Social collision theory

Collision theory (social) video still
A “human molecule” re-labeled video still of a video (Ѻ), on basic collision theory, at the chemical level, scaled up to the human chemical level, to give the gist of the premise of “social collision theory”; in the above scenario, which shows the “collision” involved in a double displacement reaction, the A₂ could be the Eduard-Charlotte molecular pairing, of Goethe’s Elective Affinities (1809), the B₂ could be either the Count-Countess pairing or the Captain-Ottilie pairing, depending on chapter (see: EA:IAD), and the AB pairings could be a number of products, again depending on chapter and time frame.
In hmolscience, social collision theory refers to the application of collision theory—either chemical kinetics (Max Trautz, 1916) based or particle physics collider (Ernest Lawrence, 1932) based—to social interactions, collisions, bond dynamics, formations, and or changes.

In 1922, Alfred Lotka, in his “Natural Selection as a Physical Principle”, citing the earlier works of Wilhelm Ostwald, Oliver Lodge, and Hyacinthe Guilleminot, outlined a semblance of a physics-based collision theory, in respect to predator prey interactions, in a semi-physicochemical basis, in the form of what he called “trigger action”; to quote a note excerpt: [1]

“When the beast of prey A sights its quarry B, the latter may be said to enter the field of influence of A, and, in that sense, to collide with A. The energy that enters the eye of A in these circumstances may be insignificant, but it is enough to work the relay, to release the energy for the fatal encounter.”

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In 2007, American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims, in his Human Chemistry, building on Lotka, outlined a more robust physical chemistry based model of collision theory applied to human-human collisions, people explicitly defined as molecules (see: human molecule), moving about on a surface. [2]

In 2008, Irish-born American sociologist Kieran Healy, in his “Elementary Particles” blog, outlined what he referred to humorously as the “standard model of sociophysics”, namely particle physics models applied to social interactions, which he conceptualized by the following diagram: [3]

“I’m looking forward to spending a bit of time at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Ѻ) this fall. Think of the CASBS as the CERN of social science: even as we speak, hard-working technicians are putting the final touches to the Stanford Superconducting Supersocializer, which will come online once the relevant IRB [gods] committees have been placated with a sufficient amount of cargo detailed forms.

The SSS will propel local college sophomores at tremendous speeds into unfamiliar groups of people in an effort to plumb the structure of the elementary particles of social interaction. Despite the success of the standard model, there is much to be learned. The organization of the Quirks is of course well known, with some of the early triumphs of post-war research focused on the internal dynamics of the quirk-matrix (Up, Downer, Charm, Strange, Top Bloke, *******). The complex of interactions centered on W and Z remains wholly mysterious, however. The Liketons, too, pose difficult questions, though the recent discovery of observer-dependent YouTube effects has gone some way toward clarifying their role. Finally, the famous Biggs Hangeron also remains problematic, as it is not only notoriously easy to observe but in fact also impossible to ditch at parties.”

social collision theory

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Crash (collision quote)
The 2004 film Crash, based on real events, gives a slowed-down look at how social collisions dynamically operate, accrue, intersect, operate, and repercuss.

Crash | Film
In 2004, award-winning film Crash was released, which gives an excellent overview of the intricacies involved social collisions. In the film, several characters, living in Los Angeles, "collide", so to say, during an eventful 36-hour period in which car accidents, shootings, and carjackings bring them together. Most of the characters depicted in the film are racially prejudiced in some way and become involved in conflicts which force them to examine their own prejudices. Through these characters’ interactions, the film attempts to depict and examine not only racial tension but the distance between strangers in America. [4]

Along these lines, we see that collision theory can also be interpreted in terms of the "force of the collision", namely that the likelihood of reaction upon the collision of two molecules must certainly be affected by the force of the collision. Forceful collisions are much more apt to lead to the breaking and making of chemical bonds than are less forceful collisions. The film Crash, for example, a self-described ‘passion piece’ for Canadian screen-writer Paul Haggis, was inspired by a so-called "real life", i.e. reality-based, incident where Haggis’ Porsche was forcefully carjacked outside a video store on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles in 1991. [5] This is an example of a real social bimolecular effective collision, between two human molecules, resulting in a human chemical reaction (existence transformation), resultant change (moviegoers moved by the film), and work output (script writing).

1. Lotka, Alfred. (1922). “Natural Selection as a Physical Principle” (pdf), Proclamations of the National Academy of Sciences, 8:151-54, May 6.
2. Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume One) (§:Collision theory, pgs. 98-103). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
3. (a) Healy, Kieran. (2008). “Elementary Particles” (Ѻ),, Jul 11.
(b) Kieran Healy – Wikipedia.
4. Crash (2004 film) – Wikipedia.
5. Incident mentioned on the DVD commentary track to the 2005 film Crash.

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