“What Every 20-Something Can Take Away From Robin Williams In ‘Dead Poets Society’”
— as published via Elite Daily
He’s not just another dead actor whose drug use finally caught up with him. He’s not just a celebrity whose lifestyle became the cause of his death while living a life of recklessness abandon. Robin Williams is more than just a famous entity whose death is being exploited by the media.
He is an inspiration who will continue to be remembered by many. He is one of the voices that helped carry and inspire a whole generation into action; he gave teenagers all over the world inspiration to become amazing and fulfill their dreams.
With one role, Williams moved us to speak out, question the norm, rise against opposition, seize the day, use our voices, leave a mark, be loyal to our friends and causes and to dare to be different. In that role, we knew him as Mr. Keating.
It is the movie that stirred my generation, and continues to echo the morals and lessons through each person who remembers the meaning behind “Oh Captain, my Captain!” without Googling the phrase or searching the poem for quick reference.
We know it by heart, and we know it because Robin Williams embraced the role in such a way that it spoke to our souls and moved us. He moved us, and we are a better, stronger generation because if it.
But O heart! Heart! Heart!
O the bleeding drops of red
Where on the deck my Captain lies;
Fallen cold and dead. — Walt Whitman
We’ve all been there: We’ve questioned the purpose of life and the meaning of existence. We’ve been at the end of our rope, hands bleeding, heart failing, emotions fleeting and we’ve questioned why we should hang on any longer.
We scurry about, working, chipping and molding ourselves in order to become and achieve what our teachers, parents, government and our own personal ambitions require and demand of us. Daily, we fight to establish our purpose while trying to prove our passion.
Meanwhile, we cling to the rules, limits and the lines that have been sketched out for us from different people and we strive to meet them all. Then we find ourselves flailing in water far over our heads, still trying to meet every requirement.
We kill our own voices while fighting to conform to the voices that have spoken before us. Mr. Keating, with the help of Robin Williams, taught our generation to say no to conformity and status-quo thinking.
Oh me! Oh life! Of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! So sad, recurring — what good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here — that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. — Walt Whitman
In the face of suicide, loss, grief and media, the play must go on and we are the ones who lead it. No matter the hand that claims a life, be it that life’s own hand or another’s, there is no great victory in death; no one wins.
So as we bow our heads to grieve and type our hashtags to show we remember; as we celebrate his life, remember his work and question his death; as we get caught up in life’s hustle and bustle of media jargon and coverage, let us not forget our role in the play.
Let us not neglect our own voices. Let us not fail to remember the voices that have spoken to us over the years and helped change us. Let us not forget to grab our pens, our ink, our paint and write our message as if it were our final performance.