According to Simon Critchley, an author and philosophy professor at the New School where he runs a Suicide Note Writing Workshop, the interest people have in someone else's last goodbyes "is almost pornographic."
In antiquity, there was no need to leave a note, he said. It would have been obvious why you killed yourself.
He then shared famous notes left by, among others, Virginia Woolf, Adolf Hitler and Kurt Cobain.
A student raised her hand to share a note she brought, a personal favorite found in an anthology.
Dear Betty, I hate you. Love, George, she read. The class laughed but quickly began talking about the dichotomies in the letter love and hate, humor and anger and then moved on to the larger question of the purpose of a suicide note.
To not die alone, said Sara Clugage, 33, an artist from Brooklyn. To address someone.
Theyre filled with pathos, another student interjected. They ultimately arent that interesting.
They are a last, desperate attempt at communication, Mr. Critchley said. They are failed communication, in a sense.
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