These models and simulations have been tagged “Psychology”.
theories and ideas about the world, can be dangerous when acted upon. I
would count as delusional beliefs, belief in 'creationism', 'market fundamentalism' and also the belief that 'climate change is not anthropogenic'.
seeks to illustrate the dynamic that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to
disabuse holders of fanatical beliefs by simply using rational arguments and
facts. The professor of psychology, Jerry Kroth, said that delusions can be seen
as an incipient mental illness. He also said that 'repression' and 'denial' are by-products of delusions. It seems that rational arguments are useless when facts are simply denied: the dynamic shows that trying to refute a strongly held irrational belief merely strengthens it.
The simple graph shows two feedback loops that interact
to make climate change and its consequences worse, leading to an unexpected
(& inescapable?) dilemma. Presently,
there are 413 ppm of CO2 gasses in the atmosphere. Even without any
further emission of greenhouse gasses, this high level of CO2 in the atmosphere
will ensure constantly worsening climatic consequences because of delays that
operate in the climate system. The dilemma is caused by relentlessly worsening
of extreme weather events, droughts, forest fires etc., the need for draconian
measures to deal with the situation and the opposition to the measures,
described by the feedback loop B2.This opposition is rooted in human nature,
the psychological defence mechanisms that cause us to repress or even deny
unpalatable truths that threaten our basic assumptions and the way we understand
life. Together, the loops B1 & B2
create a vicious reinforcing loop that describes the escalating and worsening
situation created by the dilemma.
Please look at Insight No. 238770 that
provides background information and also at the information labels attached to majority
of the variables in the model.
that we all strive to reduce psychologically inconsistent thoughts is a well-researched phenomenon. When we hold
two conflicting thoughts in our heads we feel an overwhelming desire to reduce
this conflict. This desire can be a powerful driver in the way we behave. Most
of us are aware at some level that if we took the threat of climate change
seriously we would need to completely change our routines and the way we behave.
Flying off on holiday would be out of the question. Swimming pools would be a
past luxury. Most of us would need to give up our cars and become vegetarians.
The list can be extended almost endlessly. Very often, subconsciously, we try
to reduce troubling and inconvenient facts by minimizing, ignoring or even by denying
them. Could this be why we hardly talk about climate change even in the face of
increasingly frequent extreme weather events and obvious signs that it is
needs to be openly talked about between us and in the press. The seriousness of global warming makes it a necessity.
Only when this happens will politicians have the space and incentive to
act on our behalf. But before this can happen we need to be aware of the reason
why we avoid talking about this subject – this graph tries to illustrate the
harmful dynamic that could be responsible for it.
Love affairs and Differential equations. From Michael J Radzicki (1993) Dyadic processes,tempestuous relationships, and system dynamics Syst. Dyn. Rev. 9 (1) :79-94