Friday, December 15, 2006

"Nothing Better Than a Murder"

A warning to all of you: excessive sociological thinking leads to murder and insanity. Think about this next time you are in your office for more than an hour!

On November 16, 1980, Louis Althusser strangled his wife to death. This had been preceded by a period of intense mental instability. The exact circumstances are debated, with some claiming it was deliberate, others accidental. Althusser himself claimed not to have a clear memory of the event. Since he was alone with his wife when she died, it is difficult to come to firm conclusions. Althusser was diagnosed as suffering from diminished responsibility, and he was not tried, but instead committed to the Sainte-Anne psychiatric hospital. Althusser remained in hospital until 1983. Upon release, he moved to Northern Paris and lived reclusively, seeing few people and no longer working, except for producing his autobiography. He died of a heart attack on October 22, 1990 at the age of 72.

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