Social Theory in Light of New Psychobiology
Much of modern social theory and thought assumes that changes in the way populations think and react are very slow to occur. For instance, changes in society as a result of religious change, legal change or political change tend to happen over decades or centuries rather than years, at least from the point of view of directing social values. Even the current extremely dangerous conflicts over the major schemes of religious thought are embedded in hundreds of years of dogmatic conflict going back as far as the Crusades.
In the post-modern era we often concentrate of the current and potential effects of climate change on human populations, but these effects also are seem to impact society over decades. But there is a far more insidious additive to the social mix that seems to have been ignored. This new contender for social disturbance takes all the effects of the political, commercial and religious conflicts and struggles discussed by Marx, Weber, Durkheim and many others, and compresses them by accentuating the emotional and disintegrating the logical. That contender is the massive changes in diet that the majority of the western world, and now the emerging Asian nations, have taken on board.
Human emotion has been clearly demonstrated to be directly linked to the biochemistry of individuals. Any disturbance in the correct biochemical function of your body affects not only the macro systems also the neuro-chemical systems that serve to provide you with such a wonderful array of emotions. These in turn work in concert with your belief and values system to create your behaviors, which in turn help to shape society as a whole.
Changes in biochemistry and the operation of neurotransmitters modify emotions and physical function quite dramatically. And two huge changes in the western diet are causing very significant changes in levels of depression, anger and wellbeing through large percentages of our populations. These changes relate to:
1. Over farmed and climate changes food resources with reduced nutritional content.
2. Massive increases in intake of processed and refined foods, especially sugars.
These changes are causing changes to intake of essential nutrition for the nervous system, including critical B vitamins and key elements such as Zinc. At the same time the massive increase in refined sugars has seriously disturbed the adrenal system in large part of society. The combination of these two changes causes emotional and perceptual changes that actually change the behavior of the individual, and over time the behavior of entire societies. These behavioral changes tend to accentuate the already fermenting religious and social conflicts to a point where they become far more dangerous.
When discussing such changes in light of the theories presented during 19th and 20th centuries, we must now also take into account the changes to human population statistics. In 1750, immediately prior to the French Revolution that triggered the social move from feudalism to modern industrial society, the world’s population was 791 million. By 1900 the population was still only 1.65 million. In 1950 this had escalated to 2.521 million. In the following 58 years it has grown by 270% to 6.7 billion.
What has happened in the past 30 years in changes to the daily habits of our populations is now shaping human behavior in a very different way, and will eventually determine the future of the human race. With climate change further destined to change food sources, a disappearing natural environment, and demonstrable increases in average level of anger in society, the human race needs to rethink the social theories that drive a postmodern society. Such individual emotional imbalance always translates into community unrest, with exaggerated responses and likely increase in inter-ethnic and religious violence.
Without a rapid change to the way we view nutrition as an essential part of mental health and emotional response, and a change in the way we teach our children tolerance and acceptance, the human societies will have for greater problems to deal with than at any time in our history.
This era should become known as the Survivalist era, since what we do now will determine if the human race survives or disintegrates into extinction.