Pleasures of paranoia and why I am not part of the plot:
Judiciously applied I have found paranoia to be quite pleasant.  If you would bear in mind that I never give advice and agree not to undertake this yourself, I shall explain.

There was a time when I was studying very hard and was worried that I would not learn what I needed to know in the time available.  I would lie awake worrying.  I was so worried that it was hard to get to sleep, and lacking sleep did nothing for my studying efficiency.  A wise man might have made lists of things to memorize as I studied and lulled myself to sleep going over them.  But I was so sick of studying that this did not even occur to me.  Instead I would simply count.  I counted into the thousands.  I approached ten thousand, although I think I never got that far before falling asleep.  It was excruciatingly boring.

After many days I began to notice that I would lose count and have to start over at some point I was sure I had reached.  Then I noticed that I was falling asleep as I reached the point where I could not count consistently.  I picked up the clue and after a nice long count, maybe to a couple of thousand, I would begin deliberately to mess up the count.  That shortened the time to sleep considerably.  My next guess was that the reason I lost count was that my mind was going into a dreamlike state.  So I pursued that.  Instead of worrying in a coherent manner I would deliberately let my thoughts get all jumbled up.  That worked a lot better than counting.  It took some courage.  I had the feeling that if I let things get confused in my mind at night they would remain so in the morning.  Of course that never happened.  If I slept well things were clearer than even the next morning.  But the way they got mixed up seemed quite crazy at the time.

So I pursued crazy.  I decided that paranoia is a pretty common form of madness, so I cooked up paranoid schemes.  It did better than work.  It was delicious.  I would brood about impossible plots against myself, invent episodes that had never happened and build delusional systems.  Maybe it wasn’t as nice as I remember, but that may be because I was comparing it with earlier nights.  I would have dreamlike images of great beauty before my closed eyes.  As I learned the technique I found night after night I could get into the mood ever faster.  At last I was falling asleep almost at once.  It wasn’t as much fun as it had been, but sleep was now easy.  At last I internalized it so that I never again had any difficulty in sleeping until I was dealing with the ghastly implications of the present project.

I think that may be why madness is hard to reverse.  It is just so pleasant to let the mind go. 

No, that can’t be true.  Lots of people who have mental difficulties seem very unhappy indeed.  But learning to fall asleep was pleasant, and I have always found sleep pleasant.

So here we are dealing with problems of monumental importance.  They are so important that they really ought to drive one mad.  I mean just how much trouble can a mind endure?  Surely it is finite. 

I indulged my paranoid hobby recently when the statistics program of my website hosting company was not functioning correctly.  The number of unique visitors who had come calling had just passed the four thousand mark.  Just then the statistics started acting crazy.  So I imagined that there was some sort of nefarious plot afoot.  As long as my site attracted only limited attention I could be considered harmless.  But if some threshold were reached they would begin to tamper with the site or do something or other either to give me problems or at least to learn more about me.

Time has passed.  The statistics package seems to be back to normal.  I have not been abducted.  So that little fantasy is over.

But there is another fantasy to consider, which is how this is all seen.  Perhaps a reasonably sane and intelligent reader wonders whether I am not the victim of some sort of terrible plot but am a member of that plot.  Yes, I have been so accused and by someone of considerable stature in the field. 

So it is time for some reality testing.  If someone is lying to you and trying to manipulate you, he generally will claim some sort of knowledge that you have no way of verifying.  And he will not give you any help in verifying it. 

At least that has been my experience.

So it is not just idleness that causes me to give you references for everything I say as far as I am able.  I am saying, “Reality check time.  Look at the references.  Don’t depend on my word.  Look at the facts.  Look at my reasoning.  Make up your own mind.” 

Anyone who is able to say that and still manipulate you into believing that which is not true must be very cunning indeed, far more cunning than I.  Against such a devious mind, I would probably be helpless.  But I am not worried.  I have never known anyone even to come close. 

Of course there is indifference.  That leaves me helpless as well, but at least it leaves me in control of my part of the battlefield.

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