Posts Tagged ‘Cultural Decompensation’

The Psychology of America’s Decline # 7

March 3, 2012

The Psychology of America’s Decline # 7

Cultural Decompensation Model, Behavioral Contagion and  Social Entropy Conceptual Advantages

By approaching the study of changing sociocultures through the analysis of empirical causes and outcomes within a behavioral contagion, social entropy, and cultural decompensation paradigm, we may be able to transform the former cultural mysteries into clearer more accurate principles, explanations, and opportunities for self-management. It is essential that a complex interdisciplinary research strategy integrate all of our relevant and  most robust scientific principles into one analytical and explanatory whole. Regarding our currently retarded state of cultural analysis, we cannot hope that the parts will show the whole until they are correctly assembled. This hope could only be realized through a massive undertaking involving the cooperation of demographic mathematical modelers and scientific researchers from numerous fields of study related to the biopsychosocial variables that change human behavior patterns in individuals and large populations within specific cultural contexts. I believe that the science of human behavior and evolving cultures is nowhere near the limits of its potential abilities.

The diversity of skills necessary to approach these frontiers are far beyond my own, as is the duration of time required to do so. I will therefore pray that someday others will do what I cannot.

Of the potential research problems that I have identified (and those that I could not discern) I expect that others will be capable of neutralizing, diminishing, or in some way circumventing the brunt of them. No analytical enterprise of this complexity is without a plethora of methodological problems. The question is: can it be done well enough to gain new levels of understanding, prediction and control of the important processes and outcomes involved. I can only make suggestions to the future with the faith that it can be done.

I expect that someday an integrated analysis of the population of  sociocultures can generate projected social entropy indices on a year to year basis, and into the future. These new perceptions could lead to a clearer understanding of the conditions that increase and decrease behavioral contagion and social entropy, and where the most dangerous and most ideal limits of these measures are vis-a-vis the healthy functioning or decompensation of one’s culture.

This development may well provide for a higher executive level of metacognitive functioning within cultures. Presumably, armed with this information, sociocultures would have a better chance of managing themselves in ways that increase the health and viability of their culture sustaining population, reduce their social entropy indices and enhance their chances of long-term survival in the world.

I will bet that with the assistance of skilled statistical modeling, powerful computer technology, an integrative scientific approach and human diligence, all of this is possible.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 3/3/12


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Social Entropy and Cultural Decline in America

August 15, 2010

Social Entropy and cultural Decline in America

A concept related to physical entropy is that of Social Entropy (Mawhinney, 1998). Social entropy is defined as that proportion of human behavioral energy, within a population, which is not available to build and maintain the socioculture–but functions as a drain upon it . In other words, any individual who is significantly incapacitated by any condition (physical or mental) represents an expense in human energy lost to build and maintain the socioculture in which they live. This cost can also be seen in the expense in the human energy and revenues which were originally invested to acculturate the individual. Additional costs are then incurred in order to rehabilitate, prosecute, monitor, imprison, or , to provide welfare for these individuals. Another hidden cost to the socioculture is added when the afflicted individuals’ maladaptive behavior patterns impact upon and harms others who are associated with him or her. I call this spreading effect of the original problem, Behavioral Contagion. Behavioral contagion can be seen as both a cause and a result of social entropy. I believe this positive feeback loop to be both synergistic and exponential in nature.

These behavioral/psychological processes, and their past and future costs, to sociocultures would appear to be very difficult to calculate. However, they can at least be conceptualized and identified as factors worthy of our grave concern.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D. 8/15/10

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