The Behavioral Sink

http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/42/wiles.php

Pretty trippy article on what happened to rats in a rat utopia (which included unlimited food, water and hygiene) once the space became overcrowded and the number of rats capable of filling roles exceeded the number of meaningful social roles. Basically, the rats got wiped out as they stopped behaving socially and interacting. This resulted in disinterested and lack of procreation and child-rearing. A couple of rats started to simply focus on themselves and spend entire days primping.

The authors postulate the rat society’s fate as a possible model for what could happen to human society. I’m a bit skeptical that human society takes place in the exact same circumstances as the rat society, but there are certainly some signs of antisocial behavior already – like the crazy young shut-ins in Japan who never leave their apartment. There’s a lesson here for me as well – to not become too self-focused. There are times when I want to focus on my job and start to feel like self-achievement is a pretty worthy use of my life.

But put in context, it’s a broadly unhealthy way for humanity to trend.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-fight-to-save-japans-young-shut-ins-1422292138

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