Pronoia"There is no stronger army in all the world than an idea whose time has come."
- Victor Hugo, 1870
modern use* of the word pronoia
I can trace occurred during the psychedelic 1960s and 1970s - following
a charismatic smile from
John Perry Barlow. The EFF co-founder, Grateful Dead lyricist,
and grizzled veteran of both Millbrook and Haight-Ashbury defined pronoia
on your behalf.
was revived in the public mediasphere in early Spring 1994, when several
members of a British and European bohemian subculture loosely known as
zippies empathized with the pronoia concept and took
it as a banner. It was agreed among these veteran ravers
and festival-crusties that the American cyberhippy Barlow's
interpretation of a "universal origin" of pronoia was definitely an element
of the vibe they were experiencing there in the early 1990s.
(and you them!)
Time passed. Then, at the turn of the millennium, astrologer and poet Rob Brezsny wrote a wonderful, topical pronoia poem entitled Painful Blessings, which deserves reading all the way through!
A final thought on Pronoia: while symptoms of Pronoia include sudden attacks of optimism and outbreaks of goodwill, the revived meme also included a caution. Pronoia, like paranoia, can cause dangerous irrationality if taken in massive doses... grounding and skill at surfing are key to making the most of an onslought of pronoia.
It was brought to our attention several years ago, via e-mail by Mr. Fred H. Golder, that he believes HE in fact deserves credit for the revival of the word Pronoia in 1982. To his point, Pronoia.net offers a taste of his serious academic paper here. Writing at Queens College in October 1982 (in SOCIAL PROBLEMS,V.30,N.1:82-91), Mr. Golder summarizes:
Our response: Well, maybe feelings of pronoia are always just a "delusion"... or maybe Mr. Golder just hasn't gotten the vibe? :-) Seriously, it seems to us as if this pop-psych definition of the word Pronoia holds up a dysfunctional and delusional minority to a scientific zoom lense, and reports the view as if it were an accurate representation of the larger youth phenomenon. Pronoia.net disagrees with this basic premise.
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