HomeArticleFight The Establishment’s Narratives By Getting Clear On Your Own

Fight The Establishment’s Narratives By Getting Clear On Your Own

Anti-establishment movements are a mess. Whether they’re left-wing or right-wing, whether they’re statist or anarchist, whether they’re organized or decentralized, whether they place emphasis on official or unofficial narratives, any circle of people who are interested in opposing the status quo on a deep, meaningful level almost invariably find themselves significantly bogged down by confusion, paranoia, infighting, and misdirected use of energy.

Every day, for example, I get people in my inbox and social media notifications telling me I shouldn’t quote or share anything from this or that lefty journalist or anti-establishment figure because they’ve said something “problematic” at some point or have some kind of association with some aspect of the establishment. Rather than simply using narrative-disrupting tools wherever they come from to fight the establishment narrative control machine, I’m encouraged to isolate myself to the extremely narrow spectrum of voices which agree with my exact worldview perfectly. This kind of paranoid, self-cannibalizing mentality is rife throughout most anti-establishment circles.

This happens for a number of reasons, including the fact that the ruling power establishment will infiltrate dissident movements that it perceives as a threat with the intent of sowing confusion and division. But the underlying reason anti-establishment circles so often find themselves getting crushed by their own weight is ultimately because life itself is confusing and difficult to understand.

Hardly anyone holds a lucid and steady awareness of just how much of society is comprised of mental narrative. Most people live their lives under the unquestioned assumption that when they are moving around in the world, speaking, acting, forming opinions, having ideas etc, they are interacting with something that resembles objective reality. The truth of the matter is that most of the things which draw people’s attention in their day-to-day experience, whether it’s names, titles, news stories, political parties, economics, history, philosophy, religion or what have you, consist entirely of mental noises firing off inside human skulls.

You might think it’s a big jump to go from chatting about the sociopolitical dynamics within dissident movements to making vaguely Buddhist-sounding observations about human thought, but it’s really not. The reason our species is in a mess right now, and thus the reason movements exist which seek to change the status quo, is because so much of life is dictated entirely by made-up mental narratives which can be easily controlled by the powerful, and hardly anyone fully grasps this. If they did, the revolution against the establishment would very smoothly and quickly succeed.

Scientific research has found that astronauts suffer problems with coordination, perception and cognition when they are unable to determine which way is up in space. There is no “up” or “down” when you’re outside the gravitational pull that our bodies are adapted to, so its absence sends our whole system out of whack. Navigating a society that is made of mental narrative is very much the same; if you don’t know which way’s up, you’ll get lost and confused. Before you can see the narrative matrix clearly, you might be aware that some narratives serve power and swat at them while you’re spinning through space, but you won’t have any solid ground on which to orient yourself for the purpose of forming a clear path forward toward a healthy and harmonious world.

Your first and foremost task as a revolutionary, therefore, is to find solid ground on which to plant your feet while operating within a swirling sea of narratives and counter-narratives. Without this you’ll find yourself expending energy on ineffectual agendas, chasing shadows, attacking friends and advancing the interests of the enemy as you stumble around trying to fight a threat you can’t even see clearly. You’ve got to figure out for yourself which way’s up.

The only way to do this is to turn inward and sort out your own mental narratives in your own experience. This takes a lot of dedicated work, because there are many layers of tightly believed narratives which dictate one’s perception of the world that most people aren’t even aware of.

As soon as we’re born we are given a name which has nothing to do with the nature of the slimy, screaming naked creature which came roaring thunderously alive out of the womb. We spend our childhood being told who we are in various ways by our family, then we go to school to get taught how to think like everyone else and get labeled good/smart or bad/stupid for the rest of our lives based on how well we dance that dance. Along the ride we pick up coping mechanisms to deal with the stress of this whole unnatural ordeal, many of which become extremely counterproductive unconscious habits in later years. We pick up likes and dislikes, interests and aversions, life philosophies, religious beliefs, societal beliefs, political beliefs, all of which come together to form our worldview.

Because the foundations of our entire worldview are formed in early childhood long before we’re mature enough to decide for ourselves what a useful foundation might look like, we wind up interfacing with life through this muddled, inefficient network of mostly unconscious mental and perceptual habits which don’t serve us very well. It is with this warped, endarkened tool that we interact with the vast sea of official and unofficial narratives we are presented with in our attempts to decipher what’s wrong with the world and how to fix it.

The path, then, is to unwind this whole confused, unconscious muddle of mental and perceptual habits until we get to the untarnished blank canvass of that powerful screaming baby who first met this wild world, and inhabit it consciously. That right there is our solid ground.

Who are you? Underneath the mental narratives about who you are? Underneath all the stories, labels and beliefs? Underneath the field of consciousness full of thoughts, sensory impressions and feelings? This is the most important inquiry that anyone can possibly engage in, and it is worthy of the entirety of your focus until it’s resolved.

All of these swirling, babbling thought stories have dictated our lives for as long as we can remember, but rarely does anyone sit down and start sorting out where they come from and if they’re useful. We lug around ancient mental narratives about life, about how we should be, about how other people should be, about the best ways to find happiness, about the best ways to avoid unhappiness, and we rarely consider the possibility that we can interact with life unencumbered by that heavy load.

If you want to find solid ground beneath your feet so that you can push effectively for a healthy world, you’ve got to question every assumption you’ve ever made about yourself and the nature of the world, even your very most fundamental assumptions, because it’s all narrative. As you turn your attention toward your essential nature and away from your churning, babbling mental habits, interest and attention will move away from mental narratives and toward the solid ground upon which they appear. The mind will relax and mental narrative will take on its proper role as a tool that can be used when it’s useful and set down when it isn’t, rather than the dominating feature of every minute of waking existence. Unhelpful mental habits can be discarded, and all attempts at narrative manipulation will stand out like a black fly on a white sheet of paper.

I can’t tell you how to do this. Everyone’s path to the heart of the fundamental matter is unique, and you can only travel it on your own. I can tell you that the answer does not exist in the realm of thought, and that it is closer to you than your own breath. Sincere, dedicated inquiry into your own true nature, on your own and in your own way, will lead you to the ground on which you must take your stand in order to fight the establishment narrative machine effectively.


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Latest comments

  • texte très riche et qui amène à bien des réflexions. ce texte devrait être étudié dans les écoles. pour ma part, j’ai mon tamis de lecture des pensées, surtout celles que les kleptocrates veulent nous imposer.

  • texte très riche et qui amène à bien des réflexions. ce texte devrait être étudié dans toutes les écoles.

  • If you still believe that a “fight” is necessary, you’re not quite there.

  • Baby Cry. Is it natural to spank a baby bottom to get them to breathe?
    What do other cultures do??
    If it is not, then is this where it all started — pain first??

  • Many years ago I fortuitously stumbled upon the seminal book “Human Scale”, by the iconoclastic author Kirkpatrick Sale. At the time I was searching for confirmation that human thought and action was indeed capable of producing an integrated socio-economic organization at scale (nation state, if you prefer) based upon the central premise of personal freedom and self-determination. A close examination of virtually every major social construct at scale in recorded history proved, at least to me, to be fatally flawed in the context of my interest. The closest I could find was Athens of Periclean times, which was still desperately wanting. I was intrigued by Kirkpatrick’s premise that a sustainable social order devoted to the principles of peaceful coexistence, voluntary cooperation, community values, and individual liberty could possibly exist. For like minded explorers I highly recommend his original book and the recently updated version “Human Scale Revisited”. Over the years I became more familiar with Kirkpatrick’s life and work, and was increasingly convinced that he held the key (he is now 81 years old) to the door that I had been trying to unlock for decades. I ultimately concluded that the human scale concept of social order is the answer for our survival as a species. But, there has yet to be established a viable working model of the construct. It is my hope to observe and participate in such during my lifetime. As the product of a small farming community in the deep South, my spiritual roots and love for that part of America and its people run deep, even though I left long ago. Until I found Kirkpatrick Sale, my heart had been cleaved by the legacy of slavery which was repugnant to my moral senses. However, Sale, who is a native of New York and presently serves as Director of the Middlebury Institute in Vermont, made a brief presentation to the Abbeville Institute in Charleston, South Carolina last year that opened my eyes to truth that my flawed preconceptions had blocked most of my life. For those who might be interested the subject of human bondage, Sales’ short presentation can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzj1XhDAaiQ. So much of what we think we understand and believe to be true is nothing more than illusion, planted in our cerebral cortex and constantly reinforced by both the good and bad intentions of others. If we truly want to live peaceful, healthy and meaningful lives on our own terms, the only chance we have is to build and support communities at human scale that hold this eternal truth to be self-evident: Each of us has the natural right to self-determination, and no other human being or group of human beings has the moral justification or authority to forcefully deny us that right. Based on that central premise alone can we break the mental chains placed upon us by the power-hungry psychopaths that rule every nation on earth.

  • I’m answering your last comment here Charlie as it just gets too ridiculously narrow. I meant, of course, the people in the buildings. Yes, the people AFTER 9/11 – so many thousands of them. That’s what frustrates me. It was really the people after 9/11 that bothered me so much more although I did feel for those on 9/11 too. So when people get all upset and offended when you question the 3,000 deaths on 9/11, I’m like, but what about the hundreds of thousands of deaths afterwards and the complete destruction of countries? They stage deaths in smaller numbers as a pretext to kill so many more people. The power elite, of course, happily exploit the fact that many people find it offensive to question claims of deaths. I simply don’t. Whether or not I believe people died for real, it doesn’t bother me if people question it. Either they died or they didn’t. People questioning it makes no difference to me but I have to accept others have a real problem with it.

    • Petra, this will be my last post regarding the deaths on 9/11. Your understanding of what happened regarding the aircraft is correct, including the fabrication and layering of the three related impact videos. Several thousand people selectively received advance warning and either did not show that day or evacuated the buildings prior to the remote controlled demolition of 1, 2 and 7. However, others were not so fortunate.
      Many did die including the first responders. As you suggest, the actual numbers are less important than the magnitude of the crime. Charlie

  • I love your thought process and envy your ability to express your ideas so skillfully. I look forward to so much more.

    thank you.

  • Howdy Caitlin very much appreciate your work. Thought you might also enjoy this essay from VanGeneppian Liminalist Jasun Horsley from Western Canada, who also does amazing podcasts.. Keep up the good fight and best wishes to you and yours.
    Just bought your book(s) and very much looking forward to reading,

  • Nice one Caitlin, enjoying your articles nice clarity and focus. Encouraging x

  • The day we were pushed out of our mothers, all of us experienced, first hand, for lack of a better expression, “pure life”, completely “free”, completely unencumbered by any narratives whatsoever, not even capable of talking to ourselves using words (“thinking”), not even capable of remembering visual images of the world that we had never seen. Blank slates we truly were……HUNGRY, cranky, demanding blank slates (just like the blank slates of 10,000 years ago, ready to learn/accept ANYTHING). Then our parents began to “train” us to fit into our parents’ particular part of the world — the “environment” / the Matrix we would eventually have to fit into as children and adults.
    There are different parts of the world that have very different environments. (Put differently, “The Matrix” is not the same everywhere, but, most importantly, there is identical “solid ground” beneath all of them.) For example, recently, there was a christian missionary who went to an island near India to “bring God” to the native people. During the next couple of days after his arrival the native people killed that young man. I guess that they did not like his “narrative” because it was, apparently, much different than their own tried and true “narrative”. Over time these island people had had little contact with the rest of the world. Luckily, the people that inhabit most of the areas of this planet have frequent contact with people from other areas of the planet and visitors don’t usually end up being killed.
    In geology there is the “ring of fire” where the edges of the so-called “plates” of the earth’s crust (christ?) run into each other. In areas close to the ring of fire there are lots of earthquakes and volcanoes. There is an analogous situation between the national governments and their militaries in the human population. When nations’ governments try to control the governments (“governments” being a relatively small number of VIP human beings) of other nations in order to steal the natural resources out from under the perhaps millions of people of that nation, “friction” can occur ………even “fire and fury”, if you will.
    What is “truth”? For example, is it “true” that only one government of the world is “exceptional” and, therefore, has the God-given duty to decide for all the rest of the nations of the world what is “right” and what is “wrong” and how to behave? Is it “true” that “might makes right”?
    Why is it that governments of nations that have carefully delineated territorial borders have found it necessary to go outside their nations borders to exploit/steal the resources and products of other nations, or import people from those nations to do work within their own nations’ borders?
    Human history is peppered with wars for the last several thousand years, right up to today. In all of these wars the most powerful weapons available were used to defeat enemies. Even nuclear weapons have been employed by the nation that regards itself as the most exceptional nation on earth in order to “defeat” its enemy — the “government” (again, an amazingly small number of VIPs) of the millions of people who live within the arbitrarily delineated area on planet earth named “Japan”. Unfortunately for the exceptional nation, several nations now have nuclear weapons and all have said that if their national security, or their national security “interests”, or those of their allies are threatened, they will use these nuclear weapons to strike their enemies. This situation is causing a bit of a political/economic stalemate or stand-off with the areas of contact/conflicting interest being, again, analogous to that geological ring of fire around the Pacific. This situation is inevitably going to lead to nuclear war.
    The three questions every human being should at this most dangerous time in human history be asking him/herself are simple. What does my government have to “trade” or be economically or militarily involved with other nations of the world who may be literally thousands of miles away? Just exactly WHY can’t my government and my fellow citizens develop an economic system which can “go it alone” from the rest of the world? What would be the details of an economic system in my country which COULD “go it alone” from the rest of the world?
    The way that things are in the world today — at the edge of nuclear war and environmental catastrophe — are NOT the way things HAVE to be. The way things ARE is because of the continued use of an ancient, now-deadly arrangement in which the vast majority of wealth and LARGE-SCALE capital equipment is owned or controlled by a microscopic percentage of the population for its own astronomical profit. This is the arrangement in the US, Russia and China (so too in the US’s vassal states of the EU, Japan, Australia and Canada). This fatally-flawed economic arrangement requires a wildly-expanding human population and, unfortunately, for only the US so far, perpetual war. This is why China’s one-child policy was dropped and the Chinese government has taken measures to increase its population of already 1.4 billion (how many billion would be enough, Mr. Xi?); Russia is encouraging and economically promoting large families and the US is required to have well over a million immigrants a year and hundreds of thousands of H1B to keep wages of the labor force low and maximize the profits of the microscopic percentage.
    The human ring of fire is getting hotter and hotter. Three nations are trying to out-intimidate each other. I think of the situation as akin to three gunslingers pointing guns at each other — similar to the stand-off at the end of the classic movie “The Good, The Bad And the Ugly”. Each of the three believes with all of its might that it is the exceptional, indispensable nation. Who is going to be the last man standing? Here’s one possible scenario. The nation that pulls the trigger first, either by accident or intent, kills one of his opponents. The nation that was not shot then shoots the nation that pulled the trigger. One thing is for certain — the nation that pulls the trigger first dies; one of the other two dies and the one that pulled the trigger last is the “victor”. Unfortunately, humanity dies from radiation poisoning.
    The present, fatally-flawed economic arrangement is what must be re-designed to one which does NOT require a wildly-growing human population, international trade (at first, anyway), and, in the case of the US, perpetual wars to provide profit to private and public investments in the MIC.
    What MUST BE the “solid ground” which can be the foundation of this new economic system in each and every nation of the world, on each and every island of the world, including the one that that now-deceased missionary landed on?
    WHAT DOES THAT NEW ARRANGEMENT LOOK LIKE? That is the ultimate question for each and every one of us to discuss with EACH OTHER, ALL OVER THE WORLD. The microscopic percentages in the three big powers are not only NOT going to provide us any assistance, they will resist with all of their power any attempt to change the present arrangement, even if they know that the present arrangement will lead to human extinction. The answer to that question will most certainly NOT suddenly make itself known to our minds by our minds attempting to go back to the state our “minds” were in on the day of our birth.
    Although we did not realize it, the day in our lives that we first thought/accepted/believed that we were inherently better, or more exceptional, or more indispensable than someone else was the day that we accepted that human extinction was inevitable. If we cannot collectively understand why that MUST be true, and that “doing unto others as we would have them do unto us” is the one and only way for humanity to proceed, we will be incapable of designing a new arrangement that will NOT lead to human extinction. Starting off a discussion or international negotiation with “I am better than you; you will either do what I say or you will have to leave my island” instantly, quite understandably ends the discussion and leads only to increasing conflict.

  • “As you turn your attention toward your essential nature and away from your churning, babbling mental habits…” Speaking of churning, babbling mental habits… If you’ve got the mental itch of cognitive dissonance, turning away from it can be done in two ways. You can either show humility and admit your error (where the dissonance stems from one) or else you can engage in what social psychologists call dissonance reduction behavior. How do you do that? Essentially, You lie to yourself. If the cause of the dissonance is, for example, your bad treatment of innocent people, then the dissonance would result from the conflict between 1. your positive self-image (which we all possess) and 2. your bad deed contradicting that positive self-image. Needless to say, those with a moral foundation, solid people in other words, are more likely to accomplish turning away from their inner turmoil via simply honesty that involves admitting to mistakes and acting accordingly.

  • “Your first and foremost task as a revolutionary, therefore, is to find solid ground on which to plant your feet while operating within a swirling sea of narratives and counter-narratives.”

    (My solid ground? Jehovah’s Kingdom.)

    I would point that while this is correct, there’s no guarantee that finding your solid ground can help the Revolution (which I see differently than most progressives). When an evil person finds his solid ground, Does that advance the revolution or the counterrevolution? Also, It’s not solely a head thing. It is, I would argue, mainly a heart thing. Do you care?

    One thing’s for sure. Education (in the broad sense) is indispensable. I guess you could say that both the revolutionaries and the counterrevolutionaries require it.

    Another thing’s for sure: When self-identified, well-known progressives are in fact fakers, they can do a lot of damage. Soul-searching is therefore important – if it leads people who care to join the revolution. Those without a moral foundation (good and bad people), who see others – leaders in the progressive community and in the establishment – doing things that are obviously wrong, they are mystified. Without a solid moral foundation, that is the only reaction possible. What do those mystified observers of lawlessness conclude? They rightly conclude that bad must simply sometimes be good. And that’s dangerous. I doubt that I need to explain why.

  • I have this borderline paranoid hunch that “don’t read texts by bad people” is a consciously crafted weaponized meme that rode in piggyback on “#MeToo”. And that it’s a response to the fear that Julian Assange struck into the powers that be. How convenient if an author’s personal failings would invalidate every single word they ever published.

    Here’s what I picked up from a bit of goofing around with Javascript and Python: a computer language is called a language because it is one. A computer is a machine that is operated by language. That implies that language is programming, ergo we peeps are programmable, ergo we have been programmed.

    My workaround for snapping out of it is: in between thoughts, I’m still here. None of my thoughts are me. None of my thoughts are mine. I can just sit here quietly watching them go by.

    Language is a very thin filmy overlay on immediate reality. Language is Flatland. There is no up or down in language. Terra firma is that rose that by any other name is still whatever the heck that thing is.

    • Logos is reason, logos is also language, that’s Greek. There is a great bond between language and reason that makes them inseparable, however propaganda centers for the stupefaction of the population have been hard at work to make language what you make it to appear like..

  • “This happens for a number of reasons, including the fact that the ruling power establishment will infiltrate dissident movements that it perceives as a threat with the intent of sowing confusion and division.”

    This is technically correct. I don’t think that those with power actually, viscerally, fear those without power. Heck, They don’t even fear those with power, like Trump. But there’s a degree of cleverness, of common sense, at work here. Sure, Those with power take steps to keep their power. But I like to think of it this way (as the hits on my blog are hitting zero some days now), Those with power don’t like ulcers, which we, who endeavor (with a great degree of success) to speak truth to power, give them.

  • “Rather than simply using narrative-disrupting tools wherever they come from to fight the establishment narrative control machine, I’m encouraged to isolate myself to the extremely narrow spectrum of voices which agree with my exact worldview perfectly.” This can be done carefully or carelessly.

  • Humans are an invasive species that inevitably will destroy our habitat and our toxic nuclear effluent likely will make the earth uninhabitable for millenia. Nature’s revolution is well underway with the sixth mass extinction and the eruption of massive amounts of methane from the Arctic; and soon we will all be gone so there’s no use agonizing over narratives or fighting to stop the madness. We’re done.

    • John G., dude, you might consider re-evaluating your narrative there. I don’t think it serves you, brings any joy whatsoever, nor does it serve the people around you or those you touch electronically. Use that big brain of yours to think of creative alternatives to that story, maybe something with an ending other than the destruction of all human life. Come on man, get creative and invent another interpretation of human existence and maybe, just maybe, you will find a place to contribute to that alternative future.

  • I like to simply cheer for the team thats not cheating instead of booing the opponent. However, clarity on what cheating is is not so simple.

  • Caitlin’s essay is provoking me, at age 81, to do yet more sorting out of my narrative. Recently I watched Alain de Botton give a lecture on pessimism (You Tube), in which he extolled the Stoic philosophy. Wikipedia’s entry for that philosophy asserts that many Stoics—such as Seneca and Epictetus—emphasized that because “virtue is sufficient for happiness,” a sage would be emotionally resilient to misfortune. Kafka’s short story “The Hunger Artiest” portrays a man so detached from the ways of the world that he turned his back on everything, When I suggested to my daughter that the protagonist in that story might well be viewed as the ultimate role model/hero, she responded by expressing horror at the thought. But my narrative still has it that I can stay calm by keeping three thoughts in mind: Be patient, love God, all is oneness. Perhaps a better hero than that protagonist is Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs (in Australia) and wrote the book _Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life_ in 2010 that has since been translated into over 30 languages. Another role model, Helen Keller, inspires us yet, although she died over fifty years ago (she was a democratic socialist striving to better the world despite being blind and deaf at her birth in Alabama).

    • Ozzie, your comments resonate. I appreciate your sense that the search is never complete, even at 81. I pray that you make it to 100. You certainly still have much to contribute. I’m familiar with some of the people, history and philosophy to which you refer, but not all. I’ll add your thoughts to my list which is also incomplete. Best, CB.

  • My body, breath, perceptions, thoughts, desires, fears, in other words, my body, physiology, senses and and mind are objects of conciousness. I the subject is the conciousness and everything else is the object of me, the subject – conciousness. The most basic problem is taking the object, including deepest of my thoughts as subject (unless I object my mind, I cannot be aware of my mind). Unless I understand this basic fact, I am caught in the matrix of ideas, thoughts, narratives etc. To sort out the confusion one has to spend some time everyday with oneself and understand the chain of thoughts. Then clarity starts to dawn. Caitlin is one of those rare people who seem to understand this basic fact, hence her lucid, direct and clear writings coming out of concious understanding. It requires immense, continuous and life long work. Be with the process and don’t get caught up in the thought of end result. Acceptance of what IS is helpful.

  • Another excellent essay that drives us necessarily back to first principles. If “up” and “down” are to mean anything–if there is any orientation that helps us evaluate and choose better narratives–and some narratives must be better than others because otherwise there’s nothing to talk about–then it seems to me they must begin with justice. Unjust treatment of another (person, animal, forest glade) is always wrong. If love is “willing the good of the other for the sake of the other”–otherwise, “love” is just a skillful ploy to achieve one’s own interests–then justice celebrates that love has been enacted. But as Psycho and others have noted, the world has grown too complicated–“The world is too much with us, late and soon.” And Guido is also correct: we have to unplug and tell our own stories around our own hearths and hope to God the Big People leave us alone. Of course, they won’t . . . But I don’t think we can question love and justice; there is a doubt so deep that our mental world will go dark and it will be impossible to find someone else’s hand in the night. And then who will we tell stories to?

  • Love the graphic at the top. Animals (other than humans) live and die according to their true natures. They don’t overthink and try to manipulate their environment, they simply exist in it. We could learn many lessons from them.

    • Off to listen to “Pigs” by Pink Floyd and then watch “The Matrix”, and then … FREE ASSANGE. BD$ or whatever. Have a nice day and night. Oink? Wink? Help wanted.

  • Excellent article. I’m sure you know that the Buddha had identified this massive, intrinsic problem with the human being, and had identified a path out of it. We have the tools, we just need to use them.

  • I took a deep breath, exhaled after reading this, and poof! Back to work… Called the Malaysian Embassy in D.D. (2025729700). Israel Zionists say “Malaysian Prime Minister is Rabid Anti-Semite for not allowing Israeli Visas into country for Paralymics” (The Guardian). I can not go to Israel because I support the BDS movement. As Bernie says, as a u.s.a. citizen (#1, repeat) I should be allowed to support BDS. BDS. Love Palestinians and Jews besides everyone else. Don’t forget to love Pets (all animals also) and Mother earth father sky, etc. or whatever. When AIPAC LIES, People die.

    • “Tear down the wall”. BDS

  • Caitlin, I read the work of many social commentators, but seldom respond. I enjoy your posts because I appreciate the sincerity and exceptional insight. I hear in your words no trace of malice or selfish need to control the thoughts of others. I sense no agenda other than a humble and honest attempt to encourage and facilitate the journey of anyone who is searching for a deeper understanding of the things unknown about our existence. I think the journey begins with a simple question, to wit: What gives life meaning? I believe it’s a fair observation that most of those who follow your posts are searching for an answer to that question. We somehow ‘know’ that things aren’t ‘right’ the way they are. Our existence is filled with contradictions, conflicting sensory perceptions, and confusion about the purpose of it all. When we observe the magnificent beauty and incomprehensible complexity of nature, we know there must exist a better way for us to fit, but how? It’s painful, but essential to recognize that none of us has a just claim to anything in life that diminishes the right of every other human to peacefully exist on their own terms. But, if we accept the thesis of peaceful co-existence, how can human existence be organized in a meaningful way? The answer is it can’t unless each of those affected accepts and supports the natural right of the individual to be free? Is there a reason for us to be here, or not? What is that reason? What gives human life value? Is every human life equally valuable? How do we individually obtain what we need to be healthy and harmonious without the use of force? I would submit that it’s virtually impossible for any organization of human beings at scale to achieve a common understanding of their existence. But, we can organize ourselves in communities of thought and practice that manifest the essence of that common understanding, and live together in peace and prosperity. What we cannot do is find the meaning of our existence in power-centric, socio-economic structures that are based on force, expropriation and exploitation. These human organization structures are, by their very nature, destructive to all that is essential to our common health, happiness and peaceful co-existence. The term “gaslight” consistently comes to mind when trying to define the common characteristics of all human organizations at scale. I can’t conceive of a human collective at scale (a state, if you will) that is not controlled by a ruling class of financial predators and militaristic psychopaths gaslighting the herd. It’s true that all of us require the basic necessities of life, i.e., food, clean water, shelter, companionship, et al. It’s also true that the things we need for our survival cannot be provided by nature without the collaboration of human effort and creative modification. Ultimately, we must be productive and creative as individuals and as a community to exist in a healthy and peaceful condition. The only alternatives are violent expropriation, or servile dependency. I submit that we can only move closer to that condition of health and harmony of which you speak if we accept the essential proposition that life has no meaning without personal freedom and self-determination.

    • I love the healthy and grounded interpretations you have of society at large. I’d just like to stress how important it is, if we are to improve things here, that we all become acutely aware of this relentless breach of the natural order though the implementation of ” servile dependency” by those in power.

      I think this is the crux of how we are being so spiritually drained and violated every day and explains why there is such ruin in the world.

      Many thanks to you for noting this phenomena to explain our current crisis of civilization.

  • We are being massively hoaxed and, Caitlin, I”m afraid you can’t see the biggest hoax of all, 9/11. To speak of it as not a “straight up-and-down terrorist attack” is simply laughable. A priori, collapses by fire and collapses by controlled demolition cannot possibly be confused, especially in high rise steel frame buildings where collapses by fire are simply impossible and have never been claimed to occur except for THREE on 9/11 and one in Tehran more recently, despite the fact that many high rise steel frame buildings have been on fire much more severely than any of the three on 9/11. There is no confusion, there is no remote possibility that 9/11 was not an inside conspiracy whatsoever. None at all. The secret and where there are so very, very clever with their truther-targeted propaganda is that death and injury were staged. That is the very, very clever part.
    The counterintuitive thing about it is that the perps tell us so very loudly and very clearly in a number of ways. One is with the little terrorist pilot, Hani Hanjour, not only performing an impossibly-expert 330 degree manoeuvre into the Pentagon (also impossible that an interceptor wouldn’t have stopped him), they also tell us he was an absolutely lousy flying student who cried when he was asked to attempt stalls and steep turns. How can they not tell us more clearly that it is THEY who are responsible. They drown us in propaganda while pushing the truth in our faces. It’s a very strange paradox.
    I have set challenges to show that 9/11 and other events are according to the official story and no one has been able to meet the challenges despite a passionate belief in the official story, the rules allowing choice of own judge within a certain profession and a prize of $5,000.

    • Caitlin is a social climbing, self censoring, careerist media hack, so she will not be delving into the 9/11 false flag anytime soon. It’s the same reason that she promotes sellout media assets like Greenwald and Blumenthal instead of calling them out for selling lies and smearing anti-war activists. For Caitlin it’s always been click$ over truth.

      • Are you an idiot , or what? Wake up and stop smearing the truth with lies!

        • No, but you clearly are.

    • My comment is addressed to both you and Chris. Your personal take on the subject matter selection of Caitlin’s writing should have zero effect on what she chooses to write about. It’s her choice. After all, you’re following her with these posts. If there is a subject about which you are passionate, then write about it. Don’t criticize Caitlin because she doesn’t. If you differ with her interpretation, then fine, speak your mind. I don’t know Caitlin personally, but evidently Chris does and has some personal ax to grind that he perceives to be legitimate. Without understanding the underlying motives, his comments strike me as envious, vacuous, malicious, or perhaps all of the above. In any case, I don’t see what is gained by the implicit character assassination, especially on “her” site. Of course you are entitled to your opinion and have every right to voice it. But, I think it is important that we view unsubstantiated opinions in the same context we view assholes. Everybody has one. None of us has a corner on the truth, which is what I think Caitlin is trying to get at with most of her writing. But, she’ll have to speak for herself in that regard. And, even though I don’t agree with some of her views I see no trace of the egocentric, gaslighting implicit in Chris’ comment. Regarding the issue of 9/11, about which you appear to be very passionate, I will say this: In my entire life and broad experience, I have never observed such a premeditated and evil assault on human freedom–not just the scale of the assault, but the breadth and depth of pure evil required to perpetrate that false-flag crime against humanity. You appear to be well informed on the subject, but if you are still searching for related information I recommend the site of Architects and Engineers For 9/11 Truth, https://www.ae911truth.org/, and also the books by David Ray Griffin. In my long and winding search for meaning and purpose in life, I’ve found the following alliteration helpful: “Without facts there is no knowledge; Without knowledge there is no wisdom; Without wisdom there is no truth; Without truth there is no justice; Without justice there is no freedom; Without freedom, life has no meaning.

      • wonderful!

      • Charlie, the most important truth about 9/11 though is that death and injury were staged. That is the most important truth and the truth that they have very cleverly hidden which is preventing the whole truth from emerging.
        Simon Shack figured it out at least a decade ago but he has been ignored by prominent truthers. I have taken a wider approach than Simon’s by including evidence of a truther-targeted propaganda campaign (he talks of disinformation agents but when you have the perspective of a whole campaign it is more compelling). He also does not look at the claim of 6,000 injured (as far as I’m aware) which is very helpful to do.
        I have done a 10-point Occam’s Razor exercise on death and injury favouring the “staged” hypothesis and issued a challenge to produce an equivalent exercise favouring the “real” hypothesis. No one has been able to respond but I know at least two people have tried.
        It makes absolutely no sense for the perpetrators to kill and injure the people for real. None at all. Imagine all the loved ones of all those people descending on Washington. 9/11 was a psyop. In psyops it’s all done with smoke and mirrors. You don’t do things for real unless you have to and they certainly didn’t have to kill and injure 9,000 people for real they only had to drown us in propaganda making us believe it was real … and yet even though they drowned us in propaganda they still let us know with clues that they didn’t do it for real.

        • Petra, I’ve extensively researched the spectrum of information upon which your thesis is based. I also have access to many prominent and credible sources that have confirmed our interpretation of the data. There are still some dots to connect, but you don’t have to have high order pattern recognition skills to follow the straight line that points to the truth. It is my hope that we can somehow expose those responsible and hold them accountable, but I don’t believe that can be achieved by conventional means. As long as we are prepared to pursue the truth fearlessly and with integrity and accept what we find, no matter how disruptive to our closely held preconceptions, we will be OK. I don’t think you should be concerned about losing your money. Charlie

          • LOL. Thanks, Charlie.

            So what means do you think are required?

            • “It makes absolutely no sense for the perpetrators to kill and injure the people for real. None at all”. Wrong. More than 600,000 have been killed since 9/11–for real. More than $4 trillion has been stolen–enough to feed, cloth and shelter the suffering of the world for 50 years. Power has concentrated exponentially and will never release its grip without force. There are no means to recover what we have lost. But, there is a narrow path that leads to truth if we have the faith and courage to follow it. Stay on the right path, Petra. You will know.

      • I’m answering your last comment here Charlie as it just gets too ridiculously narrow. I meant, of course, the people in the buildings. Yes, the people AFTER 9/11 – so many thousands of them. That’s what frustrates me. It was really the people after 9/11 that bothered me so much more although I did feel for those on 9/11 too. So when people get all upset and offended when you question the 3,000 deaths on 9/11, I’m like, but what about the hundreds of thousands of deaths afterwards and the complete destruction of countries? They stage deaths in smaller numbers as a pretext to kill so many more people. The power elite, of course, happily exploit the fact that many people find it offensive to question claims of deaths. I simply don’t. Whether or not I believe people died for real, it doesn’t bother me if people question it. Either they died or they didn’t. People questioning it makes no difference to me but I have to accept others have a real problem with it.

  • This writing of yours is a prophetic invitation to “introspection”. Great. One is enabled to get rid of the useless narratives, forged by the unseeable suckers, on his dumb mind till end.

    What you ask to be done is the real difficult task though it can make one a thinker.

    Best of luck to all of us.

  • “We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control” . CJ hits the nail on the head again. Thanks.

  • To go back and start from day one, each one of us has to live a secluded life for a long period. Associating with others, friends co-workers and family keeps us from breaking free.
    Example: Someone suffering from conditions like arthritis, tendonitis or heart, even depression, needs to stay off sugar, grains, dairy and processed food for three weeks and see what (a miracle) happens. Invariably people can’t make it, because “I’m not alone at home, we all dine together”.

  • This must be one of your most important posts ever Caitlin. The way we perceive reality is indeed shaped by the narratives that manipulate the working of our minds. But how to free oneself from that manipulation?

    Individualism is the foundation upon which Modernity has been knitting its narrative over the last 7-800 years. As a result we all in the West, without exception, have very firmly internalized the idea of the central role of the individual as well as its derivative notion of the self. Pounding the minds for so long formed an iron hard Western vision
    that is acting as the lightning rod of all Western thinking and so we ended up being totally unconscious of our bias for envisioning solely individualistic solutions to all problems we encounter. I know that your intention is to help your readers but I’m afraid that, as all of us, you are trapped reciting an individualistic mantra that drives you to
    propose unworkable solutions.

    From the get go the title of your article informs us indeed that you solely envision an individualistic solution to the problem of mind manipulation by the narratives of the men of power. “Fight The Establishment’s Narratives By Getting Clear On Your Own”. You seem to be convinced that the solution for ending the misery inflicted on
    all of us by the establishment is to free ourselves on our own. Sorry to have to say this. But this is an unrealist proposition.

    The unreality of freeing oneself, individually on our own, from the veil of illusions that tricks our individual perception is something that was well understood since the dawn of human societies. “Getting Clear On Your Own” was considered a source of trouble. This is why the men of knowledge did not share their knowledge with all but
    only with very few through a secret apprenticeship. The Tao Te Ching explicitly laid out the rationale for avoiding to burden everyone with knowledge. But laying out why this is so would need too long an argumentation for the limited space of this comment.

    • Laoden, “‘Getting Clear On Your Own’ was considered a source of trouble.”

      Considered by whom to be a source of trouble?

    • I have space for this type of learning. The Tao de Ching is pretty much my favorite.

      • I find listening to logical classical music like JS Bach or the human voice very effective at clearing the mind of brainwashing and other negative environmental influences. Music has a way of stimulating brain centers in a healthy way and allowing natural connections to flow and be restored.

  • Fully agree that Individual soul searching is a requirement to understanding oneself and the world we live in. But to do this also requires individual freedom. So why then does the left not support individual freedom?

  • Lucid, Thx CJ

    It is easy to be consumed our personal mythologies, and loose touch with our central truths;

    “We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are”
    Author Unknown

    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

    “Rise, like lions after slumber
    In unvanquishable number!
    Shake your chains to earth like dew
    Which in sleep had fallen on you:
    Ye are many  – they are few!”
    Percy Bysshe Shelley “The Masque of Anarchy”

  • good morning Caitlin

    Thank you for your clarity on several unnatural manifestations that have seemed to reach a peak today in our current society. I am so glad that you see that it is up to each individual human on the planet to responsibly clear one’s mind and heart of mental chaoses, fog, confusion and other abnormally inflicted imbalances and energies, and really do some serious soul searching to bring clarity to their lives.

    Thank you from my heart for your uncanny and honest understanding of todays dilemma.

    People have to find a way to grow; mentally, emotionally and physically in order to form a healthy balanced peaceful approach to life on this planet.

    with love,

  • writting your own narrative, great article.

    • Nick, caught that too, uh? Good take.

  • A great article; comments too. Except it’s unclear to me what Tom of N.J. means with the reference to skin color and whether the ” rapists, drug dealers”,etc is referring to the capitalists who have cooked the books for hundreds of years.

  • Thank you. The word I use for narrative is imagination! Call it by that name and sorting things out gets a bit easier.Find real.

  • There is nothing wrong with narratives and worldviews. They are not opposed to reality, they are a way to analyse and handle reality – an absolutely necessary one. Just because they need regular questioning and revision doesn’t mean that we must or can do without any. The esteemed author of this article herself espouses and produces narratives and has a worldview, which she expresses – that’s how we can communicate at all.

    ‘Who are you? Underneath the mental narratives about who you are? Underneath all the stories, labels and beliefs? Underneath the field of consciousness full of thoughts, sensory impressions and feelings?’

    Nothing. Which is why, with all due respect to the author, I don’t think that the question is worth any time and effort at all.

    • And that is where you miss out completely. The silence IS your true nature not your beliefs.

      • Silence is nothingness. To say that silence and not speech is my true nature is to say that death and not life is my true nature.
        ‘I’ am a process and a changing pattern: an ongoing process of arranging particles of matter and transferring energy in accordance with a characteristic pattern that is gradually changing. Some parts of the process are metabolism, breathing, feeding, etc. Some parts of the pattern are the features of my face, the structure of my organism, etc. Other parts of that process are thoughts, sensory impressions and feelings; other parts of that pattern are beliefs, habits and memories. There isn’t all that much more to ‘me’, really. The patterns in which I think, i.e. my beliefs, are certainly entitled to be considered ‘me’; arguably the most entitled of all of ‘my’ patterns, since ‘I’ is, by definition, a self-designation, and my thoughts are the only parts of the ‘me’-process that are actually capable of designating anything. The self is an illusion, the Buddhists say; at any rate, I will say that it is vastly overrated.

  • 1. When you’re born, your foodgivers say you’re a good little baby.
    2. Then, at some point, the foodgivers might say you’re a bad little baby, which is confusing because you remember they just said you were good!
    3. The foodgivers might even say you should be ashamed of yourself when you do something they don’t like and punish you for it. Sometimes the punishment can be severe.
    4. At a certain point, the foodgivers send you to a boring school where teachers humiliate and punish you in order to make you learn mostly useless information.
    5. After that you find a job where you don’t get to make too many choices because a handful of humans who earn most of the money and run the company are calling the shots.
    6. You learn to believe the lie that you live in a democratic society where you have free will and the freedom to be whatever you want as long as you have “dreams” or “aspirations”.
    7. In the back of your mind you realize that something doesn’t feel quite right.
    8. You then might to go to therapy or take medications where you’d like to either figure out the origin of your problems or avoid the pain you’re feeling entirely.
    9. You may then turn bitter or depressed because you keep thinking about what you don’t want instead of what you do want and have convinced yourself you should have done better. And the therapy or drugs may not be working as planned.
    10. If you’re lucky you realize that your true nature is to connect, and if only you didn’t have all those preoccupations and stucknesses, with fear, anger, guilt, shame, regret, anxiety and grief, as well as an on-going relationship with the traumatic events in your life, then maybe you would be connecting, and probably even connecting deeply.

    It is here when you reclaim who you are, your essence, the light within you that nothing and no one can ever touch. The light you’re born with and the light that shines on after you transition out of your body.

    The secret is, you can reclaim essence any time on your journey.

    • “Food givers”?! What a sick twisted narrative. Maybe you had bad parents but the roles of Mothers and Fathers goes way beyond just feeding the kids. Raising kids to have good behavior is one of the responsibilities of being a parent. Are you suggesting that parents not raise their children to behave? That the kids should not be guided and disciplined as needed? Or should the kids be left to behave any way they want? Do you have kids?

      • Ask yourself:Why am i so triggered by the word foodgivers?

        • Because it degrades the vital and necessary roles and responsibilities of parents and their children. Because it reduces this bond of love to a mere material equation. Humanity is about more than materialism.

          • I like your understanding of materialism in western culture. As you most aptly point out, that “The roles of Mothers and Fathers goes way beyond just feeding the kids”, I might add that they are reducing the family dynamic only to that of a financial responsibility.

            The sterile concept of “food giver” implies a completely narrow understanding of parental responsibility to children and growing people. It definitely lacks any inclusion of love, complete nourishment of the mind and soul as well as the reduced understanding of the physical body. The idea of Materialism, which is completely Western and is taught as the only way around the world now, is devoid of other more fulfilling influences to human existence. It definitely lacks any spiritual dimension in people.

  • Great article Caitlin. I also can’t tell anyone how to be “awake.” What I can do is relate my own starting point of my experience and that is to remove the narrative of the media and the state from your life. In other words TV, radio, newspapers, MSM magazines, politicians, military, anyone who speaks for the government, cut them from your life , from your routine , from your source , from your entertainment. Cold turkey is the best way. This has made an amzing change for me, although let me stress, it is only a starting point. You still have much much work to do. The next thing is to question EVERYTHING. Let me clarify. Don’t question what is happening in the present. Question everything you’ve been taught, everything you’ve been taught, and told. Question everything that the largest percentage of the people believe as truth. Question things that are written in stone, that are illegal, that have been tainted as conspiracy theories. Always look at both sides of everything you think you know or has been thrust at you as truth. I could go on and on, but as Caitlin stated , everyone has to fiollow their own path to enlightenment but these two points are the absolute prerequisite to the path to being awake.

    • Guido, good take.

    Dino said to me: The Wall, it is too late. They are already here!
    Wow! I smiled at his comment and reveled in the reality of his observation.
    Dino was correct. A nation boasts about its immigrant origins. A nation born of European settlers with no papers. They just came and stayed. The locales never asked for identification, skills, nor intentions.
    Over the decades millions have come to America.

    Poetess Emma Lazarus wrote: “Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    So, what has changed? Still men, women and children. Still tired, poor, wretched, battered and homeless. What makes these pilgrims different? Look, and you shall see. COLOR! Brown or Black men, women and children is the problem for todays locos. Emma Lazarus never envisioned caravans of Brown and Black men, women and children yearning to be free in America. Unimaginable at the time were the yearnings of rapists, killers and drug dealers. If only the Statue of Liberty floated on the Rio Grande River, in the southwest.
    Tom Golden, Ph.D.
    30 Riveredge Road
    Tenafly, New Jersey 07670

    • It’s financial wealth, not color as much. If you are financially wealthy it seems you are welcome in most countries. If you don’t have financial resources, I don’t know of a country that will accept you as a citizen. It’s sad.

  • On the personal level I have found that neurofeedback is helping me not just heal from a traumatic brain injury but also from early infancy and life long trauma….and, of course, it is being suppressed by the money grubbers

    On the narrative level that you write of I have learned that most if not all of the bad narratives in the Western world stem from the component of our social contract I call the God of Mammon or global private finance jackboot on the lifeblood of human economic interchange.

    The God of Mammon narrative is one of competition and ownership instead of cooperation and sharing. It includes the win/lose concept of usury which is a sick narrative to saddle humanity with.

    I am focused on the one change that would make the biggest difference in the controlling narratives of Western world……..make global finance all public instead of private.

    • Psycho, with the exception of your view on competition and ownership you are very close, very dangerously close to it. It is not hyperbole to say that if there is one thing that will cause one to have a freak “accidental” death it is to advocate for these two simple things that, if enacted, would radically change the world for the better: outlaw usury by returning the power to coin money back to each government (that means ending the private Federal Reserve in the US).

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