HomeArticleWho Has Profited From Your Beliefs?

Who Has Profited From Your Beliefs?

Have you ever stopped and considered how the ideas in your head got there? Especially the ideas you hold as true and important?

I mean really considered it. All the way through. Maybe you know that some of your beliefs and values were put there by your parents, by your religion, or by a book you read once, but where did those ideas come from before that? And what about the ideas that they are premised upon?

If you trace any widespread idea back to its source, you start bumping into an awful lot of very powerful people. Many popular political opinions today can be traced back to think tanks, groups of academics who are paid to come up with arguments and ideas which support a particular agenda, and to circulate those arguments and ideas wherever they can have maximum impact. These think tanks are funded by extremely wealthy plutocrats, and sometimes by secretive government agencies, all of whom have a vested interest in the agenda being advanced. Today you’ll routinely see these think tanks quoted by the mass media as legitimate sources of information on any number of important topics.

Many of the ideas people hold as true and important were placed there by powerful individuals who are pulling the levers of society currently. Others are vestigial relics that were sown into social consciousness hundreds or thousands of years ago by long-dead rulers. It isn’t a coincidence that the Roman Empire espoused and promoted a religion which glorifies humility, poverty and obedience, anymore than it was a coincidence that Chinese emperors promoted the power-serving filial piety of Confucianism. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are the poor. Turn the other cheek, and, most importantly, render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Don’t rise up and kill the rich king whose lavish palace is starving you; you will be punished with hellfire if you do and rewarded with paradise if you don’t. Not now, though. After you’ve been used up, died and been buried underground.

The fact of the matter is that the ideas which have taken the most widespread hold in social consciousness are those which were advanced by people with influence over society, and the people with the most influence over society are, and always have been, those in power. It is self-evident that those in power are always going to encourage belief systems within the populace which benefit those in power, so, logically, most of the popular beliefs, values and ideas in our society exist predominantly because at some point, someone powerful wanted them to.

So now we’ve got a world in which powerful people inject beliefs into social consciousness that benefit the powerful, as well as vestigial, culturally ubiquitous ideas from ages past about how important it is to be placid and obedient. This has led to a dynamic in which anyone who wants to have power can easily learn to find purchase in the popular power-serving belief systems with which our culture is saturated, and manipulate people into giving them that power.

You see this all the time in politics of course, but also in unhealthy family dynamics and relationships, in cults, in religious and spiritual circles and activist groups. These old ideas have created cultural norms which facilitate an environment that is not only comfortable for those already in power, it also elevates those among us who are immune to the guilt and shame the powerful use for their own benefit. Doctrines like “judge not lest you be judged,” “take the log out of your own eye” and forgiveness practices and so on only work on sincere humans who don’t want to be hypocritical or to hurt another person. For manipulators, they are just another way of guilting others into not taking action while they patiently move their chess pieces to get what they want. Guilt and shame are water off a duck’s back for a sociopath, so in a culture where the powerful use these emotional responses to keep people from uprising, sociopaths thrive and dominate in every other sector as well.

A new kind of understanding of sovereignty is beginning to emerge within all of us as individuals, however, and you can see this echoing out into the world at large. It is not enough anymore just to have the appearance of leaving a person, people, or country alone in the physical realm, but the human spirit is now demanding that the sovereign boundaries of the mind become well understood and respected. You can see this in the rejection of rape culture, where women are saying no not just to being forcibly penetrated, but to being guilted, shamed, tricked, or held under obligation to have sex as well. You can see it in the growing distrust of the mass media, where more and more people are getting fed up with the fact that all their information is being filtered and manipulated by an elite class with a vested interest in controlling how they think and perceive.

This is an important recognition, and its ramifications will be felt in all spheres. A rejection of all the ways that we are defrauded out of our own sovereignty will follow, whether that be by advertising, religion, think tanks, psy-ops and any of the other countless ways our minds and wills are hacked to facilitate another’s agendas. Gradually, our will will be returned individually, and with that clarity the will of the people will take power again as a whole, working harmoniously together as a seamless improv team of master craftsmen and women to create our new world, free from the constant sabotage of the word magicians and master manipulators.

Who has profited from the various beliefs that you have in your mind? Not just monetary profit, but social, sexual, and egoic profit as well? The more deeply people consider these questions, the healthier our society can become.


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Latest comments

  • I think we have deeply held assumptions that we are blind to. And one of them is that we have to wait for this overarching power – politicians, media, corporations, etc, to reform themselves voluntarily. We don’t see the world in a better way ourselves. We don’t know what it means to be a sovereign individual for example. We just have never experienced that. If we have in ourselves certainly they could only be navigated within the matrix system. So we don’t really know what we are capable of. We have some time and have had for a long time to lower our carbon footprint. Wouldn’t you think that if you don’t agree with abortions then you don’t have them. But you don’t have to force it on others who think differently. Then too if we know that fossil fuels are heating the climate and causing it to go into calamity, we would have stopped taking cruise ships for example, and tried to get those who do to stop it. We would have clamored to stop funding the fossil fuel industry and to divest from fossil fuel companies. But we didn’t. So we haven’t really stretched much and therefore we have allowed the situation to remain the same. Waiting for people to wake up is futile. Show them a better way and they’ll be convinced. We could be building such a better way right now, could have been doing it for years. But haven’t started. We have no ideas of what is a better way. We need to examine these preferences. And then put some time in part-time to living by those preferences while the majority of the time is spent in the matrix till we can build something up simultaneously.

    • Excellent article by the way Caitlin. You are a favorite!

  • Rob, i agree with you. but rather than blaming the “sheeple” let’s consider how we have all been trained from birth to respect “authority”, who we are told are so much wiser and more experienced than us. after all, who are we as individuals to go against the accumulated wisdom of generations of humans? our education system does not teach us to challenge common beliefs and popular “facts”. we are steered away from that kind of thinking. if we were even told that it was possible that academics and experts could be wrong, and then given the tools to find out if a better way of thinking and organising the world is possible, i expect the numbers of sheeple would diminish.

    i believe it was Henry Thoreau who wrote that thousands are hacking at the branches of evil for every one person who is digging up the roots of evil. and Mark Twain said that any time one finds oneself agreeing with the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

  • This is how propaganda is done: On BBC World News Tonight this evening they had a piece on the bus bombing in Yemen. The announcer said: “Twenty nine people were killed,” conveniently neglecting to say they were almost all children. Where are the people who were screaming just a few weeks ago about children being separated from their parents at the border? This is far, far worse.

  • Excellent post again Caitlin! I will help you spill more beans. Knowledge allways will in the end, but until it is known.


    Here is an appetizer from the article that resonates with your article. Please study. Everything is commentary.

    “So we now have a two tier system, created by the ruling class and their courtiers and retainers via a system of laws, called the rule of law, that further empowers and protects the moneyed-structure and their comparative advantageous moneyed-system over everybody and everything else.  This rule of law is life-blind and runs roughshod over the life supporting systems of the planet, society, other human beings and other life hosts. The major drivers have been individuals and their think tanks on both sides of the Atlantic, and a major conductor of these global power plays have been illuminated in this most revealing article: The Unauthorized Biography of David Rockefeller. Interestingly, his bank, Chase was very much involved in a shadow banking system that was designed to foster US hegemonic interests. Paul Craig Roberts, who was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, paraphrases what Michael Hudson wrote in his book of the same name “Killing the Host”:

    “Hudson’s next task was to estimate the amount of money from crime going into Switzerland’s secret banking system. In this investigation, his last for Chase, Hudson discovered that under US State Department direction Chase and other large banks had established banks in the Caribbean for the purpose of attracting money into dollar holdings from drug dealers in order to support the dollar (by raising the demand for dollars by criminals) in order to balance or offset Washington’s foreign military outflows of dollars.
    If dollars flowed out of the US, but demand did not rise to absorb the larger supply of dollars, the dollar’s exchange rate would fall, thus threatening the basis of US power. By providing offshore banks in which criminals could deposit illicit dollars, the US government supported the dollar’s exchange value.
    Hudson discovered that the US balance of payments deficit, a source of pressure on the value of the US dollar, was entirely military in character. The US Treasury and State Department supported the Caribbean safe haven for illegal profits in order to offset the negative impact on the US balance of payments of US military operations abroad. In other words, if criminality can be used in support of the US dollar, the US government is all for criminality.”
    from ‘Killing the Host’: the financial system is destroying the global economy 

    • Interesting that many believe Merton was assassinated by the CIA.

  • Sting wrote a song about it. ” Sooner or Later “. Genius lyrics (not lyrics really, more of a cautionary tale),but
    with a prescription for a better way . ” History will teach us nothing ” . Modern wisdom , appears counter-intuitive , but is not . B.W.Y.C.H.F.

    • Dostoyevsky and a whole lot of others .

  • Admit it, Caitlin. These ideas came from Nietzsche. I’m not sure what powerful interest he served, though. Nazis I guess? b^)

  • Another brilliant post! Thank you so much, Caitlin, for your courage and clarity.

  • Everything can be a powerful tool for manipulation, or a powerful too for good. There is no belief system, no matter how good or well-intentioned, that cannot be twisted and used for evil.

    It’s called free will.

    But see the faults in others, especially in caricature and broad brushstrokes, can be a good way to set oneself up as superior to others, more sophisticated, different and better. Because since everyone has faults and failings, pointing them out in others is a great game.

    On the far Left, everyone who does not share one’s beliefs is obvious an unsophisticated neanderthal hick. On the far right, they are bleeding heart saps and suckers.

    On the left, they have become their own person by challenging the opinions and traditions of the crowd. On the right they have made their own way and become rich thanks to their own superiority and hard work.

    Everyone is flawed. Stop distracting yourself by looking at the faults of others. I seem to recall some words of wisdom about that being said, some many years ago.

    You are a human being. You have faults. You make mistakes. You are no better or more deserving than most anyone else, save a small percentage of people who are seriously sick. Get used to it.

    “People who know nothing of God and whose lives are centered on themselves, imagine that they can only find themselves by asserting their own desires and ambitions and appetites in a struggle with the rest of the world. They try to become real by imposing themselves on other people, by appropriating for themselves some share of the limited supply of created goods and thus emphasizing the difference between themselves and the other men who have less than they, or nothing at all.

    They can only conceive one way of becoming real: cutting themselves off from other people and building a barrier of contrast and distinction between themselves and other men. They do not know that reality is to be sought not in division but in unity, for we are ‘members one of another.’ “

    Thomas Merton

    • Great quote. I don’t know what it has to do with the rest of your criticism of Caitlin, though.

    • Loved this! Thank you.

  • One belief system that did not originate from great power or wealth is socialism. Yet history has shown us that even the basic tenets of socialism could be co-opted by ruthless tyrants who created totalitarian states to reinforce their own power over the masses of people. Psychopaths so often manage to rise to the top of a system, because they disregard the rules of basic human decency. I’m afraid that I do not share Caitlin’s optimism that this will change through mass awareness of the hidden function of beliefs, though I would love to be proven wrong.

    • We’ve got it around the wrong way I feel. They got us to think that we were powerless. Whatever the entity that wanted to colonize us, they managed to get our consent. We have consented to this system but we are not clearly aware of that. However those who did (practically everyone) are busy trying to fulfill its requirements upon them daily. If you believe our government is corrupt including all its agencies, then why would you want to take a matter to court? Apparently Julian Assange is doing that. He’s asking permission to sit at the master’s table. It’s pretty twisty. We need to know what we are up against and somehow move on trying to impart this slavery to the sleepwalkers. We could also, start doing something to build the world we actually do aspire to.

  • Many of our pricipals of morality stem from religious teaching. But religion is also a powerful tool for manipulation.
    I think the words (principle) Thou shalt not kill do not appear in the DoI or the US Constitution. Conversly it is claimed that zionism is fueling the many wars in middle east.

  • Who profits from my beliefs? I do. As well as the myriad others you mentioned. I once asked a class of about 60 senior citizens this question: “which of you has had an original thought in your life”? No one would admit having done so. I quite understand why. It is frightening to think independently. So all thought is built on a foundation of someone else’s beliefs, ad infinitum back into the mists of history. We not only profit from the beliefs of others we live on them, we survive on them.

    It seems highly unlikely that more than a few people, of all classes and power status will ever think originally. And it’s getting worse, not better. The advent of internet mass interconnectedness is accelerating regression to the mean. Society used to be a parfait or a layered trifle. Now it is rice pudding.

    Perhaps the absolute number of enlightened ones is growing, but its relative percentage value is decreasing.

    It may be that the greatest danger to both the rich and the poor are those entities that develop their own sovereign thinking first, except different from ours. – the AI.

    • I follow and find no fault in your fundamental thesis. I would only add this. That I do not share your faith in what constitutes ‘sovereignty,,” especially in the context of “AI.”

      “Artificial” shares its root with artifact and artifice.”

      Intelligence” is rendered valueless and meaningless, absent moral and ethical direction.

      Also that problems cannot be solved by ignoring the necesssity to stem problem causation. Which requires powers of scrutiny capable of discriminating between the symptoms of the problem, (effects), and the problem (its causation) itself.

      Yes, symptoms must be attended to– (just as one renders first aid). But understanding and eliminating the causation and agent(s) of harm is fundamental to ‘solving’ the problem.


      Failure to discriminate and then effectively circumvent the source(s) of the problem — (I.e.) the failure of addressing problem causation, will guarantee the propagation of the problem and its effects. (And job security.for the staff hired for managing the inevitable outcomes of negative externalities.)

      So it seems this different framing of the problem causation might contribute to the discussion.

      Though I differ with much of Richard Dawkins’ arguments and rhetorical strategy, his coinage of “viruses of the mind” as an appropriate metaphor (in his critique of Religion), is a metaphor worthy of wider application. Such as here.

    • There are “good” or “true” beliefs that may not be the results of our own original thinking. The point that Caitlin is making has to do with separating the wheat from the chaff, and the method that she proposes is to consider whence the beliefs arose and who benefits most from masses of people holding them. This is sound advice, but it requires a depth of analysis that only a relatively small number of people are inclined or able to make. This is why the vast majority of people on earth fit the definition of “sheeple.”

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