The Easter egg. This innocuous little thing has massive amounts of symbolism behind it. It stands for fertility and rebirth in a spring season. But for someone looking at it from a Durkheimian point of view, this egg has a massive amount of meaning beyond this simple symbolism. It represents a massive amount of camaraderie between massive numbers of people. For this blog entry, I should point out the most important parts, demonstrating why Easter itself is so important.
Easter is a massive Christian holiday, with all the intricacies and rituals behind it. It serves to join and gather many individuals who share similar ideas. By gathering in this one location, they remove themselves from their isolated existence. Durkheim pointed out that environment such as this reaffirmed the collective conscience in a group’s behavior (Moberg: 93). He did, however, State that the individual was not the important factor. Although People will chant along with the songs in unison, the individual that is singing is not important to Durkheim.
Durkheim is not the only person that can analyze this information. In his view, this sort of ritual is what binds a community together. If you look at it from Marx’s perspective, A gathering such as this is to help ensure the authority and the power of the priests. They control the means of production in the system. When I refer to this as a means of production, I am not stating that there is a factory inside of a church. The means of production in this case is nothing more than the ability to gather income. The numerous offerings from the people in attendance during mass is more than enough to be considered a productive source of wealth.
Finally, let’s return to the egg in the picture. In my mind, this egg reinforces Durkheim’s view. People will gather to hunt down these colorful creations. In this case, there is no means of production to argue over. It is simply a reason to gather a large quantity of people for a social occasion. This is an excellent example of a Durkheimian view of the world.
Emile Durkheim used the organic analogy to attribute the workings of society to that of the human body. He believed that all humans exist according to one another and are interconnected to create a cohesive whole. The society described in the popular novel and film The Giver is also analogous to the structures of the body. The story is set in the future when a group of people set out to create a perfect society. It was made up of several small communities in which nearly everything was organized and predetermined. There was no such thing as color, race, religion, emotion, or conflict. Everything was controlled; everyone was in a state of contentment. The main ideals of the society were based on sameness and following rules. Each person was assigned their family unit and given assigned partners and children. When kids finished their schooling they were assigned specific jobs to fulfil within their community. This reflected the interdependence of each role and their necessary function.
This utopian society is comparable to each organ in the human body and how it is supposed to function in order for the rest of the body to be able to. Durkheim thought of these pieces of a whole to work with a collective conscious. The Giver displayed this through the creation of a stable, impersonal, organized society. They eliminated any possibility of individualization and focuses on the group. They ultimately created social solidarity that was orderly and highly organic. Like Durkheim, The Giver was interested in creating and maintaining social relations. However, the Giver disregarded social groupings such as religion within a society that were defining characteristics for Durkheim. They completely disregarded ideologies that could cause for any differentiation.
In our real life societies, we can apply the organic analogy to our occupations and roles we fulfil similar to that in The Giver. Although if we were to break down all the pieces, we would be able to see that the system is way more complicated than it appears. Somewhere the individual person is lost and sometimes forgotten, as each individual also makes up a part of something bigger. It is like losing a part of your lungs, they will still work, but not as perfectly and efficiently as it could if it were intact. To an extent society can only function on the macro level if it is also working on the micro level.