Leaning Into The Pain


“‘Look up, not down,’ [Aaron Swartz] urged readers of his weblog; ‘Embrace your failings.’ ‘Lean into the pain.’ It was hard to take that advice himself. He kept getting ill, several illnesses at once. Migraines sliced into his scalp; his body burned. And he was sad most of the time, a sadness like streaks of pain running through him. Books, friends, philosophy, even blogs didn’t help. He just wanted to lie in bed and keep the lights off.

In 2002 he posted instructions for after his death (though I’m not dead yet! he added). To be in a grave would be all right, as long as he had access to oxygen and no dirt on top of him; and as long as all the contents of his hard drives were made publicly available, nothing deleted, nothing withheld, nothing secret, nothing charged for; all information out in the light of day, as everything should be,” – from the Economist‘s heart-breaking and deeply personal obit for a genius and dreamer whose life was cut short by a prosecutor who didn’t so much over-reach as persecute and bully.