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Suicide Note

Mitchell Heisman

Mitchell Heisman

Before I cause any unrest for those who are reading this post, I want you to know that the suicide note is not about me: It is about the person whose disaffected image you see on your left.

Mitchell Heisman died this September by shooting himself in front of a crowd of 20 people on the steps of Memorial Church of Harvard University.  Before his unfortunate finale,  he wrote a mortis manifesto of 1905 pages, outlining in it his views on philosophy, politics, history, religion, and science.

To some his legacy might seem superfluous ramblings, and they may consider his suicide as nothing more than a juvenile attempt to gain posthumous recognition. To be frank with you, I do not care what reasons or what despair brought him to consider ending his life. Thousands and millions die for the same reasons and through the same means as he did. Showing pittance for every death is beyond my capability.  I do, however, commiserate with his family, to whom the shock of his death must be an unendurable suffering.

Let me reiterate something. This post will not be about the Mitchell Heisman. My interest is solely in his work: Suicide Note.

Suicide Note is a powerful manifesto filled with extensive compendiums on a variety of topics. I have by no means read it all, although I am committed to slowly tread my way through it. Nevertheless, from the modicum of peruses that I’ve done so far, I believe that this work is phenomenal. I know that to many his abstruse and highly convoluted way of writing might be inaccessible. There is a reason for that. He, unlike most scholarly writers, did not always build his arguments from scratch. He revealed his thinking readily by cutting down all the necessary introductions. Hence, if you read his views on nihilism, you first have to get acquainted with the works of the major existential philosophers that came before him in order to understand what is he writing about.

Below you will find some excerpts that I found intriguing:

On Nihilism:

Uncertain of uncertainty, skeptical of skepticism, it seems that the most important question is whether there is an important question. The only serious question is whether there is anything to take seriously. What has previously been considered of value or importance appears as only an expression of myth, bias…error. (pg. 22)

There is a very popular opinion that choosing life is inherently superior to choosing death. This belief that life is inherently preferable to death is one of the most widespread superstitions. This bias constitutes one of the most obstinate mythologies of the human species. (pg. 22)

If the rational life leads to the nihilistic life, what are the consequences of a living intelligence whose highest organizing “principle” is this hypothetical nothingness?
What would it mean, in concrete terms, to live a rational life according the insight of the nihilistic? What would be the ultimate consequence of applying the hypothesis of unmeaning to every belief, every thought, every action, every emotion, every purpose, and every goal? To nausea, to fear, to love, to terror? (pg. 34)

On Nurture/Nature Debate:

When the nature/nurture issue is applied to fish or horses, it is generally assumed that nature — by nature —plays a stronger role than nurture in determining their behavior. This implies that human nature — by nature — is less determined by nature. Humans, then, are less determined by nature because humans are superior to nature — by nature. (pg. 130)

(I will have to agree with critics who believe his writing is a tad esoteric. The repetition of nature in several occasions is unnecessary. His ideas are clear, however.)

On Freedom

All political problems can be solved by slapping bumper stickers of “freedom” over them. But what is left when “the individual” stops hiding behind these abstractions of freedom? What if someone were to make the ridiculous blunder of asking: How do we use our freedom? Are there duties or moral imperatives justified along with these freedoms? What is right way to live? Anyone making a pilgrimage to the destination of Anglo-Saxon political philosophy with such questions, asked in their fullness, must realize that he or she has arrived at the wrong place. (pg. 873)


The Website with his legacy: www.Suicidenote.info

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