HomeArticleSpot The Manipulators In Your Own Life: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Spot The Manipulators In Your Own Life: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

The real underlying currency of our world is not gold, nor bureaucratic fiat, nor even military might. The real underlying currency of our world is narrative, and the ability to control it. Everything always comes down to this one real currency. If you look at what all these think tanks, NGOs, media outlets and grant making networks that billionaires pour their money into actually do, it ultimately boils down to controlling the dominant stories that people tell about what’s going on in their world.

If you want to understand how narrative management works in the world, pay attention to how it plays out in your own life. What are some popular narratives within your family, perhaps about one of your family members, that don’t reflect reality? What subjects are off limits in your immediate or extended family, and why? Who do you know that repeatedly spins narratives about the kind of person they are, or the kind of person you are?

Most of us have at least one strong narrative manipulator in our circle somewhere; family, friends, work, etc. You can spot them by how much energy they pour into manufacturing a consensus about someone in their circle, including themselves; working to spin narratives about themselves that make them look good, or narratives about someone else to make them look bad.

Watch for anyone in your life who repeatedly tells you stories about the kind of person they are, because they’re trying to manipulate your narrative about them. Also watch for anyone who keeps telling you stories about yourself, because they’re trying to manipulate your narrative about you. Be especially wary of the latter.

Spot the manipulators in your own life and watch their patterns, then look out to the world and compare those patterns to what you see with government and media. You’ll see the exact same patterns on a macro scale. Manipulation takes the same form whether small-scale or large.

We’ll get angry at our compatriots for not rising up and forcing real change. We’ll get angry at a loved one for not leaving an abusive relationship. What we rarely do is look closely and see that both are victims of manipulation which keeps them from changing their situation.

Whenever I talk about propaganda influencing public action I get accused of depriving people of their “agency”, but the only way to believe that is to believe it’s impossible to influence people’s decisions through media. An idea both propagandists and advertisers would scoff at.

I love my job, but it’s so stupid and annoying to have to keep dignifying the mass media with attention and analysis. They’re so discredited at this point that everyone should just be dismissing them like raving street corner preachers. I look forward to that day so I can spend my time making art instead of paying attention to the lies that are coming out of people’s screens.

There are exactly zero babies in the mainstream media bathwater. It’s a propaganda network which manufactures consent for mass murder, oppression and exploitation, and it deserves nothing other than total obliteration. Toss it all out.

All this impeachment stuff is very exciting for everyone who lacks the mental capacity to count Senate seats.

Still haven’t seen any coherent defense of Democrats impeaching over Trump’s Biden/Ukraine political shenanigans but not Bush’s torture scandals or lying about a war that slaughtered a million people.

It would be wonderful if we lived in a world where Democrats would impeach a Republican president for war crimes. Unfortunately it won’t happen because (A) they’d implicate countless Democrats in the process and (B) they want be able to commit their own war crimes once back in office.

Anyone who warns that impeachment is a distraction from more important issues will get told “We can walk and chew gum at the same time! We can push impeachment AND advance progressive agendas!” The same people saying this just spent the last three years fixating on Russia instead of advancing progressive agendas.

It’s unfortunate that when someone changes to a new belief system, like converting to a religion or whatever, their attention goes into that new belief system and not into the amazing discovery that they have the incredible superpower to change their beliefs whenever they want.

To have the luxury of being able to do deep inner work and become a healthy human being on this planet is a tremendous privilege, yet most who have this privilege neglect to use it. Do your part in clearing our species of insanity, if you are able. To do otherwise is a betrayal of humanity.

A certain type of antisocial personality disorder will always tend to gravitate toward circles where violence and aggression are the norm. This includes the military and police force, naturally. It also includes political activist circles which encourage violence and aggression.

People spend so much time on online political forums pretending to disagree with each other’s opinions when really everyone’s just masturbating their early childhood trauma on each other in a socially acceptable disguise.

Mentally replace all the doofy company logos on people’s cars and clothing with the word “CAPITALISM”.

If US government agencies say “So this thing just happened and as a result we’re going to have to intervene militarily over there,” and your immediate, reflexive answer isn’t “Bullshit, either provide indisputable and independently verifiable proof or fuck off,” then you’ve learned nothing at all about the history of US interventionism.

The extremist militants who nearly succeeded in toppling the Syrian government are not and have never been “moderate rebels”. They’re only “moderate” compared to the psychopaths who’ve been funding them.

Establishment narrative management about Syria is so uniquely heated and aggressive for two reasons:
1) Syria has unique geostrategic importance.
2) The empire has done extremely evil things in Syria that it absolutely cannot allow to enter into mainstream attention.

People tell me “It’s not Trump’s fault he keeps advancing evil establishment agendas! He’s being manipulated!” But seriously, who gives a fuck? Either he’s an impotent puppet who does as he’s told or he’s doing it on his own. Either way, fuck him. It’s a meaningless distinction.

How to criticize the Israeli government without being labeled an anti-semite:
1. Don’t criticize the Israeli government.
2. Ever.
3. At all.

“Is it journalism?” is a meaningless, power-serving debate. The question is if it’s GOOD journalism. Stop imbuing the word with magical significance and accept that it’s simply a description of an activity that can be done by Jake Tapper, Julian Assange, or a small-time Youtuber.

I have this platform because of baked-in privileges, extraordinary support, but also sheer luck and miracles clearing me over the many invisible walls that prevent people like me getting a big voice. I acknowledge the existence of those invisible walls. I exist to knock them down.

_______________________

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 Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying 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.

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Latest comments

  • Well there’s lots of work to do without criticizing the Israeli government, so I’ll just get back to it, now.
    https://www.rt.com/news/476518-icc-palestine-war-crimes/
    https://www.globalresearch.ca/how-britain-dresses-up-crimes-israel-charitable-acts/5698233

  • “Do your part in clearing our species of insanity, if you are able. To do otherwise is a betrayal of humanity.”
    That’s it in a nutshell. The morally insane, i.e. the sociopaths, dominate nearly all our positions of leadership. By following them (and about 80% of the human population are natural followers), we are doomed to exist in a world of insanity. If we ever figure out how to remove sociopaths from leadership positions, a new world will open up for humanity. We need to do whatever we can to make this happen.

    • The problem is we have old souls as well as new souls on our planet. Judging, displaying anger and calling those who have not awakened will have an effect, just not on them. Just because we awakened before other’s doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them, it just means it’s not their time. We’ve all been there.

  • Thank you again for a very intelligent and inspiring article.
    I post all your articles on FB and I re-post your FB posts
    Happy New Year
    Tomo

  • God…………………you are a beautiful human-being. I don’t think I have ever read anyone
    in my 70-years who writes with as much common-sense clarity as you do…….you are going
    to make a difference (you already have) in millions of people worldwide……I know you will
    keep it up as long as your “faculties” function like they do now……the rest of us must do our part.

  • If one wishes to consider the history of the narrative matrix throughout Western civilization, one need only consider Christianity itself. The documents of Christianity consist of several pseudonymic narratives pertaining to the life of Jesus, the four Gospels, three of which show significant concordance; several narrative chapters on history, and a few dozen written addresses to various communities; finished off by a most confounding final work that challenges any discussion of meaning. Ever since these were codified; and themselves resulting from unrecorded discussions previously held; and that constitutes the seed from which two millennia of narrative manipulation and struggles for control.

  • The real underlying currency of our world is narrative, and the ability to control it.

    What is the narrative matrix, and how did it come to such prominence in the lives of many people?
    From a broad origin, Narrative is the general term (for a story long or short; of past, present, or future; factual or imagined; told for any purpose; and with or without much detail). dictionary[.]com The narrative matrix seems to be a dense interconnection of narratives which derive their validity from each other, and the ability of weaving a seamless mental cloth that, by its intricacy, implies the validity of the entirety of the whole.
    The narrative matrix is a artifice of technology, like cloth is. The more rapidly and densely it can be created, the more compelling it appears. In fact, at each advance in broadcasting, or the dissemination of narrative easily to more people, there often arises an individual who comes to prominence by the ability to utilize the emerging technology of the new narrative. The pamphlet led the American Revolution; the radio gave voice to Adolf Hitler; Twitter became the voice of Donald Trump. One can see that advances in narration, such as the Internet, can lead to the furthering of propaganda and mind control under the guise of discussion.
    When humans talk, there is a dialectic, or interpersonal exchange of information which progresses in depth and meaning as a result of the exchange, not merely the thoughts of one or another.
    What a narrative matrix offers instead is often a disconnected barrage of pre-packaged memes which individuals can pelt each other with in mockery of the dialectic. Words are uttered; that is all.
    Phaedrus (Plato) offers a tale worth pondering:

    At the Egyptian city of Naucratis, there was a famous old god, whose name was Theuth; the bird which is called the Ibis is sacred to him, and he was the inventor of many arts, such as arithmetic and calculation and geometry and astronomy and draughts and dice, but his great discovery was the use of letters. Now in those days the god Thamus was the king of the whole country of Egypt; and he dwelt in that great city of Upper Egypt which the Hellenes call Egyptian Thebes, and the god himself is called by them Ammon. To him came Theuth and showed his inventions, desiring that the other Egyptians might be allowed to have the benefit of them; he enumerated them, and Thamus enquired about their several uses, and praised some of them and censured others, as he approved or disapproved of them. It would take a long time to repeat all that Thamus said to Theuth in praise or blame of the various arts. But when they came to letters, This, said Theuth, will make the Egyptians wiser and give them better memories; it is a specific both for the memory and for the wit. Thamus replied: O most ingenious Theuth, the parent or inventor of an art is not always the best judge of the utility or inutility of his own inventions to the users of them. And in this instance, you who are the father of letters, from a paternal love of your own children have been led to attribute to them a quality which they cannot have; for this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.

    Arguments on paper do not vary depending on the curiosity or desire of the reader; nor do the lines of the play adjust themselves to the wishes of the audience. Whenever there is an instrument of broadcast, there is the will of a speaker who can reach the many, who must capture the passive attention of each listener or reader. The more effectively the propagandist can capture the persistence of attention of each listener or reader, irrespective of their understanding or interest, the more effective is the propaganda. And the technology merely enhances the ability of that media to capture the attention of the intended victim. And thus is born the narrative matrix, seamless and entire. A listener who can be cocooned in a never-silent pod of narrative can be manipulated to see what cannot be seen, to believe what cannot be believed.

  • The elements and themes you’ve touched upon
    seem to lead to similar awareness in this tune:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vp_Yez3ZhJs
    IGNORANCE AND INNOCENCE – John Gorka

    @njoy, , ,
    Norm

  • Whenever I meet a ‘paywall’ I follow these steps:
    1) copy the article title exactly;
    2) paste into your search site:
    3) you will find several EXACT, word-for-word, including photo/graphic usage and placement alternatives;
    4) click on any of them and you will find a duplicate of the ‘paywalled’ article.

    I have done this with WSJ and found several exact copies in places like Saigon Today.
    ‘News media’ have given away any pretence of independent thought and are merely regurgitating whatever their corporate algorithm demands will sell the most ads.

  • Though CJ is normally 100% spot on and convincing, I beg to differ on what follows:
    “Still haven’t seen any coherent defense of Democrats impeaching over Trump’s Biden/Ukraine political shenanigans but not Bush’s torture scandals or lying about a war that slaughtered a million people.”
    1) Trump abused the presidential prerogatives for personal advantage, there is no proven evidence Bush did that. That may look to you not uncommon or particularly bad, but the concept of elected figures not being allowed to abuse the power they are invested of is the basis of western democracies correct functionality. So, in theory, it is a basic principle worth to fight for. We may argue western democracy is outside redemption and can’t work properly anyway, or that Democrats could have picked a better cause, or that they where waiting eagerly for any flimsy offense anyway, or that impeaching is useless with the given Senate, or that trump is not worse than a standard POTUS… I am sort of in agreement with that, but that doesn’t make the impeachment incoherent.
    2) Bush is not president now, therefore it can’t be impeached any more. He should be tried as war criminal, but that’s a different argument.

    • uh what bush did was far worse, he started an aggressive war, abusing the power he had, on false pretenses.

  • “Almost everything we believe is not true.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer. The majority of us are too stupid to know we are stupid. Relates too the Dunning–Kruger effect
    and the Illusion of asymmetric insight.

  • Again, Ms Johnstone is very correct. I listen to what people say to me but I am always asking myself ” why is this person telling me this information.” By keeping that in mind I know where to ” cubbyhole ” the information within my memory and what to do with that information or to just ignore it. However ” the manipulators ” will eventually stop saying things to you if you fail to be manipulated at all.

    • agree except for the last sentence; if they figure you are aware of their games they will try to target you.

  • Speaking of Israel, what do the novel “1984” and Israel have in common?
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52703.htm

  • “I have this platform because of baked-in privileges, extraordinary support, but also sheer luck and miracles clearing me over the many invisible walls that prevent people like me getting a big voice. I acknowledge the existence of those invisible walls. I exist to knock them down.”

    “Baked-in privileges”? Yes! “Sheer luck”? Yes! “Miracles”? Yes! All true. Nevertheless you incarnate the narrative. You speak the truth in love and you have a great sense of humor. Your unique recognition of reality is beautifully reflected in you, your narrative and in each of your extraordinary supporters. I share this platform with others because of you.

    Thank you Caitlin Johnston!

    It’s is my contention that lies without believers are powerless. I agree with you. I believe the “invisible walls” of which you speak are made of lies.

    ”There are exactly zero babies in the mainstream media bathwater. It’s a propaganda network which manufactures consent for mass murder, oppression and exploitation, and it deserves nothing other than total obliteration. Toss it all out.”

    Good call! The solution is simple.

    Let’s learn the truth and do it. How’s that for a 2020 vision?

    Cheers for the good guys.

  • “I have this platform because of baked-in privileges, extraordinary support, but also sheer luck and miracles clearing me over the many invisible walls that prevent people like me getting a big voice. I acknowledge the existence of those invisible walls. I exist to knock them down.”

    “Baked-in privileges”? Yes! “Sheer luck”? Yes! “Miracles”? Yes! All true. Nevertheless you incarnate the narrative. You speak the truth in love and you have a great sense of humor. Your unique recognition of reality is beautifully reflected in you, your narrative and in each of your “extraordinary” supporters. I share this platform with others because of you.

    Thank you Caitlin Johnston!

    It’s is my contention that lies without believers are powerless. I agree with you. I believe the “invisible walls” of which you speak are made of lies.

    ”There are exactly zero babies in the mainstream media bathwater. It’s a propaganda network which manufactures consent for mass murder, oppression and exploitation, and it deserves nothing other than total obliteration. Toss it all out.”

    Good call! The solution is simple. “Toss it all out”

    Let’s learn the truth and do it. How’s that for a 2020 vision?

    Cheers for the good guys.

  • Nice work. Thanks for not just escaping. Saving the planet is more important than making out. Usually “making out” is simply stepping over others: either the bodies on the sidewalks or the rest of us who try to live a valid honest life. I’m glad you exist. Always on target. Now the heat is really turned up on this thing we call the rest of us. Not to mention the loss of food stamps to pay for the tax breaks on the rich. Just about every nation in latinoamerica has been tampered with. I”m pretty sure they’re using our old Diebold Voting machines down there. and that our CIA has killed more people than the mafia.
    or maybe more than all mafias put together for all time….if you wanna cont 4 million Vietnamese, or 1.5 million Iraqis, an so on. Brazil is a massive victim almost all the time. Except for the two latest saviors they have persecuted; Rousseff and Lula. Argentina is rebounding from Diebold attacks. ANd then there is HAITI, NICARAGUA, EL SALVADOR and it’s 14 families, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, the constant attacks on Cuba and Venezuela, and the latest bumpkin coup by Raturists uber alles, which makes no sense at all since Incas comprise 65% of the population and they should’ve elected their own to lead a century ago , already, and that Pachamama, is a way better god than the so-called defiled and disgraced and perverted greedy jealous god that Jesus brought to the world.
    i mean Pachamama is only Mother Earth in another language and she does not attack anybody very much.

  • Can you address how the narrative matrix influences intersectionality on topics like individual energy use and diet choices, etc.? I’m as anti-war as they come, but simultaneously we are polluting our home planet via not choosing solar energy, electric cars, and sticking to consuming over-packaged/unnecessary goods and standard diets, etc.—we lazily pick-and-choose the stories that our parents and peers tell us, “don’t worry about that stuff”. How about you yourself? Is it the corporations’ problem because they control supply, or are you applying your anti-narrative strategy to individual choices like the above? Do you buy energy from coal and/or gas plants? Do you drive a petroleum-powered car? Do you consume meat and dairy which irreparably corrupt ecosystems and cause almost all degenerative diseases? Or should we stick to our narrow self-selected causes and ignore the intersectionality of our individual choices?

    • Sovereignty of a person’s body and their home is every bit as important as sovereignty of a nation. Telling people what they can or cannot eat or drink, or what they can wear, etc. is every bit as evil as telling a woman that she must, or must not, have an abortion; or telling a same-sex or multi-racial couple that they cannot have a relationship. Respect other people’s opinions, and they will be more willing to respect yours.
      —————–

      If you want to lead, be sure that you are an exceptional example. If you come across as a tyranical and controlling of others, you will turn off those who might otherwise be in agreement with your beliefs. If your own story is compelling, then people will follow your example. But if they see you as being controlling, demanding, or hypocritical, you will cause them to turn away from what you are trying to lead them toward in the first place.
      ——————

      I’ve long been interested in joining the Green Party, but cannot get over the fact that many of it’s members tend to have extremely tyrannical traits. This is a complaint of many on the left who would be natural allies of the Green Party. It’s a shame that we cannot create a viable coalition.

  • Yup, they say kids start masturbating even before they’re born, but as for the million dead in Iraq, that was only the number of children that we starved to death before the first bomb was ever dropped, the real total is estimated between 6 and 10 million.

  • “If US government agencies say “So this thing just happened and as a result we’re going to have to intervene militarily over there,” and your immediate, reflexive answer isn’t “Bullshit, either provide indisputable and independently verifiable proof or fuck off””
    Hmm.
    Actually my reflexive answer is, “Bollocks, their business is their business and it’s none of ours.”

  • The one thing Caitlin wrote in 2019 that will stick with me always? That “war is the absolute worst thing that can ever happen to a human being”…I have always been anti-war but it never struck me so deep until I read this.. It’s profound because it’s true. To live in a war zone is hell on earth and I’m ashamed by how frequently my country uses it.

  • Hi Caitlin,

    Your clarity and perception is awe inspiring. You are the right person at the right time. And I love that you say we can all be that. We can. Thoughts become things.

    I especially love that you ask us to look in the mirror and at our families and friends to see these patterns that we see play out on the world stages. Change starts with us –literally at us!

    Thank-you for the perfect column going into the new decade. Power to us all.

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