Saturday, October 6, 2012

Social Isolation...

I'm intrigued by the affect of social isolation and loss on social individuals.

How do you model and predict the behaviour of an agent who is defined by their social context and environment when they are removed from it. 

I have been watching some interesting movies and tv shows and have come up with the following groups of scenarios.

1) Foreced removal from society.
 -- Prison
 -- castaway / Marooned
 -- Medical isolation
 -- Disfigurement and social rejection
 -- Mental illness (Its a bit broad...)
 -- Long distance travel (Ship, space craft)
 -- Remote working location

2) Small group isolation
 -- remote working camp/installation, weather stations
 -- Submarines, warships, slow freighters
 -- One way trip to Mars

All these scenarios are underpinned by the knowledge that the society still exists somewhere and may or may not be accessible to the agent.  They are also aware that society has not ground to a halt without them... which highlights their insignificance.

The second group is the opposite, where the individual or group knows/suspects/fears that society as they knew it is gone.

3) Post apocalytic
 -- After the plague/ware/virus etc
 -- Alien invasion / Extermination
 -- Time Travellers and Rip van Winkle types.  Also long term Coma patients.

The key part of this scenario is the individual / group knows that its all gone and the context they were familiar with has fragmented.  There will be surviving fragments but there is no overarching "social context".

4) Alternate Society
 -- Cult / Sect / Secret Society etc
 -- Family in foreighn country
 -- Refugees
 -- Gullivers Travels

This is the concept of your micro society being surrounded by an Alien group, who may not wish you harm (or they may) but are trying to consume and suplant your society.  How do you deal with isolation and lack of contact with the familiar.

The question on my mind is just what happens and what drives social creatures once their social context is removed.  How much of them "is lost", how much "remains" and what grows in its place.

How do individuals deal with the big questions when there is no one around to see it happen. 

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