Anomie

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Black Anomie by Peter Burnett - - drawing / cut paper / photocopy framed on grey ground

In Albert Camus's existentialist novel The Stranger, the bored, alienated protagonist Meursault struggles to construct an individual system of values as he responds to the disappearance of the old. He exists largely in a state of anomie,as seen from the apathy evinced in the opening lines: "Aujourd’hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas" ("Today mother died. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know").

Fyodor Dostoyevsky expressed a similar concern about anomie in his novel The Brothers Karamazov. The Grand Inquisitor remarks that in the absence of God and immortal life, everything would be lawful. Yes it really says, if there’s no God, then surely everything is possible — thinkable... Unfortunately, these are problems of human society and the human psyche — you might say, soul — whatever attitude we take to the humanness or the transcendent. In other words, that any act becomes thinkable, that there is no moral compass, which leads to apathy and detachment.

Also See

  • Acedia
  • Groupthink
  • Mass society
  • Misanthropy
  • Nihilism
  • Political alienation
  • Psychological resilience
  • Relativism
  • Social alienation
  • Suicide (book)|Suicide
  • Social disintegration
  • Social disorganization theory
  • The Anome
  • Theory of deviance