Sunday, November 02, 2008

Increasing paranoia

One in four people regularly suffer irrational fears of being threatened or in danger.

Paranoia is far more common than suspected, and on the increase, primarily as a result of growing inequity, social (particularly urban) isolation, and a more competitive society.

We daren't let our children play outside

We're suspicious of strangers

We fear to walk or go in many places

People are increasingly frightened of any gatherings of young people

There are security cameras everywhere, in shops, streets, stations, buses, you name it

Controls are in place for everything

Showing some form of ID is the norm for many transactions or movements

The searching of bodies, hand bags and luggage is also more and more prevalent

Average speed cameras are being introduced to tighten driving surveillance

Citizens are encouraged to report on fellow citizens

Citizens are urged to note anything suspicious

Welcome to the era of suspiciousness!

In part this is because of the increasing number of people living in cities.
For the first time, this year urban populations in the world outnumber rural.

In 1800, just 5 per cent of people around the world were city-dwellers.

By 2030, this is expected to have risen to 65 per cent.

Rates of paranoia are known to be twice as high in cities than in rural communities,

Social bonds are much looser in cities than in smaller, rural communities where ready-made, relatively stable support networks exist

Social isolation, a frequent drawback to urban life, is closely associated with paranoid thoughts.

In the UK, nearly four times as many people live alone as fifty years ago.

Increasing paranoia is certainly one more challenge posed by rapidly rising urbanisation

Unequal distribution of wealth plays a major role in fostering paranoid feelings

As do feelings of powerlessness

Feelings of being controlled all the time at work, or when travelling anywhere, even when shopping or relaxing in a park

US research shows that populations with the widest income inequalities also have the lowest levels of trust, and the highest death rates.

Mistrust is associated with greater numbers of deaths from cancer, heart disease and strokes.

There is no sign that government has any ideas to change this other than ever more tighter controls for everything

The media continually hype up threats by adopting an "if it bleeds, it leads" attitude to reporting

As individuals a paranoid feeling only tends to produce what you are paranoid about

This creates a vicious circle

Breaking paranoid feelings paradoxically can be achieved by embracing love

The ideas and feelings of love produce a lighter and brighter experience of the world

However for people living in isolation, under pressure and fear this is often a stretch too far

Please ensure that you do not go down this road

Build your life on love and trust

There is no other lifelong protection

Observing culture in decline is an interesting experience

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