The Constellation Mapping Project is a proposed social network study wherein subjects are said to be connected if they have had communication regarding “abstract” ideas. In the context of this project, the term, “abstract”, refers to concepts that are apart from the basis of everyday report/request communication that could be thought of as the necessary background communication to live in society as it is. In other words, the aim of the project is to try to get a sense of the dynamics and structure at the boundary of the space of communicated human thought.
The thesis at the core of this project is that emergent ideas in society are the offspring of former ideas and that the social network of people that acts as the substrate upon which these ideas grow and compete, are symbiotically related. People communicate abstract concepts and thereby connect with other people based on a perceived shared interest that goes beyond the established transactional, social necessities of status quo existence. Similarly, these ideas become associated with one another based on how often they are jointly discussed.
For example, the subjects of “quantum mechanics” and “relativity” are often discussed together. Arguably, these subjects qualify as being on the boundary of human communication in terms of day-to-day living. They are edge cases in this way, but their co-discussion points to an active and emergent area of ideas relating to quantum gravity, which is based on a relation(the unification of physics) that obviously has deeper roots than the mere correlation of joint-discussion, but nevertheless serves as an illuminating example.
So, the goal of this project is to establish a trial framework for a network model and suite of useful metrics, with which, these dual networks of people and ideas can be analyzed.