By Steven Yates

“The sign of an intelligent mind is the ability to entertain an idea without accepting it.” —Aristotle

“Convictions cause convicts: what you believe imprisons you.” —Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati (1977)

“The Earth is a farm. We are someone else’s property.” —attributed to Charles Fort (discussion here)

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” —Arthur C. Clarke, “Hazards of Prophesy” revised version, Profiles of the Future (1973)

Mosquito: What if, like, we’re just these tiny things, and we’re just, like, part of this whole other huge universe that’s, like, so big we don’t even know it exists?

Ladybug[chuckles] Man, that is so deep. —Antz (1998)

Piercing the Veils” was one of my more popular and, I thought, better items on here.It garnered more emails than anything other than my debut, “The Real Matrix.” A few months ago a reader asked if I’d thought about revisiting it, given all that’s happened since. I said I’d think about it.

To say things have changed since I wrote “Piercing” (2012!)would be the understatement of the decade! We’re in a totally different environment now than we were then! Things that were speculation then should be obvious now to anyone with a functioning brain!

Based originally on this — I didn’t invent the idea — “Piercing the Veils” began by noting the different levels of cognitive awareness in the natural order of things.

Do you have pets? To them, you are godlike. They’ve no inkling of what lies behind your comings and goings. The world our two cats inhabit is inside our walls. While they’ve peered down corridors outside two places we’ve lived during their lifetimes, sounds from out there are scary. Their lives can be upended in ways unfathomable to them. Last year, we moved. Their sense of safety: gone, as they found themselves thrown into carriers, packed into a vehicle surrounded by ghastly noises, to emerge hours later in a strange new place: unfamiliar voices, sights, smells. They were terrified at first. Understandably.

Lower forms of life have no “apprehension” of us at all. Ants have none of the sidewalk they traverse as a sidewalk. It’s just part of the landscape. In that charming film Antz, the colony sees itself as the highest form of life, although film’s end depicts — perhaps as irony — a shadowy city scape in the background, following inexplicable (to the characters) events of the sort Charles Fort relished writing about.

To what extent is the human world like this? More than we think. Our cognition is more complex than that of a cat, of course. But there are parallels. Most of us see what we expect to see, are trained to see, and what our parents and teachers and mentors told us was real. We surround our minds with all manner of psychological protections for security. Even then, our lives can be upended by “acts of God.” We don’t like to be jolted from the familiar. NassimTaleb’s counsel about “antifragility” notwithstanding, most of us find sudden, unpredicted change deeply disorienting and paralyzing.

“Our”globalist, ruling-class oligarchs understand this fully. They’ve exploited it to the hilt over the past year and a half.

Most of America has not figured this much out.

So who knows what else is “out there” that we can’t apprehend at all?

The Veils.

Most of humanity lives and dies behind the first veil: 90 percent was my estimate (given Pareto distributions, it could be less, but not much). First veilers learn what they need to know to keep their lives together, not much more. They are not natural adventurers, restless risk-takers, or curious truth-seekers. They go off lifelong habits of thought and behavior. They trust authority implicitly and instinctively, whether it be scientific, political, theological, or that of a boss. What this means: first veilers are never truly in charge of their lives. They serve others’ wills and purposes, usually without realizing it.Sadly, they make good cannon fodder in wars. All the oligarchs who start wars have to do is put visions and symbols of an enemy on their TV screens to scare the pants off them, while invoking loyalty to “their” country or to“democracy” or simply promise them safety.

What makes this really unfortunate is that most do strive to be good people, and will be nice to you if you are nice to them. They tend to trust — want to trust — and may be devastated when they learn they can’t trust. Many are very good at what they do: crafts, farming, teaching, preaching, driving a truck, selling you clothing, repairing things, doing your tax returns, and a thousand other things that make up the warp and woof of a society that could not function without them.

The 10 percent or so who see past that first veil discover details of politics and policy, and begin to grapple seriously with public issues on their own, as an end in itself. They form opinions they can put in their own words, something more than mere habit. Second veilers tend to vote their interests, though, because although they become passionate about issues they are not necessarily truth-seekers, either. They tend to be party-line folks who don’t question first premises or investigate foundations, and don’t want you doing it, either.

Ten percent of this cohort will penetrate the second veil.

These folks discover the foundations of Constitutionalism and perhaps political philosophy generally. They reach into our Western heritage and learn the significance of, e.g., the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights. They may read John Locke and Edmund Burke as well as Washington and Madison and Jefferson. But there is much that third veilers fail to see.

But again, ten percent will see past the third veil. They will notice patterns that point to secret societies and agendas, especially involving financial institutions and powerful families that have used money and private networks to wield influence down through the ages. They may begin speaking darkly of, e.g., the Trilateral Commission, or the World Economic Forum, or even Freemasonry. We’re now talking about point-one percent of the human race: one person in a thousand. Which is why we encounter so many who don’t “get it.”

This is not about intelligence or aptitude, though. First veilers literally cannot see the forces circumscribing them, any more than they can see through an opaque curtain. And despite their often-extensive studies, many second and even third veiler university professors have political beliefs that are breathtakingly naïve. Trust me, I was there. What I saw and heard made me “get” why Thomas Sowell once stated that he’d rather be ruled by people chosen from the Cambridge phone book than Harvard faculty.

Those who penetrate the third veil understand how money power works — far better than those professors, stuck behind the third veil, who appear to believe that the many tragedies and disasters of past, recent, and contemporary times are simply bad decisions or unlucky accidents.

Thus Carroll Quigley — clearly a fourth veiler — could write in Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (orig. 1966):

“ … the powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of this system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations….  In each country the power of the central bank rested largely on its control of credit and money supply….” (p. 324)

“The growth of financial capitalism made possible a centralization of world economic control and a use of this power for the direct benefit of financiers and the indirect injury of all other economic groups….” (p. 337)

Elsewhere in that classic volume Quigley states how he knew of what he wrote. He had interacted with some of those players and studied their records. He believed them important enough on the world stage to be known, despite their wish to keep their activities secret.

Yet Quigley was not altogether above board. Nowhere does he mention the British Fabian Society (founded in the 1880s) or note its enormous influence. Given the very comprehensiveness of his work, and since he names several Fabians, he can’t possibly have not known about them. Maybe he thought them bit players. Maybe not.

So on one level, we see what we’re predisposed to see. Sometimes this is obvious. The geology student sees jagged black lines on white paper; his professor sees a depiction of a terrain. The physics student sees white lines in a closed container. His professor: subatomic events in a cloud chamber.

On another level, we see what our cognitive biases tell us is there. No more. Those who will say that “low-lifes” conspire to commit crimes and harm others somehow assume that the wealthy and powerful would never do this; only conspiracy nuts believe otherwise. Even though Adam Smith (of all people!) stated explicitly that wealthy businessmen would conspire against the public interest, given the opportunity. Even though there are dozens of statements by the oligarchs telling us openly what they are doing.

Behind the Fourth Veil….

Arguably the world’s oligarch “conspirators” are fourth veilers (at least). Some may be more than that. What happens to that next 10 percent, if we stick to the pattern so far, who see around the fourth veil?

Perhaps they see the world as the scene of an epic battle between good and evil, between godly forces and those “principalities … powers … rulers of the darkness of this age” Paul warned about (Eph. 6:12).

Then they choose sides! God or Satan! Cast in Christian-theological terms, those who penetrate the fourth veil do not merely mouth platitudes but actually perceivethe demonic forces behind such worldly manifestations as abortion-on-demand, genocide, sex trafficking, pedophilia, etc., as products of satanic evil.

Christians conclude that whatever tragedies and disasters befall this world, God is in control and is using them to work His will.

Others sell their souls to the other side, because they believe “the father of lies” (John 8:44).

The former requires (in this writer’s humble opinion) a certain measure of Stoicism. For it may go unrewarded, while the latter may lead to celebrity status and great monetary success. Ask Katy Perry.

The reason is to be found in Matthew 4:8-10. Satan is tempting Jesus. Satan offers Him “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory … All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

Does Jesus tell Satan something like, “Those kingdoms are not yours to give”?

No. He just says, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord Your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” (New King James)

Draw your own conclusion about who is running the show behind the scenes of this world, even if only temporarily — not according to me, but according to Scripture.

With all that said, there’s something that might make some of us hesitate.

Higher Veils?

Don Harkins (see above link), who developed the first version of this schema, claimed there were eight veils. Why eight?

I don’t know.

To the best of my knowledge, Harkins never elaborated or cited a source for his ideas, and as he passed away in 2009, we can’t ask him. There were odd circumstances surrounding his death, moreover. Foul play was never ruled out.

Are even the most astute Christian thinkers fifth veilers, behind the psychic equivalent of a yet-higher opaque curtain, predisposed against any effort to pull it back?

That query has given this author a few sleepless nights.

Do we have any reason to think there is a fifth veil, or something behind it? Higher veils?

That’s basically the same question asked by those third veilers who think those of us who use terms like super elite and GloboCorp are nuts, or see schemes to create a technocratic-totalitarian world government as dystopian science fiction.

This predisposes me to at least think about the matter.

I don’t think we can do more than guess at what lies behind higher veils, if by some chance they exist (I make no claims one way or the other).

Are we on a farm? Are we someone else’s property?

Many years ago — I was a student — I came across a copy of the infamous Book of Enoch in a used bookstore. My pastor warned me about it, calling it “evil.” He seemed unable to explain why (and Enoch is quoted favorably in Scripture; see Jude 1:14-15).

Enoch elaborates at length on the strangest passage in Genesis:

“Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men, that they were beautiful, and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose…. There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” (Genesis 6:1-2, 4; New King James)

Genesis bypasses further details, launching directly into a denunciation of human wickedness, how it grieved God that He had made man, and how the Great Flood then came about — but God found favor in Noah and his family!

Most do not realize it, but all over the world are stories or legends of a lost civilization in what we call prehistory, how it turned to evil and was destroyed in a great flood or similar catastrophe. A favored couple or family or small group was saved, and from them, the world repopulated. These tales come from peoples who couldn’t possibly have interacted with the ancient Hebrews, or with each other. This suggests we are talking about real events, not something religious storytellers made up.

Things get stranger if we pursue them. A few intrepid scholars, studying early Genesis in light of ancient writings from earlier cultures in the Middle East, discovered that much of early Genesis is echoed in those texts, but that they don’t refer to the Hebrew God (YHWH). Indeed, the Hebrew text sometimes uses the word Elohim, a plural word interpreted by Christians as meaning the Holy Trinity, although the text never says this explicitly. Ancient Sumerians wrote of contact with, and ruler ship by,“those who came from the heavens down to the Earth,” the meaning of Anunnaki. Some, such as authors Zecharia Sitchen and Paul Wallis, contend that the Anunnaki were extraterrestrials, although their seeming ability to mate with humans (the account that made its way into Genesis) renders this doubtful. They were probably as human as we are, possibly originating from an advanced civilization the location of which remains unknown. There appears to have been a dispute among them, involving us. Certain Anunnaki seem to have meant us well. Others wanted only slaves. Sounds human, all-too-human to me.

Was there such a civilization,elements of which survived into ancient historical times? How advanced was it?

Archeologists, professionals as well as amateur, have found artifacts and artworks that look startlingly like images of airworthy vehicles; a few devices appear to display a surprising level of astronomical knowledge. There are stone constructions which, if we are honest, we are clueless how they were built.

Does the UFO phenomenon fit in here somewhere? The U.S. government has as much as admitted that the phenomenon is real — just one more thing they’ve lied about for decades. But this, too, did not begin yesterday. People have long seen things in the sky they couldn’t explain, and what they see seems to reflect their culture — again, we see what we expect to see. Recent generations of Americans believe they have seen extraterrestrial spacecraft. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, people saw mysterious airships. In earlier centuries, they saw great ships navigating the sky. Middle Easterners saw flying chariots (the source of Erich von Däniken’s infamous title Chariots of the Gods?).

Again, I don’t know. There are a few fanciful accounts out there of what lies behind the “upper veils,” in some cases seeing not eight but nine. These speculate that those who penetrate the fifth veil see “God” and “the devil” as members of an advanced race, perhaps from another realm of existence — a place as far outside our perceptions as ours are beyond that of our beloved pets. Or perhaps the Antz analogy is more appropriate. Manifestations of vastly superior beings could be all around us — perhaps built into the physical systems of “matter” itself. We wouldn’t know what we were looking at, any more than does my oldest cat if looking at my computer screen.

Speculation, obviously. Credible?

Recall the math. Ten percent of the human race (roughly) penetrates the first veil. One percent gets past the second. Point-one percent sees around the third. Point-point-one percent peers beyond the fourth. That comes to one person in a hundred thousand able to see past the fifth veil. In a city of, say, 5 million, that’s 50 people. Where are they? There are between 7.8 and 7.9 billion of us. That ought to yield between 780,000 and 790,000 fifth veilers. Where are they?

The very question may seem to refute the whole edifice. But does it?

Who knows how many of these people — if they exist — were able to deal with what their minds seemed to tell them? In the past, asylums contained folks who claimed to have been spoken to and commanded to do things by godlike (or demonic) beings. How many such people are able to remain sane?

Or, perhaps when one reaches a certain level, one is schooled by those above, and among their schooling is advice just to leave us lower veilers alone.

We have abundant evidence of what happens when a primitive culture encounters an advanced one. Usually the primitive culture is destroyed. Ask the indigenous peoples of the Americas — or those in plenty of other places where industrial civilization has encroached, in its endless pursuit of resources, growth, and markets.

Perhaps there is a level of enlightenment that does not unleash destructive forces because its own systems prevent culture-destroying interactions.

A Prime Directive, if you will….

So what do we do with all this? Does it get us anywhere?

It doesn’t suggest new policies.

What it suggests to me is a need for humility in the face of all that we don’t know — an arena considerably larger than what we do know. Humility includes willingness to look carefully at our beliefs and what they commit us to. How secure are they, anyway?

Humility suggests being teachable, having a willingness to explore, and to always be learning new things. Even if what we encounter is sometimes disconcerting.

Sadly, those most in need of this counsel are least likely to take it seriously. Whether they be hard-nosed materialists convinced as they can be that, e.g., life came spontaneously from non life (a proposition without a scrap of supporting physical or experimental evidence), whether they be “accidentalists” convinced that all “conspiracy” investigators are nutjobs, or whether they be “fundamentalist” Christians who believe their understanding of Scripture is correct and complete because God speaks to them directly; thus their claims about His will are unerring.

Steven Yates’s new book What Should Philosophy Do? A Theory (Wipf and Stock) is available for purchase here and here. Please consider supporting my work on

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