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Social Consciousness

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Posted by Harvey on August 4, 2003 14:38:53 UTC

Has everyone heard of the term 'social consciousness'? It is, of course, the concept that we are all members of a social community where each of us makes up a general social consciousness that ulimately encompasses all human society that is in constant communication with any other node of that human society. The reaction to the 'social consciouness' might be to be brought along the current of that consciousness, but it could just as well be to react negatively against it and develop social immune systems to maintain separation from it.

Underlying this view is that as ideas are created, they get tossed into the social consciousness where they either find a place in the 'social genome', or no relevancy is found in that genome and the idea is considered passe or just passes through the social system with minimal interaction within the system.

As an extension of this social conscious concept, is the idea of a social subconscious. Here, ideas and events affect the system in a manner that has deep impact, but because of the subtleties of the ideas and events in relation to our entire social subconscious, we as members of the social conscious are not aware of the impact of these ideas and events. For example, a small event having no immediate implications, might trigger major upheavels (socially speaking), such that everyone is left asking why is the social upheavel happening, what caused it. In other instances, a major event happens (e.g., 9-11), and the impact to society is similar to a psychological scar that happens in any tramatic event that might happen to an individual.

Screenwriters and novel writers, etc, are able to sell a ton of screenplays and novels by tapping into the social conscious, especially the social subconscious. Sometimes these ideas are just lying there waiting to be discovered. At times, multiple people discover them simultaneously which can lead to thoughts that someone has pirated someone else's idea. Yet, the underlying reason wasn't that someone had stolen an idea, rather the particular idea surfaced from someone's subconscious to their conscious at about the same time. The society was very receptive to the idea as the idea was ready to pop into everyone's social subconscious to conscious, it was just that some were in a position to consider it first.

Which raises the question of whether such things happen in science. Do scientists have their ideas catipulted to prominence by a similar social phenomena happening in the sub-society of science? This makes some sense to me especially when some ideas in science also come about at the same time. I'm reminded of Alan Guth and Andrei Linde how they both came upon inflationary theory around the same time. When the science society around them were exposed to the idea, many scientists were dumbfounded as to why they didn't think of it prior also. I heard that Steven Weinberg, a prominent particle physicist, was upset at himself for overlooking such an obvious solution to many problems haunting the big bang theory. Was Weinberg not in touch enough in this instance with the social subconscious of cosmology?

If any of this speculation is sound, then it makes me wonder, what kind of beautiful theory of science is just under the surface of the social conscious of science barely out of our reach? Who will be more in touch with the subtleties of their subconscious such that they will be the next Guth or Linde to bring another powerful concept to science?

Just makes me wonder...

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