Robin Williams Provides Lesson in Empathy
August 13, 2014 Leave a comment
I’m a huge fan of Robin Williams’ work. He was a brilliant artist who unfortunately lost his battle with internal demons.
I remember many scenes from his movies and TV appearances, but nothing is more vivid to me than one of his discussions with Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting. Williams plays a psychologist who is trying to help a brilliant, yet troubled inner-city Boston kid (WIll Hunting played by Matt Damon). In this scene on a bench in the Boston Public Garden, Williams is explaining to Damon the difference between intellectual knowledge and emotional understanding.
Here’s an excerpt from the beginning….
“So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the Pope, sexual orientation, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. Seen that…”
The scene provides a parallel commentary on the difference between analytics and empathy.
The bottom line: RIP Robin Williams. May the spark you brought to our lives continue to live on.