Paranoia

 

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Paranoia is an interesting emotion. If paranoia is music, is high-pitched violins, although paranoia does not have to be feverish. Can be on-the-low, like an subtle itch you just can’t  scratch.

Paranoia is regarded as a ‘wrong’ emotion. If someone is being paranoid, someone is being needlessly fearful, or schizophrenic, or silly in some other sense. Nonsense.

Mao Zedong and Stalin were both paranoid men, grew increasingly paranoid throughout their life. And with reason; at certain point in his life, chairman Mao was wiretapped by members of his own staff. Both men reacted to their feelings of paranoia by moving against allies they distrusted, allies who might have been plotting against them, and consequently both kept their enemies at bay until their death.

With paranoia the point is not to be exactly right, for Mao and Stalin both acted against quite a number of allies they distrusted but who were not actually plotting against them. It is better to act against a few false positives than to miss any true positives.

Paranoia is an entirely logical emotion, a safeguard mechanism against betrayal. Fact of life is that you can trust few people. People you grew up with, perhaps, but how many people did you grow up with versus the amount of people you interact with on day-to-day-basis, and how many of the people you grew up with do you fully trust? You can trust people to look out for themselves, you can not trust them to look out for your best interest. If deemed useful to betray you, solid chance they betray you.

Which is not to say loyalty is fake, or love isn’t real. Just that betrayal is also real. Out-grouping comes as natural to us as in-grouping and is by nature not announced — as the wisdom concerning women goes, when communication between you and a women breaks down she will not tell you, because that’s what broken down communication means. So it is between men; people will not inform you of their betrayal. Paranoia is our way to cover the breach.

People might call someone overly paranoid as a slur, but you might as well say someone is overly angry, overly depressed, overly fearful, even overly joyful. Paranoia is an emotion like any other, has an important role to fulfill.

So, paranoia is healthy. Keeps us alive and kicking. Should be cherished and respected.

It is a lonely emotion. With whom will you share your paranoia? Surely not your enemies. Probably also not your in-group, for paranoia concerns your safety in relation to your in-group, so if they assure you nothing is wrong, you are stupid to take it at face value. It is all the more dangerous because professing paranoia to your in-group professes doubt, insecurity, weakness, which heightens the possibility of betrayal.

Paranoia deals with the unknown. You don’t know everything that’s going on, you can’t know everything that’s going on. Your enemies will often feed your paranoia as to make you fear them more than you should, but other enemies might downplay your paranoia as to make you fear them less than you should.

Thus, paranoia is something you deal with privately, although it is great to consult others in your in-group who are not involved in the matter to which your paranoia pertains. I find my girl often gives me good perspective. But, in the end, the decision to act upon paranoia is yours alone.

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