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Pronoia

As we all know too well, bad news must be better for commercial air-time or something... if people are freaked out about how much life sucks after watching the depressing news then they'll want to buy all the stuff in the commercials more. flossing with mintier floss will make things feel better, especially after all those people died in that earthquake! Maybe some slim fast would make you look better; then you'd be happy... Or maybe some taco bell.

Basically, if you're satisfied, you know that you don't really need very much to be happy. But if you've just been bombarded with tons of information about things that scare you. Things that make you sad. Things that make you just a little bit depressed about being alive.

Then you're going to be uncomfortable.

Then you're going to want something to make your discomfort go away. And guess what! Right then, you're going to see about 4 or 5 quick films (called commercials) about things that you don't really need. But these things you don't need might be somewhat neat in some way or another. Antibacterial air spray. And you didn't even know you wanted it. You never would have thought, gosh I sure wish they would make something to kill all these invisible things that I never notice and that never bother me at all and I'll never even know it's working anyway because it's making something I'm not even ever aware of go away.

How ridiculous!

And we all fall for it.

But the news is really good at giving us bad news, interspersed with a miniscule amount of valuable information, and flooded with advertisements. Just enough bad news to make us neurotic and just enough valuable info to keep us trusting them, and the commercials to get us out shopping to make ourselves "happy."



So there's this guy named Rob Brensky. And he wrote a book called PRONOIA, which is a word he made up about believing that the world is conspiring for your benefit, not in an egotistical way, but more like an overly optimistic kind of thing. You know, the opposite of paranoia... Anyway, here are a couple of excerpts that I thought would make for an uplifting and interesting post in light of all the bad news about the world sucking

CRIME DECLINES
Between 1973 and the end of 2002, the violent crime rate in the U.S.
decreased by
52 percent, from 48 victims per 1,000 people to 23. During
the same period, crimes
against property shrank by 69 percent, from 520
victims per thousand to 159. Crime
is now at its lowest level since it was first
officially tracked. The report comes
from the Bureau of Justice's "National
Crime Victimization Survey."



IT'S IN THE GENES
Researchers at Emory University found that humans are biologically
programmed to be
nice. Their study used magnetic resonance imaging
to scan the brains of women who
were playing a game called the
Prisoners' Dilemma. While seeking the goal of
financial gain, the
women could choose between collaborative or self-aggrandizing

strategies. Whenever they opted for the former, the parts of their
brains correlated
with reward-seeking behavior lit up. "The longer
the women engaged in a cooperative
strategy, the more strongly
flowed the blood to the pathways of pleasure," wrote

Natalie Angier in her account in *The New York Times.*


SHARING YOUR BREATH
Quoting geneticists, Guy Murchie says we're all family. You have at
least a million
relatives as close as tenth cousin, and no one on Earth
is any farther removed than your 50th cousin.



MOOSE LUXURY
A Canadian moose can now walk in peace and safety all the way to
South America, thanks to Harrison Ford. He and other celebrities with
wealth
and influence quietly worked together for years to purchase land
along corridors that connect various wildlife refuges and national parks.



THIS DASY IN PRONOIAC HISTORY
Early last century, marauding boll weevils devoured the cotton crop
that was the main product of Enterprise, Alabama. Local farmers had no
choice but to diversify the plants they grew. As a result, the town's
per capita income tripled what it had been when cotton was king. In
response, grateful citizens built a huge bronze monument to the insect
that had forced them to grow richer.