The French impressionist Paul Gauguin famously promised to commit suicide upon completion of 1897’s Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going, and made good on that vow a few months later (his attempt was unsuccessful). He did so because he believed it was his best work and everything he would do in the future would pale in comparison.
His tale is a bittersweet commentary on man’s desire to reach life’s pinnacle and the innate self-destructive tendencies which prevent him from enjoy the view from the apex.
It raises such questions as: Why do we fly so high only to crash down of our own accord? Is our desire to reach the apex fueled only by our desire to hurl ourselves down to the trough? Does life actually begin at death?
None of these questions were answered last night when Sally Field and Julia Roberts had a celebrity curse-off on Jimmy Kimmel Live, so the intellectual search continues in earnest.