Pnoid ufo related online zine issue #1
THE PARANOID NEWS. An On-Line Newsletter.
Issue #1. Feb. 7, 1994.
-----> "The Enemy is Ourselves." <-----
Written, published and copyrighted by psychospy.
See bottom for subscription/copyright info.
In this issue...
WELCOME TO PARANOIA
[Note: This file ends with "#####". Check for truncation.]
----- WELCOME TO PARANOIA -----
Paranoia is a tendency to see personal threats where none exist
or to overreact to actual threats beyond the bounds that reason
would dictate. In many cases paranoia is a self-fulfilling
prophesy, because someone who thinks the world is already against
them will often take preemptive actions which indeed alienate
others and make their fear come true.
In an extreme case, we would think of someone as paranoid when
they lock themselves in their homes, cover the windows with tin
foil and hide under their bed trembling with the unrealistic fear
that the CIA or alien invaders are coming to get them. More
commonly, however, paranoia is expressed in a person who is
outwardly sane but just plain nasty. In the course of our lives,
each of us has come to know and profoundly dislike at least one
truly paranoid character. In our childhood, there was the mean
old lady down the street who would become furious and immediately
call the police whenever our baseball happened to roll into her
yard. It seemed to us that this woman did nothing all day but
sit at her kitchen window waiting for an affront to happen. When
it did, she was well prepared for battle and reacted with a
ferocity far out of proportion to the actual offense.
To a lesser extent, paranoia afflicts all of us from time to
time. Sometimes, we are hypersensitive to perceived slights and
read into the acts of others a sinister and demeaning intent that
simply isn't there. There are times when each of us has hidden
under our bed to escape an imaginary foe or fortified ourselves
for battle against enemies who were only in our minds. We may
have lashed out at people we love or at total strangers on the
assumption that we "have to get them they get us." Often, we
find ourselves deeply embarrassed sometime later when we discover
that the evil wolf whose shadow we attacked was little more than
a startled rabbit who happened to approach us on our bad side.
Time may expose our most significant misjudgments. "I was
paranoid," we admit. "I overreacted." We calm down and assess
the damage. Sometimes it can be repaired, sometimes not. We
recover as best we can and get on with our lives, vowing next
time not to be quite so hot-headed.
That's not to say that our paranoia is over. It's still there,
under the surface, in every one of us. Paranoia is not just
expressed in angry outbursts; it can be quiet and invisible, a
pervasive disease that eats away at our potential. The same
skewed perceptions and flawed justifications that shape the
enraged behavior of the lady down the street are also at work
within each of us every day of our lives. In some form,
irrational fears influence our every decision, especially our
most important ones.
We like to think of our choice of career, romantic partner or
current life circumstances as a thoughtful one based on logic,
wisdom, luck and love. We like to see each life-altering
decision as a movement toward some positive personal goal. We
forget that what sometimes motivates us more strongly than logic
or love is fear. Instead of some positive reward pulling us
ahead, what causes many of our decisions is a stark terror of
something else pushing us away.
---- PARANOID LOGIC ----
If you talk to someone who is paranoid, the explanations they
give for their odd beliefs always seem to make some logical
sense. If they say that the CIA is watching them, they almost
always have "proof." Upon request, they will offer a whole
litany of evidence to support their claims: The newspaper
arrived late today, and the mailman wasn't the usual person who
does the route. There's a van parked across the street with
tinted windows, and strange clicks can be heard on the telephone.
If you turn yourself over to this person and hear only their side
of the story, you may begin to believe it, too. Maybe the CIA is
indeed watching this place!
Who is to say that the paranoid is wrong and we "sane" people are
right? On the surface, we only seem to have a difference of
opinion. Maybe the phone is tapped and the van across the street
is a government observation vehicle. Neither of us knows for
sure, so how can we say who is correct? Based only on the
evidence the paranoid himself presents, the case seems flawless.
At the same time, we know there is something warped about this
person's point of view. He seems to have ALREADY come to the
conclusion that the CIA is after him, and he looks around for any
shred of evidence that supports that view. When he finds the
evidence he is seeking--like the mysterious van parked across the
street--then he grasps it passionately without bothering to
investigate further. If you or I saw a strange vehicle parked
across from our house, we might walk over to take a look or call
our neighbors to find out who it belongs to. The paranoid
usually won't do this. He has already reached a conclusion of
ominous threat, and he will do only the minimal investigation
necessary to justify what he knows in his heart already.
Observing how the paranoid selectively collects and interprets
ambiguous evidence to support his prior convictions, we could
conclude that he WANTS to feel threatened. He NEEDS to preserve
this siege-like state of mind to protect his fragile ego from
----- DSM DEFINITIONS ----
In future issues, we will look at the more subtle, everyday forms
of paranoia. For now, let's start with the most obvious kind:
the severe suspicions that are disruptive enough to be called
The DIAGNOSTIC AND STATISTICAL MANUAL OF MENTAL DISORDERS (DSM-
III-R) is the Bible of the mental health industry. It contains
objective definitions for the major recognized mental illnesses.
There are precise criteria for deciding if a person is afflicted
with each disease, and these standards are demanding enough that,
aside from depression, which is widespread, most of us will never
be classified as having a significant mental disorder.
Nonetheless, we are likely see a bit of ourselves in DSM, for all
of us have shown at least some of the symptoms from time to time.
In DSM, paranoia crops up in several classes of disease,
including schizophrenia, delusional disorder and post-traumatic
stress disorder. Of greatest interest to our discussion is
PARANOID PERSONALITY DISORDER. Following are the criteria for
> Paranoid Personality Disorder is a pervasive and unwarranted
tendency, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety
of contexts, to interpret the actions of people as deliberately
demeaning or threatening, as indicated by at least FOUR of the
(1) expects, without sufficient basis, to be exploited or
harmed by others.
(2) questions, without justification, the loyalty or
trustworthiness of friends or associates.
(3) reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign
remarks or events, e.g. suspects that a neighbor put out
trash early to annoy him.
(4) bears grudges or is unforgiving of insults or slights.
(5) is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted
fear that the information will be used against him or her.
(6) is easily slighted and quick to react with anger or to
(7) questions, without justification, fidelity of spouse or
Chances are, you have probably known someone who has consistently
exhibited the required four-of-seven criteria, even if you did
not diagnose them as paranoid at the time. He or she may have
come across to you as combative, abusive and unpleasant--a person
you wanted to get away from as quickly as possible. Other
paranoid characters you have known may have seemed human at
first; you recognized them as sub-human only when they betrayed
you at some vulnerable moment. Paranoia can be a source of
unbounded cruelty because the paranoid individual is so obsessed
by the threats against him that he cannot comprehend the feelings
Ah, but can the rest of us throw stones? Hasn't each of us
exhibited at least some of these criteria from time to time? We
may not have done it consistently since early adulthood, but at
least we can look at some of the above points, nod our heads and
say quietly to ourselves, "Yes, I know what it's like." Even if
we have never been clinically paranoid, that doesn't mean we
can't understand the underlying mechanisms or see a bit of
ourselves in the diagnosis. At least we can learn something by
imagining ourselves in those shoes.
----- MOTIVATION -----
Imagine that you are a person who fills all of the above criteria
for Paranoid Personality Disorder. Why do you think this way?
Certainly it can't be a pleasant sensation to see threats all
around you and to be so distrustful of other humans that you can
hold no close relationships with them. Paranoia would seem to be
a living Hell. Why, then, do you live like this? What is the
payoff to you in being paranoid?
At the core of a paranoid personality--and maybe at the heart of
every one of us--is a hurt and frightened child. While never
admitting it openly, the paranoid lacks confidence in himself and
is convinced, deep inside, that he is fundamentally flawed and
inferior to others. He feels certain that if others really knew
him, they would dislike him. Inside, the paranoid is exquisitely
sensitive and easily hurt--like a clam without its shell. Like
all humans, he wants to protect himself, and he does this by
constructing a special kind of shell: a set of reactions and
attitudes designed to shield the child from any possibility of
The inner child's self-esteem is very fragile. Even the
slightest hint of criticism is intolerable. The hidden strategy
of the paranoid is to prevent any messages of rebuke from
reaching the inner child, or to at least neutralize their power
if they do get through.
Let us say you are a student whose report card is about to be
released. You suspect that the grade will not be good, and this
thought is unbearable to the sensitive child inside. A bad grade
would only confirm your own private sense of worthlessness. For
some of us, the impending release of an unfavorable grade might
be a cause for depression, but the paranoid's inner self is far
too sensitive to tolerate that kind of self-flagellation.
Instead of moping around waiting for the grade to come, he takes
immediate preemptive action.
The report card is potentially hurtful only as long as the
paranoid respects its validity. The easiest way to disable this
potentially threatening message is to attack the messenger--
preferably before the message has even been delivered. Given the
slightest provocation, the paranoid blows up at his teachers.
They are corrupt, he charges. They are worthless, stupid people
and at the same time clever conspirators who are actively trying
to defeat him. To support these charges, the paranoid has
already stockpiled an overwhelming body of evidence--because
that's the first thing a paranoid starts to do when he enters any
relationship. One day, seemingly out of the blue, he dumps all
his collected grievances on the startled faculty, then storms out
of school vowing never to return.
Faculty members may themselves feel hurt by the student's
unexpected outburst. "What did I do?" they ask. They wonder,
privately, if any of the charges might be true. If the student
claims that the teachers were dishonest or discriminatory, then
the they might be tempted to respond to those charges directly.
If a loud public debate erupts over the validity of the student's
claims, then he has succeeded in his intended goals. The
teachers are placed on the defensive; the value of the report
card is thrown into doubt, and the student's delicate inner
equilibrium is restored, at least for the moment.
This strategy for preserving self-esteem, when used over and
over, eventually evolves into an entrenched paranoid world view.
One preemptive act leads to others and is supported by a complex
system of evasive thinking. The paranoid cannot admit his past
mistakes because this would threaten the sensitive inner self, so
he must interpret the outside world in such a way that other
people are responsible for all of his failures. After the
outburst in the classroom, the student may not have the internal
strength to admit, "I was wrong." Instead, he must create an
defensive system of beliefs which support the idea that the
teachers are out to get him. This is when complicated conspiracy
theories begin to form. "Those kind of people are all the same,"
the student concludes with cynicism. "They are all trying to
take advantage of me and use me to advance their own selfish
When the student enters a new relationship with a different
teacher, he brings his preconceptions with him. No matter what
the new teacher is really like, the student is prepared to see
only a threat. He immediately starts collecting evidence of
abusive intent. The evidence, it seems, is always easy to find.
With careful editing of the video tape, any word, gesture or
innocent act can be seen as deliberately demeaning. Once he
finds his evidence, the paranoid looks no further. He sees in
this teacher the same threat he saw in all the others, and given
the possibility of another unfavorable grade being issued, the
student will not hesitate to take preemptive action once again.
The ultimate joke of paranoia is that the unfavorable evaluation
that the student feels certain is coming may be only in his mind.
Maybe there was an "A" on that original report card and all the
attempts to devalue it were unnecessary. Maybe the teachers
initially liked this student and were willing to go out of their
way to give him special opportunities. After he attacks them,
however, they may indeed come to hate him just as much as he
thinks they do. Paranoids DO have enemies because their
preemptive attacks actively create them.
----- PROGNOSIS -----
In the mental health profession, Paranoid Personality Disorder is
considered among the most intractable of diseases. Most of these
people never "get better." They are paranoid until the day they
die, and no amount of love or sensitive therapy is likely to
change them. They cannot change because they refuse to admit
that anything is wrong. If all of their human relationships have
crumbled, it's the fault of the other people, not them. The
paranoid may live an uncomfortable life of social isolation and
unmitigated fear, but he sees his own behavior as an entirely
logical response to the circumstances around him. To acknowledge
that he might be personally responsible for any of his current
grief is impossible for the paranoid, almost by definition.
The paranoid prides himself on his impeccable "logic," and
because he perceives no flaws in it, he is rarely willing to
enter into any kind of therapy or introspection to repair it.
For the most part, he will not be changed by any drug or by the
selfless devotion of any misguided spouse or missionary.
Paranoid reasoning is integral to his thought processes and is
supported by many years of cumulative emotional investment. Even
if you flood him with endless love and unconditional support, the
paranoid will always suspect that your intentions are selfish and
devious. He will ask, again and again, "What do you want from
me?" and he will do his best to reposition you as both a
perceived and real threat.
At least that's the case with the lifelong, clinically recognized
victim. The rest of us who are only partly paranoid may show
greater hope. Most of us are not yet so far gone that we can't
admit our own failures, at least in the distant past. Our inner
child, while still very sensitive, may be tempered by a
disciplined intellect with the power to overrule at least the
kid's most absurd demands.
Those of us who are only partly paranoid are also partly sane.
You can't cure paranoia. It's there for life, always putting
pressure on us to take preemptive action. We can learn to
recognized this impulse, however, and to disregard it in the
formulation of our worldly decisions. One key to keeping
paranoia in check is to adopt a code of ethics regarding our own
behavior. In any circumstance we encounter, we need to follow a
set of rational rules--and stick to them no matter how loudly the
inner brat is crying for blood.
Paranoia is a set of fundamental flaws in the processing of
information. We can counteract it by adopting rigorous rules for
the admissibility of evidence not unlike those used by a court of
law. Don't jump to conclusions without reliable facts, and don't
make important decisions about your life until the case is proved
"beyond a reasonable doubt."
Paranoia is also defeated by curiosity. Is that van across the
street a government observation vehicle? The best way to find
out is to go over and look. The only lasting, effective way to
deal with a fear of something is to study that object more
closely. Try to look beneath the surface to understand how the
object works, and soon your paranoia will dissolve into
TO BE CONTINUED....
----- SUBSCRIPTION AND COPYWRITE INFO -----
© Glenn Campbell, 1994.
The entire contents of this on-line newsletter are copyrighted
and may not be reproduced in any form without permission, EXCEPT
FOR THE FOLLOWING: For six months following the date of
publication, you may photocopy this text or send this document
electronically to anyone who you think might be interested,
provided you do it without charge. You may only copy or send
this document in its entirety, not as partial excerpts. After
six months, no further reproduction of this document is allowed
This newsletter is published on an irregular basis whenever we
can think of something to say. Email subscriptions are currently
available free of charge to any internet user. To subscribe (or
unsubscribe) to future editions of THE PARANOID NEWS, send a
message to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will acknowledge your request
within a few days; if you receive no reply it may indicate an
addressing problem. In that case, call the human at 702-729-
2648. Hard copy subscriptions to this newsletter are available
for $1.50 per issue, ordered from the address below. (e.g. $15
for the next 10 issues, mailed anywhere in the world.)
Also published by psychospy: THE GROOM LAKE DESERT RAT, a
newsletter concerning at Nevada's Top Secret "Area 51," reputed
home of UFOs and advanced human aircraft. A free catalog of
other publications regarding government secrecy (and, by
extension, government paranoia) is available upon request.
Our US mail address is:
HCR Box 38
Rachel, NV 89001
To the best of our knowledge, the text on this page may be freely reproduced and distributed.
If you have any questions about this, please check out our Copyright Policy.
totse.com certificate signatures