Breaking the Cycle - Reclaiming Our Humanity with Our Evolved Nest (2021)


Kindred World is proud to launch The Evolved Nest’s educational short film, Breaking the Cycle. The moving and inspirational six-minute film illustrates our capacity for breaking our current Cycle of Competitive Detachment and returning to the pattern of 95% of our human history: a healthy, peaceful Cycle of Cooperative Companionship. Breaking the Cycle is based on the multi-award-winning book, Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom, by Darcia Narvaez, PhD.

Breaking the Cycle contrasts the two basic ways societies can function: the optimal approach, which most human societies through time have followed, is the Cycle of Cooperative Companionship where children’s basic needs are met; they grow into well-functioning, cooperative community members (from neurobiology and on up); and as healthy adults, they maintain the cooperative system. Currently in the USA the opposite pattern is in place: children’s basic needs are not met, illbeing and dysregulation ensue, creating adults who are detached and distracted and keep this Cycle of Competitive Detachment going. The United Nations ranks the USA as 41st out of 41 developed countries for child and adult wellness.

“Humans are so immature at birth that to develop in a healthy manner, reaching their full potential, they need to experience humanity’s evolved nest,” states Narvaez. “This helps structure well-functioning brain and body systems like the stress response, immune system and many other systems, preparing the individual for cooperative behavior and compassionate morality, including with the rest of the natural world. With a degraded evolved nest, the individual will have one or more areas of dysregulation, undermining sociality and morality. The evolved nest is an intergenerational, communal responsibility that industrialized societies have largely forgotten, especially the USA.”

“Many people believe the tale that humans have made great progress and that there is no other option than this dehumanizing, anti-life, planet-destroying culture. In the short film, Breaking the Cycle, and at the, we show other options. We help people understand that life does not have to be the way industrialized societies have set it up.”

A Professor of Psychology Emerita at the University of Notre Dame, Narvaez emerged in the top two percent of scientists worldwide in a 2020 analysis. Of the eight million scientists in the world, the analysis concerned those who had at least five articles published in scientific journals between 1996 and 2017. Individuals were ranked according to various criteria, including number of citations of their work. Narvaez hosted interdisciplinary conferences at the University of Notre Dame regarding early experience and human development in 2010, 2012, and 2014. In 2016 she organized a conference on Sustainable Wisdom: Integrating Indigenous KnowHow for Global Flourishing. (Click on the links to see the full conferences in video on the Evolved Nest's YouTube Channel.)

She is the author or editor of numerous books and articles, see The Science page for listings. Narvaez is the president of the venerable American nonprofit, Kindred World, a contributing editor to Kindred, the first global eco-parenting magazine, an advisory board member of Attachment Parenting International and Self-Reg. She is former executive editor of the Journal of Moral Education. She has been quoted and her work cited in The Atlantic, Time, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Indianapolis Star, as well as in international media.


Visit the site for a film discussion guide, more educational materials, live monthly discussions and science references at

See the Spanish version of Breaking the Cycle here:

Viewers are welcome to host public screenings of the film with the Breaking the Cycle Film Discussion and Resource Guide.

For questions, or to request an interview, contact:
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