A 35-year-old man who committed suicide near Harvard University a week ago left behind a 1905-page suicide note, an online document he had been working on for the previous five years.
Mitchell Heisman committed suicide on September 18 at Harvard Yard. In a posthumous e-mail, his family and about 400 friends received the 1,905-page suicide note.
Heisman wrote in the note that he committed suicide as part of a philosophical experiment he dubbed “an experiment in nihilism.”
There were 1,433 footnotes, a 20-page bibliography, over 1,700 references to God, and 200 references to German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in the lengthy document.
According to Heisman, “Every word, thought, and emotion all point to the same problem: life has no meaning… The goal of the nihilism experiment is to seek out and expose every illusion and myth, no matter where it leads, even if it kills us.”
“If life is truly meaningless, and there is no rational basis for choosing among fundamental alternatives,” he wrote, “then all choices are equal, and there is no fundamental ground for choosing life over death.”
In the lengthy document, he quoted former US President Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.
The New Jersey native had told his family and friends that he was working on “a history of the Norman conquest of England,” despite having studied psychology in college.
‘Philosophy, Cosmology, Singularity, New Jersey’ and ‘How to Breed a God’ are the titles of the document’s chapters.
Heisman bought the gun, a. 38-calibre pistol, three years ago, according to his friends. He was described as “courteous, considerate, and quiet” by them.
On Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days in the Jewish faith, Heisman, a Jew, committed suicide in Harvard yard in front of a group of tourists.