Dear Caitlin Johnstone,
Hello. My name is Chris Carlson. I’m writing to share my story with you, and I hope it will offer you some encouragement. Why should you take encouragement from anything I have to say? Who knows, maybe you will not. I am not anyone important or relevant. I am not leading a revolution. I do not bring word of a great change taking place in the hearts and minds of American Youth, (I am an American, a title I prefer to that of U.S. citizen). I hope you will take encouragement from what I have to say because, based on what you write, I believe you and I have a lot in common; We are concerned about the same kinds of things, we hope for a similar kind of revolution to begin, and we have a similar intellectually based view of the world. With that being said, I hope you will find the following encouraging or at least interesting. As with everything I write, I will try to be concise.
So, I consider myself an intellectual and a generalist. Noam Chomsky argues that the education system we have here in the west includes a lot of “stupidity” on purpose. This is a useful feature, he argues, because it selects for people who are willing to tolerate this “stupidity” in order to progress in their career, it filters out independent thinkers. I believe another “feature” of the education system is that it produces specialists and not generalists, (I’m not sure if Chomsky or anyone else has already discussed this publicly). Specialists are useful because they don’t typically try to reason about things they haven’t been trained in. Someone educated in mathematics doesn’t get too involved in discussions about politics because, “that’s the domain of the political scientist”. Everyone is trained to think about their field, making widgets, reasoning about making widgets, whatever, and they are trained not to think too hard about any other field. People therefore tend, all on their own, not to think too hard about problems in domains outside of their own field, and if they do ask questions about something occurring outside their domain, the powerful can easily dismiss their concerns by telling them, “You are not trained in field X. You don’t really understand what is going on with this, so don’t worry about it”. Why does this matter? It doesn’t really, I guess I’m just trying to earn some intellectual credibility with you before I start talking about things that would otherwise characterize me as some kind of mystical nutcase.
A brief history about myself. I’ve studied a number of things at a few different colleges and universities, philosophy, physics, mathematics, computer science, and electrical engineering. I speak English, Spanish, and Arabic. I spent five years in the Army, my military occupational specialty, or MOS, was 37F: Psychological Operations, (which was renamed Military Information Support Operations during my last year of service). As you might imagine, not long after I began utilizing my psychological operations training in Afghanistan to create and control narrative(s) there, I began to recognize the extent to which narrative is being controlled in Western media too. This, I think, is one thing we have in common: we are both keenly aware of how much power the Western Media Apparatus wields. It wields so much power that I often wonder whether it is entirely useless to fight against it, but I digress. The point of this paragraph, once again, is to, hopefully, demonstrate that my background is largely rational. But I have a spiritual side too.
I consider myself a psychonaut, I have for many years. I tried psilocybin mushrooms for the first time when I was sixteen years old and this began an on and off love affair with entheogens(hallucinogens) ever since. I had good luck finding these things, and over the next 15 or so years I experimented with various substances in the hundreds of times. As you might imagine, I had a variety of experiences. Many of them were personally enlightening, a few of them scary, some of them were spiritual in nature, and three of them were classically spiritual. When I was eighteen years old I had three trips in a row where an incredible powerful being lifted my soul up out of my body and brought me up into a spiritual realm. During these three encounters this being told me, “You are well loved. Some day I am going to use you to do something important for the world.”
At first I was certain I had been spoken to by God. I was elated. The creator of the universe, I thought, has great plans for me. However years went by and my life was not supernaturally blessed. I suffered losses in life and love. I was frequently depressed and confused. The world remained a cold and dark place. I found little comfort here. Even though I continued to experiment with entheogens over the years, I never had an experience remotely close to those three, and soon I began to reframe those experiences.
“How could there be a God?” I often wondered. I would have liked to believe in God, but how could I? The world is filled with so much evil. If there were a god, why would he allow all these terrible things to happen?
I gave up on believing in god and installed became agnostic. I called myself a “staunch” agnostic. Staunch, because I would argue vehemently with both Atheists and Theists. Atheists and Theists both overextended themselves logically, I thought, because the point could not be proved either way. You can’t prove there is a God, but you can’t prove there isn’t one either. On one hand, it would be nice if there were a God. What a relief it would be to have something better than humankind to put my hope into. On the other hand, there is a lot of evidence to suggest there isn’t a God - there is just too much evil in the world. Unfortunately, I reasoned, it would be foolhardy to place my hope in God. I can’t prove he isn’t there, I wish he was there, but the evidence seems to suggest he’s not. “If I ever meet the guy”, I would say, “then I’ll believe in him. But until then I will remain planted firmly on the fence.”.
So, this is the point in the story where I start sounding like some kind of mystical nut case. A little over a year ago I had a fourth classically spiritual experience. I had ingested about a gram and a half of psilocybin mushrooms. I was coming up on a pretty normal trip when I was suddenly surrounded by light. I looked up and there was a light as bright as the sun shining above me. It radiated warmth and love and incredible power, and in the center of it was a presence whose form I cannot describe. I was struck momentarily with awe and then suddenly with terror. I fell on the floor on my face, thinking surely this is God who had spoken to me before, whose existence I had been denying. His beauty and power were so great that in comparison I felt utterly wretched. I felt certain he would destroy me for my wretchedness. I began crying, sobbing, pleading that he not destroy me, begging him for forgiveness.
“I forgive you.” He said. (Though he didn’t speak words. His thoughts simply entered my mind so that I knew what he was saying. In fact, it is impossible to perfectly translate what he communicated. Language, in its current form anyway, is inexact. His “words” entered my mind with crystal clear meaning, and I am forced to translate those meanings into language - this is sometimes difficult.).
A sense of his forgiveness washed over me and through me. I felt warmth and love flow through me and into me and in a measure it is impossible to describe. I now began crying again, this time thanking him. I sat there on my knees just sobbing for a period of ten or so minutes feeling overwhelmed with how grateful I was that he would forgive me.
After a time he gently calmed me down. Saying something like, “It’s okay, it’s okay. Calm down.” He was surprisingly gentle and understanding of how emotional I felt. “I have a job for you”, he said, “Remember, I told you years ago that you would do something important for me? Well now is the time. You have made it. Now it is time for you to come to work for me.”
I wiped the tears and snot from my face and calmed down a bit. “Okay Lord.”, I said, “Whatever you ask of me.”.
“You will serve me well.”, He said. “Now listen carefully. I have a great deal to tell you.” And he began to explain to me. Thoughts and ideas rushed into my head as he spoke. Sometimes the things he said were accompanied by visions and pictures in my mind. He would say things like, “It will look like this”, and there would be a vision of something in my mind. He talked about a whole host of things. Things going on in society. Things that are about to happen. Things I will need to do. When I had questions he would answer them. As quickly as I could think a question, he would instantly be answering it. We had a back and forth, a dialog. It was incredible. I would like to share more of it with you, but I feel now is a good time to take a step back.
Why do I want to share this with you? I don’t know for sure. I feel you are a kind of kindred spirit. I hope you might understand me. A lot of people think I’ve lost my mind. All my best friends have written me off as crazy. It kind of sucks to be honest. I expected people would just believe me when I said God spoke to me, but very few do.
Anyway, I also hoped to encourage you. This is why you should be encouraged. One of the key things God explained to me was this, he said:
Sooner than you can imagine I will be coming down to begin the final battle in a thousands of years old war between good and evil. I will destroy the evil one, Satan, and all who serve him. For a time there will be incredible tribulation on earth. Terrifying and terrible things will happen when this war begins, people will be afraid. You will need to help people get through these terrible times. But also know this, when this battle is over evil will be finally vanquished. Your earth will no longer be a dark and depressing place for there will be only peace there. The people who remain will be loving and kind, they will take care of each other, and there will be great joy and happiness among all of you. The earth will once again be the way I originally intended it, it will be a peaceful garden where there is plenty for everyone. Therefore be glad, for you live in a time many have hoped to see. You live in the time when heaven will finally come on earth. Though there is still much work to be done, and many hard times are in store for you, take good heart, for greater times of happiness are still ahead, and a joy unlike anything you have ever imagined will soon replace all the sadness you have ever experienced.
Okay Caitlin. Thank you for reading my letter. I hope you are well, I wish you the best, and I hope you too will take heart. I know you see the darkness all around us, and there are surely darker times ahead of us, but you are on the side of good. You are fighting the good fight, so be encouraged and keep on fighting it. Know that good will surely triumph, because, (and I know this sounds crazy but…), there is an amazing and all powerful God who has seen the end from the beginning. He sees what is going on, and he is going to ensure that the forces of evil do not triumph. God bless you and help you in everything you do Caitlin.