Yeah, I know.  It’s what I tell myself all of the time, echoing the I Ching and assorted other wise guys and smarty-pants, ancient and new:  The goal is getting to clarity.


The problem with that one, of course, is that I’m such a little thing and the Universe is really, REALLY huge.

What are the odds that I’m ever really going to be able to know enough to make sense out of it all?

How likely is it that I’ll be the know-it-all who can suss out the Whopper Mystery and the All of Everything – even with the help of all these electronic devices and beaucoup-pile of databases and stacks of books and that?



As far as I can tell there are just two basic stances you can take when you start dancing your Tao Dance.   There are ongoing, long-standing arguments for either one.

  1. Everybody and everything is against you and they’re all out to get you.
  2. The world all around you is conspiring to do you good.

The first stance is so old it has an established name.  It’s called “paranoia.”

“Paranoia” by katie weilbacher via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
Google will tell you that “paranoia” is a noun that means, “a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into an organized system.”

The entry warns that this “may be an aspect of chronic personality disorder, of drug abuse, or of a serious condition such as schizophrenia in which the person loses touch with reality.”

The second one has a made-up name that’s slowly making its way into dictionaries and such: “pronoia.”

“Little hand” by ePi.Longo via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]
Wikipedia credits a psychologist, Dr. Fred H. Goldner of Queens College in New York City, as the probable official coiner of the name.  The good doctor wrote an article in 1982 that was published in the academic journal Social Problems. 

That article, titled “Pronoia,” detailed a phenomenon that is the positive mirror-image of the more established social delusion we call paranoia.

Goldner said that there are those among us who take the social complexity and ambiguity we encounter in the modern world and rearrange the events and circumstances that we all encounter in our lives into a story of support, connection, and well-wishing.

They carry this story with them and the actions that arise out of it are very different than the ones engendered by the paranoia paradigm.

The ideas in Goldner’s article resonated (and continues to resonate) with a lot of people.

Just six years later, in 1988, author Paulo Coelho came out with a novel, THE ALCHEMIST.  In it the protagonist, a young Andalusian shepherd boy, dreams about traveling in search of an extravagant worldly treasure that will fulfill his every wish.

From his home in Spain, Santiago journeys to the markets of Tangier and across the Egyptian desert and has a bunch of adventures before encountering an old, wise man called “the Alchemist.”

The wise old magic guy encourages the boy on his quest telling the boy, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” 

And so Santiago goes on.

Thirty years later, the book is still going strong.

This YouTube video, “Paulo Coelho on Luck, Coincidence and Faith” was published in   2008 by HarperOne (an imprint of HarperCollins) to celebrate the book as a “modern classic.”

At the time, 22 million copies of the book – two million of which were in English — had been sold worldwide.

Nine years later, in 2017, Jubilee published the next YouTube video entitled, “How the Universe Is On Your Side” as part of their Patreon campaign called Dear Humanity.

The idea continues to gain ground, it seems.


All of this stuff got me thinking about how each of these two seemingly opposing and (equally delusional) systems of thought-constructs might affect the way you walk through the world.

  • Which point of view colors your days with rainbows and fills it with bouquets of sweet-smelling flowers?
  • Which one peoples your world with smiles and laughter and kindness all around?
  • Which filter would be likely to lead you to view the world with brighter eyes and more joy?

We humans are lucky.  We get to choose the glasses we want to wear.  It is, more than anything else, our birthright – just because we’re human.

So that’s why I came up with this thing:

Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  an increasing tendency towards radical trust in the Universe.  [It’s a cool thing to feel that there’s a conspiracy afoot to enhance your well-being.  Hawaiians say, “Akua take care.”]

Here’s a poem:


Punahele, a precious child of the heart…

That’s me, a favored child of the Universe.

(You are one too.)

We are made of the same stuff as

Rainbows and stars and mighty butterfly wings.

For us, the all-there-is

Opens its arms in welcome,

An invitation to dance

In the abundance that is the Universe.


Come on…

We can go

Stomping in all the mud puddles

Down some long dirt road…

We can lie quiet on some hillside

Watching the clouds roll by

In a stately dance. 

We can ride the biggest wave,

Fly so high, delve so deep

That we break into another space

That’s every bit as fine as this one.


We can turn our hands

To all the tasks the world requires

And at the end of a long day,

We can rest in the peace

That settles over us,

The peace that comes from Done.


We can hug and love and fool around all warm,

Holding hands, all of us together

As we walk each other home.

We can brave the deepest shadows,

Spending our light on

Helping each other see the

Sparkles hidden in the deepest depths,

Clambering over crystals grown

Bigger than the oldest trees.


We are punahele,

And all of this…

ALL of this

Is our birthright.

By Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  “Half the Trouble’s In the Asking,” by Thomas Hawk via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you…)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you would drop a note or comment below and tell me your thoughts.

22 thoughts on “CHOOSE YOUR DELUSION WELL (Another IPS)

  1. Wonderful thoughts Netta. I really admire the way you have tried to explain the paradox. All the people under the sun can be broken into the two categories. On group sees the glass is half empty whereas the other group sees half full. It is our luck that we have more of the latter group and that is the secret behind why the world is running till now. The day the former wins everything will be lost!


    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, GeeEss.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again….

  2. First of all, I love “Living Out Loud.”  That’s a wonderful phrase; one that can handle some time spent thinking about it.  

    I also like your encouragement to all of us to make our life decisions based on something other than paranoia.  I, too, know that the universe will give us whatever we wish if we approach our wishes and goals with belief and the right action.  

    Your website is rich in positive ideas, which can only be beneficial.  I think you are on the right track.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Fran.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again….

  3. I have be reading life built poems but this particular one got me thinking about the realities of life.
    Netta, I say thumbs up on this, I love the part
    “We can turn our hands
    To all the task the world requires
    We can rest in the peace”
    That is literally a reality of life, which is encapsulated in the world of poetry.

    1. Carol, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      Please come again.

  4. Joseph Stasaitis says:

    I love the idea of the “Universe conspiring to help us” when we want something. I also think it is important to have clarity of exactly what it is we desire, so that the Universe can do its thing without any confusing signals on our part. It’s never good to send mixed messages.

    I love your poem and I accept the invitation to dance with the Universe. Each moment is precious, and we decide how to embrace the power within that moment. 

    You have inspired me to begin writing poetry again. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful insights and All the Best.

    1. Joseph, thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  

      YES!  Go do poems!

      And please come again….

  5. We spend a lot of our time worrying about things that we really don’t need to worry about.  Some, many would call this paranoia.  Much better to live each day doing what we can to make it better for us and others if the opportunity presents itself.

    The last video kind of said that to me.  We do what we can in spite of the difficulties we may encounter and the rest will take care of itself.  

    I think that’s the gist of your poem as well and that gives me a small sense of peace.

    Thanks for lightening my/our load, Netta,


    1. Wayne, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I am so glad the post resonated with you.

      Please do come again.

  6. Parameter says:

    Hi, Neta,

    Is there anything like faith? Or I should ask is there a difference between faith and power of positive thinking. I believe nature naturally cooperate with our human desire. She works in that direction to bring our desire our way.

    But the obvious thing is that we must desire it strongly, like your last Youtube video, the ant desired the hole strongly.

    1. Parameter, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  

      My own thought is that trusting in the Universe, in ourselves, and in each other is faith of the finest kind.  It certainly is a powerful boost to adding more light into the world.  I think it’s a good thing.  Me, I hate stumbling around in the dark.

      Please do come again.  

  7. Hello Netta. Thank you for sharing this amazing post advising us to choose our delusion well. Many years ago, that was me who thinks anyone laughing is laughing at me and gossips are on my case. What a wrong delusion. 

    The story has actually changed. I have chosen a great delusion, a positive mindset; one that believes everything is working together for my good. Indeed, the whole universe is in my favour. 

    I had a great time reading through and watching those videos, especially the last one. It was fun and lovely towards the very end.

    Warm regards!

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your story, Mr. B.  I am so glad you enjoyed the post.

      Please come again.

  8. Listen Linda says:

    Your article is thought provoking; Frankly I wonder if those two notions of faith and luck vs. predestination seems to go hand in hand. 

    I mean if someone were to have a predestined future because the universe is on their side, wouldn’t that person have to take leaps of faith to do the things that they feel like doing, following their guts because no matter what they do, there is a greater outcome of that person (or a not so great outcome)?

    What is also interesting to me is that if the universe was rigged in our favor, what happens to that unfortunate person who lives a miserable life and can never change their outcome despite what he/she does?

    1. Thanks for your visit, Linda.  You’ve shared some intriguing thoughts!

      I am not sure about the whole idea of predestination…probably because of my authority issues and all that.  (I start getting all huffy and “what do ya MEAN I can’t…” and so on.)

      However, I do agree that just because the Universe is on your side, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to throw food into your nest or present you with your own good life.  You’ve gotta go out there and get it your own self, and that can take great leaps of faith — in yourself and in the goodwill of the Universe.

      The unfortunate person who is always getting poked by a sharp stick might want to figure out ways to get away from sharp objects.  

      I say you cannot always control what happens to you, but you can definitely control how you respond to it.  I’d say, “MOVE!”

      I’m glad the post got you thinking.

      Please do come again. 

  9. I found this pretty interesting. I believe that we receive what we put out. Obviously, even if you’re the happiest person in the world and have an amazing life you’re going to have your ups and downs, but if you’re a terrible person, you’ll have a lot more ups than downs. Even some of the ups may turn out to really be downs!

    1. Leina, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  You know, I do believe you’re right:  you receive what you put out.  And where your point starts is from whether you are feeling the Universe is for ya or against ya!

      Please do come again.

  10. Beth Wiens says:

    Hi Netti, 

    Cognitive behavioural therapists also touch on some of the points that you’ve made here. They have a word for an illogical, negative thinking pattern that they call ‘Mental Filter.’  In this way of thinking, you let one bad thing color everything and disqualify any positive factors. 

    For example, if you had a bad experience with a customer service representative at the grocery store or coffee shop the other day and thought, “that’s what the whole human race is basically like- a bunch of self-centered and cruel people,” then you wear those glass to see everything that way. 

    But, you may be ignoring the fact that, actually, most of your encounters with customer service reps that month were good. This one may have only been one out of one-hundred that was insensitive. So really 99% of them were pretty good!

    Thanks for sharing your wise thoughts with us, your article is a joy to read!


    1. Beth, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  Thanks, too, for the information about the “mental filter” construct that cognitive behavioral therapists use to describe the way one bad encounter can be expanded to include the whole human race.  

      I am pleased you enjoyed the post.  

      Please do come again.

  11. LineCowley says:

    I have just finished reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for the second time, so find it very interesting that it is included here in choosing your delusion. There is so much to learn from the boy’s experiences travelling from Spain to Morocco and then through the desert to Egypt. I am sure I will read it again and learn more. 

    Love your poem on Punahele and the way in which you depict delusion, which can be such a personal encounter. 

    1. Serendipity strikes again!  Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, LineCowley.  I’m pleased you enjoyed the post.

      Please do come again.

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