Via Verso Books today, I found a beautiful conversation between the recently deceased Philip Seymour Hoffman and philosopher Simon Critchley. Critchley, while occasionally full of it, is a really interesting philosopher and Hoffman and him complement each other in surprising and interesting ways.
The conversation, in light of Hoffman’s death, is a raw and distressing one, conducted with surprising warmth, humour and affability. Critchey’s will to examine existential dilemmas – a central research topic for him – gets right at the knots which we now know to have been at the centre of Seymour Hoffman’s life. They sincerely dig into the problem of happiness, Seymour Hoffman with his honesty and self-diagnostics, Critchley with his probing, analytic and literary intelligence.
I would definitely say that pleasure’s not happiness. I kill pleasure, you know? I take too much of it … there’s no pleasure that I haven’t made myself sick on. … I think I’m happy when I’m with [my three children], and they’re okay.
This was just a few days after the Newtown shooting, so the comment was particularly painful then. And it is particularly painful now. The conversation is 45 minutes long, and I can’t really think of a better way to remember Philip Seymour Hoffman the person. It’s a nice prelude to remembering him as an artist for decades to come.