In the movie The Matrix, humans are imprisoned in a virtual world by a powerful artificial intelligence system in a dystopian future. What they take to be reality is actually a computer program that has been jacked into their brains to keep them in a comatose state. They live their whole lives in that virtual simulation, without any way of knowing that what they appear to be experiencing with their senses is actually made of AI-generated code.
Life in our current society is very much the same. The difference is that instead of AI, it’s psychopathic oligarchs who are keeping us asleep in the Matrix. And instead of code, it’s narrative.
Society is made of narrative like the Matrix is made of code. Identity, language, etiquette, social roles, opinions, ideology, religion, ethnicity, philosophy, agendas, rules, laws, money, economics, jobs, hierarchies, politics, government, they’re all purely mental constructs which exist nowhere outside of the mental noises in our heads. If I asked you to point to your knee you could do so instantly and wordlessly, but if I asked you to point to the economy, for example, the closest you could come is using a bunch of linguistic symbols to point to a group of concepts. To show me the economy, you’d have to tell me a story.
Anyone who has ever experienced a moment of mental stillness knows that without the chatter, none of those things are part of your actual present experience. There is no identity, language, etiquette, social roles, opinions, ideology, religion, ethnicity, philosophy, agendas, rules, laws, money, economics, jobs, hierarchies, politics or government in your experience without the mental chatter about those things. There’s not even a “you” anywhere to be found, because it turns out that that’s made of narrative, too.
Without mental narrative, nothing is experienced but sensory impressions appearing to a subject with no clear shape or boundaries. The visual and auditory fields, the sensation of air going in and out of the respiratory system, the feeling of the feet on the ground or the bum in the chair. That’s it. That’s more or less the totality of life minus narrative.
When you add in the mental chatter, however, none of those things tend to occupy a significant amount of interest or attention. Appearances in the visual and auditory field are suddenly divided up and labeled with language, with attention to them determined by whichever threatens or satisfies the various agendas, fears and desires of the conceptual identity construct known as “you”. You can go days, weeks, months or years without really noticing the feeling of your respiratory system or your feet on the ground as your interest and attention gets sucked up into a relationship with society that exists solely as narrative.
“Am I good enough? Am I doing the right thing? Oh man, I hope what I’m trying to do works out. I need to make sure I get all my projects done. If I do that one thing first it might save me some time in the long run. Oh there’s Ashley, I hate that bitch. God I’m so fat and ugly. If I can just get the things that I want and accomplish my important goals I’ll feel okay. Taxes are due soon. What’s on TV? Oh it’s that idiot. How the hell did he get elected anyway? Everyone who made that happen is a Nazi. God I can’t wait for the weekend. I hope everything goes as planned between now and then.”
On and on and on and on. Almost all of our mental energy goes into those mental narratives. They dominate our lives. And, for that reason, people who are able to control those narratives are able to control us.
And they do.
Most people try to exert some degree of control over those around them. They try to influence how those in their family, social and employment circles think of them by behaving and speaking in a certain way. Family members will spend their lives telling other family members over and over again that they’re not as smart/talented/good as they think they are to keep them from becoming too successful and moving away. Romantic partners will be persuaded that they can never leave because no one else will ever love them. To varying degrees, they manipulate the narratives of individuals.
Then there are the people who’ve figured out that they can actually take their ability to influence the way people think about themselves and their world and turn it into personal profit. Cult leaders convince followers to turn over their entire lives in service to them. Advertisers convince consumers that they have a problem or deficiency that can only be solved with This Exciting New Product™. Ambitious rat race participants learn how to climb the corporate ladder by winning favor with the right people and inflicting small acts of sabotage against their competing peers. Ambitious journalists learn that they progress much further in their careers by advancing narratives that favor the establishment upon which the plutocrats who own the big media companies have built their kingdoms. They manipulate the narratives of groups.
And then, there are the oligarchs. The master manipulators. These corporate kings of the modern world have learned the secret that every ruler since the dawn of civilization has known: whoever controls the narratives that are believed by a society is the controller of that society. Identity, language, etiquette, social roles, opinions, ideology, religion, ethnicity, philosophy, agendas, rules, laws, money, economics, jobs, hierarchies, politics, government: all mental constructs which only influence society to the extent that they are believed and subscribed to by a significant majority of the collective. If you have influence over the things that people believe about those mental constructs, you have influence over society. You rule it. The oligarchs manipulate the narratives of entire societies.
This is why there have been book burnings, heretic burnings, and executions for mocking the emperor throughout history: ideas which differ from the dominant narratives about what power is, how money works, who should be in charge and so on are threatening to a ruler’s power in the exact same way that an assassin’s dagger is. At any time, in any kingdom, the people could have decided to take the crown off of their king’s head and place it upon the head of any common beggar and treat him as the new king. And, in every meaningful way, he would be the new king. The only thing preventing this from happening was dominant narratives subscribed to by the society at the time about Divine Right, fealty, loyalty, noble blood and so on. The only thing keeping the crown on a king’s head was narrative.
The exact same thing remains true today; the only thing that has changed is the narratives the public subscribe to. Because of what they are taught in school and what the talking heads on their screens tell them about their nation and their government, most people believe that they live in a relatively free democracy where accountable, temporary power is placed in the hands of a select few based on a voting process informed by the unregulated debate of information and ideas. Completely separate from the government, they believe, is an economy whose behavior is determined by the supply and demand of consumers. In reality, economics, commerce and government are fully controlled by an elite class of plutocrats, who also happen to own the media corporations which broadcast the information about the world onto people’s screens.
Control the narratives of economics and commerce, and you control economics and commerce. Control the narratives about politics and government, and you control politics and government. This control is used by the controllers to funnel power to the oligarchs, in this way effectively turning society into one giant energy farm for the elite class.
But it is possible to wake up from that narrative Matrix.
It isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work. Inner work. And humility. Nobody likes acknowledging that they’ve been fooled, and the depth and extent to which we’ve all been fooled is so deeply pervasive it can be tempting to decide that the work is complete far before one is actually free. Mainstream American liberals think they’re clear-eyed because they can see the propaganda strings being pulled by Fox and Donald Trump, and mainstream American conservatives think they’re clear-eyed because they can see the propaganda strings being pulled by MSNBC and the Democrats, but the propaganda strings on both trace back to the same puppet master. And seeing that is just the beginning.
But, through sincere, humble research and introspection, it is possible to break free of the Matrix and see the full extent to which you and everyone you know has been imprisoned by ideas which have been programmed into social consciousness by the powerful. Not just in our adult lives, but ever since our parents began teaching us how to speak, think and relate to the world. Not just in the modern world, but as far back as history stretches to when the power-serving belief systems of societal structure and religion were promoted by kings and queens of old. All of society, and all of ourselves, and indeed all of the thoughts in our heads, have been shaped by those in power to their benefit. This is the reality that we were born into, and our entire personality structure has been filtered through and shaped by it.
For this reason, escaping from the power-serving propaganda Matrix necessarily means becoming a new creature altogether. The ideas, mental habits and ways of relating to the world which were formed in the Matrix are only useful for moving around inside of it. In order to relate to life outside of the power-promulgated narratives which comprise the very fabric of society, you’ve got to create a whole new operating system for yourself in order to move through life independently of the old programming designed to keep you asleep and controlled.
So it’s hard work. You’ll make a lot of mistakes along the way, just like an infant slowly learning to walk. But, eventually, you get clear of the programming.
And then you’re ready to fight.
Because at some point in this process, you necessarily come upon a deep, howling rage within. Rage at the oligarchic manipulators of your species, yes, but also rage against manipulation in all its forms. Rage against everyone who has ever tried to manipulate your narrative, to make you believe things about yourself or make other people believe things about you. Rage against anyone who manipulates anyone else to any extent. When your eyes are clear manipulation stands out like a black fly on a white sheet of paper, and your entire system has nothing to offer it but revulsion and rejection.
So you set to work. You set to work throwing all attempts to manipulate you as far away from yourself as possible, and expunging anyone from your life who refuses to stop trying to control your narrative. Advertising, mass media propaganda, establishment academia, everything gets purged from your life that wants to pull you back into the Matrix.
And they will try to pull you back in. Because our narratives are so interwoven and interdependent with everyone else’s, and so inseparable from our sense of ourselves, your rejection of the narrative Matrix will present as an existential threat to many of your friends and loved ones. You will see many people you used to trust, many of them very close to you, suddenly transform into a bunch of Agent Smiths right in front of your eyes, and they will shame you, guilt you, throw every manipulation tool they have at you to get you to plug the jack back into your brain. But because your eyes are clear, you’ll see it all. You won’t be fooled.
And then all you’ll want is to tear down the Matrix from its very foundations and plunge its controllers into irrelevance. You will set to work bringing down the propaganda prison that they have built up around your fellow humans in any way you can, bolt by bolt if you have to, because you know from your own experience that we are all capable of so much more than the puny gear-turning existence they’ve got everyone churning away at. You will despise the oligarchs for the obscene sacrilege that they have inflicted upon human majesty out of greed and insecurity, and you will make a mortal enemy of the entire machine that they have used to enslave our species.
And, because their entire kingdom is built upon maintaining the illusion of freedom and democracy, all they will have to fight back against you is narrative. They’ll try to shame you into silence by calling you a conspiracy theorist, they’ll have their media goons and manipulators launch smear campaigns against you, but because your eyes are clear, none of that will work. They’ve got one weapon, and it doesn’t work on you.
And you will set to work waking up humanity from the lie factory, using whatever skills you have, weakening trust in the mass media propaganda machine and opening eyes to new possibilities. And while doing so, you will naturally shine big and bright so the others can find you. And together, we’ll not only smash the narratives that imprison us like a human caterpillar swallowing the narrative bullshit and forcing it into the mouth of the next slave, but we’ll also create new narratives, better narratives, healthier narratives, for ourselves and for each other, about how the world is and what we want it to be.
Because here’s the thing: since it’s all narrative, anything is possible. Those who see this have the ability to plunge toward health and human thriving without any regard for the made-up reasons why such a thing is impossible, and plant seeds of light which sprout in unprecedented directions that never could have been predicted by someone plugged into to establishment how-it-is stories. Together, we can determine how society will be. We can re-write the rules. We are re-writing the rules. It’s begun already.
Out of the white noise of a failing propaganda machine, a new world is being born, one that respects the autonomy of the individual and their right to self-determination. One that respects our right to collaborate on large scales to create beautiful, healthy, helpful systems without the constant sabotage and disruption of a few power-hungry psychopaths who would rather rule than live. One that respects our right to channel human ingenuity into harmony and human thriving instead of warfare and greed. One that respects our right to take what we need, not just to survive but to thrive, and return it to the earth for renewal. One that respects the sovereign boundaries of not just ourselves and each other, but of the planet spaceship that we live in.
Unjack your cortex fully from the fear-soaked narratives of insanity, and let the true beauty of our real world flood your senses. Let the grief of what we have unknowingly done send you crashing to your knees in sorrow. And when you’re ready, stand up. We have much work to do.
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Eden / November 30, 2018
Wow. What an extraordinary deep insight into ‘Neverland’. A place where we work, buy, consume & die without a thought.
All hail the Narrative..
With no intended disrespect, but the comments ARE the Narrative. In all it’s glory.
To understand the Matrix, one has to understand the complete and utter bullshit of a world run by narcissistic sociopaths. The Storytellers. Fabricators of propaganda..i.e. Narratives.
Narratives are interwoven into the fabric of who we are. Stories. Most are negative or harmful, mixed with a push to pyscho-shop into Oblivion [sits within Neverland]
So how do you unplug?
The first step is reading a book called The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by federal whistleblower
Former Dept of Education head. She has graciously put the book online free, PDF. You will need a hard copy dictionary and a box of Kleenex. I cried for days after realizing what had been done to me in early childhood.
scroll down to choose options
Ishkabibble / August 30, 2018
To understand more clearly what Johnstone is saying (essentially, trying to “explain” each individual’s (very personal) Matrix and how it might be changed/awoken-from), readers should imagine themselves being born into a family that lived on our planet say 40,000 years ago; on a place on the surface of this planet that is today named “Olduvai Gorge” (OG); and living out their lives within their personal Matrices of that time.
I think that it is not going out on a limb to say that the personal Matrices of the individuals living at that time in OG are in many ways very different than that of the personal Matrices of today’s individuals living on Manhattan. But the ancient individuals that were coming out of their mothers’ birth canals were human beings supposedly very similar, if not essentially identical, genetically to today’s infant human beings being born today, and, therefore, to put it succinctly, they had the very same “personal needs” as those of today.
To sum up this part, both the ancient babies and present day babies are supposedly very genetically similar and, therefore, their “needs” are very similar, while their personal Matrices (what Skinner would certainly call their “environments”) are in just about every way vastly different. Both of these vastly different behavior-shaping/controlling environments are equally “valid”. The Matrices prior to us “worked”. Today’s are also “working”. The behavior of 7.4 individuals tomorrow morning (after they awake from a genetically-necessary night’s sleep and necessarily arise from their beds to “do somethng”) will, as if by magic, be perfectly appropriate for their continuing survival on their particular part of the world within their particular personal Matrices. (I call the large-scale Matrix “the present arrangement”, or the human behavior that a couple of hundred years ago started to be called capitalism, “capitalism”.)
Because behavioral records of individuals who lived 40,000 years ago are non-existent to scarce, some of today’s humans build/expand upon the studies undertaken by other dead and living humans in an attempt to describe in the present-day how the individuals that were born 40,000 years ago (again, individuals who were supposedly genetically similar to the individuals of today) lived out their lives (as behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner would put it, “behaved”).
Skinner was not an anthropologist. He was a “behaviorist”. His goal was to “describe” just exactly how “environment” controls animal-including-human behavior and, in turn, how human beings in particular not only react to, but change that environment in order to control either themselves (setting an alarm clock) or others (manipulating a schedule of reinforcement in a casino to make more profit).
IMO the most significant difference between the human animal and other animals is that the human animal is capable of significantly altering the environment in which it lives. It is impossible to overstate the importance of that difference.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? THAT is the question.
I think that it is safe to say that the rewarding/punishing environment of 40,000 years ago (the Matrix into which the babies of that day were born) was likely much more similar to that of the individuals living 80,000 years ago than the rewarding/punishing environment of 40,000 years ago was to the punishing/rewarding living environment of the individuals living on Manhattan today (the Matrix into which the babies, the “blank slates”, of today are born).
It is the conscious or unconscious or intentional or unintentional or natural or unnatural or completely accidental behavior of the generations upon generations of individuals living “in between” 40,000 years ago and today that literally transformed the Matrix of 40,000 years ago into the vastly-different-in-just-about-every-way Matrix of today. In other words, God did not make those changes. Human beings did and they did that for reasons that are explicable in purely scientific, not humanistic or cognitive terms.
I think that it is also useful to realize that if a newborn of today could be instantly sent (time-traveled back) to a mother living 40,000 years ago in OG, and vice versa to a mother living on today’s Manhattan, those two individuals would be perfectly capable of living “normal” lives in their living environments. But if this same experiment were done with say 40-year-old time-traveled individuals being swapped/dropped onto OG and Times Square Manhattan, the result would be catastrophic for both. One should then explain why both of these scenarios would end up this way. Such careful analysis MUST inevitably arrive at some unavoidable, very poltically inconvenient truths.
Unfortunately, the Matrix of today contains/controls over 7 billion individual humans, some of whom control thousands of nuclear weapons. These absolute truths indicate that the human-manufactured environments/Matrices into which human beings have been born since at least 1850 have been fatally, and I do mean fatally, flawed (although, again, perfectly valid up until this moment as I sit here typing), because they are going to INEVITABLY lead to human extinction.
There is another astronomical difference between the human animal and the rest. The human animal can predict the future– that is, the likely behavior of humans in the future if the present humans do not make changes to their present Matrix/living-environment — the one into which their future babies will be born.
Again, mother earth can not support the present number of human beings, let alone more, and the human race will not survive a nuclear war. Therefore, human beings have to change their Matrices — THEIR REINFORCING/PUNISHING ENVIRONMENTS — in a way that results in that environment reinforcing peaceful behavior (“talking out” solutions to problems rather that resorting to military force) and having fewer children (yes, even having the option of having sex with a “beautiful” doll rather than another human being) and that change must begin TODAY, not in 10, 20, etc. years FROM today. For example, if total GHG emissions and the number of human beings at the end of 2019 cannot be reduced from the totals at the end of 2018, that “result” of the present arrangement represents a FAILURE to save the human race from itself. WHATEVER is done, especially nothing, between now and then that does not result in those reductions must be rejected and something different tried. Every nanosecond that the present arrangement continues means only continuing failure INEVITABLY leading to extinction.
If the earth were a thousand times bigger, maybe the human population could grow to 100 billion and some lucky humans would survive/adapt to frequent nuclear wars, but that is not the case and never will be.
“In every moment there is the possibility of a better future, but you people won’t believe it. And because you won’t believe it, you won’t do what is necessary to make it a reality. So you dwell on this oh, terrible future. You resign yourselves to it for one reason — because that future doesn’t ask anything of you today.” — Governor Nix in Tomorrowland
The bone-simple question that must be answered very clearly BEFORE changing the Matrix is as follows. What are the details of a better world? I believe that the answers of the 99% would be remarkably similar and would certainly include “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
The answers of the Elite would be far different. Their answers would include the use of military force to force their slaves into behaving a certain way. This strategy can work in a single nation, a single population. But it cannot work between the Elites of say several nuclear powers, for obvious reasons.
And this is “where” we are today — we are witnessing a struggle by several groups of Elites among each other for dominance over the others. And the 99% are the ones doing the Elites’ struggling and dying, involuntarily, I would say, at least the non-mercenaries and employees of the military-security-congressional-industrial complex.
IMO we are living in a time like no other. Mother Earth has been pushed beyond her limit and the Elite have to find some way to make more profit and prevent any loss on perhaps a millennium of investments. IMO the capitalist tank is about to explode and Mother Earth is going to tell her parasites to f..k off, in no uncertain terms.
If I really thought that humanity had no hope, I would not be typing. Doing that would be insane because I do not enjoy doing it. I feel it necessary to keep trying to explain more effectively what I know with certainty to be true — so that other people will come to know that what I say is in fact true. For example, I know with certainty that “do unto others what your would have them do unto you” MUST be the foundation of a successful, long-term human existence. How do I make other humans come to believe that that is true? What do I say to convince them of that when they have been taught every day of their lives that greed is what makes the world go ’round?
I am certain that this is what Johnstone is also trying to do. Again, she is correct in what she is writing, but she’s not yet captured “the whole nine yards”. What I find compelling about what she has to write and say is that what she writes and says indicates to me that there is at least SOME hope that some like-minded individuals just might be able to connect with each other and make the world a better place. “Big things have small beginnings”, said Mr. Dryden to Lawrence before Lawrence leaves for the desert in the movie “Lawrence of Arabia”.
Ishkabibble / August 31, 2018
I should have said “7.4 billion individuals” instead of “7.4 individuals”
Paul Downey / August 27, 2018
As a math(s) monoglot I have always, since a teenager, been amused by most people’s pathetic attempts at communication. Try to remember your deepest need is to belong to a tribe and therefore have a story to tell about yourself and your tribe, but each time you tell the story you become more and more trapped in samsara/the Matrix/whatever you want to call it.
Now why do folk do it? Simply they have no refuge other than their tribe’s story. If they leave that tribe they quickly discover that all the world is in one tribe or another tribe so rather than be alone they join a new tribe with, of course, a new story to learn. And of course stories are so comforting and they don’t require any effort.
There are no stories in maths. It is not in the least bit comforting and to make progress requires enormous effort, dedication, tenacity, abandonment, fortitude, courage etc. etc. In short the opposite of the work 99.9% of the story tellers put in to maintaining their naratives.
But then of course you already have a story about math(s) to fit this into!
JR / August 25, 2018
There is a book titled, “End Your Story, Begin Your Life”. I admit to not having read every chapter yet. But the essential premises is this – there is ALWAYS a “story” bouncing around in the heads of every human being. It’s going on all of the time, with every thought, every idea, everything that you see and everything that you do.
You are constantly trying to makes sense of this story, but this story is also constantly changing because of all the inputs you’re giving to your brain. The basic idea is to gain control of this story and make it stop, by learning how this story is manipulating you, and how you are manipulating the story by what you are always doing. If you can stop the story, you can learn to live life in a better way, because in part you now live in the “moment”.
The Matrix theme has been exhaustively done by nearly every writer out there (I’ve even done it). It’s yet another narrative, but it’s not altogether correct or accurate. There are few true heroes in the real world. And there isn’t always a happy ending awaiting each of us. And no, not anything is possible. That is simply a lie, another blanket assumption that is yet another false narrative. Some things are possible, some are not, but you’re making promises that cannot be met.
You’ll eventually realize that you cannot control other people. You cannot change their story, or their narrative, or their belief systems, or their actions. This is all up to them. The best you can hope for is to be there when they seek your assistance.
But what you won’t be able to do is to change the Matrix. This claim is yet another false narrative. It’s a narrative that is often made, but it has always been wrong because it fails to account for what we are, and what we need to survive, and what we are each willing to do to obtain that.
This is why the narrative hasn’t change in human history. It just gets recycled and rebranded every generation. Those that engage in tearing it all down turn right around and build it all back up. That’s why we constantly have the same problems as ever, no matter what era you examine. We cannot change the narrative – we can only change our own reactions to it.
We THINK we can change it, because that’s part of the story that runs around in most people’s minds, but we consistently find that it can’t be changed. So we introduce new stories in our heads, believing that if only “more” were involved, we’d finally change the narrative, but this never lasts and often as not, never works. The narrative returns just like before.
They say history repeats itself, but this is inaccurate. People don’t change. Societies don’t change much. Civilization dresses up the narratives and encourages the stories, but it all grinds on, just like before, devouring, consuming, brainwashing and programming billions and billions. That’s not going to change until there are no more resources left to sustain us.
In the meanwhile, if you really want to become a new creature – you’ve got to get control of your own story. All you have in reality is this moment. You don’t have yesterday or tomorrow or next week. You are only in this moment, in an endless series of moments that we’ve described as life. Learning to live in this moment and appreciate each moment for what it actually is, what is offers and how you can take satisfaction and pleasure by doing what is right for you. That’s all any of us actually has – the rest of the world and all that it is and all that it does or does not do isn’t in your control. And it never, ever will be.
Mike / August 25, 2018
Actually life isn’t just a story.
Human beings like all living things have core needs for things like food and sex.
It is this will to survive that would drive us even if we were the last person on earth.
To satisfy those needs human beings like apes formed into groups.
It is here where we see so many of our modern issues.
The major problems in a group consists of order.
Who gets to eat first? And who last?
Think today about say a business buffet lunch in which everyone arrives in the dining room at the same time.
No one wants to go first right? (At least no one with any social sense)
So what happens? In a good food service place a manager or waitress will give the first person they see a plate and permission to go. (they are basically the stand in alpha ape)
But imagine a dining room where there is no such manager. People stand there getting stressed. Imagine if everyone there is super polite and people just stand there. At some point someone will say to hell with it and go and then everyone else follows suit. That first rude person actually did everyone a favor right? He made it possible for everyone to proceed.
Think about the stress you feel when you head to a supermarket check out line.
You want to get the next possible available slot. And if you don’t if you guess wrong what happens? You feel like a sucker. Like you’ve lost something.
Order matters a lot.
To solve this pecking orders arose where the largest and strongest (who probably did the most work to get the food ) got first dibs. Now some might say this is horrible but the bottom line of a pecking order is this. It works. Its actually very efficient. In caveman times everyone arriving at the carcass of the slain Mastadon would merely have to look over at Arg The Terrible to see if he was done. If so they could get going. If not they knew to wait. There was a rule. There was Order. See? Thats what law ands order actually is. What is the correct pecking order.
Like with traffic rules in a situation where two cars arrive at the same time it doesn’t really matter who yields right? Just that someone does every time in the same way. So that there is? Order.
The issue then and now isn’t really about wanting to be first. Most people know in their DNA if they have or dont have what it takes to be number one. For men if you are not obviously the biggest and strongest or best looking person in your group you know you’re not the alpha. And most men are cool with that. The real issue for most is about not being last. Most of us (who are not liberal idiots) will concede the first slot. No one wants to be the omega.
OK so thats how groups act and actually operate.
Which is why liberalism and socialism is such a crock of shight.
Everyone in a group cannot be equal because reality dictates that someone must go first and someone last. In our mind we can imagine everyone going at the same time but its actually in real life completely impossible. Ask everybody waiting in rush hour traffic tomorrow. Like i said most sane people don’t give a shit that there is a car in front of them as long as its fucking moving. Socialism says all cars must proceed at an equal rate and creates a traffic jam everywhere.
The media preys on one thing our fear of being the omega. The power of the tv lies in its extremely false implication that all of society has voted and what you are seeing on the screen is what everyone except for you has decided is the thing to do now. If you follow good your not rejected. Thats it. Thats all it does. It preys on and activates our primordial ape level base fear embedded in the human psyche back when being a reject meant starving to death.
So its not just a story. If you see a billboard of a donut for example your stomach can actually grumble. Even if your on a diet. Even if you say I reject the corporate narrative of dunkin donuts your stomach doesn’t care. Its real. Anything that has a physiological effect on you has real influence.
now whats the real answer for people not to be manipulated?
Once a person is married they leave the pecking order behind! Once you correctly put most of your attention to spouse and family about 75 percent of the media matrix bullshit becomes moot.
Thats why the media and the liberal establishment hates the family. thats why they hate love. Married people dont care if they are driving a toyota echo. they have successfully transitioned out of the pecking order immature part of their life.
Mike / August 25, 2018
Liberals are basically just immature omega people. People who are pisssed they couldn’t get a date because they’re too ugly or weird. Cat lady people. Or they are just really really really fucking dumb. they watch tv and think oh duh OK rachel maddow I’m with you because you’re smart and duh Im smart too so OK ban Alex jones. And down with Trump! Get him out of the white house now (even though he was lawfully elected and there’s like rules and laws? huh) If they could connect with a romantic partner and find real love they wouldn’t be out in the street like true unalloyed retards hitting people with bike locks. Even the globalist billionaires suffer from the insecurity that deep down they’re ugly uncreative assholes who couldn’t get laid without paying for it. They want to destroy the world because no one will ever love them. If they cant have love then neither can we.
Mike / August 25, 2018
So truly, Screw politics. The only way to win is to walk away. Get married have kids. Thats how you beat these dickweeds. do what they dont want. get love in your life. have ten kids. if all young patriotic American people did this the liberals would be on their knees on the corners of america everyday crying their fucking eyes out. thats truly what they are most afraid of. a man and woman smiling and laughing together by themselves with a five or six beautiful babies is like a vision of hell for them because its a reminder of what they can never have.. It would melt them like the wicked witch after she gets the bucket.
Taylor / September 28, 2021
I think I love you
Scott M / August 9, 2021
Some really good stuff in this comment. Less so in those posted after where you veer into caricature. Your description of motivations and the ways groups work does a good job of discrediting a lot of the liberal narratives on what a “good society” should or could be. It also speaks to this site’s assertion that people should just get together and form this tidy and perfect system based on a uniform and universal code. Not gonna happen. Utopias are for people who just want to shift control from one group to another.
fred hampton / August 25, 2018
>> In the movie The Matrix,
Similarly, in the movie The Terminator, AI controls drones and robots. In the real world, for now, psychopaths do.
…And from the perspective of people living in the Middle East, it doesn’t matter whether murderous AI or murderous people controls the drones.
R.W. Emerson II / August 24, 2018
Your essays delight me! In this essay, however, I notice that most of the sentences begin with the word “And …”. This is the word we use when we string sentences together to form a /// narrative,
So you appear to be creating a new narrative of your own. You are making an effort, either to convince the reader or to convince yourself. This effort is implied by phrases such as “we have to” and “we should”.
I advise you to step back and take time to enjoy your freedom — the freedom we discover when we secede from the war machine and set out on the quest to recover our humanity and independence. Tell us what it is like to be a free and compassionate human being, free to love yourself and love humanity, standing alone, feeling solidarity, detached from the system and connected to the universe of life and death.
What can we do? How can we serve? Can we share this joy and freedom with others? Can we save humanity? Can we afford to leave the dishes in the sink unwashed? Can we just take a breath? — one breath that lasts for an eternity? What we were is what we are, so we are pretty much stuck with ourselves. Damn! Who is running this show?
Bichara Sahely / August 24, 2018
Yes, the official narratives have become prisons of the mind. To break free we have to at first ground, anchor and steer ourselves onto solid life-ground and be guided by life-valued coordinates where there is full coherence between the map in our heads (aka the narratives) and the territory (aka the life support systems of planet and societies and our universal human life necessities).
I highly recommend this article as a blueprint to guide us unplugging from the Ruling class Matrix of domination that serves to justify and legitimize their insecurity based on guilt and greed, given the cognitive dissonance based on the abundant evidence of the failed global cooperate human experiment. The results are in. It is time to evolve to a more fully coherent life paradigm that replaces the life-disabling effects of hierarchical power and privilege with the life-enabling effects of creative communal partnerships of people and planet.
Floris Koot / August 24, 2018
Interesting. Came to very much the same conclusion about a year ago. Though I’d say stepping out of the Matrix is easier and harder. But the gain is much more than becoming smart about politics. It’s having a life, a real life.
Peter Schreiner / August 23, 2018
Then when you’ve reached this stage of anarchy, as I have, you’ll come to realize that it’s not just about us as humans, but about us as earthlings. But the next phase of enlightenment is the most challenging, the one most vehemently argued against, but if by now you’re able to see clearly, you’ll realize that you’ve been fed the nutritional myth as well, and you’ll stop harming other earthlings and go vegan. And be the healthy for it.
Bannister Nicholas / August 23, 2018
Now that you’ve awoken from the matrix, are you ready for what was presented in the 2nd movie? that you’ve not yet awoken, but have merely moved from tier 1 to tier 2? that you are in the next level of the matrix, but are still IN the matrix? The narrative of the ones who have escaped the “narrative”?
Welcome to the next Tier.. the question for those of us in here is.. is the next level just Tier 3 of the matrix? Is there ever an out?
Several Oligarchs have discussed this, its why they influenced society to make the movies, so they can find answers, by recruiting more tier 2 people.
Sebastian Crankshaw / August 23, 2018
I take your point, but there’s an inherent problem as soon as you start describing people/society in this way:
It absolutely implies superiority, superiority implies a certain right to power, and that is a corrosive force.
We’re all aware of different things, and regardless of where you feel your enlightenment is at, here’s the thing:
We’re all meat. All of us.
It’s a concept Iain M Banks explores brilliantly in ‘Excession’.
Bannister Nicholas / August 24, 2018
You have the right to take what I said, how ever you feel it. I do not consider my children to be less than I, just not yet as knowledgable, I cannot gauge them to compare their lives now to my life then, because I have vague memories of my then skill, and I cannot gauge myself to them, because they have yet to reach my age, when they do, what benefit would there be to compare a record of my ‘success’ now, to their eventual level of success when they reach my age.
As such, It would be folly to compare myself to my parents or grandparents, to see them as better than I, makes no sense, as their lives and circumstances were different to mine, I am a product of their hard work, luck and skill, so any success I have, it partially attributed to them too, so again, no comparison.
Superiority is a concept that makes no sense to me, I have knowledge that you don’t yet have, or you have that I don’t yet. If I make you feel inferior, does that make me superior? no.. many inferior people make others feel inferior on purpose, because they think it’ll make them superior.. it doesn’t. Inferiority is a by product of your feelings of self worth, I am confident in myself, sure, yet others who have no confidence have a need to try to pull me down, why? because they do not feel confident in themselves, and its easier to destroy than to create.
If you think calling me meat will make me equal to you, by pulling me down, then are you not trying to make yourself superior?
While I am in this meat, I am meat, yet I think, not with meat, but with energy. energy gives off waves, and affects more than just meat.
Jared / August 23, 2018
We did to register data which confirms our bias.
We gage events by how others respond to them.
We tend to accept input from authority figures.
We tend to believe what we see.
We pass our young lives being programmed in right and wrong fact and fiction.
Everyone is lying to us all the time.
We value what others value.
karlof1 / August 23, 2018
I’m very pleased to have discovered your site after occasionally stumbling across several of your previous essays!
My forte being history/anthropology, I’ve investigated deeply over the years to discover what happened to humanity’s direction and why we’re experiencing our current malaise. My conclusion is the original, functional natural culture molded over several millions of years as humans evolved from hominids to our current form became destabilized/dysfunctional by our ability to create technology fomented by the mastery of universal grammar into languages thus creating the ability to generate narrative which began to diminish the existing action-based, non-narrative dependent culture. You see Narrative as the culprit; I see Dysfunctional Culture as the culprit. Throughout your essay, I can substitute culture for narrative without changing the meaning of your discourse; we are on the same page. You see narrative as the Regulator of human behavior; I see culture. Yet, culture existed before narrative. Honestly, today’s Matrix has evolved into what it is now over close to 1.5 million years. The only long lasting solution I see is making human culture functional again–people’s behavior acts to regulate people’s behavior such that all work for the vast community of humans; yes, certainly a tall order, but no different from what you prescribe.
Alaine Lowell / August 22, 2018
Wonderful and inspiring piece. I will share it widely as part of my dedication to bringing a new healthy love-based narrative.
elissa3 / August 22, 2018
Exceptionally well-written and thought-through. My own view of the eternal conflict is that it is between individual identity, which of course is defined by narrative(s), and (“good”, human) values, seeing these as universal. And then there’s the role of one’s culture, which develops very gradually and most usually changes very slowly, except during periods of extreme stress, during which time cultural change can happen all at once. Personally, the way forward is to embrace the process rather than any religion/ideology. Always question and remain skeptical.
Finally, I’m beginning to wonder if a new consciousness, the environment for the radical change that is needed, might not come from some kind of external mind-altering substances. Psychedelics? (If you haven’t already, you might want to check out Michael Pollan’s “How to Change Your Mind”). Yes, people’s brains can be re-wired by extreme stress–war and famine to name a couple–but one would hope that there is a calmer path forward.
Miss Margaret / August 22, 2018
I know some Great Awakening/Qanon folks will take this as an A-OK from Caitlin for their Tower of Babble of new beliefs, beliefs that have created WAY many more ‘all over the place’ narratives, and have caused many to sound like they have NO IDEA what’s true, false, up, down, etc. Having new narratives about the bad guys (all the issues, lumped into ‘bad guys’) IS the only way, just watch the MSM to see how really evil and criminal today’s news is, but the narratives that we create outside of the Matrix, referring back to the Qanons, those can be just as bad. Who’s narrative will be the new one? Surely we can’t all have our own independent narratives, or hundreds of thousands of small groups with unique narratives trying to live side by side? Maybe that’s exactly why the kindest narrative, that of the man named Jesus, in his own words, only HIS words, took off so well years ago (not pushed, adopted) that billions even today see it as the better way: do unto others, love the neighbor, feed the hungry, walk a mile, etc, etc. What narrative is out there now that keeps us from creating thousands more clashing clans? Create a new one, better than the sentiments (not the current organization)of Jesus’s words? One? There’s always the current trend to change Jesus/God narrative to an Earth Mother one, but then that’s just someone else’s (New Age?) narrative. Which narrative-or who’s? I’m in, though, first the old one.
Pap-a-lap / August 22, 2018
As a starting point, we are not so much in need of a new narrative as a filter by which to evaluate all the competing narratives out there, mainstream and otherwise. Fortunately, there is good advice, attributed to one who sought not to control but to awaken others:
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Buddha
Jared / August 23, 2018
Hard to argue with Buddha, but…
The problem is the want for simple, binary answers.
There is, in practice, no true/false, but rather probability.
When in doubt, aim for the one in the middle.
This may be where A/I will be great benefit or threat.
A/I might look at the many proposed models and select the probable.
But A/I is subject to bias of design.
Learning A/I would be killer – possibly literally.
Harry S Nydick / August 22, 2018
Rather ironic that you should post this today since, just yesterday, I borrowed the Matrix trilogy from my local library’s extensive DVD collection. Working excessive hours of necessity, never permitted me the opportunity to see them in the theater. Also yesterday, I received a ‘survey’ from the Democratic Party, one of those things that presents the obvious questions and is nothing more than an excuse to beg for money.
I shredded it.
I have come to understand much of what you have described in this article. Would that I had discovered all of it earlier. I have always seen manipulation, coercion, lies, and more, from those in the power to bombard us with them – but never so clearly as today, when I am retired and have to answer to virtually no one.
The shame of it all is that I am at an age of retirement when I can talk about all of it, but haven’t the strength to fight against it, as I might have had I learned it all (not just part), some 40, or so, years ago
I do speak up, however. And I expect to be called a liar, an idiot, gullible and worse. And, when I am, I don’t respond with anger. I feel sorry for those who won’t open their minds to reality. But, like you, I don’t let that deter me, because I recognize that rejection of the narrative would bring chaos to their lives that they are unwilling to face. Their acceptance of the narrative has, within them, formed a belief system that makes it more important to meet society’s imposed ‘obligations,’ than to live a life that is truly free. I feel sorry for them, but when I see that they will not engage in honest discussion, I go out and find others who will.
Sometimes, that is the best choice I have. It is what my own, created, narrative, demands of me.
jnan / August 22, 2018
I find myself to be, in all aspects, at the very same point in my life.
annie / August 25, 2018
I am retired also .. like many other elders, I am now free to remake my consciousness, guided by the Bible’s cultural DNA and the deep truths of Nature which every true gardener comes to know. Being old does not limit our power because In deep prayer we are able to affect the matrix directly, and birth emergent patterns within it. Being shunned or despised by unwoke family and friends only makes us more powerful because it cuts the ties that bind us to the matrix. Their love remains but the narrative is amputated, and as to mine, they are slowly returning, on a very organic level.
Jim KABLE / August 22, 2018
Always clearly outlined and explained – and despite your relative youth – so full of wisdom, insight, clarity – and compassion for those struggling to swim up and out of the mire “narrated” by the controllers! So how, I would like to know, did you arrive at this ability – what was your experience from your childhood onwards – including any Saul of Tarsus moments – which brought you to this point? Parents – of course (?) – teachers (?) life-changing experiences – lessons learnt…???!!! Do you have a Manifesto (have I missed it in some earlier posting)?
Steve Jack / August 22, 2018
Outstanding. Brilliantly argued and beautifully written. Thank you.
tom / August 22, 2018
thomas szasz, 40+ years ago, in myth of mental illness: in the jungle, eat or be eaten. in the human jungle, self-define or be defined. has not changed.
Larry Gates / August 22, 2018
Though the movie, THE MATRIX, is an overrated, hokey, excessively violent piece of crap with a stupid plotline and laughable comic-book characters, the idea of the Matrix is a perfect metaphor for the fake reality we all live in. Once you wake up you can never go back inside. You feel moral outrage as well as compassion for those trapped inside, but also powerless to change anything.
Patrick Scheller / August 22, 2018
Another great piece of work Caitlin!
Thank you again!
Shannon / August 22, 2018
Thing is, when I have tried to really live my own joy, it seems to have conflicted with others’ narratives and they would come and be like, “What are you doing? That’s not how you are supposed to behave! That’s not what our narrative says you are supposed to do!! That’s bad! You are having way too much fun in a weird way, or a way that I don’t control, and I want you to stop that, because you are not behaving according to THE Narrative, the one and only narrative, because it’s ‘real’, and your narrative is insane if it isn’t in line with THE Narrative!” That was the hardest part to get over, that idea that there is only ONE Narrative and that it is the REAL Narrative, and that it involved rules. When I realized that there are no rules and that that idea of the one and only real narrative was bogus, then I could have fun and not care what the rest said. And living my own narrative seems to allow others to either sneer or relax, and that’s cool too.
David Collet / August 22, 2018
Your first challenge to point to economy will stump those for whom perception is reality. I was fortunate to be reared by parents who were reared and married during the ‘Great Depression ‘ and for them economy was food on the table a safe place to sleep and good company. Everything else was noise.They taught us early to be sceptical of media (of all sizes) and to eschew publicity and all who sought it.
GaryS / August 22, 2018
Just a word of caution–the matrix is a double-edged sword–it controls but it also offers virtual protection from the brutality of life on planet earth. Without the fiction of the matrix we would be confronted with the realities of life in the 3rd dimension–where it is consume or be consumed–where 3rd world people are continuously ground into the dirt for the 1st world–where the level of pollution is at a breaking point–and the degradation of the community leaves us without meaningful connection.
We have to dismantle the matrix brick by brick–and while it still provides some level of stability–we need to identify the wire pullers and hold their feet to the fire. There is indeed a depopulation agenda https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxuP-f2VAF0 and we need to determine who benefits from the turmoil and destruction.
While I cannot say with absolute surety who ultimately holds the tether–there a group of dual Israeli citizens who control every aspect of our social order [is there still anyone out there who doesn’t see this]. At the very least these faux Zionist Jews are the gatekeepers for the controller(s)–and we need to sit a few of them down [Kissinger, Soros, Blankfein, Netanyahu, Schumer, Feinstein, Emanuel, Adelson, Rothschild, Zuckerberg, Elison] and have a few serious discussions–I am sure that these people have the keys to the matrix and can identify it’s creator(s).
If we are truly going to dismantle–this is where we should start! Otherwise–we’re just pissing in the wind–as we have been doing since Kennedy’s murder: Time to call a spade a spade!
John Cosmo / August 22, 2018
This dovetails nicely with your earlier piece, “How to Beat a Manipulator.”
As I’ve said before, these aren’t new or original ideas, but you do have a refreshingly different slant to how you present them and you present them well. Your writings are worth-while and very much appreciated.
chucknobomb / August 22, 2018
I regret being a fool. Accept me and others cause I am Human. But…Don’t fuchk with me. Common Dreams today had an article saying Hundreds of Thousands will be in th e streets with Move On to protest if Mueller is History. History shows he is a MIC PIG.! Did they plan protests for Obombers Drone Tuesday Kill list’S! Have a nice day.” Get The Fuck Out Of The Peoples Way” and quote me unless I am Plagiarizing! Keep on… Put a cog in the wheel for the people and planet. L,C ( I hate Trump, Clinton and have known Bernie over 20 years) BDS