Writing Prompt: Societal Change
Written by
Liz Shaw
September 2011
Written by
Liz Shaw
September 2011
Day of Rage
The first act of my WIP is all about the overthrow of existing societal structures. In researching what it takes to effect a major change at the societal level, I was surprised to find that the tipping point is so low.
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.

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. 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." -Science Daily
Writing Prompt: Create a story about overthrowing a societal structure or cultural belief. 

Journaling Prompt: What change would you like to see in society and what are you doing to bring that about?

Art Prompt: Revolution

Photo Credit: freestylee on Flickr

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