At 46 years of age, David Foster Wallace hung himself in his basement.
Not only did he suffer from clinical depression, Wallace also struggled with “hyper-consciousness,” a similar paralysis of will that afflicts the narrator of Dostoyevsky‘s Notes from Underground who supposes that it is better to face the Void directly, but also confesses that it’s worse because the exposure erodes the ability to function. He is neither capable of simultaneously to focus consciously on the obvious meaninglessness of things and to engage in meaningful activity. The former undermines the latter.
In his masterpiece, Infinite Jest, Wallace analyzed unanalyzable emotions, but in the end, those very same emotions won out. Shrewd analysts of human culture like Wallace can avoid suicide for only so long as he kept laughing at life, and only if he can find a few others to laugh with him. Perhaps in his despair, Wallace’s attempt to spin formulas that constructed beautiful facades to mask the Void eventually disintegrated over time. Perhaps he could no longer live authentically once his philosophy collapsed, when at its wreckage, he could come to grips with its horrific nullity, that it was futile to resort to such a thing.
After all, every one of us are in error, for we reside in fictions. The only difference is that some of us can identify fictions and illusions and myths in degrees.