Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CXXXI

Steve Bull (
2 min readMay 22, 2023
Mexico (1988). Photo by author.

Sociopolitical Agency, Narrative Management, And Collapse

Today’s reflection is a comment I left in response to an article by Bruce Wilds at his Advancing Time site that discusses the increasing anger building across the planet with respect to growing government oppression and the media’s role in suppressing this through purposeful omission of it.

My comment:
Having studied pre/history for some years I’ve come to the conclusion that none of this is novel or unique. It’s just different than in the past as the ruling caste’s scope is wider and the tools they manipulate/leverage are different.

One avenue has been the manipulation of our sense of agency (something all humans desire to have). The elite have sold us the narrative that we have such agency because of our ‘democratic’ sociopolitical systems and the ‘choices’ we make at the ballot box. That’s simply nonsense.

As is the idea that our ruling caste (especially their frontline propagandists — the political system) puts front and foremost the welfare and prosperity of the hoi polloi. Their primary concern/motivation is the control/expansion of the wealth-generation/-extraction systems that ensure their revenue streams and thus positions of power and prestige.

This has been the way since our first large, complex societies provided differential access to and control of net surpluses to a minority of ‘functionaries’ that helped to organise re/distribution of these resources.

I am also convinced that as we run up against the diminishing returns inherent in resource extraction/use (especially energy, the fundamental resource supporting all these complexities) we will (and are) witnessing a tightening-of-the-screws by the elite since they can no longer rely almost exclusively upon narrative control (their preferred method as it tends to be more efficient and economical, and prevents social unrest) but must increase their use of coercion (mostly via legislation) to keep the masses in ignorance and feeding their insatiable desires for power and wealth.

How this ends is anybody’s guess but in every iteration to date in our experiments with large, complex societies, diminishing returns has led to eventual ‘collapse’ where the masses find the ‘costs’ of remaining in the elite-controlled system greatly outweigh the ‘benefits’ and opt out in whatever way they can.

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.



Steve Bull (

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...