Reading "Suicide Note"
This page is about reading Suicide Note by Mitchell Heisman. On September 18, 2010,
Heisman at the age of 35 commited suicide, which is described in
the following news reports:
I page through the document a little. I started reading
the section Freedom of Speech on Trial starting at
page 15, but did not really grasp what he wanted to
say there. I started with the next section An Experiment in
Nihilism at page 20 and read it till page 22.
- Man Found in Front of Church in Harvard Yard After Shooting Himself,
The Harvard Crimson. September 18, 2010.
- Man fatally shoots himself in Harvard Yard this morning, The Boston Globe. September 18, 2010.
- Man shoots self to death in Harvard Yard, The Boston Globe. September 19, 2010.
- Man Dies After Shooting Himself in Harvard Yard,
The Harvard Crimson. September 20, 2010.
- Suicide Note Found Online, The Harvard Crimson. September 22, 2010.
- Somerville man left suicide note online before shooting himself to
death at Harvard, Wicked Local Somerville, Somerville Journal. September 22, 2010.
- Mitchell Heisman: suicide note, 1905 pages, blog the reference frame. September 22, 2010.
- Man Who Killed Self in Harvard Yard Leaves Massive, Online Suicide Note,
IvyGate. September 23, 2010.
- Man Who Killed Himself On Harvard's Campus Left 1,904-Page Note, The Huffington Post. September 24, 2010.
- Bizarre last writes for suicide man. New York Post. September 25, 2010.
- What he left behind: A 1,905-page suicide note, The Boston Globe. September 27, 2010.
- Mitchell Heisman by jere7my.
- September Diary by John Derbyshire. October 6, 2010.
- Heisman Reconsidered by John Derbyshire. October 7, 2010.
Monday, September 27, 2010
In the evening, I continues reading from page 22 till page 26. On page 25 he talks about the
"liberations of death" and compares the struggle for
equality of life and death with other 'social' equalities
such as equality of the sexes. I do not find this type
of reasoning very convincing. In the next paragraph he
talks about how overcoming the "will to live" is the
ultimate form of liberation, "a culmination of the progress
of civilization, that is, the application of reason to human
existence." (page 25.) It seems that he viewed commiting suicide
as the ultimate proof of this conclusion. But it definitely
does not explain how he arrived at this conclusion, and if
it is indeed a valid conclusion from a rational point of
view, that is to say.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I already earlier had noticed that the website is hosted
by the Dutch internet provider XS4ALL. At first I thought that this was related to the
contents of the material, but now I think it might also be
related to his fear that his book will be repressed, and one
way of doing this would be to shut down the web site.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
I continued reading from page 26 till page 31. On page 30 he states: "Challenging every living value by
willing death is how I will test this question and
how I will test this question is the experiment in nihilism."
Sounds like his choice for suicide was made at a very early
stage of his thinking, not as a final conclusion he arrived
at after considering all other options.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
I continued reading from God is technology starting at
page 32. At the begining of the question he states the
rather cynical question "But would it be even better if God
actually existed?" on page 33 and continues to explain the
incorrect proof by Alsem. At the top of page 34 he links this
to the question whether "life is superior to death" and makes
some diversion, which end with the statement "The Biblical
God, in a similar manner, evolved out of an extreme extrapolation
of the logic of human life." I find these kind of
diversions before arriving at a solid conclusion rather annoying.
I continued reading till page 40, but did not find the text
very convincing. His reasoning is not very convincing to me.
Reread page 39. At the bottom of that page, he writes:
"This paradigm shift from gods to God represented the first
decisive, enduring paradigm shift from biology to technology."
Interesting idea of technology. Technology as something that
trancedents humanity, I presume. But why this difference between
gods and God. Did people not see gods as something that tranceding?
Continue reading from page 32. On this page he suggests that the Bible should
be viewed as "science fiction". A little further he
makes reference of the Singulariy, without explaining nor
contributing this to Ray Kurzweil.
While watching television, I continued reading halfway till
page 44. I do not understand why he, while concluding that
singularity is at hand, and one of the greatest events in
human history, decides to terminate his life early. One would
almost think that he is afraid of it.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I continued reading from page 44.
On page 45 he writes the following about Richard Dawkins said
in The God Delusion: "In his view, agnosticism is
characteristic of intellectual mediocrity and often motivated
by social pressure, political appeasement, or a cowardly lack
of intellectual conscience." That is the stupiest attack on
agnosticism that I ever have heard about. I read halfway till