Friday, May 22

Changing Communities through Vector Algebra

This is a follow-up post of my previous post on Perspectives and Co-ordinate geometry. Each individual's perspectives form the different axes on which the individual perceives the world - and judges the world, so you have (happiness-sorrow axis, good-bad axis, moral-immoral axis, ethical-unethical axis, and so on). Each of these axes define who you are, your values, your beliefs, et al. If I were to map each of these axes against the society's axes, then we can plot an individual on the society space (its an n-dimensional space, mind you).

Now, get this. The origin of the society (the norms dictated by the society) represented by (0,0,..,0) would be at a certain distance from your own origin say (1,2,1,-4,...,3). The vector (going outwards from the origin) which connects your origin to the society's origin is your vector of existence. Every individual has his vector of existence. The people who are afraid of society and peer pressure have their origins closest to the society's origins. Carefree people tend to be away from that origin. The more deviant you are to the society, the further you would be from the origin.

What makes a society? You, me and everybody. Thus, the society is a summation of these vector misalignments. And that my friend defines the origin of the society. Over a period of time, the origin naturally shifts - it shifts because many people change their origins (values, beliefs, etc), thus ensuring that the society also goes through that same shift (although much more gradually). A fact that would have been a taboo for the society would be a norm today. Take mini-skirts for instance or gay rights. Society changes its norms, because the collective changes their norms. The origin has shifted!!

7 comments:

Amit said...

Interesting. Society as Euclidean n-space :)

Only one addition at the moment. The society origin, is a centre of mass of the society's origins, which means it is a weighted average.

Prasad said...

Yes! Its not actually a weighted average, its a summation of the individual members. So, for an individual to shift the society, it would be very difficult. The population brings in the weight, get it?

Amit said...

No it will still be weighted average. Every individual’s mass will not be 1, it will be a total of their charisma, vision, their influence on people around them.

It’s not democracy.

Prasad said...

Aaah.. you do have a point there. But the charisma will ensure that more people are aligned to that person's vector as it is. So it balances out there, dont you think? But yes, there has to be something about the magnitude of these vectors.

LightNInG Crashes said...

Interesting analogy, you must read Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, if you haven't already.

Terms of Meanderment said...

A vector is represented by a line segment originating from point A to point B. I believe an individual's existence is a complex function of various parameters, so how can it be represented by a vector. Euclidean vector is too simplistic to evaluate the magnitude and direction between society and the individual's existence or am I missing something here. Nevertheless a fantastic analogy.

Prasad said...

@LC - Yes I want to, havent started on this!!
@Neeraj - Its an n-dimensional vector!! Euclides had thought about 3 orthogonal axes, I am talking about n orthogonal axes. The magnitude needs to be figured out, but yes, the analogy could be a framework to recast the society :)