Our whole social environment seems to us to be filled with forces which really exist only in our own minds.— Emile Durkheim
The most sensational Emile Durkheim quotes that will activate your desire to change
Man is a moral being, only because he lives in society.
Let all social life disappear and morality will disappear with it.
When morals are sufficient, law is unnecessary; when morals are insufficient, law is unenforceable.
A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden-beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them.
There is no society known where a more or less developed criminality is not found under different forms. No people exists whose morality is not daily infringed upon. We must therefore call crime necessary and declare that it cannot be non-existent, that the fundamental conditions of social organization, as they are understood, logically imply it.
Man is only a moral being because he lives in society, since morality consists in solidarity with the group, and varies according to that solidarity. Cause all social life to vanish, and moral life would vanish at the same time, having no object to cling to.
Each victim of suicide gives his act a personal stamp which expresses his temperament, the special conditions in which he is involved, and which, consequently, cannot be explained by the social and general causes of the phenomenon.
To pursue a goal which is by definition unattainable is to condemn oneself to a state of perpetual unhappiness.
A society whose members are united by the fact that they think in the same way in regard to the sacred world and its relations with the profane world, and by the fact that they translate these common ideas into common practices, is what is called a Church. In all history, we do not find a single religion without a Church.
The totality of beliefs and sentiments common to the average members of a society forms a determinate system with a life of its own. It can be termed the collective or creative consciousness.
Melancholy suicide. - This is connected with a general state of extreme depression and exaggerated sadness, causing the patient no longer to realize sanely the bonds which connect him with people and things about him. Pleasures no longer attract.
Man cannot become attached to higher aims and submit to a rule if he sees nothing above him to which he belongs. To free him from all social pressure is to abandon him to himself and demoralize him.
Religious representations are collective representations which express collective realities.
The roles of art, morality, religion, political faith, science itself are not to repair organic exhaustion nor to provide sound functioning of the organs. All this supraphysical life is built and expanded not because of the demands of the cosmic environment but because of the demands of the social environment.
A person is not merely a single subject distinguished from all the others.
It is especially a being to which is attributed a relative autonomy in relation to the environment with which it is most immediately in contact.
Man could not live if he were entirely impervious to sadness.
Many sorrows can be endured only by being embraced, and the pleasure taken in them naturally has a somewhat melancholy character.
It is only by historical analysis that we can discover what makes up man, since it is only in the course of history that he is formed.
Man seeks to learn, and man kills himself because of the loss of cohesion in his religious society; he does not kill himself because of his learning. It is certainly not the learning he acquires that disorganizes religion; but the desire for knowledge wakens because religion becomes disorganized.
Although our moral conscience is a part of our consciousness, we do not feel ourselves on an equality with it. In this voice which makes itself heard only to give us orders and establish prohibitions, we cannot recognize our own voices; the very tone in which it speaks to us warns us that it expresses something within us that is not of ourselves.
There is no sociology worthy of the name which does not possess a historical character.
Socialism is not a science, a sociology in miniature: it is a cry of pain.
Science cannot describe individuals, but only types.
If human societies cannot be classified, they must remain inaccessible to scientific description.
There is a collective as well as an individual humor inclining peoples to sadness or cheerfulness, making them see things in bright or somber lights. In fact, only society can pass a collective opinion on the value of human life; for this the individual is incompetent.
From top to bottom of the ladder, greed is aroused without knowing where to find ultimate foothold. Nothing can calm it, since its goal is far beyond all it can attain. Reality seems valueless by comparison with the dreams of fevered imaginations; reality is therefore abandoned.
The first and most basic rule is to consider social facts as things.
The man whose whole activity is diverted to inner meditation becomes insensible to all his surroundings.
One cannot long remain so absorbed in contemplation of emptiness without being increasingly attracted to it. In vain one bestows on it the name of infinity; this does not change its nature. When one feels such pleasure in non-existence, one's inclination can be completely satisfied only by completely ceasing to exist.
It is too great comfort which turns a man against himself.
Life is most readily renounced at the time and among the classes where it is least harsh.
Sadness does not inhere in things; it does not reach us from the world and through mere contemplation of the world. It is a product of our own thought. We create it out of whole cloth.
Even one well-made observation will be enough in many cases, just as one well-constructed experiment often suffices for the establishment of a law.
Faith is not uprooted by dialectic proof;
it must already be deeply shaken by other causes to be unable to withstand the shock of argument.
An act cannot be defined by the end sought by the actor, for an identical system of behaviour may be adjustable to too many different ends without altering its nature.
The Christian conceives of his abode on Earth in no more delightful colors than the Jainist sectarian. He sees in it only a time of sad trial; he also thinks that his true country is not of this world.
Men have been obliged to make for themselves a notion of what religion is, long before the science of religions started its methodical comparisons.
Social life comes from a double source, the likeness of consciences and the division of social labour.
The man whose whole activity is diverted to inner meditation becomes insensible to all his surroundings. If he loves, it is not to give himself, to blend in fecund union with another being, but to meditate on his love. His passions are mere appearances, being sterile. They are dissipated in futile imaginings, producing nothing external to themselves.
The man whose whole activity is diverted to inner meditation becomes insensible to all his surroundings. His passions are mere appearances, being sterile. They are dissipated in futile imaginings, producing nothing external to themselves.
A monomaniac is a sick person whose mentality is perfectly healthy in all respects but one; he has a single flaw, clearly localized. At times, for example, he has an unreasonable and absurd desire to drink or steal or use abusive language; but all his other acts and all his other thoughts are strictly correct.
Religious phenomena are naturally arranged in two fundamental categories: beliefs and rites. The first are states of opinion, and consist in representations; the second are determined modes of action.
While the State becomes inflated and hypertrophied in order to obtain a firm enough grip upon individuals, but without succeeding, the latter, without mutual relationships, tumble over one another like so many liquid molecules, encountering no central energy to retain, fix and organize them.
Maniacal suicide. —This is due to hallucinations or delirious conceptions. The patient kills himself to escape from an imaginary danger or disgrace, or to obey a mysterious order from on high, etc.
Our excessive tolerance with regard to suicide is due to the fact that, since the state of mind from which it springs is a general one, we cannot condemn it without condemning ourselves; we are too saturated with it not partly to excuse it.
Too cheerful a morality is a loose morality;
it is appropriate only to decadent peoples and is found only among them.
Irrespective of any external, regulatory force, our capacity for feeling is in itself an insatiable and bottomless abyss.
Society is not a mere sum of individuals.
Rather, the system formed by their association represents a specific reality which has its own characteristics... The group thinks, feels, and acts quite differently from the way in which its members would were they isolated. If, then, we begin with the individual, we shall be able to understand nothing of what takes place in the group.
It is not human nature which can assign the variable limits necessary to our needs. They are thus unlimited so far as they depend on the individual alone. Irrespective of any external regulatory force, our capacity for feeling is in itself an insatiable and bottomless abyss.
At this point, an urgent question arises: [.
..] Is it our duty to seek to become a thorough and complete human being, one quite sufficient unto himself; or, on the contrary, to be only a part of a whole, the organ of an organism? Briefly, is the division of labor, at the same time that it is a law of nature, also a moral rule of human conduct; and, if it has this latter character, why and in what degree?
At first sight, one does not see what relations there can be between religion and logic.
A mind that questions everything, unless strong enough to bear the weight of its ignorance, risks questioning itself and being engulfed in doubt.
That men have an interest in knowing the world which surrounds them, and consequently that their reflection should have been applied to it at an early date, is something that everyone will readily admit.