Rob Brezsny has been diagnosed with pronoia–the opposite of paranoia. He sees a conspiracy of goodness in the world and invites you to become co-conspirator.
Thousands of things go right for you every day, beginning the moment you wake up. Through some magic you don’t fully understand, you’re still breathing and your heart is beating, even though you’ve been unconscious for many hours. The air is a mix of gases that’s just right for your body’s needs.
You can see! Light of many colours floods into your eyes, registered by nerves that took God or evolution or some other process millions of years to perfect. The gift of these vivid hues comes to you courtesy of an unimaginably immense globe of fire, the sun, which continually detonates nuclear reactions in order to convert its body into light and heat and energy for your personal use.
You can walk! Your legs work wonderfully well. Your heart circulates your blood to provide the energy for the muscles in your feet and calves and thighs, and when the blood is depleted, it finds its way back to your heart to be replenished. This blessing recurs over and over again without stopping, every minute of your life.
In your bathroom, the toilet is functioning perfectly, as are several other convenient devices. You have at your disposal soaps, creams, razors, clippers, tooth-cleaning accessories—a host of products that enhance your hygiene and appearance. You trust that unidentified scientists somewhere have tested them to be sure they’re safe for you to use. Amazingly, the water you need so much of comes out of your faucets at the volume you want, and runs as cold or hot as you desire. It’s pure and clean; you’re confident no parasites are lurking in it.
In your closet are clothes you like to wear. Who gathered the materials to make the fabrics they’re made of? Who imbued them with colors, and how did they do it? Who sewed them for you?
In your kitchen, appetizing food in secure packaging is waiting for you. Many people you’ve never met worked hard to grow it, process it and get it to the store where you bought it. The bounty of tasty nourishment you have to choose from is unprecedented in the history of the world.
Your many appliances are working flawlessly. Despite the fact that they run on electricity, which could kill you instantly if you touched it directly, you feel no fear. Why? Your faith in the people who invented, designed and produced these machines is impressive. It’s as if there was a benevolent conspiracy of unknown people who are tirelessly creating hundreds of useful things you like and need.
And there’s more. By some improbable series of coincidences or a long-term divine plan, language has come into existence. Millions of people have collaborated for many centuries to cultivate a system for communication that you understand well.
You’ve been awake, and a hundred things have already gone right for you. If three of those hundred things had not gone right—your toaster was broken, the hot water wasn’t hot enough, there was a stain on the pants you wanted to wear—you might feel that the universe was against you, your luck was bad, nothing was going right. Yet the vast majority of things still would be working with breathtaking efficiency and consistency.
Rob Brezsny is one of America’s most widely read astrologers. His syndicated column, Free Will Astrology (www.freewillastrology.com), stands out from the others with its poetic sensibility and philosophical depth.
Taken and adapted with kind permission from the publisher of Rob Brezsny’s book Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings (Frog Ltd./North Atlantic Books, June 2005), excerpted in the superb literary magazine The Sun (November 2005).