Definitions and Examples of Theory

Ether theory, or aether theories, is an idea in physics which proposes the existence of a medium that can transmit gravitational or electromagnetic forces. “Aether” is the Greek word for air, a reference to either heavenly or fresh air, and it is believed that this medium must be a space-filling substance for the transmission to occur.

There are several different ether theories that have been proposed over the years, but most have fallen out of favor by modern physicists because of the development of rules regarding special relativity. Although modern physics does look at non-standard interpretations, the presence of the ether theory still holds relevance.

General Relativity and the Ether Theory

When Albert Einstein proposed the theory of general relativity, he referred to the gravitational field within the theory as “aether.” His terminology never gained real support, but the concept still remains. “This aether,” Einstein wrote, “may not be thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of ponderable media, as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time.”

“The idea of motion may not be applied to it.” This means the aether could potentially stand alone, outside of the rules of relativity that Einstein proposed.

The reasoning behind Einstein’s thinking is known really only to him, but may be based on the ideas of luminiferous aether and mechanical gravitational aether.

It was Isaac Newton who suggested the idea that an aether could exist in 1718. He wrote that although spaces may have seemed empty, they could be filled with compact and dense bodies that could not be distinguished through mere perception. If that was the case on our planet, then what could the aether be like when considering celestial bodies or the vastness of the universe?

Over the next century, several solutions that attempting to explain the propagation of light or the movement of gravity were all proposed as various ether theories. For light to exist, ether theory suggests that a medium must exist. The goal of the ether theories was to describe that medium.

Lorentz and Fitzgerald offered a framework that could explain motion of absolute aether while being undetectable. In 1905, when the special theory of relativity was introduced by Einstein, the mathematics of both ideas were the same. This event led to the eventual dismissal by most physicists of luminiferous aether and would be the final nail in the coffin for ideas of mechanical gravitational aether.

How a Quantum Vacuum Fits into Ether Theory

In the world of quantum mechanics, spacetime is non-empty unless being evaluated at an extremely small scale. Particle pairs can appear and disappear quickly, which creates the foundation of a particulate ether theory being possible.

The theory of relativity does not suggest or attempt to eliminate the idea that matter pervades the universe. It only suggests that matter in our universe is symmetrical in its construction. When considering the vacuum of space, therefore, an interesting question persists: is there a medium within the vacuum of space that is similar in structure to the orange juice that sits in your glass?

As experiments using particle acceleration have discovered in recent years, the vacuum of space is like looking through a transparent piece of glass. You may not see that it is there, but if you walk into it, you’ll have evidence of its existence. And, if you hit a piece of glass hard enough, it will either splinter, shatter, or break in some other way.

That means, for all practical purposes, the airless void of space is a relativistic ether. It may not be called that because of the negative connotation that science has applied to this term, but that does not exclude it from being potentially correct.

What We Can Take from the Ether Theory

Ether theory is an attempt to explain how forces move in the universe. There must be some level of substance to the empty spaces that we encounter for electromagnetic and gravitational forces to work. We can see gravity working in something as basic as the orbit of our planet around the sun or a satellite around the Earth, which means there must be some level of substance that fills the void.

As we learn more about what this substance may be, whether it ends up being dark matter or some exotic particle we’ve never encountered before, we will also know more about the basic structures of the universe and how that relates to human life. Hidden or in plain sight and just not recognizable with current technologies, with that kind of knowledge, the future’s potential is virtually unlimited.

What is the last pleasant memory you can recall right now?

For many people, memories are subjective. As time goes by, people tend to remember the best aspects of what happened to them and cast aside the worst aspects of life. We remember what we want to remember. The Elizabeth Loftus theory suggests that this process can be taken a step further.

What if a traumatic event could be suggested to a person while undergoing therapy and the individual could then think that this was a valid memory that they had repressed?

Memory and the Misinformation Effect

Beginning in 1973, Loftus began examining eyewitness testimony and how memory worked in real-world situations. One of her first studies involved how memory could be altered based on the questions that are being asked of an individual. Her idea was this: memories are not necessarily an accurate representation of a specific event, but a combination of a person’s past experiences, available information, and other potential manipulations.

Loftus discovered that the memories of an eyewitness could be altered after exposing that person to information that was incorrect about the event. This indicated to her that memory is open to suggestive behaviors and is highly malleable.

Over the next two decades, Loftus would apply her theories of misinformation in the legal realm, providing testimony in over 250 cases regarding the information she discovered.

It created an ongoing debate between therapists who believed that these memories should be treated as real and psychologists who tended to say that the memories being offered were false.

The misinformation effect was very real to those who felt like they had a legitimate memory and were seeking justice because of it. Many people up through 1990 felt like Loftus’ testimony had freed their abusers.

Instead of repression and recovery, Loftus looked toward how other components of memory could help to explain why certain events could not be recalled. Situations could result in dissociative amnesia, though for most people, events are not recalled because of what could be described as “motivated forgetting.”

Think back to something embarrassing that happened to you during high school. When was the last time you actually thought about that event in detail? There’s a good chance you don’t think about that event every day, especially if it happened more than 10 years ago. Yet, when prompted to think about it, you can recall the details with precision.

People don’t want to dwell on negative memories. We can remember them if asked about them, but stay away from them to focus on the positive memories instead.

That led Loftus to eventually ask an important question: what could happen if those negative memories could be manipulated in such a way that a completely false narrative could take their place?

Loftus and the Memory Wars of the 1990s

Beginning in the 1990s, Loftus began to shift the focus of her work. Instead of dealing with theories of misinformation, she began to look at the possibility of being able to plant a specific false memory for an entire event that never took place. She began to examine this potential theory because of a legal case she’d been asked to provide expert testimony.

In 1990, a man named George Franklin was accused of murder. The evidence against him came from his daughter, who claimed that he had murdered her childhood friend 20 years before. Franklin’s daughter suggested that she had repressed the memory of him committing such an act and her statements eventually led to her father’s conviction.

Recovered memories of trauma were increasingly common in the 1990s, so Loftus began probing the claims to see if they could be false memories created by suggestive techniques. Some therapist and even a few self-help books during that era promoted methods that lent to the possibility of false memories being created.

This led to the development of what became known as the “lost in the mall” technique. Loftus would work with subjects to determine if a false memory could be implanted for an event that did not take place. Once that memory was implanted, the goal of the research was to have the memory become a “real world” event that seemed real, but never was.

In her initial study, Loftus found that 1 out of every 4 of her subjects came to develop a memory about them being lost in a mall as a child. Through variations of this technique and extensions of it, Loftus found that about 1 in 3 people could become convinced that they experienced things in their childhood that never occurred.

Those false memories could even be highly traumatic events or circumstances that were impossible.

The goal of her theory was simple: to counter the practice of the courts at the time of relying on eyewitness testimony as credible evidence on its own. It would lead to stricter legal standards that allowed for recovered memories to be used as evidence, with some states in the US no longer even allowing such a prosecution to occur.

The Elizabeth Loftus Theory and the Jane Doe Case

In 1997, David Corwin and Erna Olafson published a case study that purported to show an example of a real-world example of an accurate repressed memory that had been recovered. Loftus was skeptical of the claims made in the case study and decided to investigate the circumstances.

They interviewed individuals connected to the Jane Doe in the case, uncovered information that had been excluded from the case study, and came to the conclusion that the memories of abuse being offered were false.

During the investigation, the Jane Doe in the case contacted the university where Loftus was working and claimed that Loftus was committing a breach of privacy. For 21 months, the university confiscated the files regarding the investigation, but allowed her to publish her findings in 2002.

After the findings were published, the Jane Doe in the case study sued Loftus and the university for 21 different counts and causes. Only 1 count was upheld as valid and was eventually settled for $7,500. Jane Doe was ordered to pay legal fees for all defendants in the case to a total of more than $450,000.

Because of the sensitivity of the memories that were “recovered,” often involving physical or sexual abuse, Loftus has found herself the focus of personal animosity and criticism over the years. From online threats to claims that she was engaging in Satanic ritual abuse to cover up previous crimes, the Elizabeth Loftus theory regarding misinformation has certainly had an impact on how people perceive memory.

Memory can be a funny thing. We might not think about something that happened for decades, but then a sight, smell, or circumstance can trigger the memory to fire and then that’s all we can think about. By recognizing this process, the Elizabeth Loftus theory helps to protect us from becoming victimized by false memories.

Einstein’s theory of relativity incorporates two components: special relativity and general relativity.

Special relativity involves how the basic particles of the universe interact with one another. It describes what happens in the physical world, with the exception of gravity.

That’s where general relativity comes to help. It is an explanation of how gravitation laws relate to the other forces that occur in nature.

All realms are included in this theory, including cosmology, astrophysics, and astronomy.

Einstein’s Special Relativity Simplified

The theory of special relativity gives structure to the concept of time. It is based on two ideas that seem to be at odds with one another.
The first is that the laws of physics are the same for every observer who is in relative motion to one another. The second is that the speed of light, when placed in a vacuum environment, is the same for all observers, no matter what their relative motion may be or where the source of light originated.

Imagine that you’re sitting in a dark theater. You are on one side of it and someone else is on the other side. You’re sitting further away from the stage. The light then moves up and down, crossing back and forth across the stage.

Both you and the other person watching will see the light movement. Your perspective is different, but the laws regarding that movement remain the same.

Now if that theater were in outer space, the time it took for the light to reach you would be slightly longer than the other person, but the speed at which it reached both of you would be the same.

That is how distance is calculated spatially. If a star is 4 light years away, the total distance is the amount of time it takes light to travel the distance from its source to our planet.

Einstein’s General Relativity Simplified

The theory of general relativity describes how gravity affects the universe. When we take a walk outside, it is the gravity of the planet which keeps us from floating off into the sky. The surface of the Earth rotates at a speed that is roughly 1,000 miles per hour at the equator, but because of gravity, we do not sense this motion.

At the same time, our planet orbits the sun at 67,000 miles per hour. We don’t feel that movement either. Because of gravity, we feel like we are still.

Yet, when there is no gravity present, the tendency of free fall is to move downward when no force is exerted on the inertial motion. That means gravity fields are present because of how the various physical objects in the universe interact with one another.

Because of this interaction that gravity has on physical objects, changes occur to the elemental structures of the universe. A clock, if it were placed into a gravity well, would run slower than a clock outside of that gravity well.

Rays of light can be bent when there is a gravitational field present. If a large enough gravitational mass were to rotate, it could drag the structures of space and time from the theory of special relativity with them.

What Does This Mean for the Universe?

The theory of relativity lets us see how gravity interacts with what we perceive to be the physical world. When there are changes to gravity, the structure of time can be altered. This effect has been studied in astronauts as they age slower. It’s also why if you wear a watch on your ankle, it will be slower than one on your wrist eventually.

The effects, however, are small compared to the larger effects of the universe. If you live in a basement, your aging would only be a fraction of a second slower than those on a mountain.

On a larger scale, what it means is that the universe is expanding faster than light can travel at its outer components. That means there are secrets waiting there in the vastness waiting to be discovered because the speed of light, which is a fixed rate, hasn’t been able to fully penetrate the expansive area.

To summarize: relativity involves laws of physics that do not change, even if there is constant movement. Special relativity involves the physical components, while general relativity involves gravity.

When put together, we discover that space and time are unified. Although your observations may be different than someone else, both observations are valid, even when made in real-time.

How does the universe exist for each one of us? Is it a solely physical concept, where our bodies interact with other elementary elements to create an existence? Or is there a mental component to the universe as well, distinctive from the physical world, but coexisting with it to create a unique living existence.

The Dual Aspect Theory proposes that the mind and the body are two different entities that are radically different. The mind and the body are effectively the same substance, but still different. Two individual parts, but one whole.

Can Life Be Like a Rope?

Imagine that you have a rope in your hands. Let’s say there are three strands that have been woven together. That weaving process has created one rope. It can be used for many different purposes.

Now let’s say you begin to take that rope apart. You will end up having three individual strands in your hands. Each can act as its own individual rope. Those strands are not as strong individually as they are together, but they still provide function.

This is the concept of the Dual Aspect Theory. The mind is one strand and the body is another strand. When woven together, they create a singular existence. Both operate independently of one another, but work together to create a stronger, unified outcome. The mind could be pulled from the body or the body from the mind, but each becomes weaker when that action is taken.

Is There Evidence of the Dual Aspect Theory?

The mind-body problem has plagued philosophers for several centuries. In the past, theories often involved religious intrusion to create cohesion between it and the secular world. For that reason, an effort to show that humanity could reflect the Trinitarian belief structure in a similar way with a connection between the mind and body was formulated.

Those who preferred monism, or a direct mind-body connection, often attempted to exclude religious thought from their theory and that create an equal, but opposite effect.

Thanks to modern medical science, however, we can see that there is evidence both for and against the Dual Aspect Theory. We have seen individuals who exist in a vegetative state, their bodies alive and cared for, but no mental awareness of their current situation. We have also seen individuals who are highly active mentally, but become “body locked.”

Locked-In Syndrome is a condition where an individual is fully aware and has their full mental capacity, but cannot communicate verbally or move because of a nearly complete paralysis of all virtually all voluntary muscles. With this condition, only vertical eye movements and blinking tend to occur. Complete locked-in states where the eyes are also paralyzed are possible too.

What Does This Mean for the Human Brain?

When you hear about someone having a “higher state” of thought, that expression has more truth to it than many may know. When an individual is in a vegetative state that is persistent, the upper portion of the mind is damaged, while the lower portion is spared.

For those who become locked-in, the opposite occurs.

This creates a dual state of existence that can be viewed as a whole or individually. The body experiences one facet of life, while the mind experiences a different facet. They can be combined or kept separate. Sometimes that separation is involuntary, but under the Dual Aspect Theory, we could also consciously choose to experience only one or the other.

It is why the expression “mind over matter” has come about. If a person sets their mind to something, the result can be transcendent over the physical world. An individual can also give in to the stimulation their physical body is giving them, allowing the mind to take a back seat to the physical cravings that are being experienced.

It goes beyond willpower or a decision to ignore the pain that is being experienced. It is a relationship that is distinct, but inseparable unless there is an event that causes the separation. You must make a choice to unravel the rope to create distinct parts. For the mind-body connection, it remains together unless there is a choice or event that causes it to become separated as well.

Is there an order to the universe that is also woven into our thought processes? Are we just a small part of an infinite structure? Or are we just a physical representation of natural development and the mental aspect of our existence is an extension of that process? Those are the questions that must be answered.

Dramatism Theory was developed by Kenneth Burke as a way to analyze human relationships through interpretive studies. It is a theory that compares life to a drama. This provides a direct route from human motivation to human relationships. It is a strategy that intends to help others view life, not live it, and be able to compare each social unit or activity as one of the five elements of a drama.

How do we explain human action? Motivations behind human activities? The Dramatism Theory uses a five-pointed star to help separate the key elements that exist within this idea.

What Are the 5 Points of Dramatism Theory?

Burke uses a parallel extension of the six questions that should be asked in an interview: who, what, where, when, and how. This brought him to the 5 elements that should be in every drama: an act, a scene, an agent, an agency, and the purpose.

This corresponds with the decisions that are made in life that correspond to motivation and relationships.

  • The Act: This describes what was done. It is the motivation behind the decisions that are being made.
  • The Scene: This describes where the event occurs. It has an influence on the decision that was made.
  • The Agent: This is a description of the decision-maker.
  • The Agency: This is a detailed description of the methodology that was used to implement the decision that was made. Various methods can be incorporated into this point, including apologetics, messaging, or storytelling.
  • The Purpose: Why did the decision need to be made in the first place?

This leads to the three key concepts that are associated with dramatism theory.

  1. Dramatistic Pentad. This is the instrument that is used to create the set of principles, either relational or functional, to understand the motive behind the decisions that are made. It incorporates the 5 points of dramatism and provides a complete statement behind each element of the decision0-making process.
  2. Identification. When two people overlap with the substance of what is being offered, this concept is used to distinguish them. Because there is overlap in every human relationship, Burke argues that identifaction is impossible to ignore. It offers rhetoric, can be falsified, and be reflective of any ambiguities that are present within the substance that is being offered.
  3. Guilt. The root of all rhetoric lies in guilt. Burke sees human activity as a method to purge oneself of guilt, which often occurs through public speaking. Other emotions are associated into this concept, such as shame, anxiety, or disgust.

There is a hierarchy associated with these points and concepts through the power that is available within each relationship. The dramatic process must have structure for it to reflect the human condition. The structure of each relationship helps to determine the social awareness of the individual and how they will react in any given situation.

Let’s take a husband and wife for example. The husband kisses his wife goodbye as he heads out the door for work. Does he kiss the next woman he meets as he gets on the subway? Not likely, since the structure of the relationship is different. Through communication, we each make decisions.

The Three Aspects of Communication in Dramatism Theory

Burke offers three types of communication that are used to form social hierarchies within society.

The first is superiority. This communication occurs when one individual feels that they have a moral or ethical control over a specific situation. They act in confidence because they “know” they are right. What other people think or feel doesn’t matter to them.

The second is inferiority. This communication occurs when there is a concession to another that they are, in fact, superior in some way. It is a social relationship that communicates, “Go ahead and lead. I’ll follow.”

The third is equality. It may occur when there are differences or similarities in opinion. It can occur between different socioeconomic classes. It occurs when both may feel superior or both may feel inferior. It is a concept that we often hear expressed as, “I have a lot of respect for this person.”

In Dramatism Theory, many equate “respect” to “equality.”

Some people may choose to reject the place they seem themselves in the social order. Others may feel like they are being purposely victimized so they cannot “get ahead.” Some scapegoating can be fractional, others can be general, with the purpose to get others to feel sorry for them.

Dramatism Theory does an excellent job of explaining the motivation behind decisions and then actions which follow. Just like a script, when the parts are all there, the outcome can become predictable.

Dividend irrelevance theory is a concept that suggests an investor is not concerned with the dividend policy of an organization. This lack of concern is because they can sell a portion of their portfolio for equities if there is a desire to have cash. That is why the issuance of dividends should have little or zero impact on the price of a stock.

It was first developed in a seminal paper in 1961 by Franco Modigliani and Merton Miller. According to the theory, it is the ability of an organization to earn money and how risky their activities happen that will directly impact the stock price.

The theory can be stated based on a standard valuation model with this formula:
P1=P0 * (1+k) –D

P1 is the market price of the share at the end of a period.

P0 is the market price of the share at the beginning of a period.

K is the cost of capital in the equation.

D is representative of the dividends received at the end of a period.

What Are the Implications of the Dividend Irrelevance Theory?

Should dividends be irrelevant, then many organizations spend much of their time pondering an issue to which their shareholders are indifferent. If that happens to be true, then there are implications to consider where looking at future decisions to make. The goal would be to raise the price of the stock so equities could be sold for cash instead of offering dividends per every share owned.

That is because investors would consider a capital gain to be an equal return on their investment when compared to a dividend. If the capital gain were large enough, it could even be treated as a superior investment when compared to stocks that are purchased solely for their dividends.

For this to be true, however, the existence of a perfect capital market would be required to exist. The cost of debt would need to be equal to the cost of equity since the cost of capital wouldn’t be affected by the leverage that dividends could place on a stock price.

What Are the Assumptions Made by the Dividend Irrelevance Theory?

There are six specific assumptions which are made by the dividend irrelevance theory.

1. The income taxes do not exist. This includes corporate and personal income taxes.

2. There are no transaction costs or stock flotation.

3. Financial leverage is not going to affect the cost of capital.

4. Investors and managers have access to the same information regarding the future prospects of the organization.

5. The cost of equity for the firm is not affected by the distribution of income between the retained earnings and the dividend that was issued.

6. The dividend policy has no impact on the capital budgeting of the organization.

Because these assumptions are not realistic, critics of the dividend irrelevance theory suggest that it cannot hold in a realistic situation. Investors and organizations both pay income taxes. Transaction costs exists and can be extensive. Flotation costs can be significant, especially since external financing can be very different from internal financing, but the theory does not present a difference between the two.

Even the cost of equity can be affected by dividend policies because of the costs involved. To sell part of a portfolio will require a transaction fee to receive the needed cash access. Because of this fact, shareholders tend to prefer dividends because cash can be received without the same need to create a transaction.

The idea that uncertainty doesn’t exist is unrealistic. That means under specific conditions, a dividend can be relevant, which disrupts the thesis contained within this theory.

Then there’s the fact that investors rarely have access to the same information that managers do. That is why real-life scenarios are questioned.

The dividend irrelevance theory offers an interesting perspective to the approach an organization could take with share valuation. It is a model that is popular, but because there are limitations based on the idea that a perfect environment exists, the outcome plotted by using its equations can be somewhat unpredictable.

The word “diathesis” comes from Greek and it means a disposition or vulnerability is present. When combined with the stress that occurs with daily living, a person can experience psychological, genetic, situational, or biological factors. Depending on the individual’s vulnerability, a wide range of outcomes may occur.

Most people have some level of vulnerability with specific mental disorders. How people stay resilient against them, and why others do not, becomes the focal point of the diathesis stress theory.

Yet when this vulnerability is recognized in some way, the first reaction of the individual tends to be denial. Most people tend to behave normally and continue plodding through their day until the combination of a trigger and stress creates a major event. Then what may be internalized and hidden becomes externalized and can lead to anxiety attacks, mental disorders, or even a severe mental illness.

What Is a Trigger and Why Is It Important?

For a negative event to occur, a trigger must happen. For the diathesis stress theory, the triggering event takes a vulnerable individual and moves them toward a negative outcome.

Triggers can be almost anything. Genetic factors, biological concerns, or environmental concerns can work together in combination to create a trigger that forms the foundation of a mental illness. Stress can act upon those triggers and worsen the experience, which acts upon the vulnerability of the individual.

For a resilient individual who has experienced a trigger, their natural inclination will be to seek out some sort of coping mechanism which will allow them to continue functioning normally. For a vulnerable individual, the natural inclination will be to focus upon the stress that exists for them, which creates a spiral downward into negativity.

Many mental disorders and illnesses, such as schizophrenia, show that individuals suffering from the condition are affected by numerous triggers that are quite similar. By recognizing these triggers before stress can exploit the diathesis that may exist for that individual, a treatment plan has the potential of being developed to create resiliency.

Can Coping Skills Be Developed That Help with Vulnerabilities?

When the diathesis stress theory is being utilized to help individuals who are experiencing a trigger, the goal is the same for that treatment plan as it would be for any other person experiencing a trigger. Coping mechanisms must be put in place that will reduce the stress loads the individual is experiencing.

Because the diathesis stress theory suggests that many triggers are internal, possibly physical, or related to an individual’s emotional state, the goal is to reduce how those triggers react to the environmental stressors that may be present.

This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Immediate interventions may benefit from medication. Relaxation techniques may help reduce core stress levels so that the triggers can be responsive to standard coping mechanisms. Skill building opportunities that help individuals recognize triggers so they can be avoided can also be helpful.

By initiating coping skills when a trigger occurs, the goal is to reduce the symptoms that a person may experience because of their vulnerability. When proactive measures are taken to avoid potential triggers or stress enhancers, the possibility of delaying the onset of a mental disorder or illness to which someone may be vulnerable becomes the goal.

Avoidance is Not the Same as Coping

Mental illness rates have consistently affected about 20% of the US adult population for more than a generation. More than 42 million people in the United States have an acute or chronic condition that involves their mental health. This may include bipolar disorder, depression, or schizophrenia.

Another 4% of US adults experience a serious mental illness at least once per year.

This is consistent with data that was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011 that stated 1 in 4 US adults suffer from a mental illness in any given 12-month period.

What is the reason why mental illness and disorder rates are so high? One answer might lie in how we have defined “coping.”

For many people, coping skills involve watching television, getting drunk, listening to music, or cleaning the house. Although exercise can be helpful and shutting the brain off for a while can make someone feel better, the core issue that created a trigger and the stress which enhanced it will still be there.

Many have switched the definition for “coping” with “avoidance.”

Running away from what happens when triggered does not build skills or recognize alternatives. It simply provides that person with a chance to run away. When that person is ready to stop running, the trigger and the stress enhancer return, often with greater force.

Coping involves sorting through the causes that create the trigger in the first place. Is there a physical issue which causes a trigger? An emotional issue? An environmental issue? And what stress is currently present that could enhance that trigger in some way?

By recognizing personal triggers, proactively reducing stress, and identifying key situations that could create a triggering event, it becomes possible to escape from the negative cycle that diathesis can cause.

Acute Stressors Can Cause Acute Triggers

The impact that a particularly stressful event can have for an individual can be highly variable. Someone may be able to withstand the grief of losing someone extremely well, but spiral downward quickly when they suddenly become unemployed. Social, biological, and psychological factors all play roles when determining the individual vulnerabilities that are present.

Acute events that are highly stressful can exploit the vulnerabilities an individual may have and create an acute trigger that leads to a mental disorder or illness. A divorce, the death of a pet, or even a child screaming “I hate you!” can be enough to combine stress and a physiological trigger to create a breaking event.

Even normal milestone events, such getting married, having a child, or retiring can have a negative impact on a person’s mental health. For children, the milestone of reaching puberty can have a similar impact on them.
What may seem normal for someone and be devastating for someone else.

How we understand mental health must change and the diathesis stress theory is a step in the correct direction. Although some may still call these issues “demonic” or treat people with an exploited vulnerability as “weak,” the negative stigma regarding mental health can and must be removed.

Everyone can be affected by the combination of a trigger and environmental stress at any given time.

That is why mental disorders and illnesses are more complex than what they are really given credit for being. Because no single factor can create a specific trigger for an individual, it is unreasonable to expect one specific treatment plan or process to help provide some form of healing.

Since the Industrial Revolution, there has been a separation in the development of certain nations when compared to Europe and the United States. The dependence theory in sociology attempts to explain this separation. It is a theory that has fallen out of favor since it was proposed, but still provides a relevant conversation regarding why some countries develop slower than others.

Does Unequal Power Create a Need for Dependency?

The world today can be separated into two general categories. We have “developed” nations and “developing” nations. The term “developing” is used to describe a country that does not have the same economic infrastructures that can be found in the US or Europe. It creates a relationship between the two countries where the developed nation must support the developing nation because of the unequal footing if a relationship between the two is going to exist.

Developing countries want what the developed countries have. Developed nations don’t need anything from a developing country, but there do have a “moral” or “ethical” obligation to prevent suffering within those nations. That creates a need for dependency between the two that maintains the status quo.

In the dependency theory for sociology, the developing country grows to depend upon the support it receives from the developed country. Instead of developing its own infrastructure so it can be part of the industrialized world, it continually spends the money and uses the supports that are offered to it because the offer is always there.

The developing country sees no need to develop because it is receiving external support.

For the developed country, this relationship might seem unequal, but it is often viewed as an advantageous relationship. When the developing country is dependent upon them for their basic needs, then they are no longer a potential threat to their existence.

It is a relationship that is similar to what the Colonial Era experience in the 14th-17th centuries, with extensions for some nations up until 1945.

What Happens with Dependency Today?

In the past, developed nations would power their way into the developing world to find the resources that were needed for growth. Whether it was done through relationship building or conquering, the goal was ultimately the same. The resources of the developing country would go into fueling the expansion of the developed country.

In some historical cases, dependency was forced upon certain populations through political or military control.

As the world has evolved, so has the method for creating dependency. Instead of conquering a nation and creating a moral or ethical need to support the population, capitalism and finance turn the tables on the relationship equation. Now the developing countries owe the developed countries significant sums of cash and have no way to pay it.

That outstanding debt then allows the developed country to take what they need without a moral obligation to support anyone.

Is There a Way to Stop Dependency in Sociology?

The only way to stop dependency is for a nation to transform itself from a “developing” state to a “developed” state. To accomplish this, a nation must take greater control over their systems of commerce. Whether it is through direct control of a business, such as one would find in China, or it is through laws and regulations, such as one would find in the US, wealth distribution occurs when structures are in place.

With wealth distribution comes infrastructure reinforcement. When an infrastructure is stabilized, industries can begin to develop. When that development process matures, a nation can theoretically move out of the “developing” category.

Except these steps are rarely followed. Corruption occurs frequently under the auspices of capitalism. That adds cost to the sustainability of any effort to industrialize and it can even affect total productivity.

It is to the benefit of a developing country to accept payments, even if that involves debt, because it cedes responsibility at some level. It is to the developed country to keep other nations from reaching a level of equality because that would put their own security or socioeconomic status at risk.

The only real solution that exists to stop this relationship of dependency is to eliminate the benefits of its structure. That would require economic exchanges, open borders, and coordination through one global committee, resource center, or governing body.

Some may argue that closing the borders to a developing country would allow them to sell commodities to the developed world to bolster their economy, but that would simply restart the Colonial Era practice of divide and conquer once again.

Dependency will likely always exist. The dependency theory in sociology is just one explanation for this dependency. People wish to keep what they have and when others are content with what they are given, it creates a relationship that both see as being beneficial.

First published in 1972, the defensible space theory was proposed by Oscar Newman. His work as a city planner and architect proposed ideas that could help to keep neighborhoods safe and prevent crime with this theory.

He focused on public health, social control, and crime prevention as it related to community design.

The 5 Factors Which Make Up a Defensible Space

Newman noted a study in the 1970s which found that residents in a high-rise building experienced more crime than those in smaller buildings. He suggested that a building with more people in it creates a feeling where personal responsibility is reduced because a person feels like they have little or no control over their circumstances.

As he looked at this concept and developed the defensible space theory, he outlined five specific factors that would need to be present to create such a space.

  1. Territory. The home of an individual must be treated as sacred ground.
  2. Surveillance. The physical characteristics of the home must provide a person with an ability to see or know what is going on around them.
  3. Image. The home must be structured in such a way that it can provide real security, or at least the sense of security, when it is occupied.
  4. Milieu. Features of the home must also provide a sense of security, such as its location near a police station, the installation of a security system, or a proximity to a busy commercial area.
  5. Safe Areas. If the primary space of the home is breached, there must be a safe adjoining area that provides higher-level services in the other four key points that can be accessed.

Newman suggests that when a criminal is placed into an isolated position, it becomes easier for homeowners to defend their home space. When responsible parties care for and own their homes, and can watch neighborhoods with regularity, then a criminal feels less secure in taking an action.

In the defensible space theory, environmental design is what can control or mitigate criminal behavior.

Does Defensible Space Theory Work?

Two high-crime areas have experimented with the defensible space theory. In St. Louis, private homes experienced lower crimes than public areas. When people had the capability and incentive to defend their own spaces, then crime went down. St. Louis allowed people to ask unwelcome people to leave their street because they owned it with the city. On a public street, such an action could not occur because there is no ownership, so someone couldn’t be asked to leave until a crime was committed.

Hartford saw very different results. The US Department of Justice closed the streets to a neighborhood, assigned police teams to patrol them, and had new buildings be designed around the idea of limiting access to the city. Their efforts at implementing the defensible space theory showed virtually no reduction in the local crime rate.

How the Defensible Space Theory Is Implemented Today

The influence that Newman had on urban design is still seen in the construction of new homes and buildings. Homes are built in such a way where the resident is able to utilize and control their environment based on their current capabilities. This includes family structure, income level, and socioeconomic background.

Proprietary attitudes are also emphasized in the defensible space theory. When residents can take ownership over a specific tract of land, it gives each person a sense of authority and the confidence to expel a potential intruder.

Interior and exterior spaces are designed to let residents view as much of their surrounding environment as possible. Windows are placed where a sphere of influence can be maintained. That may include a city street, a local park, or an unfenced yard. At the same time, the structure must reduce any visible vulnerabilities that may suggest it is an easier target to someone who may be thinking about committing a crime.

Amenities are also considered within the defensible space theory. By keeping key needs close, such as food, water, and clothing, the time away from home that a person must spend is reduced. That limits the window of opportunity for a criminal to act and naturally reduces crime as a side effect.

Newman included ownership as part of the defensible space theory because people are more willing to defend something of their own than something that they rent. By creating a defensible space that is owned, territory becomes sacred. Monitoring is frequent. This reduces criminal opportunities, which according to the theory, will then reduce the crime rate.

In the 19th century, there were several theories floating around the scientific community regarding the creation and development of the world and its species. They could all be categorized into two primary categories: evolutionism and creationism.

Georges Cuvier did not believe in any form of evolution. His objection involved how the fossil record was created. According to his experiences, the fossil record did not indicate that there was a gradual changing from one animal form to another animal form.

In the Cuvier theory, any change to the anatomy of an organism would render it incapable of survival. He came to this conclusion by studying the remains of mummified cats and then comparing them to the skeletal structures of a modern cat. Because they were no differences, his theory suggested that creationism was the foundation of science and that if any “evolving” occurred, it was because of an adaptation to the environment.

The Cuvier Theory Involving Extinction

In the late 18th century, theories and beliefs in the scientific world were extremely influenced by religion. One of the theories that was popular at the time was that extinction was impossible to achieve. God, according to the logic of the era, wouldn’t willingly wipe out His own creation. That would be counterproductive to creation, so impossible.

Cuvier firmly believed in this concept. He studied the anatomical forms of numerous species, often spending long days at the National Museum of Paris. From those studies, he set out to prove that an extinction-level event was impossible.

According to stories retold of what Cuvier would do, he could recreate the bodily structure of an extinct animal with incredible accuracy, even if only a handful of bone pieces were available.

Then everything changed. While studying elephant fossils, Cuvier discovered a species of elephant that did not match the structures of the African and Indian elephants that were currently living. The logic of the day suggested that a variation like he had found was that the animal was not extinct, but just hiding and could not be found.

Cuvier felt that this would be preposterous. A hiding elephant as just not possible. Cuvier would shift his thinking about extinction to suggest that fossils were not the remains of living animals, but their predecessors or ancestors. It would eventually lead him to propose that abrupt changes to the planet in history had caused some animal species to go extinct.

Is the Cuvier Theory Still Valid Today?

Many of Cuvier’s ideas and theories have been found to be inaccurate or just plain wrong, but his theories regarding mass extinction are still justified. At a time of rapid planetary upheaval, about half of the animal species on the planet at the time are believed to have gone extinct. New species would rise, others would fall, and eventually human beings would come along.

Although his work was immediately and widely criticized, Cuvier continued a dogged pursuit into the study of catastrophism. He read through Greek and Latin literature on large-scale fossil findings. It led him to believed that virtually every animal fossil he found came from an extinct animal.

He would even suggest that the world before the one that humans inhabit was destroyed by a catastrophe, though he also believed that humanity had been around long enough to preserve the existing fossil record.

Cuvier would continue to study the fossil record to trace the history of the planet. Through his work in stratigraphy and ideas about how life evolved, from reptiles to mammals to humans, he would eventually stumble upon fossils that would become the first dinosaurs.

In 1800, Cuvier identified a fossil of a small flying reptile that he would call “ptero-dactyle.” He would find several other dinosaur fossils as well, becoming the first scientist to identify the ancient reptiles. He would then theorize that there was a time when reptiles were the dominant animals on the planet instead of mammals.

It wouldn’t be confirmed until 20 years after his death, but this aspect of the Cuvier theory would prove to be more accurate than even he realized could be possible.

The Impact of the Cuvier Theory

In many ways, creationism involves a supernatural creator. The work of Cuvier proved that creationism could be part of the scientific process without the need to invoke a deity. He found, through the fossil record, that a new species could rise and take the place of one that was on the decline.

His work would also contribute to the process of how fossils are categorized, processed, and assembled. The predictions about fossil finds Cuvier made were accurate and his knowledge of comparative anatomy make them relevant still today.