When the Clown is Mad

Posted: August 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

I was not surprised to hear that Robin Williams took his own life. I was also not surprised when I first heard that he struggled with addiction and depression. That kind of suffering is not unusual among hyper talented and often frenetic performers. The same hard wiring that allows them to do what they do with such creative outburst is the root of their own undoing. Much the same is at work among many of the most creative and sensitive artists we know.

Not only do their energy patterns swing wildly toward the stratosphere, but they are outwardly oriented – to an audience who will give them their ongoing fixes, their injections of perceived self-worth. Even as many seek this outward confirmation they are introverted by nature. On the outside they perform for the pennies of applause and laughter while despising the fact that they cannot simply be alone.

There is an old story about a depressed man in Italy who sought out the help of a seasoned therapist. After the man had poured out his suffering and the therapist had offered his best they were standing at the door, preparing to leave. As a parting thought the therapist told the depressed man that he might consider going down the street to the theater tonight because the comedian the Great Carnazi was performing. He was hilarious and attending the show might do him some good.

“But doctor,” the sad man replied, “I am the Great Carnazi.”

  1. John Smith says:

    Reblogged this on THE STRATEGIC LEARNER and commented:
    Poignant reflections on the life and death of a very funny man …

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