Vigilance vs. Paranoia
February 12, 2013
I have been told by a friend that my post on millinneals was just too bloody and I needed to let people know the difference between paranoia and being vigilant. So, I will attempt to make that comparison disappear in this post.
I will get a little political in this just to expound upon my points. And I have to tell you that someone who is self-assuredly paranoid may have a hard time of this. But I will attempt it.
I am paranoid. I make no bones about it. I have to admit that being paranoid about a great many things has kept me safe from being injured or assaulted because of it. And it has kept clients of mine from being robbed or suffering losses from whatever the reason.
So when I teach classes in either security officer training or WPV, I stress the importance of being a tad bit paranoid! It is a trait that has served me well over the past 30 years or so and I have been told by more than a few that my instincts were correct.
I’ve been asked by clients, offices, and bosses how I knew something was going to happen. The simple truth is I didn’t. I’m just cautious and a bit paranoid, therefore I always think on the dark side of life. Instead of being like Lou Reed (Take a Walk on the Wild Side) I walk with no light. Sometimes I am proved right and my instincts are so on target I scare myself (and others around me). Other times, ehhh not so much.
But there is a difference in being vigilant and being paranoid, isn’t there? In my case, no there isn’t. But there are people who misunderstand what I say about being paranoid. So let me try to explain the difference between being vigilant and paranoia.
I always try to be vigilant in everything I do. Again, this has served me well in my career and since going blind. In my opinion being vigilant means you know what is going on around you at all times. Paying attention to everything.
Whether you do this perceptually or not. You might only notice something peripherally out of the corner of your eye and it doesn’t concern you at the time. But you have to file these items away for future usage.
Hitler, Stalin, and hundreds of other authoritarian regimes have taken paranoia to new heights. They literally turn citizens against one another. In Hitler and Stalin’s case they turned kids against their parents – which is happening now by our government by the way.
‘Is your neighbor secreting or hoarding things from the west?’ or possibly ‘Are your parents speaking against the leader of our great nation?’ Now these were excessively paranoid people. And I’m not asking anyone to turn against a neighbor’s kids or their co-workers in this fashion.
What I want people to do is to watch for those warning signs of SV and WPV. The ones that people ignore so well, especially with their own love ones. Look and watch for them and if you see anything beginning to happen and they start to pile up, then tell someone. Or at the very least get the person some help some-where!
I played violent video games back in the 90’s and the early part of this century. From shoot’em up’s to racing games where you knock people off the road and kill them to win the race! I always did pretty well at them. My reflexes weren’t the greatest but my instincts were good.
Now, parents don’t tell their kids the difference between make believe and real life. Remember there is no such thing as winners or losers anymore. Parents, schools, & society tell us that we’re all great people and we can never fail – then we get doused with ice water in the middle of a Missouri summer! No such thing as bad video games, parents buy games marked M, for mature audiences, for 5 and 6 year olds!
I place a lot of the blame for our violence on both parent’s and society. It’s the parent’s job to regulate their kids not to let them run rampant and do their own thang or do what makes themselves feel good (which is a major cause of SV and WPV). It’s also their job to let their kids fail when they need to fail and help them to recover and do better next time.
But being paranoid and being vigilant are 2 different things. You have to be vigilant in today’s violent world. It does no good for anyone to sequester yourself away from the world and believe everything will be all hunky dory in the morning. Therefore being vigilant is the best way to protect both yourself and your family.
And I’ll add, with a lil smirk, that being just a tad bit paranoid isn’t necessarily bad either. It’ll help keep you on your toes and hopefully fine tune your own gut instincts to be more vigilant. And if you can become more vigilant hopefully you won’t get caught in a cross-fire or other crime.