March 28, 2020

Restlessness under quarantine shows excitement cycle has left refractory phase, entered warm-up phase

From what I can tell -- and it's only online, but from normies on Facebook to groypers on Twitter -- nobody is responding to the quarantine and social distancing in a positive, embracing, relieved way. They're not rejoicing as though it were a nationwide, indefinite snow day home from school. As though it were just the excuse they'd been looking for to burrow away in their cocoon of video games, porn, streaming TV, podcasts, parasocial online media, and so on and so forth.

You'd think at least the groypers would be taking advantage of the situation to spread the gospel of the cozy NEET lifestyle. Where are their memes showing how snug and comfy they are, being holed up inside the home next to the fireplace, while the normies and Boomers are outside dropping like flies from coronavirus? Why aren't they holding Tea Tunes every night, to amplify their warm, fuzzy get-to-stay-inside-forever vibes?

Nope: even the NEETs have become restless, and are venting their frustration at the people telling them to stay home, to practice social distancing, and the rest. A few years ago, these directives would have instead been met with ironic mockery -- and adoption. "Gee, you really had to twist my arm to make me cozy up by the fireplace and keep my distance from the normies whenever I go out..." Today, they're itching to leave the home and take part in non-parasocial relationships in real life.

The difference between now and the past several years is which phase of the excitement cycle we're in. From about 2015-'19, we were mired in the refractory phase (vulnerable, mellow), where all social stimuli feels painfully over-the-top. As of the last several months, though, we've begun shifting into the restless warm-up phase of the cycle, right on schedule for 2020-'24. (The next manic phase should hit around 2025-'29, and then back into the refractory phase around 2030-'34.)

I chronicled some of the initial changes in the popular mood during the early part of this year, and even somewhat the final part of last year. But now we're getting an unambiguous signal of this change of phase from the popular response to the quarantine. The fact that such a wide swath of the society is bristling under the quarantine, and so many are saying they're already going crazy and need to get out and interact with other people already, is a telltale sign of people who are eager to come out of their shells.

If they were still in the refractory phase, they would have the opposite reaction -- silently thanking God, or passing out from relief about not having to painfully be around and interact with others.

People's reaction is all the more telling when you consider that they'd face grave danger by giving in to their restlessness and going outside and mingling. They could come down with debilitating symptoms of the coronavirus themselves, or they could saddle other people with those costs by transmitting it to them. It has taken a literal global pandemic to keep them caged up in the home -- that's the magnitude of the external force required to keep us inside and isolated for a week, during a phase in the excitement cycle where we're itching to come out of our shells already.

If it were just harsh weather, those external conditions would be no match for the newly awakening desire to get out and socialize. I still remember the blistering heat wave of 2013 out West -- and it being the manic phase of the cycle, everyone was out and about at all hours of the day, with not a care in the world. Open your shirt -- take off your shirt -- whatever you gotta do, and just go with the triple-digit flow.

Being saturated with sweat didn't make you feel icky and sticky -- it gave your skin a healthy glisten as from vigorous activity, amping up your raw animal attractiveness to the opposite sex. Girls were buying up those sea salt sprays for beachy waves, mimicking the look and feel of dried sweaty hair (thick, salty, crunchy).

Contrast that with the Indian Summer we just had during the vulnerable phase in 2019, and how people felt frustrated and heat-avoidant, rather than invincible and adventurous.

There is no universal trend in responding to major external events -- the popular reaction always depends upon which phase of some cycle it is in. The excitement cycle, the status-striving / inequality cycle, the cocooning / crime rate cycle, or whatever else.

And rather than nipping the warm-up phase in the bud, the corona quarantine is only revealing how restless we have become to come out of our shells and start mixing it up with each other, after five insufferable years of a refractory phase, Me Too hysteria, moral panics in general, and the rest of that seemingly endless vulnerability.

If, or when, we're finally allowed to go back outside and live normal lives again, there is going to be so much pent-up sociability, proving that we had changed phases as the quarantine began. We will not react to the end of the quarantine as refractory-phase people would -- complaining and sulking, having to be dragged kicking and screaming back into our social routine. Just make sure you don't let your body atrophy in the meantime -- you wouldn't want to get caught flat-footed right as the neo-neo-neo-disco era comes alive.


  1. Reaction to pandemic seems tied to the cycle as well. 2009 swine flu saw no quarantines or lockdowns in the West but was late in a warm-up phase, ditto Zika in manic '14.

    Current reaction comports well with the very end of a refractory cycle at probably the very end of a cocooning period.

    Spanish Flu would have been end of a manic period, but I'm not sure if the current cycle actually can be stretched back that far.

  2. There was a much bigger popular freakout over SARS in the vulnerable phase of the early 2000s than over the swine flu of the warm-up late 2000s.

    I'm talking about popular reaction, not so much govt response like quarantines etc. The gov response will be more detached from the excitement cycle because they have over-riding motives like protecting public health, preserving their credibility, and so on.

    In the case of this coronavirus, of course they have to clamp down heavily, despite it being the warm-up phase, because they aren't just responding to people's desires to come out of their shells. They're trying to mitigate a pandemic that's more lethal than the swine flu.

    With the general public, though, they freak out if they're already in a generalized freakout / vulnerable mood. They brush it off if they're in an invincible mood, or at least itching to get out and socialize.

    The panic over SARS came from the same general climate of panic that also saw the panic over anthrax, another pathogen. Anthrax could only be spread by malicious human vectors, terrorists, rather than crowds. But that connected to the panic over terrorism in the wake of 9/11.

    Even 9/11 shows the importance of the excitement cycle. Suppose it had happened in 1998 or 2013, at the peak of manic phases. Obviously our response would be angry, grief-stricken, etc. But I don't think it would have been as enduringly emo as it has been, if it had not been linked in our memory with the general vulnerable mood of the early 2000s.

    Contrast with the Iranian hostage crisis of the late '70s / early '80s, on the cusp between warm-up and manic phases -- but far away from a vulnerable phase. There is still lingering anger over it among the Boomers, but it does not have an emo, victimhood Olympics tone to it. It's more like we never got revenge against the country that beat us in a game of capture the flag, or cheated against us in a Super Bowl or something. It's not a depressive tone.

    You could quibble and say the Iranians didn't kill thousands. Still, it lasted over a year with no clue about how it would end. An American public in a vulnerable phase could have easily responded to that as though they were being tortured and traumatized by the indefinite, potentially lethal uncertainty. But their memories of that crisis are not like those who have been traumatized.

    Same with the Challenger disaster during the vulnerable late '80s. Depressive / emo tone associated with it. Contrast with the Apollo 1 mission, where all three crew members and the spaceship itself burned up on the launchpad during a rehearsal. That was during the manic phase of the late '60s, so most people don't remember it, let alone in an emo, perpetually grieving way like they do the Challenger.

  3. School shootings show the same popular reaction pattern. Everyone's going to have depressive, somber memories of Parkland -- from one of the most emo years in world history, 2018 (also the year of the Kavanaugh panic and Covington MAGA kid panic).

    I don't sense that emotional tone for Sandy Hook or the Aurora theater shootings of 2012, at the peak of a manic phase. And those were far more psychotic -- a crazy guy taking heavy weaponry to mow down small children in their elementary school. And another psycho who not only shot up a crowded theater on the debut night, but had also booby-trapped his house.

    And yet, there was no mass cultural phenomenon of emo grieving in their wake, as there was with Parkland. So as much as people have negative memories of what happened in the 2012 shootings, they still are not felt to be national tragedies like Parkland has been and will be.

    The Virginia Tech shooter was another psycho who hunted people down methodically over a period of time, and left a crazy and disturbing record of his anger and derangement. But that was during the warm-up phase of the late 2000s, so hardly anyone remembers it outside of students who were there at the time.

    Ditto for Columbine -- 1999, during a manic phase. We high school kids had our minds blown away, thought it was crazy and fucked up -- but did not feel the emo, depressive grief, or feel impelled to start a mass phenomenon to raise awareness etc. in its wake.

    In fact, the only mass-level emo mood relating to that shooting is due to the Michael Moore movie, Bowling for Columbine, which came out in 2002 -- not just the vulnerable phase of the early 2000s, but also post-9/11. It even includes a shot of a plane hitting the WTC, although totally unrelated to a school shooting in Colorado two years before.

    I saw that one in a jam-packed theater in college, and the emo mood from the audience was palpable -- unlike our contemporaneous reactions from just a few years earlier.

    The Kent State shooting was also from a vulnerable phase, the early '70s. It remains as one of the great national traumas in the Boomer collective memory, linked to the general depressive emo mood of that phase.

    Anti-establishment protesters got shot and assaulted during the early and late '60s -- but that was the warm-up and manic phase of the cycle. So although angering, it did not leave an indelible depressive tone to their memories, as only a similar event from the early '70s could do, like Kent State.

  4. It seems that the coronavirus quarantine is certainly associated with the cocooning trend. The government has little real influence in this regard; businesses are making their decisions based on public demand.

    Its the public who are demanding that they get to stay inside their houses, and the media is only playing to that.

  5. There is something almost conspiratorial in how insistent the media is becoming that we MUST have lockdown, as long as possible.

    I've read that the pressure for lockdown is coming from local officals - who are probably getting complaints from their constituents, who I thought were being motivated by a desire for cocooning. Old people used to getting their run of public spaces resent their routines being disrupted by too many people out in public.

    But the over-the-top insistence and shaming on the part of the media makes me think maybe there is some kind of coercion going on - that they are trying to prevent the stock market from crashing under the guise of quarantine, or something of that nature.

  6. There might also be the influence of the Republicans representing materiel interests, Dems representing informational interests.

    Those who work in the materiel sector, where you actually have to leave the house, are getting hurt. Such work is highly congregating, so all the materiel sectors were shut down quickly.

    Those in the informational sector can more easily work from home - emailing their work to the boss. Furthermore, informational work in general is less congregating - a professor grading his papers(which were emailed to him, and which he emails back out), etc.

  7. It's the elites, not workers, who determine policy, though. So it doesn't matter if informational sectors are better able to work from home, compared to material sectors. That's only looking at the worker and professional side of things.

    When you look at the elites -- who loses the most from lockdowns, travel restrictions, quarantines, etc.? The material sectors -- there's no need to quarantine digitized informational 0s and 1s, or lock down cyberspace. There's no physical viruses spreading contagiously in that domain of the economy.

    Rather, it's the factories, meat processing plants, transportation, military / law enforcement, small brick-and-mortar businesses that are most hurt. Not just from the decrease in workers and customers, but of the supply chain being strained.

    How can a greedy manufacturing corporation sell their stuff if they've sub-contracted all their actual manufacturing to a slave labor colony like China, and there's suddenly greater physical barriers between China and the US?

    That is who is demanding the end to the lockdowns and quarantines and international restrictions -- the GOP sectors, not the Democrat sectors. If anything, Democrat sectors are seeing heightened demand from everyone staying home and being even more online, including shopping. More money for Amazon, Netflix, Hollywood studios, corporate media, etc. Information gets around a quarantine 100%, and if anything is flowing in higher amounts.

    The only Democrat sector that isn't doing as well is finance -- but that's not due to the pandemic or lockdowns. The extreme debt was already popping the bubble, and that current implosion would've happened with or without coronavirus.

    But it's not like finance institutions are doing worse because of quarantines. Their professionals can work from home. Demand for their credit is no different just because borrowers are homebound -- they're still shopping, just online. Corporations looking to do mergers & acquisitions, and borrow the money needed to carry it out, are not affected by a quarantine.

    Finance-sector stocks have been taking it up the ass for the past several years, before a pandemic.

    The only problem they're seeing is if commoners can't make payments on their debts due to lay-offs, fewer hours in the work week, etc., giving commoners less income.

    But that's why they're only asking for massive bailouts from the treasury / central bank. Just print up a shitload of money, hand it over to them, and they're happy.

    It's the material sectors who can't just get a bailout and be whole again. The very nature of their economic activity requires physical openness in a way that informational activity does not. Greedy manufacturers, who control the GOP -- not the Democrats -- need those globalized supply chains opened back up, in order to truly be "going back to normal".

    So, the blame ultimately lies with the material sectors' elites, who control the GOP. Democrat elites are whiny, annoying, and retarded -- but they are not in charge (they're the opposition party), and they don't have the pressing economic incentives to globalize physical space again like the GOP elites do.

    Militaries are one of the main vectors for pandemic diseases, and that's no different now. Remember when the US army was ready to catch and spread coronavirus en masse just so they could play cowboys and Indians in Poland or wherever, with their NATO partners? Profoundly retarded and dangerous -- but how else are they going to justify the obscene levels of patronage they get? And how will they spread that patronage around to their dependents, to keep their loyalty?

    Luckily it got called off at the last moment, and the troops got spared a vicious early grave -- in Europe anyway, different if they're being sent to Afghanistan of course.

  8. It's the left-controlled govts that have handled the pandemic better than the right-controlled govts. Obviously there are other factors to control for -- ethnic diversity, global interconnectedness / immigrant population, island or mainland, population density, etc.

    South Korea is doing way better than Japan, and SK has been left-controlled since Kim Dae Jung's realignment in the late '90s. Japan has been right-controlled all the way back to US occupation after WWII.

    In the Anglosphere, Australia and New Zealand nipped the problem in the bud, and their dominant parties are the left in the neolib era, whereas the US' and UK's are the right, and the US / UK response has been the absolute worst. NZ is instructive b/c their prime minister is a total SJW under-40 woman -- and yet she sealed their borders faster and tighter than Donald "Build the Wall / They Have To Go Back" Trump.

    The US is the worst of all because of all those globalized supply chains that are owned, controlled, and profited from, by US manufacturing corporations. Not to mention the insane demand here for cheap foreign labor -- which feeds into labor-intensive sectors that control the GOP, not into labor-neutral sectors that control the Dems.

    Even in a left-controlled country like Italy, it was the material sectors who imported the virus and allowed it to spread rather than close down the sites of its concentration. It was manufacturers who import cheap labor from China, specifically Wuhan's region, in order to stamp their goods with "Made in Italy" despite it being typical cheap Chinese-made crap. And the factories were among the last places to close in Italy.

    It was not the Italian media, academia, or banks, who caused Lombardy to be ground zero for the pandemic -- it was their material sector, who greedily depend on cheap foreign labor to maximize their profits.

    Basically, take the narrative you hear from both the left and the right -- and conclude the opposite. Partisans are retarded, and in the same way. They both agree that the left sectors are the ones opening the borders, they only disagree on whether that's good or bad. But it's wrong to begin with -- it's the right-wing sectors that require globalization of physical space, in order to keep expanding and profiting.


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