Re: the CLN Editor comment below: It may be that “religious” ideas occupy a special status in our minds, so that they are not easily dislodged. It may be that religious dogmas (incuding those of “scientism”) create foundational structures for cognitive maps of our thinking process, sets of boundary conditions beyond which we dare not go, lest we fall into “the abyss of the occult,” as Freud accused Jung, when Jung refused to accept that sex was at the bottom of all neurosis.
Jung had an unusually open mind. A mind that could investigate its own assumptions, one after another, leading down/up into that “abyss” of the “collective unconscious.” And yet whatever our apparently rock-solid beliefs, those with truly open minds recognize them as concentric circles of illusion, one after another after another. No matter how large our world-view, it can, and it will, if we continue to grow in awareness, tip over, expand further.
January 6, 2013
Posted by Alcyone
(SCNARC) Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society. The scientists, who are members of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at Rensselaer, used computational and analytical methods to discover the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion. The finding has implications for the study and influence of societal interactions ranging from the spread of innovations to the movement of political ideals.
“When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority,” said SCNARC Director Boleslaw Szymanski, the Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor at Rensselaer. “Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame.”
As an example, the ongoing events in Tunisia and Egypt appear to exhibit a similar process, according to Szymanski. “In those countries, dictators who were in power for decades were suddenly overthrown in just a few weeks.”
The findings were published in the July 22, 2011, early online edition of the journal Physical Review E in an article titled “Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities.”
Listen to Prof. Szymanski describe this research on radio, at Sceptically Speaking.