Sunday, July 26, 2009


Anomie is, I guess, a 'French' word, but it comes from the Greek a- nomos, or 'without law'. The word itself is somewhat ambiguous, and has had many meanings attached to it in modern history. Maybe originally the word was used to describe things or people which were literally 'outside' of the law. I don't know – I am not an etymologist, nor a particularly adept researcher. It is a particular modern idea that the term has been attached to, though, which is at point here. In 1897, famed French sociologist Emile Durkheim published Suicide
– one of the first examinations of the personal and social factors contributing in the end result of, someone, well, 'eliminating their own map'. In this, Durkheim describes 'anomie' as a primary cause of suicide, and we can assume it follows from this that 'anomie' is also a factor or cause in other mental health issues. This is probably a bold assumption to make, and I'm sure some asshole will pull me up about it, but fuck it, I think I'm going somewhere with this. Okay. So – what is this 'anomie' that has people jumping off of bridges all the way back in 1897? It becomes, in Durkheim's writing, a stand-in word to describe the 'normless-ness' of society, and the associated feelings of alienation, and purposelessness. Basically – we don't get 'society' and 'life', and we don't relate to other people. We don't have religion or back breaking toil to bring us together. Nothing is fixed, and so we are left to construct our own meaning / values / whatever. Our own ways to interact and connect, socially or romantically or whatever the fuck kind of way you want to connect. Basically, I feel like this is fundamentally connected to the fact that pretty much everyone I know is a neurotic wreck at the best of times. Connected with 15% of people 'considering suicide'. 'Anomie' means we are lost, devoid of purpose and struggling. Maybe this is what 'depression' and anxiety are. I think this is what anxiety is, when I kick back and have panic attacks about things which don't really matter. About 'life'. We don't really 'know how to talk about stuff' with people, because there is no point of reference to let us know how to do it. This is really melodramatic. Just wanted to say something meaningful, like a French person in a black and white photograph. Most people are normal and well adjusted, actually. I forgot what I was trying to say. Just wanna ~have some theories~ and ~be deep~. Need to 'read more books', or something. Since it is 4.31pm now I get to stop pretending to work and go home. Thank you for reading this.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed the ending, very primary-school-speech-esque.