...for some reason I was drawn to a story that led me to see something inside a person's thought process that touched a chord of sadness.
As much as I try to stay abreast of current news, I'd never heard of this young man. His career moves and contributions to the internet are far more than impressive. If not for him, this very blogpost would not be circulating the globe. He basically wrote the program and put together the cyber-optic jigsaw puzzle that allows we bloggers to connect to one another and send our stupid, or ingenius, or mundane, or informative, or goofy, or inspirational thoughts throughout the entire World Wide Web. RSS. Check it out if you do not know what it means. For years I did not know. Even now that I know, I do not know. It's all as baffling to me as downloading apps on a smart-phone which is why I still own a dumb-phone. All technology intimidates me. Yet, it is that very technology that allowed me to discover the story of Aaron Swartz-- a twenty-six-year-old man (so young), who took his own life to escape the very world, and life, he helped create. And if not for Erick Erickson and his blogging on RED STATE (and my email subscription that I may or may not read), I wouldn't have know about Moe Lang who opined, without regret, about The New Yorker's post regarding the spoiled brat (my take on Moe's conclusions), who hung himself in his room.
I excerpted this tiny bit of Larissa MacFarquhar's commentary about Aaron Swartz, a portion of Aaron's 2005 journaled thoughts on a pad of paper:
"Most people, it seems, stretch the truth to make themselves seem more impressive. I, it seems, stretch the truth to make myself look worse. At CodeCon the other day, all sorts of people asked me what I was working on these days. I could have said “I’ve been put in charge of Roosevelt Labs, a center to write cool software with political implications.” Or I could have said “I’m writing a book about how the world really works.” But instead I say, “Oh, nothing, just focusing on schoolwork.” . . . The other night, when [redacted] asked me why I switched from computer science to sociology, I said it was because Computer Science was hard and I wasn’t really good at it, which really isn’t true at all. The real reason is because I want to save the world. Maybe I didn’t say that because it sounds sort of crazy. (2005)" from Aaron's journals.
This tiny bit of words is a snapshot into the working mind of a man/boy who needed help to understand his worth. So much more than the outside parameters of his accomplishments. While the world took and absorbed his brilliance, it gave nothing back to assure him that he was important, his humanity, his presence. All that mattered--it seems-- is what he knew and what he could give and provide the world at large. I wish I'd known about Aaron's blog before I discovered he will be silenced forever. It seems he was truly starved to know, know who he was and why he was given such a task of helping the world connect to itself. Such irony that in that endeavor, he'd become the very nemesis of his life's work without truly finding peace and connecting at all.
"He didn’t think of his blog as published writing, exactly, nor was it a private journal, since it was accessible to anyone. It was something in between. He wrote about things in his blog that he didn’t tell his friends—about his depressions, about his ulcerative colitis. It was not clear who he imagined his readers to be. Once, a friend of his related an anecdote that he’d published on his blog (involving a crush he’d had on a girl) to a group of people; he was horrified and asked how the friend could have revealed something so private."
Can you imagine? I write things here on my blog that people in China, Australia, India, and my neighboring town can readily read. Yet, the majority of my closest friends and family do not have a clue what my thoughts are or how the world effects my views. I dare say, my closest friends will not even know how this passing of poor Aaron has touched my life--OR, how it has awakened a sleeping muse in my soul. Spoiled or not as Moe Lane views him, Aaron was a man who needed more meaning in his life than what his brain calculated, programmed and spit out for human consumption. He was a person: A man who never seemed to know he was made in the image of God, by all I've read thus far. Aaron didn't seem to know that Jesus came to earth over 2000 years ago to give HIS life on a cross so that Aaron, and people like him, could live eternally in the peace and sorrowless comfort of HIS grace. Perhaps, if Aaron had known, then these words would have held no bond upon his mind and soul:
"Even among my closest friends, I still feel like something of an imposition, and the slightest shock, the slightest hint that I’m correct, sends me scurrying back into my hole. (2007)" from Aaron's journal.
We, my friends, are not an "imposition" on life. We are here for a purpose. And even in death, there is a purpose we must recognize. There is more to life than what we have in the next second. Much much more. Life is an eternal thing. And to have the eternal life, we need a relationship with the Almighty God who carries us through to the doorway of forever. We need Jesus. We need to know that the inconveniences of this life are just that. Inconveniences. Annoyances. Disappointments. Failures are but stepping stones to make our way across the slippery divide to the One who is rock-solid. He is our success. He is our hope. Aaron was more than a blurb in Wikipedia; he wanted to help the world, and the world, as he understood it, would not let him. Had he only known Christ had already overcome the world, had already been victorious and had already "fixed" it all.
For a man so brilliant, surrounded by so many other brilliant people, this is almost inconceivable. Yet, it happens. Each and every day. In every avenue of life. From literate to illiterate. From poor to rich. From kind to unkind. Equally astonishing is the fact that a man so well-read, so connected to life and all information, could pass through this life without knowing or having been introduced to Jesus. Perhaps all he knew of Jesus was a swear word, or the liberal left's disdain. I do not know. But it does not appear that he met Him. That is the saddest part of this whole story. And, in a sense, I feel a bit responsible. I truly do. selahV