Mitchell Heisman, the man who shot himself last weekend in Harvard Yard, killed himself as “Experimental Elimination of Self-Preservation,” according to an extensive suicide note he has published online. The note, found at the domain http://www.suicidenote.info/, is over 1,905 pages long, and divided into complicated subsections. In its totality, the document sketches Heisman’s dense, heavily-cited social, political, and ethical philosophy, and promotes his book, heretofore unpublished. Heisman worked in several bookstores throughout the area, and consulted with Harvard professors in the process of writing the document.
Most arresting of all: the note — tome, really — is probing, deeply researched, and often humorous. Heisman personality and erudition shine through every page, as he traces the philosophical steps that have led him to suicide: not really desperation or depression, but rather, intellectual curiosity, and a desire to test the limits of the unknown. After a quick read, comparisons to Albert Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus” abound. All the more sad that such a deeply intelligent young man would choose to cut his scholarly output off at one, interesting book.