Re: virus: Suicide Meme

Drakir (
Thu, 03 Jul 1997 09:35:10 +0100

Captain Horatio Pugwash wrote:

> Has there been any discussion of the suicide meme? It seems
> quite a puzzle to me, how such a manifestly autotoxic meme could
> spread. I would hypothesize that it doesn't spread in the form,
> "to kill oneself", but rather as simply the fact that people kill
> themselves sometimes.

I'm very much in favour of the idea that memes are not just spread, but
that the brain builds them by combining individual memes, and thus
creating a hybrid, if you like. I think that some memes can be both
propogated and created, whilst others can only be created. I don't see
that a propogated meme cannot be created (but that's by-the-by WRT this
question). I think that the Suicide Meme is almost exclusively of the
latter category. That it is almost never propogated. When it is, it is
under extreme circumstances (ie suicide pacts by religious sects
etc...), when supporting memes have already been laid down as a

So there is no freefloating "Suicide Meme", but there are many simpler
memes that in the right combination (and there may be many different
combinations) create the will to commit suicide.

> The possibility that it's the result of a combination of memes
> I find the most intriguing. Why does that combination occur so
> frequently?

Does anyone know any accurate suicide statistics?

I think that there are sufficient number of "Suicide Sympathetic memes"
(Yes, I made it up!), and sufficient number of combinations of these
memes (not necessarily involving all, or even many of them), to make
their combination into the Suiciede Meme not all that surprising at all.

> Are there rules by which memes mix in human minds?

Yes, IMO. It all depends on the state of the previous memesphere.

"We are the New Breed ... We are the Future" --------------------------------------------