The End of Meaning

There’s this scene in “The Matrix” where a disgusted Agent Smith is explaining to Morpheus that the computer simulation human beings live in used to be a paradise that fulfilled all their wildest dreams. However, the computers had to give that up because human beings kept dying en masse rather than enduring their perfect world.

That sounds bizarre, doesn’t it? Except, if you picked the human beings living the closest approximation to what we consider to be a perfect existence, they’d be rock stars and Hollywood celebrities who are frequently known to kill themselves. Celebs from Britney Spears to Elizabeth Taylor to Owen Wilson to Halle Berry to Brigitte Bardot have attempted suicide. Many others like Robin Williams, Kurt Cobain, Anthony Bourdain, Freddie Prinze, George Reeves, and Marilyn Monroe succeeded. Of course, some people try to dull the pain with drugs and the list of celebrities that have died that way may be even more staggering than the list of suicides. Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, John Belushi, Chris Farley, Heath Ledger, Jimi Hendrix, and Elvis Presley among many others fall into that category.

In a time of YouTube stars and reality television, celebrity seems closer than ever to many people and thus, is more pursued. Yet, when you think of all the (for the most part) extremely attractive stars that had wealth, fame, success with the opposite sex, mansions, and people wanting their autographs, who also had lives so miserable that they killed themselves or overdosed, it makes you wonder what went wrong.