The following article in Oped News by John Grant entitled “Philip Seymour Hoffman and Drug War Sanity” here or linked below is about what killed the second James Dean, Phillip Seymour Hoffman who died at age 46 from a heroin overdose. It is an exposé, too, about the utter failure of the war on drugs. It is about, I thought, though more than even that. It is about the demons within and the chaos surrounding the human condition without. We know if someone wants an escape from our tumultuous life the fact that a drug is illegal will be no obstacle. He/she will get that drug no matter what stands in his way.
One must ask why Hoffman wanted the escape. Clearly he did not lack money, nor a successful career, nor a family or any other thing by which our culture measures success. He seemingly had it all. Why turn away from life, an act, which by all measure, goes against the first law of nature – survival. We may never completely know. This sensitive man, perhaps, saw things within him he wanted to change but could not and he lived in a dichotomous great but flawed nation, too, he could not change no matter how moving the roles he played were. The article states:
I would not attempt to speak for Phillip Seymour Hoffman. But I will say this about the notable rise of heroin use these days in America. This is an incredibly demoralizing time in America, and sometimes it's natural to want to just make it all go away for a while.
Perhaps he saw a nation plagued with racist, cruel and inhuman intolerance stuck in its own foundational cement with a disloyal opposition that wants to bring a president down in large part simply because he is black. Perhaps, he knew if the president wanted to declare it a sunny day, this opposition would say "no, it is not" even when they know it is. Further, perhaps Hoffman saw the nation in which he lived engaged in the longest war in its history killing thousands, often unjustly with robotic accuracy from afar. Perhaps he saw that the nation watches a Superbowl in ignorant machismo bliss while it creates over a million refugees among the poorest of the poor abroad and that the strongest nation on earth enters preemptive wars illegally with no reason except that it can. Perhaps he saw the nation's 1% richest steal all the wealth fraudulently leaving the middle class with little; many living in cars or on the street. Maybe he saw bridges and roads falling apart, weather catastrophes screaming climate change but falling on deaf stupid ears and worst of all maybe he saw men like Bill Nye the science guy so desperate to impart scientific truth that he lowers himself to debate a charlatan jerk Creationist as if one could debate an ignorant wretch with scientific method accuracy. Maybe none of this or all of it mattered to Hoffman. We will never know.