Social concepts for the 21st century

Critical Mess is like the physics concept of 'Critical Mass'.

A society can tolerate a certain amount of criminal and destructive behaviour in it. However, if average behaviour and attitudes slip too many notches, there is a qualitative as well as quantitative change in the social structure. It moves into 'Critical Mess', and societies disintegrate, as has happened. However, if average behaviour and attitudes become more dishonest or callous, the whole social system slips a notch, and the worse extreme becomes more numerous and more antisocial. On the other hand, if average behaviour changes towards the positive direction, then the 'virtuous' extreme becomes stronger. But if average behaviour slips too many notches, there is a qualitative as well as quantitative change in the social structure. It moves into 'Critical Mess', and disintegrates. This has happened in other societies and still can happen.

Energy. This is a distinguishing characteristic of the healthy person. 'Man is naturally energetic.' Although this may be diverted into aggressive behavior, energy is equally capable of being expressed in creative and constructive behavior.The Human Energy Crisis is more serious than all the other energy crises

Human Rationalism rather than Economic Rationalism

Imagination. The ability to consider what may be possible, in real life, as well as in fantasy. This definition should be taken to heart in education, which is especially likely to think that while imagination is to be encouraged, this only means making up stories, or thinking up what is impossible. Imagination is the faculty by which we are enabled to have visions which can change our world. When schools think it can be applied only to impossible whimsies and fantasies, it is similar to restricting our gambling instinct to playing with money - instead of taking risks to improve our own lives and help society.

Intelligence. The ability to work out what to do in a situation, including in intelligence tests. This is a positive problem-solving concept, and while it covers all the abilities tested in IQ tests, makes it clear that using your brain is not limited to academia.

Psychological Poverty is a poverty of mind that cannot think beyond oneself or beyond the minute. It cannot enjoy good and positive things, withstand frustrations, solve problems, think independently or nurture others. Restrictions and biases in psychological beliefs, attitudes and personality prevent people making the most of their assets and turning their handicaps into assets. The rich in money can be psychologically poor, and financial poverty may not mean psychological poverty - but the two tend to reinforce each other.

Social Arithmetic tests social generalisations. Assessing generalisations about society made by asking, How many? When? Where? How often? Social arithmetic should be applied to all generalisations about nations, genders, social classes, race and other group. "Social-Arithmetic cuts the generalisation that 'War is inevitable because humans are innately violent' first in half by excluding women, and then smaller still by considering how many men in a sample of 100 could be said to be warlike, and how this proportion is affected by different cultures and at different periods of history". Even in Serbia today, the figure may be only 10 in a 100. 1000 militiamen could be enough to destroy a country like East Timor and 400 million Indonesians can be blamed. 'All men are rapists.' How many? When are they? Using social arithmetic, it may be found that 5% of an army commit 90% of the atrocities; that 30% of women are as strong as 70% of men; that 'Everybody does it' applies to no form of social behavior except breathing, feeding and excretion - and so on.

Social Invention. An idea or project that improves the quality of life or helps to solve a social problem. We have gone far in scientific and technological invention. Now devote as much intelligence to the way we live as we have given to electronics and space exploration.

Sociodiversity in society is as important for human survival as biodiversity for the planet. As different crises and challenges appear, some people must be around who have the traits and abilities to meet them. To try to get everyone a bland 'normal' is dangerous and monocultural.

Other social concepts

Ageism - Ageist segregation is as damaging as racism and sexism, especially for youth.

Alternative Housekeeping - Our wasteful lifestyle must change to be more comfortable and sustainable. See Sustainable Household in Stupid Waste.

Catharsis. Revert to its Aristotelian concept of the purging of the emotions by the pity and terror aroused by watching drama with a tragic hero. It should no longer mean the delusion that you have got rid of angry feelings by watching violence.

Censorship. This concept should include what is crowded out by other stuff, as well as what is not allowed to be said or read.. Censorship is not just about what may get cut out after it is said or printed, or about refusing publication of swear-words, sex or politics. Kindness to weeds only can smother flowers. Sauce is good, but solid food is necessary to go with it.

Circumspeak Fairly obvious

Conspicuous Thrift to replace Conspicuous Consumption

Declaration of Rights of Posterity

Environmental Arithmetic. A balancing of present and future costs and benefits.

Euphemise. This is the fallacious practice of replacing one word with another as the old word becomes derogatory - as if that changes the derogatory attitude behind it. For example, the succession of words coined to describe immigrants to Australia. Or the stages whereby 'idiot' becomes 'mental defective' becomes 'mentally retarded' becomes 'handicapped' becomes 'learning disabled', becomes 'person with learning disabilities', thus creating need for another word to distinguish them from the form 'person with learning disabilities' which was derived from the euphemism 'learning disabled' which became a euphemism for 'backward learners' which was a euphemism for 'school failures'. And still the people are regarded as failures rather than people.

'Liberty! Fraternity! Co-operation! ' The next generation needs to have the torch and knowledge passed on, of Faith, Hope, Love; Beauty, Goodness, Truth, and all the Virtues.

Making Love - understood as a lasting mutual pleasure that is fruitful for the two partners in continuing their love, qualitatively different from having sex, screwing or bonking, which can require exacerbated physical behaviours to maintain sensation and stimulation. The public words for sexual acts show the changes in attitudes and behaviour from making love to having sex to screwing to bonking - a more juvenile description than earlier sexual slang, and more like 9-year-olds behind the pavilion than relations between adult men and women. Bosom to breasts to boobs is a similar shift from romance to kidstuff.

Malnocence - Knowing a good deal about evil, but too little about good. (innocent = guileless)Malnocence is the antonym to the concept of innocence, which is taken to mean not knowing evil. Malnocence is to know only the bad, ignorant of the good in the world. "In arguing about television and the liberty of adults to watch or do anything they want, the malnocence of today's children must be recognised."

Outlet. Plumbing and drainage systems have to have outlets. Human emotions however are more complex, and there are many alternative expressions for them

Harsh reality. This must be clarified as only one sort of reality. The words are not a fixed compound like 'quarter deck' or 'living room'. There is also 'wonderful reality', 'happy reality', 'beautiful reality' 'boring reality' . . .

Herk. A state of metaphorical mess and trouble. Noun. "I couldn't get my accounts to add up and now I am in the diabolical herk."

Hippocratic Oath for Scientists. Set out by the British Institute for Social Inventions. We also need one for businessmen.

Fastr Spelng. A clean-up of present English spelling to make it more user-frendly for internationl as wel as for nativ English readrs, writers and lernrs. Fastr spelng wil be based on cognitiv reserch on the needs and abilities of users and lerers, and the exampls of other languajes that hav reformd writing sistems. English is the only major languaj with no writing-sistem reform in the past 150 years.

Ozroyals. An imaginary Australian royal family in a TV serial, whose escapades could be more interesting than the semi-fictionalised lives of real royalties, and who could carry out the public functions of royalty with style.

Ozroypublic. Solves the Australian constitutional question with a republic and TV royalty to satisfy our need for a symbolic embodied head without the costs of a US style President.

Personal Sabbath. Today too many people cannot join the day of rest/worship enjoined by their religion or health ideals, whatever day that is. Everyone should be entitled to have one day a week - or accumulations of that - as their Personal Sabbath.

SkillOlympics. Olympics in which contestants are experts in useful skills - carpentry, repairs, knitting, washing up, checkouts, digging, practical problem-solving, renovating, shearing, caring for toddlers, etc. Television can be superb in showing the details of their skills as they compete before world audiences. And no need for drugs or Olympics committees seeking bribes.

Vilitraila. Trailer on TV that contains violence. "Eighty per cent of drama promotions on Station X are vilitrailas." An Angatraila is a clip that shows people being angry, and a Sexitraila needs no explanation.