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Anomie in Éire

Mishmash of values and rules at the root of suicide - Irish Times
Desmond Fennell - Thursday, November 17, 2011

I first came across Desmond Fennell some years ago, when I received a copy of his book, State Of The Nation, after the death of an old Gaeilgeoir.

The book struck a chord with me, talking about the failure of the Irish national project, and the lack of any coherent vision of the kind of nation/country/society we want to build. And it's still true today, perhaps more so than ever, as what little culture we had falls away.

Fennell's article here covers some of the same ground, the lack of meaning to post-modern Irish lives, but goes further into the impact that has, especially the terrifying suicide rate among young men.

Suicide remains the number one reason for death in young men, and I think Fennell's insights take us closer to understanding why.

The article is also available on his website.

Update:
Another very sad story of suicide in this weekend's papers, this time about a young woman from DCU, friend of some friends, who killed herself in August.

She radiated talent, energy, beauty. She took her own life at the age of 25 - The Irish Times
Peter Murtagh - Saturday, November 26, 2011

One Comment

  1. Gabe Bonnar wrote:

    The causes of suicide are many and it is difficult to pinpoint any one cause. A few people I knew who killed themselves (German word: Selbstmord) were young men disappointed by their unachieving lives. One of them took a couple of wrong turns after finishing school. He drank aimlessly with friends. I think he ended it all because his friends were getting on and he wasn't. It hurt his parents and younger sister terribly and shocked the general community. Another young lad wanted to be a writer, but his poetry collection was rejected by publishers. He had failed the Leaving Certificate. He drowned himself in an atmosphere of diminished self-worth.

    Dr. Fennell doesn't say that the anomie caused by a mishmash of societal values is the main cause of youthful male suicide in Ireland but strongly hints that it may be and calls for research by social scientists. Sociologists have their uses, but so too do do philosophers, and Fennell is doing philosophy in Ireland - not apparently a big concern among the intelligentsia - a service by philosophising about the enormous, sometimes disturbing, changes which have happened in Ireland since the 1960s. I hope his article makes people think about the Irish condition.

    Sunday, November 20, 2011 at 4:20 am | Permalink

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