When an early 20s Matt Damon sat down with his two best friends to write the script for Good Will Hunting I doubt greatly that he thought he’d win an Oscar. I’m also pretty certain he had no idea that one day that film would change my life. While I credit my own hard work for getting me into Oxford it was watching Good Will Hunting that made me apply.
In recent years I’ve gone back to the film and the same scene always stands out for me now in a way it didn’t when I first watched it. Robin Williams plays Will (Damon’s) therapist and early on in the film takes him out to the park to give the following speech. It gets to the heart of why I think factual knowledge, alone, isn’t enough for living a full life. As someone who went on to study at such a high level obviously I think knowing stuff is useful but we must never, ever, convince ourselves that it is enough.
Sean Maguire’s Speech: “If I asked you about art you could give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo? You know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspiration, him and the Pope, sexual orientation, the whole works right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling, or seen that.