Why I Publish Art And Philosophy In Addition To News Commentary

Caitlin Johnstone
5 min readJan 18, 2023

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I get funny reactions from people who are new to my work, often because I don’t act like the other indie media figures they follow. I’m unrefined and swear a lot. I engage on social media with both followers and critics far more than most do. I talk about elite conspiracies to create a totalitarian dystopia, but I differ from other conspiracy analysts in that I assert that the dystopia is already here and has been for generations.

One of the main things that sets me apart from other people whose names I often get mentioned alongside is that I don’t just publish anti-establishment commentary on news and politics and polemics against the empire; I publish art, poetry, philosophical musings, and big-picture assessments of what’s going on with humanity as a whole. In case anyone’s curious, I have a number of reasons for doing this.

One reason is because in today’s increasingly confused and muddied information environment it’s not enough to just tell people what you believe and what you reckon is going on, you’ve got to show them who you are. I find that as people (understandably and correctly) grow more skeptical of what they’re told and more distrusting of the people who show up on their screens feeding them opinions, the more necessary it becomes to kind of bare my soul to them as much as possible so that they can decide on their own if I’m worth taking the time to read.

That’s why I say what I believe here even when I know it will offend and upset a lot of my readers, and it’s why I periodically take the time to reveal my inner workings in the form of artistic expression or psychospiritual rabbit holing. I could try to say only what people want me to say and show up from day to day only the way people are expecting me to show up, but it wouldn’t be as honest, and the people I’m interested in addressing tend to have a pretty good sense of when you’re bullshitting them.

So I just lay it all out on the table, as often as I can, in as many ways as possible. Here are my biases, here are my agendas, here’s who I am, here’s what makes me tick, here are the soft, tender squishy bits of my inner world that one might otherwise expect me to keep hidden. Either you like it or you don’t, but you can’t say I intentionally deceived you about what was on offer here.

Another reason I mix art and philosophy with my political and antiwar writings is I don’t want to have anything personally invested in the continuation of a troubled world. I don’t want any part of me to be in conflict with the possibility of wars and tyranny one day ending.

One of the problems with our current status quo is that because people need to find a source of income in order to make sure they can survive, they tend to become personally invested in the continuation of that income source, even when it should probably fade into obsolescence, or even when it’s harmful. A psychologist who’s having a hard time finding patients will have some subconscious hesitance to get their patients better and put them beyond the need for further help. Those who run a charity will experience inner resistance if something good happens in their society that makes their charity unnecessary. If you make your living treating a sickness, you’ll feel worried and insecure if it looks like someone is close to finding a cure. And this can color their decisions and behavior.

I don’t want that to happen here if we start moving toward a healthy humanity. If a movement into world harmony should occur, I don’t want anything in me to say “Shit, what’s my life about now?”, I want everything in me to go “Oh hell yeah, more time to paint!” I want to welcome that movement warmly and to instantly begin cooperating with it.

I don’t want any part of me consciously or unconsciously resisting a collective movement into health and harmony. I want to have my bags packed and ready to go. I want to be in full collaboration with that human impulse on every level. While our problems persist I cannot in good conscience live a life that isn’t dedicated to fighting those problems to the furthest extent of my abilities, but that has to remain a means to an end, not an end in itself. I have to be eager to drop it the instant it’s not needed.

So I have art and philosophy as something to look forward to focusing on full time when humanity transcends its self-destructive patterning, and I’m setting it up as a kind of sigil for the type of future I hope we all get to have. I try to make every part of my work a living beacon to call forth the sort of society I’d one day like to live in, which is why I’ve set up my income stream to be unconditional and gift-based while my content remains free to read and free for other outlets to republish.

That’s all I’m ever trying to do here in my own way: to help create a healthy world, to the furthest extent my own finite abilities will allow. I can’t promise that I’ll always get everything right or that I’ll always be seeing things the most clearly, but I can promise to always be honest and to always be running on maximum transparency about who I am, where I’m coming from, and what my biases and agendas are.


My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal, or buying an issue of my monthly zine. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my husband Tim Foley.

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