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John B. Calhoun’s “rat utopia” experiments of the 1960s, designed to be paradises with unlimited resources, resulted in societal collapse and extinction due to extreme behavioural changes, showcasing a dark side of population density and social roles.

The initial population explosion and flourishing of the rat colonies in these utopias turned into a nightmare as they approached their physical and social limits, leading to a breakdown of social structures, deviant behavior, and eventual demographic collapse.

The experiments serve as a chilling parallel to the trajectory of Western society, where periods of abundance and growth gave way to economic shocks, social stagnation, and a rise in antisocial behaviors, suggesting we are experiencing our own form of “behavioral sink.”

Current societal trends, including the breakdown of traditional roles, rising deviancy, and a loneliness crisis, mirror the decay observed in Calhoun’s rat populations, indicating that Western civilisation might be nearing its own “point of no return.”

Humanity possesses the unique ability to recognise its dire straits and has the power to reverse the downward spiral, preventing us from meeting the same fate as the “rat utopias.”

The 1960s was a time of rapid population growth, and scientists were concerned that our numbers would eventually become unsustainable, leading to mass famine and conflict.

Of course, in hindsight, these fears were unfounded; the dreaded Malthusian trap never materialised even as the world’s population soared from 3 billion to 7.8 billion today.

Still, back then scientists were running experiments on how overpopulation would impact us.

The ‘rat utopia’ experiments, too, were conducted on this premise.

Calhoun, however, would be shocked at the observed outcome, which he termed a ‘behavioural sink.’

As part of his experiments, rats were introduced to specially designed pens, where they had access to unlimited food and water, were safe from predators, and the enclosure was cleaned regularly to prevent disease.

In other words, it was a ‘utopia’ for the rats.

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The most famous of these was ‘Universe 25’ – the largest and only experiment he was able to run to completion.

Here is what happened:

Initially, as one would expect, the population initially exploded in size, doubly roughly every 55 days.

More rodent infants were surviving into adulthood and themselves breeding more of their kind.

Many rats also were observed to have extended lives.

Some would live up to 800 days of age (equivalent to 80 in human years).

At day 315 of the experiment, population growth began to slow down as “all the most desirable physical space was filled with organised social groups.”

Note that this was well before the population had reached the limit the pen was designed to house (with just 2000 mice in contrast to the 6000 enclosure limit).

This was the beginning of “deviant” behaviour among the housed rodents.

Unable to fill any desired social role, some of the younger mice began to exhibit antisocial behavior.

Young males became more withdrawn, shunning interaction with their ‘society.’

Instead, they would congregate with other withdrawn males.

By now, a few of the rats from both genders also developed abnormal sexual behaviours.

As time passed, rat ‘fathers’ began to shun their role of defending territory.

This left rat ‘mothers’ and their brood more exposed to invasion of their nest sites.

‘Traditional’ gender roles in this rat society began to break down.

Mothers began to lose their maternal instinct and began neglecting their young.

Some even turned to killing them.

Because of this lack of involvement by mice parents, the young developed into adults unequipped with “adequate affective bonds,” particularly relating to courtship, parenthood, and (positive) aggression.

This was further reinforced by relationships becoming less meaningful because these young mice were overwhelmed by the frequency of social interactions.

In other words, the quantity of the relationship ultimately diluted the quality.

Effectively, they were locked into leading lonely adult lives and not understanding what is appropriate behavior.

Male behavior, especially, shifted tremendously.

For lack of a better term, they had become emasculated.

They were dubbed by the scientist as the “beautiful ones.”

They were observed to be uninterested in mating and avoided conflict at all costs.

Instead, they spend almost their whole time grooming, eating, drinking, and sleeping.

All these factors in turn led to collapsing birth rates.

In the words of the scientist, “for all practical purposes, there has been a death of societal organisation.”

Eventually, by day 560, the population had ceased to increase, and “deviant” behavior was now the new “normal.”

Birth rates were now close to or slightly below the death rate.


This was the “point of no return.”

The decline following this phase was swift as birth rates rapidly plummeted.

Day 920 was when the last baby mice were conceived.

Now, the mice colony was headed for a slow extinction.

By day 1588, from a peak of 2000, only 27 mice remained, the youngest of which was 987 days old.

However, violence would be common among them as a result of inherent frustration.

Their female counterparts, meanwhile, would begin to socially isolate themselves, withdrawing to the least visited upper floors.

We are undergoing the same ‘behaviour sink’ that Calhoun witnessed in his ‘Universe 25’ experiment.

The 1960s and mid-1970s were a time of plenty.

Birth rates increased while death rates plummeted, which resulted in a population boom.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the West experienced economic shocks and the beginning of de-industrialisation.

The ‘space’ of economic opportunities was no longer expanding.

The later 1980s and 1990s saw a rise in anti-social behavior, particularly among the youth.

Religiosity was on the decline.

Punk culture was in, and amoral behavior was being encouraged.

Gang culture also became more common among the male youth cohort.

It was also the time when our native populations began to stagnate.

The next generation that followed would continue this worsening trend, being even more anti-social, less religious, and critical of traditional roles.

At this time, the radical LGBT movement also began to gain traction, and so did abortion (the killing of an unborn child being a symptom of losing the maternal instinct).

The 2000s see the beginning of a loneliness crisis, particularly among the youth.

This would be further exacerbated by the advent of social media (quantity diluting quality).

Many of the young from this stage would grow up as adults lacking many basic social skills.

By the late 2010s, deviant behaviour became the new normal.

Women hate motherhood, and men are noticeably less masculine, preferring easy gratification such as from videogames, porn, and online shopping (just like the “beautiful ones”).

To some, this description may sound offensive, but it is our reality that is offensive.

We are nearing a point of no return.

But a great thing about humanity is that, unlike mice, we can understand when something is going wrong and can actively try to undo that wrong.

This is why we are considered God’s greatest creation.

It is time we act and undo this great collective evil that we have self-inflicted.

My request to you is to have hope.

Once you have hope, half the battle is already won.

A person with hope is one who can overcome any challenge, even if he or she is fighting alone.

 Republished with permission. 

George Christensen is a former Australian politician, a Christian, freedom lover, conservative, blogger, podcaster, journalist and theologian. He has been feted by the Epoch Times as a “champion of human rights” and his writings have been praised by Infowars’ Alex Jones as “excellent and informative”.



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