Meetup 075: Post Societal Collapse

Hello people,

Last weekend, we had an interesting session hosted by Arun. We could definitely say that it was an experiential session. The theme revolved around social imagination during societal collapse and the times post-societal collapse.

Societal Collapse: Fall or disintegration of complex human societies.

Common types of collapse:

  1. Simplification: Social dynamics causing a sudden fall in the society’s adaptability. In case of collapse, civilizations tend to revert to less complex, less centralized socio-political forms using simpler technology. These are characteristics of a ‘Dark Age’.

Ex: Indus Valley Civilization – Pakistan/India, Angkor and Khmer Civilization – Cambodia/Laos/Thailand, Mayan Civilization

  1. Incorporation: Alternately, a society may be gradually absorbed into a more dynamic, more complex inter-regional social structure.

Ex: Rashtrakuta Empire in South Central India, Classical Greece by Roman Empire, The Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir into India/Pakistan/China, The Gond Kingdom in Central India

  1. Obliteration: Nearly all of the people in the society/city die or are forced to leave it.

Ex: Hampi, Dwarka, Pompeii, Atlantis, Merv

Without much ado, here’s what we did!

The Exercise:

Short Writing: Read this excerpt:

  • Post the Spanish Civil War in 1937, misery as a subject has been so extensively plundered that common words, metaphors, and phrases lost their edge. As simple bare reality stood more horrific than creative fiction, it was deconstructing that made writing sharper and stronger. Here is a writing:


“..Describing the death of a woman, caused by misery, he wrote: ‘She has latterly set up as a fortune-teller and told fortunes for a plateful of maize flour.’

I am sure there has never been a sentence that expressed so much misery, the misery of misery. Think of the women who set up as a fortune-teller. Think of the other women who were this pseudo fortune-teller’s customers.

And think of their future! A future read for a plateful of maize flour!”

– From ‘Years of Darkness’ by Geo Bogza (1938)

To Do: Write a line or two that describe social misery through bare honesty of its content.

Time: 10 min.

Long Writing:

To Do: Take an example apocalyptic method and post-collapse phenomena in a rich cultural space and time. In this setting, explained only with relevant detail, construct your work by liberally using factual details from the history of that age. Your story, plot and characters must be strongly entwined into that time and setting along with the lives of one or a set of commoners. These are often dramatic transitions and philosophies that strongly build upon the life experiences of each character. Try to write some today.

Time: 1 hr

Read more on this – Meetup 75.

The writeups spoke honest and true experiences more often than not and it was definitely impactful to have written on a well-developed theme as such. Thanks to Arun, for a wonderful session and handling a stitch in time for us! 🙂