“I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”
~ Samuel Beckett

Sometimes it just gets to be too goddamn much. You just finished a soul-draining argument with a family member who insists that Putin controls all major world events because that’s what the TV said so it must be true, then you check the poll numbers for the upcoming elections in the US and UK and you see your favorite candidates just don’t have the kind of numbers they’re going to need, the latest revelation that the US and its allies deceived the world about what’s happening in Syria has been completely swept under the rug by the establishment news churn, Bolivia has been taken over by US-backed Christian fascists, and now you’re watching Mike Pompeo’s stupid asshole face spouting some made-up bullshit about Iran that you know the news media will never hold him accountable for.

And it’s just too goddamn much.

To become oppositional to the status quo is to enter into a long-term relationship with despair. It’s not a monogamous relationship; you’ll have the occasional affair with anger, a fling with fear, a rendezvous with rage, and every once in a while even a brief tryst with triumph. But you always end up drunkenly stumbling home to bed with the old ball-and-chain despair.

Every time you think you might have the bastards on the ropes, every time you see a shining crack in the cage, a glowing glitch in the matrix, it’s quickly covered up by some gibberish about Russia or empty shrieking about Donald Trump, and then everyone’s herded along into the next authorised imperial narrative.

This is because the deck is stacked so very high against you. The rulers of the empire have all the money, all the resources, all the infrastructure and almost all the media, and they use these advantages ceaselessly to shift things around in order to prevent the unwashed masses from rising up and toppling their palaces.

It’s possible to avoid confronting this reality by busying oneself with activism and information, but at some point despair always kicks in.

So what do you do? I get asked this all the time.

“How do you stay so optimistic, Caitlin?” people often ask me. “How, in the face of so much deception, exploitation and oppression, do you avoid giving in to despair?”

Well I’ll tell you my secret: I don’t.

I don’t avoid despair at all. I give into it fully, over and over and over again.

Whenever things seem hopeless and I feel like I’m bashing my head against a solid brick wall, I just say, “Fine then. I quit.”

And then I do.

I quit fully. I let go of the entire battle. I let go of all the responsibility I feel to help create a better world. I let go of my desire to stick it to the bastards, and I relinquish every inch of skin I’ve got in this game. I lay down (sometimes literally), and I stop struggling against the relentless tide of establishment evil.

And I feel a tremendous relief. Ah, what a great feeling! To no longer be holding the world together with my efforts!

Having been granted the thing that it wanted, the crushing weight of despair is lifted from my chest. It snatches its terrible prize and slithers off to gnaw on it in a dark corner somewhere.

And then something interesting happens. The world keeps turning. And it doesn’t fall apart.

It’s the darndest thing. I stopped holding off armageddon through sheer force of will, yet the world remains. The sun comes up, the birds chirp, the internet forum debates continue, and my lungs keep taking in oxygen.

A lot of magic can happen in that space. When you quit. When you relinquish the illusion that your sustained, straining willpower has anything to do with the continued battle against corruption and bloodshed.

Because in that moment you see clearly that it’s got nothing to do with you. Anti-imperialists pick up their weapons and begin the battle anew each morning, regardless of anything you’re doing or saying. Your body keeps taking in air, pumping blood and digesting food regardless of anything you’re doing or saying. And, without the assistance of any Atlas-like effort on your part whatsoever, you’ll notice that your body also re-engages in the battle.

Because what the hell else is it going to do? Not fight? Of course not. What has been seen will never be unseen. Your operating system isn’t going to stop fighting the bad guys just because you stopped willing it to, any more than your body will refrain from putting its arms up when someone throws a baseball at your head.

You can trust that your whole body-brain-organism-thingy will keep fighting with or without the sustained straining of your personal willpower. And that works out nicely, because it’s the sustained straining of your personal willpower that creates the sense of despair. If you aren’t constantly straining to win elections, expose wrongdoing, topple the oligarchs and end wars by sheer force of will, and are rather just picking up your weapons of truth and compassion and doing what comes naturally to you from moment to moment, then despair really has nothing to work with, because you’re not fixated on some remote end-goal that keeps getting obstacles thrown in front of it.

Journalist Chris Hedges once said, “I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists.” It’s the fighting itself that matters, and you can trust that that fighting will continue even without your sustained personal will.

Don’t take my word for it. Next time you find yourself feeling like you can’t go on fighting this fight anymore, just give up. Quit. Then watch what happens. Before long you’ll see your fingers typing dissident ideas onto screens, you’ll hear your voice speaking unauthorized truths, you’ll watch your mind forming forbidden ideas. And it will all be happening without “you”, without the sustained personal effort of the thing you take yourself to be.

This fight will fight itself, if you let it. And it can actually fight a lot more efficiently without the sustained sense of personal effort constantly bogging the whole process down with frustration and despair. Just let your body’s operating system fight this one on its own. It doesn’t need your help.

And in the end, maybe the war will be won. Maybe it won’t. It’s really none of your business. Your job is to let your organism fight for its life, as it’s been conditioned to do by millions of years of evolution. That evolutionary drive to survive was here long before you showed up, and it will remain after you’re gone. It’s got nothing to do with you. So stand back and let it fight.


(Image via  www.aboblist.com)

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65 responses to “A Surefire Cure For Despair”

  1. Great piece, Caitlin; in 12 Step Recovery programs, we surrender to win, and paradoxically our powerlessness sets us free!

  2. Nothing promotes evolution for any organism so much as stress. Trust that there are powerful, yet less than omnipotent forces at work dedicated to promoting your personal evolution… one way or another… at an ever accelerating rate. Fear not, should the black and white of the Yin and Yang ever dissolve into the void of gray, the universe would then become a very dull place indeed. What then would be the point? Please be advised that nothing is ever so dangerous as a bored omnipotent entity. That said, please at least refuse to be boring… we don’t expect anyone to actually figure things out and get it “right”. There is no “right” to be found, only personal evolution.

  3. The despair is the unconscious acknowledgement of the gravity of our situation. This is a battle for power and control between the ruling sociopaths and the bulk of humanity, where, despite their tiny proportion of the population, the sociopaths are winning handily. Most of humanity doesn’t even know there is a battle taking place, which is a critical part of the sociopaths’ winning strategy. For the few of us that do see the battle, and how lopsided it is, despair is a natural consequence. It leads us inevitably to The Choice: Do or die. As no one gets out of this alive anyway, the “Do” option is the only one that makes sense.

    1. Good thoughts Chico.


    “The Intercept is under attack. Help [them] keep publishing. As legal and security costs grow, [they] depend on reader support. $538K still needed this year.”

    You can’t make this stuff up. $2.4million is their total fund-raising goal. I’m pretty sure billionaire founder/Snowden documents destroyer Pierre Omidyar tossed more than that to his National Endowment for “Democracy” in the last fiscal quarter alone. Where would we be if Betsy Reed, James Risen, Robert Mackey, Cora Currier, Micah Lee, Mehdi Hassan, and Murtaza Hussein fell off the US-centralized empire’s propaganda gravy train because of ungrateful misers like you? Where would John Kiriakou and Daniel Hale be without legendary source-burner Matthew Cole? To be fair, Reality Winner got what she deserved. I apologize to humanity for having ever thought Jeremy Scahill, Laura Poitras, and Glenn Greenwald had integrity.

    1. Spelling correction: Mehdi HASAN. My typo was a Freudian slip, because he’s such a colossal ASS. Also, The Intercept burned currently incarcerated FBI whistleblower Terry Albury, and Jeffrey Sterling did time as the result of James Risen being a cowardly simpleton. If you’re considering donating money, may I suggest Koch brother funded NPR or PBS?

  5. *BOMBSHELL!!!*
    So-called “news” outlets prepare obituaries of notable people in advance. The Guardian, Intercept, Democracy Now!, New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio, and PBS Newshour had a shared one on file that just leaked:
    “Hate-worthy Wikileaks founder Julian Assange definitely committed suicide yesterday to avoid a completely justified US extradition case for successfully collaborating with Vladimir Putin and Roger Stone to meddle in the 2016 democratic presidential election, endangering national security, and violating Woodrow Wilson and Barack Obama’s espionage act. What was he afraid of? According to widely-respected law professor John Yoo, enhanced interrogation is not torture. Additionally, the weirdly white-haired Assange faced multiple rape charges in Sweden, which is in no way a despicable, disgusting, pathetic blob puppet. He has also appeared on the Russia Today network, which, according to the US State Department and brilliant Bellingcat, is partially or wholly funded by the goblins under your bed. Credible journalists James Ball, Luke Harding, and Kath Viner confirm that the current government of Ecuador is fully independent of the benevolent International Monetary Fund, and supports asylum/international law and human rights. They also maintain “Lady” Emma Arbuthnot and Vanessa Baraitser are competent and uncompromised jurists, and that the United Nations and its special rapporteurs are a stupid joke, as opposed to the trustworthy and George Soros/Pierre Omidyar-funded Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and National Endowment for Democracy. Current and former Australian prime ministers are satisfied that the music was, indeed, faced. In closing, socks were not laundered, cat litter was not scooped, feces was smeared, Pamela Anderson is a whore, the First Amendment is alive and well, and the Central “Intelligence” Agency unimpeachably makes the world a demonstrably better place for humanity.”

  6. How about a truth commission? Mr. Charles Hugh Smith brings it up but never sees it ever happening.
    What humanity needs is a ” machine ” that when attached to your brain tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth whether you want it to or not.

  7. This piece made me look up Chris Hedges for something, and I happened upon a speech transcript in which he quotes someone saying poetry is more important than bread (for these times). So that’s my excuse for posting a second link to a video. It’s been more and more my personal theme song in recent decades. Bathe in a turning tide, indeed:

    The Fixx – “Driven Out”

    “Driven out by thieves,
    I watch them pillage the planet.
    Fueled by fattening greed,
    trees fall to the hatchet.

    We’re chopping against the grain,
    our spirits in a vacuum.
    Sadly ignore the pain,
    the end arrives, we all lose.

    I hope it comes, it comes, it comes around.
    Driven out, holding out,
    day by day survival.
    Castaways have silent lives,
    with the strength to rival you!

    Plugged into my TV,
    I’m used to the lies they’re telling me.

    Now I’m hoping that we’ll find,
    more to life than meets the eye.
    Can we escape the grind,
    and build a life that’s more worthwhile?

    Be rid of this empty pride,
    full of selfishness inside.
    Bathe in a turning tide!
    Until then we all hide…

    Driven out, holding out,
    it could take up your best time…”

  8. Love this, Caitlin. The comments, too. A while back I realized how tightly I held to the belief that if I were to stop worrying about the world, the world would somehow slip through the cracks and fall into irrecoverable chaos — so therefore it was my duty, an act of love for all that is, to worry with a thick mix of prayer and will. Naturally, an image of Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders arose, only this was a middle-aged woman holding the world in her arms as she worries, worries, worries. This evolved into a network of middle-aged and older women all over the world worrying the world into safety, into peace, into its very existence. A vast network of care, concern, and worry holding everything up. It’s probably a response to my helplessness and impotence while watching millennials working two jobs to pay off massive student debt for what amounts to voc ed while they contemplate the prospect of never owning their own home and the continued loss of privacy and autonomy to forces they cannot see. And they remain so sweet and accepting throughout. Sometimes I wonder if that network of constantly worrying older women may someday erupt into a Godzilla of righteousness tramping across the planet, ripping bankers, CEOs, CIA/FBI agents, media moguls, MKUltra-style mind-fuckers, and sociopathic predators of all stripes out of their beds, bunks and boardrooms, rolling them into a single tight noxious ball and then hurling that toxic dripping mass through the deepest, darkest black hole in the furthest realm of outer space.

    Then maybe we could resume the evolutionary promise of all species on this most beautiful planet.

    1. Thank You Ms Black! Very Well Said!

  9. I’m inspired to post musical accompaniment:

    Sniff ‘n’ The Tears – “Driver’s Seat”

    “Jenny was sweet,
    she always smiled for the people she’d meet.
    On trouble and strife,
    she had another way of looking at life.

    The news is blue,
    it has its own way to get you.
    What can I do?
    I’ll never remember my time with you.

    Pick up your feet,
    got to move to the trick of the beat.
    There is no elite.
    Just take your place in the driver’s seat.”

    1. Aaahh, Minecritter! One of my all-time favourite songs! That one song was their magnum opus, and then they sort of faded back into semi obscurity.
      I think Sniff ‘n’ The Tears are still going?

      1. Gosh, I don’t know if they are still going. They could be. I am often surprised to find old favorites I haven’t heard from in years have recent work on You Tube. High five for awesome song!

      2. Didn’t they become Crowded House? Or some of them did, anyway, could be wrong.

        1. Huh, I hadn’t heard that. I took a quick peek at wikipedia, and it says some members of Crowded House were in Split Enz, and one in Supertramp, among other groups. And… what’s this? Neil Finn joined Fleetwood Mac last year?

  10. At Thanksgiving, I couldn’t think of anything to be thankful for, except not being somewhere people had things a lot worse, like Yemen, or Belmarsh Prison. I thought of something just now. I’m thankful for the Internet. In spite of all the propaganda and messed up people. I would not have found Caitlin without the Internet. Or Glenn Greenwald. Or Chris Hedges, or many others. Actually, there is no one in real life I can speak freely with, and everyone whose opinion I respect is only available to me through the Internet. Without the Internet, I would only know what I learned in school about Martin Luther King, and Christopher Columbus. Before the Internet, I had heard Noam Chomsky’s name, but didn’t know what he was famous for. Before the Internet, I thought “military industrial complex” and “COINTELPRO” were things only said by people in tinfoil hats. I literally thought Smedley Butler was a cartoon character. I may have confused him with Snidely Whiplash.
    Without the Internet, I’d be nodding along with the TV like everyone else. It sucks to be alone. I wouldn’t go back to being brainwashed though.

    1. Exactly the same here mate! I feel like Caitlin in this article and sometimes so depressed with despair that I just want to end it, but that survival instinct kicks in and before long I’m ready for another fight. I got my first computer in 2011 and it has awakened me immensely and changed my perception of the reality we live in. I have Bi-polar disorder and get so damned depressed from worrying about what’s happening in the world, but I don’t ever regret getting that computer, it has made me a better and more aware person. Keep up the good fight mate!

    2. Before the internet there were books about history and we read them (Howard Zinn). Back when we had historians that were not part of Operation Mockingbird. The internet did not give us the quest for knowledge or the desire to peel back the layers of our reality. Those intrinsic characteristics are a part of our experience in this incarnation. We are all on the path to enlightenment. Well, we are supposed to be anyway. Some are stumbling along and others are experiencing this dimension in strictly physical terms. But, grow we must because that is our destiny. To become better iterations of ourselves, both individually and collectively is our imperative. What is life about if it is not about something. Most people are mindlessly grazing in the pasture of life and accepting what is provided. Others want better for the world. Others reach out with empathy for those with less and try to lift our brothers and sisters in small ways. The internet could disappear tomorrow and the struggle would still be waged. Read the book Strike (Brecher) for a history of life in the work force. There has always been individuals that would stand up to power. History is replete with the hero myth. We should all try and be one to somebody in some way. Welcome to the path, it is not so well worn.

      1. So, Minecritter you are not alone!

        1. Thanks George. I recently read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the US for the first time. I only knew about the book from the Internet though. I wonder if I’d have found it by now if the Internet wasn’t invented.

  11. “To become oppositional to the status quo is to enter into a long-term relationship with despair…” how very true. Wow. This is why I love Caitlin! She is so refreshingly honest. And at the top of my list for geopolitical analysts. Despair? This is what I breathe in and out, too, on a daily basis. How can we not despair about our frightening, US fascist government that wants the world to heel at its command. If we are truly awake, how can we “not” despair? Those who don’t despair, don’t care! To most of them, life revolves around their little plot of earth, TV propaganda, family, church & flag. That’s most of my neighborhood in Montana, a Bible Belt that rivals Mississippi (claims my husband who grew up there). No one around here (or in my family in CA), cares about what the recent coup in Bolivia, or the ongoing one in Venezuela, or taunting China, Russia or Iran into WW3, or cares about the starving people in Yemen, or the 9 year old war in Syria? Who cares about anything outside of one’s own home? Narcissism and ignorance are rampant! To those of us who “painfully” see through the propaganda, SEE and FEEL the deadly truth about how close we are to nuclear extinction, YES, we feel and breath despair…right along with Caitlin. Thanks for your daily bravery, Caitlin, and for being that strong enough voice to say “I’ve had enough of this *s…t*”!! But knowing, deep inside, you’ll get back up…because that’s what leadership is all about. I adore your fighting, endless spirit. And despair. Because you care so much.

  12. I do enjoy Caitlin’s gift with language.

    affair with anger
    fling with fear
    rendezvous with rage
    tryst with triumph

    are all good names for a band, too. 🙂

  13. Hindus and Buddhists believe that just as in our world there are the four seasons, so likewise the Universe goes through endless cycles of growth, maturity, decay and dissolution. Everything is beautiful and good at the beginning of each cycle, but as the wheel of time relentlessly turns darkness and decadence spread and virtue begins to wither everywhere, culminating eventually in some cataclysm which resets everything so that a new cycle may begin. I imagine we may be located precisely in the downswing of one such cycle.

    If this is true, the closing of the current epoch will merely make way for the commencement of a new one, just as winter gives way to spring. In this, and in the midst of despair, I find solace.

  14. How do we make the “powers that be” irrelevant?
    I promise you, if we “fight” them, in the way we’ve fought all previous revolutions, we get that – just another revolving shit-storm that just might take us all down this next time.
    Evolution, NOT revolution.

    We don’t win in any of the traditionally understood ways. We win by taking them down, 100,000,000 small cuts over time. You matter and the voice you bring to awakening matters, so keep at it, sister!
    Manifestation works can and does help; you just need to know that you can and then you can!
    Project stabilization, I think is a good name for what we’re doing.

    Please like and follow if this resonates:

  15. I believe compassion is the key to seeking a better way. Some people have it and strangely, some people don’t. It’s not really encouraged in our “civilized” society.

  16. Dear Caitlin, I am so glad I found you, it’s like hearing the echo of your my own mind.

  17. Awe, (relaxing breath) thank you.

  18. Hi Caitlin, estoy completamente de acuerdo….. You’ re the good friend we need in these terrible and dark times to survive and enjoy our magic and mysterious lives. And here’s my personal hymn:


    Let’s carry on….

    With Love from Lima/Peru

  19. Yes, you know, just do all you can do, and don’t worry.
    And yes, sometimes taking things lightly for a little while can help to recover; e.g. a quick chuckle from The Onion on brave Tulsi:
    One-Eyed Man Who Kamala Harris Locked Up 25 Years Ago Quietly Removes Tulsi Gabbard Mask — The Onion

  20. Mike Pompeo’s stupid asshole face made me giggle

  21. “Every time you think you might have the bastards on the ropes, every time you see a shining crack in the cage, a glowing glitch in the matrix, it’s quickly covered up by some gibberish about Russia or empty shrieking about Donald Trump, and then everyone’s herded along into the next authorised imperial narrative”.

    A mistake intelligent, educated people like Caitlin usually make is to see these political arguments as debates based on facts, figures and logic. (And conducted with goodwill, under Robert’s Rules of Order).

    They ain’t.

    What is actually happening is that the Powers That Be are using every dirty trick in the book to get their way, which depends critically on keeping the population misinformed about everything that matters.

    To do this, their most powerful weapon is the primate mind. When properly stimulated, all higher primates (except perhaps the solitary orang-utan) are powerfully compelled to cling together in an outward-facing group.

    Everyone in the group is a friend; everyone outside the groups is an enemy. And the group needs one or more leaders. You can recognise them by their ultra-dominant behaviour, the confident way they give orders, and their assumption that they have an inborn right to command. (Also the way they ruthlessly beat up – or kill – anyone who disobeys, obstructs, questions or even disrespects them).

    Sound familiar so far? Well, that is exactly how chimps and baboons behave – and, take my word for it, human beings are just the same.

    So what we want to treat as a civilised, intelligent, informed debate is really a simple yes-or-no question.

    “Do you choose to be a member in good standing of our in-group, or not? If so, you must swear allegiance, obey all commands without hesitation or thought, and – above all – believe whatever you are told, however absurd. The penalty for not doing any of this is to be cast into outer darkness beyond the protection of the group”.

    So when someone says that Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson or Donald Trump (or anyone else) is a Russian agent, what they are really telling you is “That person is not a member of our group. He is, in fact, a spy for the enemy group. KILL HIM!!!”

    1. Speaking of baboons here is a reminder of what the animal brain looks like
      when it surfaces in otherwise “civilised, intelligent” humans:
      Skip ahead to the 9:21 mark in this video and you will find snippets from the
      likes of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow and other howlers.
      The entire video is pretty damn good (except he appears to let the MSM off
      the hook and mentions nothing about the MSM being the mouthpiece for
      the Deep State). Truly worth watching. Enjoy.

    2. I hope you do not mind Mr. Welsh, but I had to email your entire comment to a man who fails to understand that ” pure logic ” is not something the average ” human being ” uses for anything. Your comment is a ” masterpiece ” as far as I am concerned and I would like your permission to reprint it on my own blog. Thanks!

    3. Very good point. Thank you.

  22. fack-checked. Nice slip-up there, Huh?

  23. Oh Caitlin, you have captured exactly those cycles of despair, fight despair. Some of my greatest despair has to do with my family. Like you, I can try to argue, document, send links to relevant and fack-checked information, but no. My parents have changed from being Republicans to Democrats, as serves their self-interest best now that they are pensioned, but the idea that the whole system is a cespool, just won’t sink in. My sister has a large collection of handguns and rifles and likes Pompeo. Her husband keeps quiet (probably the best idea in this case) and concentrates on buying good wine and driving his classy sports car. And then I say to myself, if I can’t even get my own family onboard, what hope is there…

    But as you say, I’m still here, reading, writing and trying in my own utterly small and impotent way to carry on. Why? Because I just can’t do anything else…

    1. I have also felt despair that if I can’t influence my own family, who else would ever listen to me? Somewhere I saved a link to a Glenn Greenwald tweet from years ago, I can’t find it right now, but he said he’d just visited his family and experienced frustration at being unable to persuade. Glenn Greenwald is the greatest debater I’ve ever seen, so I think of that when my family gets me down. I suspect our families are the most resistant to our logic, not the least resistant.

  24. Joseph Mirzoeff Avatar
    Joseph Mirzoeff

    The polls are bogus. They pushed 5 DNC favorites at you: Biden, Buttegieg, Harris, Warren, (self-promoting liar), and Sanders (who ended up selling us out in 2016). It is unfortunate that the bogus results of these polls have had so much influence, by DNC rules on debate exposure, and through emotion. Tulsi and Yang are doing well in NH. I figure their current counts should be multiplied by 3, and the pushed candidates reduced by half. This puts Tulsi first at 18% and Yang second at about 15%. Harris just dropped out. Biden, allegedly now leading, is a criminal, and his wife was in on the poll scam from the start. I am obviously guessing – after NH (Feb 11) we will know more.

  25. Thanks again Caitlin. It’s true…. Give Up, Quit, Surrender….
    Something I learnt years ago when I attended 12 step groups. Stop fighting.
    Regards the state of the World, I don’t bother anymore trying to get friends to open their eyes.
    They have to do that Themselves.
    I’ve pointed them to various independent news sites, they know the names, but if they won’t investigate those sites, why bother?
    The recent OPCW scandal, and the revelations of the whistle blowers is a prime example.
    I didn’t bother telling my friends about the stories here and other sites like Moon Of Alabama regards the second OPCW whistle-blower because I Already Did when the first whistle-blower came forward.
    I passed all that onto friends who had sworn black & blue ‘Animal Assad’ gassed his own people.
    The response? There was None. Zero. Nada. Nix.
    In future messages, they never even mentioned the subject, like I’d said Nothing about the OPCW.
    The same thing happened when I mentioned the White Helmets and who ran them. Had just one response claiming Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett were puppets of Assad. Sigh.
    So yeah, why keep hitting your head against a brick wall. Let it go….

  26. Nick Kouyoumdjian Avatar
    Nick Kouyoumdjian

    Than for this advice, really inspiring. Feel better already. X

  27. Whenever my brothers and I would feel despairing growing up, we’d tell each other: “That’s exactly what the CIA wants you to feel.” Telling myself that these days continues to work like a charm! Despair? Fuck you, CIA!

    Two notes: I don’t think it was Chris Hedges who said that thing about fighting fascists because they’re fascists. The great John Gerassi said those exact words in an interview I did with him 9 years ago.

    About throwing a baseball at your head: Here’s a relevant poem by Kenneth Patchen, called “The Origins of Baseball”:

    Someone had been walking in and out
    Of the world without coming
    To much decision about anything.
    The sun seemed too hot most of the time.
    There weren’t enough birds around
    And the hills had a silly look
    When he got on top of one.
    The girls in heaven, however, thought
    Nothing of asking to see his watch
    Like you would want someone to tell
    A joke–‘Time,’ they’d say, ‘what’s
    That mean–time?’ laughing with the edges
    Of their white mouths, like a flutter of paper
    In a madhouse. And he’d stumble over
    General Sherman or Elizabeth B.
    Browning, muttering, ‘Can’t you keep
    Your big wings out of the aisle?’ But down
    Again, there’d be millions of people without
    Enough to eat and men with guns just
    Standing there shooting each other.
    So he wanted to throw something
    And he picked up a baseball.

    Thank you, Caitlin!!

  28. 1000 Thanks, Ms Johnstone, I will keep on keeping on.
    Ah, the Buddha Ms Caitlin speaks the truth!

  29. Good one Caitlin!
    And all you other like-minded commenters!

    As I commented after watching the feminist women’s collective in Chile the other day, standing, dancing, singing, chanting their rage against the rapist, abusive, killer, riot squad cops there, echoed in their own tongues almost immediately by women around the world: Capitalists/capitalism doesn’t stand a chance!

    They/it do of course.
    But if it seems less chance every day, that takes a lifetime, & probably more lifetimes still…

    While humanity lives, we live.

    Never no guarantees.
    We’ll be here fighting, giving up, fighting on … as long as.

  30. “If you get confused,
    Just listen to the music play”
    Hey, it works for me. Although once, I did have the college kids next door come over and ask me to turn the music down. 🙂

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkbzCTggD80
      Grateful Dead : Help On the Way > Slipknot > Franklin’s Tower > Music Never Stopped
      –recorded Live: 6/19/1976 – Capitol Theatre (Passaic, NJ)

  31. Righto, Caitlin:
    I just grab my mala and let the mantra start protecting the mind from it’s natural propensity to stray into errant thoughts. After three rounds I can sense a change and am more aware of the base state of my consciousness; after seven rounds I’m generally not troubled and possibly even touching ecstasy, maybe even chanting a little out loud. Finishing off at ten rounds there’s a new grasp on whatever I’m going to want to do, often completely different that what I was thinking when I started saying the mantra silently forty minutes earlier, or maybe an idea about how to pick up that formerly overwhelming load and tote it another short distance toward where it wants or needs to go. Or I may have fallen asleep during if I am tired. An invocation prior and a sharing of merit following keeps the practice within reasonable bounds. Glad your surrender and resting works for you.

  32. Righto, Caitlin:
    I just grab my mala and let the mantra start protecting the mind from it’s natural propensity to stray into errant thoughts. After three rounds I can sense a change and am more aware of the base state of my consciousness; after seven rounds I’m generally not troubled and possibly even touching ecstasy, maybe even chanting a little out loud. Finishing off at ten rounds there’s a new grasp on whatever I’m going to want to do, often completely different that what I was thinking when I started saying the mantra silently forty minutes earlier, or maybe an idea about how to pick up that formerly overwhelming load and tote it another short distance toward where it wants or needs to go. Or I may have fallen asleep during if I am tired. An invocation prior and a sharing of merit following keeps the practice within reasonable bounds.

  33. I love you. Thank you.

  34. So sorry to hear of all that despair, but maybe someday you’ll be able to say, ‘I told you so’, but more likely than not the fascists will pay off your family members and closest friends to smear you as the ugliest worse thing that ever existed, try to get you to believe it yourself, before the closest soul person to you, kills you. Because, that’s who and what these deep state people are. And, it’s a lot worse than that, but they’ll never let me say it.

  35. You are right, letting go is essential. While I consume every bit if of fact checked information I can lay my hands on, I let it go. It really doesn’t go anywhere, and I trust my mind to make sense of it and order the information in a way that when I need to reflect on it, it is there in a coherent form without my having to make some kind of incessant effort to organize those thoughts. Oh yes I have to acquire the information, and that is a lot of work, but once the work is done, I let my brain do what it does best and that is make sense of it. I trust my mind body to understand the meaning of it in terms of our collective need to survive. I don’t for one minute however think that I can ever take a vacation from the constant pressure, I just keep finding more novel ways to deal with it.

    In order to win, I have to be good, real good, so I enjoy the challenge that the current cabal in power throws at me because it forces me to grow, to become better at what they do than they are, because there is something deep down in my heart that is so precious that I just could never ever just give up and let it die. By meeting the challenge, my heart grows and in that process I begin to realize that it isn’t my thinking process that is so precious, it is my heart and that wonderful warm burring feeling in the middle of my chest that is so precious, and I always need to remind myself that I have to be in the service of that precious warmth that is all around me.

    From that perspective I don’t care how much ugliness is thrown in my face, I will always find a way to convert that ugliness into something beautiful. Whenever I come upon other life forms like a squirrel, raven, mocking bird, I look at then and think to myself, wow, you have a heart just like me; you must feel the same things I feel. And then it hits me just how precious everything is and that I am part of this preciousness called life, and I reflect for a moment and then say to myself, hey you, you are part of this life and this life is part of you, if you love life, then you will do everything in your power to make sure that you never let life down.

    For some reason those feelings in my heart provide the energy to allow me to keep going even when my tired brain sees no hope at all. I don’t understand this, but I love those feelings, and there is no difficulty I won’t take on to keep those feelings alive.

    I love love, I love life and I want everyone to love love and love life and look around and realize that is what every living creature on earth is part of; yes including us and those the we hate and those that we love.

  36. klaus von berlin Avatar
    klaus von berlin

    United States of Wonderland is run by presidential appointments who are little more than poorly disguised political payoffs , that only promise diminished civil liberties and new layers of governmental incompetence as far and wide as one can see ,to the populace. Congress having been purchased at wholesale or held hostage by big money interest .A big success to the oligarchs. And where is the mainstream media and most Wonderlanders on this. Oblivious, complacent, twittering, ineffectual, for sale ,or just plain stupefied. Just like the populace in the land of Down-under. Capitalism-facism is war not Democracy period.

  37. You’re right, Caitlin. I was ill in hospital once, suffering from obsessive thinking. I was exhausted. The thinking involved my past, but also my future, and it was scary. It was brought about by excessive anxiety (panic). I paced and paced, terrified. Terrified and exhausted, as I was spending every day from 6am pacing around the ward non-stop.

    One day, dying to lie down for a rest, but thinking I couldn’t, I gave up. I told myself “Let the shit flow” and lay down anyway, determined to ignore whatever thoughts crossed my mind. Thoughts floated through, but none of them as horrible or violent as what had gone before. By “quitting” I had taken away the power the thoughts had over me. I relaxed, and lo and behold, nothing happened. No horrible thoughts at all. I was immediately on the road to recovery, through something I had found out for myself, after being told by the doctors that what I had was ‘very difficult to treat’. It wasn’t difficult at all – I just gave up! Gave up fighting the thing that frightened me. And once I relaxed, I was almost immediately better.
    So your piece made immediate sense to me. Thank you.

  38. I just wonder how some of us became so immune to all the brainwashing. I don’t see anything in my life that seems special. I know I am not like the rest, but how I arrived in this place remains a mystery to me

    1. Mystifying, isn’t it?
      Perhaps the answer is found somewhere in here:
      Step 1: People tend to imitate and adopt the beliefs of those in the group they identify with
      Step 2: People use their power of rationalization to justify the beliefs they have adopted and are mimicking
      Note that imitation and and adoption of beliefs comes **before** rationalization of those beliefs. Belief first, thinking second.
      Consider religion – people are usually born into the religion they hold for their entire life. The beliefs are imitated and adopted and *then* comes the employment, if any, of intellectual study of those beliefs.
      Is partisanship that far removed from religion? Or national identity and patriotism?
      This is where confirmation bias, among other traps, comes in. Being intelligent does not inoculate one from bias and delusions, in fact, intelligence can make one skillful at rationalizing whatever beliefs one already holds !
      So, how does any of the above lead you to understanding how you “arrived in this place”?
      Perhaps you had an alienating experience and the group you identify with lost some of it’s hold upon you. At least enough of a loosening of hold such that steps 1 and 2 got reversed in their priority order.
      I am not a psychologist and I simply offer the above for your consideration.
      Food for thought.

      1. Levi Tate

        Interesting. Thanks for responding. I remember a sociology professor once told me I must have not been properly indoctrinated to the culture in a rather negative way, so no doubt something has gone wrong somewhere along the way

        To make it a little less personal, and enter the realm of tedious analysis. If we take the JFK assassination or some of the other top conspiracy theories. There are those who argue such conspiracies are simply not possible because it is simply not possible to keep such things secret. It may be the case that there is something to be said for the ‘impossible to keep it secret’ argument, but as you say this is more of a belief that a tangible fact in the normal sense of the word

        What is more concerning i the lack of acknowledgement that those who propose such beliefs generally do not like to acknowledge that such beliefs, or in their minds a type of borderline clairvoyance, and are able to transcend any responsibility for delving into the actual evidence in such cases.

        If I were to give my top 5 beliefs that are utilized the most as anti conspiracy theory memes

        ! Believing secrets can be kept in institutions is impossible

        2 Believing that supposed consensus from an institution may not be a true consensus is ludicrous

        3- Only experts can understand the intricacies of these complex circumstances.

        4 Someone in the conspiracy would have said something

        5- To believe some of most trusted leaders would organize to do such things is an outrage on the face of it

        I don’t want to dive into the mud any further in responding to these memes, and I know we did not start this as a conspiracy theory discussion per se. But to disagree with Russiagate, or any of the mainstream media’s top talking points is of course to be a conspiracy theorist since there is such unanimity in their messaging

        The bottom line is that science, or rational inquiry, always has an empirical investigation route available in subjects that lend themselves to these situations If one chooses to hang their hat on one of these 5 memes then have shown an arrogance or contempt for the empirical avenue. Thus, as you a\say, they are putting forth a belief, and not ‘thinking’

    2. I believe compassion is the key to seeking a better way. Some people have it and strangely, some people don’t. It’s not really encouraged in our “civilized” society.

  39. What interference. The few tens of thousands that have been shown to be more likely linked to New Knowledge, an d whose content was not clearly dedicated to one candidate or the other in the election. Or th even less plausible DNC/Podesta hack?

  40. Caitlin… check out this video by Mark Adams. Talk about depair.. and the sheeples are all unawares.


  41. While you’re listing idiocies of the current regime, don’t forget to add Lindsey Graham’s 1000%
    sure that the Russians interfered with the 2016 elections… on todays 12/3 Microsoft homepage… I have trouble believing that he is so stupid to still spout that nonsense…

    1. Here is what interference looks like. The AP influence peddled and then an avalanche of MSM echoed to deepen ****real**** influence peddling:
      Last night, the Associated Press — on a day when nobody voted — surprised everyone by abruptly declaring the Democratic Party primary over and Hillary Clinton the victor. The decree, issued the night before the California primary in which polls show Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a very close race, was based on the media organization’s survey of “superdelegates”: the Democratic Party’s 720 insiders, corporate donors, and officials whose votes for the presidential nominee count the same as the actually elected delegates. AP claims that superdelegates who had not previously announced their intentions privately told AP reporters that they intend to vote for Clinton, bringing her over the threshold. AP is concealing the identity of the decisive superdelegates who said this.
      Although the Sanders campaign rejected the validity of AP’s declaration — on the ground that the superdelegates do not vote until the convention and he intends to try to persuade them to vote for him — most major media outlets followed the projection and declared Clinton the winner.
      This is the perfect symbolic ending to the Democratic Party primary: The nomination is consecrated by a media organization, on a day when nobody voted, based on secret discussions with anonymous establishment insiders and donors whose identities the media organization — incredibly — conceals. The decisive edifice of superdelegates is itself anti-democratic and inherently corrupt: designed to prevent actual voters from making choices that the party establishment dislikes. But for a party run by insiders and funded by corporate interests, it’s only fitting that its nomination process ends with such an ignominious, awkward, and undemocratic sputter.
      The above is **real** influence peddling but you will never ever hear about it. Think the MSM is going to complain about itself? Forget about it. But a feather’s weight of Twitter and Facebook postings by ethnic Russians running a click-bait business – that generates millions upon millions of printed and spoken words by pundits and politicians.

      1. I agree 100%. As a California voter I was furious, and I respond to every email from DNC fundraisers reminding them of June 6, 2016. Not that they pay any attention, but it makes me feel better and I give more money to organizations that genuinely help all the refugees the US has created.

    2. What interference. The few tens of thousands that have been shown to be more likely linked to New Knowledge, an d whose content was not clearly dedicated to one candidate or the other in the election. Or th even less plausible DNC/Podesta hack?

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