Re: Dawkins View

From: Andrew S. LORD(SED) (
Date: Tue Sep 18 2001 - 19:25:26 BST

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    Subject: Re: Dawkins View
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    >> this could be an example of a deliberate application of a variation on the
    >werther effect (suicide
    >> spates: see jom:emit paper) via martyrdom setting the example for the
    >jihadi to follow
    >> apparently some people are willing to down their lives in order to get
    >into heaven
    >Werther effect !? Suicide spates !?
    >Please elaborate... I don 't understand this.
    the werther effect (from Goethe's the sorrows of young werther) is where suicide becomes contageous
    - that is, self-destruction is imitated - which can potentially lead to epidemics & so forth. The
    w-effect seems to revolve around depressives gathering the nerve to make the final cut - a
    comparatively simple meme. Marsden has something on it in the JOM: EMIT


    Combine the suicide memes with the martyrdom meme (aligned with the holy salvation meme) and you
    get the ultimate glorious sacrifice meme and a guaranteed (1 way) ticket to heaven - this offers a
    very potent memeplex.

    Dawkins gives the impression that religious zealots are a cheep and low tech solution for doing
    something naughty. How a theocracy could pull off such a sophiticated act but blowing a building up
    is besides the point. If i was sat in a differnt part of the world i might be asking as to how i
    would strike against my oppressors - certainly i would need numerous heros willing to make that
    ultimate sacrifice. Much of this seems dormant in the islamic memeplex (jihad means the struggle
    and sacrifice for islam and doesnt necessarily refer to a holy battle). Holy sacrifice could be
    reactivated given a sufficiently striking example by which to follow. The werther effect driving
    holy sacrifice. IMO last tuesday's suicide attack was an attempt to exploit this effect for some
    agenda (given the conventional framework of agency and intentionality).

    Even if the attitude in america is to"round them up, put them in a field and bomb the bastards",
    many people seem to be asking the'Why?' question. this isnt such a good question from the memetic
    stance as somehow agency sneaks in and fingers of blame get pointed. I thinck that we (memeticists
    that is) would benefit from viewing the situation not by asking why, but by looking for darwinian
    processes in how it came about.

    Andy Lord

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