‘To summarize our report 789797 on the civilization occupying the third planet from the sun in system 3991919511 in galaxy 171090891, it is enough to say that this bipedal species succumbed to classic “screen neurological fixation” syndrome. Our team’s final extended observations confirmed that the majority of the species spent most of its time staring into rectangular screens of various sizes, caught up in imagery attuned to their nervous systems, their neuronal firing, and, most of all, stimulation of hormones by symbolic scenarios designed to replicate ancient instinctual responses to visual cues relating to mating, acquisition of resources and protection of territory.
‘In addition, the ubiquitous rectangular screen imagery was thought to be charged with cultural significance, “art”, religious iconography, and “the joy of living in the free marketplace”; these superstitions were persistent, and served to reinforce the glamor of the imagery in all its manifestations. “Social media” provided highly addictive stimuli to personal recognition centers of the brain, and entertainment media provided further stimuli, by proxy, to areas associated with sexual congress and violent self assertion. Reinforcement of familiar “memes” stimulated release of other neurological chemicals associated with maternal reassurance.
‘These hypnotic pattern fixations prevented a wider awareness of existential risk, hence the majority of the species was increasingly unlikely to act on indications of risk and were unable to counter certain more goal-driven segments of the population who were adding exponentially to environmental damage. The species reached mass terminus after about 259 thousand years of expansion…’