The music wonder of modern time, world famous Tim Bergling, alias Avicii was found dead in Oman on April 20th 2018. He was 28 years old at the time of his death. At the moment the world is trying to understand and to capture how someone that young who had it all, could be so deeply unhappy and experience a lack on meaning in life. It is a true tragedy.
The documentary mirroring his life (True Stories SvT Play) from the moment he became famous at the age of 18 until he retired and withdrew from the world at the age of 26 reveals the underlying causes of his misery and despair. It is a film that I hope everyone would see since it is capturing the essence of the void in the western society that is still perceived as the road to happiness, when in fact it leads to devastating consequences for many. Millions of people in the western world suffer from depression and burnout in the same way that Tim Bergling did. Lets us hope that his tragic death at such a young age, may be an eye opener, an awakening for our time where his fame and tremendous influence on peoples hearts and minds may guide us and our society even when he is no longer among us, to walk in another direction, away from the darkness. May that along with his great music be the legacy he leaves behind.
In the documentary True Stories that was launched in October 2017, around 6 months ago, Tim Bergling speaks very openly about what happened to him and how he felt. It shows his deep passion and obsession with music and how it all started when he was still a teenager. Quickly, thank’s to him being genius and with help from his manager he rose to great fame where his music touched millions of people of all generations around the globe. In the same way that ABBA once concurred the world, Avicii tapped into the feelings of people at our time and touched our souls in a way that became deeply meaningful and at the same time truly devastating for him personally.
The meaning of his life was to create music and to touch peoples hearts and minds. As most creative and innovative people Tim Berling was an introvert. In the documentary he speaks openly about this important insight that made him understand why he did not enjoy the role as DJ and why he did not feel happy and fulfilled after a performance with thousands of people dancing to his music. According to the tale of Western Society what brings happiness is to become successful and to make great money. If in addition you get to travel the world and mingle with other rich and famous people, the picture is complete and your lifelong happiness is guaranteed. This is the story that every child in the western world is told and that is what shapes our minds.
For Tim Bergling, the insight of him being an introvert gave meaning since it explained his ever acceding feelings of stress, anxiety and lack of meaning at a time when he according to the cultural story that had shaped him, should be feeling better and more happy than ever. In existential worlds you would say that he had abandoned himself and his true core by stepping into a role designed for an extravert when in fact he was an introvert which means that he would have needed time to himself, time to replenish his energy and time to process what he experienced, to nurture his soul. Instead for years he was traveling around the globe with tours and performances every night and no time or space to be himself. He had no home to withdraw to and Tim Bergling was lost as he stepped into becoming Avicii to the world. In order to cope with this stress and despair while millions of dollars were rolling in and his fame reached to the stars, he used alcohol to relax and to censor his feelings and the yearning of his soul. This led to serious effects also to his physical health and already a few years ago he had to undergo surgery and treatment caused by addiction.
Tim Bergling knew that either he had to stop the train or he would die. In the documentary, he shares his disappointment when his manager, friends and other people around him did not support him in his decision to quite. He said they all knew how much he suffered and that his anxiety was unbearable, even so they tried to persuade him to go on with touring. It came to a stop, in other words he “hit the wall” and had to cancel the performances in Las Vegas in 2015. He did stop the train at last and as an existential psychologist I would say that he had reached a point of no return. Either he would have to stop to reconnect with himself and the Tim Bergling that was lost in success in order to refind balance and meaning in his life, or he would simply die.
In 2016 he made his last tour and performance and decided at last to withdraw from the world. One year later he decided to do the documentary of his career and his suffering which I interpret as his way to share his therapeutic process with the world to explain his decision and to help breaking the fatal story of the western world that teaches us that money and success is what matters in life. At the end of his life, Tim Bergling understood that a life without meaning is no life and to experience meaning you have to stay true and connected to yourself.
The legacy of Tim “Avicci” Bergling to the world is that what matters in life is to be authentic and faithful to yourself.
May he rest in peace.