Listen to a reading of this article:

It is true that this civilization is made of lies, was grown by lies, is powered by lies, is controlled by lies.

And it is true that this civilization is woven from violence, was birthed by violence, is sustained by violence, is preserved through violence.

And it is true that this civilization is built on exploitation, is run on exploitation, exists to facilitate exploitation, is the product and the producer of exploitation.

And it is true that this civilization is flying facefirst toward collapse on myriad fronts and that any attempt to draw attention to this gets met with a “that makes me uncomfortable” hand-waving dismissal.

But it is also true that a staggering beauty rips through it all like a thunderbolt, continuously and pervasively.

And it is also true that there is a boundless intimacy hidden beneath all things that, if you like, could be called holiness.

And it is also true that the self is an illusion and that all that arises is innately free and deliciously purposeless.

And it is also true that science is in its infancy and that what we know is a tiny minnow in the vast ocean of what we do not know.

And it is also true that the universe is oh so very much bigger and oh so very much older than our tiny primate brains will ever be able to comprehend.

And it is also true that it is possible for the human organism to undergo a radical transformation in the way that it operates, from contraction around the ego illusion to a life-sized expression of the unity of all things.

And it is also true that the ability to see beauty in everything is a skill that can be mastered, and that a failure to appreciate the beauty of any moment is simply a failure of perception.

And it is also true that you can tell you’re approaching clarity in this sense when you are able to see beauty in the billboards and bustle of a busy city just as easily as you can see it in the forest.

And it is also true that we are never meant to stop growing and learning, and that being the same person you were five years ago is a signal from life that something’s not right.

And it is also true that our society’s measures of success and failure are made of the same madness that got us into this mess and should therefore be ignored when crafting a beautiful life.

And it is also true that you can continue falling in love with your romantic partner for as long as you’re both willing to grow and expand, and that the honeymoon never needs to end.

And it is also true that your sexuality can be a powerful tool for healing, creativity and growth if you can succeed in making it conscious.

And it is also true that none of this erases the harshness of our situation and we must all be very tender with each other as we plunge into whatever comes next at this unprecedented point in human history.

And it is also true that you should be tender with yourself as well, because it is only by loving ourselves deeply that our hidden endarkened bits can be coaxed into the light of truth.

And it is also true that you are doing your best, and that any mistakes you have made up until this moment were only because you did not yet have sufficient consciousness to make different choices.

And it is also true that you are crackling with beauty, and it would be a damn shame if you never let yourself truly see this.

And it is also true that humanity itself is crackling with beauty, and that the only thing worse than our species slipping away would be if it slipped away without really seeing and appreciating itself.




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30 responses to “It Is True That This Civilization Is Made Of Lies”

  1. The property relation is a key component in civilization. Along with that comes class antagonisms. Class war is war none the less. War always includes deception.

  2. william wesley Avatar
    william wesley

    Brains did not evolve to apprehend the truth, they evolved to ensure the survival of ones own genetic line so lies are inherently a part of life.
    The truth can impede ones ability to secure a place for ones genetic line so brains compartmentalize all knowledge which is fabricated or authenticated and weighted or suppressed to ensure a favorable genetic outcome for an individual in the here and now.
    All animals plants and fungi, including single cell life forms must
    1. obtain a sufficient territory,
    2. ingest sufficient nutrients,
    3. expel toxic byproducts,
    4. and find a means of reproduction,
    ….which process is called “evolution”
    This process is inherently violent since living things must take territory from dead things, feed on dead things, excrete dead things and also must die after reproduction.
    Violence can be refined to do the least harm instead of the most, advanced species get by with a minimum of violence, ritualized competition, developing means of fair negotiation and so on.
    We can not rely on our natural attributes to arrive at an advanced state, we must work AGAINST our natural attributes to do so.

    1. That’s the liberal myth, traceable to John Stuart Mill and Edmund Burke, and back through Western authoritarian thought to Plato, the Source Himself. Implicitly, value/values are the things we agree are worth killing for. When you dig into it, “The unexamined life is not worth living” can be read as a permission structure for devalorizing and killing people who value things differently than you. 400 years of subordination as the core value of society is too long. 2500 years waylaid by elite moral masturbation to any “values” is far too long. We’re supposed to be learning, not fetishizing our will.

      Moral nihilism is a necessary part of any answer “worth living”. There is so much disinhibition that needs to be done already to recover our own senses, our own sparks, and our own confidence in our own judgments as we learn this thing. Perpetuating mandatory bondage games with boring costumes and rough, incompetent sex is the very last thing that would serve those ends.

  3. The answer is YES on all counts but the TRUTH is smothered by psychopaths whilst the lie is exalted by the fearful

  4. Institutions are just someone else’s imaginary friend.

  5. Mary Wildfire Avatar
    Mary Wildfire

    I want to respond not to this piece, but to a retweet in the sidebar, this one

    Prof Zenkus17 Jul
    When a group of individual cells start sucking up all the resources around them making it impossible for the other cells to live and function properly, we call it cancer. When people do the same thing it’s called capitalism.
    A year ago after my sister died of cancer I read a couple of books on cancer. I learned a couple of interesting things; cancer redirects blood vessels toward itself, to feed its growth. And sometimes a cancer drug that shrank a cancer stops working, the cancer figures out how to evade its effectiveness. now add in the obvious; the more effective a cancer is in growing and repelling its host’s attempts to destroy it, the sooner it will kill the host–and die itself. Yet this obvious truth is no deterrent, because cancer is not an intelligent organism, it’s just a program gone awry.
    Now back to the metaphor.. Capitalism, this violent, expansionist, domination-based civilization, has ways to direct resources toward itself to feed its growth. Attempts at bringing it to heel sometimes work for a while (socialist governments, democracy, unions, anti-racism, feminism, environmentalism) but are typically coopted eventually and no longer curtail the destruction. This cancer on the planet, on humanity, has taken over all the organs and much of the body now and its death is not far off. But the cancer cannot and will not quit, because there likely is no cabal of evil men with a well-thought-out plan, just a program gone awry, powered by the mindless machines we call corporations.

    1. Generally true but with regard to ‘there likely is no cabal of evil men with a well-thought-out plan’ – there may at least be a conspiracy of a significant number of oligarchs, even if there plan is not yet well thought-out – there might just be time to thwart it.
      See, for example,

    2. it’s not just capitalism that’s at fault. it’s civilization. reading the first couple chapters of richard manning’s excellent history and analysis of how widespread agriculture came to be was a great aid to me in perceiving this. civilization’s based upon agriculture, which is simply the practice of turning wild land which is ecologically diverse and fertile into domesticated ‘property’ for the sole purpose of servicing human needs and desires.

      civilization is ecological cancer. imdustrial or fossil fueled civilization is ecological cancer on steroids. it’s fueled the explosive growth of human population and ‘wealth’ at the expense of practically all other species and healthy ecosystems. makes little difference whether a civilized society is capitalist or socialist in this regard.

      using this analogy it might be said that we’re all ecological cancer cells. a few (a very few, unfortunately) have become aware of this and have taken at least some steps to consume less and try to live less ecologically destructive lives, but civilization as a whole is like a mindless ecological disease, a cancer, which in the process of creating a mass extinction of species is well on the way of destroying itself. most humans are quite clueless and thus careless that this is happening, just as cancer cells have no idea that their ‘success’ will inevitably lead to their own destruction.

  6. WOW. This is a stunning and very beautiful piece of writing Caitlin . Truly inspired. Blessings from New Zealand. Unity in Diversity.

  7. Very true.


  8. Jerry Fischer Avatar
    Jerry Fischer

    DUALITY?? my meditation cushion transmogrified into an ego-booster seat as i tried to transcend human complications caused by supposing one can counter random chance encounters with those who believe contrarily : “Things are not what they seem; Nor are they otherwise.” ~ Lankavatara Sutra
    here are additional lyrics to Find The Cost of Freedom by CSN&Y
    “find the cost of freedom”,
    the gospel truth and other lies,
    complete with guarantees
    Vladimir Putin says Russia will not invade Ukraine but sends warning to .
    “Peace through tyranny!”

    “Everything is fodder.”
    “Lesser creatures are the playthings of my will.” (Classics)
    “My power is everything; defeat is absurd!” (Galvatron)

  9. Have had an epic learning curve last couple of years – would be good to have you with your research skills to check out the Flat Earth truth – the ‘universe ‘ as we were led to beLIEve is another example of the lies we’re all taught

  10. Loved this post:)

  11. Oh Caitlin, That was one of the most beautifully insightful things I’ve ever heard!

  12. “And it is also true that the ability to see beauty in everything is a skill that can be mastered, and that a failure to appreciate the beauty of any moment is simply a failure of perception.”
    Agree. In fact as of this moment in time I’m forcing myself to reconsider my position on railings and fences. I was always a “if you’ve seen one railing or fence you’ve seen em all” type of man, but after all these China walks I’ve been on, it has become quite obvious to me that railings and fences can be the near perfect forum for an artist to express himself.
    Damn, but can the Chinese do railings and fences. It’s in the millenium old, multi-dynastic DNA I suppose. Nice one here at roughly the 14:25 mark
    A nation-state devoted to beauty, that is a beautiful concept to me, and the near infinite complexity of the “China Synthesis,” is in itself, beautiful.
    Now would nuking the shit out of them because you hate them, or are afraid of them, or are jealous of them for very good reasons, and know that if you don’t do it now you will nothing more than an honored gnat in their stool for the rest of eternity,* also be a beautiful thing?
    Yeah, why not?
    *However long that is. Another thing I always found beautiful. The predictable failure of physics to answer any truly important questions.

  13. I don’t think it is true for ‘this civilisation/culture’ if we mean either ‘Western’ or world culture as they currently are. It is true for the Americcan (and ‘allies’) neo-liberal capitalist nightmare we are living in – but no-one in their right mind would refer to that as ‘civilisation’!

  14. Waxing all lyrical as you do so well Caitlin. Speaking for the many is not something I would shoulder as readily as you. But don’t let that stop you. Someone has to and you seem to be on a track that might lead somewhere that I would like to be. Two years ago we would have agreed about empires and religions being rooted in lies. Now I am confident we soon be adding Virology and germ theory to the list. What else I wonder. But then why bother. Such musing, opinion sharing and observations will surely not be tolerated in the centralised, cashless, digital dystopia that Elons armies of low orbit satellites will enable shortly.

    1. Same with that crazy theory about getting shot in the head being bad for you. It’s evil government lies, a conspiracy to get us all to believe there’s something bad about head trauma. Obviously the brain surgeons are in on it with the librul politicians so they can control what we think about blood loss.

      1. Wow, straight from allopathic medical practice to assault with a deadly weapon. It just popped into you head so it did John, and rightly so for the bit I was talking about.

  15. That was crackling itself Caitlin. You thunderbolt.

  16. Bravo Caitin! But please, it is those of the West who need this posting far more. The lack of soul in the West is frightening.

  17. Daniel S. Linton Avatar
    Daniel S. Linton

    I’m re-reading (well, listening on audiobook), for the sixth or seventh time, Miguel Ruiz’s _The Voice of Knowledge_. We all are *so* vulnerable to oft-repeated lies, mostly to ourselves. Along with the immense roar of lies we’ve inherited from antiquity all the way down to our parents and loved ones, we have also been left with some quiet whispers of wisdom for freeing ourselves.

    Get in a quiet place, or with a group of like-intended people, and find one lie you believe about yourself. Replace that lie with some compassionate truth and you have gained one chit toward regaining your power to become your true self. It is the most radical thing you can possibly do. And as you gain your true power you will find what you truly want to use it for.

  18. “And it is also true that science is in its infancy and that what we know is a tiny minnow in the vast ocean of what we do not know”.
    And also, as Donald Rumsfeld once sagaciously put it, “of what we know we do not know and of what we don’t know we do not know”!
    But it doesn’t really matter because we don’t need scientists anymore to know what’s true in the Empire of Lies.
    Mammon decides what we know about Covid, the utility of mask wearing…
    … the wisdom of giving vaccines to old timers, adults, young folks, toddlers, foetuses, twinkles in parents’ eyes, first boosters, second boosters, third boosters, a booster a month, a booster a week, three boosters a day before meals, social distancing (except with Mohammed bin Salman), lockdowns, unexpected deaths in freshly vaccinated people because of climate change, the mental health of Joe Biden, the innocence of Hunter Biden, the culpability of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, the $55 billion given to Ukraine, the heroism of Zelensky for sending his people to the slaughterhouse with weapons they can’t use (but fortunately can sell for a good price in a wood if they’re lucky enough to meet an enemy who doesn’t shoot them first), the hiring of Chris Cuomo, the sacking of Chris Cuomo, the deranged rants of Keith Dobermann, Pom Pompeo’s lying, cheating, stealing and Rapture trip and more generally the media versions of everything under the sun (even at night)…
    And this is good for you. All of it! We won’t need tribunals, laboratories anymore, experiments, lab staff, lab rats, schools, Ivy League varsities or even Congress which only 7% of Americans trust anyway (let’s not even mention non-Americans), so you might as well call it a day because reporting on their work now is akin to intrusion on private life. They’re like a big fambly eating ice cream from Nancy’s fridge while telling people lies that neither of them believe beyond the hillbilly who plays dueling banjos in John Boorman’s Deliverance and his friends.
    Congress is Mammon’s masterpiece: the perfect heist turned into the 11th Commandment, “Follow the money” which gave birth to the 12th, “Follow the $cience” (while you’re at it and pray Saint Anthony).
    At least that we do know and it’s a day brightener of the first order because all we’ve got to do now is obey while making decisions has been such a pain in the ass all our lives!

  19. Normand Drolet Avatar
    Normand Drolet

    Thank you so much, so very much, Caitlin Johnstone !

  20. It is also true that those who suffered the most for the lie have the only access to medicine that provides the truth counter to the lie.

  21. Great article! Nice to read something that isn’t about dastardly oligarchs and politicians. It reminds me of the novel Life Of Pi, which story would you rather believe. First rule of meditation club, you don’t talk about the place behind the layer of stories. With psychedelics, wow man, it blows open the top chakra!

  22. This is so beautiful….it brought me to tears. Your words are armor and love wrapped into one…

    Thank you for being the bright, shining lamppost in this proverbial Narnian winter…

    Regards And All The Best,

    Josh Justin
    York, S.C., U.S.A.

  23. It is also true that US government prints mountains of worthless dollars and spends it to distract our attention from all the beauty we are a part of to all the horrors that the government itself stands for.

  24. Shelagh Bouttell Avatar
    Shelagh Bouttell

    This just makes my heart expand a little, thank you Caitlin. I love the wholeness and clarity of your writing, even if many of your posts do indeed, make me truly uncomfortable

    1. I’m with you on this. We need to expand our thinking and Caitlin is the air in my balloon!

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