The late psychonaut/philosopher Terence McKenna once said “The cost of sanity, in this society, is a certain level of alienation,” and I think my regular readers will immediately and experientially understand exactly what he was talking about.

It’s not always easy to be on the outside of consensus reality. Our entire society, after all, has been built upon consensus–upon a shared agreement about what specific mouth sounds mean, on what money is and how it works, on how we should all behave toward each other in public spaces, and on what normal human behavior in general looks like.

We all share a learned agreement that we picked up from our culture in early childhood that it’s normal and acceptable to stand around with your hands in your pockets and babble about the weather to anyone who gets too close to you, for example, whereas it would be considered weird and disruptive to stand around slathered in Cheese Whiz shrieking the word “Poop!” But we could just as easily reverse that consensus on behavioral norms tomorrow, and as long as we all agreed to it we could do it without missing a beat.

In exactly the same way, there exists a general consensus about what’s going on in our world at the moment. There’s a general consensus that we live in the kind of society we were taught about in school: a free and democratic nation which maybe did some not so great things in the past, but is now a supremely virtuous beacon of light on this earth that kicked Hitler’s ass and then surfed into the present day on a wave of truth and sensible fiscal policy. There’s a general consensus that the news reporters on our screens paint us a more or less accurate picture of world affairs, that there are a lot of Bad Guys in our world with whom the Good Guys in our government are fighting, and that most of our nation’s problems are caused by the people in the other political party.

This consensus is grounded in delusion. It is insanity.

In reality, of course, we live in a world where our understanding of the world is constantly being deceitfully manipulated by oligarchic media propaganda and the utterances of oligarch-owned politicians. Where elections are mostly just a live action role-playing game which allows the rabble to pretend that they have some degree of influence over the things that their government does. Where our government routinely forms alliances with the worst Bad Guys on the planet while manufacturing consent to topple governments whose downfall would be utterly disastrous. Where our nation’s problems have almost nothing to do with half its population disagreeing with our personal ideology, and practically everything to do with the loose international alliance of plutocrats and government agencies who actually run things behind the facade of the comings and goings of official elected governments.

Sanity means seeing this as it is, rather than subscribing to the mass delusion of the consensus worldview. Which, as you probably already know, can make it difficult to relate to others in some ways. Conversations about politics often either get heated very rapidly when you challenge a tightly-held orthodoxy or dead-end in awkwardness. Friendships can end. Family relationships can be ruined. Collective narratives about you can be woven and circulated within your social circle which have nothing to do with how you actually see things.

And that’s just if you talk about your worldview. If you keep your views to yourself, as many do, that’s just another kind of alienation. It’s to stand outside of public political discourse completely, unable to participate out of fear of the backlash you’d receive from your friends, loved ones and acquaintances if you started talking about Trump as a symptom rather than the disease, or said that Corbyn is being targeted by a transparently bogus smear campaign, or said that Russia’s interventions in world affairs are clearly dwarfed by America’s by orders of magnitude. The specific heresies will vary depending upon the social circle, but the inability to voice them necessarily comes with the same sense of alienation.

But the alternative to that sense of alienation is to live a lie. It’s to climb back inside the distorted funhouse-mirror reality tunnel of the establishment narrative control matrix and plug yourself back into the same delusions that everyone else is living. Most of us couldn’t even do that if we wanted to. Even if we could the intense mental gymnastics we’d have to perform just to avoid the discomfort of cognitive dissonance would make it not worth the effort.

We close ourselves off from a full sense of participation in our society when we depart from the consensus worldview, but in closing that door we open so many more. Because, as it turns out, all that effort that people pour into staying on the same wavelength as everyone else closes them off to a vast spectrum of potential human experience. The allure of the mass delusion is that you need to devote yourself to being plugged into it in order to achieve what the mass delusion defines as “success”, but in so doing you lose the ability to leap down psychological and experiential rabbit holes of consciousness that those still jacked into the matrix can’t even imagine. And in so doing you open up the possibility for an immensely more fulfilling and enjoyable life that has really deeply explored the more intimate questions about what it means to be a human being on this planet.

Jiddu Krishnamurti once said, “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” And a profoundly sick society is indeed what we have here. The alienation which we experience is an alienation from something that isn’t worth belonging to anyway.

I began this essay with a quote from one of the celebrated thought leaders of the psychedelic movement, and I think the question of what we can do to cope with the alienation McKenna spoke of is best answered by ending with a quote from another such leader, Timothy Leary:

“Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the ‘normal people’ as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like ‘Have a nice day’ and ‘Weather’s awful today, eh?’, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like ‘Tell me something that makes you cry’ or ‘What do you think deja vu is for?’. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others.”


Find the others.


Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemitthrowing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandisebuying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Liked it? Take a second to support Caitlin Johnstone on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

76 responses to ““The Cost Of Sanity, In This Society, Is A Certain Level Of Alienation””

  1. […]Find the others.

    If you’re really, really not like them, not even close. Then there’s no one you can find who’ s even close to you! You are light years ahead – admit it!
    LLAP =Λ=

  2. Constatar mazelas não é difícil. A civilização surgiu submetida a uma hierarquia de valores baseada num princípio sectário. Ou seja, de um lado, minorias propagandeadas como as “escolhidas” , de outro, grandes maiorias cono meras “seguidoras”. Desde a primeira codificação civilizatoria na Mesopotamia, primeira civilização conhecida, assim foi. Os árabes (futuros hebreus) adaptaram tal lógica e criaram o monoteísmo que dominaria o ocidente.

  3. Love this little essay— like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave…. but gotta be careful with the psychedelic, psychonaut theme. they are not all alike. look at the current renaissance, rebranding of these drugs to serve consensus reality… they only work sometimes….

  4. The main insanity problem that this type of society and way of life causes in citizens, in Human Beings, is in my view the unemployment that is imposed on every man or woman, and that deprives them of earning the money necessary to follow their lives, freely and independently.

    It is not necessary to follow the norm, speak and act like others, but this is only possible if you have money, a source of income, to live with dignity and support your body.

    And what is happening today is if you want to live, either in the scheme or you have no chance, and this in my view necessary to fight because otherwise we will be swallowed by this hospice that they want to impose on us.

  5. Oh please, this is nothing compared to being on the other side of the Iraq War. Speaking out against the Iraq War got you Alienated. Pointing out 2 planes taking out 3 buildings and you were not just a Conspiracy Nutcase, you were a traitor. Pointing out the absurdity of yellow cake, or how 19 Saudi’s ended up with invading Afghanistan and Iraq made you criminal.

    Pointing out the insanity today and most likely whoever you are talking to agrees with you and has something to add to the story. This is nothing, usually in a group if you’ve got a warmonger in the group taking issue with you, several in the group will actually laugh in their face.

    Sorry but respectfully you’ve got this backwards. It is the warmonger experiencing Alienation, the warmonger who is the conspiracy nutcase, the warmonger who is a traitor and the warmonger who is crazy. We win, they lose, really time to recognize this fact.

  6. Caitlin,

    You have hit the spot quoting J. Krishnamurti. As you might know, Aldous Huxley was friends with him and said in Brave New World Revisited (the best book ever on the topic of propaganda):


    “The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. “Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does.” They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.”


    Thanks in part to his interaction with J. Krishnamurti, Aldous Huxley became a proponent of what he termed Perennial Philosophy. He was convinced that this was the ONLY avenue to “save the world” (to the extent that it is savable). See the book and its main conclusion on Page 229 here:

    Best, Anon.

  7. The old timers relied on their guts, their feet were on the ground and their hands were doing something usefull. Now people go from car to cubicle, back home to sit and stare at the Moron Box. But everyday more people wake the fuck up ….because that’s no way to live, and they know in their souls it’s all bullshit and lies.

  8. Thanks for sharing. Please consider yourself, Caitlin and at least half of the subsequent enlightened readers who leave a comment, “Liked”. Reality itself is a matter of consensus, nothing more, IMHO. Consider yourselves blessed that there currently exists (obviously) alternate universes from which the various points of consciousness best described as “Earthlings, subgroup Human Beings” are free to choose their preferences, or at least their desired level of drama. Peace be with you, or, if you prefer… not. Life is good, take a deep breath and be thankful for that ability. This is but a short trip in the whole scheme of things.

  9. Thank you for this. The Tim Leary quote at the end summed it all up for me.
    The few friends I have are all in the other camp. I’ve given up trying to open their eyes, when the reality is, they want to keep them shut.
    Over 6 weeks ago, I directed a friend in another city to a brilliant article by Cory Morningstar at Wrong Kind Of Green site that also exposed the people around Greta Thunberg and the role of organisations like Avaaz, and there’s been complete silence in the last 6 weeks.
    I already lost a couple of other friends just after Trump was elected as they believed the whole Russiagate garbage, and I wouldn’t back down on my assertions it was a deliberate propaganda op.
    Many times I’ve pointed these remaining friends to independent sites like here, The Grayzone, Moon Of Alabama, Strategic Culture, Offguardian as well as many articles, and 99% of the time there was no response. None. I never said anything.
    I much relate to other commenters here also regards the feelings of alienation and feeling alone.
    And I refuse to be another mindless automaton babbling about nothing.

  10. “Find the others.” Been trying to do that my whole life, with limited success. I am always looking for the signs, testing the waters, asking the key questions, hoping for an understanding response. Those of us wriggling free from the matrix straitjacket are perhaps rarer than the movie suggests, but we do exist nevertheless. Could us studied loners somehow get together, form a club, at least solace our lonely selves a bit, if not ruefully share our broken dreams of a better world together? We could call it the “Caitlin Outsiders”.

    1. Every ” group ” gets infiltrated by the ” authorities ” and betrayed; look at the history!

  11. My mind’s question of the day is this: Is Donald Trump going to obey orders this time and invade Iran; or is he going to risk being impeached in the U.S. Senate by the Israelis pulling the strings of many senators? I’m sure President Pence will do as he is told. The ” plans ” are already in motion as evidenced here:

  12. Caitlin, “In reality, of course, we live in a world where our understanding of the world is constantly being deceitfully manipulated by oligarchic media propaganda and the utterances of oligarch-owned politicians.” – Of course, it’s obvious that this manipulation is GENERALLY effective, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. It’s been interesting to see you approaching non-dual reality teachings in articles recently. If we are freeing ourselves of the delusions of separate identity from the All-That-Is, then of course, all official delusions fall away as well.

    “Sanity means seeing this as it is, rather than subscribing to the mass delusion of the consensus worldview. Which, as you probably already know, can make it difficult to relate to others in some ways.” – Is this true? I’d suggest that instead, when clarity about our own mistaken ideas and assumptions arises, we coincidentally see through the delusions of our sisters and brothers, caught as they are in the net of believing that they are separate “people.” Perhaps there may be difficulties at first, but as we see more and more that the problems are with us ourselves falling back into our own programming in interactions, I think nothing but compassion and stronger intentions to remain in alignment with the truth of our being emerge. In healing ourselves, we will heal our world.

  13. As a United States citizen, I abhor what my government is doing both abroad and here at home. This article:
    Betraying the Constitution by John W. Whitehead ways it all out perfectly. Please peruse this article here:

    1. Also check out this: Sin Taxes & Other Orwellian Methods of Compliance That Feed the Governments Greed By John W. Whitehead available at:

  14. It’s nonsense to try to reform the criminals and sycophants comprising the out of control DC collective that calls itself the “US Government”. I see only two options: continue to suffer the lie, or sap its power. They can’t be defeated, but they can be forced to try to defeat us if we leave them. Tall order, they would fight to keep us, but if numbers were big enough, they would cut and run. Imagine (where are you John Lennon?) a Second American Republic that ruled each citizen only with freely given consent that could be withdrawn at will. No government in history has ruled that way, but such a voluntarist society would enjoy perpetual excitement and support. The cost/benefit ratio between government and citizens would finally be tilted in favor of the ruled, and the government would remain honest. They call this panarchy.

  15. “If you are not one of us, you are one of them.”

  16. You are so right. Climate change is the latest shell game by those in charge to divert the sheeple while they ravage the environment and place contr0ls on the people. True environmentalists have been silenced by the shouts of hysteria by climate changers. Very effective. Sadly people are so gullible.

  17. Thanks Caitlin – You put into words exactly what I feel. For example if Corbyn was to become PM this week, my relationship with my brainwashed father will be over. That will just be too much for our relationship to bear, with us being Jewish and him believing every word of the MSM anti-semitism smear job.

  18. Asking pointed questions can lose even long time friends for you. I often posit there is only one problem worth consideration in the world today. “Of what importance is climate change, whether it exists or not, when there are clubs of sociopaths in control of nuclear weapons?” Insert whatever cause you wish in place of climate change. It often takes the people floating along in this off the cliff culture several seconds to decide whether they actually heard the question or not, and most often decide not.

    1. Here you go! The sociopaths are trying to control more than you think. The change in climate, for what ever reason, has been interfered with by man and his hubris and manipulation for gain and greed.

      1. And I’ll ask you the question; How is that of any importance when they have nuclear weapons, and apparently a plan in place to use them. In which case the climate will get quite warm just before it gets quite cold.

        1. Hey wasn’t ignoring you, just moved on. But, in review, the club has nuclear weapons as a requirement for entry into the club. Much like playing golf, you need the equipment to play the game of world domination. There is no plan to use nuclear weapons in as much they are a deterrent to a member going rogue and off script. Weather manipulation is a weapon that they use to wage warfare on nations that they want to subdue. They have been doing it since Vietnam. As far as nuclear is concerned, just remember Fukushima is continuously pouring contaminated water into the Pacific. The hinterlands outside of Russia are a boiling tempest of radioactive waste. And, lying beneath the Arctic Ocean is a Soviet sub that is leaking radiation. So, certainly not to be argumentative, they know better than to use them in an uncontrolled manner because it is difficult enough to use them in a controlled atmosphere.

  19. Spot on, as always! The solutions are out there! A book called “Prior Unity” offers a way out of our present insane way of conducting ourselves on this tiny planet. This is just one way amongst many others to lead us towards a world of harmony and peace.

    1. Sorry, Ignatius, Prior Unity is a dream. Only a paradigm shift in the way peaceful humans conduct their affairs together can free them from dysfunctional governance. The fault has always been ours. We haven’t organized ourselves sufficient to defeat the control efforts of the selfish classes. Our rulers have and never had any justification to rule. Escaping their grasp would require courage, commitment and action. Maybe blood.

  20. I’m lucky: I attend a weekly “peace & justice vigil” that has been in existence for over 50 years, and every week I’m in the company of folks who have a similar perspective to mine. At the same time, we vigilers joke about how ALL of us are “kinda odd”, in this society. This activity helps me, emotionally, quite a bit. Take care

  21. Well young lady, good piece here. When I first cleared out of the sight of land and looked at the horizon, I felt peace with the linear infinite. I saw that this would be my escape from the awkwardness of the culture that I was leaving behind. Life on land was always encumbering with a heaviness and complexity of values that seemed shallow at best and duplicitous at worst. Here at sea was a culture and routine that has survived the ages. That culture had it’s rules and they were not capricious. The rules were hardened buy the nature of the sea and survival depended upon the continuity of routine and observance of the rules. It is not lawless.
    When I say young lady it is relative. Age means little but you identified yourself as new to this effort. Welcome to the front. We will need a relief soon because those of us that have been marching around capitols on candlelight vigils to end wars or flushing decorations down the toilet are growing old and tired. Those of us that have walked picket lines to better the lives of future generations are weary and bewildered by the numbness of the masses. Once you take the red pill there is no coming back.

  22. I’ve been a loner all my life since early childhood. People thought I was weird. People still think I’m weird. I haven’t got the education or the social skills to be able to express myself openly or in public for fear of blowback.
    I love to read your articles and stories as I can relate to the way you think, I think. But there is a very important issue that no-one seems to want to touch. A sacred cow.
    I am personally very suspicious of all these bushfires raging out of control all around the globe, but particularly in Australia. The fires raging in the Amazon are obviously deliberately lit in order to clean the slate for palm oil production and many other broadacre mono crops and cattle ranching
    The valley where I live has so many infrastructure projects proposed and drafted ie: mega dams, water relocation schemes, copper mines. antimony mine and other mining, fracking for CSG. widening and deepening of the river to facilitate larger shipping, docklands and warehousing, even a small ships naval base. Tourism expansion on the beaches. Investors are champing at the bit to start this race. The forests are all but decimated by these fires seemingly in preparation for said developments, and to be repeated year after year for our safety.
    The freeways and interchanges have already been built to cater for these projects.
    I just wish some-one who visits your website reads this plea and could research and write about this.
    Most people choose the path of least resistance. Loners that swim against the current, have never been able to change any ones popular mainstream opinions. People can only come to there own realisations. As soon as people feel cornered or pressured in conversation, they will either come out fighting or simply shutdown. I made vow not to try to convince anyone of anything, anymore.
    I hope you don’t think I missed the point of your article.

    1. You are right Phil.

      People have their convictions which often fit the situation they are in.

      If the statu quo is good for them they are for it. Even if this statu quo is in place with a pack of lies, they will endorse the lies.

      This is why sometimes I am saying ot myself that the Rosary is the only answer to the situation we are in.

  23. Nice article. The thought that came to me was what happens when we are from two profoundly different cultures with different ideas about just about everything. Then we are forced to live together. For example Sweden or Germany. You and I can see this would be a disaster. Please tell me what the brain dead European politicians were thinking when they did this. Some cultures integrate pretty well. Muslim cultures have never in history integrated with anyone. They either gobble you up or are ejected back to Muslim countries. Please please people do not give me examples in the world where this is working unless it has been for at least three generations. At best you get dep animosity like in India.

  24. I resonate to every word of this. It’s why I got so deeply into Krishnamurti as far back as the mid 1970s. Don’t be content with one little saying; you have really explore that singular teacher’s thought and work. There’s really no one else like him, unless you go back to the Upanishads. How to make a connection between his teaching and politics is probably impossible. But I wish it weren’t.

  25. Thank the Universe for you. After Kennedy was murdered, I watched what was obviously a cover-up. I’ve been paying attention to the news, such as it is, since. I’ve have felt very alone much of my life; other people don’t see what I see. Reading your column, as well as a few others, tells me I’m not insane. The cattle, the sheep, the cash cow population are so dumbed down by public education and the non-stop narrative, the manufacture of consent, I feel like an alien from another planet.
    A few years ago, a couple of junior congressmen filed a bill that would allow the Government to freely broadcast propaganda to the U.S. population. As if someone would have ever noticed a difference. I was, and remain, mystified. Again, Thank the Universe for you and the few brave enough print what you see.

  26. Michel Bélisle Avatar
    Michel Bélisle

    Speaking about Truth:

    Here is a very telling report from a member of a Ground Zero Medical Disaster Team:

    No doubt the level of the lies is decadence not seen since the days of Noah. The return of Jesus has to be near and I pray the Rosary to hasten His Glorious return.

    1. Millions of people have been waiting for the event for 2,000 years. It ain’t gonna happen.

      1. @Van F.,

        And what about the report. Interesting or not?

  27. Thank you. Glad I found your work online. Keep hammering away at the mountains of lies and distortions created daily by the MSM and western governments. I hope there will be more and more like you who write so well and tell the truth. All the best.

  28. “This is a historic opportunity”, whispered one of Netanyahu’s insiders into Ben Caspit (a leading Israeli journalist)’s ear this week: “You have no idea what we can wheedle from the Americans now, what a golden opportunity we face when the US is about to enter an election year”. Pleaes peruse this article here:
    Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli spy and alleged “handler” of Robert Maxwell, told the authors of a new book, Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales, that Epstein ran a “complex intelligence operation” at the behest of Mossad. Peruse this article here:
    This is where everything seemed to end. The Trump administration, via John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, made it clear to the ICC that if they pursued a case against the U.S., then the Trump administration would go after the ICC prosecutor and judges personally. Peruse this article here:

  29. Paul Llewellyn Gray Avatar
    Paul Llewellyn Gray

    Love your work and soul
    My best saying that keeps me Spanish
    Is the only thing normal in this crazy world is the WORD NORMAL
    And another saying that helps with the loneliness is the more I get to no the human race the more I appreciate animals

  30. I sell my artwork at a local farmers market where the allegedly “progressive” crowd hangs out. I wear Assange t-shirts, hoping to at least provoke discussion.
    It amazes me the ignorance and lack of interest out there! All anyone wants to talk about is what food they’re eating!

    1. It seems more and more likely that “They” knew exactly what they were doing when they started pumping Fluoride in our water supply back in the 1950s -they surely knew from the start that it was a very toxic substance. Most of Europe and all of China refuses to Fluoridate their water…In-Fact China sells the stuff to us (USA), because sometimes we just don’t have enough to go around!

      And if you don’t already know, Fluoride, aside from its dubious oral health benefits, is a confirmed neural toxin… yes, that’s right -it debilitates our neural pathways… effectively dumbing us down. There are studies now showing that 5 to 10 points of your IQ score have already or will be erased from you or your children’s IQ, just by drinking, cooking and showering everyday.

      Now you know why there is a staggering number of really dumb people in the USA. The poor bastards never had a chance, especially when you add a Toxic media and a Toxic Hollywood to this unsavory brew.

  31. The shakedown that Trump clumsily attempted to orchestrate against the president of Ukraine in the hope of discrediting Joe Biden, a potential rival in the 2020 presidential election, pales beside the shakedown orchestrated by the elites who rule over America’s working men and women. This shakedown took from those workers their hope and, more ominously, their hope for their children. It took from them security and a sense of place and dignity. It took from them a voice in how they were governed. It took from them their country and handed it to a cabal of global corporatists who intend to turn them into serfs. This shakedown plunged millions into despair. It led many to self-destructive opioid, alcohol, drug and gambling addictions. It led to increases in suicide, mass shootings and hate crimes. Please peruse the full article here:

  32. Wow Caitlin, are we plugged in?
    Last weekend I was in the company of two old friends, semi related, and had the temerity to suggest that the common beliefs were possibly wrong and held up by never-ending propaganda. I was literally shouted into silence, with the usual lies and half-truths being presented as “proof”, and that I’d become “one of them” … whoever they are …
    Wherever they are, I’m with them. Proudly. Unashamedly. But it’s getting lonely here … online friends are no substitute for warm breathing bodies.

    1. Yes, it can be lonely however you can find like minded thinkers out there.

      It seems clear that many people, the majority of people, can be bullshitted in to believing all sorts of crazy things that are simply not true. Like killing another young man that you don’t even know and have nothing against is something you should do. Like spreading billions of pounds of chemicals that kill plants and insects on your food. Like it’s OK, even good, for some people to make 1000 times what someone else makes.

      The list is endless however knowledge is power!!

  33. Hands down, this is the best article you’ve ever written.


  34. As an example of how a shared consensus can change, at least among a group of people.
    For most in western culture, the nightmare of nightmares is walking around work or school and then realizing that one is completely naked and everyone is staring at you. From what people say, this appears to be a very widespread nightmare. Probably related to childhood when the young tend to take their clothes off, and of course get scolded by parents who are ashamed that their youngster is now running around naked and everyone is laughing at the parents.
    And yet, a group of people can get together and say that within their midst, public nudity is completely acceptable. And that shared consensus can be adopted among that group. And newcomers to the group, in most cases (which exclude the seriously uptight), do learn to accept that new shared consensus with the group.
    Funny, but come to think of it, I haven’t had that “I am naked” nightmare during any time I can remember. That stretch of time when I was young of being in a crowd where it was perfectly normal for someone to walk up to you completely nude appears to have cured it. 🙂

    1. This is story is spreading like a forest fire with high winds because Donald Trump sneaked in there on Thanksgiving.

      1. It’s called the Pentagon Papers redux. Nothing new here.
        If you live long enough, things repeat themselves.

      2. The story seems to be spreading in mostly right-wing media, and it is curious to me why so many left media are ignoring it. This should be a deal-closer for getting troops out of Afghanistan.

        1. The CIA does not want U.S. troops out of there, or anywhere else, so they are suppressing this story before it goes any farther. By next week it will have vanished completely.

  35. My old Dad who died recently at 92 used to tell me to “Be in the culture but not OF it”, meaning I have no choice as an American to live in my culture but I sure as heck don’t need to be an ignorant product of it’s toxic aspects.

    I think americans are generally good people generally propagandized by a generally poor educational/informational system and led by a generally corrupt Federal government in cahoots with the moneyed and powerful. Locally, less so.

    Dad was always looking for some sort of alternative. Gurus, intentional communities, off-grid living, Mexico, India, Costa Rica… but he carried his Middle America baggage with him everywhere and even after LSD, weed and plenty of booze he remained his own victim.

    I have sympathy for all of us. We are so much more than our shallow, consensual, cultural selves. But I am beware of arrogance, ’cause I am so like my Dad.

    1. Turn on, Tune In, Drop Out.
      Peace, Bread, Land.

  36. Ah, the Buddha Ms Caitlin speaks the truth!
    It was so very long ago that I can not recall which one of my many teachers said it: ” Wealth and knowledge should be kept hidden “. If you walk around with gold chains and expensive jewels you will be robbed. If you are smart enough to lead, then lead, do not waste your time trying to explain your reasoning to people that will never understand it.
    As usual I bring a url for Ms Johnstone’s readers to peruse:
    Kamala Harris’s decision to drop out of the Democratic race is a victory for another candidate who supposedly has no chance of winning and shouldn’t even be on the same stage with the real contenders. But Tulsi Gabbard’s demolition job on poor Kamala shows why a well-aimed ideological thrust is more important than any number of silly opinion polls telling experts what they want to hear. Please peruse this article here:

  37. As always! Top notch! Terrence Mckenna is in my top 5 great humans with Ghandi, Mandela, Luther King and my mother! You are definitely climbing the charts Caitlin! Free Julian Assange!!!

  38. My “world view” is summarized by the title of a little-read book by Washington Post columnist, Robert Samuelson: The title: “Untruth: How Conventional Wisdom is Almost Always Wrong.” The only mainstream media TV journalist who has made a career proving how “conventional wisdom” is almost always wrong (or at least challenging it) is John Stossell. This in itself is evidence that there are no contrarians (besides Stossell) working in mainstream media. So what we get is stories showing that “conventional wisdom” is accurate. Stories that would challenge it are off limits. Of course, Caitlin challenges “conventional wisdom” every day, but she is NOT a “mainstream” journalist.

    1. Stossell always had the advantage of challenging such mainstream consensus from a point of view that enhanced corporate profits. I’ll admit I haven’t paid attention to him for a long time, but he used to be big with the “Global Warming is a Fraud” crowd. Since the ice caps are obviously melting, I suppose maybe the conventional wisdom was correct in that case and it was Exxon that was wrong. But who knows, maybe he has a new sponsor and is different these days?

      1. Obviously? Happens cyclically. And every year.

  39. Sherry R Bonner Avatar
    Sherry R Bonner

    You nailed it, as usual.

  40. Dear Caitlin Johnstone:

    I admire your great courage and many of the things you write about politics. I also agree to a large extent with your political views.

    In the meantime, this article does not really represent you. It is not wholly accurate in making yourself (and , in effect, myself) too different from other people. We were all propagandized once. I was once proud of being an American until the Vietnam War and then without realizing I stopped being proud. It was only years later, when I came to see how, not only how much good we have done, but also how much evil the U.S. did, did I really begin to place my country. It still has great goodness in its people (not more than other peoples) yet my government, with the consent of so many of us Americans, mostly misinformed, has been for many years now, with its foreign accomplices, the greatest threat to the world’s climate, to peace, to stability, to justice, to justice in economics and even to sanity, that has ever been. I am so disappointed in my country, but I still believe we can be, and so many of us are trying to be, different. But I try never to forget that both the good and evil of my country are in me, and that my country represents every country. The greatest scholar I know said, in rough form, that true patriotism is understanding and loving what is in a specific area of land as a means of caring (truly) for all countries.

    You are not alone. Every person has the potential to fight injustice as you have, and I believe that is the driving force in your very important and courageous work.

  41. I comment every once in awhile that I wish Caitlin would start meetups on her website, so we could find each other. Please don’t refer me to meetup . com. It doesn’t work for this (or anything that I can tell). There is a podcast called No Agenda and they have organized meet ups through their website for their fans. So I know it can be done. Help us find each other Caitlin. No telling what we might be able to do if we were not feeling so alienated. Thank you for your work.

    1. Thanks Maggie for the heads-up on No Agenda, will check it out. I wonder whether Caitlin has the time or capacity to connect us beyond providing this forum for us to meet, but it’s a good idea. I see no reason why we can’t connect on our own for collaboration and solidarity. For anyone interested, I and my reality-based rock show resistance project can be found at:


  42. Michel Bélisle Avatar
    Michel Bélisle

    “…but is now a supremely virtuous beacon of light on this earth that kicked Hitler’s ass and then surfed into the present day on a wave of truth and sensible fiscal policy.”


    You make me laugh with this one. Thank you for your sense of humor.

    I remember the famous american anti-war hero Father Daniel Berrigan telling a journalist that he had not been voting for a long time. He knows the game.

    I pray the Rosary for this sad era of lies to end.

  43. This speaks so much to where I am at. It is a struggle with surrender.

  44. Actually, I don’t aggree with the notion that we’re living in a ‘sick society’. Superficially it looks sick, distorted, deeply disturbed, but it’s an effect of the level on which human society currently is.

    It’s the level of the ego. While our scientific and technological skills are greater than ever, our spiritual skills haven’t developed in the same speed.

    The Danish psychologist/guru Jes Bertelsen has written about the change he predicts is on its way – a collective shift from ego-centeredness to a centeredness around the Self.

    The ego is preoccupied with material gains, is competitive and basically feels isolated in a world of enemies.

    The Self is helpful, friendly and sees all living creatures as basically connected. The ego belongs to groups, the Self belongs to the world.

    So – it’s not a disease in society, we have to cure, it’s a lack of spiritual growth we need to adress. That this is urgent is obvious.

    The concepts of the ego and the Self are from CG Jung, and a basic tenet in jungian psychology is that a crisis is also an opportunity for growth.

    It looks dark these data, but there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

  45. Yes! In this wide world of babbling idiots, you are a beacon of light. It gives me hope for humanity. Maybe, just maybe, if we keep trying, we can wake up the rest of the world.

  46. War Powers Act allows a single congress critter to introduce a bill to VOTE on WAR. Tulsi introduced this bill, and does not have a single House cosigner. A House bill, HR, can have a Senate sponsor as a JR, Joint Resolution. So far, not a single senator has signed, including DNC UNIPARTY presidential candidates. We have 544 active war machine promoters as “leaders”

    “Oceania has always/never been at war with Eurasia/Eastasia”

    1. I suspect you meant 534. There are 435 in the House and 100 in the Senate.
      Its always harder to get a Senator to support anything that isn’t mainstream. Senator’s are elected in big statewide elections, and it takes at least $10 million to make a challenge and probably closer to $40 million to run a serious contested race. Senators are purely Oligarch owned and operated.
      Which vote on war were you referring to? Syria I presume?
      The Quakers have been trying to get the Authorization to use Military Force in Iraq repealed. They apparently chose that as an easier, starting goal to try to achieve, making the point that this particular awful bit of overthrowing the constitution is not being used to legally justify any wars right at the moment, so lets end it. Last I’d heard, that effort had won in the House, but lost in the Senate. There is a chance it could be restored in the conference committee, but such things are usually scrapped by Pelosi and the House leadership at that stage. (See Friends Committee on National Legislation to learn more)

  47. Great stuff!!! Keep cranking it out!!!! If you ever get the chance to observe cockroach behavior for any length of time; they really are much, much better than us socially, intellectually, and spiritually, they really are g_d’s, chosen people.

  48. I love this piece, Caitlin. It reminds me of conversations I’ve had with my brother, who is one of the “others.” We recently discussed the Krishnamurti quote you mentioned, as he often reminds me of a saying I came up with once I started realizing how effed up our politics are in this country: “I’d rather maintain my sanity than be well informed.”

    Your writing gives me hope in a messed up world. Please keep it up. I’ll keep looking for the “others.”

    Namaste, CJ!

  49. Wonderful. Esp the picture of Tim and Terence. I was, in 1976, an alternate delegate from Alaska to the Libertarian Party’s national convention in SF, CA. Ironically, it was Tim’s speech there that ended my involvement in politics! I also had the joy of listening to Terence’s magic way with words. (the Libertarian Party was a much different creature in those days. I borrowed money from the leader of the AK group, the candidate for AK governor, to buy LSD in SF for sale in AK. He was very conservative socially, but very supportive of my entrepreneurial instincts.) The quote from Tim is a joy forever.

  50. Great piece; succinct.

    1. Thanks Caitlin. Your writing is superb, so glad I found you.

Leave a Reply