## Wednesday, September 22, 2010 ... /////

### Mitchell Heisman: suicide note, 1905 pages

This 35-year-old Gentleman from Somerville, Massachusetts may look like a self-confident practical manager.

However, this Jewish-American holder of a degree in psychology was an intellectual who wrote 1,904 or 1,905 pages of wisdom about freedom, nihilism, transhumanism, sociobiology, God, Judaism, Jewish symbols, Jewish IQ, Anglo-Saxon history, referring to Socrates, Newton, Einstein, Pinker, Dawkins, Mansfield, Dershowitz, and many others, before he shot himself on the top step of Harvard's Memorial Church - in front of dozens of people - on Saturday.

Suicide note found online (Harvard Crimson)

SuicideNote.INFO (website)

Suicide Note (PDF, 1,905 pages)
Sad. And a pretty impressive stuff.

Unfortunately, I doubt that his ultimate sacrifice will earn his opus - which he considered so important - a deserved number of readers although it has already been shown that the number is vastly higher than zero.

But when you compare him with the typical environmental activists and terrorists who recently died in the Discovery Channel or in a family tragedy, and maybe even if you don't compare him to anyone, you must conclude: wow, this guy was a man of wisdom...

Heisman has predicted that his work would be repressed. I am afraid that it will be ignored.

Harvard's Memorial Church, the place where he ended his life; see Google Maps. It's 280 meters from Jefferson Physics Labs where I've worked for 6 years.

Mitchell Heisman when he was found at the staircase: click to zoom in.

See this story in the Harvard Crimson for more pictures and the news that appeared immediately after he pulled the trigger and before the media knew his name.

A special comment for Hong-Kong readers and others: you may want to study this blog in more detail if you're interested in global warming, theoretical physics, elementary particles, string theory, the LHC collider, and other things.

#### snail feedback (41) :

Holding a degree in psychology, referencing Nietzsche or Socrates, and using high sounding intellectual jargon does NOT constitute intelligence. Mitchell Heisman's manifesto is unintelligible and is very clearly the work of a very well-read, but a (very sadly) mentally unstable person. This isn't a work of genius that will be ignored by the 'ignorant masses.' There is (unfortunately, although it would fit all too well into a movie about some tortured genius who made giant philosophical strides and then cryptically terminated himself) nothing of real intellectual substance in its pages. It is thousands of pages of meandering, often completely incoherent writing. There is no 'wisdom' in its pages, only academic words strung together that sound like they might constitute a philosophical treatise.

Even skimming the pages of this work reveals an unbelievable story however: this is a work that obviously required a tremendous amount of time and effort, and it is fascinating that it materialized out of such a troubled and unstable man. We don't often associate mentally unstable people with arranging massive and meticulously laid out (albeit incoherent) manifestos and websites.

The saddest part about this is that it appears this intelligent and obviously earnest man didn't have anybody in his life that could have picked up on this and gotten him the help he needed. I got the impression from the Harvard Crimson article that he was very secluded, with commentary only from his 76 year old mother and an 'acquiantance.'

I have to admit, though, that I knew while reading this that it will get precisely the kind of attention that this blog is giving it...That is, elevating it to the work of a marginalized and justified genius that will be ignored because all the people out there won't give it the attention it so righteously deserves. Unfortunately, there is nothing in these pages to be remembered, and I only hope that not too many people jump on the pseudo-intellectual misfounded-self-righteous-cynicism that tries to ascribe the writing off of this text to some kind of social injustice born out of ignorant public understanding...The only tragic injustice here is that this man didn't have somebody around to help him get control of himself.

At Luke's suggestion, I've skimmed over a 100 pages or so. He could have used an editor and a proofreader, but, at times, it reminds me of the first chapter of Camille Paglia's "Sexual Personae," which is pretty high praise.

What Machajew said. And especially his picking up on Heisman's exquisite loneliness. There's some similarity to the Unabomber (Kaczynski), a Harvard math PhD who went from a faculty position at UC Berkeley to living alone in a shack in the Montana woods mailing bombs to people he'd never met. But Kaczynski's Manifesto, while not great, was both shorter and more coherent than Heisman's opus, while, of course, Heisman didn't hurt anybody but himself...

Some readers may remember that years ago there was a crazy woman who kept breaking into the home of television comedian David Letteman. The police would arrest her but eventually she'd come back and break in again. In the end, she killed herself by stepping in front of a train in a particularly desolate part of western Colorado. I thought of her when I saw the Mitchell Heisman thing, the same inner desolation, the empty silence inside buried beneath a snowfall of 1905 pages...

Let's not be harsh here. Has anyone read all 1905 pages? I knew Mitch. I think we all need a little more time to absorb what he's written before we get too carried away in our comments.

I knew Mitch. He was not the Unabomber. Don't be so quick to compare a lonely guy to a murderer. He had good qualities and didn't kill anyone. Also, has anyone read all 1905 pages yet? Can we try and absorb what he's written first before we start making conclusive comments?

I am reading the suicide note. Not as insane as I suspected it would be. Several technical errors but then again it is hard to write about everything and avoid the errors. Little obsession here and there.
I still got 900 pages to go.
But is seems his main point is that since there is no God (according to him it is a scientific Dogma) then life can have no meaning and suicide is a way out.( I am still trying to understand why if life has no meaning he wrote this opus and took care propagate it?)

I agree with The Author, we have 1900 pages to read more carefully than skimming before we can get a deeper impresion about such a voluminous work.
Good evening!

It's funny reading into the lack of understanding from the people leaving comments. If you need to, skip to "The Punchline" and see it is merely a test of radical nihilism in full effect. Stop trying to drag emotions into something that in it's entirety was meant to expose the inherent irrelevance in emotion itself.

Th second you say, "Very sadly" you are exposing yourself as a slave to emotional boundaries.

It's truly a shame that some people who fit DIRECTLY into one of his opening questions/argument/ideas of whether or not life is worth living... are saying he needed mental help or that he's unstable... or JUDGING him in saying it's shameful etc.

Parhaps the guy just came to terms with his arguments IF YOU READ ANY of it... I'm sure it will trail off at some points... not ALL authors make sense 100% of the time but, the first 100 pages are something to really think about. I know i'm sick of the gluttonous Western mentality... and i'm sick or arguing that if I work together with my human race some prick out there uses the whole "should a doctor get as much corn as a janitor" argument... so far... 100 pages in this is a great read and i'm proud of the guy.

Perhaps Mitchell's work will be read. I came across it on Facebook via a friend, downloaded the text and am now reading through it, with interest I must say, along with my Saturday coffee. I'm in the first 20 pages (of text) and have appreciated a few of his points thus far. I live in Canada, so it has made its way here via the world-wide web. I am sorry that this young man took his life, and my thoughts go out to his family and friends.

It's too bad. He began by saying he would logically follow his mind to the point of absurdity. He would have been happier had he absurdly followed his mind to the point of sanity.

I'm about a tenth of the way through. For those that find it difficult to read or "incomprehensible" I would suggest you read more posthumanist literature and critical theory. The paradigm shifts this man is talking about are happening all around us, and apparently he'd been thinking about it and writing about it for a long while. So have a few others. The connections that he makes between religion, technology and the singularity are particularly valid. And yes, denigrate the book if you don't like it. But it reflects better on you as an intelligent person to do exactly what the writer suggests at the beginning of his book: if you don't agree with something, then make an analysis and refute in rational language and point-by-point whatever it is you find troubling. To simply say "I don't like it" usually means you're having an emotive reaction that you can't articulate. Or you're being lazy. Give the author--any author, whether alive or dead--his due. He took the time to write it. You could at least take the time to read it and consider it before you refute it out-of-hand.

Machajew seems like he has personal issues with the content of his chapter titles. That's right, not the content of THE ACTUAL WORK, but that titles of the chapters. It seems like he's talking out of absolute ignorance.

Perhaps if Machajew had a faster ability to process and a greater grasp of the English language he would come to the conclusion that I came to when reading Mitchell Heisman's book:

Wow, he's much more eloquent and clear than most published authors.

All authors have different styles. In fact, David Hume's contemporaries did not agree with his work. He was more famous as a historian than anything in his own life. In his life his contemporaries did not agree, describing it as "abstract and unintelligible".

I'm still reading through his work, but the man is pretty clear and the work is original: which is more than I can say for most things these days (which seem to just be hybrid-adaptations and allusions or plain plagiarism).

Skimming the table of contents certainly indicates a sadly disordered mind, which must have been reflected in his conversations. Why on Earth didn't his academic supervisor pick up on that, assuming he was still a student?

Seems like some of his points are valid, such as the Normans soon succumbing to the superior (contrary to popular belief) Saxon political system and the mixture slowly leading to more political freedom (although descendents of William the Conqueror's monkeysphere, not including the Crown or the Church of England, own 25% of the Land in England and Wales to this day!)

But one must wonder at the strange and diverse looking mixture of his preoccupations, obsessions more like. Perhaps there is some relevant unifying theme. But I suspect (without having read much of it admittedly) that Dr Samuel's judgement would apply here: "Your manuscript is both good and original. But the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good."

Sad that he had to go and top himself though, when perhaps all he needed was a good vacation or a partner or, more likely, just a worthy sounding board or critic.

When I tried to save the PDF, my Firefox locked up. I'll assume that is a sign from God or my guardian angel not to waste any more time on it.

Cheers

John R Ramsden

It fills me with grief that this happened. Please read www.teleologicalevolution.com and realize the truth about who you really are before you succumb to nihilism. But be warned, realizing the truth is extremely painful if you refuse to forgive. I love You. Namaste.

I am re-posting my comment from the Huffington Post to give everyone a human perspective on Mitchell. This is not to detract from his writings but only to put a human face on what you are reading.

Mitchell was my cousin and only if you knew him could you find the reason in his taking his own life in these 1905 pages but it is there:

When my father died when I was twelve, I dealt with his
death by interpreting him as a purely material phenomenon.
In other words, I viewed my father as a material thing and
his death as a material process.

There is no great philosophical mystery here. The answer is not the words themselves but why the words were written. I was at his fathers funeral when he was 12 and I saw with my own eyes the spark of life go out in his eyes. He loved his mother and sister very much but there is sometime a bond between father and son that when broken the spark of life dies.

p. 873
“Few social-political philosophies in history can rival
libertarianism in the sheer lameness of its vision of the good.
It is defined in terms of negatives: just defang religion,
defang society, defang government, just leave me alone! Yet
this lameness of social vision is almost the definition of its
political pride.”
“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?”

I would say that he had fundamental obsessions about religion, and anti-Christian views. Was this a result of personally experienced anti-semitism or what he perceived in society? Also, the Unabomber felt threatened by the paradigm shifts in society, and as he retreated into his solitary mind and into the woods, he became more against the engineers who were bringing about the paradigm shift.
How much of this tome of Mitchell's is an angry screed against God for his father's death? It is sad that he became so self absorbed, that he could not find awe in what is greater than self - love for example, or the beauty of nature. For him, it was all in his own mind, and he lacked the humility to imagine that he did not have all the answers. It is an irony that with his jewish/Christian issues, that he took solace in Nietzsche , a famous anti-semite.

@Pete

You obviously didn't read any of his work. He actually talks about morality and the duties to others outside of himself in his works. Not everything is as simple as "He just didn't know the love of God".

Just now I saved his suicide note; I referred few comments mentioned here. When I saw his face in the photo, at first sight it seems to be as ‘to climb world’s highest peak all of a sudden, he fell into the deepest well’. Probably loneliness is the main cause for this kind of saddest happenings. Hereby, I suggest everyone that, after referring the suicide note, immediately delete it; otherwise it may lead others to ride by using this as a weapon. Who knows the mentality of criminals around us? I need some more time to refer and comment specifically on ‘suicide note’.

This story reminds me of a famous character made by Dostoevsky in the "Demons" novel. I think Mitchell shares the same theory with Kirilov’s and his suicide for the utlimate truth does not make too much sense since these ideas were issued hundreds of years ago.
Here is what I found on en.academic.ru: "I want to put an end to my life, because that's my idea, because I don't want to be afraid of death." Kirilov can now infer that if one commits suicide, he directly rejects God's existence, since he does not have any fear, and God is a fear. Hypothetically, one would kill oneself not in affection, but in calmness. Such an agent, who would prove that there is no God, would then declare himself as God.
So, if there is no God, shall we all commit suicide??? What brought him to this act is solitude and lack of recognition, in my opion.

Some birdy note:
the birds won't care if one of we humans do a writeup about our understanding why there is god and why the birds are there and recommendations of religious books the bird should read to fly better. Its still a free and liberal world. Patterns of Evolution and Survival theories appears real. Reasoning is good but findings should be convincing and clearer. I appreciate the attempt, agree with a number of points, but feel the point is still missing. Probably Micthell should have taken more time.

The set and stage of Mitchell's suicide. The effort put into the first 1850 or so pages. Followed by a rather light hearted quick summary. Feels like watching a monk light himself on fire. It saddens and inspires.

Pete & John Ramsden.

I'd like you to remember when you were a student (Mitchell was 35 and not a student at Harvard. He lived near the campus and likely interacted with the students/professors: intellectual guy, no matter what "wannabe" label you might feel like pasting on him) and imagine a time when you turned in perhaps a term paper or a thesis paper or research paper.

Now, imagine if your professor would take your paper, read the first sentence of each paragraph and then give you a grade and summarize your work at the end. Honestly, since you're absolutely IGNORANT of the work: could you please shut the hell up about what you think of it until you actually digest it? Why do you think your opinion matters? Is a blind man's opinion of a picture worth anything?

What the hell is wrong with your brains? Were you dropped as children?

Heisman's work(Suicide Note) is a masterpiece par excellence! A realization had been actualized! I am in complete agreement about his core thesis. A bit surprised by no reference from "Being & Nothingness" by Jean-Paul Sartre.
Some may say he was suffering from chronic depression, that was the reason why he committed suicide.But question is, neither depression nor nihilism,a sufficient & necessary condition for suicide to be committed!It is a over-simplistic conclusion.
One must go through his work. It is work of a lifetime,an opus!! It is regrettable that some peoples are posting their comments without reading his work.
I suggest, his work the "Suicide Note" a must read for everyone who wants to introspect about one-self,about human existence on earth & his/her relation with entire Cosmos!

Disappointing best sums up the fate of Mitchell Heisman Pretty much his mothers epitaph according to the news story I read in a tabloid. She was relying on him. (He was supposed to help her move and she was disappointed in him letting her down) But alas he was busy signing his long awaited explosive epic masterpiece with powder burns and his own blood on the steps of a church on the grounds of Harvard the renowned intellectual epicenter. This was not simply a suicide note but an apparently impressive and massive work of a lifetime whether or not agreed with. That's what Mr Heisman had created when he resolved to pull the trigger ending a lonely albeit successful experiment of his existence of a meaningless and pointless lifetime of consciousness.
I can't help but ask myself why he didn't hang around just a tiny bit longer. Perhaps until he could really verify that his work would actually be regarded as pointless as the world which shaped it (or not) Perhaps maybe until his mother had expired- whom was the chief victim in this tragedy by which her sons existence was the actual tangible definition of the meaning of her life. He reduced into nothing the very elements of humanity and the mechanism of which intellect is born ; those erroneous biochemical misfirings he defined as feeling and emotion. He was well read sure, his true best friends were books, yes he had wit. Evidently he was too wrapped up in his depression and illness, yes illness, to clearly think his "experiment" through. He blew away something else in that instant that being his credibility. His work is negative- it can only be interpreted as a rationalization of a broken man in his self destructive affectation of suicide. His example cant be emulated or revered but must be rejected or at the least grimly considered. This wasn't a tormented genius losing control for a moment and making a terrible foggy mistake but more the deliberate calculated determined act of a deranged person feeling no hope. I cant abhor him. He only hurt friends and his mother -not destroying innocent strangers (well, apart from upsetting twenty or so witnesses)
The whole act seems to almost promise a sick publicity stunt where his work would be regarded as monumental (or not) where then he would somehow ingeniously emerge alive and well. Sorry- sadly thats not the case. Most likely nothing else can happen for Mitchell Heisman but oblivion. Nihilism incarnate. The best he could possibly hope for now is perhaps an extremely pissed off albeit forgiving God. I would keep in mind his mother and friends and acknowledge at least his major contribution to this meaningless world he left behind. That is for the rest of us to learn from his mistake. and respect those basic elements that make us human and not reduce them to meaningless and pointless little nothings- and maybe admit that life is a bit too complex and mysterious to rationalize and discard amongst a collection of individually meaningless words.

Part 1 of 2
Disappointing best sums up the fate of Mitchell Heisman Pretty much his mothers epitaph according to the news story I read in a tabloid. She was relying on him. (He was supposed to help her move and she was disappointed in him letting her down) But alas he was busy signing his long awaited explosive epic masterpiece with powder burns and his own blood on the steps of a church on the grounds of Harvard the renowned intellectual epicenter. This was not simply a suicide note but an apparently impressive and massive work of a lifetime whether or not agreed with. That's what Mr Heisman had created when he resolved to pull the trigger ending a lonely albeit successful experiment of his existence of a meaningless and pointless lifetime of consciousness.
I can't help but ask myself why he didn't hang around just a tiny bit longer. Perhaps until he could really verify that his work would actually be regarded as pointless as the world which shaped it (or not) Perhaps maybe until his mother had expired- whom was the chief victim in this tragedy by which her sons existence was the actual tangible definition of the meaning of her life. He reduced into nothing the very elements of humanity and the mechanism of which intellect is born ; those erroneous biochemical misfirings he defined as feeling and emotion. He was well read sure, his true best friends were books, yes he had wit. Evidently he was too wrapped up in his depression and illness, yes illness, to clearly think his "experiment" through. He blew away something else in that instant that being his credibility. His work is negative- it can only be interpreted as a rationalization of a broken man in his self destructive affectation of suicide. His example cant be emulated or revered but must be rejected or at the least grimly considered. This wasn't a tormented genius losing control for a moment and making a terrible foggy mistake but more the deliberate calculated determined act of a deranged person feeling no hope.

Part 2 of 2

I cant abhor him. He only hurt friends and his mother -not destroying innocent strangers (well, apart from upsetting twenty or so witnesses)
The whole act seems to almost promise a sick publicity stunt where his work would be regarded as monumental (or not) where then he would somehow ingeniously emerge alive and well. Sorry- sadly thats not the case. Most likely nothing else can happen for Mitchell Heisman but oblivion. Nihilism incarnate. The best he could possibly hope for now is perhaps an extremely pissed off albeit forgiving God. I would keep in mind his mother and friends and acknowledge at least his major contribution to this meaningless world he left behind. That is for the rest of us to learn from his mistake. and respect those basic elements that make us human and not reduce them to meaningless and pointless little nothings- and maybe admit that life is a bit too complex and mysterious to rationalize and discard amongst a collection of individually meaningless words.

Idiot Genius,

You forgot to mention that the slavery of the "very sad" people is related to the (electro)chemical neural network in their head as much or more than pure philosophy (e.g., happy thoughts related to death).

Talking negatively about someone who feels sadness when something dies is an Idiotic thing to do. I feel sadness when insects die. I don't want them to die, even the scary pine beetle ones that eat flesh for food (e.g., not just blood or skin, they hurt a lot!). They're just enjoying Earth.

The negative comments completely compliment and validate Mitchell's dark view of this world.

Give your narcissistic little black hearts a round of applause.

Whether Heisman committed suicide is unimportant to me. What is important is his work, he left-on, "Suicide Note" a Philosophical masterpiece! Consisting of Psychology,Behavioral genetics,Evolutionary psychology,Sociobiology,Darwin's theory of natural selection,theology, computational science,political philosophy,ethics and many more..
Thing is that, at this age the breath & depth of his learning as well as his ability to totalize & sysnthesize those different seemingly disconnected disciplines of knowledge is simply astonishing!
Type of work he did can only be comparable with works of famous French Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.
I should rather appeal to Nobel Committee to give him Nobel prize in Literature posthumously.

A very nice thoughts given to all of us on each and every topic of our life, Really feeling thankful to him, n also feeling very sad because of his loss.

The genius of Mitchell Heisman is evident in what he wrote. For those who knew him, which I did not, his death is a profound tragedy and loss. I am seeking contact with anyone who believes that the work he left is a profound vision of the future, and would like to explore the creation of a Heisman School, to educate about his ideas, and to memorialize the end of his biological life as the beginning of transcendence to immortality for his soul and mind for the benefit of individuals and society - a living memorial to him and his vision. Please contact me at amodeeo@aol.com

well i am not one to blow up a piece of work given the back story but i do feel the criticism of him as sick and troubled are a typical 'troubled' response from people afraid of death and the idea of suicide and thus want to distance themselves as far from it as possible.

quantity and rambling seem to be most of the criticisms of the work and while there have been more succinct books on the philosophical history of the last 2000 odd years most authors needed a few books to get it all in.

he took one shot, literally speaking, he knew it would nt get published but referenced everything legitimately and i am sure he died a happy man.

@Pete:
I don't know if you're trolling or just retarded, but Nietzsche was NOT an anti-Semite. He absolutely abhorred the
movement, so much so that he refused to go to his sisters wedding, his sister and her fiancée both being anti-Semites. After his death, his sister found and re-published his works with her own ant-Semitic spin.
Also: Nietzsche's übermensch ideal was not created for the Nazi party, it was adopted by them, the übermensch simply being an idea for a longterm or permanant goal for humanity, and the Nazi Party essentially made their own übermensch: " Kill all the Jews"
Another misconception: Nietzsche was not incestuous towards his sister, as I mentioned, he couldn't stand her. That myth was created by opponents of his
philosophical studies.

It saddens me to hear that so many people here paint a grim picture of suicide. Just because he killed himself doesn't mean that his death was "sad". It was the final plunge, and ultimately everyone takes that plunge. Put yourself in his shoes and even if it was "sad" that he died, he accomplished what he wanted, and that should be applauded, not patronized.

I haven't read the full note, but I've made it through over half in all, including the beginning and ending sections, and bits throughout the middle. To understand Heisman's points and especially his overall method you simply must read slowly, carefully, and thoroughly. He reveals much toward the end of the note, and to dismiss his work earlier than that is really a shame.

People don't seem to understand that he wanted to deconstruct himself IDEOLOGICALLY. It wasn't about killing himself as a way out of life. The will to life was his final subjectivity. He wanted to be dead because inanimate objects are the most objective. It's a problem of prioritization. He valued objectivity more than he valued life. That is at the core of the work and must be understood. Nihilism means that all views are equally subjective, so wanted to remove all of them.

From what I've read, I fail to see the brilliance. I wanted to read the whole thing, until I read it. Too much was left unexplained for too long and I was just waiting for something. It seems, though, that it presupposes that truth lies in reason without explicitly stating it and without giving reason. Also, it seems that it's basis is unfalsifiable, which would make it pseudo-philosophy. If his hypothesis about his work being repressed is false, then it works towards disproving his theory. If his hypothesis about it is true (and brilliant) then it should not spread because of the repression, right?