And then the politician’s mask slid off, revealing the snarling monster underneath.

And then the snarling monster’s mask slid off, revealing the frightened little child underneath.

And then the frightened little child’s mask slid off, revealing the whole entire universe underneath.

And then the universe’s mask slid off, revealing unconditional love underneath.

And so many hungrily yearn for a direct experience of the divine while adamantly refusing to consider the possibility that they are already currently having one.

And so many long to meet God while forcefully shoving away the question of whether they are in fact meeting God here and now, undisguised and unhidden.

And so many look for truth with truth’s eyes, listen for truth with truth’s ears, pray for truth on truth’s knees, ponder truth with truth’s mind.

It takes so much effort for us to keep concealing the self-evident from ourselves. We are herculean Olympians. They should give us all medals.

Anne looked forward to five o’clock so she could go home and alter her state of consciousness, not noticing that she was already currently doing so. Egoic consciousness is an altered state of consciousness, and it warps and distorts our natural experience far more than any substance we could ever ingest.

What we long for is an unaltered state of consciousness. Our natural state of consciousness. A state of consciousness wherein we are no longer fooling ourselves, where we are no longer pretending to be something that we are not. Where we are no longer pretending that our fundamental identity is wrapped up in this tiny finite ape mutant and the stories rattling around in its skull.

Among the more heroic contortions we do in our desperate everyday evasions of self-knowledge is dressing up our true underlying desire as other, different desires. We pretend we desire approval, fame, fortune, success, romance, power, loyalty, control, when really what we desire is to be what we are.

And of course that sounds silly; we can only ever be what we are. But we desire to be what we are consciously. Knowingly. Our real underlying desire, beneath all the clown costumes, feather boas and Groucho Marx glasses we dress it up in, is to consciously be what we are. To know our true nature and have that be our lived experience.

And really this is what human problems generally boil down to: a lack of consciousness.

A lack of consciousness of our true nature beneath the theater of ego and false desire causes us to suffer and miss out on the inherent joyfulness of life.

A lack of consciousness of our inner processes and unhealed trauma causes us to move unskillfully in the world with ineffective coping mechanisms and conditioned trauma responses.

A lack of consciousness of how propaganda operates in our society causes us to continue being manipulated by it.

A lack of consciousness of racial and sexual inequalities causes unjust societal imbalances.

A lack of consciousness of how our economic systems abuse people causes that abuse to continue.

A lack of consciousness of the horrific realities of imperialism causes public consent for its perpetuation.

And that’s all we’re really seeing with all attempts to bring health and harmony to our world: an effort to expand consciousness into areas that are unconscious.

Self-enquiry is an effort to become conscious of your true nature beneath the distracting shimmering of ego. You pursue the question “What am I?” until consciousness is brought to a wildly different perspective you hadn’t previously known was possible.

Meditation is an effort to become conscious of how your inner processes are operating. You sit and become quickly conscious of the fact that your life has been tyrannically ruled by compulsive thought patterns over which you have no real control. You sit longer and you gradually become aware of what internal dynamics have been giving rise to those thought patterns. You sit even longer and you bring so much consciousness to those dynamics that they vanish altogether, unable to reconcile their existence in the full light of conscious perception.

Therapy is an effort to become conscious of the way events in our past have influenced the way we operate in the present. You mention something offhand to a good therapist and they’ll say “Tell me more about that.” Then before you know it you’re talking about how you haven’t called your mother lately because you’re pretty sure she’s always kind of hated you and you kind of hate her too, and unpacking the way various manifestations of this interplay in the past connect to your relationships and difficulties functioning today. And then you have a chance to consciously re-parent yourself into a healthier approach to life in those areas.

Activism is an effort to bring collective consciousness to injustices so more people understand their reality or look closer at them than they previously had. Black Americans begin holding demonstrations in southern states to draw more awareness to the injustices of the laws there, public attitudes begin to shift, and the laws begin to change.

Countering propaganda is an effort to bring public consciousness to the fact that we are being manipulated by the powerful into consenting to an abusive status quo. If enough people become aware that we are being manipulated at mass scale toward the normalization and acceptance of power-serving military, societal and economic agendas which run against the interests of ordinary human beings, ordinary human beings will no longer consent to those agendas, and the possibility of revolutionary change opens up to us.

Humanity’s story in the appearance of time is the same battle no matter what scale on the fractal you zoom in on, from the tiniest neurological flickerings of a single person to the sum total of our behavior as a species. At every level, we are simply trying to become conscious of what’s real and true. Imperialism is just egocentricity at mass scale: an unhealthy and untruthful flailing arising from a desire to control things.

That’s all ego really is; an unhealthy and untruthful movement to control. Our true nature is the boundless, formless awareness from which, to which, and as which our field of consciousness arises, but because childhood is a frightening and confusing calamity of trauma in a world full of crazy giants there’s an energetic contraction around a conceptual “me” arising from a desire to control things. Life is scary and out of control, so our little primate mind creates an ego, a “me”, to come in and manage things under control. It calls in the manager.

At mass scale it’s the same thing: a power structure wants to control things because it fears what will happen if it just lets the world be as it is and do as it wishes, so an imperial manager is conjured up to bash everyone into alignment. The world does not need a manager, but the manager is called in anyway.

Ego is the cosmic Karen. It can’t just let life be as it is, can’t let the people in our life be as they are, can’t let that nice Black family enjoy their barbecue in peace, can’t let that impoverished nation in the Global South work toward its own prosperity in whichever way seems best to its people. It’s got to get in there and start managing everyone. Managing the people. Managing the situation. Managing the narratives.

The egocentric Karening ends when consciousness is brought to the forces which gave rise to it, whether you’re talking about an individual or an empire. That is our adventure here, playing out on all levels of our existence. We are trying to bring consciousness to the illusions and untruths which gave rise to the cosmic Karen, so she can go wherever deleted files go and we can let life live on its own terms.


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34 responses to “Ego Is The Cosmic Karen”

  1. Here is the TRUTH about the Uyghurs in Xinjiang China – they are being radicalised by the usual foreign suspects – just like they did with ISIS !

  2. Caitlin: “We are constantly immersed in radiant beauty. Awe and reverence to any given moment is the only sane response.”

    Karen: “How can you say that? What about wars, crime, pedophiles, lockdowns, police brutality, medical tyranny… Don’t you see what’s going on?!”

    Caitlin: “I do. Many don’t. That’s why they keep doing it.”

  3. You’re right about so many things in this piece. Thank you for implanting the idea in each of us that perhaps we are, as we exist right now, enough, warts and all.

  4. Great essay, yes, that’s right, but you’d never know it just by looking at it. But maybe we do need to include our egos; complete immersion perhaps? Forget political correctness? I remember a psychologist once saying that clients were supposed to answer profile questions about themselves according to how they feel, and not by what they know to be correct, but that’s pretty dumb, because by that reasoning we should all take a dump in our clothing, despite knowing better not to. Besides, it’s just God or whatever, it’s not like going to see a doctor.

  5. Enlightenment merging into wisdom? Brilliant, Caitlin! I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t reading the transcript of a Terence McKenna monologue. Please continue to pursue this line of thinking.

  6. Really good article. Reminds me of Patacelsus who said your ego is not you. It thinks it is, but it’s really just your PR department.
    “Well, there is no deception, the “ego” isn’t tasked with lying to itself. That isn’t its job. The “ego”s job is to make your actions and person explicable to others on a social level. In order to do that, it has to have a reasonably good narrative as to why you did or said a thing. Those narratives become more believable if the “ego” pretends it is the master and commander, instead of what it actually is, the public relations department of you. So that’s its job, to produce narratives. It is very good at this and indeed, it never stops. Ever. You are doing it as you read this, I am doing it as I write this. Most people’s DMN is settled into what it is going to be by age 12.”

  7. Roundball Shaman Avatar
    Roundball Shaman

    “Ego Is The Cosmic Karen… That’s all ego really is; an unhealthy and untruthful movement to control.”
    Ego (at its “purest”) is simply the experience of “self”. The experience of self is what allows us to function (and have the “experience”) as an individual human being and soul. Without Ego, we’d all be just generic drops in some kind of big cosmic soup.
    Too much Ego is a bad thing. We can’t go through a day without experiencing too many people who’ve allowed Ego to overtake them to become self-centered and judgmental. Too little ego is also a bad thing as one lacks definition and a healthy sense of self. Ego – like many things – is a balancing act to find the right level.
    What many find hard to sense is that each of us is at the SAME time a distinct and unique entity and simultaneously part of and connected to/existing as a greater humanity shared superbeing. Many of the things we use and identity with that creates separation from others are just plain silly nonsense. We spend our lives protecting and identifying with things that are — in the grand scheme of things — great big distractions and dead ends. But our… Ego… sometimes chooses to defend these misplaced loyalties and use them as a wedge against others.
    A misuse of Ego is to DESIRE to be detached from or dehumanize others. But Ego is just a symptom. The desire to be detached is the problem. Why does one want to be detached? A need to feel superior? A need to compensate for one’s own shortcomings? A need to abuse or dominate others? Just plain confusion? And where do all THOSE things come from?
    A malformed Ego. A misplaced Ego. An exalted Ego. Simply, a misuse of Ego. Not understanding… Ego.
    Ego is a tool. It can be used to build a building, or tear one down. All in how you’re choosing to use and experience it.

  8. Paul Douglas Rackemann Avatar
    Paul Douglas Rackemann

    Oh please! Sometimes you write a good and insightful one-liner, and then you go and write this sort of vague Buddhist stuff, and all the really sweet airheaded ladies praise you for it.
    If you think unconditional love is really at the bottom of all those masks, you might as well go back to church and be done with it.
    If you had ever had to participate in a bayonet charge, say, or been beaten up by your father because he enjoyed it, you would know that the Universe just doesn’t care. Nothing is too “bad” or too “good” for it.
    The Karens think that there are rules and that they have a right to demand that they be enforced. There really ARE rules, but they are not made by man, or, as far as we know, by a supernatural entity. I go in for studying the real, impersonal rules of economics myself. Another set of rules that we should take an interest in are the rules about fighting, about winning and losing battles. We may get some experience of that on a world scale soon, unless whoever is behind Biden is a lot smarter than Biden looks.

    1. you might consider that love of culture, country, family, church, god, job, language…and fear of you coming over there to take it might cause a valint heroic soldier, father , husband, & man to charge you with a bayonet…and if you had just stayed home and played with your children neither you nor him would’ve blown up the whole wod.

      we won’t get any experience fighting either, because mans been endowed with the mushroom shaped cloud and we shall al be blown away.
      big thrill tho…..

    2. Yes, I thought she sounded a lot like Alan Watts lecturing on Zen Buddhism on Radio Pacific back in the early 70’s. We are all really God but just don’t remember because he got so bored contemplating just himself and his own magnificence that he fragmented into virtually infinite distinct selves which now spend most of their time, effort and essence finding their way back to the great unifying truth. I think Caitlin still joy rides in the 50’s with Sal, Dean and sundry other Dharma bums conjured up by Jack Kerouac and maybe also some time on Ken Keasey’s bus with Cassidy and the merry pranksters. No offense meant. Life (brief candle!) only seems long and there is much to explore in this vast universe. Caitlin would’ve made a great beatnik or hippie. Cue Led Zepplin music.

  9. Nick Migliaccio Avatar
    Nick Migliaccio

    Please send me a link so I can see Biden’s successful cognitive test you wrote about

  10. So the lawyer goes to Christ, ‘What shall I do?’, and Christ says, ‘What does your law say?’ and the lawyer says. ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, and Christ says, ‘That’s right!’. Then the lawyer is embarrassed and says, ‘Who is my neighbour?’, and Christ tells this long story about a guy from Samaria, with a kind of clever twist at the end. But feels like there’s something missing. Only the biographer known as Luke even bothers recording the interaction. And I’m left thinking:
    Did the lawyer ask a good question?
    Wouldn’t a better question be:
    ‘Who am I?’…

  11. To learn how to directly awaken to and experience your true self, I invite your readers visit Mooji:

  12. The United States American people need to realise that the Central Intelligence Agency is not a respectable agency; we are not dealing with honorable men.
    It is a rogue force that believes that the ends justify the means, that they are the hands of the king so to speak, above government and above law.
    Those at the top such as Allen Dulles were just as adamant as Mr. Churchill about protecting the interests of the power elite, or as Churchill termed it, the “High Cabal.”
    This magnificent article can be read here:
    A Damned Murder Inc: Kennedy’s Battle Against the Leviathan

  13. “Ego is the Cosmic Karen”. LOL, love it.

  14. Ronnie Roberts Avatar
    Ronnie Roberts

    Yes, this is very relevant to say the least, but I decided to look up what a “Karen” was, because it was my understanding that a “Karen” is supposedly a person who reports on others and minds everyone else’s business, especially in reference to the pandemic restrictions. But when I looked it up, I found some descriptions that were confusing. A couple of descriptions were of a white, middle-aged woman who is racist, anti-vaxx, and against social distancing out of ignorance or ruthless self-interest. That’s the problem with these memes. They can be coopted by anyone to promote any agenda.

    To be honest, as I read your piece here I immediately thought of this COVID situation, and how these restrictions have been imposed on populations without our consent. Yet, seemingly, everyone has accepted them as “the new normal”, and then they judge anyone who challenges this official narrative as “ignorant and selfish”. I don’t think this is how you were using it, Caitlin, so that’s what confused me. After all, you have always encouraged people to oppose what they consider to be oppressive. I listened to a video of Edward Snowden who was telling his listeners to think, and asked them if what they are experiencing is the way they want to live life, if it is what they consented to? Very similar to what you have said, Caitlin.

    Well, NO! this is NOT what I consented to, and I object! to all of it. I detest “group think”, and we are being overwhelmed by it, especially by the media. It’s not ignorant or selfish to protest the loss of one’s freedoms and the right to make our own choices.

    I think I may have missed it some where along the line over the last year, but I don’t even recall hearing an explanation for why you, Caitlin, do not discuss the issues surrounding this so-called “pandemic”. I would appreciate it if someone could explain that to me. I have been reading your column since the beginning more or less regularly. Keep up the excellent work.


    1. I agree with you completely…….karen 🙂

    2. Robert Antonucci Avatar
      Robert Antonucci

      I suppose you disagree with requirements for smallpox polio etc vaccines too. Please read up on the history of infectious diseases before vaccines. including polio leprosy and so many others.

      i guard my individual toghts but i dont think they include a right to give you smallpox.

      Can you clarify and state whether you think i have that right ? if so fine.

      Most adults realize there is inevitably a social aspect to life.
      i don’t think you have a right to release gigatons of CO2 or deadly virus particles into our shared environment. Sorry little baby karen.

  15. We all might get to drop our egos soon if the situation gets out of control. The Ukrainian Nazis started a buildup on the border with the separatists a few weeks ago, moving heavy armor and artillery to the lines. Now they’ve entered the gray zone and clashes have started. Of course the US has pledged to back it’s puppet while the Kremlin has reaffirmed its support to protect the people in Donbass, the same ethic Russians who the Nazis swore to kill off years ago.

    May seem off topic, but World War 3 is never off topic. It’s kinda like the capstone for every topic.

    1. Russia is about to finish a natural gas pipeline to Germany that will mean less money for the new government in Kiev. More importantly, it will mean less money for the empire- that’s why we’re blindly staggering into another pointless and destructive proxy war.

      1. Exactly true. Anything for as excuse to forbid their European clients from importing Russian gas. Hope it doesn’t blow, but “Zee” wouldn’t attack the east unless his Washington handlers gave the green light.

        If there are any gods, I hope they bless us, one and all.

        1. The things that all 3 of you said are quite true, but the world mainstream propagandists have basically been hiding the fact from most of the planet that this war has already started. Again they are massaging facts to conform with a narrative that Washington favors, one that will cast all the blame on Russia as aggressors, when really Washington has armed and trained the Ukies for this moment and has already given them the go ahead and assurances of support. Zelensky has signed a declaration of war against Russia, which is not the platform he ran on, just what Uncle Sam wants. Go to the Saker blog for mountains of incoming reports at the line of contact and you won’t be surprised when Washington takes a big media dump on the world and has people believing that 2+2= whatever Washington says it is.

  16. Realizing a “[current]” “direct experience of the divine” could indeed lead to awakenings along the lines of “meeting God here and now.” Yet, however far that concept might be stretched, it will always fail if ultimately focused on a New Age Self – instead of the spirit, overall – as shared by a fatherly God. Yes, the spirit of God is all around (and can be found). But, moreover, God is also a living, “conscious,” active and interactive God – “at [a] mass scale.” All “perception” within “Humanity’s story” was, at first, created by Him (literally). As a result, questions such as “What am I?” can be answered once accepting that there is a “full light,” beyond ourselves, and once we are welcomed, then “clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”

  17. Aha, once again, the Buddha Ms Caitlin Johnstone brings the reality of truth to her readers! May the Heavens continue to power her spirit, her thoughts, and her writing.

  18. stephan borau Avatar
    stephan borau

    Beautiful, lucid, wise.

    “We pretend we desire approval, fame, fortune, success, romance, power, loyalty, control, when really what we desire is to be what we are… A state of consciousness wherein we are no longer fooling ourselves, where we are no longer pretending to be something that we are not”.

    True that.

    1. stephan borau Avatar
      stephan borau

      Love the graphic — Karen in the Matrix

  19. i wear
    my soul rough-hewn
    threadbare, through
    the wasteland
    of forgotten truth and
    bartered lives

  20. All I can say is we are not the most important thing in the universe. My best advice is to get over yourself. The most screwed up people I have ever met are those who focus on themselves all the time. Therapists are a bane on mankind trying to tell us how to think and react. How did mankind ever survive without therapists the last 150 years. The reasons we have them is overfocusing on ourselves. The west in particular is a mentally defective society if me.

    1. Society of me. We make ourselves our own gods. We place ourself above God. The world is full of Athiests and Agnostics which amounts to the same thing. The world has lost its way.

      1. according to wikipedia 7% (450 to 500 million) of the world population are atheists or agnostics (doing without a god-manager).

        1. All good dogs go to heaven.

      2. ….atheists ‘know’ there is no god…theists ‘know’ there is a god…

        …agnostics simply don’t know…

        …it seems to me agnostics tend towards thoughtfulness and humility…… whereas atheists/theists tend towards arrogance and thoughtlessness…

  21. The best thing I have read . It is so true to me and so relevant today. You are a sage.

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