Re: virus: Martyrdom

David Leeper (
Fri, 25 Oct 1996 13:56:21 -0500

KMO prime wrote:
> On Thu, 24 Oct 1996 19:32:42 -0500 David Leeper <> writes:
> > Notice
> >that both the IRA and the PLO are defending their own land from
> >unwanted outside domination.
> >Their backs are up against a wall. Would they be so passionate if the
> >stakes were lower?
> >
> >I think this is the way out of this example of the martyrdom meme.
> >Here Martyrdom is the word
> >used to describe the meme "Desperation".
> I recommend that everyone listen to National Public Radio's "All Thing's
> Considered." Several months ago they had a
> series of interviews with Hammas (sp) members who recruit young men and
> prepare them for suicide bombing missions as well as with many of the
> young recruits. They spend months painting vivid mental images in the
> minds of those young men; images of the heavenly rewards which await the
> heros who give their lives in the service of Allah. By the time those
> men drive trucks packed with explosives into buildings or get on busses
> as human bombs, they are far more focused on the martyr's reward which
> awaits them in heaven then on the likelihood that their actions will
> affect some political change.

I think most people have heard these stories and take them into
consideration when they post on
this subject.

The question I'm asking is would the martyrdom meme have any effect if the
situation of these
people were not desperate? If the answer is "No", then the martyrdom meme
is not what is
affecting people, but rather it's the desperation of the situation.
"Martyrdom", then, becomes
an attractive wrapper around the truth.

Everyone, consciously or unconsciously, tries to present their situation in
an attractive light.
But the words we use are often not true, and we often don't even know it.

David Leeper
Homo Deus