HomeArticleCollective Revolution And Individual Enlightening Are The Same Thing

Collective Revolution And Individual Enlightening Are The Same Thing

Revolution–the real kind–is an inside job.

This is not a click-friendly fact to highlight. Whenever I talk about revolution as having more to do with sincere inner work than with demonstrations and pitchforks and the proletariat rising up against the bourgeoisie, I get met with a lot of blank stares and dead air. It’s much more click-friendly to talk about how terrible this or that politician or oligarch or media figure is and how they should be launched into the sun with a giant crossbow.

It’s true though. Revolution is an inside job.

This is not a click-friendly thing to say because it is not an egoically pleasing thing to say. When they ask why the world is screwed up and what to do about it, people want to be told that it’s because of those Bad Guys over there and they need to be put in their place by these Good Guys over here; they don’t want to be told they need to disentangle themselves from egoic consciousness so they can see clearly enough to operate in an efficacious way.

But it’s a fact.

This is not some new agey, metaphysical philosophical position. I’m not saying that there are no villains outside yourself or any of that dopey spiritual woo woo crap; there absolutely are horrible people in the world who absolutely are doing horrible things that have absolutely horrible consequences for all of us. I’m not saying that if you do inner work you’ll magically make the sociopathic elites who are manipulating humanity toward its doom somehow turn into nice people via some esoteric mystical principle or anything like that. And I’m definitely not saying not to organize, demonstrate or take large, decisive actions against establishment power structures.

What I am saying is that the most effective thing you can do to fight the bastards and create a healthy world is to bring clarity to your own inner processes, so that’s where your energy should be most emphasised.

Egos love being told that the problem and the solution exists outside in other people. Egos thrive on conflict and drama, so the more you make it about fighting others the better; hell it’s even more fun if you can make the case that traitors within your own ranks need to be fought because they have slightly different views from you. What egos don’t like to be told is that it’s the ego itself (or more specifically the belief in it) that is the problem.

But simply pouring your energy into fighting Bad Guys is not an efficacious means toward the end of a healthy world. People who do this find their efforts stagnated and ignored, which is a big part of why so many lifelong revolutionary-minded individuals wind up becoming bitter and jaded in their struggles.

This is because most people, even people who are relatively more awake than the general mainstream population, are severely confused. Most people simply are not conscious of the way their own perception and cognition is actually happening from moment to moment, so their perception and cognition are beholden to subconscious conditioning patterns which were set years or decades ago without any consideration as to whether they would be helpful later on or would be useful in rallying the masses to overthrow their capitalist oppressors. This is made infinitely more complex and confusing by the fact that vast troves of wealth go into manipulating the public away from revolution and toward establishment loyalism.

The word “enlightenment” has a ton of sticky baggage, and can make a shoddy pointer in the way it implies some lofty, elevated state that a very few special people can attain through great effort and then are finished. Really it’s just meant to point to the process of becoming aware of the way your own field of consciousness operates and the perceptual/cognitive habits that you’ve formed for interpreting/understanding your experience. For this purpose I prefer the word “enlightening“, since it suggests an ongoing process rather than some remote “done” state.

By emphasising your own enlightening, your energy is well spent eliminating the mental distortions and egoic sticking points which so often bog down dissident movements (and if you’ve spent any time in revolutionary-minded circles with your eyes even half-open you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about). Because you’re investing your energy in your own backyard, so to speak, you’re dealing with the one area of your life that you actually have some degree of control over. You have no influence over whether the left will espouse your particular vision of revolutionary action by November or whatever, but you absolutely do have influence over whether you’re operating from truth or from delusion.

By making a firm commitment to being ruthlessly honest with yourself and exploring your own inner dimensions via meditation, self-enquiry, contemplation etc, you are opening up the possibility of the birth of a true revolutionary: someone who both desires revolutionary change and has the clarity of vision to efficaciously help manifest it in the world. But first you must pursue the truth at any cost; not “the truth” about Bad Guys and secret societies, but the truth about you and your actual experience of this world. You must put truth, and the desire to know it, above all else.

In this way you are bringing to your own personal microcosm the transformation that we need to see in the outer societal macrocosm: you are enlightening yourself in the exact same way humanity as a whole needs to enlighten. Indeed, it is the exact same movement; your inner work is no more separable from humanity’s collective awakening than an individual antibody’s attack on a pathogen is separable from the entire immune system’s return to health.

A man named Ramana Maharshi once said “Your own Self-realization is the greatest gift you can render the world.” This is what your drive toward revolution is calling you home to. Not toward egoically pleasing conflict and drama, not toward a violent uprising which will inevitably see a reversion to the same preexisting conditioning patterns, but toward a transformation in yourself which will enable you to guide the world toward health in a lucid and efficacious way.


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 onTwitter, 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 books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and 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, use or translate 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!

Latest comments

  • it is fun to see that across the ocean, it is the same bullshit

    if there is no Revolution taking place, ignorance and stupidity play obviously their part BUT the very first reason has more to do with cowardice…

    if komunism is about singings tomorrow, kapitalism tells frightening futur : the loss of a (bullshit) job is the best deterrent means for an actual Revolution : it is not consumerism that holds proletarians’ balls in the kapitalist mechanics, it is the fear to lose their (absurd) holdings…

    so is the western middel class : a partner in crime against any change.

    take this as a real introspection topic (and not the time-wasting menthra about self-consciousness)

    Geof’-Rey, neo-communist from Belgium

    • You are right, as all humanity go in wrong direction… all Rulers of Earth know well, that all ETs are Communists… by any definition of that so hated word… all the best.

  • Caitlin,

    With Ramana Maharshi, you have hit the right nail on the topic of spirituality and metaphysics.

    On the topic of metaphysics and its implications to world at large, no author comes close to Rene Guenon.

    I recommend his works starting with The Crisis of the Modern World. He had high praise for genuine spiritual guides such as Ramana Maharshi and ruthless contempt for pseudo-spiritual ones (of whom there are too many).

    Once one starts understanding Rene Guenon, one knows how to face Steve Bannon. Please see



    [Only way to save the world is to unite all truth-seekers, such as youself, under the umbrella of the right spiritual, metaphysical wisdom that is at the heart of all major traditions].

  • Caitlin is right: “You must put truth, and the desire to know it, above all else.” Caitlin is also right that transformation of the world starts with the task of individually transforming ourselves. The Great Liberator, Yeshua, my Hero, taught His followers to collaborate in small groups in the task of transforming themselves, then as larger local communities which will impact the world. No man is an island unless they consciously and actively isolate themselves as hermits. Read more of this here: http://www.wisdompage.com/2013%20Articles/Molyneaux%20essay.pdf

  • Teacher will you show to me
    The bond between the land and sea
    I am new to mystery
    I want everything laid out for me.
    All of history.
    All of history.
    -Big Country, “The Teacher”

  • This too is all part right, part left, part wrong part useful, part few, part many…and as we progress into AI for all, we might say service to who? And if ANY.
    In ’63 i got drafted from EMT anywhere to Coast Guard to DIA to Navy and finally chose USAR, or ARmy reserve…i remember mom and dad saying we’ll support you in WHATEVER you choose…Mom said, anything anywhere this is not like OUR WAR! i suggested Sweden. they both nodded yes. We were not above exact middle class: they had just moved from Chicago to Tucson…the trade up was pretty, but cost only 37,000 for 3 BRs on the side of a golf course of some merit, membership included–my dad played for Northwestern on scholarship.
    hose days were the last reasonable oes and Vietnam was coming along to kill it. i got another degree in Econ. Int’l Monetary theory included and watched fom my idiots perch as the US players rose from like 120 Green Berets to 500,000 green 18 year olds. JFK was killed the day i signed up. 11-22-1963. but they never took Reserves for this one. Lateron Bush took many. Why? Because my age group–born in 1940’s through say ’52 were pissed off at war. 56,000 dead US boys in Korea, to be repeated exactly in Vietnam.
    The AF general during Korea looked at the bombers returning to JAPAN i tells ya. with bombs stll undropped …and he asked them why? The pilots responded with “there are no more targets except rice paddies.” Then bomb the rice paddies! he ordered.
    Same thing in “Nam…and i was marching in the streets. making friends. finding grrrl friends and running from police riots…I was at Lincoln Park, Chicago at the big police riot….they could not catchus yong men, only the grrrls and they hit them in the calves and knees to knock them down. our white brothers! guys we might have gone to HS with. this was not race riot. this was a war riot. war had come to chicago. and was everywhere now….and we eventually won!
    know what we won? no more draft. right as i was about to be set free from my six years of servitude (which was inept and very soft–and had i been drafted i would for sure have chosen Sweden. i was lucky, but also fucked up by war. i was always nervous i was gonna be chosen. to die. of course, or amputeed. and nuloved forever and /or buried at swamp.
    we ended the draft. HA! we made it an economic draft: only the poor or HS bullies like these Chicago cops would even WANT to go–promises of higher educations…you did not even have to study for…just partay!
    not that it was dull mind you. it was just here today and maybe gone tomorrow.
    what i did was passive resistence. i went bureaucratic and it worked. but did it. am i not also responsible for actions of my .GOV? 4 million dead in ‘Nam. 1.4 in Iraq…world’s longest war. there. and in AFghanistan.
    Anyone even shows a photo of it a video explicitly showing US troops with no brains splaatering a van full of kids and all their daddies on some non-vital well, non-strategic, street will be imprisoned i solitry and tortured somehow for LIFE…
    and no i do nothing because i helped mind you …barely something….to end a democratic draft that actaully inspired war resistance.
    passive resistance. Gandhi was lucky. the Brits were tired of India. Only Alexander had it right in the first place. He turned around his army and went home to sleep with his wife.
    if no one goes there will be no wars. that is an old saw. because now it should read that if nobody goes to the factory and no one pushes the buttons then there will be no more mass murders from 30,000 feet…
    while we quit that shit. all the vivid grrrls got preggers and all their men chose a nice place inda ‘Burbs and we begin the long go along to get along….of the 80’s and til now.
    no. we are the world. we are not just us. we have to fight now for EVERYTHING: every kid everywhere, every uranium coated bullet, all the grannnies mommies and people who can’t even see it coming….like our world is being reduced to a 1,000 tiny Algernons…by the evil empire..all empires are evil.
    and we’ll need every bluebird, each cougar, lion dolphin forest of mixed trees, and hemp and soil and kelp and non-plastic oceans, and our putrid steams that used to run thick with salmon….all of it everywhere…is being killed off by certain evil people. who have our homes mortaged, our indebtedness almost fixed for life and reject our desires for human rights expanding into free clean air and water and schools and medical attention…
    while they pollute and control us, our governments, and sell our schools to more evil empirials like themselves who are designing ways to kill us all off in some kind of huge kinda like special draft of death that includes only poor others and the “useless eaters” from the hells they have created.
    having said that i think i’m pissed off. yes. angry. i’ve been angry most of my adult life. not my fault. some thug hits you, robs you, cheats you and you CAN get angry. it is OK to respond to hate with some of yer own. but be detached about it: do not just dive into something you cannot finish…that would only be a good way to die.
    And we will be fight’n’ for our lives soon enough.
    i want to say, events will change you. then WE shall change events.
    that is how it really works. CApitalism is monarchy hangin’ on. new dukes and duchesses. QE owns 20% of BP. Q Beatrice et fils, owners of 20% of Shell and on and on…Rothschilds, Rockefellers DuPonts mellon-scaifes, morgan heirs, gettys, johnsons, so many forming with Koch and henchmen like Bush, Chenay, and all the various murderous stooges…Euros and Sheiks and moguls and their thugs killing the dreams and enthusiasms and ideas that really work for EVERYTHING on EARTH…for the private greed of our new masters. the Kings of Shit.
    Welcome to the new world order of AMerdRica…

  • I went through an enlightening process and major transformation over 40 years ago, following my divorce. I don’t need meditation, though can enter that state of consciousness, from time to time, without having to label it. Back then, I looked at myself, at the person I was, and tore that person to the ground and rebuilt myself into the person that I want to be. During that process, I wrote many poems, to clear the thoughts in my head and to make room for more. One, Solitary Perceptions, is a very long one that rhymes. While I won’t reproduce the entire thing here, the first four verses are as follow:

    The heavens will soon bid adieu to the sun,
    It’s a leisurely time of day.
    When I can reflect over all I have done,
    And the stops I have made on my way.

    When I see nature’s creatures all settling in,
    For a comfortable night of rest.
    As the moon greets the sky, in its own special way,
    On its journey from east to west.

    Then I can just ponder the dreams that are mine.
    And the few things I really need.
    And I can sit idly and be all alone.
    And mine is the voice that I heed.

    Now I think that possessions and power and such
    Are not really to what I aspire.
    Friendship, and Love, and Peace in my life
    Are values I hold much higher.

    Of course, in the process of continued enlightening, a few parts of the complete poem would be different today. In my retirement, I seek truth, something that often requires deep, deep research, sometimes taking day upon day, to follow the ‘leads’ much as a detective would. Of course, I sometimes am forced to endure ridicule from those who are so indoctrinated in one position or another, that they resemble cultists, for their lack of willingness to research or to open their minds.
    It can be frustrating at times, but I recognize that the only way to bring about needed change is to find the answers, or the first step toward an answer, and to put it out in the universe. Those who are bent toward rejecting anything that is not supported by their particular view, will never change. However, if I try 20 times and reach just one mind that is willing to open, then I feel my efforts worthwhile. And, if that person acts as I do, eventually the truth will reach millions.
    Timing is also important, for when things are going well for someone, he or she will usually reject any major change. However, when they are not going so well, many will seek solutions leading to improvement. So, if this process is repeated over and over and over, even if I am gone and not here to see it, the people of the world may well be into the process of enlightening and transformation that will turn this world into a utopia.

    I do have steps that I feel are needed to effect change in the world. But those are best left for another occasion.

  • Revolutions have historically been manipulated , infiltrated manufactured by those in power through history as the Rockefeller and Rothschilds do not get effected by them and use them to tell the person they are ” unsafe” and so need them( Govt) to keep them( as the body) safe and keep order.
    All wars civil and other are an outer manifestation they are hate in action.

    We have never yet had a revolution in Love and peace.
    The inner creates the outer.

  • I sent the link to a friend of mine who´s an adept in the Kagyu and Nyingma schools of Tibetan buddhism. He wrote back saying:

    “Ramana Maharishi also has another great quote which I used to sign off with. Very deep:

    “That which is not experienced in deep, dreamless sleep is not real.”

    That’s real advanced 6 yoga level stuff. And true. But most definitely far from the maddening crowd who dwell forever and intractably in the illusion known as the ‘real world,’ the karmic dream we navigate through in the bardo of awake, which is no more solid or real than the bardo of dream. The bardo of deep sleep is the one in which we experience pure enlightenment every night, but so devoid of self-awareness that we are not aware of it, so it’s a sort of union of enlightenment and ignorance. The trick is to remain aware whilst also deeply asleep, something only a very few can master because the ego-mind usually polices our awareness and we have no experience of being both aware and deeply asleep at the same time. It even seems contradictory. It’s called Luminosity in the texts, I think. Anyway, it’s a good quote.”

  • The Fool’s Dilemma: we don’t know that we don’t know. From CBC’s “Ideas”

  • Chicken and egg. Yes, we must change/improve things inside in order to change/improve things outside. But the converse is equally true. Until things change/improve outside, many (if not most) of us will not develop the wisdom or will to change/improve things inside. This paradox is succinctly captured in a saying attributed to Jesus: that we are simultaneously to love God (inside work) and our fellow human beings (outside work), the two commandments being inseparably one and a summary of the entire religious tradition in which Jesus was steeped. Similar teachings can be found in all of humanity’s great religious traditions and is also profoundly expressed in existential secular humanism. That said, it strikes me that this pandemic–which has literally frozen in place, globally, our frenzied, predatory, ecocidal way of life–may provide an entirely new evolutionary/revolutionary opening for humankind. Mired in the midst of this freeze, most of us can’t see this opening…yet. But soon, when the pandemic recedes and that which has been fast-frozen begins to thaw, we will have been handed an unprecedented cause, fundamental and universal, to rally around and fight for as a matter of life and death. Governments across the planet have required us to stay home to serve the ostensible interests of personal and public health. Meanwhile, our livelihoods, small businesses, and even some larger businesses have wasted away. To date, our governments have hastened to bail out the rich and powerful but have thrown only a bone to the vast majority of us, and soon that bone with its meager sustenance will have been gnawed away. When things eventually reopen, a lot us are wondering that they will reopen to, what the world will look like when decimated societies have been resuscitated. I could go on, but surely you get the drift, so let me cut to the chase. The fact that trillions were created out of thin air to bail out the plutocrats (for an explanation of how, see Modern Monetary Theory) means that trillions can also be created to bail out average people and “the least of these.” The governments that told us to stay home can both let us out AND continue to take care of our essential needs (see MMT’s federal job guarantee for one concrete example), just as they hastened to insure the continuing luxuries and privileges of the rich and powerful. But since the rich and powerful own these governments, will they? Likely not, unless massive protest, civil disobedience, and nonviolent resistance occur nation-by-nation on an unprecedented scale, intensity, and duration–yellow vests on steroids. The bottom line here is an old one: “We are many; they are few.” But the trick will be to minimize division in our ranks, overcome the polarization that has been the most effective weapon wielded by the plutocrats to keep “we the people” serving elite interests at our expense. Thus, the worst thing we can do is to squabble over the recent past, turn on each other over issues of whether our governments overreacted or under-reacted to the pandemic, or perhaps even concocted it to gain more authoritarian control. IT DOESN’T MATTER, the past is past, and to quote another saying attributed to Jesus: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” I’ll end this diatribe with the words of a yard sign I just put up a couple of days ago. “WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER/BAIL OUT EVERYONE.” This, or something like it, must become our fundamental, universal rallying cry, an elemental and unyielding demand for basic human decency that emerges and gains ever-increasing power and momentum like a tsunami. And if it does, a better, more beautiful world will begin to dawn, incrementally at first, ultimately unstoppable. Yet here’s the question that haunts me: “Has neoliberal capitalism so eroded the human spirit that such a massive social movement is beyond our reach, having been put beyond our imagination, our hope, even our desire? We’re about to find out.

    • You change the inner that is all you can do, the outer changes accordingly as it is manifestation of the inner.
      Its amazing really that instead of the formidable task of changing the world( and “everyone” else ) first you need to be free of it and that comes from “knowing thyself”.
      Right action comes naturally when connected to being instead of the constant ego response( fear -attack)

    • But we’re not all in this together. That’s the truth. Those wealthy and powerful to which you refer have really lost nothing and can endure a lifestyle that is only minimally changed. See if you can find a photo fo Jerry Jones aboard his yacht during the NFL draft.
      You nave touched on the other truth – that neoliberal capitalism may be seeing the beginning of the end, for it failed as a response to COVID-19.
      However, it may take years for its ultimate demise. The problem is that so many cannot see beyond their own noses. They want to rush back to subsistence jobs that are part of the capitalistic economy that will continue to make crises a given part of life, for as a financial theory, a an economic approach that believes in infinite growth in a finite world is eventually doomed to fail.

  • Wow you hit this out of the park! A superb article! Guidance for those of us who are wondering how to survive on a day-to-day basis and coexist with others.

  • I used to be into eastern philosophy and did a lot of meditation. Many of my teachers told me that my mind and ego were my problem. I followed them but my life never seemed to improve. Then I came across the work of Carl Jung. He held that a healthy ego and sane rational judgement are critical to healthy human functioning. They are not the whole person and must work in concert with other aspects of the Self. I am finding that this perspective has been much better for me.

  • You might want to check out what the Creative Initiative philosophers tried to instill in 10,000 willing and hopeful participants in the 1970s ….. motivated by the Vietnam War.

  • Absolutely, the real revolution begins in your mind or you just end up with the same old bullshit, just with `revolutionary’ new labels. The idea of the lone hero or small “special” band valiantly battling against the forces of evil makes far better entertainment than the lone individual struggling quietly with themselves. True heroism is minutes, hours, weeks, year upon year of the quiet, precise, judicious exercise of probity and care with no one there to see or cheer. This is the world

    But at the same time, we must remember that if such revolutions stay there, or if we mistakenly attempt to use some of the same tactics to create a revolution outside ourselves—well, your revolution of your mind is liable to get crushed and/or blown out of your skull. We need our buddhas to not walk into the forest and never return; we need them to come back. But, given the reality we find ourselves in, we shouldn’t be too concerned if the buddha comes out with an AR-15 or AK-47 slung across their back—sure hope they’ve got some better ideas than playing Rambo though.

    When one defends their people, when one strives for justice in the real world, things can never be tidy and neat. There are no saints. Sainthood leads to defeat. Saints are born later, when victory is won and the people can afford it. But, there is something dangerous about the equation of military success and moral right; the argument favoring violence for the sake of an ideal can make us idealize violence, and gets people to forget what the actual costs of war are.

    The hard fact is: violence, manipulation, disruption, destruction are all likely necessary to stop this shit. They won’t have it any other way. If you are being attacked, you are allowed self-defense. If someone else is being attacked, you are encouraged to go to their aid. Sometimes the only way to avoid being broken is to meet force with force. Self-defense, defense of others, violence in pursuit of noble goals—oh how familiar that song sounds to the ears on both sides.

    “There are two forces in history. One is ideas. The other is violence. Ideas, although sometimes effective, can become the control mechanism of the ruling class. In contrast, violence is the effective force in history. Violence serves those who use it most forcefully.”

    Violent, revolutionary acts require context to be accepted. It does not matter if in general the people are not fond of violence, provide the proper context and they will support it.

    When someone says that non-violence has been the only way that human beings have changed the world, they’re fucking lying. Across the world and across history, oppressed, marginalized, poor and working-class people have used a variety of tactics to further their goals and fight back, and this includes things that could be considered violent. Overall, this means that when people refuse their roles within society and instead force the system into a state of crisis, that’s when we can create a situation in which we can forward our own agenda. This often means that people refuse to do the things that allows the system to reproduce itself. In the case of workers, people strike. In the case of renters, they go on rent strike. For the poor, they refuse to be passive: they riot. In the case of all, they defend themselves against the violence of State repression and the police—they fight back.

    Gandhi made the point, when you have a huge discrepancy in power, then when a weak party resists, it’s not violence. He gives a few examples. He says, take the case of a woman who resists a rapist by scratching the rapist and hitting the rapist. He says that’s not violence; that’s just a woman trying to summon up the internal moral courage to die with dignity. And then he says in 1939, you have the German Wehrmacht, the Army, the Luftwaffe, they invade Poland. Poland has six tanks. Poland resists. They use violence, they use their tanks. Gandhi says they had that right because it was such a huge discrepancy in power. He says it wasn’t resistance; it was dying with dignity. You’re just trying to summon up the moral wherewithal to die with dignity.

    In every revolution ultimately it was violence or the threat of it that won out in the end. Right now, people in the West are so deluded and misinformed about how to enact change that they aren’t even aware that violence is necessary instead of to be avoided. A lifetime of propaganda will do that though.

    So does that mean that violence is promoted or favored over nonviolence in every situation? No, of course not. It means that violence is sometimes a necessity. A nuanced approach is essential here. Do all leftists need to engage in violent tactics? No. But all leftists should understand that castigating those who employ violence—defensive aggression—against those who promote bigotry and oppression, is counterproductive and often immoral. In other words, in order for the left to present itself as a true alternative that is supportive of everyday citizens’ struggles and opposed to continued oppression by the state and its right-wing metastases, it must embrace people’s rights for justice, equality, defense, and dignity by any means necessary.

    Nonviolence is a luxury many cannot afford, nonviolence requires a position of privilege. True nonviolence is a luxury movements can afford only if they trust the ‘legitimate’ violence of authorities.

    “Violence is always the answer, you Americans are just coddled and spoiled because of your illusionary comfort created by mindless consumerism. How long has it been since you dragged a corrupted and murderous politician out into the snow and put a bullet in his head? Maybe that’s how they will learn. Rich people fear only violence from the poor because they simply can control everything else.”

    Let’s build that new world. But let’s not delude ourselves: we’re going to get dirty. We’re not noble saints, reject all who attempt to seize such label for themselves. We’re a people imperfectly struggling for justice. Our best will not be our children’s best.

    • Unfortunately when I take the path you speak of, I become very very angry. I dont like being angry, it is wasted energy. I therefore do not think too deeply about it. I am not a revolutionary in mind or body shying away from wishing things would change. I am a realist who tries to cope with the world as it is. Yes I think I see through most of the BS in the world but I have no desire to waste energy trying to change if. Thus I do not complain because if you complain then it is your responsibility to try yo change the situation. Otherwise you should not complain.

      • The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.

        Revolutionaries come in all shapes, sizes, and abilities. It’s only due to the romanticized versions and the grand ego-stroking tales that we believe otherwise.

        I believe the truth about these events informs our current political situation. And I believe you have a part to play in this story as well. The truth can set us all free.

    • Good point, to tie it back to Caitlin’s point it takes a clear mind and open heart to know the line between defensive action and offensive action, the latter which just perpetuates more of the same karma. Keep your cushion warm and your powder dry 🙂

  • From the collective consciousness:

    “By more constant meditation, and putting into action day by day a little more patience, a little more love, a little more forgiving, a little more prayer. These DEVELOP the mental of the subconscious to that point of SPIRITUAL activity.”

  • I reckon that most of humanity will have arrive at this blinding flash of enlightenment within 45 minutes of the first launch. They won’t think much of it after that, of course, being on fire and all.

  • May I also suggest a further understanding of self-inquiry through advaita vedanta which has been a methodology of teaching for thousands of years and a vast amount of free information at https://www.shiningworld.com

    • I second this suggestion. James Swartz is an excellent teacher, one of the best on the topic of non-dual consciousness.

  • BRILLIANT Caitlin. I have read you for a number of years now and this piece of critically sound thinking has moved me to make my first comment. Please stay safe in these uncertain times and keep up the good work. Kindest

  • Ramana also said that everything is unfolding as preordained. You have no reason to worry.

    That is the best argument for maintaining the status quo. It is sad that Johnston is buying it.

    • If you are quoting R.M., you gave zero context. Is that helpful to anyone here?

  • Manipulating the public away from revolution is called brainwashing.
    Take the case of coronavirus and the abundance of figures from all kinds of experts.
    Bullshit galore. The virus has a sharp eye for health-deprived targets.
    I looked into a Medium 27-minute 40 milion views with a mind-boggling amount of graphs.
    It has 11 entries of the word “healthcare”. No mentions of “health”.
    Healthcare is nothing but medicalcare. A destructive misnomer. But this fact seems to be ridiculous to 99.9% of our populations, not just the experts. No one is allowed to even mentioned.
    Long live medicine.
    Health is not even a science, at times when it is more necessary than ever.
    However, universities wouldn’t dare to face that reality.
    Some medicos think they know about health after having 25 hours of nutrition in their tuition.
    What a mountain of bulldust.
    Health is achieved by a lifestyle that takes years of trial and error, because health science has not been structured for demarcation.
    Doctors” shops — more than 12 millions worldwide — amount to a figure much larger than that of the coronavirus cases.
    Health doctors, none. Not one. Ninguno.
    Help yourself, and if corona, or any other virus hits you, pray, or emulate a sage.

    • Did you say “Coronavirus”? Thanks… that will be my “queue in” for this thread. -g- https://gazelda.com/20200512-sign-the-petition/

      • That is for UK citizens. I am from Australia.

        • Interesting Response. I slept on it… often that is the right thing to do.

          The scope of this “Covid19” tragedy is yet to be realised. It has been inflicted by certain members of the human race on a vast majority of other members of the human race. These “certain members” are a very small subset indeed, but have long tentacles.

          Here are a couple of examples of the developing tragedy… this is on a global scale. It’s a planetary sized problem.

          Small business landlords are set up to being wiped out.

          Tuberculosis (TB) Cases & Deaths.

          I am sure lots of other worthy examples are out there, and many more examples in process.

          So what is a national petition going to do? Nothing materially. Our governments are entirely bought out by moneyed interests and any
          “Decisions” made are simply whatever strings those interests pull, plus a little debate and public relations for show.

          We are weak and helpless in the face of the onslaught. I just love this utube excerpt with the variation using . I have the whole film naturally.
          It’s in black and white, and that is all it needs. A nice depiction of the horseman of the apocalypse in full swing.


          That film was made about the time the population of Japan were coming out of a real downer… the loss of WW2 and about the time they started manufacturing the Toyota Land Cruiser and other stuff.

          A case in point. They are coming for your property and your children next.

          HR 6666: Illinois Democrat Introduces $100 Billion Contact Tracing Bill


          Why all the sixes? It’s done all the time and in inspires fear and loathing. Getting people upset works in the longer term as emotional responses wear out while logic and planning endure. The bill may get shot down in the short term, but the spectre has been raised.
          It inspires “It’s gonna happen anyway”.

          Not necessary so. AT ALL. What’s needed is the counter response. The petition. Here is the UK condition right now as I write this.


          A paltry 0.5% of the population or something. To me that’s OK. I have a tendency to be early, ahead of the curve. I bought a stack of face
          Masks back in January as I need to keep the dust particles out of my lungs as I work on my boat. I could see there could be problems coming down the pike. Sure… I am not working on my boat yet, the problems are bigger then I first imagined, but I have plans.

          The thing is, as the bad news bites, that percentage might get up to 10% or 20%. Even if 5% happens, it will soon be over.
          It will be like the inverse of “6666”. If several nations take up the idea, fear will be inspired amongst those very small few. In the end, not even the internet will be needed as will be a “learned response” on a planet wide basis.

          The disease will create the cure if care and planning are employed. The human race learn to hunt, fish and farm a long time ago.

          Once it happens there is no coming back. It will be over. The squids will die and those that feed from their demise will live.

          I believe it’s in Australia they say….

          “If you want to go into the outback, take a Land Rover. If you want to come back, take a Toyota Land Cruiser.”

          I am sure there is a good reason for saying that, but maybe I am biased, as a lifelong student and disciple of William E. Deming.

          I hear that the Americans have maybe picked up on the idea already.


  • Excellent – much of it makes broad-spectrum pragmatic Buddhism more accessible to anyone looking for a different and creative point of view. You might enjoy this link which is more specifically a point of view based on the Japanese sage Nichiren in similarly challenging circumstances in the 13th century:

    Thanks, Caitlin, for another burst of uncommon sense.

  • This is the reason I started blogging. Helping steer folks towards an art of living practice is surely one of the best ways to help humanity reconnect with our innate inner peace. People are good and the world is safe. Day by day, blog by blog we can restore people to their true self, to live lives in alignment with their true path. To learn to trust themselves and others more fully. Slow and steady but effective. We are all responsible for a co-created reality. Let’s make today the change we want to see. Namaste, Caitlin. Thanks for sharing this now. Metta xx

    • Gee, aren’t you special? How paternalistic of you. The path to self-realization does not require a guide.

      • We all have our own inner guide.
        If you will an outer guide you will see you have one, if you are awake you will find a teacher in every ” other” your cat or dog as all can teach you being.

  • No they’re not.

    Truth 1: No matter how enlightened I may be, or might become — whether or not I can truly ‘first know thyself’ — if there is no concrete program to carry out a revolution, then none will occur.
    Truth 2: No revolution in history has occurred without the violent overthrow of the existing order, of murderously entrenched ruling classes who since time immemorial have had state machines to carry out repression and ‘legalised’ murder to defend their rule. None.
    Truth 3: ‘Enlightened’ individuals can achieve meaningful social change only when united in their actions collectively for common goals, when they are ‘enlightened’ in the same direction for the common good.
    Truth 4: Actions for common social goals can only be effective if led and carried out by classes with real social power to effect change, classes that can bring society to a screeching halt, that fight for a program that benefits and is supported by the majority of the population. Under modern capitalism the working class is the only class that can do this, that can lead all the oppressed and disempowered out of the quagmire of social pathologies brought on by the fast-decaying social order.
    Truth 5: The forceful or violent overthrowing of oppression need never lead to a repetition or replication of the vices that force and violence have overthrown in the first place. Such fatalism is classic bourgeois liberal propaganda, and holds people back in an unfounded belief and fear of the myth of ‘original sin’ of revolution. This is the pus of liberal cowardice.
    Truth 6: Humanity can have no hope of dealing with the challenges ahead without collectivising the whole economy worldwide and planning work and production democratically and rationally to benefit the majority of the population.
    Truth 7: Humanity has had the technical capacity and means to implement a rational collective world order for a century or longer, but its consciousness has ever been restricted to the ideals of the Enlightenment, as the outer limit.
    Truth 8: Mass consciousness is changed collectively by events that affect the mass of the population similarly and at the same time, whether by ‘external’ global events or major social unrest, often one following the other.
    Truth 9: A change in mass consciousness to win a better world can’t occur without first embarking on a struggle to achieve the immediate demands desperately needed by the population that the rulers simply cannot and will never address — and only when the population comes to realise this in struggle.
    Truth 10: Such concrete demands would include: a shorter work week to share the work around; a sliding scale of wages; free healthcare, education and housing; free childcare; expropriation of the rapacious banks and other monopolists; for mass mobilisations and workers militias to defend strikes and picket lines.
    Truth 11: The rulers will first try to co-opt their radical opponents and revolutionaries and, failing that, frame them up for ‘legal’ repression, or ‘legally’ murder them.
    Truth 12: The working class is misled by an entrenched trade union and/or social democratic leadership thoroughly beholden to and bribed by the ruling class. The working class won’t become a class for itself and realise its true social power without first throwing off the shackles of their existing leaders who claim to defend their interests. This will only occur in struggle when they see their interests being betrayed by their current leaders.

    I ‘hold these truths to be self-evident’, and while ‘nothing to excess’ and ‘surety brings ruin’ appear to be clearly violated here, the excess of the rulers and their surety in the persistence of their ‘eternal’ social order is bringing ruin on the whole human species.

    • Bravo

    • Ramana also said that everything is unfolding as preordained. You have no reason to worry.

      That is the best argument for maintaining the status quo. It is sad that Johnston is buying it.

      • Are you quoting R.M.? Without giving a context, your comment is merely self-serving.

    • Hi Stephen,

      I won’t argue against any of your truths.

      I agree that only action brings about change in the world. Also, I agree that you need to deal with reality, not fantasy, which means pay attention to the outer world in order to understand how it works. I also agree that to achieve a goal, you need a plan or a program or a strategy of some sort. I also agree that the problems that have appeared are global and urgent.

      But, to be fair to Caitlin, I don’t think she is saying that you should stop doing anything until you are completely enlightened. In her own words: “I’m definitely not saying not to organize, demonstrate or take large, decisive actions against establishment power structures.”

      Let’s take this quote from the article:
      “.. the most effective thing you can do to fight the bastards and create a healthy world is to bring clarity to your own inner processes, so that’s where your energy should be most emphasised.”

      A key words here is “effective”. The implication is that without clarity of your own inner processes, your actions will not be as effective.

      It’s like an investment. The time you invest in clarifying your own inner processes pays dividends in the effectiveness of your actions.
      In addition, the clarity you have increases your effectiveness in communication. It’s not magical. You are still part of the real world.

      Here are a few ways you can be in-effective, due to a lack of self-knowledge..

      1. You might not understand how reality really works, so your plans and your actions won’t work as expected. (And here’s a clue – your inner processes determine how you understand reality.) In addition, if you don’t understand yourself, then maybe you don’t understand other people either. Other people are important in a revolution.

      2. You might not be working towards a goal you really believe in. It may in fact be someone else’s goal, and you have mistaken it for you own. (Of course people can share a common goal, but many people work against their own true goals. For example, consider advertising, propaganda, religion and ideology. Where does truth end and manipulation begin? And how could you tell?)

      3. You can become distracted, you can become confused. You can feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. You can become disheartened or impatient when everyone else doesn’t follow your plan. All these problems arise from within, not from without.

      .. and so on. That’s a short list.

      Let me quote from your comment:
      “Humanity .. its consciousness has ever been restricted to the ideals of the Enlightenment”. In other word, a lack of self-awareness.
      You then go on to describe how a mass change in consciousness can come about, and in fact can be orchestrated and managed.

      My question then would be “if you have not done any work to understand your own inner processes, what makes you think you know anything about how consciousness works, and how it can be changed in the mass of humanity?”

      Anyway, I think you are already arguing for self-awareness in your list of truths.

      For example, you say:
      “The working class won’t become a class for itself and realise its true social power without first throwing off the shackles of their existing leaders who claim to defend their interests.” This is about self-awareness – becoming aware of the shackles, becoming aware of their interests. Any person who clarifies their own inner processes is already bringing the revolution into effect. It’s not like everyone throws off their shackles in the same moment. Some do it earlier than others. Everyone who does it then becomes a catalyst for others who are ready. That’s how I see it.

      Or this:
      “Mass consciousness is changed collectively by events that affect the mass of the population similarly and at the same time”. Where is the guarantee that people who have no clarity in their inner processes will change in a way that is truly trans-formative and revolutionary? Isn’t it more likely that those who are already unclear (which is most people) will just fall back into some variation of pre-existing patterns and prejudices. Or just come up with some irrational, nonsensical response. Or just follow the first con-artist who comes along. Given the pre-existing “quagmire of social pathologies brought on by the fast-decaying social order”, I don’t understand how reason will suddenly manifest without prior preparation. At the very least there need to be enough clear-thinking people around to somehow shepherd the process. Who can be trusted to do that? My answer would be “anyone who has clarity in their inner processes”.

      Do you really have no time at all to observe your own inner process? Surely your own mind is one of your most powerful tools. You can only benefit from keeping it well-maintained.

      cheers, Glen.

      • I think I understand where you’re coming from, Glen. But when people talk so loosely of ‘revolution’ and seek to prescribe their own terms and conditions on what it should and shouldn’t be, then they and everyone who reads such pronouncements should be made aware of the reality of revolutions and from where such prescriptions originate. Such terms and conditions emanate from liberal ideologues who oppose revolution with every fibre of their being by raising the spectre of bloodshed, violence and other horrors to cow the population into accepting the entrenched status quo. And then they heap this on as ‘original sin’, as if capitalism would somehow be any different, non-violent, non imperialist perhaps if there weren’t violent revolutions ushering it in as the dominant economic system.

        One can only begin to understand the world, or any material phenomenon, by changing it. And history, especially the history of revolutions, teaches us how the world of humans really works, where class conflict is thrown into sharpest relief, where the representatives of the contending classes act no longer with all the artifaces and pretenses of times when maintaining the ‘consent’ of the ruled was paramount.

        Revolutions are messy, never peaceful, and more often than not they consume their own. Awareness of their ebbs and flows, their ups and downs, and lessons to be drawn from where they’ve succeeded and failed, is but one necessary step to changing consciousness necessary to making them. However, all the lessons of history, of class struggles and conflicts, of revolutions and civil wars, can’t reside inside a single head. They’re just too vast, complicated and intricate to deal with, especially with new situations that arise and never replicate the past.

        Such understanding can really only reside in the collective memory and consciousness of the revolutionary class. In the case of the working class, it resides in its revolutionary party. Unlike the rising capitalist class of bourgeois revolutions that overthrew feudalism, the working class doesn’t have the leisure time, cultural upbringing or education to attain a revolutionary consciousness on its own; it can’t make a revolution ‘spontaneously’ without a revolutionary leadership. That comes from the outside, from ‘outside agitators’. It doesn’t come from the inside, certainly not from ‘self-awareness’, self-reflection or other nostrums of individual self improvement.

        Christian Smalls, nationally renowned hero to emerge from the depths of Bezos’ Amazon jungle, is an instructive example of how being determines consciousness and…self-awareness. Through his trials and tribulations in opposing the most powerful oligarch on earth, Smalls has grown in stature such that his self-belief and knowledge of his power as a leader is manifest. He can no longer act as a slave, and he’ll no never go back to acting as one. His self-awareness has changed profoundly along with his public profile and most likely he would ‘self-reflect’ from a completely new perspective also.

        While Smalls’ consciousness won’t retreat to where it was, it won’t progress to a revolutionary one either unless a revolutionary organisation intersects and connects with him, puts his experiences into perspective and shows him the way forward. But where is this mythical revolutionary organisation? Such a party doesn’t exist. Yet a revolutionary propaganda group certainly needs to recruit such working class leaders and other advanced layers of the working class before it can hope to transform into the revolutionary party of the working class. Maybe Smalls won’t become a revolutionary, but others like him who might emerge in the upcoming period of chaos and class conflict in the US may.

        It’s not clarity of inner processes, it’s clarity of thinking that’s needed, clarity of program and perspective that can change working class consciousness by addressing its immediate felt needs, that can weld it into the overwhelming force needed to change human existence for the better and permanently.

    • Truth 12 is easy to demonstrate with a daily scan of the World Socialist Website. Throughout this coronavirus crisis it’s been a steady stream of CAW, AUW and UNIFOR betrayals of their own members without regard to their health or well being as they force the membership to do whatever management wants.

      Pretty slick. The members pay the dues and the management reaps the benefits. Wonder how that works.

      • Except WSWS think all trade unions are bad, from top to bottom, and advocate ‘rank-and-file’ committees to take their place. Trade unions historically are the singular defence organisations of the working class and must be defended unconditionally from attacks by the bourgeois state. The bosses have no business interfering in the affairs of the organisations of the working class. The working class must clean its own house, and replace sellout leaders with revolutionary ones. WSWS substitutes its impotent ‘rank-and-file’ committees to avoid this necessarily difficult and arduous task.

    • Gandhi.

    • I do not Stephen as they are not the “truth” (true to ego-mind based on the past and because you believe them).
      How can you know what would happen if humanity awoke from their egoic slumber?
      The push is there, the love and the light is here now.

  • Ah, the Buddha Ms Caitlin always speaks the truth!

  • Some day we’ll all be in a socialist collective. I just hope there are more than a few of us left.

  • Yes. You are exactly right.
    This might sound strange to say (warning, forthcoming explanation in 3, 2, 1,…)…
    But, the fundamental unit of the social collective happens to be the individual.
    If the individual begins to take control of the individual’s state of being (especially if this is truthfully the case, from within the individual) then, the individual will begin to manifest (#disclaimer, trippy spirit stuff) a more natural and positive reality, and thus the collection of all of the specific examples of the individual (i.e. all of the individuals in question, together and at the same time) will begin to manifest a more natural and positive reality for all of us (as we actually happen to be a very large collection of individuals). That just happens to be the way we create our realities, in reality. So, yes revolution is very much an inside job, in very much the same way that ‘not telling ourselves some dumbass story or other about every goddamned thing all the damned time’ is an inside job.
    We can totally do this, by the way. We just have to actually do it.
    Also, my personal opinion is that you are awesome (and I like your poems). Keep up the good work.

    • Well said, Joshua. You have important things to say, no need to be coy. cheers, Glen.

  • This one goes on your Greatest Hits album.Ramana Maharishi is the best and strangely enough lines up with Gurdjieff on this point along with Eckhart Tolle.Time for the evil clowns in DC to evolve or dissolve.

  • Hi Caitlin, as talking about human ego-minds is like putting stick into ant-house … many people know about biblical conversion of disciple Saul-Paul on his famous Road to Damascus …. now all Humanity is on that biblical road to Salvation… it happened in AD.37 when Christ lived in I+N+D+I+A (37), with letters as numbers by Vedic Brahman design…. why all Humanity ? because all have its psyche dark sides… when it is suppressed, people are called good guys and called bad guys when is not…as Ramana Maharshi said, that Salvation can come only from the Real Self as in Everybody… all the best.

  • You are speaking to our better angels. Very praiseworthy!
    Unfortunately, the human species has proven itself to be more easily manipulated by direction towards their lesser angels.
    I wish it were not so, but my seven decades of life suggest that it’s more like idealism versus a set of brass knuckles. And with the forthcoming worldwide economic contraction and crunch, it may get very competitive out there. If our species were more enlightened and collaborative, the outcome would be better but unfortunately we are not there yet.

    • How does an angel become wise without testing its idealism against a set of brass knuckles?

      • But the wisdom gained is usually a bloody nose.

  • Well said, I completely agree. If you inspire just one person to wake up and see the truth, it was worth your time and effort. Thank you

    • Oh geez, please! Not the trite and meaningless “if just one person…it’ll have been worth it” nonsense again.

  • “Most of my readers are familiar with the term, ‘muscle bound.’ As a species you have grown ‘ego bound’ instead, held in a spiritual rigidity, with the intuitive portions of the self either denied or distorted beyond any recognition.”

    Seth, in his introduction to _Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul_ by Jane Roberts (1972).

leave a comment