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Universe 25 and The Beautiful Sink

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posted on Jun, 14 2017 @ 05:35 PM

The ethologist John B. Calhoun coined the term "behavioral sink" to describe the collapse in behavior which resulted from overcrowding. Over a number of years, Calhoun conducted over-population experiments on Norway rats (in 1958–1962) and mice (in 1968–1972). Calhoun coined the term "behavioral sink" in his February 1, 1962 report in an article titled Population Density and Social Pathology in the Scientific American weekly newspaper on the rat experiment. Calhoun's work became used as an animal model of societal collapse, and his study has become a touchstone of urban sociology and psychology in general.

Wikipedia entry

After day 600, the male mice just stopped defending their territory, listless mice congregated in the centres of the Universe. These gangs would burst into pointless and sporadic violence. Females stopped reproducing and even started attacking their own young. Mortality rose phenomenally. Roaming mice either attacked or attempted to mount others, irrespective of relation or gender, cannibalism and other acts of depravity consumed them. These were the feral ones. Then there were the ‘beautiful ones.’

The ‘beautiful ones’ withdrew themselves ever so quietly, removing themselves from the sick society. Solitary pursuits began to define them; eating, drinking and grooming among others. No scars on their back or hairs out-of-place, these mice behaved like a separate race. They saw the world through their narrow scopes, as they tossed, turned and tried to cope.

In the end the population sank, even when it was back down to a tolerable level none of the mice changed back. The change was irreversible, the mice were different now. The secluded females could still bear offspring and the beautiful ones had the capacity to help produce them yet it never came. This tipping over into irreversible societal collapse came to be known as ‘The Behavioral Sink.’ John Calhoun called it the first death. Death of the mind and soul, leading eventually to the second death, of the physical form. What he meant was that after the first death, the mice were no longer mice and could never be so again. - Death by Utopia.

I made a passing comment on another thread in another forum: "Rats in a cage"

I have either blocked it out, completely forgotten, or did not know the details, so I did a little research and ran across the above MostlyOdd excerpt. Here is part of my response...

Wow! Besides one of the coolest band names ever, the fact they were so damaged that they never turned back to 'mice' is just fascinating. Only moving about when the other were sleeping,

That says volumes about our current situation worldwide. Not very happy ones. Refugees in Europe, the Chinese sleeping in coffin apartments, anime, the wealthy buying secluded islands, etc. Just wow!


This all relates to John Calhoun's rat and mice study about overpopulation. He constructed Universe1 and ran a study. He then created the next colony, Universe25. That is what the MostlyOdd article is describing.

Notice any resemblances to anyone living? This popped out at me. My thoughts being, "This describes rather accurately the state of society today"! Does anybody else see similarities?

To much doom porn for TEOT? "Man are not mice"? "I remember the study in general but the these details..."? "Leave me alone! I'm washing my hair"? Eeek, a mouse!!

I thought this deserves the wider ATS audience. The ideas are at once harrowing and mesmerizing.

posted on Jun, 14 2017 @ 05:36 PM
Wow! That's nuts

posted on Jun, 14 2017 @ 05:41 PM
a reply to: FreedomFighter37

I was responding the workplace violence in SF earlier today and went down this rabbit hole.

Kind of feel like I have removed myself from society.

posted on Jun, 14 2017 @ 06:00 PM

This purpose of the experiments was not to portend some imminent doom for humanity, in fact Calhoun was trying to be positive. He wanted to change cities, his remedy to the behavioural sink was creativity. By changing society and changing how we designed our cities we could avoid becoming mired, stagnant, and eventually, dead as a dormouse. Over 100 Universes were designed after he published the paper in 1973, these ones designed with the aim of promoting creativity and reducing stagnation.

(Source: Death by Utopia article)

Maybe not "doom porn" but it can be read that way. But the events of today have me bummed out, again. And one can start to see connections as we are steered, it seems, by collective tragedy and shock.

The mice did not have drugs or alcohol. Maybe our vice keeps us from being like rats and mice in a cage.

I hope we can return to being human where the mice could not. We're clever little monkeys after all.

posted on Jun, 14 2017 @ 06:46 PM

We may seek "The Forgotten Village" in "The Pastures of Heaven" and pray "To a God Unknown" as we travel "The Long Valley" "East of Eden", but we are "America and Americans" and this is "The Winter of Our Discontent".

You see "Once There was a War" over "A Cup of Gold" filled by "The Grapes of Wrath", we were lost "In Dubious Battle" only to find "The Pearl" was "Burning Bright"...

But Teotwawkiaiff, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes 'of Mice and Men'
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

posted on Jun, 14 2017 @ 06:56 PM
a reply to: muzzleflash

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

Robert Burns - To a Mouse

That is what I was thinking, but, hey, Steinbeck works too! Very creative use of short story titles!

I guess there is also Willard, but who needs killer rats in today's world?

posted on Jun, 15 2017 @ 10:05 AM

Sorry if my weird Of Mice and Men post killed your otherwise normal good thread.

posted on Jun, 15 2017 @ 12:32 PM
a reply to: muzzleflash

It's all good! I'm not sure if people know how to respond. This is kind of a crazy idea: population density and behavior. The fact that part of the population ignored everybody and everything happening sounds very familiar. The stress of seeing the world fall apart left the poor mice broken beyond repair. And to draw parallels to human society... well, it is a stretch to say the least but you can see similarities in behaviors between the two.

One thing nobody noticed (including me until late last night) is I messed up in the title of this thread!

Universe 25 and the Behavioral Sink

- or -

Universe 25 and the Beautiful Ones

But I ended up with a Beautiful Sink!!! How's that for a Freudian slip?


The Death by Utopia article stated that Dr. Calhoun's research inspired the book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM, which means you guys are not reading the links! C'mon people! Part of learning is discovering something you did know previously. Like that book was inspired by the research. Those little nuggets are your reward for doing a little reading! Why should I spoil those, "Aha!" moments by spilling the beans from the get go? I thought that would be something people would glom onto as a talking point.

I guess it is now! lol

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 11:08 AM

I know asking people to read is not kosher so here is a u-tube video describing the Universe 25 experiment and the effects on behavior of the mice population. It is about 8 minutes long and they don't mention the deviant, pansexual behavior (hear that Miley!), but the graphs alone are worth watching the vid! There is a section on new (back then), continued experiments that take up the last couple minutes that I will watch at a later time.

I really feel that this is important so maybe a video will help with understanding.

Mouse Utopia Experiment

edit on 16-6-2017 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: clarity

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 02:14 PM

The consequences of the behavioral pathology we observed were most apparent among the females. Many 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 [i.e., homosexuality] 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 social organization of the animals showed equal disruption. Each of the experimental populations divided itself into several groups, in each of which the sex ratios were drastically modified. One group might consist of six or seven females and one male, whereas another would have 20 males and only 10 females.

National Institute of Health ( - Population Density and Social Pathology. (PDF)

From John B. Calhoun’s paper on file at the NIHMH.

Needed to sneak the original source in here.

The population took a dive then exploded. After 500 days there around 2,000 mice. At day 600, no infants were being born. The video comments about the Beautiful Ones being "too stupid" to have sex. I don't think they were stupid at all; they were traumatized. They knew where it would all lead so they did not engage in that societal function (procreating to save their species). Reminds me of Fight Club, where disenfranchised males make a new religion (societal function) and roles, the Space Monkeys.

Society doesn’t just collapse. It is the societal roles that have no function. That unfulfilling life causes a spiritual death not only for the self but for the society as a whole. The “first death” leads, inevitably, to the big dirt nap. It happened in every single experiment Dr. Calhoun performed.

So how does the “rat race” look to you now?

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 03:44 PM

Mortality, bodily death = the second death
Drastic reduction of mortality
= death of the second death
= death squared
= (death)^2
(Death)^2 leads to dissolution of social organization
= death of the establishment
Death of the establishment leads to spiritual death
= loss of capacity to engage in behaviors essential to species survival
= the first death
(Death)^2 = the first death

This formula might apply to rats and mice—but could the same happen to humankind? For Calhoun, there was little question about it. No matter how sophisticated we considered ourselves to be, once the number of individuals capable of filling roles greatly exceeded the number of roles,

only violence and disruption of social organization can follow. ... Individuals born under these circumstances will be so out of touch with reality as to be incapable even of alienation. Their most complex behaviors will become fragmented. Acquisition, creation and utilization of ideas appropriate for life in a post-industrial cultural-conceptual-technological society will have been blocked., Issue 42 - The Behavioral Sink.

As a punk rocker in spirit, “Death to the Establishment!”, is a slogan oft thrown around (usually with a sneer on the face and a fist in the air). But if the establishment does die then that is it for society as well. If humans are anything like mice, of course.

Which makes me wonder. I posited that humans can self-reflect and are recursive in their use of tools which makes us more “open-ended,” so to speak. Would we create new roles to ease our minds? Could we construct society while inside of it and living it?

I also wonder what would happen if the Beautiful Ones were dosed with T&C-25 what effect that would have on them? Besides tripping out for a bit, would that re-connect them with God? (Or, I guess, “mouse God”). Would that heal them enough to go get laid? Make them less anti-social? Or with society being destroyed would the inevitable end come anyway?

Are we already circling the drain in the Beautiful Sink? Have we passed that event horizon?

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 03:53 PM
On a recent thread about coincidence I said I often have the word I'm typing be the lyric to the song I'm listening to on my ipod (to drown out other noise. Or maybe, I'm withdrawing from social interaction!

When I was posting the above this song came on!!

The White Stripes - I Think I Smell A Rat

edit on 16-6-2017 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: typos galore

edit on 16-6-2017 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: walking down the street carrying a baseball bat...

edit on 16-6-2017 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: get their name right TEOT

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 06:22 PM
Here is Dr. Calhoun's write up at Death Squared: The Explosive Growth and Demise of a Mouse Population (PDF)

Starts at page 5, skipping the explanation of how the habitat was set up.

In 1973, Calhoun published his Universe 25 research as “Death Squared: The Explosive Growth and Demise of a Mouse Population.” It is, to put it lightly, an intense academic reading experience. He quotes liberally from the Book of Revelation, italicizing certain words for emphasis (e.g. “to kill with the sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts”). He gave his claimed discoveries catchy names—the mice who forgot how to mate were “the beautiful ones”’ rats who crowded around water bottles were “social drinkers”; the overall societal breakdown was the “behavioral sink.” In other words, it was exactly the kind of diction you’d expect from someone who spent his entire life perfecting the art of the mouse dystopia.

Most frightening are the parallels he draws between rodent and human society. “I shall largely speak of mice,” he begins, “but my thoughts are on man.” Both species, he explains, are vulnerable to two types of death—that of the spirit and that of the body. Even though he had removed physical threats, doing so had forced the residents of Universe 25 into a spiritually unhealthy situation, full of crowding, overstimulation, and contact with various mouse strangers. To a society experiencing the rapid growth of cities—and reacting, in various ways, quite poorly—this story seemed familiar. - The Doomed Mouse Utopia That Inspired the ‘Rats of NIMH’

The paragraphs directly before these two are a great description of how the mice reacted to over crowding. I personally like the description of "spinster females" retreating higher in the nest and living alone!

I see so many similarities to today. I did not know that it comes back to the greatest of all doom porn, the Book of Revelation to St. John.

And I looked and beheld a pale mouse and his name that was him was Death.

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 10:26 PM
Interesting. I didn't know about these experiments. Obviously, I have a lot of catching up to do, but I see a point where Calhoun's experiment differs from reality, and it is a game changer, in my highly esteemed opinion, lol.

The mice had no abilities to leave Utopia, whereas we as humans are free to leave big cities if we want to.
Look at ants. Their colonies count millions of individuals, maximizing their own society without collapse due to overcrowding because A) they have the ability to expand their Utopia/nest, and B) can leave its safe frontiers to go in a mostly dangerous world.

I would like to see that experiment done, but with safe doors to prevent predators from getting in Utopia, and outside, so we can see how mice will really react to the Utopia concept in the real world.

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 11:33 PM
a reply to: NowanKenubi

Thank you for this response!


The whole thing gets me down because a lot of it seems to be happening right now to us humans. I'm talking behavior here.

There are things like technology pushing it back but it is the "death of soul" that scares the sh# out of me. I see it here on ATS and wonder wtf is wrong with our world. And we're just a subset of the larger population.

I tend to worry about things btw. I wonder why I'm where I'm at in life. This study seems like a good framework to go by.

It has fired my imagination. And not in a good way.

Yeah, we are smart enough to get out of this trap but has the First Death already happened??

Men are not mice. We have options. Can we do it?

posted on Jun, 17 2017 @ 12:05 PM
a reply to: NowanKenubi

As I read more and more I found out that Universe 25 was not the first time he had a confined population. He had dozens. Each one collapsed in the same manner. From a population of a dozen to thousands each met the same demise.

Confined space is not good. Death of societal roles and death of soul means physical death. We are social creatures too.

I find this fascinating.

posted on Jun, 17 2017 @ 05:42 PM

The way I see it, that research could have been taken as a way to "kill our souls" by knowing what to do to achieve that result.

The banking system and all its strangulating schemes make it so that people don't see anymore they can leave, that there are other options.

Society has been designed with non-physical walls to entrap as many as possible. At least, I think someone along the way decided to act upon this research and fundamentally change society.

But I also think there are lots of free people, unaffected by this. Never despair!

posted on Jun, 17 2017 @ 06:22 PM
a reply to: NowanKenubi

Our great escape is to the stars! So we are not trapped in that sense. At least I hope we're not.

And like I said earlier, we are recursive which is complexity in and of itself. Just wish we weren't so wasteful in our production of goods. But that is changing.

I like you thinking... outside the box!!! Lol. I'm just sad that so many people seem to be bought into the system already. Screaming "wake up" doesn't help. That is where my despair sets in.

I should check my ego and not be judgemental of society. But I look around me and see failure.

Unlike the Beautiful Ones, I want society to and human-kind to live. I will fight for it. I will die for it. But it is sad seeing people stuck in the Universe 25 mindset. They don't even have a clue.

That is my cynical side. "You get what you deserve", I say as I go home to cook dinner and wash my hair...

posted on Jun, 17 2017 @ 06:40 PM

well this appears to me like the perfect textbook for those who made the decision and implemented the mass migration to Europe, exactly what they wanted

posted on Jun, 17 2017 @ 07:25 PM
a reply to: Dr UAE

Thank you for this!!

So much of what we see around us today seems to be exactly this *points at thread*.

That is a discussion point and figured others would want to discuss this but guess I'm wrong. But this is kind of old news too. But extremely relevant at the same time.

Having a framework and the terms is the first step to understanding. Then we can change.

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