“Alex Brilliant was reading Wittgenstein at sixteen, and writing poetry that rippled with ambiguities — double, triple, quadruple, like heart bypasses. He took a scholarship to Cambridge, after which I lost sight of him; but I would occasionally think of him down the years, assuming that he had forged ahead in one of the liberal professions. I was over fifty when I learned that for more than half my life I had been thinking of someone as alive who was in fact dead. Brilliant had killed himself in his twenties, for no reason my informant could determine.”
— An excerpt from “The Past Conditional” by Julian Barnes.
“If it is all the same whether to live or not to live, everyone will kill himself and that’s perhaps the only change that will come about.
It makes no difference. Deception will be killed. Everyone who desires supreme freedom must dare to kill himself. He who dares to kill himself has learnt the secret of the deception.
God is necessary, and so must exist.
But I know that He doesn’t exist and can’t exist.
But don’t you understand that a man with two such ideas cannot go on living?
Is there no man on this planet who, having finished with God and believing in his own will, will have enough courage to express his self-will in its most important point? All man did was to invent God so as to live without killing himself. That’s the essence of universal history till now. I am the only man in universal history who for the first time refused to invent God. To realize that there is no god and not to realize at the same instant that you have become god yourself – is an absurdity, for else you would certainly kill yourself. If you do realize it, you are a king and will never kill yourself, but will live in the greatest glory. But he who is first to realize it is bound to kill himself, for otherwise who will begin and prove it? I am still only a god against my will, and I am unhappy because I am bound to express my self-will. Fear is the curse of mankind. But I shall proclaim my self-will. I am bound to believe that I do not believe. I shall begin and end, and open the door.”
— Mr. Kirilov, a few weeks before his own suicide some time around 1860.
Perhaps Alex Brilliant read Mr. Kirilov’s words? Perhaps Brilliant had a girlfriend who dumped him for a star quarterback at Cambridge.
“I don’t believe in God, but I miss Him.” — Julian Barnes
I can relate.