Re: virus: Tabacco mind virus

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Fri, 1 Aug 1997 14:26:39 -0700 (PDT)

On Fri, 1 Aug 1997, Eric Boyd wrote:

> Eva-Lise Carlstrom wrote:
> > But attempting to convince someone to do something that is against his or
> > her own best interests, including even suicide, is not the same thing as
> > doing it or getting someone to do it for you. Memetic influence, even
> > when used in the service of sleazy causes like cigarette advertising or
> > encouraging murder, is not deadly force.
> So you do not think that the leader of the Heavens Gate folks was at all
> to blame for their deaths? After all, they drank the posion of their
> own free will. It was his memetic influence that did it, though.

Of course I think he was to blame. For his destructive memetic influence.
Just as I think tobacco advertisers are blameworthy for their destructive
influence. I never claimed they were innocent; I claimed they weren't the
same thing as murderers, because they seek to memetically adjust (much as
we do in any argument), rather than circumvent, people's will.

> > It's not a question of degree of directness, it's a question of kind of
> > pressure. Like the difference between seduction and rape.
> A fine line, to be sure. Especially if the seductor (seductress?) is at
> all experienced. The deal is, playing on someones "buttons", if you
> know how to do it, is a very powerful method of control. Me, I'm not
> sure that I wouldn't put some guilt on the seductor too.

Oh, sure. There are some really despicable techniques out there. But
most of them shouldn't be against the law, and aren't. Some exceptions,
which are a lot more like forcible rape than like seduction (and are
dealt with differently in the legal system): threats, blackmail, isolation
and intimidation. The most despicable purely memetic techniques, IMHO,
are those which involve outright lying, particularly if the lies are any
of the following: "I love you", "I'm not seeing anyone else", "I tested
negative". With the possible exception of the latter, since it involves
physical danger, I don't think even these lies should be illegal acts.
They're just repulsive acts, and as such should be dealt with on the
personal and social level.

I hope this clarifies my position on cigarette advertising, far afield tho
it's gone. The outright lies that cigarette advertisers have told, where
they deny health risks, are far more reprehensible than their general
(still bad) encouragement of smoking. None of it is the same as murder,
IMHO--It's more like trying to talk someone into committing suicide, which
is a really nasty thing to do but not illegal, so far as I know.