Boston: A 35-year-old man, who shot
himself near Harvard University here a week ago, has left
behind a 1905-page suicide note, an online document he had
been working on for the last five years.
Mitchell Heisman shot himself at Harvard Yard on
His family and about 400 friends received the
1,905-page suicide note in a posthumous e-mail.
In the note Heisman wrote that he took his life as
part of a philosophical exploration he called "an experiment
The lengthy document included 1,433 footnotes, a
20-page bibliography, over 1,700 references to God and 200
references to the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
Heisman wrote, "Every word, every thought and every
emotion come back to one core problem: life is meaningless...
The experiment in nihilism is to seek out and expose every
illusion and every myth, wherever it may lead, no matter
what, even if it kills us."
"If life is truly meaningless and there is no
rational basis for choosing among fundamental alternatives,
then all choices are equal and there is no fundamental ground
for choosing life over death," he wrote.
He quoted former US President Thomas Jefferson and
Albert Einstein in the lengthy document.
The New Jersey native, who had studied psychology in
college, had told his family and friends he was working on "a
history of the Norman conquest of England."
The chapters in the document are titled 'Philosophy,
Cosmology, Singularity, New Jersey' and 'How to Breed a God.'
Heisman's friends said he bought the gun, a
.38-caliber pistol, three years ago.
They described him as being "cordial, considerate and
Heisman, a Jew, committed suicide in Harvard yard in
front of a group of tourists, on the day of Yom Kippur,
considered one of the holiest days in Jewish faith.
First Published: Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 12:02