By Caitlin Johnstone
“You have to start with the truth. The truth is the only way that we can get anywhere. Because any decision-making that is based upon lies or ignorance can’t lead to a good conclusion.”
~ Julian Assange
‘The truth will set you free’ is an aphorism we’ve all heard so many times it’s lost a lot of its meaning and doesn’t sound especially profound when we hear it again, but it really does contain the answer to humanity’s most difficult problems. A truth-based relationship with reality is the only way to move into peace and harmony, whether you’re talking about the inner peace and harmoniousness of an individual or the peace and harmony of our entire species.
For the individual, you can’t generally come to inner peace and a harmonious way of moving in the world until you’ve done a lot of inner work and gotten extremely real with yourself about your experiences, your relationships, your ways of thinking about things, your behavior patterns, and your motivations.
The deepest levels of peace and freedom open up when we have transformative insights into the truth of our very nature: the nature of consciousness, mind, and self.
It doesn’t come from trying to be a nicer person, from praying to the right god or espousing the right belief system. True and lasting peace and freedom comes from a penetrating realization of what is already the case. It comes from knowing what’s true.
This is a bit counter-intuitive, because our minds and our culture tell us that we get peace and happiness from getting what we want — the right accomplishments, the right job, the right belongings, the right romantic partner, the right circumstances. But none of those things will ever take us where we’re really trying to get to. Only the truth will.
And it’s exactly the same for a group of people, and for humanity as a whole.
Real widespread change can only come from knowledge of the truth — that’s why those who don’t want widespread change pour so much energy into keeping people from knowing what’s true. That’s why there’s such a frenzied push for more internet censorship and for the government to get more involved in regulating speech. That’s why our civilization is saturated with propaganda. And that’s why Julian Assange is in prison.
Real change will only occur when a sufficient number of people realize that we live in a profoundly unjust society held together by violence and lies, where our very existence is being imperiled by nuclear brinkmanship and environmental destruction. Because only then will enough people begin mobilizing to use the power of our numbers to force the changes we need.
Again, this is somewhat counter-intuitive, because we’ve been told all our lives by our schools and our media that we get change by voting for political candidates we like. But our electoral systems are stacked against change, and the candidates are controlled by interests who seek to keep things more or less the way they are. This means change can only be arrived at by widespread forceful rejection of the entire system, and widespread forceful rejection of the entire system can only come through truth.
So the truth will set us free, but those who don’t want our freedom are doing everything they can to obstruct, obfuscate and distort the truth.
The good news is that there are a whole lot of us, and for now at least we do have the ability to share the truth about what’s going on with each other. And the more people understand what’s going on, the more people there are to help share the truth with others.
The first step is spreading awareness of the fact that our civilization is saturated in propaganda, because propaganda only works if you don’t know it’s happening. Helping people to understand that they’ve been lied to their whole lives about their nation, their government, their society and their world will help shake them free from their propaganda blinders, so that they can begin to figure out what’s true.
By working toward a collective understanding of what’s real in this way, humanity can come into a truth-based relationship with reality, one freshly opened pair of eyelids at a time. And, just as a truth-based relationship with reality inevitably brings peace and harmony to the life of the individual, a truth-based relationship with reality will bring peace and harmony to the life of our entire species.
It’s not always pleasant when you get it, and it might not be obvious at first that it’s helping to move things in a positive direction, but every step toward health and harmony begins with truth. The more opportunities we have to experience this fact in our own lives, the more obvious it becomes.
Caitlin Johnstone is one of Australia’s most successful independent journalists, with a significant international following. She posts regularly on her website here. Other stories by Caitlin Johnstone published in A Sense of Place Magazine can be found here.