Thursday, November 12, 2009

Haunted by the Laughter of Silenus

There is an ancient story that King Midas hunted in the forest a long time for the wise Silenus, the companion of Dionysus, without capturing him. When Silenus at last fell into his hands, the king asked what was the best and most desirable of all things for man. Fixed and immovable, the demigod said not a word, till at last, urged by the king, he gave a shrill laugh and broke out into these words: "Oh, wretched, ephemeral race, children of chance and misery, why do you compel me to tell you what it would be most expedient for you not to hear? What is best of all is utterly beyond your reach: not to be born, not to be, to be nothing. But the second best for you is – to die soon."


- Nietzsche

Terrible news in German football:

Robert Enke, the Germany goalkeeper, lived with the daily dread of his depressive illness being exposed and the fear that it could end his career, his widow said yesterday.

“He didn’t want to seek professional help any more and he didn’t want it because he was afraid that it would all come out and that we would lose Leila,” Enke’s widow said. “It was the fear about what people would say about a child with a depressive father. And I always told him, ‘Don’t worry.’ Right to the end, he cared lovingly for Leila.
“I tried to be there for him, said that football is not everything. There are many beautiful things in life. It is not hopeless. We had Lara, we have Leila. I always wanted to help him to get through it.”
Her tears flowed when she accepted that her husband’s suicide was a kind of personal defeat. “We thought that we could do it all, that with love everything was possible,” she said. “But sometimes it’s not enough."

Love, fame and fortune -- none of it ever is. And for someone filled with insecurity and self-doubt, performing on a world stage in front of an often-fickle, judgmental audience is a level of immense pressure most of us can't even imagine.