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Paranoia – When the line becomes blurry

Betsssssy 11/365: Shower Paranoia via Flickr

In most schools of psychology, paranoia is a disorder where one holds a belief that one is being persecuted, the victim of a conspiracy or in some kind of danger when, in fact, they are not.

Excessive anxiety or fear are thought to be two contributing factors to paranoia but there could be additional spiritual and transpersonal factors which mainstream psychiatry almost entirely overlooks.¹

Among analytical psychologists, paranoia is believed to be sometimes accompanied with inflation, in which the ego overly identifies with archetypal contents.

Within pop culture and the media, the term might not always be used correctly because some hold naïve views about or blatantly conceal shady personal and political agendas.²

Some pundits have been saying that we live in a “culture of fear,” especially during the Reagan and Bush eras. Apparently a wealthy and powerful few manipulate the media to try to generate just enough social paranoia to justify political acts (like war) or to boost sales for products that alleviate fear-related issues.

These critics maintain that the rich and powerful do not want to create too much fear. If they did, society might become paralyzed or chaotic, which definitely would not advance political agendas and corporate profits.

Reality, however, is often far more complex and open-ended than tidy conspiracy theories, making this view seem simplistic (but not unworthy of consideration).

Turn to 2017 and the persistent reality of global violence. The “culture of fear” theme is quickly losing ground to more recent tropes like Fake News, Climate Deniers, and Russian Spying. These are the latest media bad guys. And in a few years, there will undoubtedly be a new trendy list of public villains for popular news outlets to explore and discuss ad nauseam.

Sometimes actual cases of paranoia develop in highly intelligent, prominent personalities.

For instance, the Austria–Hungary (now Czech Republic) born mathematician, logician and philosopher Kurt Gödel (1906-1978) starved himself to death in later years. Fearing that his food would be poisoned, Gödel wouldn’t eat anything that his wife didn’t prepare for him. After his wife was hospitalized for six months, he refused to eat and simply wasted away to die.

Kurt Godel via Flickr

In 1978 the New Wave band Devo released a popular song “Too Much Paranoia.” And in the realm of the paranormal, some believers in extraterrestrial mind control wear tin foil hats to apparently block evil aliens from controlling people through ESP.

To outside observers, wearing tin foil hats seems a pretty clear case of irrational behavior arising from paranoia.³

¹ See https://epages.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/do-you-hear-voices-why-spirituality-and-transpersonal-psychology-are-so-often-overlooked/

² See psychcrime.org and mindhacks.com

³ Not to say that ETs necessarily do not exist. Probably nobody knows for sure. But to think that tin foil would protect a person against meddling ETs with advanced technologies seems absurd.

Related » Corruption, Devo: Too Much Paranoia French TV 1978, Melanie Klein, Politics


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Michael Talbot

My very own hologram by Lenara Verle

My very own hologram by Lenara Verle via Flickr

Michael Coleman Talbot (1953-1992) was an Australian born proponent of the holographic universe model, which essentially says the universe is like a multidimensional, interconnected web of energy. Many believe this view opens the door to all kinds of unconventional possibilities.

A Discovery Channel TV series, The World’s Strangest UFO Stories, notes that some take the holographic metaphor literally, going as far to say that we live within a hologram created by an alien supercomputer—something like we find in The Matrix Trilogy.

In his book, The Holographic Universe, Talbot mentions two dominant approaches to psi. On the one hand we have reports from clairvoyants, on the other hand, statistical approaches like those of R.H. and Louisa Rhine:

[Real paranormal] discoveries…could arguably have as much impact on human history as Columbus’ discovery of the New World or the invention of the atomic bomb. Indeed, those who have watched a truly talented clairvoyant at work know immediately that they have witnessed something far more profound than the dry statistics of R. H. and Louisa Rhine. This is not to say that the Rhine’s work is not important. But when vast numbers of people start reporting the same experiences, their anecdotal accounts should also be viewed as important evidence. They should not be dismissed merely because they cannot be documented as rigorously as other and often less significant features of the same phenomenon can be documented. As Stevenson states, “I believe it is better to learn what is probable about important matters than to be certain about trivial ones”¹

Talbot advocates a new approach to psi where anecdotal accounts are not not hastily dismissed but treated as data; and he believes this should be an important aspect of scientific investigation.

In an interview with Jeffrey Mishlove, Synchronicity and the Holographic Universe, Talbot speaks freely about his various paranormal experiences, analyzing them from the overlapping perspectives of depth psychology and the supernatural.

Talbot’s sincerity, intelligence and tremendous ability to communicate made him a bright light in psi studies. His untimely death in 1992 due to leukemia brought a promising career to a close but he left behind an important legacy for those keen on bridging the gap between science and spirituality.

Fausto Intilla adds:

How many significant (important) coincidences can happen to a person in his life, living in a unorganizated and stupid Universe?…I think no-one. Every synchronism in our life, is like an open-eyes-dream (Jung taught)…and we can thank the fine intelligence of our Universe…if they happen.²

According to Wikipedia, Talbot was also openly gay but not intensely political about his sexual orientation.³

¹ New York: HarperCollins, 1991: 296.

² https://earthpages.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/talbot-michael/#comments

³ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Talbot_%28author%29

Related Posts » Synchronicity, UFO


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Klein, Melanie

Paranoid Android

Paranoid Android © D. (SansPretentionAucun e) (•̪●) via Flickr. Used with permission.

Melanie Klein (1882-1960) was an Austrian-born Freudian psychologist and a pioneer in psychoanalysis for children.

Klein says that part of early childhood development includes a ‘paranoid schizoid position.’

According to her theory, the child in a paranoid schizoid position tries to master his or her innate death instinct by splitting the ego into two components: one bad, the other good. The bad ego is projected onto objects (a Freudian term that includes people) perceived as threats.

This paranoid schizoid position alternates with states of depression, called the ‘depressive position.’

Although Klein primarily treated children, she traces the roots of adult neuroses and psychoses back to childhood. This is not uncommon. Just as historians look to the past to understand the present, Carl G. Gustavson notes in A Preface to History that psychiatrists also look back to try to understand the present.

Even the psychiatrist goes into the past before he dares to prescribe a remedy. When he is asked to solve a personal problem, he invariably wants a case history. Just as an individual’s personality represents the sum total of his experiences, so the present appearance and conduct of nations and institutions reflect the formative circumstances of their background.¹

Klein believed that the Oedipus complex is activated as early as age two, while Freud indicated ages three to five. Both theorists agree, however, that adults with unresolved Oedipus complexes may behave like children.

While not elaborated upon by Klein, it seems possible that a negative or pathological type of false synchronicity could play a role in adult paranoia. Here, subjects darkly interpret external stimuli as ‘signs’ that the world is ‘out to get’ them.

An extremely paranoid adult with the surname Lennon, for instance, might take this as an omen that she or he is doomed to be slain. And subsequent external stimuli (such as hearing a Beatles song in a public place) would be incorrectly interpreted by this person as direct support for their distorted expectation.

In keeping with this idea, C. G. Jung says that synchronicity may be interpreted pathologically by those deemed schizophrenic by the psychiatric diagnostic system.

Whether or not synchronicities are interpreted positively (as signposts leading to healing and humility) or negatively (as portents of doom or, alternately, as sacred signs leading to an inflated sense of one’s greatness and importance), both instances are probably related to not integrating the personal – and by implication, the collective – unconscious within everyday ego awareness.

¹ Carl G. Gustavson, A Preface to History (1955: 3).

Related Posts » Denial, Electra Complex