In memory of one of the greatest – Mr. Robin Williams.

One of my favourite movies of all time first watched at the impressionable age of 13 whilst attending an all girls’ boarding school in Sydney, Australia was the influential Dead Poets Society.

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In one particularly memorable scene an inspiring but unorthodox Welton Academy English teacher John Keating, played by the brilliant Williams, explained to his poetry class why they should ‘read and write poetry:

“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. 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. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

This invitation of inclusion, of contribution so clearly expressed in the last few sentences by Whitman reminds us that are all part of a greater design with a unique contribution to make.

In early 2014 this rising personal desire for individual contribution was recognised by Apple in their choice to share the same narrative in a new advertising campaign.  I like to think that their selection of Robin Williams, as narrator, was in direct acknowledgement of his legacy and a ‘hat tip’ to the contribution the film Dead Poets Society made to impressionable young minds such as mine.

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Understanding what your contribution will be requires time, application, perspective and planning. The greatest contributions in history have come from a place of great passion – a burning desire to invent, create, change, build, grow, paint, write and contribute a verse that adds to the story of civilisation.

What will your verse be? 

In the words of John Keating “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” The contribution of your Legacy depends on it.

Robin Williams you and your legacy will  be remembered as one of the finest contributions made to the arts, film and theatre but above all your greatest contribution will be the one you made to humanity – the gift of laughter, of joy and feeling good that you gave so freely to others. May these feelings now find you on the other side. RIP.

 

 

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