Our Propagandized Society Is Like A Sick Man Who Doesn’t Know He’s Sick

Caitlin Johnstone
5 min readJun 20, 2024


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

I write a lot more about the problems our society faces than I do about solutions. I do this because we are so far from being able to implement real solutions that most people don’t even really know the problems exist yet.

I could spend my time talking about the need for a giant people’s revolution to dismantle the US-centralized empire, end capitalism and replace the competition-based systems which are driving us to our doom with collaboration-based systems where all of humanity cooperates with each other and with our ecosystem, but those solutions aren’t going to emerge anytime soon because public consent for the status quo order is still being manufactured with a very high degree of success. At this point in history’s unfolding I may as well say we should solve all our problems by inventing free energy and living in the sky like the Jetsons.

Right now our society is like a sick man who (A) doesn’t know he’s sick, (B) refuses to believe he is sick, (C) believes the medicine is poison, (D) has no health insurance and can’t afford the medicine anyway, and (E) also has no means of transportation to get to the doctor. The very first step in that long list of obstacles to his health is to get him to understand that he is sick. That’s why I spend so much energy showing evidence that the media are lying to us, that we are ruled by psychopaths, and that our status quo systems are driving us toward annihilation.

Westerners who spend their time posturing as brave revolutionaries online and talking about how ready they are to set up the guillotines and take up arms against the ruling class always remind me of LARPers, because they’re talking about something that has exactly zero chance of becoming a reality as things stand right now. They’re role playing as revolutionary militants like other people role play as warriors and wizards in an imaginary fantasy realm. They’ve got no skin in the game; their play-acting has no weight and carries with it no real material risk. Many who talk tough in their fantasy land would run like rabbits the instant things got real.

Before those postures have any meaning, you must first create the world in which they could become meaningful. This is done by awakening other westerners to the reality of the abusive mind-controlled dystopia we live in.

We’re in a burning house, and the people inside don’t believe it’s on fire and think you’re a crazy crackpot for saying it is. There are a whole lot of necessary solutions to that problem that are going to have to follow from that point like getting everyone outside, getting the fire extinguished, finding a place to stay, getting the house rebuilt, replacing all the stuff that you lost, and getting everyone’s life back to normal. But the very first order of business is pointing to the flames and the smoke until people believe you. Everything else follows from there.

Getting people to see the fire is the first step, and it’s also the hardest. The biggest obstacle to our freedom is people’s belief that they are already free. The biggest obstacle to a functional society is the widespread belief that we are already living in one. The empire’s single strongest weapon is its ability to dissuade the masses from revolution by psychologically manipulating them away from the ability to see that revolution is necessary.

If we can get past that one primary obstacle, all the other obstacles will be relatively easy to overcome, in the same way a giant who realizes he’s been enslaved by an insect would quickly overcome the obstacles to his freedom after his eyes have been opened to the reality of his situation. But we need to get those eyes open first.

We get the eyes open by spreading awareness, which is always the first step to solving any problem. No problem ever gets solved by people until people are aware that the problem exists. Next they must come to understand the problem, then they must think up solutions, then they must create the necessary conditions to make those solutions feasible, then they must put those solutions into action.

We spread awareness of the problems by using every means at our disposal to show people the truth. The truth about their nation, their government, their media, and their world. Helping someone realize that everything they’ve been indoctrinated into believing about the world has been a lie is no small task — ask anyone who’s ever escaped from a cult or helped someone who has. The vast majority of people in our society are deeply indoctrinated by imperial propaganda, and we can’t start moving toward solutions until that changes.

But again, once that obstacle’s dealt with the rest will be comparatively easy — and even that obstacle will get easier and easier to deal with as more people open their eyes, because the more people see this thing the more people there will be to help shake others awake. And the more people there are looking at the problems, the more human ingenuity will be dedicated to coming up with viable solutions. Once things start moving we could go from awareness to solutions fairly rapidly, like someone quickly moving from a dream world to their bathroom in the morning to start their day.

But those eyes need to open first.


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