life without ever really knowing anybody.
Sean: [smiles uncomfortably] Time’s up.