R.I.P. Aaron Swartz

RIP, Aaron Swartz

I don’t know if it’s productive to speculate about that, but here’s a thing that I do wonder about this morning, and that I hope you’ll think about, too. I don’t know for sure whether Aaron understood that any of us, any of his friends, would have taken a call from him at any hour of the day or night. I don’t know if he understood that wherever he was, there were people who cared about him, who admired him, who would get on a plane or a bus or on a video-call and talk to him.

Because whatever problems Aaron was facing, killing himself didn’t solve them. Whatever problems Aaron was facing, they will go unsolved forever. If he was lonely, he will never again be embraced by his friends. If he was despairing of the fight, he will never again rally his comrades with brilliant strategies and leadership. If he was sorrowing, he will never again be lifted from it.

Depression strikes so many of us. I’ve struggled with it, been so low I couldn’t see the sky, and found my way back again, though I never thought I would. Talking to people, doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, seeking out a counsellor or a Samaritan — all of these have a chance of bringing you back from those depths. Where there’s life, there’s hope. Living people can change things, dead people cannot.


Filed under R.I.P.

4 responses to “R.I.P. Aaron Swartz

  1. Christiano Kwena

    His death will may lead me to look more into Depression. I spend about 21 days of every month alone, but have never been lonely or depressed. I have no clue how people get depressed, let alone die from depression.

    • mikecane

      Depression is a biological issue that affects mood. It’s a crushing, pervasive sense of futility that leads to both physical and mental exhaustion. It is unlike physical pain in that it seems there is no way to end it because it tricks you into thinking the entire Universe itself is arrayed against you.

      • Christiano Kwena

        How sad.

        So that implies that Aaron Swartz thought everyone was against him, if that is so, then I doubt if it had anything to do with what he was contributing to the tech field.

      • mikecane

        He probably didn’t think his friends were against him, but clinical depression makes reaching out to anyone for help also seem like a futile act. It’s a trap that can lead to death, as we’ve seen here and in other cases.

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