Dr. Gary North always has a way of offering a different perspective on current topics. I found his comments on Robin Williams especially interesting. It was originally titled “Robin Williams Got us Thinking” and first appeared on Dr. North’s site GaryNorth.com, one of the most unique websites on the internet. — Gary DeMar
“There, but for the grace of God, go I.” I don’t know when I first heard that, but it was many decades ago.
From time to time, we are reminded of its truth.
I begin with an example of poor timing. KISS lead performer Gene Simmons, on July 31, gave an interview. This part was picked up by the media on August 1.
Are you kidding? Why are you announcing it? Shut the **** up, have some dignity and jump! You’ve got the crowd.
By the way, you walk up to the same guy on a ledge who threatens to jump and put a gun to his head, “I’m going to blow your ****in’ head off!” He’ll go, “Please don’t!” It’s true. He’s not that insane.
People are different. This is a fundamental premise of libertarianism. Simmons is a libertarian. He has neglected the principle of differentiation. What does not overcome one person can debilitate another.
The world was shocked at what happened to Williams. I had no idea that he was this well respected worldwide. Literally all over the English-speaking world, the news of his death spread.
Like almost everybody else, I regarded Williams as the funniest man per minute I had ever seen. There was only one person I ever saw who came close: Jonathan Winters. The two were close friends. Williams acknowledged Winters as his model.
Winters also suffered greatly from psychological problems. But he never lost his sense of humor, not even at the bottom.
At the height of his success, in his early 30s, Jonathan Winters voluntarily committed himself to a private psychiatric hospital.”At that time they didn’t have a label for me. I said, ‘What the devil, I know I’m not schizophrenic; I’m not catatonic,” Winters remembers.
So he asked for a diagnosis. He repeats the doctor’s answer in a coy tone: “It would only upset you.” Winters replied, “I’ll tell you what’s upsetting me is the cost of this place.”
Now he knows his diagnosis was bipolar disorder, but there were no effective medications for it back then. Winters says he declined the electroshock treatment that doctors said would erase some of the pain he was feeling.
“I need that pain — whatever it is — to call upon it from time to time, no matter how bad it was,” he says.
He recalls joking pointedly with his doctor about keeping in touch with the demolition experts he’d served with in World War II.
“I have contact with them,” he’d solemnly say.
The doctor, puzzled, would ask, “What’s the story?”
“They would visit you,” Winters would say, again solemnly.
“They would visit me?” The doctor would ask, still puzzled.
Then, the kicker: “Yeah, there’d be just the one visit.”
It sounds like the kind of joke that might prolong your stay in an institution. Winters left the hospital after eight months. (From NPR)
Somewhere, deep within a troubled personality, he came up with the funniest unscripted routines that anyone had ever seen until Williams showed up.
Winters was able to overcome the dark forces in his life. Williams was not.
Williams’ form of humor always impressed me as being manic. There was a kind of mania to it. What I did not suspect is that he was manic depressive. People now call it bipolar disorder. When coupled with drug addiction, followed by alcoholism, it proved to be uncontrollable for him. He did control it for a long time, but in the final hours, he lost control. The human mind is complex. Addictions are complex. We know that relatively few people who suffer from addictions ever get over them, and the programs that help people get over them usually involve making a public admission that the addict is not over them. This is why people call themselves recovering whatever’s. They don’t use the word “recovered.”
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