Last Saturday a man named Mitchell Heisman shot himself in Harvard Yard. A group of high school students on a tour of the campus were apparently close by. And aside from his relatively sensational suicide, he left a pretty intense suicide note at suicidenote.info.
If you were to download the note, you’d get a 1,905 page PDF that’s prefaced by the Socrates quote:
Ordinary people seem not to realize that those who really apply themselves in the right way to philosophy are directly and of their own accord preparing themselves for dying and death. If this is true, and they have actually been looking forward to death all their lives, it would of course be absurd to be troubled when the thing comes for which they have so long been preparing and looking forward.
Scroll through the massive document and you’ll find chapters such as “God is Technology,” “The Seditious Genius of the Spiritual Penis of Jesus,” (was he going for a tongue-twister there?) and “Creating God and the Evolution of Genetic Suicide.”
From the looks of it, Heisman may have expected the note to become a widely used college textbook. I’m a bit too busy to read the entire thing, but the The Harvard Crimson described it as “a sprawling series of arguments that touch upon historical, religious, and nihilist themes.” Gawker’s reported that it has “a lot of creepy stuff about cyborgs and the Holocaust and overcoming our ‘Will to Live.'”
Of the note, his mom said to the Crimson, “He didn’t show me that this was at all what he had in his mind. All I knew was he was finishing his book and he was happy about that.” Of his unexpected passing, she added, “I expected him to come here to help me move, which I am in the process of. I expected him to come back in October. He really was non-committal.”