The temptation is to try to explain it in scientific terms. We want to understand the mystery of a man’s demise, particularly a man who had achieved so much in his career and who, by the nature of his work, was known across the globe. One thinks if this could happen to him with his successes and his fame, his family and all the blessings of his existence, then surely no one is safe. We are sobered once again as we face the misunderstanding that one’s outer world is an indicator of happiness rather than their inner world, which is the only place where true success can be measured. If we have been in the habit of having and doing, we look at others who seem to be doing a lot and having a lot with envy. Wow, look at them go!
Part of what hit so deeply about this loss was the emotional depth that Hoffman had plumbed to show us something about ourselves. He regularly visited emotional environments that few actors will ever choose to visit in their entire careers. We, therefore, felt so much “with him” that it is almost as if we have lost a friend and a teacher. It is mystifying and disorienting to lose a teacher to a dis-ease that people assume indicates moral weakness. On some level, many feel that he let them down. How could he do it? How could someone like him fall from the place we had appointed him to?