First of all, you have to realize that every country in the world has a different culture. This will make the reactions that people take to certain things different according to where they are from. For example, in America, we are all screaming because we think the quarantine is taking away people’s rights. However, in S. Korea, they happily do whatever they are told peacefully. It is because America is full of sons of pioneers who have fought for freedom and S. Korea has a Confucian culture that puts whoever is oldest in charge, and the regular population just goes along with whatever is happening. If you go to a place like Romania, they may try to comply, but they will cheat in the process. With their many years under Communism, they learned to sneak to do what they wanted. They learned not to speak out because it only causes trouble, but to do everything under cover. They have a special greeting for Easter that says, “Jesus has risen,” and the response is, “Yes, you are right. He has risen,” but they said under Communism, they whispered it to people they could trust for fear that they would cause themselves trouble if the wrong person heard. This is just one of many, many examples I could give you.
After you realize that the culture has a lot to do with how people react, then you have to take into consideration that we have a basic human nature. We all want to survive. It is only basic nature. We are also basically lazy whether we like to admit it or not. That is why the free enterprise system, if allowed to work, works better than Communism. If we have to get out of our beds and go to work in the morning just to eat, we will do it. However, if we don’t have to, we will stay in our beds until we are ready to get up. That is exactly what broke the Communist economies in Europe. One man told me that everyone was guaranteed a job. No one could get fired, so he got up and went to work. After that, he told everyone he was going down town to get a cup of coffee. He stayed downtown all day, and no one said anything to him. At the end of the day, he showed up at his work place again, and then he went home. He accomplished nothing. If the whole country is doing this, you are in trouble, and that is why the Communists in Europe fell. The countries weren’t producing, and everyone was starving.
It is the same thing that happened to America’s first colony from England. They were a bunch of businessmen who came to America to get rich. They had a store room where they could take anything they wanted without paying for it. It was supplied by the English government. They didn’t bother to work because they could just go get anything they wanted from the store room. They either slept all day or fought with the Indians, Eventually, everything in the store room was running out. A lot of people had died from pneumonia and Indian attacks. They sent a ship back to England for provisions, and when the ship came back, everyone was gone. There was no longer a colony. Having everything just handed to them wasn’t good for them because mankind is basically lazy.
You might even look into what part religion plays in people’s lives. For example, if you were talking about people in the Middle East, they would react differently to a situation than someone in Japan, the American Bible belt, or California. Muslims have a tendency to force once another to the point of even stoning people to death if they disagree with one another. Japan is another Confucian culture, and they have a tendency to follow whatever their ancestors did just because their ancestors did it. I actually caught a girl who said she was Christian praying to her father at a god shelf in Japan because she said she was professing Christianity to honor her father. She really didn’t understand what her father believed, but she was going to do whatever she thought he might do. Again, if you go to a Christian in the Bible belt in America, they will be trying hard to do the right thing under all circumstances. If they Bible says it, they believe it, and they will do it. If you go to California, though, that is where Hade Ashbury was. Hade Ashbury was the place in San Francisco where all the hippies from across the nation decided to go during the hippie movement, and it has really influenced the culture in California to have looser morals than a place like the Bible belt. It opened doors for witch cults, nudist colonies, palm readers, and all kinds of things like that in California. It caused California to have really liberal attitudes about things other Americans might not have. People who act also have to be able to open themselves up to a lot of different kinds of thinking in order to be able to put themselves in the palce of their character, and this also causes California to have more liberal attitudes than many other states. I used to act, and it completely changed my personality because I began understanding other people better.
These are just a few examples of what religion does to people. Religion can influence whole populations. The European Communists used to call it “the opium of the people.” People feel good if they think they are doing the right thing. I always loved to study about the Greek religions because the stories that came out of the Greeks were explained because of how the people believed. Our belief systems can move governments. It is the core of who we are. In Romania, Communism did a lot of things to them, but they have a real pride in their Christian past. They are proud of their beautiful church buildings. However, the Communist government began to systematically destroy their magnificent old church buildings. After that, the secret police kidnapped a Methodist preacher over in Timișoara. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Yes, they were starving, but they were finding ways to cope. Yes, everything was broken. Yes, they saw the TV show “Dallas” and got jealous of everyone in the west because they thought we all lived like that and had more than they had. Yes, Communism had caused all kinds of trouble, but they called the kidnapping of that Methodist preacher “the spark” of the revolution. They were tromping on the belief system of the Romanians just too much! They fought back! Our religions can move whole populations. You aren’t going to take people’s religion away from them. The Communist thought they had done it in Romania, but they had a sad awakening when the people rose up and defended God! Religion is engrained deep inside each of us. Getting tough on religion is only asking for trouble.
It is hard to predict the future, but you can look at what has gone before. You can understand each individual culture as well as basic human nature and basic beliefs of the people, and it will tell you what people will probably do. They have done the same thing again and again. I hope this helps you with your project of trying to predict trends.