It’s a trip how much mental energy people pour into arguments about world affairs while devoting almost none to the way their understanding and perception of those affairs is happening.

People will happily argue day in and day out about what political ideology is most correct or what should be done about a given problem, but it’s rare for them to turn around and examine the sources of information that they’ve used to form those opinions. The fact that most of the information being circulated about what’s going on in the world is owned by plutocrats who undeniably have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo rarely enters into mainstream awareness. Which is of course by design.

Even less common than people questioning the nature of the information they’ve received is for them to examine what happens to that information once it gets into their heads. Nearly everyone lives a life that is dominated by nonstop compulsive mental chatter which determines everything from one’s emotional state to how their interest and attention moves, thereby creating cognitive biases and perceptual filters which shape how all future information will be interpreted. For most of us, thought serves not as the useful tool we evolved it to be, but as the writer, director and star of the entire show. As Ecknath Easwaran once said, “we don’t think our thoughts, our thoughts think us.”

Rarer even than examining the nature of thought is examining the nature of consciousness itself. From cradle to grave none of us ever experience a single thing that is outside our own field of consciousness, but almost everyone goes that whole time without ever seriously looking into the nature of that field for themselves. Which is a shame, because a bit of rigorous investigation reveals that our entire conscious experience is happening in a very different way than the consensus worldview assumes.

Most of us labor under the assumption that we are a finite, physical body moving around in world from which we are separate, and against which we must protect and secure ourselves. Some dedicated self inquiry reveals that it’s far more accurate to say that what you are is not a body or a mind or a separate “me” at all, but rather a kind of strange, imperceptible subject to which the field of consciousness appears. In your actual experience without referring to mental narrative, you can discover a clear distinction between this ineffable subject and your field of consciousness, and see lucidly that if you’re going to identify as anything, it only makes sense to identify as that ineffable subject.

If you think it’s mind-blowing to launch an investigation into the source of the world’s problems and discover a covert alliance of plutocrats, intelligence agencies and domestic propagandists, wait until you launch an investigation into the source of your own suffering and discover that “you” don’t even exist at all. You chase the white rabbit down twisting funhouse-mirror rabbit holes, finally discover the secret chamber of your tormenter, spin his desk chair around to face you, and find not the rabbit, nor the devil, nor even yourself, but an empty chair.

That’s the real red pill, right there. That’s the ultimate conspiracy revealed. Not that there’s a secret cabal controlling world affairs to ensure world domination, but that there’s ultimately no one in the driver’s seat at all. Some clever primates with robust egoic structures have figured out how to manipulate things, but they themselves are just like the rest of us: empty processes playing themselves out for no one, just like a fire or a waterfall. We all conspired to tell a story about a bunch of separate selves who simply do not exist outside of the story.

And in this sense our impulse to expose the ultimate conspiracy to solve our world’s problems once and for all is a perfectly healthy one. Those efforts don’t have the end result that most of us are anticipating, but if enough people pursue those efforts to their end it will indeed solve all our problems. The ego is an illusion held in place by the mistaken belief that there exists some hard, tangible object that can be accurately labeled “me” or “mine”, and ego also happens to be the thing that the propagandists use to hold the status quo in place. Without the illusion that there exists a non-conceptual self who must be protected and secured from a separate world, the propagandists cannot propagandize, because their only tools are narrative, fear, and greed. Awakening from the illusion of ego makes people immune to illusory narratives, fear and greed, which means awakening on a large scale will make them impossible to propagandize, at which time we can use the power of our numbers to expunge the status quo.

But we’ve got to wake up first. We’ve got to stop overlooking the most important and fundamental aspects of our experience here. Self-inquiry is a powerful tool that can be used to investigate the nature of self and consciousness in a way that can lead relatively quickly to self-realization. Just do a search for the term and find your own approach to it if this is something which interests you.

Once you’ve resolved this fundamental matter, the illusion of ego is no longer there to disturb your natural state of equanimity and prevent you from using thought as the useful tool it’s meant to be. You can pick up stories, concepts and identities and use them to the extent that they are useful, and then put them down once they’re not. But please remember that the ultimate goal in discovering the ultimate conspiracy is not to just know it, but to solve the world’s problems. Don’t be content with self-knowledge, carry it out into the world and use your newfound inner peace and lucid relationship with concepts to help make this planet a better place to live on.

Happy rabbit holing.


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76 responses to “The Ultimate Conspiracy Revealed”

  1. Recommend the book, “Your Sacred Self, Making the Decision to be Free” by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.


    « Le matérialiste dénué d’esprit déclare : « L’homme se distingue de l’animal par sa seule conscience, c’est un animal, mais doué de conscience » ; mais il ne remarque pas qu’il se produit dans l’être qui s’est éveillé à la conscience une modification qualitative de l’être tout entier. » (Feuerbach, Manifestes philosophiques)

    Chaque homme a donc une conscience plus ou moins étendue, le but ultime du Livre des Sept Sceaux (Le Retour à l’Evidence) est de révélé à chacun le contenu de ce qu’est une conscience développée.

    Pour ceux qui ont une faible conscience du Monde dans lequel on a été jeté, l’apparition du Livre des Sept Sceaux (Le Retour à l’Evidence) risque d’être un traumatisme.

    Vous comprenez ?

    Pour l’instant l’animal humain est plus près du singe que de l’Homme, et c’est extrêmement dangereux.

    Vous comprenez ?

    « Il n’y a rien de si tranquille qu’un magasin de poudre une demi-seconde avant de sauter. Le feu pourrait être ici la bêtise humaine dont il ne faut pas désespérer. » (André Tardieu, Président du Conseil, 16 juillet 1937)

    Lumière du Logos

  3. LOL. You want to see some touchy people, just mention Epstein and the Golem in one comment. It’s very revealing if you know the social importance of the Golem.

  4. >Nearly everyone lives a life that is dominated by nonstop compulsive mental chatter which determines everything from one’s emotional state to how their interest and attention moves, thereby creating cognitive biases and perceptual filters which shape how all future information will be interpreted.
    Cognitive biases are not the result of too much thinking, but of imperfect thinking. The answer is certainly not to discount thinking in the first place.
    >For most of us, thought serves not as the useful tool we evolved it to be, but as the writer, director and star of the entire show. ‘
    That is not true – we are extremely influenced by emotions and other factors separate from conscious thought. Not necessarily a good thing.
    Some dedicated self inquiry reveals that it’s far more accurate to say that what you are is not a body or a mind or a separate “me” at all, but rather a kind of strange, imperceptible subject to which the field of consciousness appears. In your actual experience without referring to mental narrative, you can discover a clear distinction between this ineffable subject and your field of consciousness … That’s the real red pill, right there.
    First, even assuming that this is true, you don’t even explain why this ‘strange’, ‘íneffable’ subject cannot be regarded a ‘separate me’. From nothing that you’ve said does it follow that it is not separate from the ‘ineffable subjects’ of other people. Second, the notion that ‘I, the thinker / the one being conscious’ and ‘my thinking/consciousness’ are two separate things is not original or non-mainstream – on the contrary, it’s the mainstream popular view, it’s extremely banal, intuitive, as well as wrong. It takes self-inquiry and original thinking to figure out that it’s wrong, that there really is no ‘ineffable’ me apart from the process of your thinking, consciousness, a set of mental and emotional habits, memories and the like. The reason why it’s ‘ineffable’ is that it doesn’t exist.
    >We all conspired to tell a story about a bunch of separate selves
    By definition, it’s not a conspiracy if those saying the falsehood believe in it.
    >Without the illusion that there exists a non-conceptual self who must be protected and secured from a separate world, the propagandists cannot propagandize, because their only tools are narrative, fear, and greed.
    All philosophy aside, the fact remains that we do need to protect and secure ourselves from the rest of the world, or else we suffer. It’s not a good idea to let a car run over you just because the ‘you’ being run over is a problematic concept. It is pleasant for you to eat regardless of the fact that the ‘you’ doing the eating is a problematic concept. You won’t convince people otherwise, nor are you yourself living as if it were otherwise. Hence this philosophising does not eliminate fear and greed.
    >the illusion of ego is no longer there to disturb your natural state of equanimity and prevent you from using thought as the useful tool it’s meant to be. You can pick up stories, concepts and identities and use them to the extent that they are useful, and then put them down once they’re not.
    Useful to whom and to what? Precisely because there is no ‘you’, ‘you’ cannot be distinct from your thought, stories, concept and identities, ‘you’ cannot simply use thought, stories, concepts and identities in the interest of ‘you’, and a utilitarian/manipulative/cynical attitude towards them is unjustifiable. ‘Usefulness’ can only be formulated on the basis of stories, concepts and identities taken seriously. You seem to be giving a philosophical justification for lying to oneself and to others, and the justification doesn’t even make sense.

  5. If The Chair’s empty — then perhaps, by extension — this world, which untold generations over apparent millennia have been so intent on trying to change — is just as empty.

    This manner of tail-chasing does not serve. Make no mistake, there’s a hellbound driver on the hellbound train. Something fundamental here is not only all wrong, but false. Problem being, we’ve few comparatives — disconnected as we’ve been from true self&source. The ego is mere shadow, a traumatized substitute.

    In this con-struct, all is built on parasitism&predation — from micro to macro. One is impelled to kill&eat in order to “live”. One vast death machine, whatever rationalizations and/or belief systems are made to justify it.

    Anything wrong with this picture? Given the anti-life baselines, is not this entire “creation” built on distortion&corruption? Call it what it is — a planet-wide possession and control. Hell, call it evil. Past due to recognize the demon ex machina in the driver’s seat. Apparently handling the mind-wipes&disconnects as much as the recycling apparatus.

    A mis-creation only a demiurge&co could love, eh? Quite plain that humans are by no means sitting atop the foodchain here — shooting fish in the barrel from multi-dimensional hidey-holes.

    The ancients, the elder races, which have been systematically extinguished&memory-holed — managed to leave records, around the globe, of the cataclysms wrought upon them, by “star people”.

    Don juan in the castaneda books nailed it down, as did nat amer jack forbes in “columbus and other cannibals”, as did the gnostics, as did aurobindo&mirra, and many others.

    The nat amers here called the a.i. virus/psychopathology “wetiko”.

    Sadly, most moderns have lost the thread, lost the plot.

    If this is all illusion — you&i, the chair, this world — it’s one helluva nasty dream.

  6. Reo Alexander III Avatar
    Reo Alexander III

    Heavy article my sister of the realm, but only a small percentage of humans are equanimitized, if that’s even a word. I’m sorry but this world has a lot of fucked up people in it. Greed will destroy the human race. I’m just sad that you were not around when all this came into being. Maybe the second go around, we’ll all get it right.

  7. Sorry Caitlin, I still do not buy the idea that I have no ‘self’ just because I can’t see it. Lots of things which can’t be seen are nonetheless there. I am still a self inside a mind inside a body. If there was no ‘self’ at work I would not be able to preserve myself, like someone who has been lobotomized.

    This ‘self negating ‘ line of thinking goes nowhere. It seems to come from a kind of death wish, a desire for oblivion. People adopting this do not become more able to think and act; they become inert cloud sitters.

    1. Since you mentioned lobotomies (and there’s a few others on this strand who seem to locate the ‘self’ within the brain) you might like to check out Michael Pollan’s book How to Change Your Mind.

      It’s pretty interesting for the current state of research on psychedelics alone, but what particularly intrigued me were some recent neurological theories on how a cluster of forebrain structures (dubbed the ‘default mode network’) give rise to the illusion of self and what consciousness altering substances can tell us about it.

      Of course theories linking brain with mind are a dime a dozen and tend to suffer from weak evidence and shaky ontologies, but they can be pretty interesting still.

      1. Yes, my self is in my brain because, um… That is where all the cognitive stuff happens in multicellular animals.

        I think the ‘there is no self ‘ trope is the worst instance of psycho-social lobotomy since Maggie Thatcher’s ‘ there is no such thing as society’.

        Who has an interest in shutting people’s brains down with this twaddle? tr

        1. Yes, my self is in my brain because, um… That is where all the cognitive stuff happens in multicellular animals.

          There’s two big assumptions underlying that. One is that the ‘self’ is a cognitive function and the other that it ‘happens’ in the brain. Empirically it would be just as justifiable to say matter (the brain) is a function of mind (the self) as the other way around. It’s all very well to talk about ‘objective facts’ as a measure of reality but the truth is that our entire life experience is subjective. Objectivity is pure conjecture. The brain is an object. Consciousness, it would seem, is irreducibly subjective.

          Speaking personally, my ‘self’ takes in my perceptions, memories (including ‘body memories’ such as muscles and scars), relationships with people and things, beliefs, ideas, narratives, etc, etc. Maybe you could hook me into an fMRI and correlate some of those things with blood flow in certain low resolution areas of the brain (i.e. voxels) but even if that correlation implies some kind of causation it doesn’t strike me as very fruitful to be looking at that stuff from a neuronal perspective. Certainly biological psychiatry hasn’t got much to show for over a century of that approach.

          There’s respectable metaphysical viewpoints that hold that consciousness is as much a fundamental property of reality as matter and energy (panpsychism). If you ever find a definition of consciousness that satisfies see how you go comparing evidence for a materialist emergent view of it with a panpsychic one. (You can google David Chalmers for an explanation of panpsychism or Daniel Dennett for a more reductionist material view of consciousness).

          1. You remind me why I rarely get into these discussion forums. That self is somehow outside the brain is really too ridiculous to discuss. Do not respond to me any further. tr

            1. Perhaps not so rarely, after all…

        2. BTW, I should mention that materialist causation leads you down endless rabbit holes back to the Big Bang, no matter how linear and reductionist you try to keep it.

          For example, lets say your self-opinion can be linked causally with certain configurations of neuronal connections in your head. But those connections were in turn formed by experiences you had in your life, which were in turn presumably influenced by the connections in other peoples’ heads (as well as everything else).

          So to say your self-opinion ‘happens’ in your brain is arbitrary at best. You could just as accurately say it ‘happened’ genetically in your DNA, developmentally in your mother’s womb, socially in your interactions with others or perceptually in the hangover you might be suffering and related thoughts about your alcohol consumption.

    2. I find a good way to approach this is to think of “selfless” behaviour.

      To be selfless means thinking and acting for the benefit of another.

      If the number of selfless people increase, then the number of selfish people decrease…

  8. Here we go again.
    If every human being on planet earth were to undertake to manufacture in their minds a DETAILED image of exactly how people would behave toward/with each other, and exactly how they would organize with each other to produce the necessities of life — both of these for a living-day-to-day basis in an ideal world, these billions of images in billions of minds, in many different languages and from many different cultures, would be, in the most important aspects, PRACTICALLY IDENTICAL.
    To illustrate just one example of an important aspect, no matter on what part of the planet we live on, most of us have neighbors with whom we frequently interact to one degree or another. There can be good neighbors and there can be bad neighbors. When we moved into our neighborhoods, or new people moved into our neighborhoods, we “naturally” realized that the first meetings with those neighbors was of utmost importance for the future of those neighborly relations. What was the foundational principle that determined how we would behave during that very first meeting? What principle did we “bet on” that would engender good relations for the future? I’m willing to literally bet my life that every reader of what I’m writing is right now thinking/imagining the exact same thing, to the point that I don’t even have to state it. It’s that “self” evident.
    Another example. I think that it is equally self-evident that no human being on planet earth enjoys digging ditches or harvesting sugar cane or laying asphalt shingles on a roof , etc. etc. etc. on an extremely hot day. But the “job” of bringing the ditch into existence, getting sugar in the bowl and new shingles on the roof, etc. ad infinitum, MUST SOMEHOW be done. Just exactly HOW and by just exactly WHOM are those things going to be accomplished in the imaginations of the billions of people imagining an ideal-yet-practical world or, for that matter, in the minds of good neighbors who have to build fences between properties or clear debris from the neighborhood after a storm? What is the very first principle that those minds “base their thinking on” that will result in getting the job done while maintaining good relations between people rather than have them deteriorate? Again, I think that that is self-evident.
    IMO, although this principle is absolutely necessary to be employed between people who profess to “love” each other, it is also absolutely necessary, but sometimes much more difficult, that this principle be employed between people who do NOT love each other. In the latter case it must be employed, not out of love, but out of pure self-interest, in order to maintain decent-but-never-going-to-be-close relationships – in other words, to maintain “civil” relationships between perhaps distant “strangers” who are never going to meet.
    So as we all begin imagining an ideal world in which we individuals are not the only inhabitant, is that world going to be all about me, me, me, or is it going to be about us, us, us? Keep in mind that the former has gotten “first world” humanity to exactly where it is today – the edge of extinction by either environmental catastrophe or nuclear war.
    If all we are capable of doing is begging the Elite to behave better, and typing comments on this site or others, we will suffer increasingly severe austerity until we, like cornered mice, desperately, mindlessly lash out not only at the Elite, but, eventually, even at our equally-desperate neighbors across the street and all over the world.
    During their first meeting, Morpheus asks Neo the most important question about their world of “The Matrix” — “Do you want to know what ‘it’ is?”
    We must all ask ourselves essentially the same question. What is “it” that keeps failing for the vast majority of people and preventing things from improving? The Elite and their MSM do NOT have the answer, and they’re NOT going to allow any discussion in their MSM about alternatives to the present fatally flawed economic system.
    I am here to tell you that “it” is NOT any president. “It” is NOT the Fed. “It” is NOT the constitution. And “it” is most definitely NOT an incorrectly adjusted interest rate.
    “It” resides between human ears.
    “It” is an inevitably-fatal, deeply-inculcated, religious-like belief in the infallibility of human greed (not of greed’s existence or power, but, again, capitalism’s belief in greed’s INFALLIBILITY) — that all every single human being of 7.4 billion individuals has to do is get up out of bed each day and attempt to satisfy his\her insatiable greed and everything will turn out just fine for the collective whole of humanity.
    It won’t.
    Greed, my fellow humans, is NOT good. Why? Because “it” will, by “whatever it takes”, overcome any well-intended measure (from constitutions to Glass Stegalls to TARPs to QEs to NIRPs to fiat money to banning cash) that that same human mind can invent to attempt to control ‘it’. History has PROVEN with absolute certainty that this is true.
    What we all, as individuals, must somehow, some way come to recognize and accept as truth is something that we have been brainwashed by a capitalist system from Day 1 to believe is not true.
    The one and only thing that will save humanity from itself (us from each other) is the EXACT OPPOSITE of greed, and that is that ALL of us have to, and now I’ll state the bone obvious, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

  9. “We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness. We are monkeys with money and guns.” – Tom Waits    

  10. VERY interesting line of approach here, Caitlin. Thanks for digging into the real issues around the concerted pathology of the current World System. You might want to look at another perspective on organizing beyond Ego to help shift the insane addiction to the False Self from an American spiritual master: – In Lak’ech

  11. Excellent essay! Thouht-provoking!

    Donald Hoffman, Professor of Cognitive Sciences, University of California, irvine, presented a mind-blowing TED Talk devoted to how we see reality and who we actually are. Link below:

    He has also written a new book entitled: The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes
    Hoffman combines evolutionary theory, cognitive psychology, quantam and fundamental physics to postulate that time and space actually serve as a user interface to hide true reality from us and that our perceived shared reality is not fundamental.

    I expect Hoffman will receive a lot of pushback and criticism from academia and the oligarchal Wurlitzer, the MSM, because he is challenging the staus quo and the very foundation it is built on. By theorizing that happiness comes from within and that our perceived objective reality doesn’t exist, scamming people into fighting and dying in wars for oil and corporate profits or into buying million dollar McMansions or $100,000 Beamers under the guise it will make us happy, will get exceedingly difficult. Maybe, he has formulated the red pill!

    1. But doesn’t Hoffman defeat his own purpose with his metaphor of the computer screen interface since it is impossible to learn about the structure of the computer’s CPU by playing around with a Word file?

      His best example is the train because the core value of our senses is that they are helpful when combined with our thoughts to predict future experiences, and therefore not just be a sensing blob constantly surprised by every change in input we receive? We have constructed reality based on what is most reliable and predictable. We call that science, but I agree there are countless sources of bias and perception that could be in the way there. People can be convinced to believe in magic if a specious explanation for a phenomena is a reliable predictor of outcomes. It is only debunked when its failure to predict all related phenomena is revealed.

  12. It was very long ago, and I’m old, but I remember a teacher saying that the universe is everywhere; even within you. If you wish to explore the universe, explore yourself. You can not see the air that you have to breathe; and you can not see the yin and yang spirals of energy that make up the universe. You can however see your own fingerprints and the lines in your palms that were made by those spirals. That is why everyone’s fingerprints are unique to only them.

  13. Amongst the apparent confusion, deliberate or not, this might be of some assistance:

    Ethics. Integrity. How To Be.


  14. People have recognized the value of Enlightenment for thousands of years. But their understanding of what it is has been folk psychology. Their understanding of how to get there has been like folk medicine, saying try this, it works…but we don’t know why. A more empirical approach to the phenomena is needed. William James got the ball rolling with his lectures The Varieties of Religious Experience. We need to bring the methods science to bear on this. Maybe we can find ways to facilitate transformation that will be available to everyone.

  15. I have always thought philosophy and psychology is nothing but a few truths mixed in with a lot of nonsense very much like this article. Some things are just plain difficult to explain like the motivations of man or the concept of good, evil and morality.

  16. We need a philosophy that helps get us out of the mess we have created with a little help from our “friends” the Oligarchs. Believing that there is no such thing as an individual self is not going to get us where we need to go. As a practical matter, such thinking needs to be discarded in our present crisis. After we have solved our very real and pressing problems, we can indulge in daydreams about “ultimate reality” if we should choose to do so. For now, we need to get REAL in a big way!

    1. MIKE K
      You write:
      ‘We need a philosophy that helps get us out of the mess we have created with a little help from our “friends” the Oligarchs.’
      Oh they will stop being our ‘friends’ and become our friends, by helping us out of the mess WE have created with THEIR help, as you put it, not that THEY, in power, created with our help ?

      It will probably be best to declare our humility, so as not to put their noses out of joint: “Prithee m’Lords and m’Ladies – we are to blame – you just helped a little. We beg your forgiveness and your help.”

      That will be handy. Are you in any way worried that this philosophy might be used by our former ‘friends’, now friends, to help maintain their interests, just a little bit, as ‘happened’ previously?

      ‘Believing that there is no such thing as an individual self is not going to get us where we need to go. As a practical matter, such thinking needs to be discarded in our present crisis.’

      ‘After we have solved our very real and pressing problems, we can indulge in daydreams about “ultimate reality” if we should choose to do so. For now, we need to get REAL in a big way!’
      Apart from help as above, any other ideas as to how we should avoid daydreams and get REAL in a big way?

    2. The irony is that trying to solve problems Is the daydream and seeking ultimate reality wakes you up from the dream that there are problems and so called solutions to the so called problems. Then you have a n opportunity to actually help.

  17. The traditional claim regarding ineffability – the claim the only God/gods are ineffable – is a projection. As I told my children, God exists in the hearts of people, only. We ourselves are the gods. Most of us to lesser extent, a few of us are indeed lacking anything good or ineffable in them. But many of us are ineffable, godly, without knowing it.

    Finally something I am sure we disagree on. We might have born equal in dignity. But soon after that we are definitely not equal in any way – if we were, humanity wouldn’t be as fantastic as it is.

  18. Great diversion!

    Conspiracy has become another word for awareness of murder, war crimes and corruption. imho.

  19. When I want an answer to the unanswerable I usually seek out my friend Olaf Mosely, who has been tussling with the idea he might be God. Or might not.

    ” Try to see your own ego.
    Just watch it.
    Don’t be in a hurry to drop it, just watch it. The more you watch, the more capable you will become. Suddenly one day, you simply see that it has dropped. And when it drops by itself, only then does it drop. There is no other way. Prematurely you cannot drop it.
    It drops just like a dead leaf.
    The tree is not doing anything – just a breeze, a situation, and the dead leaf simply drops. The tree is not even aware that the dead leaf has dropped. It makes no noise, it makes no claim – nothing.
    The dead leaf simply drops and shatters on the ground, just like that.”

  21. Yeah humans, FFS! is this the best world you can think of constructing?

  22. CAITLIN WROTE: People will happily argue day in and day out about what political ideology is most correct or what should be done about a given problem, but it’s rare for them to turn around and examine the sources of information that they’ve used to form those opinions.

    Caitlin, you are guilty of that very thing you accuse others of: failure to examine the sources of information that create your opinions. Well, you do, but superficially. You call the Narrative Creators “the oligarchy” or “the blob.” A court of law cannot prosecute an oligarchy or a blob. Although courts can prosecute corporate entities, let’s cut through the corporate veil (as we lawyers learned to call it in law school) and name the individuals responsible.

    Caitlin, when you are ready to do your homework and start naming the individual perps involved in creating, shaping, massaging all the false narratives, then we will no longer accuse you of not practicing what you preach.

    1. I think that encapsulates a major difference in thinking between structural analysts and those often derogatorily referred to as ‘conspiracy theorists’.

      The structural analyst recognises that ‘individual perps’ are replaceable cogs at best and we can name, shame and lock ’em away until the cows come home without substantially changing anything. You’ve got to change the machine, not rotate the parts.

      The conspiracy theorist insists that someone is to blame (whether clearly defined or not) and the point of the exercise becomes identifying and punishing the culprits, not fixing the system.

      1. “not fixing the system.”
        The rational “conspiracy theorist” recognizes the need to bring attention to the fact that things within the power structure are not what they seem. Until that is accomplished, changing the “system” is impossible.

        1. Not if they stay focused on the ‘defective parts’ rather than the mechanisms ensuring certain parts will be ‘defective’.

          To use the Herman-Chomsky Propaganda Model as an example. You can spend an eternity naming and shaming the Murdochs, the NYT, the Guardian, the Operation Mockingbirds, the Luke Hardings and Rachel Maddows, etc, but if you leave the fundamental relationships between elites, corporations and the media intact the same stories will keep repeating with a new cast of characters. You’ve gone nowhere.

          And by the time you’ve drifted as far from rationality (and honesty) as the 911 Truthers or Antivaxxers you’re bringing the whole notion of questioning the dominant narrative into disrepute.

    2. Allow me to say I am not one of the ‘we’ you refer to. To save Caitlin time and trouble would it be possible to compile a list of names for her, taken from registered company directors at CNN, MSNBC, NYT, Washington Post, BBC, The Guardian, Daily Mail, Sky News, Fox News, Channel 4 plus those names you can identify who have off shore funds in Cayman Islands, Panama, British Virgin Islands and Channel Islands? Perhaps add to that list the following who have recently been made welcome as board members elsewhere, according to Rania Khalek:

    3. To Coleen,
      It’s difficult for any Journalist to name names because they get sued. So go easy on Caitlin.

  23. I’d recommend reading the Bhagavad-gita. All the answers you need are in there. Start with the second chapter. That’s a succinct summary of the philosophy. Ch 16 is also a very useful summary of the difference between divine and demonic behaviours. If you only read one book in your lifetime, this would be the one.

    access it through

    1. Read Aurobindo’s book on the Gita for a deep integral insight into it’s profound message. And I agree that the Gita is supremely relevant to the crisis of our time.

      1. Bhagavad Gita was described by Mohandes Gandhi as his “Bible”. Sri Aurobindo’s “The Life Divine” was described by an Indian scholar as “intellectually perfect”:

  24. When the spiritual masters say that the ego and separation from the one is an illusion, they do not mean that such perceptions and experience don’t exist; they mean that such consciousness is a veil separating us from higher truths.

    So, your argument seems like a cop-out. People need to evolve, and to do this they need to be proactive–that is how we evolve. Pretending that oppression is an illusion won’t get us there.

  25. Ms Johnstone seeks to open up ” the hornets nest ” of the maze within the human mind. A gigantic enterprise to say the very least. Human beings would rather avoid ever knowing anything about their true selves in order to avoid admitting that anything might be something wrong, or twisted, within them.

  26. Wow, Caitlin, you nailed it again! Pure and simple. The chair is empty. There is no spoon.

    Thank you.

  27. Loved the essay! Can’t help but think though, that you’ve never really seen the face of evil. We have a wonderful man out this way who shot a child 16 times in the back, 13 of them as he laid helpless and dying on the pavement. And, these are the good people of America, erase the bad people from our acknowledgement.

  28. If there is one notion that I violently disagree with more than any other it’s this “illusion of separation”. Stemming from the Eastern religions (Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism), the basic claim here is that there is only timeless ever-present Awareness , there is only one Self in the entire universe and we are all really just different aspects of pure Consciousness, and thereby all sense of being a separate person in a space-time world with other persons is an illusion, as there are no real walls of individuality.

    I’m keen to hear what others have to say about this, but no two ideals could be more opposite than Christian love and the “illusion of separation” in Eastern enlightenment. For example, have you ever noticed the absurdity of any statue of the enlightened Buddha – how the “Awakened One” always has his eyes shut, heavy and sealed with sleep, as he looks intently within? While on the other hand the medieval Christian saint’s eyes are frightfully alive as he looks outwards in astonishment and trepidation. Only a real difference between Buddhism and Christianity at their innermost essence could produce such opposite icons.

    This Buddhist doctrine of the illusion of the separate-self sense (maya, samsara), does not tell us to love our neighbours, but to be our neighbors, for there are ultimately no boundaries anywhere in the universe. But when I love my neighbour it’s not because s/he a manifestation of my innermost Self, but precisely because s/he is not like me… Likewise, we when adore the beauty of the natural world around us, it’s not because it’s an expression of the one Self, but as one loves a woman, because she is entirely different.

    If souls are separate love is possible. But if souls are united love is obviously impossible… and only if the world is full of real selves – actually existing persons in relationship, can there ever be really unselfish selves. But upon the Buddhist approach to enlightenment principle the whole cosmos arises and passes away inside the mind of one enormously selfish person.

    Love desires personality; therefore love desires division. It is the instinct of Christianity to be glad that God has broken the universe into little pieces, because they are living pieces. It is her instinct to say ‘little children love one another’ rather than to tell one large person to love himself. This is the intellectual abyss between Buddhism and Christianity; what for the Buddhist… is the fall of man, is for the Christian the purpose of God, the whole point of the temporal process of becoming.

    No other philosophy makes God actually rejoice in the separation of the universe into living breathing souls… That a man or woman may love God it is necessary that there should be not only a God to be loved, but a man or a woman to love him. All those vague theosophical minds for whom the existence of separate things in the universe is an illusion are exactly the minds which shrink instinctively from that earthquake saying of our Gospels, which declare that the Son of God came not with peace but with a sundering sword. Our passions give life to the world, and our collective passions constitute the history of humankind…

    1. No other philosophy makes God actually rejoice in the separation of the universe into living breathing souls…

      Actually Hinduism has dualistic, non-dualistic and ‘qualified’ non-dualistic strands, all of which rejoice in their own perceptions of Godhead, Soul and Reality. Dvaitist (dualist) versions are every bit as into separation as the Abrahamic religions (and some Abrahamic mystic traditions are just as joyously into non-dualism as Advaitist Hinduism). You won’t find much in Abrahamic philosophies that Hinduism doesn’t have covered.

    2. I think that you’re both right and wrong, but whether or not our existence is real or not is all a state mind. If you reread that blasphemous Jew, he spoke of it. On another point, not until the Reformation was there any chance of Christianity, because that Church was formed by the Temple priests, and after the destruction of the Temple, with no where else to go the remaining priests became Catholic bishops. You ever notice that the Catholic God is a phycopath? And, from what I’ve seen pretty much most of the others as well. Love? I haven’t really seen it. In fact I even read one psychologist argue that it was impossible to love another, because it didn’t aid in self-survival, that what we experience as love is our projection of our self-love onto another. Makes great sense, but it sure messes with the mind if you believe it. As for the soul, I’ve even seen the souls of animals walk this earth after death, so great was their love for their human companion. So, of this all exists for a reason and for those who don’t care it doesn’t matter, and to quote that Jew again, it’s all about love, religion has nothing to do with it, that’s why he said, “heaven is for such as these”. Like the ‘Wizard of Oz’, you can leave whenever you like and like the, ‘Tree of Knowledge’, it’s what you know that gives you eternal life. So, it’s really only a state of mind whether reality is real or not, and obviously for that Jew, he experienced this world far differently than most Westerners do.

    3. We are ultimately separate and ultimately one and the same – both. Particle and wave – both. Reality seems to be paradoxical to our dualistic thinking, but reality simply is as it is – with no apologies to the “rational” mind.

      1. Yup! I was reading the other day about the magnetic fields created by elections orbiting around a nucleus( doesn’t really, only mathematically) and those created by elections spinning on their axis( only happens in a mathematical sense). Yeah, so real, unreal, doesn’t really matter.

        1. The election spinning in these parts is pretty unreal, tfs.

    4. OK, so one vote for “My Imaginary Friend Disagrees, so I Disagree”

    5. Jesus and Buddha would have nothing over which to disagree, Amigo.
      It took a couple of hundred years of destruction of the meaning of the teachings of Jesus to create a religion, which would serve the needs of the Roman Empire.
      Jesus was the son of Mary and a Macedonian archer in the Roman army, named Pantera. Mary was unmarried, one definition of “virgin”.
      The other stuff is made up. What was scrubbed entirely was the reason for Jesus being sentenced to a horrific death by torture.
      “Got the Father” did not need that for any incantation
      The only crime that warranted that punishment was “troublemaker”, a threat to the system.
      Jesus was preaching a return to the “Jubilee” which was the “Gospel, good news”. The lenders-at-interest, the pharisees needed him and everybody like him gone.
      30 pieces of silver. Small investment.
      Jesus led me to the living practice of Buddhism, and “I” am most grateful.
      “Love God with all your heart and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself!”

  29. The mind is an illusion.

  30. Great post CJ.
    Alan Watts would have loved it.

    There once was a young man that said so
    It seems that I know that I know
    What I would like to see
    Is the I that knows me
    When I know, that I know, that I know

    ​Ben Hunt, Epsilon Theory: The thing about the Common Knowledge Game, though, is that once you start looking for it, you see it everywhere, not just in our investment lives, but also in our social and political lives. The public unmasking of Harvey Weinstein as a serial rapist (that’s the word, people) is an archetypical play of the Common Knowledge Game, and recognizing its dynamics should open everyone’s eyes to how other high and mighty people and ideas can take a fall.
    ​The core dynamic of the CK Game is this: how does private knowledge become — not public knowledge — but common knowledge? Common knowledge is something that we all believe everyone else believes. Common knowledge is usually also public knowledge, but it doesn’t have to be…
    ​ ​The reason this dynamic — the transformation of private knowledge into common knowledge — is so important is that the social behavior of individuals does not change on the basis of private knowledge, no matter how pervasive it might be. Even if everyone in the world believes a certain piece of private information, no one will alter their behavior. Behavior changes ONLY when we believe that everyone else believes the information. THAT’S what changes behavior. And when that transition to common knowledge happens, behavior changes fast.
    ​ ​The classic example of this is the fable of The Emperor’s New Clothes. Everyone in the teeming crowd possesses the same private information — the Emperor is walking around as naked as a jaybird. But no one’s behavior changes just because the private information is ubiquitous. Nor would behavior change just because a couple of people whisper their doubts to each other, creating pockets of public knowledge that the Emperor is naked. No, the only thing that changes behavior is when the little girl (what game theory would call a Missionary) announces the Emperor’s nudity loudly enough so that the entire crowd believes that everyone else in the crowd heard the news. That’s when behavior changes.
    ​ ​And so it was with Harvey Weinstein. Apparently it was no great secret that he is a serial rapist. Apparently everyone in Hollywood was familiar with the stories. It was ubiquitous private knowledge, and pretty darn ubiquitous public knowledge…
    ​ ​But there was never a Missionary. There was never anyone willing to shout the information so loudly and so publicly that it became common knowledge. That’s what Rose McGowan did, and that’s the power of Twitter and modern celebrity — to establish Missionaries and create common knowledge.
    ​ ​Once that common knowledge was created, once all the private holders of all of Weinstein’s dirty secrets believed that everyone else believed that he is a serial rapist, then everyone’s behavior changed on a dime. His publicists and lawyers and partners and colleagues and board of directors and wife were shocked … shocked! … to hear of his behavior, and certainly would no longer be representing him or working with him or associating with him ever again, even though NOTHING had changed in the information they already possessed. Ditto with Weinstein’s other victims. Their behavior changed, as well. That’s not a knock or a slam on them. In the absence of common knowledge, staying quiet — whether you’re an abettor or a victim — is the rational thing to do. In fact, this is what Weinstein and his abettors count on, that their threats and shaming and bribes will set up a Hobson’s Choice for victims. Sure you can go public, but no one will believe you and then we will ruin you. So yeah, go ahead. It’s your choice. Of course no one goes public, because a Hobson’s Choice is not a real choice. Only a victim with Missionary power (and that’s a really rare thing) has the option to not just go public with the story — because simply going public is not enough to change behavior — but to create common knowledge with the story.

    ​New York Medical Examiner declares that Jeffrey Epstein is dead​, and that he even did it himself, and broke all those bones in his neck by hanging himself with sheets made flimsy to prevent that, by tying a sheet to the 6 foot high top bunk and jumping off it in a cannonball pose, just right to do all the damage.
    Not explained is how the corpse that doesn’t have Epstein’s nose or ear is Epstein, or the massively bruised side of the face, or the swollen ear with blood in the canal, nor if the fingerprints matched, etc.
    His brother said the corpse was Jeff. That’s probably enough under New York law.
    Somebody’s corpse is claimed and soon to be quietly and completely disposed of.

    ​42% of Americans believe Jeffrey Epstein was murdered. 29% believe he killed himself. Other speculations not included in poll. Mission Accomplished!
    ​ ​Only 29% of American Adults believe Epstein actually committed suicide while in jail, Rasmussen found. Another 42% think Epstein was murdered to prevent him from testifying against powerful people with whom he associated. A sizable 29% are undecided. Other theories have been floated (though they weren’t included in the poll). One is the notion that a ‘body double’ was found for Epstein, then was killed and posed to look like him in his jail, while the real Epstein fled.

    ​On Wednesday The Daily Beast posted a story that Ghislaine Maxwell was seen sitting openly at a burger joint in LA, reading a book about CIA operatives who died and/or were imprisoned due to their work. She identified herself to the photographer when asked. She has not been spotted in public for years. She apparently is a veteran reviewer for Amazon, and the next day 8/15/19 posted and Amazon review of the book under “G. Maxwell”, which is either touching or a joke, or a message to insiders. I thought it was a joke at first, but she may well have actually posted it. See these stories by Helen of DesTroy, and the author of the book​ (sold out from her review). “Format: Kindle edition” is a mistake, isn’t it?
    G. Maxwell
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A comforting read after a personal tragedy
    August 15, 2019
    Format: Kindle Edition
    A good friend of mine died recently under very tragic circumstances. Some of us saw it coming for quite a while but it was still a huge shock when it finally happened. I picked up this book at the advice of a friend and absolutely couldn’t put it down. I’d read it walking the dog, getting fast food, or even just lounging around the house. It helped me realized that my friend really believed in something, and that giving your life for the CIA, NSA, FBI, Mossad, or other intelligence agency is truly a higher calling and not something to mourn. A wholehearted recommendation.

  32. yeah, keep looking inward, and keep digging deeper and deeper… you may find something…. or maybe nothing… Michel Foucault went down that rabbit hole and came up empty-handed. psychology has no answer to your social-historical questions. heck, psychology has no grounded answer to your personal questions either…. but hey, your masters who own and run your world would rather have you staring inward than outward…

  33. The Titanic steams on.
    Some on board have a good measure of wisdom and knowledge – some do not.
    But all on board will arrive at the same destination
    at the same time
    up ahead
    out there somewhere in the vast uncharted sea
    the iceberg waits for thee
    and also for me.

  34. “… but they themselves are just like the rest of us: empty processes playing themselves out for no one…”
    I don’t think this is right. Yes, we can say the same about a vast forest made up of individual trees, but when the forest has been destroyed, we begin to see that there was more than a forest there — there was an entire ecosystem of rich and complex interaction. Things are not as simple as we perceive. I can see that “they” are not like the rest of us. I can see that we are not empty processes. I can see that we play ourselves out for different reasons and with different intent. Intent may be the defining factor. Are we here to deceive and manipulate, or to enlighten and educate? Are we here to be the tide that raises all boats, or the directed tsunami that destroys “enemy” boats? Are we here to serve evil, or serve the common good?

    1. We’re not here to serve. It’s not clear that we’re here for a reason at all, but the best way to make the most of it is to love and act accordingly. The Golden Rule on steroids

  35. Most excellent. Watts would have loved it, and Buddha is smiling.

  36. On the off chance that I’m not the only one here who doesn’t understand the substance of this article, can someone explain if this helps save the planet from destruction or save the underprivileged from lives of misery. If it’s not intended to tackle those problems, even indirectly, is it just a way for the individual to live better? – which is, of course, a worthy goal.

    1. It is about liberation and enlightenment. In such a state, people are less prone to planetary destruction, and are generally inclined to try and reduce the misery of others. Like ripples in a pond, enlightenment is transmitted and passed along. If enough people attain that state, eventually things would be better for everyone. (my interpretation in answer to your question).

      1. I can’t really comment on the thinking or behaviour of enlightened beings, but there’s a kind of dilemma here for activists in an apparent choice between engaging with suffering in the world (e.g. oppression, injustice, ecological collapse) or engaging it within yourself by changing your perception of conflict and struggle (e.g. meditation, self-realisation). That’s why a lot of activists condemn the New Age movement, with some even seeing it as a CIA conspiracy to neutralise dissent (with some justification, as with the CIA manufactured religion of a current Democratic contender).

        I guess whether you perceive a contradiction there and how you resolve it is up to you, but it might be worth remembering the old Zen saying “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

        1. That is one of my favorite sayings. Another, credited to The Buddha, is: “The only knowable purpose of (human) life is the elimination of suffering.” I take that to mean the suffering of all sentient beings. In that sense, enlightenment can, and does, often lead to activism.

  37. Right, all we have to do is “awakening on a large scale” so we can use “the power of our numbers.”

    Do many people hate reality so much that they are moved to deny it?
    And we thought Jesus was wrong saying there’s a better world out there that you can get to if you think right and act right… people are dying to get there.
    Don’t worry about Earthly things. They’re not real anyway, and besides, you’d just get in the plutocrats way.

  38. I wanna be a witness. The best witness I can be.
    Thanks Caitlin.

  39. For an extended riff on a similar metaphor see Alan Watts’ The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, or pretty much all of his stuff really.

    1. Yep, just what I was thinking.

  40. don’t care about the world’s problems….just focus on yours….

    there are no “the world’s problems”, there are just problems that you have….

    there is no “the world”, there are just individuals, such as you.

  41. Bonnie Marie Benson Avatar
    Bonnie Marie Benson

    Well done – many thanks.

  42. Genevieve Marcus Avatar
    Genevieve Marcus

    Your article on consciousness was a surprise. It was also a bit complicated.

    I have written an article which I am expanding into a book of some sort that describes a model that
    aims to solve all the social and environmental problems afflicting all big cities worldwide and how to get from here to there. It’s only about 14 pages. Do you want to see it? I would be grateful for your feedback.

    Genevieve Marcus
    Experimental Cities, Inc.
    Los Angeles, California

  43. Daniel D Henrickson Avatar
    Daniel D Henrickson

    You’re amazing Caitlin

    1. You don’t exist, Sister Caitlin.
      That’s nice, kinda’ reassuring.
      “Me” too…

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