This cartoon came out of a visit to the Francis Bacon and Thomas Moore exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I’m not a fan of Bacon’s work due to how grotesquely he interprets humanity, which makes for disturbingly visceral viewing experience.
Anyhow, the visit gave rise to subsequent debates about what one chooses to experience in life, in that the lover of knowledge cannot remain merely an observer. So… is it always best to seek out all knowledge, regardless of what that knowledge is? Or, is it sometimes best to deliberately look away from the awful when one has the choice?
I don’t have the answer of course, but do think Nietszche’s abyss quote touches on the spiritual echo that can result from our choices. For a lighter take on this concept, feel free to check out a prior illustrated story, Ernie & The Nietzsche Monster.
“I am a painter of the 20th century: during my childhood I lived through the revolutionary Irish movement, Sinn Fein, and the wars, Hiroshima, Hitler, the death camps, and daily violence that I’ve experienced all my life. And after all that they want me to paint bunches of pink flowers … But that’s not my thing. The only things that interest me are people, their folly, their ways, their anguish, this unbelievable, purely accidental intelligence which has shattered the planet, and which maybe, one day, will destroy it.” – Francis Bacon, 2003