Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CX

Steve Bull (https://olduvai.ca)
4 min readMar 19, 2023
Teotihuacan, Mexico (1988). Photo by author.

Those Dominant Story-Telling Apes Keep Guiding Our Beliefs

Been involved in a difference of opinion with a local resident that relates to our predicament of ecological overshoot. It arose from a Facebook post regarding our provincial government’s ongoing push to expand significantly the construction of homes onto ecologically sensitive lands; in fact, onto lands that had been legislatively restricted to new developments but has suddenly been ‘opened’ to residential housing. (It’s perhaps no coincidence that investigations have found that much of the land that is to now be developed had been purchased by investors with close ties to the premier/sitting government and just prior to legislative changes — and now stand to profit immensely with the change in zoning designation.[1])

I have found that the overwhelming majority of those that tend to support this push for the construction of millions of more homes almost invariably view the world through a purely socio-economic/-political perspective. For the most part they align with the government/developer narrative that demand is such that supply must be expanded in order to control and/or bring down the ever-inflating cost of housing — expansion that has been ongoing for decades yet housing prices continue to climb inexorably skyward.

Despite this being a purely economic viewpoint, there is little to no recognition of the machinations going on with investment firms/brokers gobbling up supply, extensive credit/debt creation by financial institutions, hot money flowing in from abroad , and/or the Ponzi-type nature of our monetary/financial/economic systems in the exorbitant rise of housing costs. It’s all about domestic supply and demand.

The extremely narrow and purely socio-economic/-political perspective through which these people view our world and all of its problems/predicaments is extremely questionable as it completely overlooks/is blind to the biological, ecological, and geological aspects that are, when push comes to shove, THE foundational ones for our existence.

But it is the dominant viewpoint in our modern world, and perhaps has been for millennia in large, complex societies. Almost everything is viewed through this interpretive prism of human-contrived institutions being the most important and sometimes only way in which our world should be understood. Nature no longer truly matters — or, as is happening more and more nowadays, is an afterthought to be ‘greenwashed’ over to appease certain segments of society.

And it’s occasionally not just denial or ignorance about environmental/ecological factors but downright contempt. There is sometimes a concerted effort to paint these alternative perspectives as part of some grand conspiracy to undermine capitalism and/or human progress. A ‘leftist/socialist’ plot.

Whereas I tend to see far more leveraging of these environmental/ecological factors by ‘industrial capitalists’ to promote their profit-seeking agendas — such as the push to electrify everything and adopt a massive transformation to non-renewable, renewable energy-harvesting technologies — regardless of ecological fallout. How could getting every fossil fuel-based product replaced by electric-powered ones not be a windfall for industry and its shareholders?

Perhaps this dominant interpretation of our world cannot be countered, regardless of observable phenomena and evidence that humans are simply another biological species constrained by biogeophysical realities.

In the issue of housing, even well-intentioned groups/individuals who believe that they are making environmental and ecological systems destruction their primary focus have become swayed by the supply/demand argument and mostly argue that all the homes could be constructed elsewhere.

There’s plenty of ‘undeveloped’ space. Expansion is not the problem, it’s where the expansion is occurring. Keep growing/expanding by building up, not out which destroys our environment…not realising that what they’re arguing in favour of is just as destructive in the end since it is continued growth that is destroying our natural world.

It could be that in our sociocultural ‘evolution’ we have engineered widespread and for some irreversible beliefs that humans stand above and beyond nature and its laws, and the very few that peer through this translucent veil will remain marginalised, ostracised, and/or co-opted while the reigning belief system guides our continued journey off the cliff edge.

And, it’s perhaps also no surprise that the dominant story-telling apes amongst us in our large, complex societies have crafted narratives that the institutions that they control/direct/influence are almighty and powerful; never mind those biogeophysical limits and their nasty consequences over there, our technology and ingenuity will reign supreme no matter the problem encountered. Criticisms and naysayers be damned!

Here, take the blue pill already…

If you’ve made it to the end of this contemplation and have got something out of my writing, please consider ordering the trilogy of my ‘fictional’ novel series, Olduvai (PDF files; only $9.99 Canadian), via my website — the ‘profits’ of which help me to keep my internet presence alive and first book available in print (and is available via various online retailers). Encouraging others to read my work is also much appreciated.

[1] See this, this, this, this, and/or this.

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Steve Bull (https://olduvai.ca)

A guy trying to make sense of a complex and seemingly insane world. Spend my days pondering our various predicaments while practising local food production...