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We're Making This Complicated.

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

In reading about him, I’m finding that (no surprise?) Robin Williams was a complicated person. But that’s not fair, is it? Each one of us is a whole bunch of things (ideas, hopes, dreams, secrets, impulses) that tangles and untangles and tangles with itself for decades.

So maybe the idea of a given person being (more or less) complicated is backward. Instead, perhaps some people like Robin Williams find life complicated. Or they find it more complicated than someone like, say, the Buddha…or Jesus…or Matthew McConaughey.


This feels to be the better frame. Because when describing someone as complicated, or simple for that matter, we’re never doing so in a positive light, are we? And some of Robin Williams and his story make more sense to me now. Like how he’d take on a serious, dramatic role in a film like Good Will Hunting. And he’d receive a lot of praise for it.

Naturally then, he’d take on another serious, dramatic role in a film like What Dreams May Come. And he’d get a lot of shit for it. And in my reading, this seesawing back and forth between appreciation and admonishment generated a great deal of frustration and sadness for Robin Williams.


And it doesn’t take a complicated person to empathize with that.