It’s Hard To Find Fulfillment In A Civilization That Revolves Around Corporate Profits

Caitlin Johnstone
5 min readSep 17, 2023


Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

It’s so hard to live as an authentic human being in a civilization whose every molecule is wrapped around something as vapid and soulless as corporate profit.

It’s what most of us pour most of our life force into. Most people work all day generating corporate profits to pay bills that go toward corporate profits and pay off loans from giant banks for their corporate profits or rent from real estate giants for their corporate profits. Then they come home, eat some products from giant megacorporations that they purchased at a supermarket chain, and unwind by watching entertainment created by corporations to draw as many eyeballs as possible or scrolling through social media platforms designed by corporations to be as addictive as possible. We do this while being surrounded all day by advertising designed to pull us into generating more corporate profits.

Corporate profits are our life. Corporate profits are our religion. Most of us pour more of our energy into generating corporate profits throughout our lives than the most pious monk pours into worshipping any deity. Not because we want to, but because we have to. We were born into this bizarre civilization where everything revolves around corporate profits instead of love, relationships, connection, thriving, purpose, or personal depth.

Is it any wonder then that so many of us are suffering from addictions and depression and anxiety? I mean, how could we not be? Take a normal healthy human animal and throw it into the mess of this dystopian corporate nightmare and tell me how it’s meant to live a happy and satisfying life. It’s like expecting dolphins and orcas to live happy and satisfying lives in concrete pools at theme parks, or factory farmed pigs living in cages barely bigger than their bodies. It’s just not the kind of living we’re built for.

The blink of an eye ago our ancestors were hunter-gatherers living off the land, spending most of their waking lives under the open sky. Now all of a sudden we’re expected to sit eight hours a day in a cubicle staring at screens for no other reason than to help the corporation that employs us increase its profits, then commute home under a barrage of advertising in a vehicle made by a corporation using fuels extracted by a corporation, and spend all our free time feeding into the profits of other corporations. Everything in us is screaming that this is insane and unacceptable.

That’s why some people try to spend time in nature; it’s one of the few ways you can get your head above all the corporate bullshit for a bit and take a few desperate breaths of what it’s like to be a normal human organism. “Nature” used to just be “the world”; there was no other, separate thing from nature that we spent all our time in, pouring all our life force into, dedicating all our thoughts and feelings to, from whence we could escape for a few hours on the weekend as a luxury. Now we live in civilization and sneak out every now and then into this other thing, nature, where screens aren’t blaring at us and the trees don’t speak the language of the babbling narratives in our heads — though, if we’re honest with ourselves, our minds are still mostly preoccupied with the pushing and pulling demands that civilization makes of us the entire time.

The only way to live in this civilization without its madness warping you and twisting you in on yourself is to change your relationship with mental narrative to such an extent that you can recognize that civilization is nature — that the human animal and its products are not separate from anything else in this biosphere we arose from. With a fair amount of dedicated inner work one can come to recognize that this sea of language we exist in is just narrative that we don’t need to invest any of our life force in believing, and that all the words and thoughts are just energy like all the rest of nature.

From that point of view, a busy office full of chattering humans is not experientially much different from a busy forest full of chattering birds and insects — it’s just two different expressions of nature. An advertisement is not experientially much different from crashing waves — it’s just the sights and sounds of nature taking different energetic shapes. If you’re not imbuing any of the narratives inside or outside of your head with the power of belief, it’s all just a beautiful expression of nature.

That’s the only way to live as a happy and healthy human organism in this civilization, from my point of view. Everything else is just varying degrees of insanity. Adjusting from an unwholesome relationship with mental narrative to a wholesome one lets you live a happy and fulfilling life among the humans, who are actually a staggeringly beautiful and thrilling animal when you can see them with fresh eyes.

And, as an added benefit, changing your relationship with narrative will greatly aid you in seeing through the consent-manufacturing propaganda that’s used by the powerful to keep the dysfunctionality of this civilization going. If enough people snap out of their unhealthy relationship with narrative, a healthy world will suddenly become possible.


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