Listen to a reading of this article:

The other day an Australian journalist was giving me a hard time for not criticizing Russia and China the way I go after the US empire, calling me “morally bankrupt” for not criticizing all governments equally. He said the ethical thing to do would be to criticize the US, but also criticize the governments the US doesn’t like for balance.

I had a look at this fellow’s work online and did indeed see articles sharply criticizing China and Russia, as well as much weaker governments like Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and the Taliban.

But guess what government I didn’t see in his crosshairs?

This to me is the worst kind of moral cowardice. To live in Australia (effectively a member state of the US empire) and yet spend all your time criticizing far weaker and far less destructive governments than the US is like living in a Nazi-occupied territory during World War Two and spending your time shaking your fist at Brazil. It’s like tut-tutting judgmentally when you hear your neighbor raise her voice at her kids even as you yourself are busy murdering your entire family with an axe.

As I learn more and more about global power dynamics and interact with more and more people around the world responding to the things I have to say, I find myself growing more and more disdainful of those who live directly under the thumb of the US empire and yet spend their time criticizing unabsorbed governments like Russia and China. It’s literally the most pathetic, snivelling, power-serving position anyone can possibly take at this point in history.

The US empire is indisputably the most murderous and destructive power structure on the world stage today. No other power has spent the 21st century killing people by the millions in wars of aggression. No other power is circling the planet with hundreds of military bases and working continuously to destroy any government which disobeys it. No other power is starving entire populations with economic sanctions, military blockades and brazen theft. No other power has been interfering in foreign elections anywhere near as often. No other power is terrorizing populations around the world with wars, covert ops, drone strikes, proxy conflicts, and staged coups and uprisings. No other power is using its military, economic, diplomatic and media dominance to bully the world into serving its interests. The US exports most of its tyranny outside its own borders (though certainly not all of it), but it is nevertheless plainly the most tyrannical regime on earth.

Everyone in the world should focus their scrutiny and criticism on the most powerful and destructive power structure in the world, because that is the sane and normal thing to do. But those who live in the US or its imperial member states have a special obligation to do so, because focusing on far less powerful and far less evil governments when you live under the umbrella of the US-centralized empire is gross.

Even if you don’t buy the argument that those who live under the US empire have a special obligation to focus their criticisms on that power structure, at the very least you should make your criticisms proportionate to the destructiveness. And because the US is by far the most destructive power on earth, you should be criticizing it far more often than you criticize other powers.

But it’s worth taking time to do some honest self-examination on why you feel the need to even give proportionate criticism to empire-targeted governments like Russia and China, in a society where every single one of the most powerful media and government institutions already criticize those governments constantly while ignoring the crimes of the empire. It’s worth examining why you feel the need to lend your voice to a message that is already being amplified as loudly as any message could possibly be amplified when criticisms of the empire are so profoundly neglected in the English-speaking world, and questioning  whether lending your energy to those propaganda campaigns would have any desirable effect at all. What usually happens after we start hating a government the US empire is urgently telling us we must hate?

If you do examine your urge to join the mainstream shrieking about US-targeted governments, what you will probably find (if you are honest with yourself) is that you’ve been marinating in pro-US propaganda your entire life, and that has warped your expectations of normal criticism.

We’re so accustomed to seeing the misdeeds of US-targeted governments grossly over-emphasized and exaggerated, while seeing US misdeeds grossly under-emphasized and ignored, that it sets the bar for our expectations of what normal criticism should look like. This distortion effect makes an appropriate level of aggressive criticism of the US empire look inappropriate and disproportionate; we’ve been trained in such a way that a normal amount of emphasis on the evils of US imperialism looks freakish and suspicious.


In reality, it is not freakish and suspicious when someone focuses their criticisms on the world’s most powerful and destructive government. It’s freakish and suspicious that that isn’t the norm.

It’s a lot easier to criticize empire-targeted governments than the empire itself, because everyone we’re surrounded by has been consuming empire propaganda all their lives and we’ll receive pushback from them when what we say causes them to experience cognitive dissonance. And this is a major reason so many westerners opt for the path of least resistance rather than shining the spotlight of truth where the real monsters are.

But that’s cowardice. It’s bootlicking. It’s pathetic. Don’t facilitate the propaganda campaigns of your rulers while failing to criticize the crimes of those rulers just because it’s easier than putting your energy where it belongs. You’re not being a big brave truth teller when you criticize far away governments who have no power over you; you’re being a coward. Don’t serve power while pretending to oppose power. It’s gross.


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46 responses to “It’s Gross To Live Under The US Empire And Spend Your Time Criticizing Russia And China”

  1. Today Biden and Trump released this joint statement to all Americans
    “The world is diverse in nature, and we should turn this diversity into a constant source of inspiration driving human advancement. This will ensure that human civilisations remain colourful and diversified”

  2. A lot of what gets framed as Chinese authoritarianism is really just China protecting itself from American authoritarianism.

    When I read this, it just validated what I had been thinking for quite some time now; thank you for commenting on this scenario as it is definitely applicable to the US/China relationship.
    China roughly completed “The Great Wall of China” during the Ming Dynasty. The Chinese built the wall to keep the “Foreign-Devil” or “Sea- Devil” out, and not to repress their citizens. The UK, US, et al., have either invaded China; used “Gun-Boat” diplomacy; coerced the acceptance of the “Unequal Treaties”; employed subterfuge to Opium-addict thousands of Chinese citizens (see: China Trade and Warren Delano); humiliated China (see: Century-of-Humiliation); inflicted (2) Opium Wars during the 19th century; been a participant in the Eight-Nation Alliance invasion; imposed imperialism and hegemony effecting threat to China’s sovereignty; U.S. enacted “The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882” (It was the first significant law restricting immigration into the United States –
    If you were the Emperor of China and you had suffered through the aforementioned hostility and malevolence, how would you have guided the evolution of China? What would you suggest as a particular course of action?
    If China appears to be excessively surveillant or authoritarian, could it possibly be a consequence of the historical abuse they have suffered? China is ultra-sensitive to the possibility of covert-imperialism subverting their sovereignty (see: UK and Hong Kong). China WILL NOT condone a sequel to their historical abuse. The world is changing. STOP your projecting…USA.
    Thank you, Mrs. Johnstone, you are 100% correct.

  3. ‘Sacrifice prosperity for security.’ The rising tide that was supposed to lift all boats is no more. (There never was such a tide.) I think that was the highlight of the video.

    Make do with less is what the world has to do. Excepting for leaders of corporations and countries. They shall get more more more.

  4. It is self-sabotage to write good articles and some time later to shout out on Twitter “capitalism will end”. It is lack of awareness about the real nature of communism-socialism as antipode to capitalism. In practice and theory capitalism coexist in both structures but different perspectives. No serious economist, politician being backed up by intellectuals working for governments will have something to listen not to say for you. Better just shut up about such topics and keep focus in good writing.

  5. So, the US increasing the delivery of weapons to Ukraine using the Baltic Sea, Black Sea through ships and airplanes are the answer to escalate things in order to achieve the “reconquer” of Donbas and Crimea? It is quite unlikely but somehow I don’t know from where this “ghost” army will come to reinforce Ukraine who cannot defend its own pants at the moment. America is overwhelmed by the boomerang effect of massive economic sanctions imposed on Russia backfiring right on their faces. To make things worse, I doin’t know how much the US economy relies on the Chinese economy but I don’t think it can stay up to face one smart Chinese move to make Wall Street, the federal reserve and economic colonies (partners) carrying out the heavy lifting to be at the end just using hot air and propaganda as strategy. it will fall. I have no doubt.

  6. A really big problem in the Empire is the way people have so easily been herded into Red and Blue Team groups and turned against one another. Oligarchs always use divide and conquer strategies, and if people didn’t fall for it, we’d be in a much better place. A major factor in perpetrating this divide in the public is our beloved Corporate Owned News, staffed with rich folk who tell the Red and Blue team working people who to hate that day. Not sure why people eat that stuff up so much, but it is really depressing to watch.

  7. Think for a moment.
    US drone attacks today on Kabul. US drone attacks on Yemen. US drone attacks on Syria. US drone attacks on Iraq. US drone attacks on Somalia. US drone attacks on Mali. US drone attacks on Ukraine just to mention a few.
    The pentagon, CiA, FBI are terrorists organizations.

    1. And they are bullying China territory sending warships to navigate throughout the strait of Taiwan, Chinese territory. No sane person would look for fights everywhere. Somehow the ones who hold the economic power worldwide would have dropped the USSA long ago. Perhaps it is a geopolitical move under the blessing coming from the Lords of your money.

    2. You are in a debate among Americans. It is your time to say something. Here is some tips to avoid headaches:

      1) Ask to the audience what they know about Taiwan – Is it a country or part of China? If the answer is a country, run away from it.
      2) Ask to the audience what they know about the euro maidan in 2014 – Is it a coupe e’tat where Joe Biden, John McCain, Victoria Nulland, Obama were actively supporting or if it is about a Festival Concert? If the answer is a Festival, run away from it.
      3) Ask to the audience what they fear more – Satan, KKK, Knight with Pumpkin Head on Halloween or missing the Turkey thanksgiving meal to celebrate the genocide of millions of native Americans? if the answer is Satan, run away from it.
      4) Ask to the audience what they think about sharing the same cup to drink beer, about having more than one sexual partner over the course of a lifetime, about patriarchy, gay men sharing the same bathroom with women. If the answer is no, wake up from a bad dream and run away from it.

  8. Holocaust Denial and holocaust recognition are the twin third rails of politics. Americans are more concerned about a genocide committed eighty years ago by somebody else’s government than they are about even greater and ongoing genocide committed by their own government right in front of them, and I don’t know if it makes it better or worse that most remain oblivious to it. Say what you want about the Germans, at least they didn’t have the internet.

  9. In a few days, my elderly, disabled neighbor will be evicted from her apartment for no cause other than the landlord wants to rent the apartment at a much higher cost. This is all perfectly legal here. But Russia and China dude. So bad.

    1. The law is seldom morally just or fair. It is simply the law society decides upon. It is wrong to blame solely the landlord for the law of the land. Housing for the poor, homeless, elderly, disabled is far and away one of societies greatest responsibilities that is ignored by the elite.

  10. Sorry this is so long, only because it has to be said.
    Absent from your criticism of the U.S. “Empire” is any reference to the British Empire, which, contrary to popular opinion, is still alive & well.
    The “City of London” financial district still controls & manipulates around 40% of global finance.
    Even the Queen of England has to request permission to set foot in there.
    Former enemies or colonies of Britain include Russia, China, Afghanistan, a lot of the Middle East, Africa Europe.
    Current malfeasance by the U.S. seems to include most, if not all, of British historical foes.
    When Britain partitioned Ireland creating the Free State of Eire they maintained complete control of their finance sector. Eire has hardly prospered since.
    Similarly the U.S. Declaration of Independence was not ratified by King George so the Americans simply assume they were free because Britain withdrew their physical campaign of tyranny.
    But the British established corporate control through entities registered as “The United States of America Incorporated “ & “The District of Colombia Incorporated “ so as Lord Rothschild quipped, “Give me control of the issuance of currency and I could not care less who sits on the throne”
    Through the Fabian Society inBritain & The Royal Institute of International Affairs through the Council on Foreign Relations & The Federal Reserve Britain still runs America, how else can you explain the outrageous humiliation America is subject to right now.
    It’s Britain (and it’s vested interests) which control our lives in Australia.
    Dare we take a bigger swipe at them while we’re at it?

    1. Thank you for elucidating the relationship between USA and Britain’s Rothschilds, who also established banks in France, Germany, and Japan, which still are the largest banks in the world. The biggest US bank is still 8th largest in the world, the top 4 are Rothschild’s banks. So it is the Rothschilds who pull the financial strings on all our political institutions.

    2. @Vinny – You forgot to mention the Pope – I’m reliably informed (by numerous articles I’ve read in the past containing claims similar to yours) that he’s involved, too.

      P.S. The Fabians aren’t who you think they are.

  11. Johnstone is too fine a writer to deface the language with a fecal smear like “impactful.” Do we really need to legitimize the orc shorthand version of “having an impact”? No.
    Nothing else a conscious literate could find objectionable here.
    I would like to ask the author to please consider not reacting to moronic cowards like her Australian “journalist” colleague.
    You are the light bulb, they are the shadows. That’s why they wail whenever you illuminate what they prefer obscured. Shine on.

    1. Amen. Walk us, Caitlin, step by step into new, more truthful, more beautiful narratives, and let the moronic cowards bury their own BS. They’re not worth your time or our attention.

  12. It is nice to see Fucker Carlson talking about Ukraine with Colonel McGregor but it is not for the faintest of heart to listen to what they want people to understand about China.

    1. Biden is going to desperate measures after giving $500 billions to student debt loan.
      Let is see if he will succeed buying his way out from the Ukrainian White Elephant in the room to free the face of the Democratic Party.
      Look how charming Ted Cruz is – “If you are that slacker barista who wasted seven years in college studying completely useless things, now has loans and can’t get a job, Joe Biden just gave you 20 grand,” he said on his podcast “Verdict with Ted Cruz.”

      Not even the mythical Jesus can have some rest among fanatics.

  13. Whoops.. and double whoops…
    I meant the Woodbridge side of Thompson-Reuters. Not Woodside
    mea culpa

  14. For a while now I have been railing against the ‘Americanisation’ and colonisation of Australia’s ABC. Look at the coverage of Ukraine… the reliance of a single source on the Uyghurs, the demonisation of Xi and Putin and the most recent attempt to muddy the waters on Daria Dugina’s murder. Not to mention the softly softly approach on anything Israel.
    The ABC’s foreign coverage of news is a joke. Whole articles appear without attribution, or just a word or letters on the bottom of the article, “Reuters” or AP. Reuters of course is Woodside Inc. Read their bio – hand in glove with the US military and intelligence apparatus.
    When ABC actually sends a reporter out in the field it is a stage managed affair set up by fixers who first ascertain “Has anyone here been raped.. and speaks English?”. Out of camera shot are the reporters from other networks waiting their interview turn. All very polite as the ‘victims’ give their polished recitation.
    I totally agree on citizen funded media – but first and foremost they must report the facts… without fear or favour. Do not savage the hand that feeds you.

  15. I loved the cartoon.
    As to being labeled ” morally bankrupt”, the fact that he chose the cliche to make his point means he is exploiting a stereotype, ie is trying to smear you, while using the bankers vocabulary. You cannot do worse than not bring able repay the debt – to the people who rent money.
    Before the financiers took over our civilisation, most people agreed that usury is a sin.
    The US empire exists by printing worthless dollars and threatening other nations with advanced nukes and economic and information warfare, to make them use USD and not yuan, for example.
    It is illegal for a citizen to run his/her own pyramid scheme, because citizens have to support the government’s pyramid schemes.

  16. It’s the joys of sophistry. First they tell you: “I understand you criticizing the US but then you could criticize other countries too.”

    Which countries? There are about two hundred in the world… And some don’t do pretty things at all like Saudi Arabia or Fill-the-blank!

    But those are not on their short list which contain names, as you say, of the countries the US wants to subdue.

    Then if you start criticizing those countries, they’ll tell you: “It would be more balanced if you criticized these countries more and the US less” until it would be actually perfectly fair if you didn’t criticize the US at all because they’re doing all they can to help: delivering weapons to Ukraine so they can continue the war to get their nazis killed, forbidding Syria access to their oil wells because oil stinks and stains your fingers, giving a hand to the Saudis to bomb Yemen because the people there often don’t have TV and therefore cruelly lack entertainment…

    Everything the US does is good and is aimed at making the world a better place, even bombing weddings and funerals and killing 90% innocent people in drone strikes. These folks immediately stop suffering from toothaches, rheumatisms and worries about paying their bills.

    Another darling of sophistry is “getting better”. When they don’t find anything to defend someone, they go: “It’s getting better”. MBS had Khashoggi quartered and likely burnt or dissolved in acid like Lumumba? He’s getting better. He’s only chopping heads and bombing Yemen these days.

    The US did all it could to derail the possibility of a fair trial for Assange? It’s getting better. They leave him alone in Belmarsh now, even allowed him to get married and went as far as making it as awkward as possible so he wouldn’t be disoriented.

    The other side though, is an absolute disgrace. China locked down its people which unleashed this “atrocity” on the rest of the world!

    Err… Wouldn’t it be by any chance the lousy computer-modelling of the Gates-funded Imperial College that did that?

    Isn’t it possible that this happened because it would give Pharma some oxygen to wait for the vaccines to be ready while preventing the use of early treatment (Ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, zinc, vitamin D, monoclonal antibodies…) that would have prohibited the Authorization for Emergency Use of the experimental vaccines?

    Those cheap early treatments, successful for years for pulmonary diseases in several countries, weren’t good enough for the West but then Pharma produced expensive remdesivir that wasn’t tested properly and killed people through kidney failure but that was OK. And now we’ve got “emergency use” $530 a head Paxlovid that’s basically worth tits on a moose but it’s on the house as well, like the vaccines, remdesivir, the weapons to Ukraine: all taxpayer money.

    Even Rishi Sunak, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, now says that empowering SAGE’s scientists [whose relationship to the grant system we don’t know] to decide lockdowns was a mistake:

    China eh?

    Gotta laugh :o)

  17. Give ’em hell Caitlin !!! 🙂

  18. Caity, when yo say, “The US empire is indisputably the most murderous and destructive power structure on the world stage today ” you don’t go nearly far enough. With every behavior and calculated narrative, bred from propaganda considered, the U.S. government is the single most imperialistic nation in the history of humanity, making Hitler’s Germany and the Holy Roman Empire look like child’s play in comparison. Hitler was defeated, but there appears to be no end to U.S. deviousness, no matter it tries to cover up murder, by distracting our attention.
    And, though I am anti-war and anti- all killing, I wonder which is worse, when place on the scales, killing people while they can see who you, the enemy are, or doing the killing by proxy and/or by starvation that they cannot see coming until it is too late.

    1. Amen on this post…Right on the money

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  20. How the ancient world history rewritten by monasteries “moved” into the “new world”? Why it is so hard to leave behind established “universal truths”? Why the USSA does not retreat from lies and it insists in the perpetual establishment of the holy-sacred American destiny to rule the world?
    122 Truths are illusions
    123 which we have forgotten are illusions—they are metaphors that have become worn out and have
    124 been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal
    125 and no longer as coins.
    126 We still do not yet know where the drive for truth comes from. For so far we have heard only of the duty
    127 which society imposes in order to exist: to be truthful means to employ the usual metaphors. Thus, to
    128 express it morally, this is the duty to lie according to a fixed convention, to lie with the herd and in a
    129 manner binding upon everyone. Now man of course forgets that this is the way things stand for him.
    130 Thus he lies in the manner indicated, unconsciously and in accordance with habits which are centuries’
    131 old; and precisely by means of this unconsciousness and forgetfulness he arrives at his sense of truth.
    132 From the sense that one is obliged to designate one thing as “red,” another as “cold,” and a third as
    133 “mute,” there arises a moral impulse in regard to truth. The venerability, reliability, and utility of truth is
    134 something which a person demonstrates for himself from the contrast with the liar, whom no one trusts
    135 and everyone excludes. As a “rational” being, he now places his behavior under the control of abstrac-
    136 tions. He will no longer tolerate being carried away by sudden impressions, by intuitions. First he univer-
    137 salizes all these impressions into less colorful, cooler concepts, so that he can entrust the guidance of his
    138 life and conduct to them. Everything which distinguishes man from the animals depends upon this abili-
    139 ty to volatilize perceptual metaphors in a schema, and thus to dissolve an image into a concept. For
    140 something is possible in the realm of these schemata which could never be achieved with the vivid first
    141 impressions: the construction of a pyramidal order according to castes and degrees, the creation of a
    142 new world of laws, privileges, subordinations, and clearly marked boundaries—a new world, one which
    143 now confronts that other vivid world of first impressions as more solid, more universal, better known,
    144 and more human than the immediately perceived world, and thus as the regulative and imperative
    145 world. Whereas each perceptual metaphor is individual and without equals and is therefore able to
    146 elude all classification, the great edifice of concepts displays the rigid regularity of a Roman columba-
    147 rium and exhales in logic that strength and coolness which is characteristic of mathematics. Anyone who
    148 has felt this cool breath [of logic] will hardly believe that even the concept—which is as bony, fours-
    149 quare, and transposable as a die—is nevertheless merely the residue of a metaphor, and that the illu-
    150 sion which is involved in the artistic transference of a nerve stimulus into images is, if not the mother,
    151 then the grandmother of every single concept. But in this conceptual crap game “truth” means using
    152 every die in the designated manner, counting its spots accurately, fashioning the right categories, and
    153 never violating the order of caste and class rank. Just as the Romans and Etruscans cut up the heavens
    154 with rigid mathematical lines and confined a god within each of the spaces thereby delimited, as within
    155 a templum, so every people has a similarly mathematically divided conceptual heaven above themselves
    156 and henceforth thinks that truth demands that each conceptual god be sought only within his own
    157 sphere. Here one may certainly admire man as a mighty genius of construction, who succeeds in piling
    158 an infinitely complicated dome of concepts upon an unstable foundation, and, as it were, on running
    159 water. Of course, in order to be supported by such a foundation, his construction must be like one con-
    160 structed of spiders’ webs: delicate enough to be carried along by the waves, strong enough not to be
    161 blown apart by every wind. As a genius of construction man raises himself far above the bee in the fol-
    162 lowing way: whereas the bee builds with wax that he gathers from nature, man builds with the far more
    163 delicate conceptual material which he first has to manufacture from himself. In this he is greatly to be
    164 admired, but not on account of his drive for truth or for pure knowledge of things. When someone hides
    165 something behind a bush and looks for it again in the same place and finds it there as well, there is not
    166 much to praise in such seeking and finding. Yet this is how matters stand regarding seeking and finding
    167 “truth” within the realm of reason. If I make up the definition of a mammal, and then, after inspecting a
    168 camel, declare “look, a mammal’ I have indeed brought a truth to light in this way, but it is a truth of li-
    169 mited value. That is to say, it is a thoroughly anthropomorphic truth which contains not a single point
    170 which would be “true in itself” or really and universally valid apart from man. At bottom, what the inves-
    171 tigator of such truths is seeking is only the metamorphosis of the world into man. He strives to under-
    172 stand the world as something analogous to man, and at best he achieves by his struggles the feeling of
    173 assimilation. Similar to the way in which astrologers considered the stars to be in man ‘s service and
    174 connected with his happiness and sorrow, such an investigator considers the entire universe in connec-
    175 tion with man: the entire universe as the infinitely fractured echo of one original sound-man; the entire
    176 universe as the infinitely multiplied copy of one original picture-man. His method is to treat man as the
    177 measure of all things, but in doing so he again proceeds from the error of believing that he has these
    178 things [which he intends to measure] immediately before him as mere objects. He forgets that the origi-
    179 nal perceptual metaphors are metaphors and takes them to be the things themselves.
    180 Only by forgetting this primitive world of metaphor can one live with any repose, security, and consis-
    181 tency: only by means of the petrification and coagulation of a mass of images which originally streamed
    182 from the primal faculty of human imagination like a fiery liquid, only in the invincible faith that this sun,
    183 this window, this table is a truth in itself, in short, only by forgetting that he himself is an artistically
    184 creating subject, does man live with any repose, security, and consistency. If but for an instant he could
    185 escape from the prison walls of this faith, his “self consciousness” would be immediately destroyed. It is
    186 even a difficult thing for him to admit to himself that the insect or the bird perceives an entirely differ-
    187 ent world from the one that man does, and that the question of which of these perceptions of the world
    188 is the more correct one is quite meaningless, for this would have to have been decided previously in ac-
    189 cordance with the criterion of the correct perception, which means, in accordance with a criterion which
    190 is not available. But in any case it seems to me that “the correct perception”—which would mean “the
    191 adequate expression of an object in the subject”—is a contradictory impossibility. For between two ab-
    192 solutely different spheres, as between subject and object, there is no causality, no correctness, and no
    193 expression; there is, at most, an aesthetic relation: I mean, a suggestive transference, a stammering
    194 translation into a completely foreign tongue—for which there is required, in any case, a freely inventive
    195 intermediate sphere and mediating force. “Appearance” is a word that contains many temptations,
    196 which is why I avoid it as much as possible. For it is not true that the essence of things “appears” in the
    197 empirical world. A painter without hands who wished to express in song the picture before his mind
    198 would, by means of this substitution of spheres, still reveal more about the essence of things than does
    199 the empirical world. Even the relationship of a nerve stimulus to the generated image is not a necessary
    200 one. But when the same image has been generated millions of times and has been handed down for
    201 many generations and finally appears on the same occasion every time for all mankind, then it acquires
    202 at last the same meaning for men it would have if it were the sole necessary image and if the relation-
    203 ship of the original nerve stimulus to the generated image were a strictly causal one. In the same man-
    204 ner, an eternally repeated dream would certainly be felt and judged to be reality. But the hardening and
    205 congealing of a metaphor guarantees absolutely nothing concerning its necessity and exclusive justifica-
    206 tion.
    207 Every person who is familiar with such considerations has no doubt felt a deep mistrust of all idealism of
    208 this sort: just as often as he has quite early convinced himself of the eternal consistency, omnipresence,
    209 and fallibility of the laws of nature. He has concluded that so far as we can penetrate here—from the
    210 telescopic heights to the microscopic depths—everything is secure, complete, infinite, regular, and
    211 without any gaps. Science will be able to dig successfully in this shaft forever, and the things that are
    212 discovered will harmonize with and not contradict each other. How little does this resemble a product of
    213 the imagination, for if it were such, there should be some place where the illusion and reality can be di-
    214 vined. Against this, the following must be said: if each us had a different kind of sense perception—if we
    215 could only perceive things now as a bird, now as a worm, now as a plant, or if one of us saw a stimulus
    216 as red, another as blue, while a third even heard the same stimulus as a sound—then no one would
    217 speak of such a regularity of nature, rather, nature would be grasped only as a creation which is subjec-
    218 tive in the highest degree. After all, what is a law of nature as such for us? We are not acquainted with it
    219 in itself, but only with its effects, which means in its relation to other laws of nature—which, in turn, are
    220 known to us only as sums of relations. Therefore all these relations always refer again to others and are
    221 thoroughly incomprehensible to us in their essence. All that we actually know about these laws of na-
    222 ture is what we ourselves bring to them—time and space, and therefore relationships of succession and
    223 number. But everything marvelous about the laws of nature, everything that quite astonishes us therein
    224 and seems to demand explanation, everything that might lead us to distrust idealism: all this is com-
    225 pletely and solely contained within the mathematical strictness and inviolability of our representations
    226 of time and space. But we produce these representations in and from ourselves with the same necessity
    227 with which the spider spins. If we are forced to comprehend all things only under these forms, then it
    228 ceases to be amazing that in all things we actually comprehend nothing but these forms. For they must
    229 all bear within themselves the laws of number, and it is precisely number which is most astonishing in
    230 things. All that conformity to law, which impresses us so much in the movement of the stars and in
    231 chemical processes, coincides at bottom with those properties which we bring to things. Thus it is we
    232 who impress ourselves in this way. In conjunction with this, it of course follows that the artistic process
    233 of metaphor formation with which every sensation begins in us already presupposes these forms and
    234 thus occurs within them. The only way in which the possibility of subsequently constructing a new con-
    235 ceptual edifice from metaphors themselves can be explained is by the firm persistence of these original
    236 forms. That is to say, this conceptual edifice is an imitation of temporal, spatial, and numerical relation-
    237 ships in the domain of metaphor.
    238 We have seen how it is originally language which works on the construction of concepts, a labor taken
    239 over in later ages by science. Just as the bee simultaneously constructs cells and fills them with honey,
    240 so science works unceasingly on this great columbarium of concepts, the graveyard of perceptions. It is
    241 always building new, higher stories and shoring up, cleaning, and renovating the old cells; above all, it
    242 takes pains to fill up this monstrously towering framework and to arrange therein the entire empirical
    243 world, which is to say, the anthropomorphic world. Whereas the man of action binds his life to reason
    244 and its concepts so that he will not be swept away and lost, the scientific investigator builds his hut right
    245 next to the tower of science so that he will be able to work on it and to find shelter for himself beneath
    246 those bulwarks which presently exist. And he requires shelter, for there are frightful powers which con-
    247 tinuously break in upon him, powers which oppose scientific “truth” with completely different kinds of
    248 “truths” which bear on their shields the most varied sorts of emblems.
    249 The drive toward the formation of metaphors is the fundamental human drive, which one cannot for a
    250 single instant dispense with in thought, for one would thereby dispense with man himself. This drive is
    251 not truly vanquished and scarcely subdued by the fact that a regular and rigid new world is constructed
    252 as its prison from its own ephemeral products, the concepts. It seeks a new realm and another channel
    253 for its activity, and it finds this in myth and in art generally. This drive continually confuses the concep-
    254 tual categories and cells by bringing forward new transferences, metaphors, and metonymies. It conti-
    255 nually manifests an ardent desire to refashion the world which presents itself to waking man, so that it
    256 will be as colorful, irregular, lacking in results and coherence, charming, and eternally new as the world
    257 of dreams. Indeed, it is only by means of the rigid and regular web of concepts that the waking man
    258 clearly sees that he is awake; and it is precisely because of this that he sometimes thinks that he must be
    259 dreaming when this web of concepts is torn by art. Pascal is right in maintaining that if the same dream
    260 came to us every night we would be just as occupied with it as we are with the things that we see every
    261 day. “If a workman were sure to dream for twelve straight hours every night that he was king,” said Pas-
    262 cal, “I believe that he would be just as happy as a king who dreamt for twelve hours every night that he
    263 was a workman. In fact, because of the way that myth takes it for granted that miracles are always hap-
    264 pening, the waking life of a mythically inspired people—the ancient Greeks, for instance—more closely
    265 resembles a dream than it does the waking world of a scientifically disenchanted thinker. When every
    266 tree can suddenly speak as a nymph, when a god in the shape of a bull can drag away maidens, when
    267 even the goddess Athena herself is suddenly seen in the company of Peisastratus driving through the
    268 market place of Athens with a beautiful team of horses—and this is what the honest Athenian be-
    269 lieved— then, as in a dream, anything is possible at each moment, and all of nature swarms around man
    270 as if it were nothing but a masquerade of the gods, who were merely amusing themselves by deceiving
    271 men in all these shapes.
    272 But man has an invincible inclination to allow himself to be deceived and is, as it were, enchanted with
    273 happiness when the rhapsodist tells him epic fables as if they were true, or when the actor in the thea-
    274 ter acts more royally than any real king. So long as it is able to deceive without injuring, that master of
    275 deception, the intellect, is free; it is released from its former slavery and celebrates its Saturnalia. It is
    276 never more luxuriant, richer, prouder, more clever and more daring. With creative pleasure it throws
    277 metaphors into confusion and displaces the boundary stones of abstractions, so that, for example, it
    278 designates the stream as “the moving path which carries man where he would otherwise walk.” The in-
    279 tellect has now thrown the token of bondage from itself. At other times it endeavors, with gloomy offi-
    280 ciousness, to show the way and to demonstrate the tools to a poor individual who covets existence; it is
    281 like a servant who goes in search of booty and prey for his master. But now it has become the master
    282 and it dares to wipe from its face the expression of indigence. In comparison with its previous conduct,
    283 everything that it now does bears the mark of dissimulation, just as that previous conduct did of distor-
    284 tion. The free intellect copies human life, but it considers this life to be something good and seems to be
    285 quite satisfied with it. That immense framework and planking of concepts to which the needy man clings
    286 his whole life long in order to preserve himself is nothing but a scaffolding and toy for the most auda-
    287 cious feats of the liberated intellect. And when it smashes this framework to pieces, throws it into con-
    288 fusion, and puts it back together in an ironic fashion, pairing the most alien things and separating the
    289 closest, it is demonstrating that it has no need of these makeshifts of indigence and that it will now be
    290 guided by intuitions rather than by concepts. There is no regular path which leads from these intuitions
    291 into the land of ghostly schemata, the land of abstractions. There exists no word for these intuitions;
    292 when man sees them he grows dumb, or else he speaks only in forbidden metaphors and in unheard—
    293 of combinations of concepts. He does this so that by shattering and mocking the old conceptual barriers
    294 he may at least correspond creatively to the impression of the powerful present intuition.
    295 There are ages in which the rational man and the intuitive man stand side by side, the one in fear of in-
    296 tuition, the other with scorn for abstraction. The latter is just as irrational as the former is inartistic. They
    297 both desire to rule over life: the former, by knowing how to meet his principle needs by means of fore-
    298 sight, prudence, and regularity; the latter, by disregarding these needs and, as an “overjoyed hero,”
    299 counting as real only that life which has been disguised as illusion and beauty. Whenever, as was per-
    300 haps the case in ancient Greece, the intuitive man handles his weapons more authoritatively and victo-
    301 riously than his opponent, then, under favorable circumstances, a culture can take shape and art’s mas-
    302 tery over life can be established. All the manifestations of such a life will be accompanied by this dissi-
    303 mulation, this disavowal of indigence, this glitter of metaphorical intuitions, and, in general, this imme-
    304 diacy of deception: neither the house, nor the gait, nor the clothes, nor the clay jugs give evidence of
    305 having been invented because of a pressing need. It seems as if they were all intended to express an
    306 exalted happiness, an OIympian cloudlessness, and, as it were, a playing with seriousness. The man who
    307 is guided by concepts and abstractions only succeeds by such means in warding off misfortune, without
    308 ever gaining any happiness for himself from these abstractions. And while he aims for the greatest poss-
    309 ible freedom from pain, the intuitive man, standing in the midst of a culture, already reaps from his in-
    310 tuition a harvest of continually inflowing illumination, cheer, and redemption—in addition to obtaining a
    311 defense against misfortune. To be sure, he suffers more intensely, when he suffers; he even suffers
    312 more frequently, since he does not understand how to learn from experience and keeps falling over and
    313 over again into the same ditch. He is then just as irrational in sorrow as he is in happiness: he cries aloud
    314 and will not be consoled. How differently the stoical man who learns from experience and governs him-
    315 self by concepts is affected by the same misfortunes! This man, who at other times seeks nothing but
    316 sincerity, truth, freedom from deception, and protection against ensnaring surprise attacks, now ex-
    317 ecutes a masterpiece of deception: he executes his masterpiece of deception in misfortune, as the other
    318 type of man executes his in times of happiness. He wears no quivering and changeable human face, but,
    319 as it were, a mask with dignified, symmetrical features. He does not cry; he does not even alter his voice.
    320 When a real storm cloud thunders above him, he wraps himself in his cloak, and with slow steps he walks 321 from beneath it.

    1. It’s amazing what copy-pasting will do for you! Why not a whole book next time?

      1. Good comment about that copy & paste public vowel movement.

  21. Damn straight and correct!

  22. In Portugal, they call their murderous era of colonialism ‘the great expansion’. A lot of English look back fondly on the British empire bringing civilization to the darkies. Spain was a world empire at one time. Germany, you could toss a stone back through time and hit the Nazis and their fellow fascist travelers keep popping up in Bolivia, Croatia, Ukraine, Poland and of course in the US. America has what those previous powers didn’t, land, farmland, water, resources, wood, oil, cheap labor, a restless, frontier population. Now, we’re the death star, the storm troopers, the police state. Like all empires, the US will decline. Will lessons be learned or will that fascist impulse continue to plague our world?

  23. Never mind criticizing the U.S. empire; it would be an improvement for many Australians to lift a pinky finger to help fellow citizen Julian Assange.

  24. When has the U$A never been at war?

    Why are you using ‘Captcha’?

    Captcha is part of the PROBLEM!

  25. When has the U$A never been at war?

  26. “Frigging weather! It’s been raining here all day!”

    “Whaaaaaaaaaaat?! Why are you only complaining about the weather where you’re at? What about the weather on the other side of the world? DIdn’t you know it’s raining there too at the moment? OBVIOUSLY you LOVE it when those poor people there are suffering from bad weather!!!
    And why don’t you complain about starving children in Africa or Hitler or the extinction of the Dodo? OBVIOUSLY this means that you are a Dodo- and child-hating racist Nazi!!! YOU MONSTER!!!!!!1!11!!!1!!
    This is absolutely logical and no cheap trick to silence an opinion I don’t like, nonono!”

  27. Thanks for your courage Caitlin!

    The UK (U$A)Inc. is a despicable fellow-traveller and lost beyond redemption.

    The U$A Imperium is the most evil empire to arise and makes the Cloaca Maxima of Rome seem small beer.

    Evil contaminates to an indescribable extent…

    All most of us can do is to say “NO!” and like Dane Wigginton prepare to go down fighting for the Truth.

    Evil contaminates to an indescribable extent

  28. USA is in decline fast
    She is a bully and a hypocritical nation.

  29. Hehe I like the rage. Same here – people won’t say peep to their overlords but have no problem going after you with insults and antagonism. Cowardice posing as Bravery. The most dangerous people are the weakest.

  30. If I had a time machine to go back to Americas before Christopher Columbus I would teach all of them how to work with iron and steel, how to defend the land before all Europeans starting settling there. I believe we missed the company of great people who never get a chance to live after meeting “civilization”. The same thought goes for all countries described for people like Ben Wallace the UK defense minister towards Russians and Chinese people – barbarians, animals. Israel calls Palestinians animals. We know who the real monsters are.

  31. The US has been at it almost since it’s inception as a nation. Don’t forget…god told them so. This country can’t even look after it’s own citizens yet continually preaches to the rest of us.

    1. And of course they are completely ignoring the fact that any God commanding such wound be completely indistinguishable from a Devil.

      The joys of a divine command theory of ethics, I suppose.

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        1. If you were earning 29 g a month you wouldn’t be bragging about it for free herein.

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