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Caitlin Johnstone Nails It Again

Message Peter Barus
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So have patience if people don't see what you see. They're just afraid. They're not there yet. An acorn is not a defective oak tree. An egg is not a defective chicken. We're all waking up together, and some of us have had to be the first to lead the charge out of the darkness and into the light. This is just what it looks like as life on this planet moves toward increased levels of complexity and consciousness.

--Caitlin Johnstone

Now you're talking. That's the most intelligent thing I've read about chickens and eggs. I hereby nominate Johnstone for the Dorothy Parker Jaundiced Eye Award.

When we set up this "internet," nobody had any idea how much it would shift the balance of power.

We still think in terms of Information, and "who controls history," and "narratives," and all that.

But none of that goes anywhere if it can't get into people's minds. And these days, Attention is mostly controlled by the side of our head that most resembles Gollum. And no wonder, after the generations of careful nurturing of this little clot of complaints by a parasite that has managed to maintain its spiny grip on our intestines since the invention of the telegraph.

The PR industry was ready for this new paradigm. Of course none of them knew what had happened either. But they had been doing experiments in brain science since Freud's nephew Eddie Bernays taught us that women could be liberated if they would only smoke Luckies.

Their experiments were measured by what everyone considers Natural Law, the Law of the Jungle, the cultural fiction we know as "The Economy." They followed as revealed truth the one criterion that matters in this paradigm: high ROI. Profits.

So obviously, when you have a "search engine" that's not making any money, trying to keep up with millions of demands for "information," in return for tiny bits of theirs, you have to "monetize" it somehow.

Back then, think of a lot of competing startups with roomsful of people looking up stuff while the computers spewed "queries" onto the floor. "Who was the first person to cross the Atlantic by air from East to West?" (Beryl Markham.)

"Targeted" advertising, the go-to scheme already on the bench down on Mad Ave, was not working as, um, advertised. Great Googlymoogly was sinking fast. What to do?

They had more computational power than the government by then, which though computers were just fancy slide rules. So they dumped all this "behavioral surplus" into their machines, and suddenly they had a brand new product.

A product worth more than its weight in, well, anything, since it weighs nothing at all. A product that doesn't need a fleet of trucks, or refrigeration, or anything, to go anywhere on the planet, in a nanosecond.

So they did it: they declared "cyberspace" their territory by conquest, and anybody traveling there fair game, ripe for plucking, to be invisibly strip-searched for their location, income, sexual proclivities, stress levels, children's test scores--their susceptibilities.

That, friends, is the "platform" on which all our communications, in all media, our legal documents, our school systems, our municipal records, our medical and legal histories, the operation of surgical equipment, the entire agricultural system that feeds us all...everything necessary to social coherence and survival belongs to a tiny handful of corporations whose vital interest is "Shareholder Value" and nothing else.

Now, what does any of this have to do with Caitlin Johnstone?

Somebody was complaining about our Democracy being threatened, just the other day. If you are worried about that, find Caitlin Johnstone's enormous body of work and start reading. Because this is a person who sees and thinks and writes as she learns, and she has this uncanny ability to take readers through the process with freshly jaundiced eyes.

This is the kind of difficult writing that doesn't need a lot of footnotes. Self-evident truth is the most dangerous and volatile truth, because it grabs Attention first, which allows some valid information to penetrate before the left hemisphere's ideological lobe can vaporize it.

Johnstone has one of those rare devices Hemingway wrote about. He called it a "built-in, shockproof sh*t-detector."

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I'm an old Pogo fan. For some unknown reason I persist in outrage at Feudalism, as if human beings can do much better than this. Our old ways of life are obsolete and are killing us. Will the human race wake up in time? Stay (more...)

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