Photo by Henry Peach Robinson (British, 1830 - 1901)

Photo by Henry Peach Robinson (British, 1830 – 1901)

A case for being Pronoid

‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.‘ – Hamlet



As the above musing from Shakespeare’s Hamlet suggests, life is rarely black and white or defined objectively. Rather, our subjective perceptions of events and circumstances give them their meaning. Our interpretations of them is ultimately what makes otherwise neutral happenings either ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

We’re all familiar with the term paranoia, but you may not know the word’s antonym, pronoia: a term coined in 1982 by Dr. Fred H. Goldner that is defined as the opposite state of mind to paranoia: having the sense that there is a conspiracy that exists to help the person rather than to harm them.

The term was adopted by psychologists and writers alike with Phillip K. Dick describing pronoia as his antidote to paranoia. It is also recognised as a thematic device in certain novels such as Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist in which the protagonist perceives certain omens and signs as plotting out a particular path for him to follow in order to realise his full potential.

This notion of pronoia can serve as a strong reminder that our thoughts create the reality we experience, that the outcome of circumstances are influenced by our perspective and interpretation of them. Next time you find yourself feeling paranoid, flip your thoughts around from believing that ‘anything bad that can happen will’ to ‘anything good that can happen will.’


W.K. & M.U. 2015

Published: December 10th, 2015

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PSYCH OUT: Lauren Marks

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