In this picture of my dead friend, I evidently see myself — and how life should be, how I should be. The best bits. Paintings can do this, cast light on how forward or backward you are moving. Or, as Armstrong and de Botton say, act as a “vantage point from which to survey the travails of our condition,” and “raise consciousness.” When we lose, we acquire the deepest emotional charge out there. And when the crying turns into something else, it jerks us into not forgetting what we should be doing more of in this life.