Why Are People Acting So Weird?

Have you noticed that people are acting, *well*…..weird lately? And not in a charming, quirky outsider sense of the word, but more like angry, antisocial, and irrational? If so, you’re not wrong and you’re not alone.

Olga Khazan, the author of this article for The Atlantic, offers a few theories as to why. Mostly they have to do with stressors created by the pandemic, including some of the sharpest political divides we’ve ever had and, most fascinating to me, the idea of anomie, what Emile Durkeim called a lack of social norms that leads to lawlessness–“We are moral beings to the extent that we are social beings.”

We all know that people can struggle with their mental health regardless of whether or not they have a chronic mental illness. I’m guessing due to social isolation, loss, and shifting societal norms more people have struggled with their mental health than in a long time, and that they will probably continue to do so in ways that have yet to emerge. The article does touch upon mental illness, but oddly enough, mostly to say that mental illness can’t really explain this phenomenon. Though psychiatric service was cut because of the pandemic, people with a mental illness are not typically violent or dangerous (something I have often heard emphasized). I think the focus of this article is how we’re changing socially overall.


We are moral beings to the extent that we are social beings. ~~Emile Durkeim

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