Listen to a reading of this article:

Robert Heinlein said, “Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal.” And from all the facts in evidence currently available to us, that certainly does seem to be the case. We’re destroying our biosphere and moving beyond mere flirtation with nuclear war to full-blown courtship, all to facilitate a status quo that everyone hates and which benefits hardly anybody.

We are not behaving rationally. Instead, we rationalize, or have it rationalized for us.

We are told this is the only way it could possibly be, that any desire to turn away from our self-destructive patterns is unrealistic and born of naivety. If you dislike the way status quo politics always keeps the same patterns in place regardless of who’s in office, well that’s too bad, you have to choose the lesser evil. If you dislike the way capitalism has us competing with each other and destroying our ecosystem instead of collaborating and harmonizing with our planet, you’re told it’s the best possible system and that any other system would be way worse. If you dislike the way the US-centralized empire dominates the world with violence and coercion, you’re told it’s better to have Uncle Sam rule over us by whatever means necessary than to risk someone worse taking over. It’s lesser-evilism every step of the way, with any discussion about not choosing evil at all being shut down as unrealistic.

The people who continually rationalize our self-destructive behavior patterns, they’re the realistic ones. The ones saying we need to keep picking the same path over and over again even though it continually makes the world worse and is destroying everything and is leading us toward certain doom. The ones telling us to keep doing the same thing over and over again while hoping for different results. The ones telling us to choose madness over sanity. That’s what being realistic is. Saying, “Yeah keep walking in that direction, don’t stop when you get to the cliff’s edge. You’ll probably fly.”

When really the self-destructive patterns come first, and the rationalizations come second. Really we’re not on this path because it’s the best choice out of other greater evils, we’re on this path because the forces at play within our species have brought us here.

We’re on this path because we have systems in place which elevate viciousness. We’re on this path because of the profit motive, because of market forces, because of the kind of people that have been able to elevate themselves to positions of power at this point in spacetime. We’re on this path because media can be used to manipulate human psychology at mass scale using points of mental leverage like fear and tribalism that are evolutionary remnants from times when life was much different. We’re on this path because our species is in an awkward transition phase between the evolution of massive prefrontal cortices in our skulls and the adaptation of a conscious, wholesome relationship with our newfound capacity for abstract thought.

In short, we’re on the path we’re on because we just sort of stumbled into it, buffeted by forces within us that we don’t really understand which have been unfolding since our evolutionary ancestors first made their way down from the trees. We’re an unconscious species whipped about by unconscious forces we can’t really explain and have no real control over, and then telling ourselves stories to rationalize why things are the way they are.

In that sense our entire species is a lot like an individual human who uses rationalization to explain and justify their self-destructive behavior. They’ll make up excuses for why they started using again, why they missed another one of their kid’s recitals, why they lost their temper again, why they went back to their abuser, why they’ve wound up alone after alienating everybody. Or maybe they’ll be totally real about what happened, fully taking the blame and responsibility for why their life is the way it is — probably also being excessively harsh with themselves — but still unable to change, because they aren’t yet conscious of the forces that are driving their behavior.

Our self-destructive species is acting just like a self-destructive individual: torn between the knowledge that we need to change and our inability to see within ourselves lucidly enough to actually make change happen. We’re killing our biosphere, marching toward nuclear war, and playing along with status quo systems for the same reason someone uses heroin, hurts those they love, stays in an abusive relationship, or sabotages their goals: because we are driven to.

And in each case the solution is the same: the expansion of consciousness. Self-destructive behavior patterns change not when we find Jesus or start applying “willpower” or any of the other fairy tales our culture has invented over the years and promulgated in countless Hollywood movies, but when we become more conscious of the way they are happening and the factors which feed into them. They change when we gain a more lucid perception of what’s going on inside us and what makes us tick. Until that happens we continue along the same behavioral trajectory, just rearranging the furniture a bit and swapping out old addictions for new ones here and there while we tell ourselves stories about why we do what we do.

And this is just as true of humans as a collective as it is of individuals. We used to burn cats to death as a form of public entertainment; our behavior changed when we became more conscious of the suffering of our fellow living creatures and the idea is now reprehensible to us. This is also what has been happening with slavery, apartheid, racial and sexual injustice, rape, domestic violence, and child abuse.

Human behavior will change when we become a conscious species. Just as with self-destructive individuals, that may not happen until we hit a rock bottom of some kind. It may end up being a situation wherein, as Anais Nin put it, “the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Or maybe it won’t change at all. Just as with the self-destructive individual, you’ve got to allow for the possibility that the self-destructive patterning will continue to total destruction. And that would be very sad. But we’ve all got that freedom, as individuals and as a species. The freedom to continue in our self-destructive patterns until total destruction.

And as difficult as that is, in my opinion it does help to have a kind of openness to humanity’s freedom to take that course if that’s what ends up happening. Setting yourself up emotionally in opposition to human self-destructiveness feels much the same as tying all your will up in your desire to save a self-destructive loved one: a deep emotional attachment to an outcome over which you have no ultimate control.

Eventually you learn that you really do have to grant everyone the freedom to choose their own path, even if that path leads to the end of life. If a loved one keeps returning to a violent abuser or a dangerous substance, all we can do is love them, gently point out areas that could use more consciousness wherever we can, find and bring consciousness to our own projections on the situation so we’re not inadvertently playing a role in the patterning, and be ready to leap in to help them make the changes they need to make as soon as they are ready. And in my opinion that’s also kind of how we need to be with humanity as a whole.

That to me is the sanest position to hold on this matter at this point in our unfolding. Not arguing with reality, not trying to will humanity into conforming to my idea of health, not attachment to outcomes, but simply loving humanity, delighting in its weird beauty for however long it’s here, working to spread consciousness of the forces that are driving us, and being ready to step in and help the moment they decide they want a change.


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77 responses to “The Human Species Is Acting Like A Self-Destructive Individual”

  1. doesn’t quite a lot of the [endangered] state
    the earth is in have to do with very few guys
    [and some gals] who enjoy destroying and/
    or who are outrageously greedy, i.e. thieves
    who know how to trick us into buying their
    products and/or their [f]lies – until they have
    enough bucks to fly to the moon, to mars,
    to ruin the stars after they messed up planet

    i’m CON_stantly reminded of einstein’s statement
    about the world being a dangerous place to live
    not bc of the people who are evil but bc of the people
    who don’t do anything about it.

    HUGE industrial CON_plexes mess with people’s
    minds day and night and keep them so busy trying
    to CON_form to whatever superficial ideals that they
    forget, or think they lack time, or courage to prepare
    a beautiful revolution BEFORE it’s too late.

    german professor rainer mausfeld reminds us:
    “democracy is what decision makers give us bc they
    know: our rebellion would cost them much more.”

    it’s not just about individual love + caring awareness.
    structural violence, greed, indifference and injustice
    must END.

  2. Historically and typically the problems which Humans are the source, for other Human’s problems and suffering, are rooted in emotional immaturity, which encourages adult irresponsibility, supported by hypocrisy, that is designed to protect contradictory thinking and actions of the emotionally immature Humans.

    It is a socially transmitted dis-ease.

  3. I recently read an acclaimed book Stumbling on Happiness, and its author Daniel Gilbert waited until the very end to tell the readers that our parents and teachers lie to us about what makes us happy in order for our society and economy to keep working the way it does. The longer we believe these societal lies, the more we suffer. Then the psychologists sell their services or medications so you do not take change your beliefs about the society, or demand the society or the laws to change, but constantly work on yourself.

  4. My mental health treatment colleagues who have long term experience say nothing will change until people figure out how to stop hating themselves. Stopping your internalized self hate is the necessary shift needed to become more conscious.

  5. Britian as Miss Havisham Avatar
    Britian as Miss Havisham

    Global Britain’s Feudal Timeloop vs Human Civilization Advancement

    “But it also requires the non-existence of China, Russia or any other organized network of nation states who reject the demands to reduce themselves to depopulated slave status.
    That last part of the equation is where the entire plan breaks down terribly for the modern heirs of Churchill, and Oswald Mosley whose ivory tower utopian models of the new world order demands a complete reversal of the objective forces of history that demand a very different destiny for humanity. This is a much more harmonious destiny which such feudalists have no significant role to play unless they profoundly alter their ways and acquire some useful skills.
    This fact was outlined perfectly by none other than President Putin on July 20, 2022 when he conducted an appraisal of the positive changes initiated by the growing multipolar alliance. In his speech, Putin said:
    “These enormous changes are irreversible, of course. National and global processes are underway to develop the fundamentals and principles of a harmonious, fairer and more community-focused and safe world order as an alternative to the existing world order, or the unipolar world order in which we lived, and which, because of its nature, is definitely becoming a brake on the development of our civilisation.”

  6. So we’re not burning cats anymore or just not for public entertainment? Asking for a friend.

    1. Answering for a friend: now we dip them in tomato sauce, hang them from a tree and call it catsup.

  7. “Until the culture recognizes the legitimacy of growing down, each person in the culture struggles blindly to make sense of the darkness that the soul requires to deepen into life.” James Hillman.

  8. zbigniew dzwonkowski Avatar
    zbigniew dzwonkowski

    Yes, human ego-mind the false self behaves in self-destructive ways …. but the Real Self as in everybody will be activated soon… it will create the Reality of its own … as soon as Humanity reaches the 8 billion people in 2022… that 8 spokes in Buddhist Wheel of Life ….

    1. How many separate parts do you think we are? This is a sad and fragmented view of the self. Being taught not to believe in oneself, one then becomes vulnerable to the misleading influence of others. Religion and belief in external powers is a prime culprit aimed at destroying one’s belief in oneself. How can a person gain inner strength in this world, when that belief has been crushed from a very early age. Being strong in spirit requires inner strength. Without inner strength one cannot understand what is truly spiritual in life. Why is it that people try to take that away? Simply because they seek power over us.

      1. @Zbigniew: Buddha also said: “Spiritual life must be built on a solid layer of common sense” and also “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense” but also… “common sense is a flower that doesn’t grow in everyone’s garden”. That’s the problem :o)

  9. Brian Becker of BreakThroughNews interviews Tings Chak.. If you are a wild eyed motherfuckin’ radical leftist like me (New Deal Democrat), there is good chance you will find this chat interesting, enlightening, and um … peaceful, actually.
    I don’t know what is about Ms. Chak, but her vibe induces in me a sense of calm. Does this make me a heterosexualist? Get your mind out of the gutter! Mr. Becker’s vibe has always had a similar effect on me, and I met him long before I met Ms. Chak.
    Seriously, it’s worth a watch if you any interest in the greatest accomplishment by an organized society of humans ever. Lifting 850 billion people out of extreme poverty in less than15 years? Remarkable, made even more so when one considers that better than half of them were lifted straight into the middle class.
    Note: A high quality biological annihilation link by the way, Ms. Johnstone. Thanks for it. What will we ever do without fish, birds and insects? Birds I suppose we could get along without, although spiritually we be oh so poorer off in their absence, and fish, I don’t know, seems to me probably not, but insects for sure, if we lose em, were goners.

    1. Oops. 850 billion should read 850 million.
      Imagine sustaining a human population of 850 billion? How many discoveries of inhabitable planets would that require? Millions I would think, considering how fast we go through em.
      Dispose of one, move on to the next, and before you know you’ve left a trail of dead planets in your wake. But if the universe is indeed infinite, so what?

      1. It’s not sure that the universe is infinite according to Einstein who famously said: “Two things give me an idea of the infinite, the universe and human stupidity. But I’m not totally sure about the first”.
        If Einstein is not sure, who am I to disagree?
        However there’s no question that it’s very big and Thales of Miletus said that we could travel all over it faster than the speed of light… in thought. So I suggest we keep to that. What would be the point in going to other planets? To sleep? We can sleep here. To talk? We can talk here. To feed when the Earth is depleted? Ain’t no food there! By the time we adapt the seeds we might bring to other planets, we’d probably be dead of starvation. Looks like we’d be better off thinking seriously about adapting to this one. How come kids are generally in revolt and old folks in acceptance, often with humour. They’ve adapted. And that’s all there is to it :o)

        1. If the universe isn’t infinite that means it must have an end point – or an intentionally divisive border drawn up by the British empire! – I would assume? So what’s on the other side of it, grandma’s cookie jar? ;–)
          I agree, what is the point of going to other planets if we can’t take care of the one we’re on. Besides if Fermi was right, we ain’t going nowhere.
          “Scotty, take us out here, Warp Factor 3.”
          I canna give ya Warp Factor anything,, Captain. Would ya settle for Mach 35 instead?”

        2. PS: Thanks for the vid that I just watched. This woman, Tings Chak is definitely amazing. It’s funny you said she had a soothing effect on you because there’s something very similar to her name in pronunciation called “tingsha” which is a Tibetan pair of cymbals that has an incredibly soothing crystalline sound.
          I’ve got one at home. There’s nothing better than this sound to put you in a good mood.

  10. Laurie De Marco Avatar
    Laurie De Marco

    Conscious in a persons mind is awareness of ones surroundings and is submissive to the subconscious which dictates pre-emptively a persons actions but is also the seeding ground for indoctrination by the propagandists it is also the resting place for residual memory an individual could if bothered have a look at comments by Edward Bernays or have a read of his book Propaganda he was also the nephew of Sigmund Freud just a thought but how deep do you wanna go down the rabbit hole or is reading Caitlin just a time pass before watching the six o,clock infotainment sorry news

  11. Consciousness without conscience simply won’t help.

    1. The original meaning of “conscious” is “being aware of wrongdoing”.

  12. People can be nasty, mean and selfish and uncaring and at the same time be totally conscious and aware of their actions and where that may lead. Sorry, but being more conscious without a having a conscience want help.

  13. Laurie De Marco Avatar
    Laurie De Marco

    Humanity is thoroughly brainwashed when supposedly 75 to 95% of its species believes in a divine entity as the supreme manifestation of the universe and that human hubris is paramount you cannot change humanity without removing the programming inside their cerebral cortex when a person becomes a junky or drug addict then it is not the individual that is responsible for their predicament but the intuitions run by the ruling global aristocracy such as the CIA which is the largest trafficker of heroin in the world profits are used for funding its agenda or research the real reason for the war on drugs introduced by Nixon or the real reason cannabis was made illegal or why Rockefeller invested in today terms 4to5 billion dollars between 1910 and 1920 on destroying the old medical system and replacing it with the modern version how deap down the rabbit hole do you wanna go depends on your real honest reason you wanna know the truth walk the walk or talk the talk ask yourself how brainwashed are you and admit it.. you are thoroughly brainwashed and so is just about everyone else ..who trapped you mind into servitude why the global invisible ruling class did… call them the megalomaniacs from the top of the pyramid to the bottom….

    1. Thank goodness. Its not my fault after all.

  14. Again talking bullshit about “destroying” environment. You should read the UN report about it to learn something new to write plausible sentences about environment.
    Again talking about capitalism as if the whole world would sign up overnight to another thing which will be same shit just changing the actors.

  15. destructive, not self-destructive; only that they don’t have other resources now.

    1. So there’s two of us with the same name now… How is that even possible?

      1. He is your evil twin or are you his evil twin. Hmmmm…..

        1. He don’t sound like no twin to me. I wish he’d get himself a name of his own because I don’t even understand what he means, let alone agree. But he probably likes confusion. And he does sound confused, so there’s at least an element of logic in that shit :o)

          1. I dod say he may be your evil doppelganger.

  16. Well if giving up doesn’t work I hope we give collectivism a try.

    1. No thanks. I am a minimalist. 🙂

  17. Truer words have never been spoken!

    “Be ready to leap in to help them make the changes they need to make as soon as they are ready”.

    I can’t count the number of times I tried to help someone when I was young and they told me to buzz off, the worst being during my first trip to Paris as a late teenager. As I was queuing to buy a ticket to the elevator of the Eiffel Tower, I heard someone screaming on the other side of the avenue. A guy there was taking a beating from two others. At that age, you don’t think twice. I crossed the busy four lanes of the “quai” to save his life at the risk of my own as any knight from Camelot would have done, shouting “Leave him alone!”

    The action stopped, the guy taking the beating gave me a snide look and said: “Get the fuck outta here and mind your own business, asshole!”

    He was not ready.

    “It’s lesser-evilism every step of the way”.

    Dionysius the Elder was the tyrant of Syracuse in the IVth century BC and was regarded by the ancients as the worst kind of despot one could get. Like in the Eagles’ song Life in the Fast Lane,

    “He had a nasty reputation as a cruel dude
    They said he was ruthless, they said he was crude”

    One day, while taking a stroll, he met an old woman who started telling him how happy she was that he was her tyrant and wished him good health so he could remain so for as long as she had left to live. Surprised, he said: “Look here lady, everybody hates me. They say I’m a monster and would have me assassinated in a heartbeat if I didn’t have my personal guard. How come you think different?”

    The old woman replied: “Well… with you at least, we know where we stand. Who knows what a new guy would be like?”

    Yet this legend doesn’t come anywhere near the joke of Nero having one thousand Christians crucified on both side of the Via Appia for his birthday. He then conducts a review with his Praetorian guard and has a near orgasm at discovering these two rows of corpses hanging from their crosses as far as the eye can see until he hears a sound coming from one of them. “Guard, finish him off!” he shouts in a hissy fit. The guard strikes the martyr with his lance and Nero moves on.

    On the way back to his palace, he hears the same guy still muttering something. The guard raises his lance to get rid of the nuisance once and for all but Nero says “wait”, asks for a ladder, climbs the steps to put his ear as close as possible to the guy’s mouth to try and find out what he’s saying and hears him whisper: “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Nero, happy birthday to you…”

  18. All is as it should be. Humanity will awaken when it is ready to do so. Caitlin is not ready herself, otherwise she wouldn’t have been focused on what appears to be negative.

    1. Jeeze, the amount of shills there are on here falsely discrediting Caitlin with total B/S is astonishing!
      But not surprising!

      1. If I was wrong to get the impression she is lecturing from the pulpit of someone who is “conscious” in contrast with what the condition of most people is, please explain.

        It seems to me that trying to fight a perceived negative pole keeps you stuck in duality and perpetuating it. A conscious person would be aware of how reality works and what the consequences of their actions are. How many of us here are?

        1. What about those who know how reality works but dont give a shit of the consequences of their actions. Are they conscious or just selfish bastards who only look out for Number 1.

          1. Possibly both, and I think God must be one of them.

  19. US Friends Of the Earth…..

    The FDA just approved and deregulated a new GMO cow — meaning it can enter the market without any required assessment or oversight to protect our health, environment, or animal welfare. This sets a dangerous precedent for other GMO animals to enter our food system with no regulation — such as pigs, chickens, and cows, engineered to withstand crowded, polluting, and inhumane factory farms.

    The FDA approved this engineered cow for human consumption and granted it regulatory exemption after ASSESSING ONLY 3 COWS. One of those cows died and it is unclear whether the death was related to gene editing. We know so little about potential impacts of genetically engineering animals on our health, environment, or animal welfare.

    Instead of shifting away from filthy, inhumane, and polluting factory farming, Big Ag wants to fast-track animals genetically engineered to survive these terrible conditions.

    1. Many of the UK’s leading supermarkets are selling suffering. Suppliers for Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Coop, Iceland, Tesco, Aldi and Lidl are breeding millions of overgrown FrankenChickens who are unable to stand under their own bodyweight, forcing them to lie in their own waste inside overcrowded sheds until they are slaughtered at just a few weeks old.

      Chickens are gentle, sensitive individuals who feel fear and pain every bit as much as our beloved pets. No animal deserves to lie in their own waste or live in chronic pain.

      1. Millions of chickens roast alive on factory farms in UK heatwave
        We have horrifying news. It has been discovered that millions of UK chickens died in the recent heat wave. They were locked inside crowded factory farms with no way to escape as they baked to death.

        1. Are you saying you support lab grown chicken legs.

          1. I didn’t say anything, so I’ve no idea why you posted such an asinine response, and had nothing to say about the suffering of billions of sentient beings.
            And just for the record, I advocate veganism.

    2. As long as they get the Covid vaccine, I am all for it.

  20. I was just thinking this! Then wrote something but dropped my phone and it disappeared. Then re-wrote it, same but not the same. Then realized, no one that gets it, needs to get it. Which is about 3 out of every 20 people, which is based on my personal numbers but extrapolated out to a population … anyway, it ended with time to say doom-bye. I already have.

    1. I all you did was clarify your thought and nobody got it that is enough.

      1. Speaking of course, only for yourself!

  21. Your essays are always thought provoking.
    I would offer this observation. I do not think that humanity ‘as a whole’ suffers from a collective form of self-destruction. No, my journey through life and examination of current, past, and ancient history has shown me that humanity ‘as a whole’ are decent, hard working, develop and love their families and try to leave this earth a ‘bit’ better upon their passing.
    The woes humanity suffers are ALWAYS due to a ‘select few’ who, because of their mental infirmities, gravitate to positions of leadership in order to unleash their abuses upon us. We currently call them the ‘elites’… but whatever their name, ancient or modern – they will not just.. go away…and inhabit their OWN space and leave us the hell alone. It is precisely BECAUSE of their mental illnesses they HAVE to develop conflict with and oppress others.
    It is out of our kindness they exist – otherwise we would exterminate them like the vermin they are. They know this and exploit this.
    And they ALWAYS repay kindness with cruelty… ALWAYS.

    1. I was thinking the same. It’s the 1% of the world that is causing all the problems.

      We could have utopia but greed causes stupidity, so we just take what little drops off the table when we could rise up and “Enough”!

      1. Institute the three strike rule: Three felonies and you are executed with no appeal. That should clear things up.

    2. Psychopathy is just a different kind of wiring than the average person. Maybe it would be wise for the average person to no longer support systems that favor the Psychopaths??

    3. People “consciously or unconsciously, derive their ethical ideas in the last resort from the practical relations on which their class position is based

      1. I realize the intellectual comfort one may derive from thinking that all our problems come from the richest and most powerful 1%. However, this is cartoonish. The figure commonly admitted for psychopaths is 2 to 5% of the world population which is in any case beyond the famous 1% and ranges from 158 million to 395 million people on the planet. That’s a hell of a lot! Besides, the so-called 1% are not even 1% (79 million) but a fraction of that, probably closer to 0.1% (7,9 million) at most, and only eight people own as much as half of the rest of the world combined. This is 0.000000001%.
        Anyway ask someone who’s been in an abusive relationship (the papers are full of people of every race and gender who’ve been abused by one or several parents, a neighbour, a lover, a husband, a wife…) if their main beef is with the 1%. A lot of cops are psychopaths, soldiers, prison wardens (possibly in Belmarsh too), torturers in Guantanamo and other CIA black sites, IRS agents, teachers (see movie If… or Pink Floyd’s The Wall). More generally, psychopaths proliferate in every walk of life that gives power over other people. So let’s face it, the eternal refrain “if only we could get rid of the 1%, life would be a bowl of cherries” is wildly delusional.

  22. ‘Eventually you learn that you really do have to grant everyone the freedom to choose their own path, even if that path leads to the end of life.

    Cats being burned to death might disagree.

    People being burned by climate warming should disagree.

    With war we should all disagree.

    1. Go plant a tree. You will feel better. Help get that pesky CO2 out of the air.

  23. The mistake Caitlin Johnstone repeats over and over again is saying that people need to expand their consciousness, they need to wake up from their slumber, once people wake up things will change. This is Caitlin’s religion. The problem with this view is it assumes people are not awake, that people do not see what is going on. This issue is not that people are sleeping. People are awake, they choose not to act. That is the issue: getting people to act.

    A good explanation of this phenomenon, is a lecture given by Dr. Norman Finkelstein on Ghandi. It talks about what moves people to act, that people see the cruelty around them but do not act, why.

    “What Gandhi Says about Nonviolence, Resistance and Courage”

    The issue is not expanding ones consciousness, that is condescending and elitist – “I’m sorry you don’t you you have problems because you are not enlightened.” The issue is moving people to act.

    1. People will act when they know they must. Keeping people from knowing shows dim consciousness.

      But you have a point, ‘they’ choose not to act because they have priorities which are different. For some depravity rules, for others their animating force is desire to see their own reflection.

      Expecting fucked up people to play nice is another form of madness.

    2. Thank you, Joe, for linking a gem of a video in counterpoint to a gem of a Caitlin post. I urge all of Caitlin’s readers to spend this hour and a half with Norman Finkelstein.

    3. Oh, so everyone sees through the PTB propaganda do they Joe?!

      As if!

    4. Have to disagree. It’s been established that there is a subconscious mind, even that each side of the brain may disagree, and it affects behavior. It’s the concept of conditioned mind which is being confirmed by research. There is also something called learned helplessness. I can’t tell you how many people I know who spout TV talking points claiming original thought. You’re thinking of being more conscious, e.g. now realizing slavery is unacceptable, with a Zen satori, a sudden understanding of the cosmos. I don’t think Caitlin is saying that people must become Zen masters before we can develop political projects that serve regular people rather than the wealthy dominators who are currently sending us toward that proverbial cliff.

    5. It’s the 1% that has to wake up. Pain raises awareness and seeks solutions. We are headed for the cliff and the elite just want more and more.

      You are awesome. So is Caitlin IMO.

  24. Each individual is in some herd, from time to time, one that is stampeding toward its own mass destruction.

    You can stop running within that herd toward its destruction but only to get trampled by the herd that will run over you within insane indifference.

    Or you can continue running with the herd with the slight hope of possibly changing its direction.

    Or you can move to the periphery of the stampede, where and when it exists, and temporarily breathe the fresh air absent the smell of fear, remembering why life can still be precious.

    1. Departing from the herd is hard to do. But if you know the herd is going to stampede off a cliff trying hard is the thing to do.

    2. The herd is not happy right now so the trick will be to get things moving in the right direction without a stampede, as chaos does not for good decisions make.

      Non-violent protests are 2x as likely to get results.

  25. Caitlin,
    You are a profoundly good person, and a profoundly good writer.

    1. You too!

      Caitlin speaks sanity better than anyone I know.

      Her wisdom nurtures my soul.

      The more we amplify her words,
      the better it is IMO.

  26. We are likely to be the first species that documents its own extinction.

    1. Yeah, but it is not going to be a best seller and all the bits unlike paper, will soon be gone.

    2. We were already in the process, long before Descartes’ (1596–1650) ‘woke’ moment… what positive consciousness raising effects has his historical notion contributed to negate man’s innate destructive tendencies, in the current momentous epoch?

  27. Padraig Mac Floinn Avatar
    Padraig Mac Floinn

    We are in denial . We are addicts . The human race needs a 12 Step Programme but it won’t want it till it hits rock bottom . How terrifying that rock bottom will be is the question . Then again most addicts never recover .

    1. There is no 12 step program at the extinction rock bottom.

    2. How terrifying it is that we have a pretty clear idea of what rock bottom will look like: devastation and immense suffering (legions of blind people! rotting bodies everywhere! mass starvation) from nuclear war, or a rapidly warming planet with billions of climate refugees and immense political upheaval, or both … plus plagues.

      Hieronymus Bosch glimpsed the future when he painted THIS in 1495:

      The living will envy the dead.

      This is another great piece by Caitlin. She manages to nail it almost every time. I guess we’ve got to hope our Earth will be that 1 out of 50 methheads who actually kicks the drug, stays clean, and ends up having a good and meaningful life.

      Betting aliens just happen to be giving these very odds that human civilization will survive the next 10 years: 50 to 1 against.

      1. I must say I’ve been quite happy most of my life thanks to the simple thought that if things got bad, I could always put an end to it.
        A lot of people seem to be torturing themselves (the French call that “délectation morose”, which self-translates) the same way Montaigne said: “I’ve suffered a lot in my life of things that never happened”. All Maya’s tricks, illusions.
        Alan Watts explains very convincingly this identification with suffering as giving importance to the sufferer and providing them with compassion.
        On a side note, I also love that painting by Bosch. Talk about genius! And he painted that long before there were coffee shops in Amsterdam selling Mazar-i-Sharif! :o)
        However let’s not forget that this painting is called The Garden of Earthly Delights and that there’s nothing objectively ominous about it. The interpretations tell more about the interpreters’ state of mind than about the painter’s intentions.

        1. Only when you accept suicide as a viable option are you truly free.

          1. And suicide is painless! :o)

        2. I love that you dig Alan Watts and this Bosch painting.

          “The interpretations tell more about the interpreters’ state of mind than about the painter’s intentions.”

          Maybe so, but man, there are some pretty grim scenes in that painting! I might be too negative, but you might be too positive. My perfect world looks more like a healthful commune with lots of good musical instruments and art studios and interesting cafes.

          LOL. Now I’m revealing that I’m a bourgeois old white man.

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