The mind is capable of playing many devious yet convincing tricks and fortunate those thus afflicted. Otherwise it’s back to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and shopping.
Nearly everyone has had an experience of paranoia however mild. It seems to be a syndrome in which one suspects something is happening, or is about to happen when it isn’t.
Those afflicted with this phenomenon however, can sometimes disturb the tranquil complacency of those addicted to the status quo mindset. For ideas are powerful and confrontations with unusual or bizarre concepts are liable to wobble even the staunchest consensus viewer.
A question of gravity.
Smith (for want of a better name) is visiting friends. They are already well stoned out of their heads when he arrives and the air in the flat is heavy with the smoke of hashish. He sits down and his host immediately offers him a large joint smelling pungently of strong grass, the lighted end is fizzling like a firecracker and the seeds are popping in the heat. In spite of this temptation, which many might feel unable to refuse, Smith turns it down.
‘No thanks,’ he says.
His host gives him a quizzical look. ‘I get paranoid if I get stoned in company,’ says Smith by way of explanation. Having overheard this interchange three or four people have collected around him as the dialogue continues.
‘What kind of paranoia?’ asks his friend. ‘For instance are you liable to think the police are going to break down the door and come storming in at any moment?’
‘Worse than that,’ says Smith glumly. ‘Much worse.’
‘What could be worse that that?’ says one of the onlookers. Smith hesitates a moment and then decides to bite the bullet.
‘Well I might suddenly realise that you have subtly lured me here in order to murder me,’ he says frankly. His friends look a little uncomfortable at this.
‘Don’t you trust us then?’ asks one.
‘Well I do now,’ says Smith. ‘But if I have a smoke and get paranoid I might think of anything and under those conditions I’m always utterly convinced that whatever I think is true, regardless of what I thought before.’
‘Well at least he’s honest,’ says an onlooker.
‘No it’s not honesty,’ says Smith. ‘Honesty is achieved through overcoming one’s own natural dishonesty. In my case what seems like honesty is the consequence of the fact that I have no choice in the matter. You see, I’m so weak-minded that I don’t have the mental capacity to put on a front. I can’t do all that lounge-lizard sophistication; surfing on the rolling wave of my own irresistible charisma, I couldn’t keep it up for five minutes in discreet company, I’d probably say “bollox” or something similar and blow my cover immediately.’
Smith is enjoying himself and is now on a major roll.
‘Anyway,’ he says. ‘those are minor issues where my paranoia is concerned and if you think they are serious then you have no idea of the scale and magnitude of the paranoia liable to afflict me should I take a pull at that thing.’
The circle pulls closer and seems to be hanging on his words, so nothing loath he continues .
‘For instance,’ he says. ‘Why do you think green is green? And is it green merely because you think it so? Similarly, take gravity, supposing gravity exists not as an objective force, but rather owing to the capacity of the human mind to make it seem so. And then, if I take a pull on that and get stoned and then doubt the existence of gravity – what then? The earth is spinning like a top; centrifugal force would instantly hurl me out into space at around 1,040mph, and if that happened in this flat I would be splattered against the wall like strawberry jam in a nanosecond.’
‘Oh come on,’ says his host. ‘I know you’ve admitted that you’re weak-minded, but to allow yourself that degree of gullibility is stupid.’
Nevertheless he hastily withdraws the joint, after all, it is his flat and he is somewhat concerned for the expensive wallpaper.