Re: Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics ( Long Draft)

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Thu Apr 19 2001 - 21:05:51 BST

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    Subject: Re: Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics ( Long Draft)
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Vincent Campbell <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2001 2:49 PM
    Subject: RE: Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics

    > There's another reason for this apparent pattern you've not considered-
    > these events were entirely unrelated causally, but only related by the
    > running with a number of conincidental cases, presenting it as part of a
    > trend, and over-stating their own involvement in the events.

    Hi Vincent,

    << All true of course, but that doesn 't take away the possibility that
    there is
    an " unseen " causal relation between these seperate cases. That is, there
    a causality which we don 't see as such.
    I am gonna try to elucidate.
    What follows is a translation into English of my own writings.

    " The automatic survival- mechanisms of the human organism acquired by
    education and the influence of the culture a collection of acceptable and
    wishful decision- making strategies which in their turn assure the survival
    abilites of the organism; they do enlarge the quality of those and they
    serve as bias for the personality.
    Anyway, they need the interference of the society to become what
    they are and moreover, those instinctive survival- strategies bring out
    something very unique_ a moral point of view which can be that im-
    portant that it floats above the groups perspective to which someone
    belongs to or even above the species perspective."
    ( Antonio R. Damasio)

    Killing their children is accordingly psychologists a biological reality.
    This is know by the term " neonaticide " ( don 't know the term in
    English), and is a form of selection which people do carry through
    if they can 't give their children all the chances they deserve.
    Accordingly investigations, this is an inbedded natural system to
    eliminate their offspring if the chance to substain them properly is very
    slim, or becomes it due to circumstances.

    The main (f)actor which psychologists slightly touched as the reason
    why parents killed their children in the cases I have mentioned were the
    too strict divorce- laws, by which the father was ( most of the time) the
    loosing side.
    This aimed my attention.

    Like all living organisms, humans do possess inbedded knowledge and
    do possess direct or indirect biological motives. It is possible that due
    to the fact that those laws were so strict that people came in conflict with
    their own inner- themselves, and even more that the connection between
    themselves and the frame of reference wherein they wanted to live their
    lives entirely collapsed.
    It would be no surprise to you that this for a few parents was the
    decisive (f)actor to act, ( the cause ). If your world crumbles apart
    and you have all the social/ genetic/ memetic/ biological/... charac-
    teristics to commit suicide would that not be a cause to commit it !?

    IMO, the proces by which we could explain why parents kill their
    offspring is a case of the individual against the collective the most
    logical. Social stresses and the influence of the environment all do play
    an important role in this.
    IMO, in view that mentally/ spiritual and neural ( memetically) mecha-
    nisms were to be the bias for uncertainty-, fear-, and stress- coping-
    patterns and those were to be emphazised by their place and status
    within a social group_ than a certain respons has to be favourable
    and for the individual and for the community !!

    The individual will by the way of mental/ rational and also verbal
    and visual intermediary steps test the possibilites towards the
    representive collective image. He will translate possible scenario 's
    towards the collective morality, he will compare the pro 's and cons.
    The individual will test or either certain possibilites were to be pos-
    sible or either what were to be the consequences. (This is what
    we should call a suicidal proces and one which we ought to recognize_
    he will buy a gun for example without that his wife or kids know about it.
    He will be showing some specific behavior/ characteristics:- he will
    be reticent, nervous, irritable,... where those were not there before.)

    On bias of this, the individual wil go on or he will stop. And when, in
    the former he is than confronted with a way to escape from the pressure
    he will commit (murder followed by) suicide.
    In the latter he will postpone his deeds untill another pressure builts
    up and reaches critical mass.
    Of course, here you don 't find any causality mechanism explained as
    such, but IMO you have to account for the possible that maybe there
    in no one cause !?
    IMO, we have to look for more clues in those biological/ genetical and
    memetical characteristics which we do all carry.
    That is the primary effect.

    The second one is to look for those characteristics which do lead up to
    the suicidal proces. And there IMO you will find the difference between
    suicide and murder_ it is in the head of the self- murderer we have to look.
    We have to account for the social stresses, the possible genetic dis-
    orders and also for the personal drama's. To do that we have to re-
    invent social control and with our own indiduality- mode and our ways
    to see freedom that is gonna be very difficult.

    And what the media is concerned, they have their role to play in society.
    And in the case I have mentioned here maybe the first muder annex suicide
    had no explicable cause whatsoever, but the others were to say imi-
    tations related to what the media has said about the first.
    But I don 't point a finger to the media itself here, but to those who were
    willing to over- state the media involment.
    It would be better that the media had an open mind for this and not only
    reports about those events but also give additional info where to turn to
    when things don 't work out as you have planned them.

    But my personal conviction stays intact, media involment or not, suicide
    is a personal matter and for some it is very easy to step out of this life
    and kill themselves and others need a trigger and the media is an element.
    IMO, the media acts as a trigger- mechanism, it takes away the last
    treshhold where people don't dare to cross; it takes away the last frontier
    between doing it or not by evocating other attempts.

    And in addition, there is a category of self- murderers which are to yellow
    to kill themselves on their own. They need other people beside them,
    murder annex suicide.
    In Belgium, there is/ was an investigation started to look into the great
    amount of weekendcrashes with cars. One of the results was that a
    certain percentage of those were actually suicides.
    A driver went on to smash his car to a tree when his friends or family
    were sitting next to him/ her.
    The investigators were convinced by the fact that be surrounded by
    those you love the most is a ' trigger- mechanism '.
    An exuberant atmosphere, a little bit of alcohol or drugs, and....
    In a sense you don 't want them to be left behind with the pain and
    the distress about your death,... you take them with you...

    I hope this clears a little bit the skies,
    Thanks for reading,



    ( I am, because we are) still alive

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