Psychohistory is a term coined by Isaac Asimov in his Foundation Series. The character Hari Seldon, a mathematician, develops this branch of mathematics. It is basically a statistical analysis of the past and based on this information it becomes possible to predict the future.

Originally we are led to believe that this new technique can only be used to predict very large changes in humanity. As the series progresses we find that it gets refined to be able to predict even individuals. (IIRC)

From Foundation by Isaac Asimov:

...Gaal Dornick, using nonmathematical concepts, has defined psychohistory to be that branch of mathematics which deals with the reactions of human conglomerates to fixed social and economic stimuli...

...Implicit in all these definitions is the assumption that the human conglomerate being dealt with is sufficiently large for valid statistical treatment. The necessary size of such a conglomerate my be determined by Seldon's First Theorem which...

...A further necessary assumption is that the human conglomerate be itself unaware of psychohistoric analysis in order that its reactions be truly random...

The basis of all valid psychohistory lies in the development of the Seldon Functions which exhibit properties congruent to those of such social and economic forces as...

    -- Encyclopedia Galactica

Psychohistory is now a real subject, "The study of historical motivations",it is slightly on the fringe, but the body of work is growing. It attempts to take the insights learned from the psychiatrist's couch and apply them to an understanding of history and politics. Essays by proponents including Lloyd De Mause talk about things like war as purification, or rape and bad mother/good mother splits. There is a whole vocabulary to pick up. Some of the practitioners also look for ways to see into the unconscious collective life of nations and a good claimed technique for this is to analyse political cartoons, which often depict violent or perverse images that certainly seem to have a whole rulebook of their own and may indicate savage and dark motivations behind current political events. The analysis of war and its causes is a useful alternative to the kind of history more commonly taught.

One of the key ideas of psychohistory is that child rearing practices evolve through time. As parenting becomes more humane and centered around nurturing and allowing the child rights, then generations of more stable individuals appear (so called new psychoclasses) who drive social and political progress. Warlike cultures are often said to be ones with more brutal childrearing practices, where individuals will need to defend themselves from retrigerring bad memories, or transfer their poison pain onto others by cruelty and domination.

For more information see :

http://www.primalspirit.com/psychohistory_section.htm
http://www.psychohistory.com/

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