Now, I probably shouldn't be talking much about this since I had to deal with someone giving me the Marla Singer phone call a couple of weeks back, but I came across this story and was shocked to see that this guy killed himself and left a 1900 page suicide note. Which, after page 1, it no longer becomes a note.
The man who took his own life on Harvard's campus Saturday left a 1,904-page suicide note online.
According to the Harvard Crimson, Mitchell Heisman wrote "Suicide Note," posted at http://suicidenote.info, while living in an apartment near the school. The note is a "sprawling series of arguments that touch upon historical, religious and nihilist themes," his mother, Lonni Heisman, told the Crimson. She said her son would have wanted people to know about his work.
The complex note, divided into four parts, touches on Christianity, the Holocaust and social progress, among other topics, and mentions Harvard several times.
IvyGate calls the note "probing, deeply researched, and often humorous."Heisman was 35 when he shot himself on the steps of Harvard's Memorial Church Saturday. He had a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Albany. According to the Crimson, he worked in area bookstores and lived on inheritance from his father, who died when he was young.
Opening one’s mind to death emerges from the attempt to unshackle one’s mind from the limitations of all borders. It leads to overcoming all biological boundaries, including borders between the “self” and the larger world. It reaches towards the elimination of biologically based prejudices altogether, including prejudice towards biological selfpreservation. The attempt to go beyond ethnocentrism and anthropomorphism leads towards overcoming the prejudices of what I call viviocentrism, or, life-centeredness. Just as overcoming ethnocentrism requires recognition of the provincialism of ethnic values, overcoming viviocentrism emerges from the recognition of the provincialism of life values. Viviocentric provincialism is exposed through an enlarged view from our planet, our solar system, our galaxy, and the limits of our knowledge of the larger cosmos we live in.
Overcoming the prejudice against death, then, is only an extension and continuation of the Western project of eliminating bias, especially biologically based biases (i.e. race or sex based biases). The liberation of death is only the next step in the political logic that has hitherto sought to overcome prejudices based on old assumptions of a fixed biological human nature. Its opposite is an Aristotelian, teleological conception of nature; a nature of natural slaves, natural aristocracy, natural patriarchy, natural inferiority of women, natural racial kinds, natural heterosexuality and, finally, natural self-preservation. This older, teleological view suggests that individual self-preservation is an expression of a fixed biologically based nature that culture and/or reason is incapable of changing, altering, or overcoming. Just as it was considered unnatural or even insane that men be loosed from “natural” subordination to their king, or that women be unchained from “natural” subordination to their fathers and husbands, today it is considered unnatural that death be liberated from its “natural” subordination to the tyranny of life. From this point of view, one can recognize that the pro-choice stance on abortion and the right to die stance on euthanasia have already opened paths over conventional pro-life superstitions. These developments towards the liberation of biological death may lead to what may be the highest fulfillment of egalitarian progress: the equality of life and death.
Further liberations of death should challenge one’s convictions in the same way that egalitarianisms of the past have challenged common assumptions and convictions: the equality of all men, the equality of the races, the equality of the sexes, the equality of sexual orientations, the equality of the biological and physical, and the equality of life and death. Overcoming the “will to live”, then, represents one of the final steps in overcoming the provincial and “primitive” life instincts probably inherited from our evolutionary past, i.e. inclinations towards patriarchy, authoritarianism, sexism, kinism, and racism. It is not only a contribution to civilization but a culmination of the progress of civilization, that is, the application of reason to human existence. Only when the will to live itself is civilized, can one be free to acknowledge that reason itself does not dictate a bias towards life.
The full 1900 page text is avaliable for download at SUICIDE NOTE dot INFO
I guess I should first start off by saying that 'The will to live is primitive' is the biggest emo bullshit I have heard in a while. And considering my last few months of being down, that's saying something. Why didn't he just wait for the singularity and be done with it?
I'm probably going to be a huge jerk about this, but I don't understand the kind of evangelical nihilism which would make a dude write 1900 pages about why living is a dumb thing to do. I just don't get it.
So far I have read through the first 50 or so pages and flipped through a lot of it. What the hell is with the large segments about the Norman invasion of England? Was that some sort of a pet subject for him or something? And he sure talked about Jews an awful lot it seems. Maybe he just wanted to have his manifesto be taken seriously.
It does strike me as more sinister than an intellectual justification for suicide because, as his mother said, he wanted people to read it. Not because he'd written a goodbye cruel world screed, but because he wanted people to follow him like some kind of apocalyptically solipsistic pied piper.
I think that honestly believing in nihilism needs some kind of tendency towards melancholic depression, but what freaks me the hell out is the need to proselytize and evangelize. That strikes me as seriously narcissistic and misanthropic.
I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not equipped to make a philosophical analysis of his idea of nihilism, but I will admit to being susceptible to the idea in general. My tendency probably stems from a modern alienation type of place and I've been thus far content to stop at absurdism and read The Myth of Sisyphus over and over until the feelings pass.
I also take issue with the fact that he seems to think that things like patriarchy are all 'human nature' which sounds like a bad justification. Going 'Welp, humans are naturally oppressive, time to shoot myself' is really lazy. Instead of thinking 'patriarchy/racism/homophobia/cissexism is bad and to counter it I will change my beliefs, thoughts and actions', he just goes 'LOL Time to die'.
It all comes across as pretty privileged position to me as well. Obviously the dude had some sort of sad brains, though, so I don't want to vilify him or anything like that. I know I go through some pretty dark times... oh, I know that all too well the last half year or so.