Yes, yes and yes.

Today someone starting hitting me with that same old “we have to refine the messaging” nonsense I’ve been hearing from corporate Dems for decades.

(Spoiler alert: Most Dems don’t really care. They get paid to always come up just short.)

I suddenly found I couldn’t fake it for one more second. I had to stop the meeting.

The people were all lovely people doing their best but I just couldn’t sit through it.

My tolerance for the “pretend world” the corporate media and let’s face it, we ourselves, have cultivated is a full notch below the E sign.

Which is why I’m so thankful for your writing and the community growing around it.

If you ever have a day where you think “what’s the point?” try to remember how rare and special your voice is.

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This sort of boom/bust dynamic has been observed in other populations of animals. In situations of abundance their numbers will rapidly increase until some sort of tipping point is reached and a rapid decline follows. As you point out this usually happens before the environment runs out of resources.

There are lots of theories about why this happens. Overcrowding triggering a buried mammalian response to stop breeding has been suggested as a possible explanation.

Sort of a "natural" Children of Men feedback built into the genome.

I am unconvinced about that but I have observed something I have been calling "Culture Fatigue". I see it happening in Japan, the US, China, and Europe.

I relate it to Toffler and his Future Shock. When populations and cultures undergo wave after wave of "change" and revolution they get "exhausted" and start breaking down. Birthrates plummet and enui sets in. There is cultural decline because everyone loses faith in the cultural myths holding them together.

The OLD is dead, but in the absence of the NEW, its shambling corpse keeps twitching.

This moment is US, living in the twitching corpse of our Culture. Waiting for it to die so that something new can grow.

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I have spent an inordinate amount of time attempting cognitive empathy over the past couple of years. It’s very draining. I keep telling myself to just stop, that there’s no way to logically understand why people behave in such destructive ways. Why am I a pariah for wearing a mask in public during a pandemic caused by an airborne virus? Why does driving the speed limit cause other drivers to act as if they want to run me off the road? Why do so many people I know and respect seem so capable of buying into and supporting horrific narratives about the rest of the world, especially ones that make it acceptable for my country to support and create military atrocities around the globe? Why?

Because we are in a behavioral sink. Thank you.

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Just read this article on Moral Injury: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/moral-injury-is-an-invisible-epidemic-that-affects-millions/

Seems this is what happens to many caught in the behavorial sink, i.e. those trying to do the right thing

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I consistently find here some of the best writing on Substack. For example

"Above all, there’s no sense of urgency anymore. Even those of us who care have felt something change recently. Our Overton windows have shifted. A few years ago, we were arguing for living wages and universal income. We were talking about taxing billionaires. Now we have to explain why it’s not a good idea to let teens work in meat packing plants. We have to explain why you should cover your mouth when you sneeze, or wash your hands after using the bathroom."

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Humane behaviors, especially trust, are essential for society to function.

The ruling class, our bosses, & loved ones who've willingly sacrificed everyone in an inhumane selfish delusional bid to reclaim their preCOVID comforts have killed trust in everyone & everything

IMHO this behavioral sink stems from trust being dead - nothing is safe, predictable, stable, or comfortable - so we are all in fight or flight mode.

All the more reason we the humane need to unite in communal solidarity to grieve together and form communities of and by the humane - worker owned + community owned covid safe cooperative communities networked together.

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Yeah. I just feel this.

It's been one of those weeks where the bottom of the slope seems to be rising up even faster than we're sliding down.

The rat framework is scary but also oddly a relief.

A dark but deep dive...you're definitely unearthing some roots!

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I've been thinking for a quite a while that humans — both individually and as a large group — seem to have certain 'bugs' that are triggered under certain circumstances, much like software bugs in a computer. For example, a global pandemic, or drastic environmental change... I'd been thinking of it like a beehive or an anthill, but always felt bad for the insects in that metaphor, as they actually seem to do better than us. Rats are far closer to humans (clearly why Calhoun did his study), and it makes a lot of sense. I think that the internet, social media, and now AI has increased this sense of 'crowding,' and hence triggering and amplifying those bugs buried deep in our beings.

However, learn from my hard experience: don't try to bring this up at dinner parties. Humans *really* don't like being told they have basic, species-wide mammalian instincts that override our supposed individual freewill stories. It's almost like a part of the bug: when confronted with over-growth, the species must self-destruct, but do so without allowing too many individual members to observe it fully and possibly make altering changes, therefore ensuring the self-destruction actually happens.

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Humans have zero chance. We will


Covid brain is the final chapter.

Sarscov2 is changing our brains - making us more depressed and angrier.

People who want to behave well, cannot control their behavior and the people who refuse to behave are worse.

I work in HR and have never seen people behave so badly. 4 terminations in a month for employee to employee workplace violence- and I work in a hospital!

I have given up on the plutocrats and oligarchs noticing that their workforce has vanished. Dead. Sick. Or retired.

The shelves at my local target are bare. They have no workers to stock the shelves.

Plays are canceled cause the cast has covid.

Med device has recalls cause they cant find workers to make quality products.

The list goes on…

When can we euthanize ourselves?

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You did a much better job at incorporating Calhoun's work in an article than I did. I'm glad you did it because I think it's an important point.

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Mar 4Liked by Jessica Wildfire


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What a Great, Insightful article! It's a perfect response to some of the baffling questions that I have been asking myself for quite a while now. Helped me to put some of the more puzzling pieces of life, as I live it, together. Thank You - LXW

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This is one of the smartest essays I've read in a very long time and unfortunately, it describes Florida Governor DeSantis and his administration perfectly. The State of Florida, for one, seems to be headed toward eventual collapse, with a massive and ever-increasing influx of narrow-minded new residents who seem to lack any understanding of the basic tenets of a sane society.

Great winter weather, but that isn't enough to sustain a humane, ethical and compassionate micro-civilization. Unfortunately, we seem to be headed in the other direction.

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Maybe those boom and bust cycles are part of the entropic process - a brief & lazy Google search suggests they happen in plant ecologies too, and result in more diverse populations (! Not convinced) - but if anything can lay down tracks to regeneration and increasing healthy diversity, it must come from some kind of anti-entropic creativity - like innovative science & technology, careful and insightful art, and good writing. Thanks for doing your part.

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I love your work Jessica, somehow you manage to bring on the doom just as hard as any other author, but with an emotionally centering, spiritually energizing effect, rather than depressing your reader. It’s a skill we need more of!

Your analogy here to the rat experiment is a good take on our predicament, but I think there are possible solutions. To get out of this situation, humans, metaphorically speaking, must try and find our way out of the experimental habitat. Now. Even if the odds of success are low.

Practically, this means building a global network of small communities with strong prosocial

values that are as independent as possible of global industrial civilization and its long supply chains.

People generally won’t act on this because it sounds too ambitious. But I’m nobody, and I’m taking a stab at it. We all need to get over our collective paralysis and do whatever it takes to create alternatives to the bleak future we’re facing now, even if these alternatives fall far below the ridiculous expectations we were sold by petrochemical civilization.

It’s our duty to humanity and life on earth.

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Some very good thoughts here although illuminate our brutal reality. I've come to think that the collapse of animal populations is not just population based as illustrated by the Calhoun study. Put more simply the resulting problems are centered on an emerging vicious selfishness. That is a mammalian switch that can be triggered.

Our reaction to that seems to be a feedback loop that intensifies the self-destructiveness. It is very much like a contagion that triggers us to want to remove the those with the symptoms. We start wanting to disregard and then remove and then eliminate the people infecting us. But that is the disease itself.

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