Words are a wonderful playground; the problem is that they
end up meaning something, and can therefore have a powerful
on peoples' lives. I just finished perusing (late, as usual)
series on "paranoia". It put me in an odd mood--
nearly everything I read does.
- in the non-clinical sense (I
hasten to point this out, because
I am a doctor--as you already know--and medical terms are
most misused by the lay public...but that's another column)--refers
unreasonable suspicion of people and institutions. The problem
word "unreasonable". Is it reasonable to suspect
that the FBI is reading
this even as you are? They have that capability (thanks
CARNIVORE software and a compliant Congress); they might
to bother with the on-line habits of Joe Twelvepack. Therefore,
reasoning, the only thing that keeps THEM from monitoring
YOU is their
own boredom. Is it reasonable to suspect that the CIA is
messages directly into your brain? Microwave broadcast and
technology may have advanced that far as early as the mid-1960s--
but there's no way to tell, as much of it remains classified.
by my reasoning, THEY may be secretly influencing YOU, but
no way to prove or disprove it.
Who defines that word? If
you allow others to define it
for you, they set the parameters of your worldview, and
those boundaries qualifies as paranoia. If you define it
for yourself, and
carefully reassess the definition as new information is
might find yourself accepting ideas that scare the elastic
right out of
your socks. If you refuse to daphnia it at all, you may
muttering dire imprecations to unseen entities near a bus
a Central Valley city. A word; a definition; not very much.
the difference between "sane" and "nuts"--also
Of course, "definition" carries other meanings
as well, and they are
suggestive. I was once exercising in a public place, and
type told me that I had to do sit-ups. They would give my
"definition". The analogy is obvious: to attain
control over the shape
of a thing- a belly, perceived reality--one must exert oneself.
we weren't working hard enough.