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Social Entropy in Wikipedia

The Social entropy entry in Wikipedia seems to have some problems, and as I will be challenged to look up Reliable Sources and come up to speed on them, in order to maintain NOR and NPOV, I thought that I would begin here by trying to outline some of my thoughts on the subject. I need to orient myself as to what I'm prepared to believe and accept from these sources before I just swallow all of it whole and spit it back out in a WP article.

The Varied Realms of Social Entropy

There are a few considerations to be taken into account from the beginning, the fundamentals. There are at least three scales to consider in Social Entropy; the Individual, the Group, and the Social / Cultural scale. There seem to be about seven different "flavors" of SE that I'm comfortable with, and about three forms for each flavor. I think that I am most comfortable with the approach that defines SE in terms of Shannon's Information Theory, but I'm going to try to keep my mind open.

Psychological Functions

Instinctive Functions

The Instinctive Functions, in relation to SE, are more often an issue when conflict or cooperation are already high; we are either engaged in a rather dramatic conflict, or we feel at ease in being ourselves. Thinking here is either "quick and dirty", or behavior flows naturally from our basic inclinations.

Instinctive Functions are Exceptionally Bounded Rationality (EBR), in that taking time to reflect is either counter-productive (or even dangerous), or is simply unnecessary.

Intuitive Functions

This seems to be the first one to handle, as it would seem to encompass our "default settings" of how we understand our society and choose our actions within it. Habits which serve us well a great proportion of the time may not be the best strategy or tactic in changing or unusual circumstances, and the complete absence of regard for "how things are done" can of course be detrimental, but also a special meaning can be attached to a far more normal signal.

The Intuitive function can be seen as the "home" of Bounded Rationality (BR). Whenever we treat a problem as being "ordinary", we are using the intuitive function to limit the time and mental resources we are willing to devote to it, and this is why we commonly turn to habitual modes of thinking in these situations. It may take a certain presence of mind to consider abandoning these habits when it is necessary. This abandonment of habitual thinking may bring conflict with others and social entropy when others choose not to abandon these same habitual values at a price of higher costs of time and attention.

Executive Functions

Executive Functions are about how we order our own behavior in a conscious way, and how much importance we give to our own opinions and preferences in any given situation. When we think about something which is clearly in our domain of autonomy, and further is of importance only to us (favorite color, what we want to have for lunch), we have a maximum of autonomy and little need to take social signals too seriously. When, however, we are in a public or private domain, in which others' sensibilities and preferences are commonly believed to be vastly more important than our own, then we need to be more mindful of social signals which are sent to us as to how we ought to behave. Authority would seem to be a special case of this, as authority is vested in those who are presumed to be exercising stewardship over widely and deeply held values and beliefs concerning how autonomy ought to be exercised, and especially how it should not be used.

Executive Functions often make use of minimally-bounded rationality (MBR), in that we are prepared to devote significant resources to resolving a matter of some higher level of importance or complexity. MBR is how we address problems of SE, as these are usually both complex and important issues.

Cognitive Functions

The Cognitive Functions provide us with an overview of a subject, particularly as we find it "in itself". This examination in isolation tends to limit the subject to manageable size when it is vast in scope or particularly intricate. This in turn allows us to draw boundaries around our examination; in the Executive Mode, we can make use of Executive Functions to make judgements of some importance, and affix relative values to the various parts of the system, while in Intuitive Mode, we can use Bounded rationality to make corrections in details of our understanding of the system in question. The Cognitive Functions can be considered a form of perspective, and are nothing more than a representation of real phenomena, with all the possibility of error and distortion. (Think of an optical illusion which depends on a singular view of an object; every formal system of logic represents only one such viewpoint, and can be "fooled" by failures of depth perception, shading, etc. This is only an analogy, but a rather handy one.)

Conative Functions

The Conative Functions are expressions of the need or desire to take action. These functions entail all of the actions we might take, either as individuals, or as members of groups or institutions. They use particular situations as inputs, and then these inputs are compared to the available responses. The response of generating new responses may also be a part of these functions.

Affective Functions

The Affective Functions are concerned with matters of the quality of a relationship and the valuation attached to these relationships. How an object, person, institution, or any other entity is related to by an observer, or how an entity relates itself to an observer, and the relative valuations that establish priorities of need and want are the subject matter here. How an observer relates to themselves is also a part of this function.

Perceptive Function

The ability to gain information from the environment and form impressions concerning it, are performed and governed by the Perceptual Functions.

Conflict between functions

There is the additional possibility of conflict between functions, and confusion as to which is more pertinent to a situation, or ought to be more regarded in general. One of the issues that has popped up at me is the concept of Nihilism, which in one definition is the fact that no value or meaning is logically necessary to life as it is lived, but that meaning is indeed a human necessity -- a human need -- to have a direction to action, thought, perception, and emotion. It would seem to me that Nihilism is the usurpation of the Executive function by the Cognitive function. I really wish that there were an Anti-Nihilism -- or should I? P:)

Categories of Scale

The Individual

At the level of scale of the Individual, unquestioned Habits or Eccentricities, Unreasonable Desires or Depression, and issues of Autonomy and Authority can all be seen as possible and separate forms of SE within the Individual, and then may alter how incoming signals are received and acted upon.


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