Why am I in this handbasket? Why is the wind in my face getting faster?

I’m on a self-imposed news diet-I’m deliberately not reading the news, outside of the weather and a very basic, quick scan of certain aggregator sites. Most articles I read I only read a few paragraphs deep (if they’re long). I’m doing this because I see friends and acquaintances who losing it because they’re obsessing over the news. I don’t want to turn into one of them.

If you read the news-any news, any source, any amount-it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the country is rapidly going to hell in any number of hand baskets.

We are in a period of upheaval and rapid change. The question is why. Some of it is driven by science and technology. Teenagers and 20-somethings now are very different creatures than us old farts. They’ve grown up in a culture dominated by a level of connectedness that has never before existed. There are a million memes that humorously point that out. They miss the serious fact that this level of contact may not be healthy for humans. I think it’s quite possible to be too connected.

Of course, that could just be the introvert in me. But I doubt it. I think we’re seeing, at least where it concerns the current…we’ll call it poor behavior…in various large cities in the US and around the world. After being cooped up for weeks because of a media-driven panic over a pandemic that doesn’t deserve it, in constant but impersonal contact with each other, a generation that has been heavily indoctrinated by a leftist academia since they started kindergarten, a generation that may be the most heavily psychotropicly medicated in history, has in large part slipped its leash, ran off and is busily hypering itself into a frenzy.

At least in large urban areas.

There has been much speculation over the years about urban living and the advisability of it. People, while social, may not do so well in large groups as in smaller ones. Hell, we know rats don’t. Dr. John Calhoun’s experiments in the late 50s-early 60s gave us the term “behavioral sink”. If you haven’t read about these experiments, they’re fascinating. And they’re scary as hell. Some of the behaviors he noted as his rat utopias broke down were

  • “Many [female rats] were unable to carry pregnancy to full term or to survive delivery of their litters if they did. An even greater number, after successfully giving birth, fell short in their maternal functions.”
  • “Among the males the behavior disturbances ranged from sexual deviation to cannibalism and from frenetic overactivity to a pathological withdrawal from which individuals would emerge to eat, drink and move about only when other members of the community were asleep.”
  • “The animals would crowd together in greatest number in one of the four interconnecting pens in which the colony was maintained. As many as 60 of the 80 rats in each experimental population would assemble in one pen during periods of feeding. Individual rats would rarely eat except in the company of other rats. As a result extreme population densities developed in the pen adopted for eating, leaving the others with sparse populations.”

There’s a lot more, but let’s consider just those three. Where do we see similar behaviors in humans more often? Do you see them more in small towns or in large urban areas? Heard about the slow depopulation of rural America, with towns disappearing as people move to cities for jobs and other perceived benefits? And those same cities are where are the riots happening?

Couple this with Strauss and Howe’s Fourth Turning theory and where we are in it now, and it starts looking eerily like much of what we see in urban areas today.

Have we created our own “utopias”, and has the perfect storm of historical cycles, population, summer heat and human nature reached critical mass and the behavioral sink is upon us?

Something to think about.

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