Durkheim’s theory of suicide is an amazing use of commonsense. He points out things that are painstakingly obvious. He draws attention to certain social demographics like the Protestants, people that have more money, those that are unmarried and those that live through war times. By pointing out these social demographics Durkheim manages to show a theme. Those with less to live for are more likely to kill themselves.
Unmarried vs. married: the person with the spouse less likely to kill themselves. He even states the more kids you have the less likely you are to commit suicide. Suicide rates decline during war time, why? perhaps because during war an entire nation is united against another nation. There is more purpose to someones life in a situation like that. Catholics as a religion are given constant direction, they are never left to their own devices, it is always kneel now, stand now, confess your sins to him, don’t sin and feel horrible when you sin. Where as Protestants are told that as far as sinning goes it’s between you and God. So Durkheim says members of a religion that encourages free thought and self exploration are more likely to kill themselves than those that are given a rigorous diatribe of consequences to their actions? I don’t question it. Even in the case where he notes that people are more affluent. At first glance you would say why is that? they should be happier shouldn’t they? But once thought is applied it makes sense. Of course those that have a constant goal, stay out of debt or fight against their debt, are less likely to take their own life they are on more of a quest than someone who has easy access to money; what would their quest be? Make more money? How long could that possibly go on before your life seems meaningless and without a goal? So commonsense makes sense when looking at Emile Durkheim’s “Suicide,” at least that’s what I got from it.