Re: virus: re: Seven
Mon, 13 May 1996 21:01:00 -0400

Regarding "John Doe," I feel that he was neither insane nor illogical. To
make the case:

Every logical argument starts with premisses -- statements assumed to be true
based on observation / inductive reasoning (1) or religious dogma / issues of
faith. The virian ethic of "purpose" is based on the former, while all other
ethical systems -- including tanshumanism and humanism -- are based on the
latter, since the issue of "purpose" is synonymous with a higher cause or an
effect or state that does not yet exist (i.e., a platonic ideal).
I think that John Aten was in error when he stated in his e-mail of 5/7 that
John Doe was acting out of a search for identity that culminated in biblical
influence. Rather, I think that the methodical nature of the murders
evidences an underlying rationale that is no less methodical. The key to
uncovering this rationale lies, I think, in the fact that the murders were
calculated to bring about his own demise -- otherwise he would not have
turned himself in and then goaded Pitt's character into killing him.
If we are looking for a systematic way to die, the most logical way to do so
would be to find a methodology that guarantees death as a logical result of
its execution. Suicide is one such system -- but so are the seven deadly
We can conclude, based on his choice of the sins as a method, his reading
material, and his room decoration, that John Doe was a christian in his
choice of premisses. That he did not act "christian" does not make him a
hypocrite, since that type of activity is geared toward salvation, and this
was evidently not his goal. If indeed his goal was to die, and do so within
the logical structure of his religion, he would logically choose to carry out
all seven deadly sins, as this would (according to his faith) guarantee his
death. The argument against this -- his moralistic speech in the car toward
the end of the film -- does not hold, as we cannot have any degree of
certainty that he was not lying.
** An interesting application of this type of methodology is the Church of
Euthanasia ("save the planet, kill yourself"). **

(1). This may be the reason for the incompatibility of science and religion:
while the former's premisses are and must be fluid, the latter's must be
rigid (in order to preserve an orthodox faith).