HomeArticleMeditations On Peace

Meditations On Peace

Perhaps the most significant of the many weak points in human cognition is our persistent tendency to overlook the absences of things. To notice what’s there but not what isn’t there.

We notice problems, but seldom notice the absence of problems. We notice when things are working inharmoniously, but seldom when they are working harmoniously.

A mother can spend years on end disappearing problems and cleaning up messes without receiving a drop of real gratitude, but the instant the laundry baskets are spilling over or the sink is full of dishes she’s going to get an earful from someone.

A politician who does their job well, remains without scandals or malfeasance and eliminates problems before they become an issue will not make news headlines.

Make something beautiful and post it online and a hundred positive comments can be eclipsed in your attention by a single mean spirited one.

We rarely appreciate how wonderful and miraculous it is for all our cells, systems and organs to be working in perfect harmony, but as soon as we get sick our health moves to the forefront of our attention.

We fixate upon the thoughts, feelings and sense impressions which appear in our field of consciousness, and can spend our whole lives overlooking the boundless spaciousness in which that field of consciousness appears.

We get so hung up on our little quibbles with life that we look past how intrinsically blissful it is to be alive.

It’s not hard to guess why our evolutionary heritage would have given us such a heavy cognitive bias toward things over their absence. If you are an organism in a prehistoric world full of saber-toothed monsters that see you as nothing but an easy source of calories, your primary concern is going to be scanning your environment and watching for anything out of the ordinary. The absence of any immediate problems doesn’t mean you get to relax; the ones who do are next up for dinner.

Our brains evolved in that environment, and they’ve left us with a vestigial bias that is ill-suited for modern life. We are rarely being actively preyed upon, and hyper-vigilance is hardly ever a necessary posture for us to take.

So now we tend to spend a lot of mental energy stressing ourselves out for no good reason. We clawed our way up the food chain, became the planet’s dominant life form, and now we spend our time inventing ways to make ourselves miserable.

The craziest and most destructive way we do this is with war, which is made possible by this same weird cognitive bias toward form over emptiness.

Peace is not a thing. Peace is the absence of a thing. If you are talking about inner peace, it’s the absence of inner conflicts. If you’re talking about world peace, it’s the absence of war.

Because peace isn’t a thing, it doesn’t tend to show up on people’s radar as a glaringly important state of affairs that we must work diligently to preserve with all our might. It gets overlooked, in the same way our natural state of inner peace gets overlooked when we’re not making up things to upset ourselves with.

What gets our attention in this arena is conflict. An evil dictator who must be stopped at all costs. A rogue regime which poses a direct threat to you and your countrymen. Terrorists who hate you for your freedom. A nigh-omnipotent foreign government who can change your nation’s election results at will.

Our planet is dominated by a sprawling empire-like group of nations that is held together by endless military violence. When this empire needs more war, all it needs to do is craft another thing for the mind of the public to fixate on. It doesn’t need to be much. It doesn’t even need to be true. It just needs to be a thing, so that people’s minds can fixate on it and set themselves up in conflict with it. As soon as that happens, consent has been manufactured.

And then you’ve got your war. One more to add to the pile. And because there is no solid, tangible thing called peace for it to be compared to, it just becomes a part of the new normal instead of standing out like the grossly unnatural and horrific thing that it is. People just look at the things that are happening and make comments about their nature, while overlooking peace as the natural default condition that must be returned to as quickly as possible.

As long as we are biased toward form over emptiness, those who wage war will have an unfair advantage over those who wage peace. As long as profit and power are facilitated by war, those who seek profit and power will continue to use war to obtain those things. They will will never be satisfied, so they will never stop of their own volition; they can only be stopped by a mass movement of ordinary people who desire peace.

And so, as with so very much else, this all comes down to the need for a transformation in human consciousness. A movement away from our wildly imbalanced perception into one which includes both form and emptiness, both things and their absence. A movement in which we are all awake to the boundless spaciousness upon which our conscious experience is painted.

Such a shift would look the same as what has been described in various traditions as enlightenment, awakening, or self-realization. Traditions all around the world have been assuring us throughout history that such a shift is possible. If such a shift is possible for an individual, it is technically possible for the collective. Like other adaptations that have been made by other organisms during times of great change, it’s just a matter of that potentiality unlocking in us on a mass scale.

I talk a lot about the need for activism and fighting establishment propaganda, but when I really let myself speak honestly about what we’re going to need in order to overcome the existential hurdles we now face as a species, what’s actually required is a mass-scale awakening of emptiness consciousness. It’s simply the only way we’re ever going to be able to create peace and harmony in our world.

So yes, if you are a lover of peace, engage in peace activism. Yes, by all means fight war propaganda. But if you really want peace in our world the most helpful thing you can do is find the peace within yourself. The peace that has always been there. The peace that is there even now, beneath the field of consciousness in which you are reading these words.

This new perception isn’t difficult to awaken to. You just have to want it more than you want to cling to your old way of looking at things. Get curious about how your experience is actually happening underneath your mental narratives about how it’s happening, look closely at the nature of self and consciousness without accepting conceptual answers, and your true nature will reveal itself to you.

It’s a far more easy, natural and comfortable way of perceiving, and when you stop overlooking it you’ll marvel at how you ever managed to miss it in the first place. Peace is the natural, default state, both for the world and for yourself. It’s just a matter of finding the ways in which you take yourself out of it.

The real movement toward peace is the movement to a collective awakening. Be a part of that movement.


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Latest comments

  • https://youtu.be/xq-N2Aotz3M
    Anima Christi, sanctifica me …“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this.”

  • There are no statues to the ordinary man (or woman), yet without them, we do not exist.

  • The story we are told is that when Columbus discovered America there was no one but who we would later call, ‘indigenous people’, but that’s not true at all, the Chinese naval fleet had trading posts all up and down both the Atlantic and Pacific in both North and South America. The evil ones came upon those trading centers like a tsunami and wiped almost all memory of them from human consciousness. That was my point to your beautiful essay yesterday, Caitlin. Some people are just that evil; I’m sure that you’ve read lots of first person accounts of how much they enjoyed killing infants, even if it did make them sick as they did so. But, yet here it is in America. Since when, Caitlin, does an unpaid parking ticket deserve the death sentence? That, Caitlin, is America today.

  • The abscence of a negative value does not equal a positive value. It equals an abscence, at best a neutrality, which does not rise to the level of being a positive (and, arguably, even a non-negative) equalibrium. It takes more than a mere abscence of something bad, to make something good be present. Look at conductivity (as a quality inherent to whatever mental and/or emotional state, individually, collectively) What is conducive to/for what?

    • Conductivity does not happen without a *background field* in which to operate. It is this field that contains the positive *and* the negative. It is not two. In reality, it is ONE. An instance of ONE being larger than two.

      • “Conductivity does not happen without a *background field* in which to operate. It is this field that contains the positive *and* the negative. It is not two. In reality, it is ONE. An instance of ONE being larger than two.”
        This makes no sense in electoMagnetics.
        Nor does it make sense in any other context i know of.
        Are you bullshitting us ? Douglas.
        We need you to provide a proper explanation of your meaning.

  • ‘the absences of things’
    Love, Truth, Being, Peace, Stillness and Equanimity are not ‘absent’ They are buried under the weight of the world.
    The weight of accumulated ignorance, thoughts, emotional baggage and memories.
    Lose some weight.

  • IF you believe that we are all one,..and it appears you do by stating this,…”how all things are connected at a level deeper than the material. It’s how physics addresses consciousness, Oneness and non-duality.l”

    IF you believe that we are all one,…Then,…you are attacking your self.

    Some non-local part of your essence is devouring/attacking the conscious part of you.

    I would highly suggest to use Ho’oponopono to work with those imbalances into a healing of self.

    “I ‘m sorry, forgive me, thank you. I love you”

    • Actually, every living thing on this planet is in harmony with Earth’s fundamental oscillation of 7.8 Mhz.

    • It’s how physics addresses consciousness,
      NonLocality does not address consciousness ; that is overstating the significance of physics to dishonest hyperbole.
      And someone made a movie to sell this idea ?
      we are now preyed on by structural imbalances that are a chronic part of modern life,
      “Structural imbalances” reduces the cause of the widespread social distress to something we can do nothing to change.
      David Schonbrunn proposes helplessness, and a promotes a fringe movie claiming to explain consciousness.
      Following SchonBrunn’s advice is not a step in the right direction.

  • I enlist and thank you Caity. Keep on spreading the word.

  • Power of Prayer is vastly underestimated to find peace in oneself and in the world.
    Every Religion has one or many forms of Prayer. Prayer in any language with any understanding of the all encompassing Power is valid. One can use any name to the Highest Order according to one’s understanding.
    Pray to the Infinite Knowledge, Power, Rhythm, Harmony and Order of the Universe to find the peace in oneself, family, friends, strangers, all form of life, Mother Earth and the Universe itself.
    Collective Prayer coupled with sincere effort to know and do what is right and proper has the Power to overcome any obstacle, because Prayer being an action also, it has positive result.

    • Before WW2, there was a worldwide campaign to pray the war away.
      Millions earnestly participated.
      The war went ahead unaffected.
      This is called empirical evidence ; the biggest prayer experiment in human history failed to overcome Hitler’s intent to exceed Charlemaigne and Napoleon.
      Where we invest our time and energy determines what we become.
      I earnestly advise the reader that begging gods for special treatment turns you into a sanctimonious beggar.
      This is why i rarely use the word Christian ; because jesusBeggar is a more accurate & meaningful descriptor of this artificial defended psychosis.

  • Meanwhile, on the geopolitical front, the consensus in Moscow – from the Kremlin to the Foreign Ministry – is that the Trump administration is not “agreement-capable”, a diplomatic euphemism that refers to a de facto bunch of liars; and it’s also not “legal-capable”, an euphemism applied, for instance, to lobbying for snapback sanctions when Trump has already ditched the JCPOA.
    President Putin has already said in the recent past that negotiating with Team Trump is like playing chess with a pigeon: the demented bird walks all over the chessboard, shits indiscriminately, knocks over pieces, declares victory, then runs away. This article can be read here:

  • Life is hard, Ms Johnstone. For some life can be extremely painful every day and night. For some others life can be carefree almost every day. If you never experience any pain, you will never appreciate any bliss. If you have never been sad how can you know happiness. During my teenage years I got into a fight with another teenager and in the middle of it it dawned on me that fighting is very stupid. Arguing is stupid. Shouting is stupid. So I try to escape ” stupidity ” whenever it presents itself to me. War is stupid, but it is extremely profitable so people and governments makes lots of money making guns, bullets, and bombs. Humans do these things without any guilt at all. That is a part of what we are, unfortunately.

    • Ron Campbell insults us all without descriminating. Another poisonous post telling everybody to tolerate Stupidity . . . because “Humans do these things without any guilt at all.”
      A blatantly stupid conclusion to a lecture on the badness of Stupidity.
      How do you do it Ron ?

  • I saw a film premiere that speaks directly to the emptiness Caitlin is leading us towards with this piece. It was about the philosopher/physicist David Bohm, who devised a theory of wholeness that explains non-locality: how all things are connected at a level deeper than the material. It’s how physics addresses consciousness, Oneness and non-duality. What makes the film really special is the interaction between Bohm, the Dalai Lama and Krishnamurti. It is available at https://www.infinitepotential.com/

    I was struck by the statement above ” We are rarely being actively preyed upon.” I don’t think that is accurate. While we are now preyed on by structural imbalances that are a chronic part of modern life, instead of the acute attacks of days gone by, they’re still attacks…

    • IF you believe that we are all one,..and it appears you do by stating this,…”how all things are connected at a level deeper than the material. It’s how physics addresses consciousness, Oneness and non-duality.l”

      IF you believe that we are all one,…Then,…you are attacking your self.

      Some non-local part of your essence is devouring/attacking the conscious part of you.

      I would highly suggest to use Ho’oponopono to work with those imbalances into a healing of self.

      “I ‘m sorry, forgive me, thank you. I love you”

  • “The real movement toward peace is the movement to a collective awakening.”
    And how will the collectively awakened behave after they are awakened — will they vote differently; will they pick up arms and shoot somebody; will they shout something really, really loudly …… what? If you don’t have any idea how they will behave, how would you LIKE them to behave?

    • Right now war is treated like something that will ultimately be profitable (e.g. “we’re keeping the oil”), I think awakened people will treat it like something wasteful and destructive, and value collective human progress over greed.

      • As “man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward” awakened people will realize that their difficult evolution has left them warlike and prone to conflict, and that to avoid self-annihilation in the age of modern weapons, they must actively pursue peace and cooperation in spite of their propensity for fighting. — It is man’s tragic predicament: they can no longer be large apes running through the wodds beating each other to death with clubs; they will have to stop and think about what they are doing. Oh, the pain! But it must be done.

    • Rest assured that even if everybody in the U.S. boycotted the polls on election day and nobody mailed in a vote; at least one of the candidates would win by a massive landslide.

    • Irrespective of wishfulThinking,
      they will behave decently, and with consideration for the needs of others.
      Without the hysteria of this superficial cynic.

  • “We rarely appreciate how wonderful and miraculous it is for all our cells, systems and organs to be working in perfect harmony, but as soon as we get sick our health moves to the forefront of our attention… We get so hung up on our little quibbles with life that we look past how intrinsically blissful it is to be alive.”
    For creatures that are purportedly the top of the foot chain, we humans can be the dumbest things ever created. We have been gifted all the mental and physical and spiritual tools to excel, yet we seem to prefer wallowing in the mud. “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”, the saying goes. Well, you can try to pull a human out of the mud pit but you can’t stop them from jumping right back in with a wide grin on their face.
    “We are rarely being actively preyed upon…”
    Maybe not in a physical sense, but we are under constant attack mentally, emotionally, and financially every single minute. A tiger attack will end quickly, one way or the other. The kinds of attacks on us now are pervasive and deep and unrelenting.
    “Peace is not a thing. Peace is the absence of a thing. If you are talking about inner peace, it’s the absence of inner conflicts. If you’re talking about world peace, it’s the absence of war.”
    What is inside a person will constantly manifest itself on to the outside world.
    The “people” (if that’s what one wishes to call them) who won’t allow Peace in the World are unhappy, tortured, egotistical, abusive, lacking in empathy, and usually money and power worshipers whether they lead nations or are just your nasty neighbor. That’s what they are inside.. and that’s what they foster in thought, word, and deed every moment of every day on the outside world and others in it.
    Those who seek Peace are not allowed anywhere near the levers of power. They are sidelined and foreclosed upon long before they can have any direct influence on organizations and positions of authority.
    Strive for Peace within. Each of us, one at a time. You can’t clean up all the garbage in the streets of the World. But you can clean up your own room and back yard.

    • Strive for Peace within. Each of us, one at a time. You can’t clean up all the garbage in the streets of the World. But you can clean up your own room and back yard.

      Start with yourself yes but don’t stop there. Otherwise life is only about ‘you’ and that makes you human how? Selfish efforts do not please the gods.

      Peace is not simply the absence of war. Peace must be kept with vigilance or it can’t be long kept. That most definitely makes it a thing.

      • As we progress to peace, insights and epiphanies will arise in the quiet to guide us further into wisdom and compassion.

        • i was with you up to the last word, John.
          but Compassion is a counterfeit of empathy.
          The difference is that empathy is egalitarian,
          whereas the compassioner is ideologically condescending.
          Quieting the internal dialogue is the beginning of awareness of our unUsed faculties, a latent wealth worthy of empirical verification.

      • Selfish efforts do not please the gods.
        So Keith recommends we please the gods.
        That expllains a lot of bullshit.
        .Peace must be kept with vigilance or it can’t be long kept.
        That most definitely makes it a thing..

        An assertion masquerading a logic.
        And the punchline is : contradicting Caitlin.
        Pompus and disagreeable commandments from Keith Hayes.

    • You can lead a horse’sArse to wisdom, but cannot make them think !

  • We need at least 10,000,000 Americans to make plans now to be in Washington DC next January for Presidential Eviction Day.
    Trump is obviously planning to stay in the White House.
    He’s going to claim that because 2 people voted by mail, the whole fact that he massively lost the election was just “fake news.”
    The military, from the mouth of the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, just said that they will stay out of it.
    This is all why we need 10,000,000 Americans to make plans now to be in Washington DC next January for Presidential Eviction Day.
    Trump is going to have to reach the point where he realizes what every other wannabe tryant figures out. That they get on those helicopters to fly out of the country because they are scared for their asses and their guards are telling them that they can’t keep the pro-democracy demonstrators at bey and that it is now time to Run, Run, Run!
    Maybe that won’t lead to immediate peace. But it is quite clear that Trump staying in the White House is a sure-fire prescription for war and violence.
    Trump must go.
    I’m guessing it will take 10,000,000 angry Americans to make him understand that.
    Be in Washington DC next January!!!!!

    • “Maybe that won’t lead to immediate peace.”
      That could be true.
      Just curious, what would you advise the ten million to do if by some chance Trump wins the election?

      • Thats the real problem. The democrats cannot conceive that he has any support so even if he wins they will not accept it.

    • Just what we do not need ; Another grandiose phantacist.
      Keep your sperm off the keyboard, wanker.

      • Who is we?

        • A disingenuous question from Keith.
          Hoping for something easy to attack.
          Piss off Keith.

    • How could he stay in the White House? This is ridiculous. He loses he gets evicted and that is the end of Trump story. Until Trump is arrested if serious malfeasance is uncovered.. How could it be another way. In you r dreams only.

    • Right. You gonna burn down the Lincoln Memorial?

      Peace, man, peace…. y’know?

    • Washington’s plan is to exterminate 15 million Americans in the very near future, tomorrow maybe even, so you’ll have to come up with at least another 5 million, just to get noticed.

  • I care very much for many things you have written Caitlin Johnstone, and this column should have a very good effect on many people. I do however, differ with you on why we can have such a cognitive bias towards finding what is amiss with the world.

    Before saying why I think we go after being discontented, I think it is worth saying that I am very fortunate to have been learning for over forty years from some very wise men and women that my deepest and largest desire is to like the world on an honest or accurate basis. And this has led to a lot of seeing as to what honestly pleases me and being proud of myself, and to planning my whole life to go after that goal as much as possible.

    In the meantime, I am also very fortunate to learn what interferes with that desire – the disposition in every person to think he will be for himself by making less of the outside world. Uncriticized, this desire for contempt has made for my looking for the flaws in everything to elevate myself, and end up being ashamed. This too is the desire that has made for racism, sexism, religious bigotry, homophobia, ethnic and national antagonism, crime, economic and political injustice, to name just some things, and to that horror of all horrors, war!

    What we all most need is to be aware of these competing desires and learn how to criticize the bad one. In the meantime, it is fascinating to see which desire has its way with people and ourselves at a given moment and hope and work for us to make better choices. As one great thinker said: “Contempt must be defeated if man is to be kind.”

  • Caitlin Johnstone describes our circumstance with impeccable clarity.
    The only nonTrivial addition i can contribute . . . is that War and innerPeace are not mutually exclusive.
    My reasoning is disclosed in the following 3 paragraphs :
    Sometimes war is the best of a bad lot.
    Aleister Crowley, (who was brilliant but lacked the Toltec perspective), celebrated the war to put Kaiser Bill back in his Prussian box . . . as an opportunity to express aspects of manhood left unused during the prosperities of peace. Physical courage has long been a benchmark of trustworthiness, and being obliged by war to utilise the grit that makes athletes admirable . . . transforms the audience into participants and survivors.
    It seems that all things, even hatred, have a legitimacy in some circumstances.
    This may seem purely philosophical, but preparedness is something i value as highly as the BoyScouts.
    Navigating the unknown is what managing the future needs most, so preparing for this crucial role is where i have applied much of my resources since preAdolescence. So far, this readiness has not been called upon by my fellow humans, but it is a rare & dismal day in which i learn nothing new and potentially useful.
    Yesterday i learned that inhaling vapour containing diluted hydrogenPeroxide and Iodine quickly settles the breathing distress caused by Covid19. This survival information originated from :
    Today i read Caitlin’s brilliant dissertation on Peace. Which makes it a good day for learning.
    Quality of Life is improved by discernment and sober interpretation, and Caitlin’s journalism sets a standard that few can attain.
    I value her contribution to our collective evolution, and i benefit from reading her thoughts for today.

    • “Sometimes war is the best of a bad lot.” Jesus H. Christ. Never said that.

      • “Sometimes war is the best of a bad lot.” Jesus H. Christ. Never said that.
        An unintelligible post from a talking dog. Its content is empty contradiction.
        Keith Hayes postures as a student of enlightenment, then produces this antiKnowledge remark.
        What does the H signify, Keith ? Is Jesus on heroin again ?

        • He lost me when he started quoting old English war propaganda.
          One of the big problems the English-speaking world has is that they take English war propaganda as history, and never look beyond.
          I went back once and tried to find out when my people, my ancestors, might have been freed. My family is from central Europe, where of course people were oppressed into forced labor for centuries. It turns out, Serfdom ended where my family was from when Napoleon arrived, and brought with him the ideals of the French Revolution, including that all people are free.

          Of course, if you take the English war propaganda as history, Napoleon was an evil tyrant. The English also hated the French Revolution. The English spent at least a century trying to kill anyone who didn’t want to be ruled by a King,, but now pose as the fountain of freedom and democracy.

          • Zero relevance.
            The raving of a dsiordered mind.
            Here is one who is lost all-the-time.

            • You need to talk to someone who knows before you wake up someday and realize that you wasted your entire life living someone else’s bloodsucking game. Winning isn’t always the best option.

              • Again Lynn writes as if i need to be informed of the bleeding obvious,
                framed as if her now agreeing with me about existence of an invisible “bloodsucking” parasite
                has nothing to do with my proposing this hypothesis to other thinkers . . . as being a verifiable reality.
                Like others, Lynn is saying i am so dumbe i’ve wasted my entire life obeying the very thing which i have disobediently investigated against persistent active opposition. (Lynn herself is a self-selected serial assassin of my credibilty ; there’s no shortage of evidence of baseless contempt aimed at me personally.)
                This is classic mudShadow technique ; easy enough to detect when you reCognise the characteristic features.
                Hence, i point out typical examples when they are exhibited in this forum provided by Caitlin’s generosity.
                Not intending to be unpleasant, but because we cannot afford to ignore unpleasant dynamics,
                and i cannot do all of what is needed myself.
                I’m trying to spread the load by drawing attention to something deadly powerful which actively wants to be ignored.
                This is not a discovery out of nowhere ; i have referred those who want to see the evidence … to the best description of this phenomenon in the publicDomain. Castaneda’s books are freely available for download. Seeing them for what they are is not so easy. But it’s a viable starting point, with a map that explains itself as we progress. Zero belief required. An empirical approach to the realm which weighs 95% of the mass of spaceTime, a realm where mathemeticians dare not speculate beyond the data.
                The opposition denigrations outweigh supportive posts by a strangely large margin.
                I say this is an artifact.
                An artifact of counterProgressive intent, a social dynamic which threatens the annihilation of meaning and truthfulness.
                If there is an error in my reasoning, someone can point it out.
                But this never happens ; the attacks on my credibility are personal, so i take them as they are intended.
                This strategy prevents the attacker later twisting events off into abstract arguments.
                Their language is denigration, and i reply in kind so there is no mistaking my meaning.
                They insult me ; i define the insult and riposte ; they make neither correction nor apology.
                This repeating pattern of aberrant intent is documented for others to consider.
                So in a way, the haters and cynics are helping me expose the dynamics of their moral and mental illness.
                Which gives readers who care about themselves a headsUp about thoughts that seem to be ours, but which embody an agenda which genuine humanBeings of whatever cultural heritage need to beware of … and try experimental counterMeasures when these definitive patterns emerge from the background clutter.
                See what happens when we do something off-script.
                This may seem notMuch of a contribution to the collective wisdom, but what knowledge i have came the hard way. I know whereof i speak. And each individual may choose whether to notice when events fit my description of damaging interference in human beliefs and customs.

                • Again, everything you say has nothing to do with what I said. Maybe when you’re in your 90’s you’ll know what I was talking about. In the meantime enjoy life, death really is a physical impossibility, so don’t fret about it.

        • “Sometimes war is the best of a bad lot.”

          I don’t agree.

          And I don’t even have to insult you or call you unintelligible.

          Thou shalt not kill

          • Keith Hayes ignores my incisive questions.
            He calls contradiction disagreement (not the same).
            And invokes the authority of a fake god to make his contradiction look respectable.
            A nonResponsive reply from an empty ideologue with a furry face.

    • Drinking poison ‘quickly settles the breathing distress caused by Covid19’
      The operative word of that is ‘distress’, because the dead don’t feel distress at all. The dead are just dead. Drink poison, end up dead, but with no breathing distress at all.
      To anyone who even considers taking medical advice from right-wingers, remember that the heart of the right-wing program has long been to kill off all the sick and the weak. Note also that the right-wing in the US is showing us right now that they also believe in killing everyone who opposes them, even if they are neither sick nor weak.
      “The enemy is anyone who wants you dead” — Joseph Heller, ‘Catch-22’

      • Even water is poisonous if we take too much.
        Yet another anonymous contradictor pisses in the soup.
        Calls itself a nurse for camouflaging homicidal intent.

      • Hate mongering in a peace article. Amazing. Hello? Did you read the article?

  • I get what you’re saying, Caitlin, that we have a problem actualising peace, etc because we perceive it as a void, but I don’t think you are correct in your assumptions.
    First, take three common English words. Disease, unhappy, unhealthy. These words have been passed down to us by our ancestors. What they imply is that to our ancestors, ease is the tangible thing and disease is the absence of ease. Happiness is the tangible thing and unhappiness is the absence of happiness. and so on.
    Look also at the Buddhist meditations on loving kindness, compassion and sympathetic joy. To do these meditations, you need to focus attention on the actual experience of these things. In other words, to experience these emotions as manifested, not an absence of something. By doing these meditations, you train your mind to experience them as positive actual emotions and they become habitual.
    During the Australian Bicentenary, I was living at Milson’s Point in Sydney. On the day of the celebration, I emerged from my flat to encounter a large crowd. The atmosphere was tangible and palpable. It was one of quiet but joyous celebration. It was wonderful to behold and to be immersed in. It was not just an absence of tension. It filled the space.
    So I suspect that your observation that we find it difficult to see peace, etc as other than an absence of conflict is not inherent in the human condition, but a reflection of the culture and society we live in just now. And the way we as individuals have been robbed of our human capacity to experience these positive experiences. The solution is to practice experiencing the positive emotions. To have a mind/heart filled with peace, filled with love, filled with joy.
    It’s unfortunate that you then conflate these experiences with enlightenment. I know this word is bandied about and means different things to different people, but truly enlightenment is nothing to do with peace, joy or love. It is completely and utterly independent and detached from these things. What you are thinking of is the path of spiritual progress, which is the path of increased peace, joy and love. The path of enlightenment is cessation from identification to all conditioned experiences, including peace, joy and love. They are not the same path. Enlightenment is sometimes described as ultimate peace, bliss etc, but that doesn’t describe it. It’s really just a formulaic way of saying that it’s preferable to even the greatest peace, the greatest bliss, etc.
    I wonder too at your insistence that we need to find collective enlightenment. Nowhere in any of the traditions does this concept arise. It’s almost as though you are timid, and you’re waiting for others to do it first, or perhaps you doubt your own abilities and you’re hoping that everyone else pitch in so you can make it. Perhaps you’re clinging to some vision for the world and can’t let go of it. Possibly it’s just that you still think spiritual progress is the same as enlightenment. My advice would be just get on becoming enlightened (meaning ego-less and voidness) yourself, and then you can advise others on what to do. Either that, or decide that your work is of this world (meaning spiritual progress, love, joy and bliss) and learn how that works.
    Sorry if I’m stepping on your toes, but we all have a barrow that we’re pushing. What you’re pushing is certainly worth while and could work. I’m not denying that. May it come to pass.

    • Enlightenment has everything to do with peace, joy and love.

      Humans are not animals. Animals can’t conceive of peace, enlightenment or anything else. All their responses are instinct. Humans unlike animals choose. It is in our nature and in enlightenment there is definitely an element of choice. Many choose to look away from enlightenment as you have done and not make a change. Enlightenment is inner change defining it further is not very enlightened.

      Many resist enlightenment. Consider Saul from the Christian Bible.

      The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Paul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

      Why blind for three days? He was not yet able to choose is why. After three days he was ready to make the change and he become a different person.

      • “Why blind for three days?”
        After an encounter with an apparition, there are many reported sideEffects. Some of these sideEffects resemble the consequences of exposure to high frequency electromagnetic radiation. Temporary blindness can occur as sunburned retinas, which recover gradually.
        Then there is hysteria-caused blindness, as occured to Hitler when hearing of Germany’s capitulation in 1918. His 2 weeks of temporary blindness was attributed to the contradiction of Hitler’s fervent belief in the infallability of Prussian militarism, by the doctor who introduced Hitler to Nietzsche’s concept of superman (which he subsequently decided to emulate . . . with disastrous consequences for Eva Braun, the rest of Germany, and the poor bloody neighbours.)
        Jaques Vallee has correlated alien visitation with harmful outcomes for most contactees.

        • I never believed in ghosts until I saw one. I suffered no ill effects from the experience. I had a friend once that worked as a waitress for decades, the only question that she asked the patrons was, “that’s what you want, isn’t it?” She could everybody’s mind, so she never had to ask that which she already knew, but yet I have a friend who doesn’t believe it exists. I remember during the Vietnam genocide that it seemed like hardly a week went by when a Buddhist monk wouldn’t set themself on fire with gasoline to protest the so-called war, but the one question that was never publicly asked was, ‘Did it hurt?” What do you think?

      • The Buddha didn’t attempt to define enlightenment, what he did was described a methodology for attaining it. Understand that and what I say will make more sense to you.

      • You’re wrong, all humans are animals, just like cows and horse flies are animals. No doubt most of the so-called, ‘dumb’, animals of the world are much more enlightened than the humans are.

    • “I’m not denying that. May it come to pass.”
      Yet Glenn goes to considerable lengths to contradict the meaning of Caitlin’s insightful essay.
      Having things both ways can appear to be noble, but contradiction is contradiction.

      • Only binary thinking can save us now!

        • The universe is dumbed down to black and white for our salvation. Sounds like a Republican politician.
          The underlying dynamic of this recurrent Stupidity is obliterating the meaning of nuance and Reality.
          Obey or be punished, as Jesus said.
          Do not trust our own perceptions, it’s all black and all white at the same time.
          The only cleverness is in making absurdity seem plausible.
          Glen is sabotaging our ability to discern between evil and good, just as his puppeteer intends.

  • YES!!

  • As Carlos Castaneda’s shamanic guide told him, ” You always think you have to do something — you need to learn not doing.” Or Paul Reps “Drinking a cup of green tea, I stopped the war.”

    • You Don’t Control What Happens, You Control How You Respond.

    • So my point (above) is that to stop a war by drinking a cup of green tea is enlightenment. To stop a war by collective shift in consciousness is collective spiritual progress. The first you can choose. The second you can only hope for.

      • Or to put it another way, Caitlin wants to see the results in the objective reality. Enlightenment isn’t the way to do that. Collective shift in consciousness is.

        • If you’re correct on that last thought, then you shouldn’t need a collective, your mind alone should be able to defeat the evil ones in the middle east. Or, do you suffer the same defect that Jesus did? Not being able to come up with a grain of faith to move a mountain?

      • The first you can choose. The second you can only hope for.
        Nonsense. The decision to set an example of enlightenment, as Caitlin does successfully in this latest essay, affects the collective decisionMaking.
        The two decisions are not to be deconstructed by artificial logic.
        Like vivisection of living bodies, deconstruction of concepts is inclined to kill the patient, doctorGlen.

        • I don’t use artificial logic to come to these conclusions. I see, and I describe what I see.
          Of course you are right that setting an example is a decision. Of course it affects the collective DeCiSiOnMaKiNg process. Of course I am correct in everything I say. And of course you are wrong. Isn’t that obvious? My decision is to affect the collective decision-making process by clarifying some of the points of ambiguity. Everyone reacts by ignoring the information I am imparting and re-enforcing their own pre-conceived beliefs, which is their decision. The result is that the collective DecisionMaking is not something that any one person can choose because all the ego-bound, propaganda muddled people are part of that process. It’s like herding cats. However, if you know where you want to go, and have good information/understanding on how to get there, then you don’t need the rest of the world to arrive at the same destination, you just go there. Stop being such a donkey and pay attention. You have zero interest in becoming enlightened, so why do you even quibble? Do I want it both ways? For fuck’s sake Peter, don’t you realise it’s more complex than that? Binary thinking won’t ever save us. That’s just a joke I use to point out the bleeding obvious. Every thought can split in an unlimited number of permutations. That’s why it’s so easy to argue with someone and claim you are right! The correct approach (as opposed to the wrong approach, using the binary thoughtMode so popular in our culture) is to make an effort to understand what the other person is saying. Even then, you should be asking yourself “Why do I even care? What do I hope to achieve?”
          “The first you can choose. The second you can only hope for.” If you really want to understand what I’m saying there (which you don’t) you can follow on from what Keith says above: “You Don’t Control What Happens, You Control How You Respond.” The corollary (using either logic or actual understanding) is “You Control Your Decision, You Don’t Control What Happens”. To spell it out in even more painful detail, “Caitlin decides to set an example. Caitlin doesn’t decide what the outcome is”. The reason I claim enlightenment is different is because the field of Outcomes is narrower so it’s easier to learn which Decisions lead to the Outcome you desire. Lots of people cling to the idea that enlightenment necessarily involves everyone else. Even so, the way to bring that about is to work towards being enlightened yourself with BoddhiCitta as the motivation. You don’t write blogs encouraging everyone else to become enlightened in the hope that THEIR BoddhiCitta will save you. “I know this word is bandied about and means different things to different people.” If you are not personally and actively working towards you own enlightenment, then don’t muddy the water with your opinions. Talk about something you know about. And as I have mentioned so many times in the past: Don’t confuse the path of spiritual progress with the path of enlightenment. They are not the same thing.

          • Glen claims to be a seer. The logic he employs while discussing solidarity, he really didn’t use, only putting there as an explanation for dummies like me who are always wrong. What is wrong with this picture ?
            The we get a hymn of ‘ofCourse’, starting with obvious truth (previously contradicted) and sliding into hubris and the intended destination of insulting nonsense. The argument of OfCourse is as brazen and empty of truth as deceit gets, but Glen strives mightily with an appearance of formal logic to deceive us that his refitation is the vision of a seer, the mostAccomplished of men-of-knowledge.
            Every virtue has been counterfeited, and Glen is a counterfeiter as accomplished as the others who attack my posts with the intent of negating my observations. Pretending to be a seer is equivalent to declaring oneself Jesus reincarnated (like Emperor Constantine, the homicidal fabricator of the HolyBible) oR telling us he is beyond error because he is Enlightened.
            Like any unskilled thinker, Glen abuses logic to take him wherever he wants, while despoiling the contributions of others. A rotten destination concealed as holier-than-me talking down to the rest of us. Where did Glen and the other detractors get this pernicious skill ?
            From their loving mommas ?
            oR from a camouflaged parasite that hates us to justify stealing the-best-of-our-potential to feed its endlessHunger ?
            This is a serious distinction ; where is this disrespect for my prowess as a thinker coming from ? folks.
            Both sides cannot be correct in this contradiction.
            Choose carefully.
            Our moral destination is at stake in seeminglyAbstract issues like this.
            Do we want to end up agreeing with absurdities like “the path of spiritual progress with the path of enlightenment. They are not the same thing.” ?
            Both are wornOut metaphors for accessing and educating the secondAttention.
            Saying they are not the same thing is rendering both metaphors meaningless.
            The destruction of Meaning is an aberration which correlates robustly with interference from mudShadows.
            A topic none of my detractors discuss because their robbing mankind of the secondAttention (the basis of metaphors of Heaven) is forbiddenKnowledge.
            Knowledge forbidden in Genesis by ‘Jehovah’, the blueprint for DonaldTrump and his criminal cronies, who are intent on fulfilling Saul’s Armageddon agenda . . . the harvesting of mankind by nonHumans who deceitfully claim to be inscrutably divine.
            The are scrutable, and my business is scrutinising them.

            • oops. should have proofread the first paragraph.
              Here it is, reworded :
              Glen claims to be a seer. The logic he employs while discussing solidarity, he really didn’t use to draw his conclusion.
              He put logic in his contradiction as an explanation for dummies like me who are always wrong.
              What is wrong with this picture ?

  • Good advice. There can’t be any change without an awareness of what we are missing. But I would not go so far as to say people can’t be aware of what they don’t have.

    Plenty of us are wanting a better future and more satisfying culture that we don’t have now. Plenty of us want a better way.

    Believing in the possibility of a better world makes the difference and it is not hared to do unless you live in America or one of its many independent provinces. In America a daily bath of propaganda pulls your social strings and tells you what to think. American propaganda keeps you from finding a better way. Some writers of propaganda are even paid by the American Deep State to maintain a compliant public. Hard to believe but having seen the evidence I know better.

    As Covid continues to derange lives and minds the American Public is saturated with Propaganda. Some of it passes for free speech despite it being sponsored. Consider this, by the writer of the ‘Long Emergency’.

    The few times this Covid-19 year of seclusion that friends have come over for dinner, they’re horrified to hear me say that I will do whatever I can to prevent the Democrats from winning the election. I was never a big thumper for Donald Trump, and didn’t vote for him in 2016 (or Hillary), but I will this time.

    I could not resist commenting at Clusterfuck Nation despite my decision to not be a regular commenter on Kunstlers’ blog. Or should I say the ‘Department of Defense Networks’ blog. That would also be accurate and it is where most of Clusterfuck Nation comments come from. I observed the site web traffic so I know. Here is my response which I don’t think has been deleted yet.

    Good I chose to leave CFN. You can oppose Democrats without going to the dark size and I’m doing it. But if you are part of Trumps demographic and a racist Zionist I guess you see things another way.

    Propaganda says you only get two choices. I say find door number three. Behind door number three are the things we don’t have; like peace. For the time being virtue must be its own reward. Transform your consciousness now so when there are enough men and women who see a better way life can change. For now make the change in yourself and try and connect with like minds.

    • I find the term racist excessively used to the point that it means different things to different people. Used to the poiint that it has lost any meaning whatsoever. I have reached a point that when I hear a person use the term I consider them ignorant.

      • If you lived on the south side of Chicago you might feel differently.

    • Hah. That takes me back. His comments have been infiltrated for ages. Good name for a blog and a good laugh, once in a while. The name is prescient.

      Both parties have imploded, but Democrats are really putting the cherry on top.

  • That’s the first time that I’ve heard of gangrene described that way; laying on a beach full of inner peace is all well and good until a tsunami comes and washes all your inner peace out to sea.

  • One Awww Crap wipes out a hundred Attaboys.

    • Trivialising Caitlin again. Zero attaboys from Katikha.

      • No just emphasising how people dwell. That sign was on the wall where I used to work.

        • Emphasising a sign on the wall ; how original.
          You work in a public toilet ?

          • No it was a private toilet.

          • Speaking of writing on the cubical wall, the best one I ever saw was under the graduate chemistry library at the University of Chicago; ‘I f***ed her lying, I f***ed her flying, but now she’s dead but not forgotten, I dug her up and f***ed her rotten. That was about 50 years ago, no doubt he’s buried next to her.

  • The history we learn in school mostly involves conflicts, the frictions between thesis & antithesis. Is anyone—other than, say, Naropa University—offering a course in the History of Peace?

  • Awakening has always happened just a few at a time but agreed that we need it to happen on a collective basis at this point. How to make it happen? Is it within our abilities? One could say we need a boost from a higher level of power and consciousness but where is that to be found. Saying its inside us may be somewhat true but also misses out on something.

    • If left to their own devices, most humans will not awaken.
      Although, their devices could be what helps to awaken them.

      • I wonder what it would look like if we were not left to our own devices.

    • Many (like me) have a sense that this pandemic is not only a crisis but an invitation, that “boost from a higher level of power and consciousness” which we’ve been looking for, hoping for against all hope. Reality as we’ve known it must fall apart before a new reality can emerge. Living through this deconstruction, as we’re now doing, is difficult and challenging, and tragic casualties can be mitigated but not avoided. Yet I thank the “higher level” that something sudden and significant from out of the blue, something we could not generate on our own, has begun to deconstruct an oppressive, ecocidal system that simply HAS to go. There is always the danger, of course, that the new will be worse than the old, but there is also the possibility, for the first time since the late 1960s when I came of age, that a better, more beautiful world will emerge from the birth canal of human evolution. As we said back then when I was young, let each of us, in our own way, “seize the time.” That’s what Caitlin does with each article and poem. That’s why most of us are here, talking with her and with each other–building SOLIDARITY, the missing piece which must flow from and accompany inner work.

      • SOLIDARITY – Or what is good for you is good for me. Yet the propaganda of individualism and American exceptionalism keeps people in America from knowing what SOLIDARITY is.

        It is refreshing to read someone else ‘who knows’. I’ll assume you are an American. If you are not don’t tell me. Let me have the fantasy that I am not alone.

        • Many years ago I saw a quote which said, “one mans magazine is another mans poison” That is the real reason Solidarity is not possible.

          • A 60s variation of the quote, one mans meat is another mans poison, if curious.

          • “Solidarity is not possible.”
            More nihilist nonSense from Caitlin’s persistent troll.
            If solidarity was impossible, we would not have a word to represent the reality of something as fundamental to mankind’s survival as solidarity of purpose.
            This anonymous contradictor of history, decency, and Caitlin shows why cynicism has injured solidarity to the extent that it can be alleged “impossible”.
            Liars like this are traitors to mankind.

            • Just a quote Peter. Read up on what it implies. A different viewpoint than yours which is why solidarity is not possible.

              • Just a quote Peter. Read up on what it implies.

                Khatika always avoids responsibility for what she proclaims.
                Pretends she has the authority to tell us what to do and think.
                Never substance, nor Heart.
                Always the destruction of meaning is the outcome of her exhortations.

                • Intelligence does not equal wisdom, peter. You mind is closed to any opinion other than your own. Another reason solidarity is not

                  • I never suggested that wisdom and intelligence are the same.
                    This obfuscation is called a “straw Man” argument, and is thoroughly dishonest in giving the impression that i need to be informed of this elementary distinction.
                    One consistent attribute of Katika is her nastiness.
                    Again she reveals herself by projecting her deficiency upon her critic.
                    The closed mind is that of khatika the contemptuous.
                    Only an egalitarian aTheist like myself enjoys the freedom of an opeI never suggested that wisdom and intelligence are the same.
                    This obfuscation is called a “straw Man” argument, and is thoroughly dishonest in giving the impression that i need to be informed of this elementary distinction.
                    One consistent attribute of Katika is her nastiness.
                    Again she reveals herself by projecting her deficiency upon her critic.
                    The closed mind is that of khatika the contemptuous.
                    Only an egalitarian aTheist like myself enjoys the freedom of an open mind.
                    n mind.

          • Solidarity means being your brothers keeper.

            Try and find out what Solidarity is before you say what it is not.

            Is being your brothers keeper impossible.

            In Europe people are amazed that Americans don’t know what Solidarity is. In America Solidarity is secondary to the worship of self.

            European sheepherders must be less evil because in America propaganda teaches that only fools do not attend the church of more for me.

            • Is being your brothers keeper impossible?

              It needed to be a question but I’ll add if it is possible, what is your excuse.

            • Dont know what definition you are using but webster thinks it means something else. Solidarity is to be in agreement. At least thst is the primary meaning.

            • To speak of the lofty goal of mankind to live in solidarity
              with one another to the reality of a conentious environment of the world is a hope but just not attainable. We once again speak of hopes versus reality. Dreams versus the pains of life. Peace versus war. Noble goals versus stark realities. I am not dismissing them just saying they are unattainable in the world we live in today.

            • Keith, I think the basis of your conversation with Khatika is that you are focused on intention, and Khatika is focused on outcome. Otherwise, I suspect you are in agreement.

      • “We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree, flowers of the same garden,” – Seneca on SOLIDARITY

      • Yes, thank you for that. Long strange tr ip indeed but we are never too old or young for a happy ending if we keep the faith. Wow, thats a lot of cliches I packed in there! But sincerely.

    • LOL, you are so very right. That is the whole crux of the problem, as Jesus would say and in fact did say, ‘if only I had a grain of faith,’ Try doing something incredibly stupid, something you would never do, and just ask your god audibly what to do. Maybe your mind is there to hear and see.

  • You nailed it. Thank you.

  • I came here looking for form and found only emptiness. First to comment?

    • Did you look inside yourself? No wonder you found emptiness if you left that step out.

      • I looked inside myself and found only form and emptiness. No self there.

    • It’s a joke, Keith. It means when I came here there were no comments.

      • The problem is there is no way to look at your face and see that you are joshing. Being different from speech writing, does not express in the same way. As an example, I try and avoid being sarcastic when writing because it can be easily taken the wrong way. You saw a blank page when you commented but after that none of us saw a blank page.

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