The artist Paul Gauguin achieved his greatest success long after death, so who knows, maybe you will too.
At the beginning of 1903, Gauguin was living on an island in Polynesia and engaged in a campaign designed to expose the incompetence of the island’s gendarmes, in particular Jean-Paul Claverie, for taking the side of the natives directly in a case involving the alleged drunkenness of a group of them. Claverie, however, escaped censure. At the beginning of February, Gauguin wrote to the governor, François Picquenot, alleging corruption by one of Claverie’s subordinates. Picquenot investigated the allegations but could not substantiate them. Claverie responded by filing a charge of libel against Gauguin, who was subsequently fined 500 francs and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment. Gauguin immediately filed an appeal in Papeete and set about raising the funds to travel to plead before the judge. At this time he was nearly penniless, very weak and in great physical pain. He resorted to using morphine. He died suddenly on the morning of 8 May 1903.
Nobody thought too much of his passing, but one hundred and ten years later, Gauguin’s painting Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) sold for $295,000,000 to the museums of Qatar, as one of the most expensive art objects ever. Gauguin would be tickled pink.
Who knows what you’ll be worth after you are dead?
As Heraclitus said:
“It would not be better if things happened to men just as they wish.”
Just think, if we magically got whatever we wanted, we’d all be Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts. Imagine a world of 6 billion Brads and Julias driving their 6 billion Mercedes around from one gorgeous palatial mansion to another. The entire planet looking like Beverly Hills meets Fifth Avenue, and not a spot of grubby filth to mar the perfection. Not only that, but the tastiest food is zero calorie, zero carb; your IQ is over 200; your NASDAQ stocks are way, way up. And best of all, every one of the other Brads and Julias really, really loves you and it’s just the biggest love fest ever!
While this sounds appealing on the surface, such success would become an awful curse in short order. With nothing to aspire to, without any brass ring to reach for, humanity would soon sink into a death-spiral of laziness and decadence. The future of the human race would fall to nothing, an no one would care about anything except a nice clean bikini-wax.