CAITLIN JOHNSTONE: “The Great Unpatterning Continues — Make Sure You Take Advantage Of It”

“I often hear people in my line of work saying ‘Man, we’re going to look back on all this crazy sh*t and think about how absolutely weird it was!’ No we won’t. Because it’s only going to get weirder. It’s only going to get weirder, because that’s what it looks like when old patterns start to fall away. The human mind is conditioned to look for patterns in order to establish a baseline of normal expectations upon which to plan out future actions. This perceptual framework exists to give us safety and security, so disruptions in the patterns upon which it is based often feel weird, threatening, and scary. They make us feel insecure, because our cognitive tool for staying in control of our wellbeing has a glitch in it. This great unpatterning is going to continue, in many wild and unexpected ways. And things are going to keep getting stranger. Watch for gaps in the armor of the establishment oppression machine. Watch for gaps in the deluded nature of our society. Watch for gaps in the patterns, and use your wisdom and creativity to assist them in unpatterning as the opportunity presents itself.”

~Caitlin Johnstone

 

In an attempt to contain the COVID-19 pandemic the president of the United States has just announced a 30-day travel ban between the US and Europe, the super-rich are flying off to disaster bunkers, and the NBA has just suspended its season.

If this is the first you’re hearing of this, go ahead and read it again if you need to.

This is all news that came out minutes prior to this writing. There may have been many other immense news stories by the time you read it.

This is a level of disruption that the world hasn’t seen in generations. Normal things that had been a routine part of people’s entire lives are just not there for them now, whether it’s normal socializing, watching the basketball game, or buying toilet paper at the store.

I said the following last month in an article titled 2020 Is Going To Get Much Crazier. Prioritize Your Mental Health.“:

“As I said back in November, things are going to get weirder and weirder throughout the foreseeable future. We’re coming to a point in history where the only reliable pattern is the disintegration of patterns, and 2020 has come storming out of its corner swinging for the fences working to establish this pattern with extreme aggression. We’re not going to hit a point of stability or normality this year, we’re going to see things get crazier and crazier and crazier. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know it’s going to be nuts.”

 

And by Jove if that isn’t proving true in some bizarre and unexpected ways. I certainly wasn’t expecting the coronavirus to play a role in that unpatterning at the time — in fact I was dismissive of it when it first emerged — but we’re seeing a disruption in collective patterns and routines like nothing most of us can even recall.

Here’s what I said back in November:

I often hear people in my line of work saying “Man, we’re going to look back on all this crazy sh*t and think about how absolutely weird it was!”

No we won’t. Because it’s only going to get weirder.

It’s only going to get weirder, because that’s what it looks like when old patterns start to fall away.

The human mind is conditioned to look for patterns in order to establish a baseline of normal expectations upon which to plan out future actions. This perceptual framework exists to give us safety and security, so disruptions in the patterns upon which it is based often feel weird, threatening, and scary. They make us feel insecure, because our cognitive tool for staying in control of our wellbeing has a glitch in it.

When you’re talking about a species that has been consistently patterned towards its own destruction, though, a disruption of patterns is a good thing. Our ecocidal, warmongering tendencies have brought us to a point that now has us staring down the barrel of our own extinction, and that is where we are surely headed if we continue patterning along the behavioral trajectory that we have been on. Only a drastic change of patterns can change that trajectory. And we are seeing a change of patterns.

This great unpatterning is going to continue, in many wild and unexpected ways. And things are going to keep getting stranger.

All of humanity’s problems are the result of our collective conditioning patterns throughout history. Where there is pattern disruption, there is the opportunity for pattern divergence. Where there is movement, there are gaps. Where there are gaps, there is an opportunity for light to get through.

The clear-eyed rebel’s job, therefore, is to watch for opportunities to help lead us as a collective along a brand new, healthy trajectory. There’s no way to know in advance what those opportunities will look like, because predictability is premised on pattern consistency. But they will appear, from unpredictable and unanticipated new directions. Wherever you see a gap, your job is to pour as much truth and wisdom and health into it as you can possibly muster.

Watch for gaps in the armor of the establishment oppression machine. Watch for gaps in the deluded nature of our society. Watch for gaps in the patterns, and use your wisdom and creativity to assist them in unpatterning as the opportunity presents itself.

2020 is still just getting warmed up.

Eyes wide, beautiful people.

 

~via Caitlin Johnstone

‘NAVIGATING TUMULTUOUS WATERS’ ~ Caitlin Johnstone: “2020 Is Going To Get Much Crazier — Prioritize Your Mental Health”

As I said back in November, things are going to get weirder and weirder throughout the foreseeable future. We’re coming to a point in history where the only reliable pattern is the disintegration of patterns, and 2020 has come storming out of its corner swinging for the fences working to establish this pattern with extreme aggression. We’re not going to hit a point of stability or normality this year, we’re going to see things get crazier and crazier and crazier. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know it’s going to be nuts.

In such an environment, it’s going to be absolutely essential to take exceptional care of your psychological health if you want to remain engaged with what’s going on in the world in a positive way.

And I do mean exceptional. Whatever you’re doing now, do more. Start cultivating new habits to keep yourself lucid and serene, and start now before things get super crazy. Work out your issues with your family and with yourself. Remember to move your body in ways that feel good to you. Carve out some time out each day for just being quiet with yourself. Notice the beauty around you. Give cuddles, get cuddles. Take a shower and sing your heart out. Feel your feet on the floor, nestle your bum into your chair and listen to yourself breath like it’s a song on the radio. Yawn. Belch. Stretch. Roar. Put on some loud music and rock out. Whatever you know works for you to get you out of your head and back in to your body, remember to do it, and remember to do it regularly. Make it habitual.

Be proactive with this rather than reactive; if you wait until you have to react to things going ass-side up later on it’s going to feel like you’re fighting to get your head above water. If you do it now you’ll have the mental space needed to navigate tumultuous waters.

This is what will be necessary if you want to engage with the increasingly frenetic narrative matrix in the future. The only alternative will be to disengage completely and throw your attention into escapism, or at least away from politics and news. And if you don’t make the cultivation of mental well-being your first and foremost priority you will be forced, in a very unpleasant way, to disengage anyhow.

And honestly this is something all activist types should be doing anyway. Believing you can help the world without doing serious inner work is like believing you can clean the house while covered in raw sewage. You can always spot the political activists who engage without doing any inner work by the chaotic, unskillful and frequently counterproductive form their actions take. They can’t see clearly enough to operate efficaciously, because their vision is clouded with unresolved suffering and conflict. Get in the shower and wash the yuck off yourself before trying to clean the house.

Above all, be gentle with yourself. We got a ways ahead of us, and we need you fresh and feeling good. You won’t be able to help wake the world up if you let the chaos and confusion drag you down. Know when to take a break from the information stream and all the babbling narratives trying to twist your perception of it. Use your tools to distance yourself from the narratives so that you can perceive them objectively. Ground yourself, find your center, then, when you’re ready, wade back in.

No matter how chaotic things get, your ability to navigate that chaos skillfully needs to be your first and foremost priority. Put your mental well-being first, and everything else will fall into place.

Be the peace and harmony you want to see in the world.

 

~via Caitlin Johnstone

CAITLIN JOHNSTONE: “Why Everything Is F*cked”

“This is ultimately the answer to every question about why things are f*cked right now. Why does it seem like nothing changes no matter who wins the election? Why do the wars keep expanding instead of ending? Why are those nuclear superpowers hurtling closer toward direct confrontation? Why are the mass shootings increasing? Why is everyone so miserable? Because every adult on this planet started off tiny, helpless, impressionable, and surrounded by gargantuan madmen, and it made it almost impossible to be sane. That’s why. We all slid out of the womb an itty bitty helpless information sponge into a world full of mentally ill giants who couldn’t wait to fill our tiny skulls with all of their inner demons. And now everything, understandably, is f*cked.”

~Caitlin Johnstone

 

We all slid out of the womb an itty bitty helpless information sponge into a world full of mentally ill giants who couldn’t wait to fill our tiny skulls with all of their inner demons. And now everything, understandably, is f*cked.

That’s basically our whole entire situation in a nutshell. You can add on as many extra details as you like — plutocracy, corruption, mass media propaganda, billionaire wine cave fundraisers, whatever — but ultimately our plight is due to the fact that every single human showed up on this planet completely helpless and knowing nothing, forced to trust crazy giants to give them the grand introductory tour.

Why were those giants crazy? Well you see, they got here the same way you did: small, slippery and completely clueless, surrounded by enormous gibbering lunatics who were all in a mad rush to teach them how to be insane.

And those giants came into the world under the exact same circumstances, as did the giants who came before them, and the giants who came before them, and so on.

It’s a grand old tradition of ours, ultimately stretching all the way back to our own evolutionary birth in this world and the emergence of a massive cerebral cortex in a mammal who up until that point had been primarily concerned with sneaking in a snack and a quick shag in between mad sprints away from sharp-fanged predators. This newfound capacity for complex abstract thought burst onto this frantic, confusing scene and was quickly seized and manipulated by the cleverer primates.

And thus human madness was born.

The most powerful early humans were the cleverest humans, the ones who understood how to use this new capacity for language and abstract thought to their own advantage. They realized that by simply saying something is true in a sufficiently confident way, they could persuade the less clever humans to treat it as true.

Those clever humans used this newfound ability to place themselves in charge, and to make a bunch of rules to be passed down from generation to generation proclaiming that the less powerful humans must submit to the more powerful humans. Over the generations these rules became more and more numerous and complex, weaving in moralism, codes of filial piety, and insane power-serving religions glorifying meekness, obedience and poverty.

These power-serving rule sets were picked up and used to justify highly traumatizing behavior in the service of the powerful, from wars to genocides to institutionalized torture and brutal executions of the disobedient, and just within domestic power structures the institutionalized normalization of spousal rape and physical abuse in households all around the world.

This eons-long tidal wave of deep trauma and power-serving rules structures passed from generation to generation to generation picking up more and more demented flotsam and jetsam as it went along, to ultimately come crashing down upon your crowning head as you emerged from your mother’s body.

That is your legacy. That is everyone’s legacy. Countless generations of cumulative madness, washed into the present moment on a current of eons of exploitation and senseless cruelty stretching all the way back to the dawn of our species on this planet.

This heritage of madness is funneled straight into our sponge-like brains from the moment we emerge from the womb and all the way through an extremely traumatic and confusing ordeal known as childhood, after which we are handed the keys to the world and told “You’re an adult now. You’re in charge. See if you can figure out how to run this place better than we did.”

We never stood a goddamn chance. None of us did. The deck was stacked against us long before we got here.

And now you get political commentators constantly railing on about “Gosh, if only we could get people to stop listening to their televisions and vote third party and read World Socialist Website and turn up to demonstrations and take back the power of the people from our oppressors, we could turn this thing around!” Not realizing that everyone else in their country went through the same traumatic, confusing ordeal that they went through at the beginning of their lives, the only difference being that most of them got a lot less lucky in sorting out reality from madness. And not realizing that they themselves are still quite mad.

This is ultimately the answer to every question about why things are f*cked right now. Why does it seem like nothing changes no matter who wins the election? Why do the wars keep expanding instead of ending? Why is the news man always lying? Why are they locking up that white-haired fellow for publishing facts? Why are those nuclear superpowers hurtling closer toward direct confrontation? Why are the rainforests vanishing? Why are the whales dying? Why are the mass shootings increasing? Why is everyone so miserable?

Because every adult on this planet started off tiny, helpless, impressionable, and surrounded by gargantuan madmen, and it made it almost impossible to be sane. That’s why.

Notice I said “almost”. It is still possible to find one’s way into a relationship with reality that is guided by truth and untainted by madness, but you’ve got to start way, way, way back at the beginning and deeply re-examine even your most fundamental assumptions about what’s true and real. Because it turns out that while the mad giants gave us information that was very useful for interacting with other mad giants, it was almost entirely useless for learning how to navigate through life in a wise and truthful way.

And that’s what I’m pointing to here: it’s important to get clear on just how far back the crazy goes and how fundamentally interwoven it is with the situation in which we now find ourselves. If you begin with the assumption that our problem is simply due to humans not voting and mobilizing correctly in alignment with the correct ideology, you’ll miss the real obstacle entirely. You’ve got to zoom the camera out much, much further to see the full picture.

Can you become a deeply sane individual, untainted by your ancient heritage of madness? With a lot of work and uncompromising self-honesty you can.

Can all humans become deeply sane and untainted by their ancient heritage of madness? It would take a miracle. A whole lot of miracles. Billions, to be precise.

But then, I believe in miracles.

 

~via David Icke

CAITLIN JOHNSTONE: “The U.S. Government Is Like A Bad Dad”

“And the mother, well like most mothers she’s in charge of managing the stories the family tells about what’s going on. Whenever a neighbor turns up wounded or dead, she’s responsible for telling the children that it was the neighbor’s fault, and their father was only protecting them.”

~Caitlin Johnstone

 

There’s a house on the block where a large family lives, and it gets pretty abusive in there. The kids hardly ever get to see a doctor and there’s never enough money for them to afford decent clothes or go on holiday, and a disproportionately large number of them get locked in their rooms as punishment for silly, arbitrary offenses which could have been prevented with a little more care and attention. They don’t get out much and they have to spend their free time listening to scripture readings about how exceptional their family is.

Looking at these disheveled, mistreated children, one can’t help wondering what’s going on with their parents. Why aren’t they providing for their kids? Why isn’t money going toward giving their children quality healthcare and education and making sure they have everything they need? Are they poor? Is there some sort of substance abuse problem?

Actually, if you look at their house you can very quickly see where the problem lies. A huge, opaque fence with barbed wire surrounds the yard, and there are many expensive security cameras scanning the scene, facing both outward and inward. All the doors and windows are barred shut and rigged with fancy alarm systems, and there’s a giant stockpile of firearms in the master bedroom.

Every spare moment of his free time, the man of the house is either coming home with an expensive new piece of home security equipment or adjusting and tinkering with the ones he already has. He can’t be bothered with his needy children, who he angrily shoves away whenever they dare approach him asking for things.

“No time for that!” he yells while piling new redundant security systems on top of old redundant security systems. “I’ve got to protect the family from all potential intruders!”

When he’s not doing that, he’s prowling around the block bullying his neighbors. He forces them to join the neighborhood watch, which he controls with an iron fist and runs around the clock. He insists that they submit to his leadership and relate to their neighborhood with the same aggressive hyper-vigilance that he has, and if any of them refuse to bow to his demands, he sets to work on grinding them into compliance.

He sabotages their investments and works to get them fired from their jobs so they won’t have any money. He circulates pernicious rumors about them to undermine the possibility of anyone coming to their aid. He patrols the neighborhood with a large loaded pistol in each hand, and if anyone so much as looks at him funny he runs up to them and points both barrels in their face until they lay down on the ground with their hands behind their head and apologize. With particularly noncompliant neighbors he’ll burst into their house late at night and beat them within an inch of their lives until they agree to his demands, then get all his other neighbors to testify in court that he did it in self defense. Sometimes he’ll even stage events to make it look like a neighbor attacked him, then he’ll go to their house and murder them in cold blood.

He is feared by the entire neighborhood, by his allies and enemies alike. The neighbors who support him only do so because he’s got such tight control over the neighborhood, and they know that their lives will be made easy if they work with him and painful if they work against him. So they do what they need to do to avoid being targeted while secretly wishing that he has a heart attack in his sleep.

“It’s either us or them,” the father often tells his family. “I need to keep everyone around us in line, because there’s no telling who might come after us. We’ve earned a special place in this neighborhood, so it’s our job to lead it.”

Once in a great while, if someone’s feeling particularly brave, they might point out that the father is constantly doing the things he’s afraid of his neighbors doing to him.

“It’s different when I do it!” he always barks in response while adding their name to his personal blacklist. “Our family is exceptional, so we’re the exception to the rules.”

And the mother, well like most mothers she’s in charge of managing the stories the family tells about what’s going on. Whenever a neighbor turns up wounded or dead, she’s responsible for telling the children that it was the neighbor’s fault, and their father was only protecting them.

“Your father loves you,” she coos to them at bedtime. “You should be grateful to him for protecting your life and liberty. It’s good that he’s so strong, because if our family wasn’t in charge it would be the Changs around the corner or the Smirnovs down the road. We should always support everything he does and never question him, and never, ever wish for things to be different. This is the only way that things can ever be. Anyone who tells you otherwise is crazy and evil.”

But the children are growing older, and some of the bigger kids are beginning to open their eyes to what’s going on. They’re beginning to realize that their father is an abusive tyrant and their mother has been lying to them their whole lives. The younger kids are still indoctrinated and put their fingers in their ears when the big kids try to tell them different, but even they are beginning to have their doubts.

And the parents can smell it in the air. They know they’re beginning to lose control over the stories their children tell themselves about what’s going on in their neighborhood, and they know it will be a problem if they don’t nip that in the bud fast. The mother suddenly becomes far more forceful with her storytelling, saying that the Smirnovs are plotting a home invasion any minute now so the family must unite against them. The father begins making stricter and stricter rules about how the children are permitted to speak to one another, locking them in their rooms if they disobey or separating them from the others so they can’t speak their mind.

It remains to be seen if the father will succeed in shoring up control of his family or not, but things have definitely changed, and the whole neighborhood is watching.

 

~via CaitlinJohnstone.com

CAITLIN JOHNSTONE: “Fight The Establishment’s Narratives — By Getting Clear On Your Own”

“Scientific research has found that astronauts suffer problems with coordination, perception and cognition when they are unable to determine ‘which way is up’ in space. There is no ‘up’ or ‘down’ when you’re outside the gravitational pull that our bodies are adapted to, so its absence sends our whole system out of whack. Navigating a society that is made of mental narrative is very much the same; if you don’t know which way’s up, you’ll get lost and confused.”

~Caitlin Johnstone

 

Anti-establishment movements are a mess. Whether they’re left-wing or right-wing, whether they’re statist or anarchist, whether they’re organized or decentralized, whether they place emphasis on official or unofficial narratives, any circle of people who are interested in opposing the status quo on a deep, meaningful level almost invariably find themselves significantly bogged down by confusion, paranoia, infighting, and misdirected use of energy.

Every day, for example, I get people in my inbox and social media notifications telling me I shouldn’t quote or share anything from this or that lefty journalist or anti-establishment figure because they’ve said something “problematic” at some point or have some kind of association with some aspect of the establishment. Rather than simply using narrative-disrupting tools wherever they come from to fight the establishment narrative control machine, I’m encouraged to isolate myself to the extremely narrow spectrum of voices which agree with my exact worldview perfectly. This kind of paranoid, self-cannibalizing mentality is rife throughout most anti-establishment circles.

This happens for a number of reasons, including the fact that the ruling power establishment will infiltrate dissident movements that it perceives as a threat with the intent of sowing confusion and division. But the underlying reason anti-establishment circles so often find themselves getting crushed by their own weight is ultimately because life itself is confusing and difficult to understand.

Hardly anyone holds a lucid and steady awareness of just how much of society is comprised of mental narrative. Most people live their lives under the unquestioned assumption that when they are moving around in the world, speaking, acting, forming opinions, having ideas etc, they are interacting with something that resembles objective reality. The truth of the matter is that most of the things which draw people’s attention in their day-to-day experience, whether it’s names, titles, news stories, political parties, economics, history, philosophy, religion or what have you, consist entirely of mental noises firing off inside human skulls.

You might think it’s a big jump to go from chatting about the sociopolitical dynamics within dissident movements to making vaguely Buddhist-sounding observations about human thought, but it’s really not. The reason our species is in a mess right now, and thus the reason movements exist which seek to change the status quo, is because so much of life is dictated entirely by made-up mental narratives which can be easily controlled by the powerful, and hardly anyone fully grasps this. If they did, the revolution against the establishment would very smoothly and quickly succeed.

Scientific research has found that astronauts suffer problems with coordination, perception and cognition when they are unable to determine which way is up in space. There is no “up” or “down” when you’re outside the gravitational pull that our bodies are adapted to, so its absence sends our whole system out of whack. Navigating a society that is made of mental narrative is very much the same; if you don’t know which way’s up, you’ll get lost and confused. Before you can see the narrative matrix clearly, you might be aware that some narratives serve power and swat at them while you’re spinning through space, but you won’t have any solid ground on which to orient yourself for the purpose of forming a clear path forward toward a healthy and harmonious world.

Your first and foremost task as a revolutionary, therefore, is to find solid ground on which to plant your feet while operating within a swirling sea of narratives and counter-narratives. Without this you’ll find yourself expending energy on ineffectual agendas, chasing shadows, attacking friends and advancing the interests of the enemy as you stumble around trying to fight a threat you can’t even see clearly. You’ve got to figure out for yourself which way’s up.

The only way to do this is to turn inward and sort out your own mental narratives in your own experience. This takes a lot of dedicated work, because there are many layers of tightly believed narratives which dictate one’s perception of the world that most people aren’t even aware of.

As soon as we’re born we are given a name which has nothing to do with the nature of the slimy, screaming naked creature which came roaring thunderously alive out of the womb. We spend our childhood being told who we are in various ways by our family, then we go to school to get taught how to think like everyone else and get labeled good/smart or bad/stupid for the rest of our lives based on how well we dance that dance. Along the ride we pick up coping mechanisms to deal with the stress of this whole unnatural ordeal, many of which become extremely counterproductive unconscious habits in later years. We pick up likes and dislikes, interests and aversions, life philosophies, religious beliefs, societal beliefs, political beliefs, all of which come together to form our worldview.

Because the foundations of our entire worldview are formed in early childhood long before we’re mature enough to decide for ourselves what a useful foundation might look like, we wind up interfacing with life through this muddled, inefficient network of mostly unconscious mental and perceptual habits which don’t serve us very well. It is with this warped, endarkened tool that we interact with the vast sea of official and unofficial narratives we are presented with in our attempts to decipher what’s wrong with the world and how to fix it.

The path, then, is to unwind this whole confused, unconscious muddle of mental and perceptual habits until we get to the untarnished blank canvass of that powerful screaming baby who first met this wild world, and inhabit it consciously. That right there is our solid ground.

Who are you? Underneath the mental narratives about who you are? Underneath all the stories, labels and beliefs? Underneath the field of consciousness full of thoughts, sensory impressions and feelings? This is the most important inquiry that anyone can possibly engage in, and it is worthy of the entirety of your focus until it’s resolved.

All of these swirling, babbling thought stories have dictated our lives for as long as we can remember, but rarely does anyone sit down and start sorting out where they come from and if they’re useful. We lug around ancient mental narratives about life, about how we should be, about how other people should be, about the best ways to find happiness, about the best ways to avoid unhappiness, and we rarely consider the possibility that we can interact with life unencumbered by that heavy load.

If you want to find solid ground beneath your feet so that you can push effectively for a healthy world, you’ve got to question every assumption you’ve ever made about yourself and the nature of the world, even your very most fundamental assumptions, because it’s all narrative. As you turn your attention toward your essential nature and away from your churning, babbling mental habits, interest and attention will move away from mental narratives and toward the solid ground upon which they appear. The mind will relax and mental narrative will take on its proper role as a tool that can be used when it’s useful and set down when it isn’t, rather than the dominating feature of every minute of waking existence. Unhelpful mental habits can be discarded, and all attempts at narrative manipulation will stand out like a black fly on a white sheet of paper.

I can’t tell you how to do this. Everyone’s path to the heart of the fundamental matter is unique, and you can only travel it on your own. I can tell you that the answer does not exist in the realm of thought, and that it is closer to you than your own breath. Sincere, dedicated inquiry into your own true nature, on your own and in your own way, will lead you to the ground on which you must take your stand in order to fight the establishment narrative machine effectively.

 

~via CaitlinJohnstone.com