In Times Like These

Caitlin Johnstone
4 min readJan 20, 2023


Listen to a reading of “In Times Like These”:

In times like these
when nuclear warheads are being moved into position,
when weapons manufacturers can’t keep up with the demand,
when the pundits are making everyone stupid and crazy,
when it’s hard to remember Assange’s face but you can’t turn on a screen without seeing Zelensky,
when our culture is manufactured on conveyor belts in New York, Hollywood, Arlington and Langley,
when everything’s fake but the bombs and blockades,
when it feels like we’re rocketing toward armageddon next to Jeff Bezos in a space suit,
when it feels like the angels have become smack addicts but have to settle for shitty Fentanyl fixes,
when it feels like God got kicked out of the group home and has to sell his plasma and sperm for cash,
when it feels like Heaven must be powered by smoggy nineteenth century London coal,
when it feels like the angel and the demon on humanity’s shoulders are double fucking our ear canals,
when the bastards have sleeves full of bottomless aces while we’re still trying to learn the rules,
when annihilation feels like a certainty and transcendence like a fairy tale,
it helps to have somewhere solid to take your stand.

In times like these
when everyone’s so alienated they have to consume chemical intoxicants together just to share affection with each other,
when everyone’s so lonely they trap animals in their homes with them so at least they have something that can’t leave,
when everyone’s so afraid of their own vulnerabilities they preemptively attack anyone who lowers their guard,
when everyone’s pouring their lives into generating profits for miserable employers who will never have enough,
when everyone’s being driven mad by the pointlessness of a civilization built around wealth extraction,
when everyone’s allowing themselves to be sedated into a coma so they can’t experience their own despondency,
when the radiant authenticity of nature is paved over to build cinemas to watch CGI creatures in CGI worlds,
when the sacred song of the heart is getting drowned out by desperation for dopamine hits from strangers on apps,
when the causeless joy of being keeps getting lost to fear and insecurity,
it helps to have some grounding in the changeless.

In times like these
truth can sneak in
like a thief,
like a ray of light through the smallest crack,
like a children’s cereal mascot finally nicking a bowl of that delicious sugary starch
(oh my god it’s got marshmallows and turns the milk neon colors oh fuck oh god I’m cumming),
like a ninja,
like Batman,
truth can sneak in and bonk you on the head
leaving you unable to see anything but the primal oneness,
unable to remember how you ever got things so mixed up,
like Gilligan when he got hit with the coconut
(except good).

In times like these
no matter how fucked up you are
you can sometimes catch Buddha winking at you in the mirror.

In times like these
everything is so tenuous
that satori can come crashing in at any moment.

In times like these
Shiva can just get tired of putting on the act
and take off the you-mask and break character.

In times like these
anyone’s petty and irrelevant natterings
can be interrupted by the hatching of their heart.

We are such weird, mascara-streaked, runny-nosed ape mutants.
We are sharp-toothed blood-splashing murder monkeys.
We are honey-hearted giants with galaxies in our eyes.
I really hope you know how beautiful you are,
no matter how hard things are
and no matter how hard things get.
You contain vast universes,
and I wish I could make full-length Broadway musicals out of all of them.
No matter what happens I will love you through and through
until the heat death of the universe
and beyond.

And we just might get our miracle after all,
beautiful ape mutant.
We just might get our miracle after all.
In times like these, anything is possible.
In times like these, anything can be.
In times like these, we’ve all got nothing to lose,
which means we’ve got nothing to lose
by leaping.




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Feature image via Adobe Stock.