Has the Internet doomed humanity?

  • Registration is closed without referral. This is a website about Internet drama.

Mysterious Capitalist

Collect [REDACTED] as you pass
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Jul 21, 2017
I was reading through the post-scarcity thread in this forum, and I was reminded of John B. Calhoun and the concept of behavioral sink.

If you don't know what I'm talking about (and can't be bothered to read the links I've provided), I'll summarize the experiment like this: Calhoun made a mice paradise with no danger whatsoever, rooms for every mouse and infinite food and water. The only catch was the somewhat limited space, even though it wasn't small in the slightest (the maximum amount of mice that could be stored safely was almost 4000 and at the beginning they were only 8 ).

After the initial population boom, the birthrate dropped drastically; and then this happened:
This period between day 315 and day 600 saw a breakdown in social structure and in normal social behavior. Among the aberrations in behavior were the following: expulsion of young before weaning was complete, wounding of young, increase in homosexual behavior, inability of dominant males to maintain the defense of their territory and females, aggressive behavior of females, passivity of non-dominant males with increased attacks on each other which were not defended against.

During this period females ceased to reproduce. Their male counterparts withdrew completely, never engaging in courtship or fighting. They ate, drank, slept, and groomed themselves – all solitary pursuits. Sleek, healthy coats and an absence of scars characterized these males. They were dubbed "the beautiful ones." Breeding never resumed and behavior patterns were permanently changed.

While I can't be bothered to wittily link each instance of "social aberration" to some news article about stuff that's happening recently, those that didn't live under a rock until now will surely recognize a lot of those symptoms in modern social behaviors and/or movements (feminism, PC culture, emasculation and nu-males, even incels, among other things).

It's important to note that, when the population peaked (2200 mice), all the mice basically lived their entire life near other mice, being them eating, sleeping or passing time and it's accepted that this was the most prominent factor in the premature end of the experiment, not the limited space; that was never nowhere near filled up before the end.

Now, how can this experiment about mice be relevant for humans? Aside from all the previously mentioned similarities, the experiment proved that when individuals spend the majority (if not all) of their life at close contact with others, it will lead to socially aberrant behavior.

While I don't think the majority of our cities are nearly as crowded as it would be needed to show this behavior organically (Japan has them and their dropping birthrate is not unknown, although this is obviously not the only reason that happen), I believe that the constant social interactions brought forth by the Internet (especially social networks like Facebook) in the last 10-15 years is having a similar effect on society to the mice's limited personal space in the experiment. This would include the ending, hence the title.

I'd like to know if someone else feels the same or if I should stop reading too much into stuff...

By the way, as you may have guessed already, the mice utopia collapsed shortly after the breaking point and the once thriving population actually went extinct because "corrupted" mice never recovered or reverted back once the numbers were stable again.

P.S. = I'm not against Internet in any way, shape or form, but I couldn't resist the clickbait-y title.
 

Sergeant Politeness

Pitiful, laughable, once again silent
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Jan 2, 2017
Calhoun's experiment has spooked me since I heard about it ages ago. I think mostly, the issue is that society is too fucking big and people are too scattered, leaving the internet to fill a niche (communication) that was once taken up by actual social interaction.

Think about it, what's one of the biggest motivators as a social animal? To belong. Before, you'd belong to your village or town or whatever. The smaller social order lead to everyone either knowing their place or forcing themselves into a place. Nowadays, the small town mentality is dying off. I know around here, shit's way too big and spread out to even walk anywhere. You absolutely need a car. Add to that culture clash, where NYC uses this area as their dumping ground and floods us with their stupid people, rather than letting us deal with our own stupid people, and there really is no sense of "community". Everyone I know has either left or wants to leave badly.

The 20th century has been the biggest social experiment of all time, one where we've taken to globalism, allowed monolithic, faceless entities to control and puppet our government, and opened up markets to completely invisible forces. Note the wording there--faceless, invisible. It's hard to feel like you matter when the issues that actually affect are too big to even take on. The issues that still exist are too big and too ingrained to fix, so they start attacking oftentimes exaggerated or fabricated issues that look like they have simple fixes. Rampant racism in America is a great example. Anything to feel like you have a place.

In the same sort of way, the internet allows people to feel like they're really interacting. To some superficial degree, they are. Text and video chats and all that are a great way to, at the very least, simulate interaction. A lot gets lost in translation, and I know for me personally, there's a lot of internet friends I wish I had in real life. The reason why internet communication feels empty is because a lot of it is empty. A lot of it is arguing, posturing, and dodging any sense of actually fixing your social ineptitude. Why bother, there's people on the internet, right?

Tl;dr by making shit too big, we've effectively sanitized and simulated activism and human contact. It's as empty as it looks. The people around you are massively important to your happiness and health.

(On the topic of the experiment though, I don't think we'll go extinct or be permanently fucked by this. We're a lot smarter and craftier than mice. Teal Deer did a video on this not too long ago where he speculated on what the Calhoun experiment could mean for humanity, so if you're curious, here's a link.)
 

Christopher Robin

kiwifarms.net
Joined
Aug 5, 2017
Has the internet doomed society? Possibly, it depends on what you would classify as a "doomed society", but I don't believe social media alone could cause a reaction in the way that Calhoun's mice experiments did. I personally don't believe that the experiment is applicable to humans anyway though, so I'm biased. Mice are mice, their social systems are so much more basic than humans, I know some rodents have very complex castes and are eusocial, but this all pales in comparison to what we have developed. Which is why I don't get really freaked out when it turns out mice sperg out when unnaturally cramped together, and start shouting that humans are next. If a study found that bonobos or even chimps had similar reactions, I would start to give it more thought.

In other ways the internet could have doomed society though. One way that I have been thinking about recently is that we all have no reason to conform anymore, no need to "act normal" or fit in, we can simply go online and search through a huge chunk of the worlds population to find others that feel the same way as we do, regardless of what it is. You're a pedophile? Go online and find thousands of others like you to make yourself feel better. You're super fat and don't think its an issue? Go online and find thousands of others who will tell you you are right to be fat and that you are beautiful. Peoples bad, destructive, and considerably rare habits/views/actions/whatever are never weeded out anymore, because you can always find a community that will agree with you and support it. I think a lot of people would find this a good thing, but I personally don't agree with unconditional support of anything you do under the guise of positivity or whatever
 
Last edited:

Sergeant Politeness

Pitiful, laughable, once again silent
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Jan 2, 2017
You're a pedophile? Go online and find thousands of others like you to make yourself feel better. You're super fat and don't think its an issue? Go online and find thousands of others who will tell you you are right to be fat and that you are beautiful. Peoples bad, destructive, and considerably rare habits/views/actions/whatever are never weeded out anymore, because you can always find a community that will agree with you and support it.
On a separate note, I dealt with this yesterday. I had a couple of people clutch their pearls at me for making fun of a furry who was openly obsessed with Undertale and vore. He had this shit on his Steam profile, his Twitter, and actively shared it with us in a public Discord. "That's his thing, you don't have a right to make him feel bad for it," they said. Why not? He's a fucking weirdo and put all of it on the internet under the same name. No expectation of privacy and no shame in making sure a weirdo knows he's a fucking weirdo.

Thing is, there's nothing more natural than ostracization. There's an in-group, and some people aren't in it. There's normal, and that guy wasn't it. I really didn't mind whatever the guy was into, but the fact that he was so bold about it annoyed me. To them, that was childish, elementary school behavior. Again, I don't see how. Laughing at weirdos is a human universal, and I wish we did more of it.

There's a Shellac song from 1994, just before the internet really got big, that deals with this mentality. "Become a fat fuck and cut yourself and have lots of sex with strangers if it makes you feel better, that's none of my business" is the message it grapples with. It's such an alien and toxic mindset and I'll never understand it. I don't think the internet invented it, but it certainly exacerbated it.
 

Johnny Bravo

Bravokin
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
I think online social interactions are quite different from real life ones. I'm an introvert by nature and find myself feeling emotionally exhausted after spending three or more hours around people, but I can spend that same amount of time chatting online and still have plenty of energy to spare.

With extroverts the opposite tends to be true. Online interactions don't affect them the same way.
 

escapegoat

The answer is always "porn."
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Jun 16, 2017
I'm not sure that experiment really says anything about being surrounded by other people, more like what happens when an entire generation is raised with absolutely no hardships by parents who have also never faced any hardships.

This. It's not that they were cramped or forced to interact.

And, really, with traditional society, your tribe is like, literally up your ass from birth until death. There is no notion of "privacy." Everyone hears your every bowel movement. You have sex in a one room hut, with all your kids there. Traditional societies are not individualist utopias, by a long shot. Etc.

The problem isn't that he mice are in close quarters. It's that they're fucking bored to death. There's nothing against which to struggle.
 

Sergeant Politeness

Pitiful, laughable, once again silent
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Jan 2, 2017
And, really, with traditional society, your tribe is like, literally up your ass from birth until death. There is no notion of "privacy." Everyone hears your every bowel movement. You have sex in a one room hut, with all your kids there. Traditional societies are not individualist utopias, by a long shot. Etc.
Okay, but hunter-gatherer tribes aren't what I'd call a "society". Since at least the dawn of the last century (disregarding the Great Depression), people really haven't needed to struggle on the bottom steps of the Hierarchy of Needs, which is what the Calhoun experiment eliminated. The mice didn't need to search for food or hide from predators, and we don't either. If the issue was that the mice didn't need to fight to survive and got bored, why are we just now paralleling it?
 

escapegoat

The answer is always "porn."
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Jun 16, 2017
Well, we are not mice. We have more complex societies. So, sure, the mice need basic-survival struggle for optimal emotional health.

The fifties are when Americans started to notice that we'd gotten "neurotic." There was a lot of hand-wringing about it at the time--that is when you start to see the mass use of psychiatric meds. That is when the upper middle classes all decide that they need "analysis." They'd be the most pampered of the bunch, at that point.

And since then? Television, then computers. Birth control pills.

We've replaced jobs that involved physical movement with staring at a screen. We have replaced being in social clubs or churches where you'd, say, bowl against another team and duke it out over who gets to bring the dessert to the fundraiser? With staring at a screen. We've replaced talking? With staring at a screen. Sex? Porn. We haven't just removed the struggle of for survival, we've removed the struggle for fucking anything. We don't engage in actions, so much as we passively receive simulations of actions. You don't play a game, you watch a game. At this point, you don't even have to play the vidya. You can watch someone else do it. We watch TV instead of struggling with a text or listening to another human tell a story, and then working to imagine it in our minds eye.
 
Last edited:

escapegoat

The answer is always "porn."
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Jun 16, 2017
Shorter: You take away struggling for food and shelter from mice, and grooming is the only thing left to do, really. They start to put all their energies into grooming. They start to think grooming is the point of life. You are left with neurotic mice.

With humans? You whittle away what humans actually do through conveniences and distraction, and the only thing left to do is sperg and jerk off. You start to think that sperging and jerking off is the point of life, the center around which life revolves. You are left with neurotic humans.
 

Sergeant Politeness

Pitiful, laughable, once again silent
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Jan 2, 2017
We've replaced jobs that involved physical movement with staring at a screen. We have replaced being in social clubs or churches where you'd, say, bowl against another team and duke it out over who gets to bring the dessert to the fundraiser? With staring at a screen. We've replaced talking? With staring at a screen. Sex? Porn. We haven't just removed the struggle of for survival, we've removed the struggle for fucking anything. We don't engage in actions, so much as we passively receive simulations of actions. You don't play a game, you watch a game. At this point, you don't even have to play the vidya. You can watch someone else do it. We watch TV instead of struggling with a text or listening to another human tell a story, and then working to imagine it in our minds eye.
Yeah, I can agree with this. I never understood how people could become so sedentary anyway (experiences are scary?), but then again, I'm weird. Not that I'm some model for ideal human interaction and social health, but shit, wouldn't you at least rather be playing that game you're watching? I dunno.

I don't think the proliferation of meds for literally everything is doing us favors either.

This is not a remotely useful analogy for the world today.
Honestly, I think this thread might best become two: "how has the internet affected interaction" and "is the Calhoun experiment even viable as a model for human society". They're completely separate and I think equally interesting discussions, but in one thread, it becomes muddled.

Alright, I've been talking a lot, sorry. I'll bow out now.
 

DuskEngine

watermelon seller
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Sep 27, 2014
Honestly, I think this thread might best become two: "how has the internet affected interaction" and "is the Calhoun experiment even viable as a model for human society". They're completely separate and I think equally interesting discussions, but in one thread, it becomes muddled.

I don't think it's possible to consider how the Internet has affected culture without acknowledging the fact that material insecurity has drastically increased for many people over the last few decades and that this will obviously affect 'culture' as well.
 

Wallace

kiwifarms.net
Joined
Jun 23, 2015
The fifties are when Americans started to notice that we'd gotten "neurotic." There was a lot of hand-wringing about it at the time--that is when you start to see the mass use of psychiatric meds. That is when the upper middle classes all decide that they need "analysis." They'd be the most pampered of the bunch, at that point.

There's a whole story behind this. Watch "The Century of the Self". It's on Youtube.