The path to enlightenment is the process of becoming clearly aware of all the different aspects of the way you operate inside, which enables you to relate to life as it’s actually appearing instead of through the filters of old conditioned mental habits. The path to the liberation of our species is the process of collectively becoming clearly aware of the reality of our situation as opposed to the false narratives about it, so that we can begin solving our problems as they actually are instead of the way the establishment media describes them. These two processes are recursive mirrors of each other; one describes the process on the micro scale, the other on the macro, but they occur in the exact same way.

People sometimes complain that I talk about the problems that humanity faces without ever offering any solutions. I disagree with this criticism; I talk about the solution to our problem all the time, using plain language that anyone can understand. It just often goes in one ear and out the other, because it’s not the sort of answer that people have been conditioned to listen for.

When people ask for solutions to our problems, they’re conditioned by the standard rhetoric of our time to get an essay about labor organization, political activism, consumer activism, cryptocurrencies or technological innovations, depending on where they’re at on the political spectrum. What they are not conditioned to listen for is the most direct and honest answer that I am able to give them: that we’ve got to move from an unhealthy relationship with mental narrative into a healthy one.

This is not some lofty or impractical suggestion, it’s just the thing that we need to do in order to pull up and away from our ecocidal, omnicidal trajectory and move into a healthy collaboration with each other and with our ecosystem. As long as our minds are susceptible to the manipulations of the powerful people who rule us by controlling the dominant narratives in our world, we’ll be bent to the will of sociopathic plutocrats and opaque government agencies until we plunge forever into the darkness of extinction or dehumanizing dystopia. Individuals are capable of transcending the unwholesome relationship with mental narrative which dominates conventional human consciousness, so that’s a potentiality which exists within our species as a collective as well.

This is the only off-ramp that I can see from the armageddon superhighway. It’s impossible to get the people to use the power of their numbers to unseat their oppressors as long as their oppressors are able to control the thoughts that they think in their heads. Political organization and activism can be thwarted by mass media campaigns which manipulate the majority into continuing to support the status quo. Cryptocurrencies and technological innovations are impotent as long as those in power can control the stories that the majority tells itself about how they work and what should be done with them. You won’t engage in revolutionary behavior if you’re being manipulated into not wanting to. So we’ve got to become impossible to manipulate.

This is the solution, and it’s very achievable. For millennia humanity has been writing about the capacity within all of us to transcend our old conditioning patterns and perceive the world free from the filters of mental narrative. They wrote about it within the limitations that existed on their expression at the time, coloring their descriptions with their respective religious beliefs, linguistic and cultural conventions, and what understanding of the mind they had access to in a pre-science world, and their ideas were generally cloistered within small esoteric circles due to the limited nature of communication, but the underlying message was always the same: reality is not what our thoughts describe, and we are all capable of perceiving beyond that mental veil.

Up until now, the phenomenon of what many refer to as enlightenment has been a fairly rare occurrence within our species (though I suspect not quite as rare as some claim). According to some teachers who’ve been coaching people through the process for decades, it seems to be happening more and more frequently today. The teacher Adyashanti writes the following:

There’s a phenomenon happening in the world today. More and more people are waking up—having real, authentic glimpses of reality. By this I mean that people seem to be having moments where they awaken out of their familiar senses of self, and out of their familiar senses of what the world is, into a much greater reality—into something far beyond anything they knew existed.


These experiences of awakening differ from  person to person. For some, the awakening is sustained over time, while for others the glimpse is momentary—it may last just a split second. But in that instant, the whole sense of “self ” disappears. The way they perceive the world suddenly changes, and they find themselves without any sense of separation between themselves and the rest of the world. It can be likened to the experience of waking up from a dream—a dream you didn’t even know you were in until you were jolted out of it.


In the beginning of my teaching work, most of the people who came to me were seeking these deeper realizations of spirituality. They were seeking to wake up from the limiting and isolated senses of self they had imagined themselves to be. It’s this yearning that underpins all spiritual seeking: to discover for ourselves what we already intuit to be true— that there is more to life than we are currently perceiving.


But as time  has passed, more  and  more  people are coming to me who have already had glimpses of this greater reality.


Renowned author and teacher Eckhart Tolle agrees:


I see signs that it is already happening. For the first time there is a large scale awakening on our planet. Why now? Because if there is no change in human consciousness now, we will destroy ourselves and perhaps the planet. The insanity of the collective egoic mind, amplified by science and technology, is rapidly taking our species to the brink of disaster. Evolve or die: that is our only choice now. Without considering the Eastern world, my estimate is that at this time about ten percent of people in North America are already awakening. That makes thirty million Americans alone, and in addition to those people in other North American countries, about ten percent of the population of Western European countries are also awakening. This is probably enough of a critical mass to bring about a new earth. So the transformation of consciousness is truly happening even though they won’t be reporting it on tonight’s news. Is it happening fast enough? I am hopeful about humanity’s future, much more so now than when I wrote The Power of Now. In fact that is why I wrote that book. I really wasn’t sure that humanity was going to survive. Now I feel differently. I see many reasons to be hopeful.

You are of course free to believe these guys or not, but I personally don’t see any incentive for them to be disingenuous about what they’re seeing in their field of work. The best way to make a fortune as a spiritual teacher is to gather a large cult-like following around yourself under the presentation of having attained something exceedingly special and rare, not to say essentially “Yeah this is happening all over the place now; it’s no big deal. What happened to me is becoming as common as grass.”

So why the change? Why after millennia of enlightenment remaining a rare phenomenon are we suddenly seeing it becoming more common?

I don’t know. Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that we’re at evolve-or-die time as a species, and something primal deep within us is leaping to clear that hurdle in the same way all organisms fight to survive with everything they’ve got. Maybe it’s got something to do with our exponentially improved ability to network and share information, making useful pointers and teachings which guide the way to enlightenment vastly more accessible. Maybe our unprecedented access to information itself is the cause; billions of human brains suddenly connected to mankind’s entire collective archive of knowledge is in and of itself a drastic change in human consciousness. Maybe it’s all three. Maybe it’s something else we can’t see yet. But it does appear to be happening.

So what is enlightenment? There are as many answers to this question as there are people interested in it. Many will tell you that it’s a “merging with the divine” or some other unhelpful word salad of metaphysical specialness. Others will tell you that it’s a recognition of your own true nature as pure awareness which witnesses the play of forms. Others will say it’s the awakening of an energy in the spine known as kundalini, whose rise up through the crown of the head transforms your way of functioning. Others will say it’s simply seeing life as it is, unfiltered by mental conditioning. Go to online spiritual discussion forums and you’ll find people arguing about this question with the same vitriolic fervor as you see between different political ideologies in the forums you’re probably more familiar with.

Personally I haven’t found it very useful to talk about enlightenment as one specific thing that happens in one specific instance, like a lightbulb flicking on once and then you’re done. There are many different aspects to the human condition, and you can be very conscious of the way some of them are happening and deeply unconscious of others. The fiery shopkeeper guru Nisargadatta Maharaj, for example, was profoundly lucid on the nature of awareness and the field of consciousness which appears within it, able to speak with earth-shaking clarity that radically changed people’s lives despite having little education. But he was also a chain smoker and died of lung cancer, unable to bring clear seeing to that particular unwholesome aspect of his functioning. Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had a stroke in a specific part of the linguistic center of her brain, permanently changing her relationship with mental narrative and bringing her a tremendous amount of inner peace, but she can’t teach people how to get there for themselves because she didn’t consciously walk through any path to get there.

Enlightenment is more like the process of turning on the lights in a very large house, room by room. For some people the kitchen light is on, but the entire upstairs floor is dark. Others have the lights on in the master bedroom and the basement, but everything in between is endarkened.

Some people have a very clear understanding of the nature of awareness and thought, which tends to get the most play in the discussion of spiritual enlightenment. But others have flicked the lights on in the way their bodily energy systems operate, able to experience and use those energies in a way that other people just aren’t conscious of. Others have enlightened their previously repressed childhood traumas, and are able to clearly understand how their experiences in life have shaped the way they’re conditioned to think and behave. Others have enlightened their emotionality, and have a deep, emotionally rich relationship with life while others sedate and ignore their emotions. Others have enlightened their inner guidance system and are able to perceive a tug toward wise decisions which lead them to take beneficial actions. None of these are any more special or important than the other, they’re just different rooms in the house that either have the lights on or off.

Whenever you hear about a spiritual teacher conducting themselves in a way that could be described as un-enlightened, sleeping with students or having childish temper tantrums or whatever, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not enlightened in some sense. It could just mean that they’re enlightened in one way but not the other. In one way they’re able to relate to life with great clarity, and in another they’re just as confused and clumsy as anyone else. The lights are on in the attic but not the living room.

And, to bring this home to the opening paragraph of this essay, the same is true of the process of enlightening the world. There are a great many ways in which humanity is asleep at the wheel, and we’re going to have to bring the light of truth to all of them.

We’re going to have to bring the light of truth to the ways we’ve all been lied to by our teachers, by our politicians and by our media. We’re going to have to bring the light of truth to the horrors of war and the sinister motives behind it. We’re going to have to bring the light of truth to what we’re doing to our ecosystem and the forces which incentivize us to play along with ecocide. We’re going to have to bring the light of truth to the ways we enslave and are enslaved by each other in our interpersonal relationships, and how we enslave and are enslaved by our current social systems. We’re going to have to bring the light of truth to racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry and the ways that they prevent us from having wholesome relationships with each other. We’re going to have to bring the light of truth to the manipulations of the financial sector, money in politics, the evils of factory farming, the prison system, the war on drugs, and the structures which keep economic injustice in place. We can’t fight problems if we can’t see them clearly, so we’ve got to help each other turn the lights on in all of those areas. We’ve got to enlighten them.

None of the steps taken on this path toward the enlightenment of humanity are any more or less important than any other. One rebel may spend their energy exposing the false narratives of the news media. One rebel may bring attention to the plight of the Palestinians. One rebel may spend years making a documentary exposing the senseless butchery of dolphins in Taiji. One rebel may help film the unseen cruelty of factory farming. One rebel might share her story and expose the reality of rape culture. One rebel might help show everyone all the genocide and exploitation that went into creating their country as it currently exists, and help them come to a mature relationship with and response to that reality. One rebel might make art encouraging people to open their eyes to what’s really going on. Each of these small rebellions help flick on the lights of the house that is our world, and we need all of it.

With intense, sincere inner work, we can flick on the lights of our inner world room-by-room so that we can relate to life as it actually is in more and more ways. With intense, sincere outer work, we can flick on the lights of our outer world room-by-room and begin solving the problems that had previously been obscured by blackouts and propaganda disinfo. These movements are fundamentally the same. They both complement each other, and they’re both indispensable.


recognize no copyright of any kind on this work. You have my unconditional permission to republish it or use any part of it in any way you like, or any of my other writings. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitterthrowing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandisebuying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish.

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29 responses to “The Path To Liberating Humanity Is The Same As The Path To Liberating The Individual”

  1. Hi Caitlin. Thanks for writing this piece. I read it with great interest. I would love the mass enlightenment movement to catch a fire globally. I’m afraid it’s either that or mass extinction. I’m hopeful though because we’re essentially a crisis-driven species and we need some amount of fire under our collective tails to haul ass. History has brought us to this point where with abundant earth crises as well as mass communications tech we can seriously and credibly embark on a project of conscious evolution.

    the narratives of how togoabout the process of enlightenment will also improve. I think the advaita tradition as espoused by Nisgardatta details what is called knowledge of Self. this is essential for conscious evolution but must be coupled with knowledge of spirit to facilitate a wholistic awakening (turning on all the lights in the house). After all we are an indivisible duality or individual. yang/yin; self/spirit; consciousness/energy; initiator/processor. we need to work with these two wings for the bird of Being to expertly soar.
    my 2 cents

  2. I enjoy your many articles and the moral stand you take on many issues. Waking up from “The Matrix” so to speak and recognizing the sea of lies and disinformation that surrounds us is of course a useful step as it shows the mind is actually working as an instrument of objective analysis.
    Actual enlightenment is another matter, merging with the divine is actually correct, although that divine is our higher self. How this works in reality is obviously complex and I’ll leave to those who earnestly seek through the misinformation of religion and New Age. However we essentially get the leaders we get as they are a reflection of ourselves. When we can elevate ourselves as a species only then we will see an improvement in those that lead.

  3. Related reading: The Way of Passion, by Andrew Harvey

    Much more than just a book.

  4. Thank you Caitlin for bringing this topic to the forefront. For anything to exist it must be met with resistance. Without resistance there would be no reflection and any image that could be would not be realized. It’s the paradox.
    Awareness requires reflection.
    This is within the essence of the First Principle. That which is created MUST arise from a creator. All things created arise from a source and in that sense until we realize a higher intelligence is responsible for the most incomprehensible minutia to macro-scale existence, we shall falter away from the only truth that exists. Once we begin the path away from this truth, we as individuals and the collectiveness of us all bear suffering through evil.
    This suffering and the manifestation of evil is the result of both awareness and consciuosness.
    To cease and heal individually and as part of the fractal-collective known as humanity we must choose and become responsible with our intent to focus, to exercise this intent and focus to the greater one-ness that we are.
    The First People amongst us know the sickness of the mind virus “wetiko” and how it spreads by thought and action. Until we are mindful of this disease we as a species we perpetuate suffering and evil.
    The mindfulness of the collective existence of all creation, from species to species, earth to every planet, galaxies to universes is the only solution to the migration from the primary truth.
    Until then…. we shall be in battle and host war amongst our-selves individually and our neighbors.
    Yes, it begins with each of us individually and is exported to our surroundings as a whole.
    That is the virtual truth.

  5. This related article of mine was published at 6 days ago. I encourage you to give me feedback, both positive and negative.

    World Self-Actualization
    By Roger Copple

    World Self-Actualization will occur when every person in every country has an equal opportunity to realize their fullest potential, and a majority of world citizens attain the highest expression of individual achievement, which in this new modified version of Maslow’s Hierarchy is defined as compassionately working for world peace, global justice, ecological wisdom, and the happiness of every person on the planet. To achieve World Self-Actualization, we will have to make political changes and be spiritually transformed. Let us begin by discussing the political changes needed in the United States; other nations will need to make similar changes.

    This article focuses primarily on political theory. Every world citizen must carefully consider what are the highest ideals worth striving for, even if it will take several generations to accomplish them. The world will significantly improve when enough people with a common dream fight for what is right.

    Representative democracy has turned out to be not the wonderful thing many of us were led to believe. Representative democracy is still needed for national and state governments because face-to-face direct democracy –such as what the citizens of ancient Athens practiced–is impossible at the national and state levels. The current problem with representative democracy is our representatives do not represent us. They represent the corporations which give them the most money to get elected and re-elected with all the fringe benefits and perks of the job; obviously our representatives are not true public servants because they largely represent the interests of the richest one percent. Currently we have representative democracy at city and county levels too, but now we should consider direct democracy at those levels to let the people, all the people, share their voices when they desire it.

    Direct democracy could work even in a large city because only the individuals most concerned about particular issues would show up, possibly at the local stadium, to voice their opinions in face-to-face discussions before voting on an issue after several days of deliberation. It is time to start exploring ways to make direct democracy at each municipality a reality.

    Representative democracy is still needed at national and state levels as stated above. But we must change the system so that our national and state representatives represent us, the 99 percent, instead of representing the Deep State, the military-industrial complex, the Shadow Government, and the transnational corporations. The Deep State involves people in government, and the Shadow Government includes those who pull strings from behind the scenes in support of the Deep State. Christian conservative, ex-CIA member, Kevin Shipp , in youtube videos has revealed amazing things about how the secret government is organized. Kevin Shipp, seemingly a Trump supporter, argues there is a Deep State plot against Donald Trump. Trump may not represent the Deep State, but then many on the left would say Trump still represents the interests of the one percent.

    If we have direct democracy at township, city, and county levels–political parties would be less significant at those levels. However, at the national level, equally empowering multiple political parties, at least the 7 largest national political parties, with proportional representation of the legislature, is the most democratic way to create the ideal national government. The 50 state legislatures could be chosen through proportional representation as well.

    Instead of working for the self-actualization of every person in every nation, the one percent have worked for the self-aggrandizement of themselves. If they continue to get their way, they will not be able to escape the world as the whole world unravels and our sacred earth is destroyed.

    We can implement proportional representation in national and state legislatures, have Ranked Choice Voting, and we can abolish the Electoral College System for electing a president–without creating a new federal constitution. Ideally we should eliminate the U.S. Senate altogether because it is very undemocratic: California’s population is much greater than Wyoming’s, yet they both have the same number of senators. To abolish the U.S. Senate would require a new constitution. Eliminating the U.S Senate would create a unicameral legislature. But if we cannot immediately abolish the U.S. Senate altogether, we can start working to equally empower the 7 largest national political parties and use Ranked-Choice Voting to elect members of the U.S Senate.

    Direct democracy can prevent the influence of money in local politics. But also, the proportional representation of national and state legislatures, accompanied by the equal empowerment of national and state political parties that garner at least one percent of the vote, could eliminate the influence of money in politics at higher levels too.

    If we had maximized democracy throughout the history of our nation, the following 9 social sins might not have manifested so perniciously: imperialism, nationalism, corporate capitalism, anti-environmentalism, racism, speciesism , materialistic lifestyle, patriarchy, and the discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

    If the rich and powerful keep getting more control, they will create a hierarchical, fascist-type of new world order that the first George Bush glamorized. But what a lot of people do not realize is that it is possible and necessary to create a democratic world government. Now more than ever we must think globally with an international focus. To start, we could empower the General Assembly of United Nations, as we eliminate the unfair control that the Security Council has over the United Nations. There are other models for a democratic world government: The Earth Federation , The World Federalist Movement , The Earth Charter, World Citizen , and Garry Davis . If a world government is created democratically, it can be dismantled democratically if that is what the majority of world citizens desire.

    Ethical, compassionate capitalism has not expressed itself yet in a world approaching ecological suicide. If not through a democratic form of socialism, we need to implement radical egalitarianism some other way, so that every person in every country has an equal opportunity to realize their fullest potential. That must be our longing and deepest desire. When every person has the opportunity to achieve self-actualization, we can create world peace, nurtured by love.

    At the neighborhood block club and at city and county levels–we can encourage face-to-face, participatory, direct democracy. Today in many state and local elections, we have people just voting a straight ticket for many individuals whom they know nothing about. Instead, we could select our national and state legislators through a new system of proportional representation and then empower those legislators to, not only make laws, but make some appointments for executive and judicial branch government positions. This method makes the legislative branch more democratic and then gives it more power than the other two branches of government.

    If we let all national political parties that capture at least one percent of the national vote be represented through proportional representation at a Constitutional Convention, we could create a much better national or federal constitution. One hundred delegates could meet for a maximum of 3 months, and if they create a new document approved by 51 percent of the delegates, it could be ratified later if a 51-percent majority of the American people approve the new constitution. Each of the 50 states can create new constitutions this way too.

    Direct democracy at the township, city, and county levels is my preference now, and you will soon see why it is better than the following bottom-up system of local government that I advocated in the past. Here is how that system works: To begin, we should encourage voluntary neighborhood block clubs because neighbors should get to know one another well. Each voting precinct could send one representative to its township legislature. The township legislature could make township laws, but it could also make some executive and judicial branch government appointments at the township level. Legislators from each township could vote among themselves to send one representative to the county legislature. The county legislature would make county laws, but it could also make some executive and judicial appointments at the county level. Legislators from each county would vote among themselves to send one representative to the state legislature. The state legislature would make state laws, but it could also make some executive and judicial appointments at the state level.

    This method (described in the above paragraph) is certainly a bottom-up approach, but if each county sends one representative to the state legislature, this is not completely democratic because some counties of a state have large populations and others have very low populations: It is comparable to Wyoming and California having the same number of U.S. senators. However, certain features of this method, such as the greater empowerment of the legislature, can work well on a national level because each federal legislator would represent the same number of people.

    As stated above, proportional representation would make the federal legislature more democratic, and the federal legislature could be given more power to make some executive and judicial branch appointments. But the people could still vote for a president, and they could even vote for members of the Supreme Court under a new constitution. For all of the above stated reasons, this is why I now believe face-to face direct democracy at the township, city, and county levels is the ideal.

    To summarize, local direct democracy at lower levels of government could be combined with using proportional representation in the selection of national and state legislatures, after at least 7 of the largest national and state political parties are equally empowered as much as the Republicans and Democrats, which are corporate-controlled capitalist political parties.

    Since one third of our lives is spent in the workplace, perhaps workplace democracy–letting the workers participate in the decision making of their companies–is perhaps the most important way to maximize democracy. Workers would not choose to pollute the communities where they live and work, and they would not choose to move the corporation overseas.

    With all the problems we have had with the public schools, why not consider something that has never been tried before: neighborhood control of public elementary schools. This radical decentralization of public elementary schools would encourage neighbors to get to know one another very well, and they would then form a self-determined, close-knit community. The neighbors could choose their own school board which would then use public funds to implement an educational philosophy and school curriculum that reflects the collective values of the neighborhood. Middle schools and high schools could be organized this way too. All employees of a school should be allowed to participate in workplace democracy.

    Even if every nation could maximize democracy and not commit the 9 social sins as described above, it is still not enough if people are not also transformed on the inside. Though the world is seemingly on a fast-track path to self-destruction, there is an indescribable love at the core, in the deepest part of each of us, that we can access–even right now. Even people who are spiritual but not religious are able to discover this ground of being that yogis, Buddhists, and Christian mystics have discovered by doing meditation.

    Meditation as a discipline can open the heart and calm the mind. Some people, however, just focus on giving loving-kindness to themselves and all others. These two approaches can enhance each other. Being close to nature can also enable one to experience the interconnectedness of all life. Moreover, some individuals have expanded their insight through the therapeutic use of hallucinogenic plants.

    When every person in every country has an equal opportunity to realize their fullest potential, we will start approaching World Self-Actualization as defined in the first paragraph. This is how we can create world peace nurtured by love. But politically-oriented individuals must become spiritual, and all the religious people and spiritual seekers must become political with an international and ecological focus.

    Roger Copple retired from teaching high school special education and elementary general education (third grade) in Indianapolis in 2010 at age 60. His website is

  6. Liked this piece/peace very much. In some ways (especially your part about partial awakenings using your example of rooms in a house) it marries nicely with the teachings of Dr Sue Morter whose recent book “The Energy Codes: The 7-Step System to Awaken Your Spirit, Heal Your Body, and Live Your Best Life” is one of the most practical explanations/instructions on how to become an awakened, fully functional being that I’ve come across. Thanks again for this generous nudge to us the sleeping masses. BTW: Jill Bolte Taylor wrote the Foreword to this aforementioned book. Cheers.

  7. Yeah, I read it again. I will keep coming back to this life giving nectar of truth shared by Caitlin. She is an increasingly clear channel to the truths we need to create the more beautiful world that we all know in our hearts is possible.

  8. Lawrence LaFevre Avatar
    Lawrence LaFevre

    And thank you.

  9. I so enjoyed this piece–a great reminder for times when I can be a total pessimist.

    The Kundalini is an interesting insertion into the “enlightenment” discussion, and I haven’t seen it placed there as often. Many people I know, including myself, have had their Kundalini rise out through their crown several times in life. In my energy work with myself, if I am quiet and listening, I can sense where my Kundalini wants to reside in this lifetime–where my work and evolution is. It’s understood in mystic practices that with each life the Kundalini starts over again at the base of the spine or root and rises up to the place where your greatest work is in this life.

    Many people’s Kundalini are in the heart and throat region, which is a good sign that people are moving from the egoic and reptilian state and into a powerful and intuitive sense of love. If we can all work to re-pattern our 3rd (power center–outer expression) and 4th (heart) energetic regions then we can act more from a loving, gentle, and divinely feminine way, essentially meeting the place I feel humans need to be in our evolution and where we are also ready to be. It use to be that these things were practiced in mystery schools, reserved only for the adept. Nowadays these ideas need to be spoken about openly and frankly, even when people are eager to point and laugh. We shouldn’t be embarrassed to be called New Age fruit cakes.

    And it is so true that “enlightenment” is a coming and going like waves, not a permanent state for anyone really, even our greatest teachers. And I love how you laid out all the various possibilities we can evolve…really helpful description that makes this work more accessible to anyone with curiosity.

    Just as certain life situations can promote the opening of the heart, other times in our life it’s more important to revisit the shamanic journey/underworld or even step into survival mode at the root where we began. We always must tend to our base.

    To my surprise, I enjoy writing about this and hopefully it resonates with some people.

  10. Re: Caitlin Johnstone
    April 8 @ ~ 4 PM PST
    Your choosing to compose this narrative, especially at the behest of your readership, is more than an act of loyal patronage; it is an act of that enlightened courage which you have espoused within it. In pertinent part you write:

    You won’t engage in revolutionary behavior if you’re being manipulated into not wanting to. So we’ve got to become impossible to manipulate.

    This is the solution, and it’s very achievable. For millennia humanity has been writing about the capacity within all of us to transcend our old conditioning patterns and perceive the world free from the filters of mental narrative. They wrote about it within the limitations that existed on their expression at the time, coloring their descriptions with their respective religious beliefs, linguistic and cultural conventions, and what understanding of the mind they had access to in a pre-science world, and their ideas were generally cloistered within small esoteric circles due to the limited nature of communication, but the underlying message was always the same: reality is not what our thoughts describe, and we are all capable of perceiving beyond that mental veil.

    Indeed, as modern cultural anthropology and archeology demonstrates, there have been enlightened human beings within most cultures “for millennia” providing enlightened truths as alternatives to dogmatic socio-political and/or pseudo-religious narratives. Even in the not so distant past, – historically speaking – right here in the USA, the likes of Thomas Paine – Common Sense – The American Crisis – Rights of Man – The Age of Reason – Agrarian Justice – his mentor and sponsor Benjamin Franklin – Poor Richard’s Almanac and countless letters and writings too numerous to list herein. Recently, the work of Joseph Campbell (1984 -1987), an American (US) professor of literature, who worked in comparative mythology and comparative religion, provided a needed reality check for those seeking a valid insight into human enlightenment. One of his many jewels of wisdom is:
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    Thank you Caitlin, for this moment.
    As Usual,

  11. It is fascinating to me that when people are dismissive of higher consciousness or it’s value, they don’t have a clue what it is, having never experienced it, or having had it, being unaware of it. If you have really tasted this state, you will not treat it casually or dis it.

  12. To the dedicated pessimists who are commenting: I hear you, and I bet I can paint a darker picture of our situation and our chances than you can. But I still have hope. Why is that?

    1. There is no certainty about anything, there are only probabilities. There is no certainty that our darkest predictions will turn out as we fear.

    2. Hope is a fruitful strategy that has a better chance of yielding positive outcomes than pessimism. Plus, hope let’s me navigate my life more happily, and may also help others feel better too.

    3. Feeling there is no hope kills my motivation to do anything, even continue living. Why would I want to do that, since the alternative of entertaining hope is free, and no one can take it away from me?

  13. Do you know about the Truth Pledge? Here is my endorsement. The book is coming out soon. Thanks for what you wrote here. love, Brad Blanton
    I am Dr. Brad Blanton, an initial endorser of the Pro-Truth Pledge. I spent 35 years in the private practice of psychotherapy as a Clinical Psychologist in Washington, D.C., where I, of course, became an expert in lying. I saw more lawyers than any other profession. In my considered professional opinion, all the bad things you have heard about lawyers are true.
    (My favorite lawyer joke: The National Institute of Health sent out an announcement that they were no longer going to use rats for research. They decided to use lawyers instead. They had three reasons: 1. There were more of them. 2. The lab assistants didn’t get as attached to them. 3. There are some things you just can’t get a rat to do!)

    The absolute finality of either the Truth or the terminal consequences of the failure of all we have built to attempt to maintain honest accountability is at stake. This is our lives and the lives of all our children and projeny forever we are talking about. Unless we change the whole system all at once, in one swell poop, to one based on honesty and honest accountability, we’re dead. A more fragmented gradual approach short of making, keeping and enforcing the Truth Pledge is doomed to failure. Gradualism will kill us. Half truths are still lies. Diplomacy is not the alternative to war, it’s the primary cause of it. Phony conflict resolution is the worst lie of all.

    W. Brad Blanton, Ph.D. founder of Radical Honesty Enterprises

    I am the author of 7 books, 4 of which directly pertain to the content of the Pro-Truth Pledge. They are:
    (1) Radical Honesty: How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth. Came out in 1994 and became a best seller, has been translated into 14 languages world wide and is doing better than ever, now in its 25th year.
    (2) Practicing Radical Honesty: How to Complete the Past, Live in the Present and Build a Future with a Little Help from Your Friends.
    (3) The Truthtellers: Stories of Success by Radically Honest People.
    (4) The Korporate Kannibal Kookbook: The Empire is Consuming Us (Either We Eat Them or They Eat Us, So Let’s Get Cookin’!)

    1. Reminds me of AA. The whole AA program is based on radical honesty. Needless to say, this posture takes time and work to develop.

  14. In my near 70 years on this pathetic planet, I’ve seen so many of these “the peasants are awakening!” movements come and go. (The first one was in college circa 1970, and they were gonna demand and get an immediate end to the War in Vietnam!) The masses are always on the verge of hitting critical mass and rising up against their oppressors! Short version: never gonna happen. Here’s why:

    1/ the world is run by evil psychopaths who have built highly effective bulwarks against dissidence.
    2/ the world was always run by evil psychopaths who have built highly effective bulwarks against dissidence.
    3/ the world will be run by evil psychopaths, until they have destroyed the planet and killed off all life forms. (which may be happening in the next 10 to 30 years).

    Look at history. Any time the peasants got too uppity, the peasants were exterminated. Problem solved.

    Idiot optimists are beholden to (at least) two erroneous notions:

    1/ humans are basically good, and are improvable.
    2/ human civilization evolves towards something positive, known as colloquially as “progress.”

    Yet any clear-thinking individual with the slightest handle on the historical record can easily see both of these assumptions are patently false. Humans are a giant, evil cancer, and things in general get progressively worse, especially for the underclasses and other “disposables” such as the animal kingdom.

    Which is why I’ve been a card-carrying pessimist for pretty much my whole life. Philosophical pessimism is not some depressed boo-hoo pity-party as most people think. It is merely the viewpoint which posits that humans are not intrinsically a good thing, and there is no such thing as human progress – only the dearly-held delusion that there is.

    Good luck with your long-coming “awakening,” oh mystical peasants of wonderland!

    I agree with one thing Caitlin said, however, and that is that the one thing (or the best thing) an individual can do is to improve one’s self. In fact, that is ALL one can do. One cannot change human history one iota, but one can try to forge one’s self into someone who is a bit less ashamed to be that disgusting thing called a human being. (Three personal achievements, for example: 1/ Never voted, never will. 2/ Never bred more human beings. 3/ Been vegan for almost thirty years now.) If you actually think you can change the world, you have been brainwashed by too many 60s folk songs (the “We Shall Overcome” syndrome).

    As the greatest pessimist of all time, Kurt Vonnegut, once said, “History! Read it and weep!”

    1. “Despite his success, Kurt Vonnegut wrestled with his own personal demons. Having struggled with depression on and off for years, he attempted to take his own life in 1984.”

      Playing with the dark side is playing with fire. User beware. Find higher ground to retire to and work from.

    2. Maybe the pessimist that you are is more of a “realist” in terms of normal people on this planet. Normal people, for the most part, are unaware of their true potential and thus are the victims of the ones that run this planet using the dark side of such potential to be, in effect, our rulers.

      Such rulers are really parasites, they need us for their very survival. To maintain their system they must keep us in ignorance, something they do very well. They even convince many that there is no hope so just go along. For others, the hope will come in the form of a religious savior. For many, it just amounts to staying optimistic by looking only at the bright side of things. Fear and the fear of fear are very powerful tools used to keep us all in line.

      Yet there is hope, but only, it seems to me, for truth seekers. The truth will be, in the end, the only saving grace. That has been my own personal experience, and that came about through my own Spiritual Awakening, what has oft been called an of Enlightening.

      That experience of my own amounted to meeting the highest truth and maximum love, that of what I call GOD (not God nor god(s)). I have come to know also that for everything there exists an equal yet opposite version and it can be rationally expressed in a simple (the most simple yet most complex also) formulae as what I call the Basic Equation of Truth, the BET as (+=-)! That is the real essence of the Biblical Trinity, truth be told.

      Bottom line, there is hope, though there is much going on that would lead one to have none. Maye it is only in giving up completely to all such hope can one come to find that which one yearns for. The dark before such a dawn has been called the dark night of the Soul by one experiencer. It all boils down to the relationship between the lower ego self and the higher Self that is within us always, also called our Soul, Inner child, or just our Intuition.Cultivate it and you may lose the pessimism, the truth being that you have everything to gain.

      IMnsHO and E.

    3. People are shaped by their environment. I don’t know if people are basically good, but they are improvable when educated in the correct manner. The psychopathic owners of the One-Bank control the education agenda, own the media, and run the Military Industrial Complex. America isn’t really a country as we’ve all been conditioned to believe. It’s a CORPORATION, owned by the “City of London”. Until the United States loses it “Petro-dollar” or Reserve Currency Status, nothing will change. The predatory capitalists will not rest until they have world control, hence the constant manufacture of false flag incidents to keep the war machine rolling. Only Russia and China stand in the way of their goal of world hegemony. Until the American financial system collapses and despite the so called media’s constant lies to the public, it will collapse, nothing will have any potential of changing for the everyday person. Orwell for the most part saw where we were headed as a culture, way back in the 1940’s, but just like the movie “The Matrix” most of the public can’t see beyond the illusion of “Democracy” we supposedly have. The elite love “democracies” because it makes it easy to brainwash the everyday dumbass into believing he/she has rights they don’t in actuality have. We don’t elect anyone, the deep state with their vast financial clout does. Doesn’t matter if you voted for Trump or Hillary Clinton, both are controlled by the owners of the One Bank. It’s this worldwide criminal banking syndicate that is at the heart of fear,instability, destruction, and death worldwide. The problem with a lot of protest movements that doom them to fail is that most people don’t understand how our financial system operates and who is using it to exploit and control us. This has been purposely left out of the educational system because if people truly understood this Ponzi Scheme we are living under they would refuse to cooperate with it, and the power of banks and corporations would be severely curtailed.

  15. Charlie Beall Avatar
    Charlie Beall

    Politics is theater, deceitfully contrived and perfected to entertain, distract, confuse, manipulate and control. Our abstract political identities, parties, labels and philosophies all flow from false narratives and specious manipulation. Until we recognize and broadly expose the concentrated financial power structures that control the political narratives, we will march the wide path to destruction. International financial predators (those who own the central banks of the world) have absolute control of our natural resources, the means of production, the markets, the medium of exchange, the governments, and all political parties. The ruthless, warmongering financial predators are totally unaffected by ‘political commentary’, as history has continuously demonstrated. As you often say, those who control the narrative, control the world. And we should not be confused about ‘who’ ultimately controls the narrative. It is in the strength of our moral character and the courage to act upon our beliefs that we find the true meaning and purpose of life. But, like faith, words without action are dead. You can see much, Caitlin–I hope you can see that. Open your heart to the higher truth, and speak it with every ounce of your being. You have many fellow travelers waiting for you on the narrow path. If you don’t yet know her, one of them is Susan Abulhawa–a soul sister.

  16. SomeoneInAsia Avatar

    Turning on the lights room by room is entirely commendable, but the trouble is that (1) there are lots of serious a**holes around (I’m sorry but no kinder word can be used), mainly the global elite aka the 0.1%, who desperately try either to turn them off again or break the switches (and have the power to do it too), simply because turning the lights on militates against their (short-term) interests; and (2) most of us simply can’t be bothered anyway — until TSHTF and our very survival is at stake, that is. Just look at how many of us have our eyes glued to that stupid little handheld screen in front of us 24/7.

    But anyway, speaking of enlightenment…

  17. There certainly is an awakening around the world. But it has little do with discovering the self, transcending to a higher level of consciousness, spiritual enlightenment or similar high-sounding words.

    The lies and narratives people are getting blasted with round the clock are getting too unreal. Where once people were fed a spoon at a time to nudge their thinking in certain ways, today buckets full of slop are being upended over their heads and they are told to lump it. Whether it is rosey pictures of economic well-being, fearsome tales of planetary explosion or pious justifications for wars, what people are being told by the media and officialdom is glaringly different from what they are experiencing personally. And in the digital era, skepticism has as many opportunities to spread as planted lies have.

    There is no need for deep meditation or soul-stirring self-realization guided by wise gurus to know what is happening. We are all born with common sense, a most effective bullshit Geiger counter. For more and more people, except the wilfully blind, the needle on the counter is going off the scale. That’s all there is to it.

  18. Congratulations and my deepest gratitude for your offering. I have studied every writer you mentioned, and read literally over a thousand books on spirituality. I have since 1960 attended a large number of different, mostly authentic spiritual groups. I have tried to help others in prison and in AA. Spent untold hours meditating and attending retreats. Let me say that what you have just written stands out in it’s deep truth and clarity beyond anything I have studied so far. Wow!

    I am sending your thoughts to my spiritual friends, as a precious gift on their paths. Thanks again for sharing the beautiful clarity of your mind.

  19. – Buddha was Enlightened. The fatal mistake the modern world has made is buying into all sorts of utterly mediocre notions of enlightenment (e.g. Steven Pinker).

    – “Spirituality” is a risky business. Christian (among others) eschatology warns that most will be deceived by inverted spirituality of the Anti-Christ and his agents.

    – I recommend sticking to the revealed traditions. And to stick primarily to a single one in terms of practice instead of combining various ones with some mumbo jumbo.

    – If one feels discomfort with “religiosity”, I recommend Upanishads, which are very abstract and contemplative. I assure you that this is the real deal, though one cannot penetrate them deep enough without a competent expositor.

  20. KOSMOS shows how it was done in the past, how and why it worked before, …

  21. Ahh, the Buddha Caitlin has once again brought peace and harmony to this old man with her words and her spirit!! I am humbled and I am gracious!!! Thank You, Ms Johnstone!!

  22. Joseph Dillard Avatar
    Joseph Dillard

    Two comments: 1) there are multiple definitions of enlightenment, you mention two: a one time awakening or STATE awakening; a permanent awakening, or accessing a STAGE of development. There is also enlightenment as a FEELING, as in an altar call; enlightenment as a creative eureka; and enlightenments related to different quadrants of human existence: changed behavior, relationships, values, or consciousness. Unless one differentiates which of these meanings they are referring to, confusion results. Some people purposefully use this ambiguity to create a false sense of mutual understanding where there is none to hook people. 2) You write, “We’re going to have to bring the light of truth to the manipulations of the financial sector, money in politics, the evils of factory farming, the prison system, the war on drugs, and the structures which keep economic injustice in place.” Regarding the structures that keep not just economic but all injustice in place, I highly recommend Steven Pinker’s writings, beginning with “The Better Angels of our Nature,” then “Enlightenment Now,” and finally “The Blank Slate,” which has to be read about three times to “get.” Pinker nails the causative forces responsible for the enlightenment of humanity. Really important one knows his work. Thanks.

  23. “the most direct and honest answer that I am able to give them: that we’ve got to move from an unhealthy relationship with mental narrative into a healthy one.”

    Very good, except for “we’ve.” The “we ” conflicts with the wisdom of your headline. If we talk about what we need to get ‘people’ to do, for almost everyone the project looks too large to invest in.

    In my opinion, if I talk about what I am trying to do to manage my own thoughts, my audience is far more likely to thoughtfully consider it. This is less a problem for you here Caitoz, because we already know it’s worthwhile to take seriously what you have to say. That’s not the case for most of the rest of us. (But I still suggest ‘I’ or even ‘you’ in place of ‘we.’ Cooperation and collaboration are still achieved person to person.)

  24. Timothy O'Leary Avatar
    Timothy O’Leary

    I think its a two-part process, although it could also be a three pipe problem. 🙂 One part is turning off the propaganda machine that is constantly trying to get into your head. It doesn’t even half to be all the way off. As long as its mostly off so you recognize the craziness of what its trying to tell you in contrast to everything else. But the other part of the process is developing a new culture to replace it. This of course can be a very easy and basic creation. Be nice to each other. Don’t lie and steal from each other. Respect everyone equally. In other words, the opposite of what the machine wants you to be. There is the act of turning the machine off and getting them out of our head. But there is also a part of this along the lines of “Build it and they will come!”

  25. throughout human history, there have always been people who saw the big picture, including Socrates, Jesus, Marx, Lenin, King, etc. i’m sure there have been numerous, unknown female visionaries that we’ve never learned or heard about as well.

    my point is, you don’t have to write like a philosopher and reinvent the wheel, Caitlin, as you’ve been articulating the big picture, in an irressistably charming, forceful, poetic way, all along without being overtly philosophical.

    perhaps a bigger point is, most of your readers, with or without formal philosophical training, have been right along with you.

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