Re: Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Thu Apr 26 2001 - 16:38:58 BST

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    Subject: Re: Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics 
    Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 17:38:58 +0200
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    Hi Vincent,
    You wrote,
    > On the other hand this issue of public interest versus what the public are
    > interested in is a problematic distinction for me. If one sees these as
    > contradictory, then what is the solution? Left to their own volition, the
    > public tends to avoid serious issues and politics and what not, and
    > escapism and entertainment (in very general terms of media use that is).

    You can 't blaim the public for that, and on the other hand this is very
    interesting stuff from a memetic point of view.
    What kind of memes are the cause to favour entertainment and vulgar
    escapism !? Who are we to say that they doesn 't must do that !!
    IMO, and I stick to this, the public is not interested in politics and
    serious matters just up to the point that those begin to intervene with
    their ordinary common lives.
    If you for example restrict the speed limit for cars for the sake of
    and for the sake of public safety, many will argue that their freedom is
    thrown into the balance by this, that kind of stuff.
    These contradictions are a very interesting area to exlore memetically
    that is...

    > So, the only way to get people to engage with their responsibilities as
    > citizens (i.e. to be interested in politics etc.) is to coerce them or
    > "educate' them in some way.

    << yes, but is it necessary !? You say it yourself, this is very ineffective
    and unproductive ! So, in a way why bother at all !?
    From a political point of view it would be appropiate of course to learn
    the people to which extent they can show responsibility.
    But is that the only reason !? Just to keep a nation political/ social/
    on its feet !? I wonder and on the other hand I am a little bit worried.

    If the public is not interested in those serious and political issues, why
    a fact would those people who were engaged in those matters give any
    notion of responsibility towards the public !?
    From out some dark sense of solidarity and compassion !? Oh, come on!!
    Would there be in the end any profit if you ' educate ' people to show
    responsibility !? I think not !
    Not in the simple way of education. IMO, you gonna have to do more than
    that, and than again, ethical crisisses come to mind! Memetic engineering,
    ok but again... ethics !!

    Look, somehow there is a difference between serious matters and just
    playing stupid_ what is the difference between Shakespeare and West
    Side Story !?
    For what we puke on the former and where is the attraction in the latter !?
    And for other people just the other way round !?
    The question can be asked, what is so attractive in fooling around and
    what makes serious matters so unattractive, if they are not in some way
    genetical/ memetical determined !? We are bound to what we are...
    And than again,what would be the reason of nature by just letting people
    having fun, to let them watch silly soaps and to let them participate in
    TV- shows and stupid games shows !?

    All comes down to memes and their ways by which they do exist and
    in which ways they want to propagate themselves.
    But,this seems to provoke a very important question_ where did memes
    go wrong !?
    Or would it be easier to propagate along lines of silliness/ vulgarity and
    voyeurism !? I suppose it is, but where is than the contradiction coming
    from !? Why not staying at playing stupid !?
    Or is it just that where serious matters come to intervene with those memes
    of pleasure and stupidity that others memeplexes come to their rescue !?

    Well, when this is the case, than I suspect that the quality of the
    is diminishing. Oh, the diversity and what kind will have increased and
    probably that will make the system ' better ', but than again, not in the
    way I see it though !!
    I don 't see the distinction; the contradiction as such as problematic, but
    rather the fact that serious matters are getting dispelled from the public
    Tomorrow's World needs a competition to attract viewers, to get an
    audience ! Now, I ask you !
    Is that the way by which the media, or science for that matter is supposed
    to work !? I ask you again !

    > Similar arguments could be made about TV talk shows like Jerry Springer-
    > exploitation of marginal groups for audience voyeurism, or vibrant forum
    > such groups to express their concerns in ways familiar to them and
    > audiences?

    << yes, I agree, and than again, why raising this as the standard !?
    Or is this just the way by which memes propagate !?
    If this is so, well than I have serious questions about the status of mind
    many who I see around me though !!
    In a sense, there is no other way left by which those groups can express
    their concerns, there is no ' intellectual ' forum where scientists,
    can express their expertise. And if there is one, is it very quickly
    because 1) there is no audience for it , 2) it looses its importance be-
    cause it needs a competition, or advertising to get it going and 3) most
    of the people who is watching, by accident, don 't understand it...

    But, that is the people 's prerogative...



    ( I am, because we are) left out in the dark

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