Jonathan Eisen and Michael Eisen both have posts up about the suicide of their father, and its relation to the recent death of Aaron Swartz. Like many people I was depressed when I heard what had happened. I never met Swartz, nor had any interactions with him online. In terms of specifics our views differed on a range of issues. But, I admired his ferocity, intensity, and clear and obvious genuine commitment to the life of the mind. Whatever disagreements we may have with Swartz’s specific commitments, I suspect many people strive to throw themselves into their passions with the follow through that Swartz exhibited. Swartz’s suicide has made me reflect on the role of the institutional academy in our society, and what ends it pursues. But my thoughts are inchoate, so I leave you with the links to the Eisens’ posts, who can draw upon more relevant personal experiences.