Another Tack: The Otto Weininger syndrome

Suicide can be individual or collective. In either manifestation it can share similar attributes and arise from parallel psychological anomalies. It can be perversely popular.

In early 20th-century Vienna, for example, a spate of high-profile suicides triggered a pseudo-romantic fad. There seemed to be something dashing in taking one’s own life in a grand gesture that apparently made a statement. Pivotal in sensationalizing the fashion was 23-year-old philosopher Otto Weininger who shot himself in 1903 in the same hotel room where Beethoven died (presumably to enhance the dramatic effect). Continue reading