From: Wade Allsopp (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri 10 Feb 2006 - 09:53:39 GMT
List, members may be interested in the following article describing the
growth of suicide pacts in Japan.
Suicide (at least of the young and healthy) is surely on ethe the most
dramatic form of "rebelling against the tyranny of the genes". It is also a
case of one particular meme propagating itself at the expense of a whole
bunch of other memes (those carried by the suicidees). The suicide pact
phenomenon in Japan can perhaps be regarded as a way the suicide meme has
found to help overcome (exploiting the new technology of the internet) what
might be called our "self preservation memes" by making suicide
Web suicide pacts surge in Japan
A blue sheet is covered on a car, left, where seven young men and women were
found dead in a mountainside lot at Minano, near Tokyo, on Tuesday October
Suicide pact deaths have shocked Japan
The number of Japanese who killed themselves in suicide pacts made over the
internet rose sharply last year.
Police said 91 people died in the pacts in 2005, compared with 55 in 2004
and 34 in 2003, when the records started.
Alarm at the rise has led to increased vigilance by internet service
providers, who now report suspected suicide pacts to the authorities.
Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, and the pacts may
appeal to those scared to die alone.
Police figures showed 34 internet-arranged suicide pacts were recorded last
year. Of the 91 people who died, 54 were men and 37 were women, with most
being in their twenties or thirties.
But the number of cases may now be falling. Twenty of the 34 cases took
place in the first three months of last year, before internet service
providers started working with the authorities to tackle the problem.
In one case in February, three men and three women who had contacted each
other via the internet shut themselves in a car and lit charcoal burners,
poisoning themselves with the carbon monoxide.
Suicide has become a widely discussed topic on many websites in Japan, and
there is even a guidebook to the best places to kill yourself.
The authorities have talked about closing down or regulating the websites.
But organisers argue that they offer a compassionate service to those who
have given up all hope of the future.
Increasing numbers of young people in Japan are feeling alienated by modern
life. Several thousand are termed "hikikomori" - recluses who never leave
their room, finding entertainment only on the internet.
The suicide pacts still make up a relatively small proportion of Japan's
More than 34,000 Japanese took their own lives in 2003, according to the
National Police Agency - an increase of more than 7% from the previous year.
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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