Important & Interesting Perspective from Caitlin

I just listened to an e-mail from Caitlin Johnstone that contained some insights which, upon reflection and consideration, most of the populace seems to either have lost track or or to have been unaware of. It's allegedly about "now" or "today", but really applies to most of the recent past and probably all of the future. As a result, given that her work is public domain, I decided to post the whole thing here.

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It’s Okay To Be Uncertain What’s Happening And Where This Is All Going
by Caitlin Johnstone
There was a kids' game show on Nickelodeon in the early nineties called Get the Picture where contestants would be shown an image that is obscured in some way and slowly made more clear. First one to guess the image correctly got the points.

That's kind of how our whole situation feels right now. No one really knows exactly what's going on just yet, and those of us who are interested in figuring it out are intensely peering at the screen trying to make out what we're looking at. We're all shouting out guesses, but that's all they are. The picture's still unclear, and Mike O'Malley hasn't chimed in with the correct answer.

There's so much going on right now as this new virus works its way through world populations, and so much is still very uncertain. There are individual issues coming up which we can shake our fists at, like massive bailouts for corporations and governments implementing dangerously authoritarian measures while refusing to adequately provide for their citizenry, but a full picture of what's happening and where this is all going remains unclear.

There's this weird dynamic in conspiracy and anti-establishment circles where everyone wants to pretend they know exactly what's going on, and those who express uncertainty tend to attract less interest and attention than those who claim forcefully and assertively to have a crystal-clear HD perspective of The Big Picture. This dynamic of has led to the rise of many professional fringe pundits who don't actually have much going for them other than the ability to communicate in a confident tone, and it's created a very confusing information ecosystem during the current pandemic.

And today I'm just writing to say that it is actually okay to simply not know for a bit.

It seems like some of the conflict and stress people are expressing--at least in the circles I move in--stems not only from perfectly valid concerns about the future, but from a general discomfort with not knowing exactly what's happening. We know from our experience that understanding what's happening gives us more control over our fate, so not fully understanding can make us feel out of control. It can feel threatening. It can feel like a very stressfully urgent matter that we come up with an cohesive "How It Is" understanding of what exactly is happening.

You don't need to put that extra layer of stress on yourself. If you're looking at a mountain of disparate and conflicting information about which you can't form a single unified narrative, that's okay. That's what we're all seeing. Some of us are just more honest with ourselves about this than others.

It is true that we don't yet fully understand this new virus and can't predict exactly how destructive it's going to be. It is also true that people are experiencing a frightening amount of financial pressure. It is also true that authoritarian government policies are very dangerous and might not be rolled back once implemented. You don't need to come to any hard-and-fast conclusions which unify these disparate truths right now. You can just not know for a while and watch the picture become more clear.

Things Are Only Going To Get Weirder

"I often hear people in my line of work saying 'Man, we’re going to look back on all this crazy shit and think about how absolutely weird it was!'
No we won’t. Because it’s only going to get weirder."https://t.co/z5ivGMEMoY

— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) November 1, 2019

I've been saying for months that things are going to get stranger and stranger, just because for a while now that's been the only consistent pattern I've been able to discern in the way things are moving. This time last year we Russiagate skeptics were congratulating ourselves for getting that issue right, but the only reason I and others were able to do that was because things were moving in a predictable fashion, and the establishment was reacting to it in a predictable patterned way. Now more and more often the only consistent pattern to be seen is the pattern of unpatterning, and all I can say about the future is that it's going to get a whole lot stranger. Maybe worse, maybe better, I don't know. But definitely stranger.

Uncertainty can feel scary. Humans tend to be pattern-seeking, predictability-seeking animals, so the disappearance of reliable patterns can feel like our whole world is falling apart. But it's an illusion. Our society has been insane since before we were born, and our patterned behavior has led our species to the ecocidal, omnicidal, oppressive and exploitative status quo we now find ourselves in. Unpatterning, in and of itself, is neither threatening nor helpful; it's just change. What matters is where it all goes.

And we don't know where it's going. There are powerful people who believe they'll be able to capitalize on the changes and shore up more power for themselves in the chaos like they've done many times before, but the kingdoms of those powerful people have themselves been built upon patterns and reliability. There is only a certain amount of unpatterning that these empires can withstand.

There is so, so much more to humanity, and to the universe itself, than most of us realize. We are capable of so, so much more than the pattern-based forecasts of our future behavior have predicted. I am uncertain of nearly everything at this point, but of this one fact I have become absolutely convinced: we most definitely have it within us to surprise ourselves on a mass scale. I've seen too much to believe otherwise.

So it's very possible that things will end up getting better in some as-yet unpredictable way. It's also very possible that things can get worse. The only bet I personally would avoid putting any chips on is things ever going back to normal, because "normal" is gone for good.

We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

__________________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics onTwitter, checking out my podcast on either Youtube, soundcloud, Apple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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PriceRip's picture

          Caitlin Johnstone either has some background in science or knows someone that has some background in science, because the above quoted material is imbued with a quality consistent with a scientific Weltanschauung.

RIP

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"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert J. McCloskey, U.S. State Department spokesman. From a press briefing during the Vietnam war.

Cassiodorus's picture

@PriceRip why is the mass of the proton about 1,836 times the mass of an electron? Why that number? Seems kind of arbitrary.

The answer they came up with was: because if the ratio were different, we wouldn't be here. And so the Anthropic Principle was born.

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"Advertising? Wow! So, people need help figuring out what to buy and then y-you help them?" -- Rick J19Zeta7

PriceRip's picture

@Cassiodorus

          The political truth of the future will be defined by the survivors. So it is impossible for our descendants to find themselves in a dystopian society.

          Please ignore that man behind the curtain.

RIP

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8 users have voted.

"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert J. McCloskey, U.S. State Department spokesman. From a press briefing during the Vietnam war.

Cassiodorus's picture

@PriceRip https://orwell.ru/library/novels/1984/english/en_app

The assumption behind such an appendix, explaining in detail the principles behind the artificial language Orwell called Newspeak, was that there would come a time in the distant future, beyond Orwell's imagined dystopia, in which Newspeak could be discussed honestly. Now, it's quite possible that Orwell's imagined far future was also a dystopia -- though at least in that far future one could speak honestly about Newspeak.

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"Advertising? Wow! So, people need help figuring out what to buy and then y-you help them?" -- Rick J19Zeta7

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@PriceRip @PriceRip

appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive.

But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

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The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

PriceRip's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

          First we need to take Quantum Mechanics seriously.

          The course I am creating is about how to develop an approach to taking QM seriously. Hint: the various Interpretations of QM are a symptom of not taking QM seriously.

RIP

Footnote: The course as presently conceived requires about one semester of exposition.

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"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert J. McCloskey, U.S. State Department spokesman. From a press briefing during the Vietnam war.

enhydra lutris's picture

@PriceRip @PriceRip @PriceRip

&lt~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~{phi}~~~~~~~~~~~~~~&gt

WTF?

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

PriceRip's picture

@enhydra lutris

www.RipPhysics.com

And I can do the class extemporaneously.

RIP

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1 user has voted.

"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert J. McCloskey, U.S. State Department spokesman. From a press briefing during the Vietnam war.

enhydra lutris's picture

@PriceRip
had a national university. Wink

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1 user has voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

PriceRip's picture

@enhydra lutris

          Don't really get the joke, but have a good day.

RIP

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1 user has voted.

"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert J. McCloskey, U.S. State Department spokesman. From a press briefing during the Vietnam war.

enhydra lutris's picture

@PriceRip

you have a good day as well

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1 user has voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

enhydra lutris's picture

@PriceRip
quantum_soup.jpg

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

reverse engineering, at least to those who pieced the thing together in the first place? It's hard to believe that all unpleasant consequences are really as unforeseeable and random as some would pretend. In financial markets, at least, all losses are actually someone's gains. That's the very basis of the common hedge as well as exotic options trading. In law enforcement, illegally obtained evidence is recreated to hide unlawful surveillance, a common practice called parallel construction.

So, while Caitlan is absolutely right when she says it's okay to admit that you just don't know why things are unfolding the way they are, it does not necessarily follow that also holds true for everyone.

Billions have been spent by those who manage powerful institutions to model and plan for all possible outcomes, even this one.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@leveymg

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris

does this make sense to you.
an earlier comment which was too late.

I could be wrong
but this seems misleading to me.

The very first coin flip transfers money from one agent to another, setting up an imbalance between the two. And once we have some variance in wealth, however minute, succeeding transactions will systematically move a “trickle” of wealth upward from poorer agents to richer ones, amplifying inequality until the system reaches a state of oligarchy.

The player loses because .83 is less than 5/6.

After many trials the number of wins and losses will be nearly the same. Let us say they are equal. Then player's stake will have been multiplied by a power of (1.2)(83) or .996.

For example, after 50 wins and 50 losses the stake has been multiplied by 50th power of .996 which is about .367.

If player only loses .16, then he wins in long run because (1.2)(.84) is greater than 1.

This result has nothing to do with who starts off winning, setting up an "imbalance".
In original example the player could win the first 1000 trials - he will still lose in the long run.

fwiw

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enhydra lutris's picture

@irishking
all the money will eventually move to one player, if you lose initially, you will lose more faster than if you win initially, but both will lose over a long enough time. Your computations look correct as to that. Those who actually created the models say that this is true even in an even game, but I didn't actually sit down and work that one out myself.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris @enhydra lutris physical process that can be precisely captured by predictive formuli. However, there does seem to be a correspondence between Joseph Tainter's theorum that societies exhibit diminishing marginal returns on complexity (see, "The Collapse of Complex Societies") with the Second Law of Thermodynamics: viz, isolated systems show increasing levels of Entropy, seeming chaotic randomness and a decline in the harnessable production of productive energy.

Recent events seem to bear out the social- Entropy observation: the increasing energy required to maintain social stratification and inequality is what kills societies. More egaliarian meritocracies probably have a better chance of survival.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@leveymg @leveymg
information theorists, also applies to information, and information systems which the cybernetics crowd, at least back in my day, said would degrade any coherent system over sufficient time.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Cassiodorus's picture

The coronavirus will mean far-reaching changes in American life. Americans do not appear to be up to the task of figuring that out. At least not just yet.

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"Advertising? Wow! So, people need help figuring out what to buy and then y-you help them?" -- Rick J19Zeta7

smiley7's picture

soap opera's better than most and during this time, soap is a friend.

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@smiley7 is an interesting expression. I'm not sure exactly what it means or how it originated, but to me it connotes something that has a heightened or over-dramatic emotion while at the same time being superficial and manipulative. Opera is famous for its over-the-top emotional expression....the soap part though... where does that fit in?

I like the term though, it's descriptive. My dad calls Hollywood T.V. westerns 'horse operas'. I love that term and don't know why.

We are living through a plague opera, environmental collapse opera, economic collapse opera, civil and social collapse opera, etc. etc... the list goes on.

Caitlin is exactly right, the uncertainty is hugely stressful. I see it in the faces, in the eyes (all those people behind the masks), and the voices of people around me. We are on edge. How easy is it to manipulate the emotions of people who are on edge?

I think though, that we can be certain that there are those that have positioned themselves to profit from these disasters at the expense of those who have had no chance to position themselves that way. Of course they can only profit until everything absolutely falls apart, still, that stretch of time will be very uncomfortable for the rest of us. I'm certain about that.

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@randtntx
dramas in the Depression, sponsored by laundry soap brands (because they were targeted at housewives who could listen while doing their housework). i believe the very first was sponsored by procter and gamble to promote oxydol. every episode would work in several mentions of oxydol -- product placement goes back farther than you thought!

I assume you are correct as to the choice of "opera" -- it connotes the Sturm und Drang that characterizes such dramas. "horse opera" and "space opera" were natural extensions of the little linguistic twist.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

@UntimelyRippd I knew a bit of that but not in such detail. Thank you. It's a bit disappointing though that such an intriguing phrase is about nothing more than product placement and advertising. The emotional drama is nothing profound, just an advertisement. We get our emotions all riled up just so we go out and buy some junk. We could call just about everything on the t.v. an advertisement opera.

Don't get me started on Sturm und Drang. I would take up too much space and time and it has already been done by many who are much better versed in it than I am. I do appreciate the reference though.

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