I tend to take a lot of things seriously, and I know I take too many things too seriously too much of the time but the angels, helpers, guides who hover around me often lead me where I need to be.
Today it was to a book of which I had not heard but do plan to read, called Pronoia is the antidote for Paranoia and it had me laughing heartily.
PRONOIA (or Pronoea) was an Okeanid nymph of Mount Parnassos in Phokis (central Greece). She was the wife of the Titan Prometheus and, as her name suggests, the goddess of foresight. Prometheus' wife was also named Hesione and Asia.
Pronoia was closely identified with the goddess Athena who, according to several ancient writers, was worshipped as Athena Pronoia at Delphoi. As an Okeanid she also resembles Athena's mother Metis.
Athena has always been a favourite of mine, sitting as she does, by the side of my Virgo Sun, with Saturn on the other side - how perfect paranoia and pronoia - why did I not know that?
There is so much misery in the world, there really is and we do need an antidote to it. laughter is the best antidote of all and yet within the humour there is such truth in Brezsny's book - spiritual truth which we forget even in the instant that we remember.
And in that synchronicitous way of things it followed upon a long conversation with someone who is convinced there is a plot to control the world; something I have studied and read about for some years and something which, given the nature of human beings and the nature of this material world and our spiritual reality, I simply do not and cannot believe.
But there are many people who are convinced the world is 'going to hell in a basket,' ignoring, or perhaps remaining ignorant of the facts of history which clearly show that at this point in time more people live with greater freedom and a better quality of life than have ever done before! That is a fact. But misery and fear and foreboding remain a constant.
How hard it is for us to hold to the best of things and the beauty of this world and this life; even in the depths of the darkest parts of it.
I have printed out some excerpts which I intend to read daily to counter the constant instants of forgetting which sucks the joy from life and I doubt that Brezsny would mind me sharing them - I have bought his book after all.
And it is with laughter and a lightheartedness that I share - responding to his cause celebre, that we need to remember that life is a wonderful adventure, created for us and created by us.
DEFINITION: Pronoia is the antidote for paranoia. It's the understanding that the universe is fundamentally friendly. It's a mode of training your senses and intellect so you're able to perceive the fact that life always gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.
OBJECTIVE OF PRONOIA: To explore the secrets of becoming a wildly disciplined, fiercely tender, ironically sincere, scrupulously curious, aggressively sensitive, blasphemously reverent, lyrically logical, lustfully compassionate Master of Rowdy Bliss.
HYPOTHESES: Evil is boring. Cynicism is idiotic. Fear is a bad habit. Despair is lazy. Joy is fascinating. Love is an act of heroic genius. Pleasure is your birthright. Receptivity is a superpower.
PROCEDURE: Act as if the universe is a prodigious miracle created for your amusement and illumination. Assume that secret helpers are working behind the scenes to assist you in turning into the gorgeous masterpiece you were born to be. Join the conspiracy to shower all of creation with blessings.
GUIDING QUESTION: "The secret of life," said sculptor Henry Moore to poet Donald Hall, "is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is -- it must be something you cannot possibly do." What is that task for you?
UNDIGNIFIED MEDITATIONS TO KEEP YOU HONEST: Brag about what you can't do and don't have. Confess profound secrets to people who aren't particularly interested. Pray for the success of your enemies while you're making love. Change your name every day for a thousand days.
MYTHIC ROLE MODELS: Prometheus and Pronoia. In Greek mythology, Pronoia was the consort of Prometheus, the divine rebel who pilfered a glowing coal from his fellow gods so that he could slip the gift of fire to humans.
TOP-SECRET ALLIES: Sacred janitors, benevolent pranksters, apathy debunkers, lyrical logicians, ethical outlaws, aspiring masters of curiosity, homeless millionaires, humble megalomaniacs, hedonistic midwives, lunatic saints, sly optimists, mystical scientists, dissident bodhisattvas, macho feminists, and socialist libertarians who possess inside information about the big bang.
DAILY PRACTICE: Push hard to get better, become smarter, grow your devotion to the truth, fuel your commitment to beauty, refine your emotional intelligence, hone your dreams, negotiate with your shadow, cure your ignorance, shed your pettiness, heighten your drive to look for the best in people, and soften your heart -- even as you always accept yourself for exactly who you are with all of your so-called imperfections.
POSSIBLE REWARDS: You will be able to claim the rewards promised you at the beginning of time -- not just any old beauty, wisdom, goodness, love, freedom, and justice, but rather: exhilarating beauty that incites you to be true to yourself; crazy wisdom that immunizes you against the temptation to believe your ideals are ultimate truths; outrageous goodness that inspires you to experiment with irrepressible empathy; generous freedom that keeps you alert for opportunities to share your wealth; insurrectionary love that endlessly transforms you; and a lust for justice that's leavened with a knack for comedy, keeping you honest as you work humbly to liberate everyone in the world from ignorance and suffering.
USAGE NOTE: We employ the adjectival form "pronoiac" rather than "pronoid." That way, it rhymes with "aphrodisiac" and resonates with "paradisiacal" instead of being conditioned by "paranoid."
DISCLAIMER: Material in this book may be too intense and controversial for some readers. It contains graphic scenes of peace, love, joy, passion, reverence, splendor, and understanding. You will not find any references to harsh, buzzing fluorescent lights in a cheap hotel room where a heroin dealer plots to get revenge against the authorities at his old high school by releasing sarin gas into the teachers' lounge. There are no reports of Nazi skinheads obsessed with re-creating the 14th-century Tartars' war strategy of catapulting plague-ridden corpses into an enemy's citadel.
Completely absent from these pages are any stories about a psychotic CEO of a Fortune 500 company who has intentionally disfigured his face to help him elude the CIA, which wants to arrest him for the treasonous sale of his company's nanotech weapons technology to the Chinese. You should therefore proceed with caution if you are a jaded hipster who is suspicious of feeling healthy and happy. Ask yourself: "Am I ready to stop equating cynicism with insight? Do I dare take the risk that exposing myself to uplifting entertainment might dull my intelligence?" If you doubt your ability to handle relaxing breakthroughs, you should stop reading now.
* The National Center for Atmospheric Research reports that the average cloud is the same weight as 100 elephants.
* The seeds of some trees are so tightly compacted within their protective covering that only the intense heat of a forest fire can free them, allowing them to sprout.
* Thirty-eight percent of North America is wilderness.
* Anthropologists say that in every culture in history, children have played the game hide and seek.
* With every dawn, when first light penetrates the sea, many seahorse colonies perform a dance to the sun.
* A seven-year-old Minnesota boy received patent number 6,368,227 for a new method of swinging on a swing.
* As it thrusts itself into our Milky Way Galaxy, the dwarf galaxy Sagittarius is unraveling, releasing a thick stream of dark matter that is flowing right through the Earth.
* A chemist in Australia finally succeeded in mixing oil and water.
* Except among birds and land mammals, the females of most species are bigger than the males.
* The South African version of TV's Sesame Street has an AIDS-positive Muppet named Kami.
* The sky not only isn't falling--it's rising. The top of the troposphere, the atmosphere's lowest layer, is slowly ascending.
* To make a pound of honey, bees have to gather nectar from about two million flowers. To produce a single pound of the spice saffron, humans have to handpick and process 80,000 flowers. In delivering the single survivor necessary to fertilize an ovum, a man releases 500 million sperm.
* Some Christians really do love their enemies, as Jesus recommended.
* Kind people are more likely than mean people to yawn when someone near them does.
* There are always so many fragments of spider legs floating in the air that you are constantly inhaling them wherever you go.
* "The average river requires a million years to move a grain of sand 100 miles," says science writer James Trefil.
* Because half of the world's vanilla crop is grown in Madagascar, the whole island smells like vanilla ice cream.
* Your body contains so much iron that you could make a spike out of it, and that spike would be strong enough to hold you up.
* In his book *The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead,* physicist Frank J. Tipler offers what he says is scientific proof that every human being who has ever lived will be resurrected from the dead at the end of time.
* In the Ukraine you can buy Fat in Chocolate, a food with a layer of dark chocolate covering a chunk of pork fat.
* Robust singing skill is correlated with a strong immune system in songbirds. Male birds with the most extensive repertoire of tunes also have the largest spleens, a key measure of immune system health.
* Bali has 80,000 temples.
* Romanian physicists created gaseous globes of plasma that grew, reproduced, and communicated with each other, thereby fulfilling the definition for life.
* In an apparent attempt to raise their volume above the prevailing human din, some nightingales in big cities have learned to unleash 95-decibel songs, matching the loudness of a chainsaw.
* There is a statistically significant probability of world-class athletes and military leaders being born when Mars is rising in the sky.
* Some piranhas are vegetarians.
* In the pueblos of New Mexico, bricks still measure 33 by 15 by 10 centimeters, proportions that almost exactly match those of the bricks used to build Egypt's Temple of Hatshepsut 3,500 years ago.
* Childbirth is often joyful even though it's painful.
* In hopes of calming flustered lawbreakers, Japanese cops have substituted the sound of church bells for sirens on police cars.
* Scientists believe they'll be able to figure out why cancer cells are virtually immortal, and then apply the secret to keeping normal cells alive much longer, thereby dramatically expanding the human life span.
* Clown fish can alter their gender as their social status rises.
* When she is born, a baby girl has all the ova she will ever have.
* Bluebirds cannot see the color blue.
* Gregorian chants can cure dyslexia.
* Bob Hope donated half a million jokes to the Library of Congress.
* Bees perform a valuable service for the flowers from which they steal.
* "Leafing through Forbes or Fortune [magazine]s is like reading the operating manual of a strangely sanctimonious pirate ship," wrote Adam Gopnik in *The New Yorker.*
* Revlon makes 177 different shades of lipstick.
* Your tongue is the strongest muscle in your body.
* The most frequently shoplifted book in America is the Bible.