HomeArticleFrom Propaganda To Ego, All Our Major Problems Are Due To Misperception

From Propaganda To Ego, All Our Major Problems Are Due To Misperception

The Biden transition team responsible for ushering in the nation’s Return to Decency™️ is as packed full of military-industrial complex lackeys and imperialist sociopaths as you’d expect, with one such manipulator being the Obama administration’s “chief propagandist” Richard Stengel.

The Grayzone‘s Ben Norton has a new write-up on TIME Magazine editor-turned State Department spinmeister-turned MSNBC pundit-turned Biden transition team official Stengel, documenting the political insider’s calls to “rethink” the First Amendment in the name of practicality and his support for the use of propaganda both at home and abroad by the US government.

“There’s another word for master narratives: it’s called history,” Stengel said at a 2018 event organized by the immensely influential think tank Council on Foreign Relations. “Basically every country creates their own narrative story. My old job at the State Department was what people used to joke as the chief propagandist. I’m not against propaganda. Every country does it, and they have to do it to their own population. And I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful.”

“Having once been almost a First Amendment absolutist, I have really moved my position on it, because I just think for practical reasons in society, we have to kind of rethink some of those things,” Stengel said at the same event of the difficulties posed by people freely sharing information on the internet.

Think tank conferences are great, because it’s the best opportunity for ordinary people to see the thought streams of power at their most honest. Think tank denizens love showing off how much they know in front of such audiences, so they’ll often get baited into revealing a lot more than they normally would.

Early appointments like Stengel don’t say good things about the future of the ever-intensifying campaign to censor the internet and manipulate the thoughts that people think in the US and around the world. Talk of a technology task force role by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, whose tenure Julian Assange has saidsaw Google integrate with the shadiest of US power structures as it expanded into a geographically invasive megacorporation,” is even less encouraging.

It is also exactly the sort of continued trajectory we should expect from a flailing, failing empire whose very existence depends on the ability to manipulate human perception.

The only thing sustaining the murderous, exploitative US-centralized power alliance which functions as a single empire on foreign policy is its ability to manipulate and deceive the public into consenting to all the wars and military expansionism that are necessary to hold an empire together. If the empire weren’t constantly bullying the world into unified compliance with its military and economic might, nations would act more or less in their own self-interest and cease functioning as a single globe-spanning unit.

There is nothing remotely sane about this, and if the public were acutely aware of its realities they would use the power of their numbers to force its end. That is why the people, especially the American people, are so aggressively propagandized. An entire empire rests on their closed eyelids.

“If we really saw war, what war does to young minds and bodies, it would be impossible to embrace the myth of war,” says journalist Chris Hedges. “If we had to stand over the mangled corpses of schoolchildren killed in Afghanistan and listen to the wails of their parents, we would not be able to repeat clichés we use to justify war. This is why war is carefully sanitized. This is why we are given war’s perverse and dark thrill but are spared from seeing war’s consequences.”

Hedges is correct, and it’s been that way for as far back as written records can reach. Stengel was not lying when he said that what we call “history” is largely just the master narratives of whoever was leading a given country at a given time. For as long as there has been governments, language and war, governments have been using language to manipulate the public into supporting war. Only difference is that the governments and their wars spread across the entire globe, and the manipulations are far more advanced.

If people were able to see clearly what’s actually happening, none of our major problems would exist. Wars could not happen. Exploitative financial and economic models would not be tolerated. Political systems rigged to advantage the wealthy and the powerful would be torn down. Anyone who attempted to manipulate perception away from truth to the advantage of the powerful would be immediately rejected and marginalized. Anyone who allowed the weak to suffer so the affluent can have more would be seen as a monster. All our major problems are due to misperception, and that misperception is deliberately engineered.

This is a principle which applies from our collective problems on a mass scale all the way down to our suffering as individuals. The overwhelming majority of human suffering is due to a fundamental misperception of the way reality is actually showing up for us, a psychological suffering caused by our erroneously perceiving a separate self where there isn’t one. If people perceived their own experience lucidly, which they absolutely can learn to do, they would see that the conceptual self or ego which brings the gravitational pull of interest and attention toward the narratives in their minds has never had any solid existence at all. Thought would exist only as a useful tool to be picked up when needed and set down when not rather than the writer, director and star of the entire show, and they would be at peace.

Wei Wu Wei Quotes (33 wallpapers) - Quotefancy

From the smallest level to the largest, all our problems are due to the obfuscation of a clear image of reality. Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman could easily have called their influential work Manufacturing Consent “Manufacturing Reality” instead, because as far as experience is concerned perception is reality. In fact a lesser-known work on the same subject came out two years earlier by Michael Parenti (widely regarded as the Tesla to Chomsky’s Edison in some circles) called Inventing Reality: The Politics of News Media.

Indeed, inventing our reality is exactly what the propagandists are doing on a daily basis with the plutocrat-controlled media’s relentless propaganda on behalf of the empire upon which those plutocrats have built their kingdoms. They are literally interfering with our experience of what’s real with their extensive marketing campaign for the conditions which sustain the oligarchic empire. The more you think about it, the creepier it gets.

Clear seeing is all we need to turn this thing around. We absolutely do have the ability to attain this before the omnicidal, ecocidal empire drives us into extinction or dystopia.

A murderous empire rests upon a closed set of eyelids. Here’s hoping they snap open before they are sewn shut forever.

________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at  or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is , so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on , following my antics on throwing some money into my tip jar on  or , purchasing some of my , buying my new book Poems For Rebels or my old book . For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, . Everyone, racist platforms excluded,  to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Liked it? Take a second to support Caitlin Johnstone on Patreon!

Latest comments

  • If the U.S. spent half of the money and resources it spends on the military and it’s associated business’, $trillions$, We could have purchased every resource we have taken by force from every country we have taken it from. Also we could have provided housing, schools, hospitals, roads, markets, agriculture and thriving economic infrastructure, instead of disease, rubble, mass homelessness and mass death. In the bargain we could have provided ourselves with the same things. Since political dominance is the goal of our current course, wouldn’t the great gift of prosperity serve that purpose more effectively?

  • Yes. This is the core of it. Sadly, I now find discussion with MSM adherents almost futile. MSM has gotten really good at sculpting information to secure eyeballs and service the agenda. As ads have become more personalized through AI, so I expect will news become personalized to entreat and capture a progressively larger audience. This may take some time, but AI has this time. And I do not.

  • If you go into a society of blind people with eyes, nobody is going to believe that you have eyes.
    You must be having some mad illusion, eyes don’t exist.
    Nobody has eyes, how can you have?
    The enlightened person in the West will be condemned as mad.
    The West has never nourished the idea of enlightenment.
    It is against the society, against the religion, they have never bothered about it.
    Think about truth, that is allowed!
    That’s why in the West philosophy has grown to great heights and depths.
    But it is always thinking about truth.
    It is like madmen thinking about sanity, blind men thinking about light.
    However the blind man tries to think about light, he may create a big system of thought about what light is, but it is not going to be anything like light.
    For light, you need eyes.
    You cannot think about truth, because thinking will be done by your mind.
    How are you going to think about truth?
    Truth can be found only when you have put the mind aside.
    In the East we say truth is the experience that happens in the state of no-mind.
    But in the West the very idea has not existed.
    In the East it is called darshan.
    Darshan means “to see.”
    It has nothing to do with thinking.
    The very word darshan means “to see.”
    There are so many believers in the world, but where is truth?
    There is this danger in belief, it makes you feel that you know the truth.
    And because it makes you feel that you know the truth, this becomes the greatest barrier in the search.
    People can be conditioned to believe any kind of nonsense, they can be easily convinced.
    Yet the believer cannot even trust his own experience to realize truth.
    Know well, to know about truth is not to know truth
    Belief cannot give you the truth, it only pretends.
    It is cheap, it is a plastic flower.
    A truth believed is a lie, belief turns truth into a lie.
    Truth is truth, whether you believe or you disbelieve.
    Your belief or your disbelief is not going to make any difference to the truth.
    The inquiry into truth begins only when you drop all believing.
    Drop all narratives, all thoughts.
    The person who wants to know truth has to be capable of dropping all concepts about truth.
    Everything about truth has to be dropped.
    Only then can you know truth.
    Society would like you to believe, because believers are good people, obedient, law- abiding.
    They follow all formalities and etiquette, they are never trouble-makers.
    They simply follow the crowd, whichever crowd they happen to be in, they simply go with the crowd.
    They are not awakened yet, they are still sheep.
    Humanity has not yet arrived.
    Truth needs courage, intelligence, daring, because you are going higher and higher in the world of consciousness.
    Intelligence is the capacity to be silent, to be awake, to be able to see the truth.
    But nobody is interested in truth, in fact they are all against it, because what will happen to all these politicians around the world who are constantly lying?
    If truth is known they will all be in prison!
    .
    ‘He will appear in Asia, yet be at home in Europe.
    He will cross through the sky, the seas, and snows, and will strike everyone with his rod of truth.
    The man from the East will come out of his seat.
    He will use unorthodox devices to stir people up, disturbing the status codes of social and religious behavior in our materialistic times.
    He has the power to transform and liberate the individual to the truth.’

  • As usual, very deep insights. I would add that what drives our consumption of the myths we are fed are two core conditions: appetites and fears. We are attracted by what we want to consume and frightened by what can hurt or kill us. Every good salesman knows how to manipulate a customer’s fear and appetites (greed, etc.). Americans in particular are now in a highly addicted condition which makes any big change very difficult.

  • The most amazing part of that admission was that he said that he basically said that the State Dept’s mission is for internal consumption to keep us in line, eh … I thought it was supposed to be about interacting with the rest of the world.

    BTW how do you feel about this hero porn about Israel killing the #2 Al Qaeda leader in Tehran publised in the NYT sourced from a ‘senior official’ (Pompeo?)

    I don’t believe the story but it is perfect for FOX News, make their audience hate Iran even more and more devoted to Israel.

  • There is a Self but it is not what we normally believe it to be. Normally humans believe their self is their human self; the person they live as in the world. But the human person is not even an entity; it is a process. The real Self is the pure observer; our sheer Presence-Awareness; which is prior to and the witness of the human person.
    It is perfectly natural to immerse in and identify with the human person we live as during a lifetime. For most people that is why they are here; to immerse in the human experience. That is how this realm functions and how the human world is created and developed. If we remembered who we really are and what it’s all really about this world would not work. Forgetting who we are is essential for the human experience to feel real and have impact or value as lived experience.
    The experience of awakening to our true nature also has value and comes at the end of a long journey through multiple lifetimes. But most people alive at any particular time are not here to awaken; they are here to immerse in the human experience.

    • Yes, David, “to see clearly what’s actually happening” has a spiritual interpretation as well as the real world interpretation which I noted below. And you and Caitlin see pretty clearly, I think. What a wonderful website!

  • Caitlin, I think you put your finger on the problem in this article. “If people were able to see clearly what’s actually happening, none of our major problems would exist.” And to express the problem in this way immediately leads us to the beginning of the solution to the problem. This is to consider if there is some way by which people can, in the future, be able to see clearly what is actually happening. There is a way. Communication by word of mouth cannot be censored. Communication the old-fashioned way – the way John the Baptist did it.
    .
    “Why have you come out to the countryside? To see a reed shaken by the wind? And to see a person dressed in soft clothes, like your rulers and your powerful ones? They are dressed in soft clothes, and they cannot understand truth.”
    .
    The above is actually Saying 78 of the Gospel of Thomas. It is the kind of thing that John the Baptist said. But but it is also in my opinion what the Chosen will say every sabbath (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday) to their local flocks before explaining exactly what it is that their rulers and powerful ones do not currently understand about the truth.
    .
    Those of you who will still be around to hear them are in for a treat.
    .

    • I think that “to the public” would be better above than “to their local flocks,” since the people being addressed have “come out to the countryside.”

  • Having an open, critical mind makes for a somewhat lonely existence out in the real-world of the “Sheeple” Zombie Apocalypse. Thank you for your true objective reporting on the “War-on-the-Flu” ruling-elite “End Games”.
    The next 10 years will not end well !!!!! ( Roll up your sleeve and show me your “Health Certificate”.

  • “There’s another word for master narratives: it’s called history.” Says Stengel.

    He is incorrect. History does not always present current narratives, concocted by our would-be lords and masters, as gospel truth. Stengel is not giving future historians any credit for their disinterest in political narratives.

    In history, our current dark epoch will probably be known as ‘The Age of Lies’ and Stengel will be a tiny footnote to a footnote in the reference list of liars.

  • Dystopia is here. Look around you. It’s breaking down the door and there’s no time to call for help.

    http://massprivatei.blogspot.com/

  • Parenti, Howard Zinn, Neil Postman, Barbara Ehreneich,
    Harold Pinter, Bertrand Russell, Erich Fromm, Eric Hobsbawm and Jiddu Krishnamurti, to name just a few, have done their damnedest to enlighten the ignorant.

    Scaling the Everest of ignorance to soak up the brilliant light of Truth is a task that requires tolerance and patience.
    Most folks are either too busy surviving, or just can’t be bothered.

    • Great list of some of the truly awakened humans over the past century or so. Especially perhaps the last, Krishnamurti, who spent his life trying to awaken the lot of us. Also, David Bohm, who for many years sought to expand K’s teachings from a somewhat deeper scientific perspective.

      But all those guys are important sources to help wrench ourselves free of the bondage of crypto-totalitarians like Richard Stengel. Thanks to Caitlin for exposing this tool of the imperial state.

  • Nothing new under the sun , only some of it is orbiting around us that once was state of the art technology abandoned and now space junk …

  • It’s a strange dichotomy to care about what’s happening in the dream, knowing there really is no one to care. I go back and forth as this dream character first attaching myself to the drama and then disengaging from all the sources of it, your blog included. After election day I had two blissful days where I disengaged and experienced a total lack of caring one way or the other who won or lost, there was no one there to care. But it regroups quickly and here I am again.

  • I agree, Caitlin, but clear seeing is outside of thought, and most human beings are conditioned to believe only thought, only so-called “knowledge.” It is also my opinion that social media, especially Facebook, is a large part of the problem. Thank you, I appreciate your viewpoint and your writing.

  • Brilliant article. The thing is that ALL the elites in just about every country around the world are made up of sociopaths/psychopaths, and although these elites have much more in common with each-other than their respective populations, they also fear each-other, and that fear is embedded in their genes. Even the top-dog has this fear, and so they do whatever they need to do to remain top dog. Wealth begets power, and power begets wealth, and THAT all comes down to resources. And even though they are leading us down the road to annihilation and extinction, and quite likely the total destruction of the planet and all life forms, they can’t stop themselves, even if they wanted to, which they don’t of course.

    It is well documented that sociopaths/psychopaths don’t have emotions such as the ones ordinary people can potentially experience, but they do get totally high on the fact that the vast majority of people on this planet don’t even know of their existence, and that they are hidden in plain sight, as such. And they are high on the fact that they can dupe and decieve and control what people think and believe, billions of people collectively. And needless to say, they will do whatever is necessary to prevent those of us who DO see through the mirage from enlightening them to any extent that threatens their reality.

    But the highest high of all is that they literally regard themselves as the owners of this planet (try to imagine feeling that way), and lets hope for the sake of the universe, that they never become the ACTUAL masters of the universe.

  • So true, but with the new masked and demented war-criminal in charge, I expect things to get much worse for the masked imbeciles in the United States. They have been punked by the biggest scam in the history of medicine and they are clapping for their masked savior to lockdown society and save them. Even George Orwell couldn’t have predicted this insanity.

  • In the 60s they were trying to sell us on the rat theory of over population, of course they didn’t bother to tell us then that we had no choice in the matter and most of us, whether we liked it or not would be put to death, so that, for our own good we wouldn’t get hurt fighting over dwindling resources.

  • People are brainwashed from birth. Your parents, your teachers, your peers are the first. Then your job, your media, entertainment and government continue the process. You are creatures of your environment. It takes a strong willed individual to plot a new course. But as you say people are weak at the hands of the ruthless and powerful. Thus nothing changes as the system perpetuates itself.

leave a comment