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