Paranoia Anecdotes

I thought I would just include anecdotes about paranoia and comment on them as a way of getting information across.

Update!  One of the other social workers told me today that she thinks C19 is all just a coverup for all the damage from 5G.

Paranoid people also project.  What they think their persecutors or opponents are capable of doing is often a mirror of what they themselves would do.  The recent political example is theFBI and other agencies being so sure that Trump is dangerous enough to democracy that he would disregard the rules and protections for others that they dangerously disregarded the rules and protections for others themselves.

My uncle tells me that my grandfather, when he heard that Joe McCarthy claimed there were 300 communists in the State Department said “Is that all?  I would have thought it was more than that.” I believe that was a common sentiment in NH at the time. McCarthy played his cards poorly, partly because of his personality, and partly because there was a supportive culture that didn’t mind if accusers of communists didn’t bother with the niceties of actually nailing the information down.  However, it turns out in retrospect that the right-wing crazies didn’t know the half of it. Communist penetration of federal agencies was worse than even they thought. Alger Hiss was in fact guilty. The Rosenbergs were guilty. Venona confirmed a great deal of speculation. I don’t know how things would have been different if a savvier player than McCarthy broke the news, but it can hardly have been worse. He played for drama. Maybe that would work today. It didn’t work then. (Compare also to the paragraph above.)  Paranoid leftists were able to accuse anticommunists of paranoia for years. In DC politics I think that some paranoia is always justified.  People are conspiring all the time. Exactly who, and for what reason, is the issue, and determines how reasonable one’s paranoia is.

Secrets are hard to keep, and people rat out conspiracies every day. Whether a particular conspiracy is real can sometimes be estimated by how many people would have to be in on it, and what their motivation would be. 9/11 conspiracies that involve preinstalling something in the buildings fit that. Who, and how, exactly, put flammables and explosives in years ago?  Thinking Mossad or Cheney orchestrated it is also paranoid, but less bizarre.  A smaller number of people would have to be in on the deal.  Still too many for credibility, but closer. The idea that there are inexpensive natural cancer cures that “doctors” or “Big Pharma” don’t want you to know about because it hurts their business is hugely unlikely. An oncologist who broke the secret could write books, go on lecture tours, and be universally admired – not to mention quite rich.  What would be anyone’s individual motive to keep quiet about it?  To protect The Lodge? Really?   Attempts at conspiracies are frequent.  Governments, businesses, agencies, parties – these sometimes do try to suppress information.  How many would be required?  What is the motivation of each as an individual to go along?

The following is part of a Facebook post by a Scientologist who until recently was a Trump supporter. 
Now she thinks Trump is in on the game as well. Paranoia tends to expand, not shrink.
1.      1.  The other day he tweeted whoever is making the va((ine for Coronavirus needs to “speeden it up.”
2.      2.  Not one word about the gov boosting your immunity or taking high amounts of Vitamin C which is curing people in the east
3.      3. …more and more va((ine complaints from parents and 4 billion paid out in injuries
4.       4. He applauded the federal reserve the other day – said they “have our back” by lowering interest half a percent. Meanwhile JFK was murdered for saying we have to get rid of the federal reserve.
5.      5.  …he didn’t protect Julian Assange…
6.       6. No mention of halting or slowing down 5G like Switzerland did after finding it is definitely injurious to human health.
7.       7. Trump’s uncle, John Trump was in charge of checking out Tesla’s research … and for the next 30 years came out with findings similar to Tesla. Trump went to Freemason Jesuit school for a time.
8.      8.  Three countries who are not owned by a Rothschild bank: Cuba, Iran, and North Korea.
9. Robert Kennedy is great and has a website about the environment, pestisides, va((ines and are suing against 5G!
10. There’s ID2020 to make a “digital” ID which has all your info in it including your vax records. Total gov overreach. Bill Gates funds this partly. Bill is working on the digital ID with other worldwide groups. Bill was involved in a simulation of this virus in Oct 19. Bill was ALSO on Jeffrey Epstein’s list of people who went to his island. No lie.
11. If this isn’t a very obvious new world order agenda to people, I don’t know when it’ll be more obvious

So, half a moment.  If Vitamin C successfully treated C19, you don’t think the PRC would be all over this with immense relief, passing the stuff out like candy? Also, how long would it take to do a good clinical trial on that to show that it worked?  Less than four weeks, you think they can do that? The anti-vaxxers have this standard phrase about people educating themselves, don’t they?  It seems to really push a button for them. That precise wording captures what they want to believe about themselves than other, similar phrasings. The inclusion of not only modern Jews like Soros but the Rothschilds and Rockefellers of 50-100 years ago catches the eye, doesn’t it?  This particular antisemitism has come down in a long chain, not 21st C BDS.  Is that typical of Scientologists? Kennedy and the federal reserve would seem like old news as well.


My patient Bill was in Desert Storm. He was not in Special Forces of any sort, but he eventually concluded he must be somehow, because he knows things that other people do not, perceives and understands things that the rest of us can’t, and it started a few months after getting back.  He eventually concluded that someone implanted a computer chip in his brain that tells him things, and this was supervised by Special Forces at some point while he was asleep in Iraq. He thinks they still control the chip, or someone in the government does. He believes this is un-American and all patriots should rise up and protest things like this happening to decent citizens. He usually arrives irate and threatening about something. When someone is admitted, I call family and agencies to gather collateral information, a sort of detective work to figure out what is true and what is not. I knew I was in for a long hard slog on his first admission when I called his mother, who said in a German accent “Billy was fine until ze government put zat chip in his brain.” She had been part of some resistance in Nazi Germany, and was brought to America immediately after the war because of the danger she and her husband would still be in if there. Details aren’t clear.  One would think this sufficient explanation for anyone to be paranoid, and make it likely that
any children are paranoid as well. But that’s not what’s happening.  When Bill is on medication, part of the paranoia vanishes very quickly.  He no longer thinks there is a chip, or communications into his brain, or any connection with Special Forces. His more general paranoia remains.  He thinks that un-American people staff all areas of government, including the DMV (he can’t get his license back), the VA doctors, Social Security, county Sheriffs, the judges in Strafford County, massage licensing, and even Fish & Game are unpatriotic at best, and possibly communist or jihadist sympathisers. This is clearly a different type of paranoia.  I myself think there are likely unpatriotic people scattered about the government, and more likely to have wormed their way into places of influence than the regular card-punchers.  I just think that it’s nuts to believe it’s all of them. 
Incompetence, yes. Personality-disordered arrogance or sadism, possibly. Concerted effort to bring down the republic via the Bureau of Land Management, unlikely. That half of Bill’s paranoia is more gray area.  Personality structure?  Illness?  Upbringing? The ongoing trauma of succeeding at nothing? I think the extreme rigidity part is illness.  The rest…I can’t say.

I worked peripherally with a Vietnam vet in the late 70’s who was paranoid. He was afraid we were putting psychiatric medications in the water, so he wouldn’t drink any, nor would he take any of the bottled water, soda, milk, or juice we offered.  All were suspect.  He would not even take a shower, where he could have snuck some water without us seeing, because he thought that tainted as well.  Yet he did not dehydrate. This made it harder for us to get a guardian for him, as we had to wait for the lack of food instead of water (abetted by his poor hygiene at court) to show dangerousness sufficient to deprive him of so many of his rights. We didn’t get the whole story until after he was treated against his will and became nonpsychotic.  He explained that he had pretended to be a smoker (we gave out rolled cigarettes for free in those days) in order to have something to trade.  Then he would get other patients to secretly get water for him from the tap he had identified as the one staff used to make its coffee. So despite his paranoia, other cognitive functions worked.  He did not have insight into his lack of hygiene, and he was deeply ill, but seven out of eight cylinders were firing just fine.

We do get people suspicious of the water, food, or the medicine they are being given.  A majority of them will relent if we offer these items from sealed packages.  As it is at least plausible that we could find some way around that it we wanted to poison or medicate the person, I don’t know why that works as often as it does. They may apprehend that distant companies are more likely to be uncaring than antagonistic to them, while folks directly involved with their care may have been influenced or bought off.

What about living in places where paranoia would seem to be the only sensible attitude? I am thinking of the Bloodlands, or post-Yugoslavia – of the French Revolution or Great Leap Forward. I think it is still possible to distinguish between functional and nonfunctional paranoias. Specifics
matter. With overlapping categories you might get the opponents only half right, and the wrong half. Paranoia as an illness is rigid.  Retaining some flexibility in figuring out who is dangerous to you is likely important. I used to kid with a fellow commenter at the old blog “No Oil For Pacifists” that he was too worried about what the federal government might do to him, when it is the local government that is far better placed to ruin his life.  We were able to laugh about this, where a nonfunctional paranoia would be rigid.

Note to survivalists – people who have been in societal meltdowns come to the conclusion that your best survival is a network of trusted people, not constant hardening and extending your own supplies.  There is much greater danger of any of a hundred smaller emergencies than the One Big One where we’re all shooting each other and secretly planting corn deep in the forest.

18 thoughts on “Paranoia Anecdotes”

  1. Yeah, someone I know found a 5G/corona virus thing on a blog, and I haven’t had time and sense to investigate looking for an obvious refutation.

    In principle, if we haven’t tested a particular combination of power and frequency, there could be a frequency with an interesting athermal effect on some chemical. In practice, I suspect the theory doesn’t hold together if you pay attention to the powers and frequencies discussed. But I don’t know anywhere near enough about RF bioeffects to be completely convinced that it couldn’t compromise immune systems, and permit a mild virus to cause severe problems.

    Trent: Corona virus reports/deaths wouldn’t happen to be statistically linked with places they have the towers up and running? I’m not sure how one would go about reliably controlling for people putting the things in densely populated urban areas at the current stage of spread of infection.

  2. “However, it turns out in retrospect that the right-wing crazies didn’t know the half of it. Communist penetration of federal agencies was worse than even they thought. Alger Hiss was in fact guilty.”

    Nixon helped prove Hiss guilty. The left never forgave him, or gave him a moments rest. The Hiss case was what gave McCarthy the idea to do his thing, but he was not nearly careful enough. The Russiagate lunacy is of course what the left always claimed Mccarthyism was, an insane, baseless, vile ideological smear job.

  3. I’m reading a book by Tom Perkins who started the venture capital firm ” Kleiner, Perkins, et all” One of his failures was a startup by a guy they had worked with before but Perkins hadn’t checked out his history since their last project. The guy was increasingly paranoid and Perkins had him to dinner with Perkins’ personal doc. After the dinner Perkins asked his doctor friend what could make the guy like that. He answered, “Cocaine.” The guy had a $1000 a day cocaine habit.

    Cocaine makes people paranoid and hyperactive, a bad combination,.

  4. It seems like there is an entire spectrum of behavior, from what might be considered “normal” to what might be considered “paranoid” — or possibly something else. For example, could the Iraq War veteran have been considered to be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder rather than paranoia? As the old saying goes: “Even paranoid people have real enemies”; where should we draw the line between normal & paranoid?

    I recall some conversations with a gentlemen who was performing well in a serious challenging job — normal, one would think. However, the man tentatively revealed he was homosexual and seemed to consider that the rest of humanity was ganging up to make people like him unhappy because of their sexual preferences. As far as I could tell, no-one else really cared what he did with his gonads — but he was undoubtedly personally uncomfortable. Some alcoholics are categorized as “functioning alcoholics”; could we have “functioning paranoids” too? And if so, has the definition of paranoia grown too diffuse?

  5. I had an uncle who went paranoid. An old black man – named Solomon, aptly enough – said to him finally, “Marion, why do you think you’re so important that everyone wants to kill you?”

    Ended up in Dorothea Dix.

  6. What makes us human is a terribly fragile thing, and what keeps us sane and functional is even more fragile. Most people I know who’re “clinically paranoid” to the degree that they’re dysfunctional in daily life are damaged goods, in some way. There are various ways to get “there”, but the reason and manner of the damage is immaterial–You just have to be able to recognize the symptoms, and modify your behavior accordingly.

    What’s bad is that the low-level stuff is impossible to differentiate from cases where it’s just that the parties demonstrating the paranoia are more observant and tuned-in than you are. Friend of mine back in the 1990s had an elderly female relative, who kept telling him that her middle-aged male neighbor was stalking her and wanted to kill her. They took her seriously, and did the due diligence, bringing in the cops and so forth. Nobody could find evidence, interviewing the guy made the investigators think he was a little eccentric, but harmless. Nothing was done, and as time went on, she got worse and worse. Nobody took her seriously.

    Then, the other neighbors saw the middle-aged male neighbor out and about in the neighborhood, wearing blood-soaked clothes. Cops were called, people checked, and lo and behold, he’d spent the morning and most of the afternoon butchering (literally…) my friends elderly relative. They got him into a clinical setting, and he’s never been found (to my knowledge, anyway…) competent to face a courtroom for his crimes–Which turned out to be multitudinous.

    Now, you tell me: Was she paranoid? The family certainly thought she was, until they got that phone call.

    Turns out, though, that she was absolutely right. The neighbor had fixated on her, and was an actual danger. She saw it, nobody else did.

    So, are we dealing with a clinical paranoid, who insists that Jimmy Carter is in the pay of some theoretical cabal of Saudi Arabian bigwigs, or are we dealing with someone who’s just paid more attention to things, and has actually done the homework? Which is it?

    Good luck figuring it out. There are a number of things I’ve run into during my life so far that sure looked like the ravings of a lunatic, on first hearing, but which later proved to be things that were actually quite true, and my informant was just that much more observant and lucid when it came to perceiving those facts.

  7. … secretly planting corn deep in the forest.

    Mao was deeply influenced by Trofim Lysenko and had farmers plant seeds up to six feet deep. It didn’t work out.

  8. Long ago, I learned a basic rule when dealing with paranoid schizophrenics.

    Never get between them and the exit. I assume that applies only to those severely ill but a woman psych social worker in Santa Monica forgot the rule about ten years ago and paid the price.

    The patient I referred to above was very well compensated but he had attacked his mother.

    The schizophrenics that I saw so many years ago and those I’ve seen more recently were harmless except those with paranoid tendencies.

  9. You are all in on it!

    My understanding of complexity has greater purity; yours is ambiguous and messy. A “paranoid”, or a “true believer”, only has to think on the immediate, “tactical” level. That is so much easier to do. Plus there is the comfort in knowing that someone, somewhere understands what is going on. If “we/I” don’t like the result, we need only replace “Them”.

    Start the revolution!

  10. Mike K – good practical point. We do that so automatically that I don’t even notice it anymore. We do it so subtly that students who have been on the unit 2/week for three months are surprised when we point out to them that we have engineered them into doing that.

    Kirk, your example is an excellent one which leads directly to the hard questions that societies have to answer. Given that situations like yours do occur, and are horrible, how many suspicious people to we forcibly detain to prevent that? Needless to say, there are no “right” answers, only tradeoffs. Ugly tradeoffs, too.

  11. Secrets are hard to keep, and people rat out conspiracies every day.

    I’ve disabused mongers of huge elaborate conspiracies by pointing out that at one point, only two people knew Clinton was getting beejers in the Oval Office.

    Now natives in Borneo with bones through their noses know all about it.

    The moral: everybody has a best friend. Who promises he won’t tell anyone else. Honest.

  12. However, it turns out in retrospect that the right-wing crazies didn’t know the half of it. Communist penetration of federal agencies was worse than even they thought. Alger Hiss was in fact guilty. The Rosenbergs were guilty.

    It was even worse than that. Our lead negotiator at Bretton Woods was Harry Dexter White, the assistant Secretary of the Treasury, who turned out to be a Soviet agent.

    There were a lot of indications that FDR’s second VP, Henry Wallace, was of dubious loyalty too. You don’t get much higher than these two.

  13. Harry Dexter White and Henry Wallace were not as sophisticated as today’s traitors are. The two Roosevelt comrades may even have believed that they were “on the right side of history,”as the saying goes. Joe Biden and Hunter and the other Bidens, plus Hillary and Bill, and probably the Obamas if the truth were known, are in it for the “Benjamins.” Kerry and the others have a life style to support.

    Who cares if America goes down? There is the French Riviera.

  14. I have always prided myself in being a rabid, foam-at-the-mouth anti-conspiracist. I well know to my bones that 99.5% of the conspiracy nonsense that is plopped at my door is stone bull-shevik. Longest reason short, those who enter into a vast conspiracy, let’s just say here in the States, do so knowing that we are country of souls who cannot shut the hell up in general, and they do so knowing that that secret has to be kept until death for decades. Not a smart play.

    I did say back in January or so that I was perfectly content to believe the Kung Flu came from animals in the market place, I mean it seems to have happened before, in China and in Africa.

    Since that time? Two things —

    — I am concluding that this virus was man-made, in Wuhan. Where those bio-labs are. Mother Nature just does not act like this, an epidemic this explosive. OK, maybe in 1666 or whatever, maybe that could repeat, but just in my gut it seems that this just does not “feel” natural to me. Takes that as you will.

    So somebody in Wuhan screwed up. An authoritarian government losing control of technology that it rushes in to play with? The hell you say! So somebody screwed up.

    — But wait. After a conversation regarding a very respectable person on such issues, I was confronted with this thought, that I now cannot escape.

    The Chinese Communist Party was (is) in trouble. BIG trouble. Trump’s trade policies were starting to bite and bite hard (and are fully morally and economically justified… their political result, well…..). And Trump was looking pretty solid for re-election. Now they have Hong Kong, and THAT is not going anywhere either. Contrary, that is starting to spread in China like a…. ahem…. virus.

    So what if the following conversation were had? “Folks, we are in BIG BIG trouble. This Party is doomed. There is no way out. And you, you, you and I will lose everything. EVERYTHING. We all saw what happened to the Soviet Communist Party. And there is no escaping it here. Unless…”

    “Unless we change the game, BIG time. Create our own version of a meteor strike. We do that, and it will hurt us. Badly. But it will hurt the forces arrayed against us worse. And BTW, if we then turn around and accuse the Trump government of being behind it, we can count on the Western media to run true to form and march solidly with the interests of our beloved Communist Party. So there’s that.”

    And our Western media happily confirms such thinking.

    Talk about a thing that makes me go “Hmmmmmmmm”…….

    It also occurs to me that this could have happened, and China’s President and top ten power boys could be innocent as lambs. How many people would it take to have that conversation, and then pull it off? Maybe as low as three or four people?


  15. Me the above. (Would be nice if your comment engine at least alerted submitters that they forget to enter name info. It’s all to easy to forget. Just sayin’.)

  16. @ Andrew X – yes possible, and there would not have to be many in on the game. However, the number that would have to be in on it may exceed what is necessary for secrecy, even in China. The officials that have disappeared may not have known the whole story, but enough that their silence had to be assured.

    I don’t think the Trump part is necessary. They don’t have to be that savvy about our electoral culture to be that precise. The Soviets, you may recall, were definitely conspiring against us and very good at keeping secrets – except their attempts at intervention were often clumsy or pointless. Paranoid people do not actually have good insight into others, because they can only project. The Kremlin succeeded at times by sheer volume.

    If the PRC leadership is taking such a high-risk throw, it is likely directed more at their internal competition. The first fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 3rd C occurred because all the military leaders on the frontiers kept deciding they had a good shot at becoming emperor, and so brought their armies to Rome, leaving the borders little defended. Tribes repeatedly came across the Danube and the Rhine, and even though this was halted for a time, it eventually led to the actual fall(s) in the late 4th to 6th C’s. To each emperor, the fall of the whole empire was less immediately pressing than his personal. There was a 50 year period where they averaged a new emperor every two years.

  17. It may be the alcoholism that eventually killed the Wisconsin Senator, Joe McCarthy, may also have reduced his effectiveness in espousing or explaining his claims. IMHO.
    Have a few too many, and sentences that make sense and rational arguments seem a task too hard to accomplish.
    He of course did not win many friends and influence many people. It may have been an excessive case of ‘gas lighting’, but I really don’t know as I was a kindergartener at the time.

  18. Andrew X & AVI — It is a possible scenario. Less likely than the Chinese over-reaction being due to the need to save “face” — but still possible. And secrecy is not necessary. There have been reports that the Panic Virus came from the Wuhan lab, but the Chinese leaders clearly understand that the entire Western media is interested only in things that demonstrate Orange Man Bad.

    We in the West don’t understand much about China, but things we do know include:
    1. Every Chinese school kid learns about the “Century of Humiliation” which began with England’s disgusting Opium Wars in China and ran on to Japan’s occupation of Manchuria. There will be payback!
    2. China’s rulers have a long-range plan to re-establish China as the central nation in the world.
    3. China’s history (see, eg, Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”) is full of the successful use of deception to defeat a stronger enemy.
    4. The only real obstacle to China re-establishing itself as the Middle Kingdom is the US. Europe is a pitiful busted flush, and Russia has too many internal problems.

    Now think about the objective of Total War — which is the destruction of the opponent’s ability to fight. In WWII, the Allies achieved the widespread destruction of Germany’s & Japan’s manufacturing capacity through about 2 years of intensive bombing. Because of nuclear weapons, kinetic war no longer makes sense — but economic warfare is still possible. In the last 25 years, there has been a staggering destruction of the US’s manufacturing capacity, largely through voluntary transfer to China, to the point where the US is now dependent on China even for medications.

    China’s leaders understood that by over-reacting to the Panic Virus and shutting down their own manufacturing, no-one in the West would see this as an act of economic warfare and Western media panic-mongering would force Western politicians to do the same thing. The economic harm this is going to cause to the West is substantial, much larger than to China — and much larger than any health impacts. Likely, this will trigger an economic depression in the West. China’s rulers can then step in and buy bankrupt Western companies, and transfer the West’s remaining IP and machinery to China. Victory, without firing a shot.

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