Posts Tagged ‘‘Social Entropy’

America’s Devastating Sexual Problems

December 17, 2017

Some Causes of Sexual Harassment

Well, with regard to sexual harassment, I cannot witness what goes on behind closed doors any better that you can.

I’m sure you have observed that women are increasingly complaining about sexual harassment.

https://www.google.com/search?q=40+more+accused+of+sex+misconduct&rlz=1C1CAFB_enUS693US693&oq=40+more+accused+of+sex+misconduct&aqs=chrome..69i57.14366j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

You may note that men only infrequently complain about sexual harassment.

What could account for these gender reporting differences?

The explanations would seem to be limited to learning or biological differences between the sexes and motivational interactions between these two factors.

You could argue that women do less sexual harassing than men. Or, you could argue that men simply complain less about female sexual harassment, but it is all the same. Yes, some would like to argue that there are no gender differences in sexual motivation.

While conducting therapy with both married and dating couples in my psychological practice (36 years and counting), I observe that women seldom complain about not getting enough sex in their relationships; in fact they sometimes complain that their mates are too demanding of sex. Men far-more-often complain that their mates are not so interested in sex.

I learned a rather gross saying while in the Navy. It makes a germane point, so please forgive me for this quote. One “old-salt” stated with great confidence: “Men give love to get sex and women give sex to get love”.

I am certain that there is an element of truth to this rather harsh statement.

When it comes to sex, you can be bet that sexual enticement and coercive entanglement is an “art-form” often practiced by both sexes. However, I am convinced that, more often, men are highly motivated by sex and more prone to such shenanigans.

Feminists most often complain about an unfair balance of power between the sexes (more powerful men, less powerful women). To whatever extent this is true, it could serve as an inducement for males to try to sexually dominate females and for females to weaponize their sexuality.

There is more I would like to say on this matter, but I have a larger point to make.

The point is simply this: The “pornification” of America, along with many other cultural evolutions,  have catalyzed a pervasive increase in our sexual behavior problems.

I hope you will take time to read the following article I published in order to be better informed on this important topic. It is technical in nature, but if you will read it in its entirety, you will gain an increased understanding of what will happen to a society when moral codes of sexual conduct are weakened and a population is bathed in soft and hard pornography.

Please note that the graphics in this article are historical and these trends have vacillated over more recent times. However, a contemporary review of these and other measures assures me that America’s sexual behaviors continue to be devastating social problems.

https://selfdefinition.org/psychology/Behavioral-Sexual-Maladaptation-Contagion-in-America.pdf

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Psychology

Health Services Provider in Psychology

America’s Decline: A Partial Explanation

September 23, 2016

America’s Decline: A Partial Explanation

The following is a brief summary of my research into America’s sociocultural decline. My attempt to understand this complex phenomenon has been on-going for over 30 years and it continues to this day.

What follows is a revision of a blog that I published in 2014. It is a small sample of my findings and the concepts that I use to make a “blizzard” of seemingly unrelated sociocultural events comprehensible.

I hope you will take time to understand my perspective on what is happening to America. It is happening to everyone and all our loved ones.

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I cannot conduct my particular cultural analysis without the use of a value system. As you will note, my analysis normally cleaves to that of Judeo/Christian precepts. This value and belief system is arguably the most beneficial the world has ever experienced.

The first thing to understand is: CDP/TP x 100 = % SE

Cultural Draining Population Divided by The Total Population x 100 = % Social Entropy!

I define my theoretical concept of social entropy as: The proportion of a population that is not available to do work to sustain a socioculture, and  functions as a drain upon it.

Increasing population proportions of social entropy, beyond some difficult to estimate percentage, will destroy any culture and it is now debilitating America.

I label those who work very hard for delayed rewards, behave responsibly and avoid the many human foibles (immediately rewarding indiscriminate sex, drugs, alcohol, aggression, destructive behavior; or other self-destructive and irresponsible behaviors), that do immediate or delayed damage to individuals and our socioculture as the culture sustaining population. I call them “cultural sustainers” for short. The culture draining population is composed of  the hard-core “cultural drainers”, who are doing he harmful behaviors identified above, who are on the dole and have found ways to gain welfare grants from the government for doing very little or nothing. Among the cultural drainers are active criminals and those who are imprisoned.

It is important to note that children, teens, the elderly and the infirmed, as well as those on entitlements that they have earned, (i.e., social security and medicare, etc.), by paying for them all of their working lives, are a necessary part of this analysis because they justifiably require our support. Technically, they are rightfully a part of the culture draining population. Children and teens are an essential investment any culture’s future. To fail to support this costly investment is not only ethically wrong, it is cultural suicide. Without children and youth, there is no future. I do not want to put them in the cultural draining population, but for important and greatly beneficial reasons, they must temporarily reside there until they reach maturity and join the culture sustaining population.

It is important for a culture to love and appreciate their elderly. The retired elderly still frequently contribute to sustaining their culture. They may do volunteer work in many places, they may serve as aunts, uncles, and grandparents who help to acculturate children and youth.  They may continue to vote and make financial investments and may be politically active. This segment of society is typically unable to contribute as much time, energy and talent to sustaining their culture as they once did, but they can continue to provide important contributions.

When the aged become infirmed and incapacitated they become an esteemed and honored member of a special culture draining population and society is ethically obligated to care for them as humanly as possible until the end of their natural lives.

Please note that unethical cultures will find it very easy to rationalize forms of euthanasia ” in order to humanly assist the death” of what has become a costly population. The unspoken immoral motive for this action is very likely to be the politics of raw cost-savings.

As financial and material rewards allocated to the cultural drainers increase, the numbers of of these people can be predicted to increase as a proportion of the general population. This is so because they are more likely to be under-educated and therefore reside the lower socioeconomic class. Historically individuals with these demographics are more likely to reproduce at higher rates than the higher educated, more wealthy, working, tax-paying culture sustaining-class. This outcome is dramatically increased when the government allocates more material rewards to the culture draining-class for having children that they often cannot afford to care-for decently.

If you now understand the gist of this analysis, it is just this simple:

When the culture sustaining population’s money is given to the culture draining population for not working and having more babies, they will predictably have more babies than the cultural sustaining population does. The culture sustainers are just too busy getting educated, working, inventing, volunteering, making money, investing, paying taxes, raising their few children and behaving responsibly, to ever match the culture drainer’s reproductive rates and increasing financial needs.

Now the plot thickens:

The basic psychological principle of Modeling and Imitation, and many others such principles, insure that a majority of children raised by the culture draining, wealth-consuming, do-little or nothing parents, will identify with their parents. When this happens the are very likely to imitate their ways: How they think, perceive, show their emotions and how they behave.

Within the span only several generations (20 yrs. per generation), this complex and spreading relative rate of growth cycle of bad and useless behaviors (that I call “behavioral contagion”) can shift the socio/political demographics and power structure to the rapidly growing culture draining population. Unfortunately, this under-educated and under-achieving group will believe almost anything they are told by their political curators who promise them more free rewards contingent upon their continuing dependency and political patronage.

Put colloquially, how can any responsible political party compete with an opposing  “Santa Clause” political party?

The cultural draining population is generally under-educated in reading, writing, math, science, history and economics, etc., and they have been taught by their families and their government to remain dependent upon freely given rewards. Unfortunately, they are sub-culturally blinded to the long-term very aversive outcomes of their actions for themselves and for the socioculture at-large.  

Why would any psychologically informed person expect otherwise?

The political outcome for a voting Representative Republic such as America, or any other form of democracy, will be that increasing numbers of culture drainers will vote increasing numbers of their intelligent, but devious (even sociopathic), political curators into office. As a result, these political curators are in a position to take more from the culture sustaining wealth-makers to give to the drainers who, as a result, will certainly vote to keep them in power.

This culture draining/progressive-socialist-communist dance of sociocultural death is ongoing in America and elsewhere. To make matters worse, more responsible opposing political parties are induced to adopt more and more of their culture-draining political opponent’s behaviors in order to ever hope to compete with them.

Over-time the productivity of the culture-sustaining population will be overwhelmed due to their continuing political, social and financial losses.

Additionally, it is the progressive/socialist tendency of states to grow massive and inefficient bureaucracies and to impose regulations upon all aspects of the societies, as they strive for increased control. These inefficiencies further reduce the personal liberties accorded culture sustaining individuals and unavoidably reduce the quality of their lives. Also, the bloating progressive/socialist governments normally blindly impose even more of its controls and regulations upon businesses, further damaging its own economy. All of this stresses the entire population and stokes more bad behavioral contagion and the spread of psychopathology and other maladaptive behaviors within the general population.

The financial and social costs of escalating bad behavioral contagion catalyzes this  self-feeding population/governmental vicious cycle and accelerates the rate of sociocultural decline.

How can you not see this happening in America as you read this blog?

Of course there must be a mathematical end to this form of social, political and economic self-destructive, self-feeding cultural behavior pattern. When the money runs out, there will be hell-to-pay in the form of economic collapse and social upheaval. At that point in a culture’s decline, the government “is justified” in imposing even harsher controls on the population’s behaviors, as well as the various agencies and institutions and the stage is set for a shift to a more totalitarian government.

The following is only the most recent example of what I am trying to illustrate.

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article103336577.html

Historically, great cultures have shown indications of decline after around 200-250 years of life. Once the chain of events described here are well-under-way, experts note that no culture has been able to recover.

Reversing these trends will be the greatest challenge America has ever faced.

Wake-up America!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.,  2/15/14; Revised 9/23/16

 

Civilization and The Entropy Law: Nothing Lasts Forever

September 30, 2013

Civilization and The Entropy Law: Nothing Lasts Forever

The following are several telling quotes from the book, Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail,  by William Opuls.

This is a very important book for citizens of our American Great Civilization to understand and act upon.

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When coal is burned to produce electricity, only about 35 percent of the energy in the coal is converted into electrical energy. The rest becomes waste heat, various gases (such as carbon dioxide), various chemicals (such as sulfuric acid), particulates, and ash. And even the electricity dissipates into the environment as waste heat once it had done its work. From the physicist’s point of view, the books are balanced—there is just as much matter and energy in the overall system as before—but what remains is significantly lower in quality. The upshot is that for every unit of good that man creates using this particular technology, he  manufactures two units of bad and even the good is ephemeral.”

Kindle location 514-520

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“technological improvements actually increase thermodynamic costs. Take the substitution of the automobile for the horse. To make a horse requires a modest investment in pasture, water, and fodder for he two to three years it takes from conception until the horse can work. But to make a car requires not only many direct inputs—steel, copper fuel, water, chemicals, and so forth—but also many indirect ones such as a factory and labor force as well as the matter and energy needed to sustain them. To use a technical term, the “embodied energy” in the car is many times that in the horse. In addition, the thermodynamic cost of operating the car is greater. A horse needs only a modicum of hay, water and oats procured locally without to much difficulty. But the auto requires oil wells, refineries, tankers, gasoline stations, mechanics shops, and so on—that is, a myriad of direct inputs that are difficult and expensive to procure, as well as a host of indirect costs. So the substitution of auto for horse may have brought many advantages, but at a heavy thermodynamic price.”

Kindle Location 531-541

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Civilization is trapped in a thermodynamic vicious circle from which escape is well nigh impossible. The greater a civilization becomes, the more the citizens produce and consume—but the more they produce and consume, the larger the increase in entropy. The longer economic development continues, the more depletion, decay, degradation, and disorder accumulate in the system as a whole, even if it brings a host of  short-term benefits. Depending on a variety of factors—the quantity and quality of available resources, the degree of technological and managerial skill, and so forth—the process can continue for some time but not indefinitely. At some point, just as in the ecological realm, a civilization exhausts its thermodynamic “credit” and begins to implode.”

Kindle Location 617-623

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While nothing lasts forever, it would be good if humankind could learn to extend the ride. To do so would require a gigantic exercise in self-control and sacrifice for long-term gain and good.

Short of the occurrence of some science-based technological miracle, there is little reason for optimism.

VTM, 9/29/13

P.S. Another important corollary of the Entropy Law is something that I call Social Entropy. On the bright side, it would seem that there are things that a civilization could to control social entropy. Please see below:

https://culturalsurvivalskills.wordpress.com/2010/08/15/social-entropy-and-cultural-decline-in-america/

https://culturalsurvivalskills.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/what-increases-social-entropy/

I Wonder If I Am A Libertarian # 5b

June 15, 2013

I Wonder If I Am A Libertarian #5 b

We hear talk of building “Human Capital”, that is, educating a population in the intellectual, ethical and physical skills needed  for sociocultural success.

If there is something called human capital, and there is, then there must be an opposite. I call the opposite, Social Entropy. 

Social entropy is that proportion of a population that is impaired in some way and is unable to, or unwilling to, work to sustain the socioculture. Therefore, increasing social entropy represents increasing damage to the ability of a socioculture to survive long and well.

Social entropy can increasingly impair a population for many reasons. Addiction to drugs, sex, gambling, and pornography (the traditional vices) (approved of by radical liberals, progressives, and Libertarians) damage human capital and therefore increases social entropy. So does an inferior acculturating education; an entertainment media that encourages irresponsible licentious, hedonistic, and antisocial behavior.

One of the few issues upon which I disagree with the libertarian party is the legalization of the traditional vices. I disagree because they are highly reinforcing to everyone, they tend to become addictive to those who sample the momentary pleasures they seductively offer, and they can spread through a population like wild-fire.

Bad behavioral contagion combines the psychological processes and mechanisms through which bad behaviors spread within a population.  Elementary principles of psychology now contage bad behavior patterns among an increasingly ignorant, barbaric and heathen population, swiftly (generation after generation) increasing a great many forms of self and other-destructive behaviors within America’s population. All of this further directly increases social entropy within the socioculture and is leading to our decline.

One, of only a few problems, that I have thus far encountered with the Libertarian model is their position on the traditional vices. They argue that if drugs, prostitution, gambling, and pornography are legalized that people will naturally exert controls to minimize the damages of these vices among themselves.

Libertarians say that such activities would naturally be moved out-of-proximity to mainstream life and activities, that people would naturally shun those who own and operate such businesses, or who become addicted to them and who damage their families and others as a result. 

Libertarians argue that the traditional criminal elements associated with such activities would naturally melt away when they are legalize and that the great costs of law enforcement, adjudication and punishment allocated to such crimes would be saved.

The libertarians say that such “crimes” are victimless in nature and that consenting adults should be able to  get together and do what they want. If they are harmed, it was their choice and it is no concern to the rest of us.

Unfortunately, from the bad behavioral contagion and social entropy perspectives, that is not what happens in a densely packed population with a  pervasive entertainment, news and marketing media flooding children, adolescents and adults with propaganda in favor of self and other-person destructive activities.

Do you really think that a gambling addicted father, who embezzled money, is fired from his job, divorced his wife, abandoned his children, and eventually commited suicide harmed no one but himself?

Do you think that the pretty high school drop-out who becomes an “actress” in the porn industry, or who becomes a prostitute, harms only herself? What about her family, brothers and sisters, what about the flood of her floridly depicted actions (media born or actual) upon married men and their families with children?

Do you think that children finding and viewing their parents pornography, the increasingly explicit pornography on family media, the softer porn..(“The Big Bang Theory” comedy series, or, “if your erection lasts longer than 4 hours”, sexual performance ads, etc.) have no bad effects on our children and adolescents?

Do you think that the word-of-mouth tales and depictions among child and adolescent peers about what they have discovered or observed in our increasingly licentious, permissive, and irresponsible society will have no negative effects upon them and, therefore, upon all of us?

Only a fool or an ideologue would argue that gambling addictions do not ruin families and increase problem gambling in children and teens, or that the flood of pornography in America has not sexualized our youth in ways destructive to them and to our common good.

It should also be plain to see that the likely future legalization of drugs and prostitution will have similar effects on the destruction of human capital through bad behavioral contagion and increasing social entropy.

Wake-up America!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.

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

 

You have permission to share this information with others for noncommercial purposes only.

 

 

 

 

The Psychology of America’s Decline # 6

March 1, 2012

The Psychology of America’s Decline # 6

Social Entropy

I once read that John Lock stated that “Eeverything in nature is waste until humans transform it”. While one might fashion a counter-argument against this decidedly homocentric view, I believe it is clearly true of human beings themselves. The human infant is perceptually precocious, but its psychomotor and cognitive skills are so poorly developed that they will need intensive care and teaching by other humans (transformation) for many years following their birth.  If the infant is abandoned it will simply die. For reasons of my profound and undeniable personal bias on this matter, I would call this failed transformation by humans, a very sad waste.

The skillful and loving care and teaching of a developing child will normally produce very useful forms of good behavioral contagion, and that is a marvelous thing. The neglectful, abusive, or unskilled care and teaching of children will normally lead damaging forms to bad behavioral contagion and that is a very sad and wasteful outcome. If transformational rates of bad behavioral contagion increase dramatically within any human population, they can lay waste to precious current and future human energy reservoirs available to build and sustain their resident culture.

Rifkin and others have discussed ways in which the entropy law might be applied to some social activities such as economics, urbanization, the military and education. I will now suggest that there may be powerful utility in extending an adaptation of the entropy law to the examination of changes in the quality and potential of populations to do  work to sustain their sociocultures. The useful human energy available in a population comprising a society and its culture is a resource that can be created and it can be destroyed and used-up, by a great many events; most of which are mediated by other human beings.

I have called my adaptation of the entropy concept biopsychosocial entropy. The meaning of the unwieldy designation ,biopsychosocial, has been defined in earlier parts of this book. We will now use a shorted designation, social entropy as when we referred to behavioral contagion rather that biopsychosocial contagion. However, it is important to remember that both behavioral contagion and social entropy increase or decrease in one, or in combinations of biological, psychological, or social domains.

Social entropy is defined as: The proportion of human behavioral energy, within a population, that is not available to build and maintain the socioculture–but functions as a drain upon it.

It is important to note that with physical entropy, according to theory, entropy can only increase in the universe. Theoretically physical entropy is not reducible. From this perspective, there is no such a thing as negative entropy.

However, with the special adaptation of this concept to the analysis of populations within sociocultures, this changes dramatically. A socioculture is not a “closed system”. Its territory many expand or contract, birth rates and immigrations rates may increase or decrease, rates of good and bad behavioral contagion may increase or decrease, and with all of this the proportions a culture sustaining population will fluctuate. Given the definition of social entropy to be used for our cultural analyses, or even within the population of the world, its proportions can increase or decrease.

In spite of the fact that the concept of social entropy does not conform to the first, second and therefore the third law of thermodynamics, I will hope to make its utility for cultural analysis applications clear.

If we return to the Cultural Decompensation Model introduced in Chapter 1 (and as reviewed briefly at the start of the present chapter), you will understand the product of a great many of the biopsychosocial events that impact a population for better or worse is geometrically summarized in the last (adults) segment on the right hand side of this figure. To see this figure, please go to Vision 5 in my blog of 9/14/09.

What is portrayed here is the total of the adult population in America. No matter how this population may grow or diminish in absolute numbers what is contained within this section is 100 percent of the total population of adults.

The trapezoid appearing roughly in the center of this section displays the “proportion of human behavioral energy within a population” that are physically and emotionally healthy enough to do work to create and maintain the socioculture. I call them the culture sustaining population. The trapezoid at the top contains the proportion of the population that is aged, 65 years and older. These individuals have withdrawn (or are beginning to withdraw) their personal energy from building and sustaining the socioculture. The trapezoid at the bottom contains the proportion of our population that are children, youth, or adults who are not in the workforce. It also includes members of this population that are physically or mentally impaired for any reason, as well as those who are at risk for biopsychosocial dysfunction. Added together, those in the top and bottom two trapezoids represent current and probable future drains on the resources of any socioculture under study.

To gain a rough clinical picture of the biopsychosocial health, vitality and viability of America (or any socioculture), it is imperative to keep an eye on the center trapezoid. This is the visual geometric and mathematical representation of social entropy: The proportion of human behavioral energy, within a population, that is not available to build and maintain the socioculture–but functions as a drain upon it.

An oversimplified, though potentially useful, formula for approximating  social entropy indices for a socioculture is as follows:

CS = Culture Sustaining Population

T = Total Population

SE = Social Entropy

I.e., CS / T x 100 =  CS %

For example, if our population was 450 million individuals and our culture sustaining population was 220 million, the culture sustaining population would be 48.9 %.

The proportion of human behavioral energy, within a population, that is not available to build and maintain the socioculture–but functions as a drain upon it is social entropy.

I.e., T% (100) – CS% = SE

If, at any point in time, America’s CS index is 48.8%, its reciprocal social entropy index would be 51.1 %, and visa-versa.

At this time, I cannot tell you what the social entropy score is that would indicate, probable, certain, or catastrophic social decompensation for any particular socioculture. For the sake of discussion, I suspect that SE percents increasing into the lower 40’s should be reason for concern. I imagine that SE percents in the high 40’s should be reason for grave concern. It is likely, however, that critical SE scores would differ somewhat depending upon structural, infrastructural, superstructural, as well as other variables particular to a specific  socioculture.

However, I am certain that for any socioculture these profoundly important (but, as of yet undetected) social entropy scores exist. I have faith that they can be determined by scientific methods. Furthermore, I believe that science can provide useful guidelines to sociocultures for maintaining low social entropy measures and better maintaining the health and viability of sociaocultures.

To do this will require a new paradigm.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.

Readers  have my permission to share this information for noncommercial purposes only.

The Psychology of America’s Decline #5

February 27, 2012

The Psychology of America’s Decline #5

In science, it is important to measure the phenomena under study. As you have learned, it is not difficult to measure the rates per 100,000 of population to assess important social indicators. Also, it is no longer difficult to understand the mechanisms involved in changing the behaviors of individuals, and envision the multiplication of various behavior patterns within our population through the known mechanisms and avenues of behavioral contagion.

But to develop measures of the impact of all of previously discussed factors upon the health and viability of America (or any socioculture) will require the development of yet another conception. This concept is one that I call Social Entropy. But first it is important to lay some important groundwork for its construction.

Physical Entropy

The concept of entropy is not new. Jeremy Rifkin (1980) Other Authors wrote the book, Entropy. He noted that Albert Einstein held that entropy was “the premier law of all science”.  He also noted that Einstein judged that entropy, the second law of thermodynamics was the physical law most unlikely to be ever invalidated. He further noted that the scientist Sir Arthur Edington asserted that the Entropy Law was “the supreme metaphysical law of the entire universe”.

The principle of entropy was originally described by a French army officer named Sadi Carnot while he was investigating the workings of the the steam engine. The German physicist, Rudolf  Clausius was the first to use the term, entropy, in 1868. It was the field of thermodynamics that yielded this extraordinarily important scientific concept.

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy or matter cannot be created or destroyed and that the total amount of energy in the universe is finite and constant.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that matter and energy can only be transformed or changed and that the direction of change is always from energy which is available for use, to energy which is not available for use.

The Third Law of Thermodynamics states that “processes which do not conform to the First and Second Law cannot occur“.

The concept of entropy is based upon the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Rifkin (1980) defined entropy as “a measure of the amount of energy no longer capable of conversion into work”. Another common definition of entropy centers on the “tendency of organized matter to move in the direction of disorganization, deterioration, and chaos”.

While both of these definitions can be adapted to have relevance to our sociocultural analysis purposes, the concept of the amount of energy not available to maintain a system or process, is most germane.  Although the energy-not-available concept will normally be used within the following discussions, the tendency-toward-disorganization will also be a very useful and compatible subordinate concept.

A simple example of entropy in the physical world is the burning of a log. I fondly recall my dear father explaining this concept to me when I was a child. A piece of wood represents free and easily used energy in a highly organized state. When the wood is burned, nothing physical is actually lost in the universe. The wood is simply converted into various gases and ash residue. The energy has been converted from free to bound energy.  It was once easily used through the process of combustion, but now it is much less available for convenient or easy use. Another, more troublesome, example of entropy is the dramatically escalating use of our planet’s fossil fuels. These natural resources represent a finite supply of “free or unbound” energy. Once this fuel is combusted, or converted, the byproducts will represent bound energy which are no longer so easily available to do work.

It is clear that physical scientists are convinced that the entropy law manifests a great deal of reliability, validity and generality across all of their disciplines. The conception of entropy in the physical sciences is not only the result of diligent research, but this concept has functioned as an immensely valuable catalyst for further scientific advancements.

I believe the concept of entropy can be adapted to understand a large part the puzzle of the worlds sociocultures that inevitably fall into decline and often have totally collapsed.

Please Stay Tuned!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 2/27/12

You are welcome to share my writing on this topic. But, reproducing for commercial use is prohibited

Altering “For The Better Designedly”: Francis Bacon

December 26, 2011

Altering “For The Better Designedly”: Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon,  is quoted as saying:

“Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly.”

For more about Bacon see here:  http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/francis-bacon/

It would appear that Francis Bacon anticipated the Second Law of Thermodynamics.   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_of_thermodynamics

I have used this more modern conception to illustrate what happens in a socioculture (an “open system” in America) when it is in decline. An increasingly dysfunctional cultural design transforms useful unbound  human energy (available to do work to build and sustain the socioculture), into useless bound, (even damaging) human energy that functions as a destructive drain upon it.

As with physical entropy (wood is burned and transformed into relatively useless ash and gases), when human energy potential is destroyed by bad cultural designs it can become useless and even damaging to the socioculture (addiction, crime, abuse of children, etc.). I call this process Social Entropy.

While the concept of increasing Social Entropy can be a frightening one, it also offers hope. In an “open society” (proper immigration) and with a therapeutic redesign (“altered for the better desinedly”), Social Entropy can be decreased and the socioculture can again flourish.

The therapeutic cultural alterations needed are suggested by several fields of science (anthropology, psychology, sociology, and economics, to name several).

What is not yet clear, is how to cautiously make and assess such alterations while preserving the liberties granted under America’s Constitutional framework. 

I am thinking about that and it is an intimidating and  humbling area of cogitation.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.       12/26/11

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

How To Predict A Culture’s Decline

August 13, 2010

How To Predict A Culture’s Decline

How can a socioculture tell when it is headed for decline? Perhaps you might think that some economic measure would tell the story. It could, but I think it would be a relatively late indicator–perhaps too late.

What is needed is an early warning system, an alarm that would alert the socioculture in question to the fact that the main source of its vitality, the core “fuel cell”, that powers its growth and maintenance is running out of energy.

The concept of physical entropy is a well known principle in science (the Second Law of Thermodynamics). This law states that energy tends toward disorganization or dissipation and that it can be transformed from a “free” and easily used form into one which is “bound” and not very useful.

What is needed for a science of sociocultural health and viability assessment is a conception that I will call Social Entropy. I define social entropy 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 any socioculture, there is a population that is working diligently: inventing, starting businesses, employing others, having and rearing children, educating others, or in some important way is expending their human energy that builds and maintains their socioculture. You could call this proportion of any population, in any socioculture, the cultural sustainers. This human energy source is free and available to do work.

An opposite force in any socioculture is that of the cultural drainers. This proportion, in any society, represents bound energy. They represent human energy that is not only unavailable to do work that sustains its socioculture, but it also functions as a drain upon the socioculture. The size of the drain relates to how much energy the socioculture must expend to acculturate or maintain this population. Infants, children, adolescents and the aged or infirmed are in this category (as we all were, and will be again). Those who are engaged in criminal activity, in jails and prisons, who are drug and alcohol addicted, seriously mentally ill, disabled, on public welfare, or otherwise unemployed are also sociocultural drainers.

These people are unavailable to do work to maintain and sustain the socioculture in which they reside and their proportion of the whole population is the measure of social entropy. Of course not all cultural drainers represent a loss to the socioculture in which they reside. Infants and children are a resource drain that promises greater returns in the future. If they are well educated and acculturated they can represent a net gain for sociocultural viability. Even many of the aged can represent a continuing gain to the socioculture if their energy can be productively utilized. Other categories of social entropy that I have identified in the paragraph above are likely to offer little or no returns on sociocultural investments.

A consortium of scholars trained in demographics, mathematical modeling and statistics might be able to develop a quantitative index of social entropy which could have great utility. Presumably, any socioculture that regularly measures its own levels of social entropy and then effectively takes early corrective actions to keep it at low proportions could sustain viability and enjoy a strong survival advantage.

Any Ph.D. students need a thesis project?

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D. 8/2/10


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