As a member of the Dudeist clergy–the only such group I would ever belong to–I feel a need to say a few words on behalf of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who so brilliantly played the part of Lebowski’s manservant, Brandt.
I have been fortunate enough to never get mixed up with heroin. And even though Hoffman had been clean for decades, something set him back down the path that eventually killed him. It’s a real shame that someone with all of his talent couldn’t rise above his addiction.
One of my favorite Springsteen lyrics seems appropriate here. In Tunnel of Love, Bruce sings that “you gotta learn to live with what you can’t rise above.” And for all those years, that’s exactly what Hoffman did. He rose above heroin, and he had major success as a result. But then he couldn’t rise above it anymore and as a result, he couldn’t live with heroin in his life.
There’s a saying that tomorrow is not promised to anyone, and Hoffman’s tragic end just reinforces this statement. Let’s all rise above things that might harm us, in the hope that there will be more tomorrows coming our way.