Thursday, May 20, 2010

Why midwives and women have to stay upbeat about birth: The wisdom of herds: How social mood moves the world - 19 May 2010 - New Scientist

In the latest New Scientist (19th May 2010), an article by John Casti, Senior Research Scholar and a futurist (castiwien@cs.com) based at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria who is developing early-warning indicators for extreme events in society, informs us that

"No collective human activities or actions, such as globalisation or, for that matter, trends in popular culture such as fashions in films, books or haute couture, can be understood without recognising that it is how a group or population sees the future that shapes events. Feelings, not rational calculations, are what matter. To see what our world might be like tomorrow, next year or next decade, we need to spend time and money investigating "social mood". Put simply, the mood of a group - an institution, state, continent or even the world - is how that group, as a group, feels about the future".
How would we, as a group of people who care about what happens to women and babies during the childbearing year, be described as feeling about the future?

Are we optimistic or pessimistic? "

According to John Casti, how we feel and how we see the future, does much to create it. In the Selfish Gene, British scientist, Richard Dawkins coined the word 'meme' as a concept to enable discussion about these collective social, cultural moods/orientations and behaviours as evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena.

What's our meme? What do we want it to be?

Casti's essay is based on his new book Mood Matters: From rising skirt lengths to the collapse of world powers.

The wisdom of herds: How social mood moves the world - 19 May 2010 - New Scientist

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