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Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby asg70 » Mon 08 Jul 2019, 16:03:14

Open question. Mods, please move this to another forum if you see fit.

As I observe culture changing, as well as dropping fertility rates, I'm starting to think that the first world is running the Mouse Utopia Experiment, and that perhaps in an extended period of surplus that nature provides its own checks and balances against further overpopulation.

The saying goes that hard times breed hard men, which leads to good times which leads to weak men and that weak men lead to hard times, hence the cycle repeats. Successful societies enter into decadence, decay, and are then overrun by barbarians ala Rome.

You know Children of Men? I don't think we'll get that far, but for whatever reason, male sperm count is falling. Much is made of male feminization (aka soyboys or nuMales). Women have abandoned marriage first, and largely abandoned childbearing in favor of riding the carousel through most of their reproductive years. Old concepts of traditionalism are increasingly branded as undesirable or even toxic (like masculinity in general).

I'm just starting to think all of these factors are an almost unconscious macro-level result of too much surplus and overpopulation, like a negative feedback-loop ala the Mouse Utopia experiment. I'm just thinking that we might experience a kind of uncontrollable implosion while we're still basking in surplus rather than having to wait for empty store shelves and gas rationing. This would be because humans in particular have evolved for a world of scarcity (at least scarce compared to modern life) and we can't handle surplus very well.

Thoughts?

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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby Ibon » Mon 08 Jul 2019, 16:32:07

asg70 wrote:Open question. Mods, please move this to another forum if you see fit.

As I observe culture changing, as well as dropping fertility rates, I'm starting to think that the first world is running the Mouse Utopia Experiment, and that perhaps in an extended period of surplus that nature provides its own checks and balances against further overpopulation.

The saying goes that hard times breed hard men, which leads to good times which leads to weak men and that weak men lead to hard times, hence the cycle repeats. Successful societies enter into decadence, decay, and are then overrun by barbarians ala Rome.

You know Children of Men? I don't think we'll get that far, but for whatever reason, male sperm count is falling. Much is made of male feminization (aka soyboys or nuMales). Women have abandoned marriage first, and largely abandoned childbearing in favor of riding the carousel through most of their reproductive years. Old concepts of traditionalism are increasingly branded as undesirable or even toxic (like masculinity in general).

I'm just starting to think all of these factors are an almost unconscious macro-level result of too much surplus and overpopulation, like a negative feedback-loop ala the Mouse Utopia experiment. I'm just thinking that we might experience a kind of uncontrollable implosion while we're still basking in surplus rather than having to wait for empty store shelves and gas rationing. This would be because humans in particular have evolved for a world of scarcity (at least scarce compared to modern life) and we can't handle surplus very well.

Thoughts?



Just a quick response, I do believe you are on to something. I was posting a couple of months ago that opulence is a disease and after a couple generations of it we have cultural characteristics that are no longer adaptive. Starting with indolence in general toward anything requiring physical labor. Your examples are relevant.
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby EnergyUnlimited » Mon 08 Jul 2019, 16:53:15

I agree with OP.
Have been thinking about it on for some time as well.
We are arund a summit and at an onset of precipitous population collapse.
All degeneration observed particularly on the West is pointing to it.
So we can find:
1. Fast growing numbers of useless males.
2. Predatory females
3. Collapse of nesting (read: family setting)
4. Self centered individuals busy mainly with making themselves pretty (soy boys and instagram sluts)
5. Expanding underclasses
6. Good looking and superficially curious youngsters who are yet very unintelligent
7. Failure to breed (on the West)
8. Failure to bring up children to standard for most who do breed. This results in characters from 4 & 6 becoming dominant.
Yes, West is a version of Calhoun experiment, maybe an unintended one but still.
So future is bleek. There will be no survivors.
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby Plantagenet » Mon 08 Jul 2019, 17:20:38

Humans, like other animals, tend to breed and reproduce until they reach some limiting factor and then the population collapses and the cycle starts over again.

It doesn't really have anything to do with "utopia." Give people food and water and basic housing and they'll breed like metaphorical bunnies and the population will grow. Go visit Egypt or India or many other third world s-hole countries to see how this operates in places that clearly are not "utopias."

Food is the most obvious and consistent limiting factor controlling human populations, but other factors like war and plague and pestilence can also cull human populations. Often they act in concert.....for instance wars can create the conditions for plagues and often lead to famines.

In the past this operated on a local scale. Mass famines caused population collapse again and again in peasant China, for instance, and in the last 2000 years western Europe has been depopulated by wars, plagues and famines over and over again.

We are lucky to be living in a pleasant historic interval with abundant food supplies and only limited wars. Think of it as the PAX AMERICANA.

But all good things come to an end eventually. Its a little more difficult to have a war and/or a plague and/or pestilence and/or famine large enough to bring down the entire planet's human population but I think we're up to it now.

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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby EnergyUnlimited » Mon 08 Jul 2019, 17:39:14

Plantagenet wrote:Humans, like other animals, tend to breed and reproduce until they reach some limiting factor and then the population collapses and the cycle starts over again.

Discussed experiment have shown that collapse of population can proceed in an environment of plenty before hard limits kick in.
All what was needed is lack of external threats and environmental pressure to population involved.
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby Plantagenet » Mon 08 Jul 2019, 17:47:08

EnergyUnlimited wrote:
Plantagenet wrote:Humans, like other animals, tend to breed and reproduce until they reach some limiting factor and then the population collapses and the cycle starts over again.

Discussed experiment have shown that collapse of population can proceed in an environment of plenty before hard limits kick in.
All what was needed is lack of external threats and environmental pressure to population involved.


I think some kind of "hard limit" was clearly involved...you can't have a much "harder limit" then something that can make a population of mice or other animals collapse. One likely "hard limit" in the mice experiments involves a need for space. In the "mouse utopia" experiments those mice who were able to control a "normal" amount of space continued to behave normally. It was the mice who were unable to control space and wound up crowded together that exhibited all kinds of pathologies and abnormal behavior.

Humans don't seem to have this hard-wired need for space. Studies of humans show that humans living in some of the densest population zones in the world continue to behave relatively normally, as long as they have basic comforts and normal status. Its drugs and poverty and a lack of status and education that seem to drive humans nutso. You can find lots of crowded ghettos all over the world with very antisocial behaivor from humans, but often just a few miles away are wealthy areas in the same cities with similar population densities but not the same kinds of anti-social behaviors.

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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby asg70 » Mon 08 Jul 2019, 19:34:25

Plantagenet wrote:Humans don't seem to have this hard-wired need for space.


I disagree. The densest place on the planet is the palestinian territories and that surely factors into their adoption of a death-cult in which if you blow yourself up you at least get posthumous fame. In the first world, what overpopulation does is make you just a number. I believe this lack of attention is what has led to the normalization of body-modification (tats and piercings) and the explosion of social networks and youtubers (like Etika, who went insane and committed suicide). In the first world, we have more and more trappings of luxury and convenience, but we're increasingly unhappy with our lives, driving suicide rates upward.

Point being that I think merely regurgitating simple overshoot and die-off analogies may be missing something that is manifesting itself right now.

Wasn't it Al Bartlett that said as population increases the value of an individual human being decreases? I used to have a friend from China and he used to articulate this concept to me, that life was cheap over there which is a big reason why human rights abuses happen. People just disappear and nobody seems to notice or care. There simply isn't the same appreciation for human life. That isn't necessarily true in the first world, in fact on the surface people get triggered over ever more slight transgressions, but it does factor into a sort of mad scramble everyone seems to be on for their own 15-minutes of fame on Twitter. The SJW pogroms and the counter-reactions against them are part of that. It's sort of a virtual warfare going on instead of a literal one, while we sort of go through the motions of civil life. But even there, you have it spill over into what has seemed like one mass shooting a week for a while. Scratch the surface and it's like a real tinderbox.

I don't think this would have happened back in the day when people were living in smaller communities, pre-internet, and everyone knew their neighbors and everyone in some way relied on everyone else pulling their own weight. These days most jobs feel useless and more often than not you're even checking and bagging your own groceries. There's just no incentive to have any sort of cooperation within society. You can shut the door and order everything online and live like Howard Hughes. And it seems like people prefer that hence retail is tanking. So you can have some semblance of personal space, but you're still living in a sea of people who all have a voice (online) but nobody seems to care unless you're a trained seal like Pew Die Pie.

BTW, city life isn't as idyllic as Seinfeld would lead you to believe. Serial killers are really only an urban phenomenon, for instance. Certain modes of behavior are only possible when you are operating in a sea of people. And don't even get me started on inner-city gangs.

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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 08 Jul 2019, 19:58:33

I’m of no hard opinion on this. I have a gut feeling that something is going on. However there are many much more densely populated areas that seem to be doing relatively fine.

Perhaps, when you are fighting for life in a day to day basis you have a sense of purpose.

But in our opulence we have no purposeful, meaningful life? Obviously that does not speak to all of us, but does it speak to significant cohort?

The very, very tiny bit of stuff I’ve read from incels is extremely foreign to me. Perhaps there was a time when such thoughts and attitudes ran through my head but they were quickly brushed away. It would be miserable to be stuck in that place, helpless and hopeless.

My advice, probably not well placed or received, would be to buck up and carry on, life gets easier as one gets older. But that’s just my personal experience.
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby GHung » Mon 08 Jul 2019, 21:34:01

I'm trying to over-think this thing. IMO, it comes down to consequences. If a society gets to the point where its members don't have to suffer the real consequences of their day-to-day behaviors, their lack of forethought, their levels of consumption and waste streams,,, all that, their individual and collective sanity ebbs away; their priorities and relationships become increasingly superficial. Meaningless things become important; things that matter, less so. Our society is well into that cycle.

That's all I have to say about that.
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby dissident » Mon 08 Jul 2019, 22:17:40

GHung wrote:I'm trying to over-think this thing. IMO, it comes down to consequences. If a society gets to the point where its members don't have to suffer the real consequences of their day-to-day behaviors, their lack of forethought, their levels of consumption and waste streams,,, all that, their individual and collective sanity ebbs away; their priorities and relationships become increasingly superficial. Meaningless things become important; things that matter, less so. Our society is well into that cycle.

That's all I have to say about that.


The whole consumer society is all about brainwashing the masses to consume and not think of the consequences. Even the consequences on their own health. We have been seeing entropy maximization at its finest. Mountains of garbage generated to satisfy material appetites created by advertising that leverages social pressure (keeping up with the Joneses). What has facilitated the garbage production utopia is the degeneration of the family, including the disappearance of the extended family.
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby Ibon » Tue 09 Jul 2019, 03:20:44

Just a couple generations ago the analog, organic world was solid. You were anchored into the fabric of your community in the work that you did, where you would play, in commerce with neighbors who owned family businesses. The great outdoors was the playground, the field in which children dreamed, no street lights, just darkness, the sound of insects, stars. There was space and solid ground.

Your mentors were real people whose homes you could walk to. To travel far and wander in foreign lands you would read a book.

From all of that we are now untethered, adrift in alienation...
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby EnergyUnlimited » Tue 09 Jul 2019, 04:36:53

Plantagenet wrote:
EnergyUnlimited wrote:
Plantagenet wrote:Humans, like other animals, tend to breed and reproduce until they reach some limiting factor and then the population collapses and the cycle starts over again.

Discussed experiment have shown that collapse of population can proceed in an environment of plenty before hard limits kick in.
All what was needed is lack of external threats and environmental pressure to population involved.


I think some kind of "hard limit" was clearly involved...you can't have a much "harder limit" then something that can make a population of mice or other animals collapse. One likely "hard limit" in the mice experiments involves a need for space. In the "mouse utopia" experiments those mice who were able to control a "normal" amount of space continued to behave normally. It was the mice who were unable to control space and wound up crowded together that exhibited all kinds of pathologies and abnormal behavior.

Humans don't seem to have this hard-wired need for space. Studies of humans show that humans living in some of the densest population zones in the world continue to behave relatively normally, as long as they have basic comforts and normal status.

Issues with "mouse society" have developed after a a number of generations in relatively overcrowded setting.
There was a plateau for some time lasting ~8 mice generations where population was relatively stable, and yet there was no indication of approaching catastrophy.
My bet is that lack of any sort of external pressure have allowed for useless individuals to accumulate and spread their uselessnes without much challenge.
Mouse generation last about 4-6 weeks (however unlike in case of humans the same parents will produce several lots of offspring before they die).
For humans it takes about 25 years these days to produce new generation. Overcrowded and heavily interconnected cities are relatively recent phenomenon experienced by only 1, maximum 2 generations.
In the past urban and rural populations were mixing more, so there was healthy exchange of genes (now it is not the case because a latter one is hardly there anymore).
So human experiment doesn't last long enough for conclusion and claims that we are resistant to overcrowding more than mice are are rather premature.
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 09 Jul 2019, 05:53:58

It strikes me we have had sufficient generation of over crowding in India to test the theory. One of my pet theories is that their highly developed caste system was a reaction to excess population. The castes allowed each individual in he culture to have some role, it was a way of sharing out the limited work. This supports my theory that some of the USA’s problem is that we are quick to make people excess, make them feel as though they have no role. Which then leads to depression and all sorts of other mental and physical issues.
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 09 Jul 2019, 05:56:26

Dissident,

I think you are exactly right when you say we are at max entropy. Maybe not max, but surly attempting to maximize entropy. I always have the feeling there is more to that concept that needs further development and thought. Something going on there.
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby ralfy » Tue 09 Jul 2019, 07:17:21

Likely not, as there is no surplus.
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby Ibon » Tue 09 Jul 2019, 08:51:30

Newfie wrote:Dissident,

I think you are exactly right when you say we are at max entropy. Maybe not max, but surly attempting to maximize entropy. I always have the feeling there is more to that concept that needs further development and thought. Something going on there.


Maximizing efficiency is god and humanity gets grinded into the mechanitions that reduce everything into a commodity as tasteless as an industrial tomotoe. Humans have become tasteless tomatoes also in the way they have been reduced as components to this efficiency formula
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby dohboi » Tue 09 Jul 2019, 08:52:45

P wrote: "Give people food and water and basic housing and they'll breed like metaphorical bunnies and the population will grow"

To a point. But how does this square with the fact that many the poorest countries who have the least food have some of the highest rates of population growth, while many of the richest countries, with the most ready access to food have some of the lowest, or even negative growth?

Some eloquence here, especially some of Ibon's stuff. But also some excuses for various sorts of lightly veiled bigotry. Recall that homosexuality including 'effeminate' men have existed in pretty much every kind of society.
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby onlooker » Tue 09 Jul 2019, 12:22:21

If one looks at Scandinavian countries they consistently rank very high in terms of "happiness" criteria. Looking at some of their specific traits, one finds that they are NOT overpoulated, have a relatively egalitarian status as pertains standard of living among themselves,  are not overworked, retain some sense of community and common purpose via their socialist democratic structure ie. shared contributions into their societies, seem to have no outstanding social ills like rampant crime, substance abuse, discrimation etc.  So beyond basic necessities, Plant is right social status is important as are stresses/pressures and lack of security and other  social factors that can influence individual well being on a physical, emotional and mental basis.  Feel free Ibon and others to correct me if my assessment of these countries is on any point inaccurate.
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 09 Jul 2019, 13:31:25

Newfie wrote:It strikes me we have had sufficient generation of over crowding in India to test the theory. One of my pet theories is that their highly developed caste system was a reaction to excess population. The castes allowed each individual in he culture to have some role, it was a way of sharing out the limited work. This supports my theory that some of the USA’s problem is that we are quick to make people excess, make them feel as though they have no role. Which then leads to depression and all sorts of other mental and physical issues.


We are of like minds on this. It is not just India either, in Japan for most of the several centuries if a worker/peasant/retainer found a place in a job it was a job for life and the goal was to ensure some or all of the children could inherit a position with the same. This was a huge factor in why the Japanese unions were of little importance for a long time, the workers knew if they screwed up very badly they would be transferred to a position where future mistakes could not harm the company, but they kept their job, their self worth, and their ability to support their family.

In the USA/Europe starting around 1860 the big businesses in our culture took the opposite tack. If you got hurt on the job you lost your pay until you were healed enough to get back to work. If you got killed on the job well that was your tough luck, and if you were crippled or too old to keep doing the job you were fired and left to starve as unnecessary to the corporations benefit. That is where the philosophy, "It isn't personal, just business" comes from. In a hunter gatherer tribe so long as you are contributing to the tribe you are taken care of. Many burial remains have shown that crippled members were kept alive for years after their injury by the tribe/family and it was only in really desperate circumstances like an extended food shortage that 'useless eaters' were cast out to die in the wilderness. The same is mostly true of the agricultural/clan/pastoral cultures that followed on from early tribal existence. You might think a fellow clan member was a waste of good breath and you might do everything you could to make sure they didn't marry anyone in your branch of the clan tree, but if they were in trouble you would do what you could to help them get out and they would do the same for you. This pattern is still alive and well in places like Yugoslavia where some clan feuds date back to the Middle Ages. It has even transferred to America and Canada here and there though Hollywood has disguised just how serious the participants like the infamous Hatfield/McCoy feud across the West Virginia/Ohio border is to them. Clan loyalty is about keeping your genetic heritage strong and vibrant.

It has been determined a couple decades back that within a clan structure mathematically speaking gives your personal DNA the greatest chance of persisting into the future. The mathematical analysis shows that if your clan is everyone within 3rd cousin or less genetic variance of yourself and you live in a typical pre antibiotic culture you will have between 200-400 clan members at any given time. A clan of that size gives you enough internal genetic diversity that inbreeding is not a serious issue and this is reinforced by the occasional 'in marriage' usually of a few women from outside the clan in each generation.

Hunter gatherer tribes have a broad variation in cultures but 'stealing brides' from within the local language group accomplishes the same thing by promoting 'exogamy'. It is still very common for young people stationed in foreign lands to 'fall in love' and bring home a foreign born spouse when they leave the service. This is ultimately a good genetic strategy, but it is less important given the massive overcrowding we are undergoing today. However if 'super plague' or whatever does wipe out say 80%-99% of the human race the genetically healthiest survivors will be those with the most diverse genetic heritage. One of the reasons the Ancient Romans throve on conquest was they accepted anyone who would speak Latin and promote the values of the Empire as a valuable member of society even if on the lowest tier. They were the first truly diverse European culture with everyone from Irish Celts to Slavs to Nordic proto-vikings to Sub Saharan Africans to Hamitic/Semitic middle easterners and Berbers from North Africa brought together in the great Melting Pot of Rome. Even today if you visit Italy you can see the remnants of this great collection of diverse peoples with native Italians ranging from blonde blue eyed northerners to "olive skinned" Sicilians and every variation in between.

But look at us today in America. In the early history anyone could walk in from anywhere and so long as they didn't violate the law they were welcome to join into the culture. In the 1920's when mechanization started cutting the labor needs of industry immigrants went from a welcome addition to the work force to being a way for big business to suppress wages for native born Americans by hiring immigrants willing to work for less just to get a toe hold on living in the USA. Again the western philosophy of 'not personal, just business' meant the low guy on the feeding chain got stomped on. This caused so much resentment in the 'Roaring 1920's' that even before the stock market crashed the voters had pressured the Federal Government to put a stop to immigration. This wasn't racism against the immigrants so much as self defense by those on the bottom of the economic ladder. Immigration was almost non-existant for a full 40 years, but then the LBJ Administration reopened the flood gates and wages from working class Americans have been crushed to well under half of what they were adjusted for inflation in 1969. The plutocrats donate to congress to keep things this way because for the top tiers of society suppressing bottom tier wages is highly attractive. Our culture doesn't just treat everyday consumer products as disposable, it treats lower social tier human beings the same way.
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Re: Are We Running the Mouse Utopia Experiment?

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 09 Jul 2019, 13:39:21

dohboi wrote:P wrote: "Give people food and water and basic housing and they'll breed like metaphorical bunnies and the population will grow"

To a point. But how does this square with the fact that many the poorest countries who have the least food have some of the highest rates of population growth, while many of the richest countries, with the most ready access to food have some of the lowest, or even negative growth?

Some eloquence here, especially some of Ibon's stuff. But also some excuses for various sorts of lightly veiled bigotry. Recall that homosexuality including 'effeminate' men have existed in pretty much every kind of society.


Actually Plant has it dead wrong, as dohboi points out. Wealthier citizens had lower birth rates because they are not so fearful about their 'declining years'. In a medically poor culture where disease is rampant parents needed to have a lot of children to ensure that enough of them would reach adulthood and be successful to help support those same parents when they were elderly. People laugh at 'The Walton's' but in reality it was quite common for the most successful children to have the parents of one spouse, or the parents of one spouse and the widow/widower of the other spouse as well living in their home. This wasn't a one way street either as the grandparents would contribute childcare and light labor to 'earn their keep' until such time as they were unable to do so.

Today you can be a single person or a childless couple and know that the social safety net will put you in a retirement facility when you can't manage yourself and take care of your minimum basic needs. If you don't happen to want or like children you no longer have a self interest need to produce them.
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