Paranoia….a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into an organized system. I dare say we have all been there in some part at some point in time. Today it is the cause celebre in many aspects of our lives. Geopolitics, class struggle, climate change, COVID.all have their villains and victims. 

COVID 19 was and in many parts still is, a wellspring of fear. In the beginning we had no idea what was happening. Isolation was the best tonic. Mask up everywhere. The Chinese are out to get us. Fauci is a socialist. Beware of anyone and any contact with any part of humanity. Lockdown was our personna. 

Then we got a vaccine. Maybe a light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, if everyone got on board.  But wait, there are 1/3 of us(110million) who have forgone the “Get Out of Jail Free Card” to go it on their own. This of course is part of a government conspiracy to implant you with nano chips so they can spy on you. Crazy? Unfortunately there are as many as 20% of us that feel that way. Some have refused it, even on their death bed. 

On the world stage, Russia has for centuries feared the worst from the evil west. China wants to regain their lost dominance in world affairs.We have been petrified someone will press the button to Armageddon since I was a kid.  Look at the trillions we all spend on defense against the enemy. Look at almost any country and there is some sort of grudge or lack of respect to be assuaged.

His Hairness gets the Oscar,Emmy and Tony for best in class for his performance in “Stolen Elections”. His family and closest confidants to this day tell him he lost and yet he persists. There were 62 lawsuits, many overseen by Republican appointed judges that failed. And yet today there are almost 40 million of our fellow Americans who think he is right. His rallies have been laced with feelings of victimhood and stubborn refusal to accept a result.  No wonder we had January 6 festivities. 

Don’t get smug, lefties. There are any number of Dem whack jobs like Bernie Sanders, Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff et al who can conjure up every conceivable theory to prove their point. Hilary said the election was stolen. Going back in time, the evils of communism or race have peppered our body politic. Joe McCarthy, J Edgar Hoover, Nixon. Facts become fantasy and the one who wins has stoked the most fear. 

Richard Hofstedter penned an article in Harpers way back in 1964 on political paranoia. An updated version states,”The political paranoiac can’t stomach society as it is and thus seeks to destroy it under the guise of some looming threat, a deep state, antifa, migrant caravans, leftists, anarchists, an international pedophile ring … Those taken with the paranoid style channel their victimhood by believing the world is one vast conspiracy.” Yikes! 

Enter the fourth estate. Hopefully we would just get the facts Ma’am. Sorry kids. Look at the evening news on any channel and you will be rewarded with a plethora of fears from school shootings to rioting to wars to floods. Social media has flourished with the firebrands of each side whipping us into a full blown frenzy. Gloom and doom pervades and no one has an answer.  I am starting to scare myself. 

Now you can tell me to take it easy and the pendulum or whatever will swing the other way. I am not so sure of this. Look at our contemporary world. We have privacy issues, identity theft, social media, lack of transparency in government, artificial intelligence, hackers and scams of all sorts. The end result is I question whether  am I worrying too much or not enough? 

The symptoms of paranoia are many. The ones that strike me as particular are, a feeling of helplessness, suspicions of all sorts, hypersensitivity to criticism, stubbornness and the best of all, delusions of grandeur. Do you feel helpless when you see our government and society today? Do you find it hard to accept anything other than your own credos? Do you think you really have all the answers and the world just doesn’t realize it? If we look hard at ourselves there is probably a bit of this in all of  us. Or at least in this poor soul. 

Now hopefully it is not terminal but after going through this exercise I realize I have a lot to do. I really don’t feel the world or anyone in it, is out to get me but I really should take more ownership of my life. I am doing the driving and should not blame the car. I should seek out more and more information on a subject. Look at all sides and not just the one Google or Facebook is steering me towards. Be able to bend if only a little. 

Lastly, I have to realize the world is a crazy but interesting place. I can’t look into Putin’s soul or convince the Donald or Pelosi otherwise. I have to stay involved and not throw my hands up in disgust. Am I going to save the world? Of course not but I can try to change just a small part of it. That is my goal in speaking out and not my paranoia. I hope a few of you hear it. 

As always 

Ted The Great 


Paranoia goes back millennia. The Trojan horse. Et tu Brute. Kings and queens and yes even popes. One is constantly looking over one’s shoulder to see who is behind…and of course they are there to get me. 

Reality:…the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them. 

Reality is what actually happens. It is how we interpret it and either adapt to it or create an alternate reality drives so much of our lives. We rue the past sometimes and also create absurd expectations about the future . It is what it is. 

I Want To Be Alone…….


Greta  Garbo was one of the more illustrious movie stars who craved to be away from the madding crowd. She and others like Howard Hughes, Harrison Ford and even Tom Hanks have shunned the limelight. Most of them can afford to, but the rest of us like the mix of our fellow men and women in a variety of social situations. The spate of mass killings has brought this more to the fore. This gunman or that, appears to be a loner, detached from normal society, whatever that is. A kid in school who keeps to him or herself is considered a weirdo. Hermits, monks. Don’t they know what they are missing? Maybe.

We are social animals. It has been bred into us for sheer survival. Safety in numbers. Over time that defense alliance has given birth to conviviality. As we trust more, we open up and want to relate our experiences, philosophies and beliefs.  We see threads of commonalty and that gives way to a sense of community. 

This is how villages and cities and states are formed but hearkening back to that fear of the enemy we become somewhat closed to outsiders. We have our rules and if you want to stay here you better abide by them. Rural areas are notorious by being suspicious of outsiders. North, South, East, West all lay claim to their version of heaven. 

The definition of community is all the people living in an area or a group or groups of people who share common interests. I would add, “ and seek the common good. Let’s talk silos if you will. The town splits into several churches or synagogues of religious belief. There might be  club formed, be it Rotary, golf or tennis.  People of different political views form parties. We keep getting more and more specific as to our wants and dislikes. And we keep parsing this thing called community almost to the point we are no longer one in any respect. 

Enter the double edged sword of education. In the little red schoolhouse you didn’t really  rock the boat or your mother would know it before you got home. As people started pursuing higher learning they started getting all sorts of crazy thoughts. The more the economically challenged or at least non elites, started learning about the complexities of the world, they began to  ask why? Or better yet why not me? 

Now you can call that democracy and I will buy it. You can also call it anarchy and I might be prone to agree with you on that also. As we become more exclusionary we go from selfless of the early days to when that good old thing called selfish takes its place. Everyone is fighting for a place at the table whether it be in thought or their pocketbook. In a strange way they want to be more exclusive or dare I say, alone. 

There is a huge difference between being lonely and wanting to be alone. In the latter you just want a timeout from the rat race. You want to take a walk, read a book or sing in the shower without worrying about what people think. It is “you” time and very healthy. 

Being lonely is a whole other thing. You want to be part of something but there is no way in. Just a smile or friendly hello would work wonders but they are nowhere to be found. You can be left out for your age, ethnicity, religion or political tenets. Your dress and your feelings are contrary to the local rules. Go back where you came from. You are not wanted here. You are too old or too radical for us. Sad but true. 

Now most just accept their fate and try to make do. They eventually fade to black, Others sit and fester. Their rage against their fellow man or woman intensifies. They can go online and get really whipped up. In a strange way they are forming a new community. And then BOOM! And we all wonder why it happened. Small town or big city. Why didn’t we see this coming? Why couldn’t we fix it?  How hard do we try?

Communities come in all sorts. It could be a family, a street or town. It could be a county, a state or a country. It could be at work or at play. We have common interests. What if we all thought not of our little burghs but a much bigger picture. We are all Americans. Do we really think that way? We are all members of the planet. Is that possible to even fathom?

In Flalaland Kathy and I live in a most unusual place. People are beyond welcoming and everyday it is easy to say hello to a dozen or more neighbors. Nobody really asks what you did or where you came from. Just nice to have you here. That feels good. Will that change over time? Good question. Will more and more new entrants want to have it their way or ours? Or is it possible the change will be gradual and God forbid for the best? 

Solitude is good for the soul but many times tough to achieve. Our frenetic world wants us to be accessible 24/7. Every little thing requires our attention. We want to respond and micromanage. For me,I usually take a look at the cliff for the beauty beyond it rather than worry if I am going over it. It has worked so far for 77 years. Do I want to be alone? Hell no! But I worry all the time about those that have no other choice. 

As always 

Ted The Great 


  • The number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/6. This compares to around 1.4 million in 2016/7 – a 49% increase in 10 years [6]
  • Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all 
  • Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company.

Loneliness does not depend on how many friends or relationships you have. Loneliness depends entirely on the subjective quality of your relationships—on whether you feel emotionally and/or socially disconnected from those around you.

Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match. It is the best way to make a lonely person feel wanted.

Whenever you go to the gas station, store or restaurant, just say hello and mean it. You might have saved that person’s life or at worse made their day. Think about that.