What Would It Look Like If You Were Standing On The Wrong Side Of History?

Caitlin Johnstone
4 min readNov 12, 2023

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

What would it look like if you were standing on the wrong side of history? If there were a mass atrocity taking place presently which history will end up judging harshly in the future, and you were supporting the wrong side of it, what signs might you expect to see that that’s the case?

Well, I imagine you’d probably be seeing terrible news about what’s happening coming out every day that under normal circumstances would cause you to cry out in horror, but then you’d be getting a bunch of words and stories from your side explaining why those self-evidently terrible things are actually not what they appear to be.

If you found out thousands of children were being violently killed by your side in this mass atrocity, for example, you’d normally view that information as self-evidently terrible by itself, but then a bunch of narrative framing would come in explaining to you why that information isn’t damning for your side. Blame for the deaths of those children would be placed on other parties. If your side was undeniably responsible for their deaths, their deaths would be framed as accidental tragedies which are the unavoidable consequence of military action, and are still indirectly attributable to the actions of the other side.

You’d see the raw data of what’s happening, and then an overlay of narrative would be rolled out on top of what you’re seeing to alter your perception of that data. And every time, the unaltered data would make your side look bad, while the data filtered through the narrative overlay would make your side look much better.

Over and over again you’d see this take place: information which at a glance makes it look like you’re on the wrong side of history, then a deluge of narratives helping you to understand that your eyes deceived you at first actually, and you’re on the right side of history after all. Day after day after day this would happen: new terrible information that would normally make you feel bad about your position, followed by narrative framing which makes you feel better about your position.

We may be sure we could expect to see this because we live in a civilization that is dominated by narrative control. Powerful manipulators figured out a long time ago that because human consciousness is dominated by mental stories, if you can control the stories in their heads, you can control the humans. They do this via propaganda and spin, with the wealthiest and most powerful people having the ability to exert the most control over the dominant narratives in our society.

In a sense this leaves us living in two worlds: the real world and the narrative world. The world of unfiltered sensory input controlled by no one, and the world of easily-manipulated mental stories controlled by the rich and powerful. Maturity is waking up out of the narrative world and learning to perceive reality as it’s actually happening.

Because the powerful are continuously working to insert narratives about the world into our minds and manipulate our stories about what’s happening, it’s a safe assumption that if something terrible was being done by powerful people and we were on the wrong side of it, we’d be experiencing a continuous feed of narratives readjusting our perception and understanding of the thing that is happening. This would ensure that we remain supportive of the agendas of those powerful people, even if it leaves us on the wrong side of history.

Anyway, that’s just something to keep in mind in case you see anything like that happening in the future. Or who knows? Maybe even in the present.

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Featured image via Adobe Stock.

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