Reflections from Early 2015
Today I ran across an article, How Mice Turned Their Private Paradise Into A Terrifying Dystopia, about the noted ethologist John B. Calhoun (May 11, 1917 – September 7, 1995) and his work from the 1970’s where he introduced a small population of mice into a healthy environment for observation.
I remember hearing about this study back then. The mice were allowed to overpopulate to see how their lives and social interactions evolved. As the title of the article indicates, it wasn’t a utopia forever.
In our human lives, each generation will approach or move away from the ideal society. It’s been a mixed bag for my generation born and raised in the United States. The 1950’s were pretty good and to top it off we avoided a permanent state of McCarthyism and nuclear annihilation.
In the 60’s we had Flower Power, lost our innocence and first war, and landed on the moon.
The 70’s turned the American dream upside down. We had the First Arab Oil Embargo, lost our faith, and acquiesced to The Man, corporate power, and allowed ourselves to be brainwashed by advertisers.
The 80′ were a continuation of the 70’s with bad music. The music sucked.
With the advent of the 90’s came a breath of fresh air with the fall of communism and for a while one could read or listen to the news reports and actually feel good afterwards. Technology advanced and we saw wide adoption of the Internet.
In the end, we became even more shallow and detached than in the 80’s, but still moved forward; lead on towards a corporate vision of utopia like proverbial lemmings unaware of the forces driving us or questioning them.
Now in the 21st century after a nearly a decade and a half of war, there is hope again. There is no doubt we’ll be engaged in wars for the foreseeable future. “In for a penny, in for a pound,” as they say.
There were voices of warning that foretold the whirlwind we would reap. Most people in positions to heed the warnings and take us in other directions chose not to, or couldn’t.
Where did we go wrong?
It depends where you point the camera.
- The creation of Iraq following World War I
- World War I itself
- Earlier decisions to colonize the world and upset local civilizations
- Playing at nation building in Iran and Vietnam
- Abandoning the dreams of the 1960’s
- Voluntarily deconstructing our businesses and sending too many of our jobs to other countries
Adjustments will be painful and difficult. If my years of involvement and observation have any guidance to offer it’s that our individual choices make a difference.
Be of good heart.
Learn all you can, build deep relationships, and follow your heart.
– Jeffrey A. Limpert
References and additional reading:
By Yoichi R Okamoto
By NASA photo As11-40-5886