Thursday, August 6, 2009

A thought on the art of Societal predictions, I wonder if this has been investigated?

It occurs to me that there are a few people out there now who use massive computer power to scour the Blogspace looking for word strings that portend of social changes to come. I think they're attempt is noble but I doubt the full validity of the approach. is a website that I read regularly that champions this method.

In 2004, I was convinced that the U.S. was headed for a depression. As I talked to a lot of people about this, I noticed the vehemence of their denial of it as a possibility. Not just disagreement, but vehemence. It has just recently occurred to me that perhaps if we had a polling technique to ascertain what percentage of the population believes that a specific event can't happen, maybe where the conviction and the percentages are both very high, that this is actually a predictor of outcomes. Nietzsche used to say something about denial and the unconscious mind, I don't remember the specific quote, but it had to do with the idea the unconscious mind is much smarter then we generally recognize. It defends the conscious mind from concepts that threaten it, by making certain thoughts painful to contemplate. Aside from normal concerns about our mortality, quite a few thoughts relating to the probabilities of specific and unusual social outcomes will often be blocked. I suspect when the blocking gets very, very high, it's because the unconscious has done a computation that this outcome is likely.

When this process shows up on one issue and becomes real dominant in a population, that might be a real probable outcome...

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