Monday, 17 April 2017

Suicide In The Season Of Anomy

IN societies with responsive and responsible leadership, the increasing rate of suicide is all that is
needed to put things right. But here in Nigeria, the
major concern of those at the helms of affairs is
whatever threatens their hegemonic control of the
national commonwealth. While suicide is not peculiar to Nigeria, the
dimensions of suicide in Nigeria and the
characterisation of those who have attempted or
actually died of this reflects the mood of Nigeria. A
society experiencing sudden changes in its social
structure will alter the lives of her citizenry who may find it difficult to adjust to the new social
reality. Put in other words, the country is hard and we
live in anomy and what follows is anomic suicide.
Emilie Durkheim, in his study on Suicide noted that
‘what the rising rate of voluntary deaths denotes is
not the brilliancy of our civilisation but a state of
crisis and perturbation not to be prolonged with impunity’. By that he meant actionable policies, pragmatic
enough to halt people from exiting the world
‘untimely’, must be formulated and social support
mechanisms put in place. This is because Durkheim
believes suicide to be a ‘pathological phenomenon
becoming daily a greater menace’. Of course, people now come to the public to voluntarily kill
themselves. Because, suicide is mostly of social
origin, understanding this and remedying it
socially may be a timely intervention. Only a society with moral power (hardly true of
the present Nigeria) can exercise control over the
needs and aspirations of her members. In this
season of crisis (recession, unemployment, loss of
jobs, unpaid salaries, business collapse, botched
relationship, poor/weak bonding, hunger etc), Nigeria lacks the moral power to regulate the
needs and aspirations of her people who are
experiencing unprecedented changes in their
needs and values. This is why suicide is on the increase during this
anomic season. Durkheim had categorised suicide
into egoistic suicide (which occurs when man no
longer finds a basis for existence in life due to
excessive withdrawal from the society and lofty
but unaccomplished aspirations); altruistic suicide (insufficient individualism); and anomic suicide
(which results from man’s norm-lessness and moral
deregulation and its associated sufferings). The
underlying deductions extractable from the
narratives of those who left suicide notes or those
rescued on their way-out-of mother earth as well as observations of those around them attests to the
anomic state of things.

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