in which nuclear families were first observed, on a mass scale, to desocialize — to grow closer-knit, inward-focused, more and more noscentric, simply weird “each in its own way”: from “silent talk” and “our own” phrases, mannerisms, lores to, in extreme cases, divergence of single-family languages (vocabulary, syntax, eventually phonetics) far beyond the level of a familylect. The name alludes to much earlier “atomization” — the scourge of urbanism and individualism, the choking pain of the vacuum left by evaporating traditional socia; the segue from atomization to moleculization, however, came largely unpredicted as “dysfunctional family” ranked high among atomizations ills. Continuing the metaphor, “polymerization” — a “third stage of assembly” — was proposed for the post-sparsening rise of collectives. ■    Cases of “family ingrowth” or “spousal superdependence” were diagnosable before the divorce rates started to decline, before Change taught couples to bond via self-morphing, long before arf made the family ties newly material; the “new togetherness” was first felt in the workplace: diffusion of productivity shifted work closer to home so couples were being increasingly hired as work units — a “two-earners model” was transforming into “family as a collective.” Causes quoted at the time included deurbanization, reducing competitivity and financial pressures, focus on full-time childrearing; family was a natural shell into which interests and socialization retracted in a sparsening society. Contraception erased the remaining gene-spreading advantage of (long suppressed culturally) promiscuity and sexual aggression; divergence and intermixture of cultures, occupations, lifestyles made partners less swappable — once you find a good match, youll want to stick with it; emergent lifemaking promoted a culture of conscious “affection gardening.” A crucial component was the “new lability” — cultivated regrowability, “newity thirst,” deepening interest in rethinging yourself (foreshadowing the much later deep sleep) and reliving others. Pioneer couples were fawned over, the “fidelity revival” looked like a fad — but ended up an anthropological revolution.  ■    Language barriers between family estates, adaptation agonies of family-graduating children, loss of social mobility, even inbreeding: however endearing, moleculization had its costs, inflamed the ongoing tribalization scares; among the falling dominoes of mature sparsening (mass education, authority structures, nation states: all must go) it was another sign of a coming dark age. With life expectancy trending up but procreation down, stabilized families looked relievingly like time capsules — isolated worldlets of old-time sanity among the crumble; it took deep sleep to reinvent the molecular family as the big worlds vitality machine.

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