PARANOIA & the Tyranny of the One
What is individual and collective paranoia, and who's got it?
High on Suspicion
By Iona Miller, CHT, September, 2008
"Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power." (Lao-Tzu)
“The conflict between the opposites can strain our psyche to the breaking point, if we take them seriously, or if they take us seriously.”
(Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections).
“To struggle against paranoia is to defend multiplicity and differences as founding conditions for the exercise of the cultivation of the Soul, the love for images. It is an ethical imperative in the name of the image’s freedom of speech and the free exercise of thought and ideas. This is the battle. This is the combat.”
(Marcus Quintues, Jungian)
Guerilla Info War
These days everyone is just a little bit paranoid. In fact, paranoia is the only sane response to the current sociopolitical situation. We are faced with full-spectrum dominance surveillance and continual erosion of our Constitutional rights. What other informed response is there in light of the fact that things seem to be getting worse in terms of lockdown rule. Many feel even a change in parties won't roll back recent legislation nor reverse poor policy.
Hi tech has become a double-edge sword revealing every nuance of our character and desires to government and advertisers. We give them the ammo to do it when we engage in social networking and online purchasing. Gone are the days when they might profile you; now we do it ourselves by living out loud. Even those not online can easily be tracked by their credit cards, phone calls and banking activity.
All that is paranoid is not delusional, just as all that is delusional is not paranoid. What we are really talking about is a field of relative points of view (POV). The tyranny of the One is that of the official, spin-doctored version of past and current events, and future potentials – the fabricated consensus. Society expects the church to bring soul back into everyday life, something it should rightly do for itself. But we love to be prime time victims and play the persecutor/persecuted game (kick the dog).
Collectively, the dynamic field of paranoia is the unconscious shadow condition of mass institutions. Cognitive dissonance dwells somewhere between the ideal and the actual. Paranoia has become the background of our experience – the experiential ground. Is there any greater monomania than globalization at any human cost?
Our government is paranoid. It's tinfoil hat, HAARP, sits in Alaska on its crown. Trapped in its own greedy delusions, leadership is caught in the first trick of the collective unconscious: acting out its Shadow as The Shadow Government, the cryptocracy. The light and the dark meet in the Twilight Zone of liminality, which has its own Uncertainty Principle. Truth always hides just around the corner. Nothing is real in the imaginal world, or everything real is illusory. Things are not what they seem.
The idea of an unconscious brings opponents to see the other's unconscious as a screen for their own concealed intentions. We project our machinations onto others. Statements about the other become self-reflexive.
As a paranoiac you don’t trust; you watch. Our nation has extended its obsessive surveillance to its own citizenry. We have institutionalized Watchers, watchers of watchers, and watchers of watchers of watchers. And watchdogs to keep them all in check. Inexplicably, they call it intelligence but isn’t it paid paranoia?
Confusion of Understanding
Anyone not complacent or apathetic should be interested with natural curiosity in all aspects of the world around them. Politicians and history have taught us to be mistrustful and suspicious of the official “truth,” which means lies in Newspeak. What used to be called fringe conspiracy theory is now just common knowledge of the middle class about clandestine operations by shadow government, operating for its own interests and agenda.
In Washington D.C., paranoia may be essential. Maybe the “paranoids” are just not content with political delusion. Personal investigation is the means of forming one’s own critical point of view. The ability to do so is inherent in our Constitutional rights and arguably is the antithesis of self-absorbed narcissism – the hallmark of paranoia in the clinical sense.
Paranoia is invasive – it intrudes and worms its way through the psyche like a computer virus. Alienation in extreme cases disturbs relationships and ability to function in daily life. Authority feeds on fear. Yet, paranoia could be the basis of our collective shadow, including our unlived potential for the good.
There is no final correct reading of Reality – a final, definitive, unequivocal one. Not even tyrannical unification. Reality is too wiggly, too mercurial for that. The tyranny of the one, that single-minded thought, demands struggle on behalf of the ethical imperative to find ways to love together in our differences.
The highlight of any great drama is "the reveal." When we speak poetically, we hint gently at the proposed nature of reality, neither hidden nor revealed. Freedom from desire's materialism and denial's formalism is to be found in the middle earth of the poetic, the fantastic, the numinous, where things are not “one way or the other.” Things are not meant to be taken literally. Facts have nothing to do with it.
Paranoia is a defense through mobilization, against suppressed anger and depression, the malaise of our age. Giving in to external domination and giving in to internal pressure are threatening. More than delusions of persecution, who doesn’t fear being tricked into surrendering some element of self-determination?
Can we out-trick the Trickster? Can we use our imaginations to cure the imagination? Can we elude our own delusions? Maybe the veils themselves are delusional. Does meaning hinge on our individual view? It may depend on our worldview, our reality filter: do we serve the gods (religion), or become one (New Age), or eschew that in the name of science? Is there a clear distinction between delusion and revelation?
The fervor of “conspiracy freaks” can take on quasi-religious dimensions: it is revelatory, salvific. Spreading the word takes on a missionary quality. And at the core is the eternal mythic “quest for the Holy Grail”: “What do these things mean and whom do they serve? When life is perceived in the context of tyranny, meaning and freedom are lost, and rebellion is aroused. We may feel we are personally targeted, but aren’t we all the target in the psychophysical (psyops) war that is 21st Century life?
Spirit at the Edge of the Abyss
Paranoia might be seen as a disorder of the spirit. In his masterwork, ON PARANOIA, James Hillman presents paranoia in the context of the liminal edge where "psychology cannot be fully separated from religion--religion as relation with divinity and as relation with community ... where psychology is drawn to consider theology and politics." “Conspiracy theory” is inherently revelatory, potentially salvific – but what constitutes “correct” and “incorrect” revelation? And who is the arbiter of that consensus?
Hillman defines paranoia as a true disorder of interpreting the meaning of things: the presence of "incorrigible delusions." Hillman draws upon the analogy between the soul of the state and the state of the soul in Plato's Republic to find the remedy for the paranoia of the state in the remedies proposed by individual paranoid souls for their own recovery, the return of the poetic and Jung's idea of the unconscious. He then proceeds to demonstrate how paranoia has engaged and intrigued philosophical inquiries as well as medical psychology.
Hillman defines paranoia as a disorder of meaning. Hillman lays the blame for our collective misanthropy and social irresponsibility at the feet of the anomic archetype of individualism, one that wears a Protestant face. That worship of individualism in its most narrow sense underlies many of the new religious movements whose adherents hold that they can dissolve the thin boundary between the God within and the "wholly other" God without -- if they're only self-actualizing enough, only a little more enlightened, a little more ethical, a little more good-hearted. Just tear away one more veil, peel one more layer of the onion. (Nostrand)
Hillman identifies characteristics of paranoia that include:
- an "incorrigibility" in the delusions that attests to an impersonal, noetic factor that intimates that the disorder of mind rests in a prior disorder of spirit,
- "literalization" of ideas. Succumbing to a seductive search for meaning, and
- "concretization" of words into events.
He examines and rejects the following as criteria in determining "incorrect revelation":
- societal acceptance,
Weighing the Evidence
Suspiciousness based in experience is not paranoia. Paranoia is only unfounded or exaggerated distrust. In today’s volatile world, hell-bent on globalization, paranoia may simply be prudence – care, caution and good judgment. It is foresight, sagacity, insight, and informs us what appropriate actions are in any time and place. It is a survival mechanism – sound judgment in practical affairs. Prudence also implies caution (risk-mitigation), an understanding of first-principles and open-mindedness.
This is the paradox of our time – those accused of being paranoid are the only ones who are fit to judge certain issues, having bothered to acquaint themselves with all sides of each issue (circumspection). The problem with burdensome knowledge is, what are you going to do about it? That answer determines how radical you are, from depression to militancy.
Whether or not “they” are out to get YOU is only one of those issues. The sense of betrayal is real enough, unfortunately. From many perspectives, you have already been “gotten” – from the cradle to the grave through vaccination, dumbed-down education and social conditioning, media manipulation, poor nutrition and contaminated water, spectacular distractions, drugs and electronic dope, disinformation and spiritual programming.
Any kind of declared “war” is suspect for not being what it seems and a cover for covert operations – war on drugs, war on cancer, war on terror.
Pointless Paranoia -- Presuming Delusion
Paranoid personality disorder is a non-psychotic compulsion – a generalized projection of fears and anxieties onto the external world. It includes hypersensitivity, hypervigilance and ideas of being followed, monitored, poisoned, infected, externally controlled or chosen by God for a special mission.
The term pure paranoia describes a condition where a delusion is present, but without any apparent deterioration in intellectual abilities. Clinical use of the term has been used to describe delusions where the affected person believes he is being persecuted and contains two central elements:
1. The individual thinks that harm is occurring, or is going to occur, to him or her.
2. The individual thinks that the persecutor has the intention to cause harm.
Today’s ‘paranoia’ is neither irrational nor delusional. Political paranoia is not phob ic. It’s a fact of life. It is the only congruent response to the modern environment
What's New with My Subject?
Notes & REFERENCES
Paranoid personality disorder is listed in the DSM-IV-TR as 301.00 Paranoid Personality Disorder.
According to the DSM-IV-TR, this disorder is characterized by a pervasive distrust and suspicion of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
· Suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her
· Is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates
· Is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her
· Reads benign remarks or events as threatening or demeaning.
· Persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights
· Perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack
· Has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner.
The traits, behaviors and characteristics
· Do not occur exclusively during the course of a mood disorder accompanied by psychotic features nor other psychotic disorders.
· Are not due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.
European description per ICD-10
The ICD-10 lists paranoid personality disorder as F60.0 Paranoid Personality Disorder.
This personality disorder is characterized by at least 3 of the following:
(a) excessive sensitiveness to setbacks and rebuffs;
(b) tendency to bear grudges persistently, i.e. refusal to forgive insults and injuries or slights;
(c) suspiciousness and a pervasive tendency to distort experience by misconstruing the neutral or friendly actions of others as hostile or contemptuous;
(d) a combative and tenacious sense of personal rights out of keeping with the actual situation;
(e) recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding sexual fidelity of spouse or sexual partner;
(f) tendency to experience excessive self-importance, manifest in a persistent self-referential attitude;
(g) preoccupation with unsubstantiated "conspiratorial" explanations of events both immediate to the patient and in the world at large.
· expansive paranoid, fanatic, querulant and sensitive paranoid personality (disorder)
· delusional disorder
A personality disorder is a severe disturbance in the characterological constitution and behavioral tendencies of the individual, usually involving several areas of the personality, and nearly always associated with considerable personal and social disruption. Personality disorder tends to appear in late childhood or adolescence and continues to be manifest into adulthood. It is therefore unlikely that the diagnosis of personality disorder will be appropriate before the age of 16 or 17 years. General diagnostic guidelines applying to all personality disorders are presented below; supplementary descriptions are provided with each of the subtypes.
Conditions not directly attributable to gross brain damage or disease, or to another psychiatric disorder, meeting the following criteria:
(a) markedly dysharmonious attitudes and behavior, involving usually several areas of functioning, e.g. affectivity, arousal, impulse control, ways of perceiving and thinking, and style of relating to others; (b) the abnormal behavior pattern is enduring, of long standing, and not limited to episodes of mental illness; (c) the abnormal behavior pattern is pervasive and clearly maladaptive to a broad range of personal and social situations; (d) the above manifestations always appear during childhood or adolescence and continue into adulthood; (e) the disorder leads to considerable personal distress but this may only become apparent late in its course; (f) the disorder is usually, but not invariably, associated with significant problems in occupational and social performance.
ICD-10 copyright © 1992 by World Health Organization.
James Hillman On Paranoia The Religion, Politics, and Psychology of Personal and Collective Madness examine the paranoid behavior style in individual cases, in order to gain insight into the undetected structures of delusional madness in society.
Mr. Heart here is a Chinese spy,
hot-wired to his smart head.
He imagines his face carefully, with his fingers,
and he fools with the hair on his crown.
He’ll never again use his body to dance.
He absolutely tells nothing to his wife,
and he lives with his mind as well as he can.
Intelligence comes to him in his speeds,
in techniques he learned too fast.
He smokes and drinks to slow down.
There are quiet conversations,
and fearful embassy parties –
all of it a wild gasp for breath,
bolt awake sitting up in bed.
There are those who have jobs of deceit
and seem to function with grace,
spinning to be of use to foreign means.
Mr. Heart is well paid to do that.
He’s married to the daughter
of a Nobel prize physicist.
They live in Washington DC
where paranoia is essential.
Robert Newman, 3/1966