Who and what determines the future?

New book Mood Matters: From Rising Skirt Lengths to the Collapse of World Powers demonstrates how social mood drives human events

Copernicus?? 1543 book On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres turned the world upside down (literally) by arguing the exact opposite of the conventional wisdom of his time, namely, that the Sun revolved around the Earth. A daring new book, Mood Matters by John L. Casti, turns today?? conventional wisdom about how events occur upside down, too. Instead of events driving mass psychology, this book argues that the social mood of a population or group is what drives collective human events. In short, events don?? cause events; people in interaction cause events.

Mood Matters makes the radical assertion that all social events ranging from trends in popular music and art to the outcome of presidential elections and even the rise and fall of great civilizations are biased by the attitudes a society holds toward the future. When the "social mood" is positive and people look forward to the future, events of an entirely different character tend to occur than when society is pessimistic and fearful of the future.

Casti comments: ??very group has a social mood, its belief about the future, and that mood emerges from forces inside the group, not outside, wherever that may be. That mood in turn strongly biases the collective events that are seen at a later time. This, in a nutshell, is the idea I explore throughout my book.??/p>

Mood Matters presents examples from every walk of life in support of this argument, ranging from the construction of the world?? tallest buildings to the decline and fall of globalization, and from the strange career of Michael Jordan to how Russia is likely to look in the decades ahead In addition, methods are given to actually measure the social mood and project it into the future, in order to forecast what?? likely or not over different periods of time. Casti's?writing is a pleasure to read and its contents an eye-opener.

John L. Casti received his doctorate from the University of Southern California. He is a Senior Research Scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, where he works on the creation of early-warning methods for extreme events in human society. He is also the co-founder of The Kenos Circle, a Vienna-based society for exploration of the future, and author of several bestselling books. He lives in Vienna.

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