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Are We Living in a Paranoid Age?

Paranoia – the Greek word for madness, a delusional state, an unfounded yet profound fear, and a concept that is so irrational. It is in fact, fear that binds the entire human race together. But, the same fear about the an entity can render a person paranoid. A paranoid’s theory behind his/her fear is so irrational and exaggerated that one begins to feel threatened by everything around him.

According to Dr. Daniel Freeman, a leading psychiatrist, “we have now entered an age of paranoia“. Dr. Freeman claims that or work and life styles are responsible for instilling this feeling in us.

What is Paranoia?: Paranoia is a suspicious state of fear where one feels that there is a threat. The threat can be from a person, an organization, government or even spirits. Or sometimes, there may exist no entity, but still one always senses threat and lives under a fear of being victimized.

People who have watched the film “The Aviator” must have observed in a particular scene, Leonardo DiCaprio keeps washing his hands relentlessly so much so that he peels his own skin off. In this particular movie, DiCaprio is paranoid about the presence of germs and micro-organisms and how vulnerable he is to them.

Another movie that depicts paranoia is the 2001 film “A Beautiful Mind“.

The point to understand here is that – a paranoid senses constantly fears a threat; the very reason why one is always fearful and suspicious of others. Although exaggerated, this delusional state is their reality.

Are We Living in a Paranoid Age?: Now, comes the million dollar question. Have most of us become paranoid? Yes, says Dr. Freeman. Dr. Freeman has proved with the help of a virtual reality experiment conducted at the King’s College, London that one in every four people today is a paranoid. Dr. Freeman conducted this experiment for over ten years and has come up with this intriguing fact.

In his book, “Paranoia: The 21st-century Fear“, he claims that this phenomenon among public is much higher than it used to be and this mistrust over one another is only going to increase in the coming years of this 21st century.

What are the Reasons for People Becoming Increasingly Paranoid?: According to Dr. Freeman, rise in urban population, increase in terrorism, the gap between social classes and the environment itself are the reasons for more and more people becoming increasingly paranoid.

  • For instance, during the century, there was only a 5 percent of the world population dwelling in cities. By the year 2030, this is expected to rise to 65 percent. Studies have observed that people living in cities are twice as much paranoid than the ones living in rural regions. Urbanisation has also led to isolation, another reason for an increase paranoia.
  • The diversities between social classes – the rich and the poor, the wealthy and the poor has also led to a lot of mistrust.
  • Increase in terrorism, sometimes this problem is actually blown out of proportions by the media easily instilling fears among the general public about a particular sect or religion.
  • Lastly, the environment. Increase of greenhouse gases, depletion of Ozone layer, increased use of plastic, global warming and what not are all reasons enough for one to go easily paranoid.

On the whole, factors like stress and negative emotions can lead to paranoia. Dealing with this baseless fear is very important for all of us in this 21st century. The more the world has shrunk, the more we have began hating each other and forgot trusting each other. As mentioned earlier, fear should entwine mankind, not make us enstranged.

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