Paranoia #1

one day i will write a book concerning the different forms of paranoia…as i feel that this aspect of human nature is one of the most fascinating, terrifying and important topics…and that making a more explicit understanding of how it works, how it is broken and what it means would be cleansing in an age of runaway forms of information and knowledge….for now i will have this series exploring examples of paranoia….here’s a favorite from Dr. Strangelove, a movie devoted to many forms of paranoia…i bet you think this post is about you…



  1. Logocentric
    June 7, 2010

    yes, well it’s clear that you’re talking about me, Akbar. somehow you know that every time i go to the dentist, i bring up the topic of fluoridation, to see what the dentist’s reaction is. i know he thinks that my breath stinks, and that’s because i grew up in a rural area, on well water that wasn’t fluoridated. but he’ll change the subject and say that i brush very well and that there are no problems. and i’ll think there must be something to it–that an excess of fluoride has built up in his brain from his suburban childhood, and that it makes him incapable of viewing me as an equal, of dealing with me as a person.

    yes, this is a nice exercise. what is the opposite of paranoia? rational, reasonable, sane, sound. but, then, what are the parameters of that category, and what standards do we use to define it? are they absolute and unassailable standards?

  2. Akbar Lightning
    June 7, 2010

    wow, that is good stuff, seriously…the whole notion of being perceived by others is a big part of what i want to explore in this book idea…

    the best part about writing a book called paranoia, is that it can itself be both a trigger and a moderating force…

    anywhoo, as somebody who has gone through my own particular forms…what i see as a common thread, and what i see in this video…is that paranoia is best explained by the theory of cognitive dissonance, that argues that internal unconscious conflicts are given rationalizations by the mind in order to calm down the physical response. paranoia, explicitly, is that form of rationalization that falls outside of reasonable deduction…

    in other words, paranoia is a way of attaching oneself declaratively to an answer, even though the answer is not well argued for and contradicts other evidence…but what fascinates me is how the paranoid attachment feeds off of outside challenges, by entrenching deeper…this mental process, i argue, is way more common than most people are willing to admit, because…well, they are paranoid…

    insecurity is a mild form of paranoia…and so much of what is marketed out there is a direct response to rampant insecurity.

    of course, the question of whether or not people ‘ought’ to feel secure is a deeper question…but there is no doubt, that conscious insecurity and habitual unconscious insecurity are two different mind states completely…

  3. Logocentric
    June 7, 2010

    what fascinates me is that the unconscious form seems to have become the norm–and that “what is marketed” relies on the existence of “rampant insecurity,” which is slightly different from the idea that it is a direct response to it. but i need to be careful here, don’t i? I don’t want anyone to think that i think i know what ultimately causes these conditions.

  4. Akbar Lightning
    June 7, 2010

    yes, just remember that the marketers can unconsciously produce objects that tap into unconscious consumers…and as such can feel ‘talented’ and yet have no deep understanding concerning the nature of their marketing. this can be driven by sheer self-interest, which is the more common form of this…even though, there are those who occasionally consciously exploit insecurity in consumers…but such people have had to become conscious of this as a choice, and then made the choice to do so…many, once facing that road, are driven by CONSCIENCE to do otherwise…

    i believe the unconscious supplier and unconscious consumer model is the more common and more influential aspect of social injustice…and i think MLK understood this…knowing that liberation was good for both, since it protected both from paranoia….

  5. Logocentric
    June 7, 2010

    that’s a nice insight, an interesting market. does this bring us back to Ellul, et al, and the perpetuation of (or alternatively, the consciousness of, and resistance to) “technique,” which is likely to be ubiquitous but hidden from most of those who participate in it?

  6. Logocentric
    June 7, 2010

    an interesting “market”? i meant interesting “argument.” hmm.

  7. Akbar Lightning
    June 7, 2010

    what would freud have to say about you saying market when you meant argument…in a world of commercialized ideas..

    yes, i suppose Ellul’s ideas would be appropriate, mostly in terms of explaining the inertia of unconsciousness that would have to do with the efficiency of change, which makes the process of awareness more difficult..

    but i think this might be stretching the term technique outside of its most specific meaning…what i am talking about is a universal tendency for human beings to operate from motivations that are unknown to them that is present prior to Ellul’s notion of technique as a 20th century emergent property, if i understand him correctly…

    technique is probably the new variable that magnifies unconsciousness toward acute forms of paranoia…

  8. globatron
    June 8, 2010

    i believe that advertisers are highly aware and conscious of their actions.

    I am happy to not be working in advertising anymore myself.

    I have not read Elull’s thoughts on “technique” please explain further.

    I need to watch that movie again. My wife often tells me to knock off the paranoia. I don’t see it as me being defensive. Maybe I am often times overly defensive. Is that paranoia or part of my reptilian brain trying to claim it’s territory? Maybe I really am a lizard.


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