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Week of December 12th, 2013

Not Getting Lost Inside Your Own Head

Did you read my book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia when it first came out? Maybe you don't know that the revised and expanded version of Pronoia is quite different.

The revised and expanded version has over 63,500 new words and 73 new illustrations. That's 55% additional material beyond what the first edition had.

There are 2 extra chapters, 18 completely new pieces, plus 14 new Sacred Advertisements. Many of the original pieces of the book have been revised and expanded, as well. A central piece in the book, "Glory in the Highest," is 9 times longer than it was in the original.

Amazon or Powells.


Here's an excerpt from Pronoia:

Some visionaries and prophets expect there to be a huge and sudden shift in the world's story sometime in the coming years. A few of them even predict that it will be "in the twinkling of an eye" -- a sudden cascade of events that completely changes everything everywhere.

They paint the scenario in broad, catastrophic strokes, expecting something -- they're not sure what -- that will have the impact of a large meteor strike or nuclear war or pandemic disease or the depletion of the planet's oil reserves. Others harbor a more benign but equally fuzzy expectation, speculating that maybe some higher psychic powers will kick in to the multitudes all at once, or that benevolent extraterrestrials will arrive to solve our energy crisis.

What very few of the prophets do, however, is make a precise prediction about what exactly will happen. Their visions contain no assurances, no specifics. And in my view, that's worse than useless. It fills us with a vague buzz of fear or amorphous sense of hope, but offers no concrete directions about what to do to prevent the dreaded thing or help create the hoped-for thing.

And the fact is, as I see it, they can't possibly know what the Big Shift is -- if, that is, a Big Shift is really looming. The very nature of any Big Shift will be so unexpected, so beyond our imaginations, and so utterly alien to what we understand, that we can't possibly delineate its contours in advance.

I'm reminded of Jung's formula, which is that we don't so much solve our problems as we outgrow them. We add capacities and experiences that eventually make us bigger than the problems.

This theory can be applied in reverse: If we have not yet grown wiser than our current predicament, then we can't see what the evolved state is beyond the predicament. Our minds are as-yet incapable of embodying the vision that will catapult us beyond the problem we're stuck in.

When the Big Shift comes, whether or not it comes in the twinkling of an eye, it will be something that no one foresaw, let alone described in detail. It will be beyond our comprehension, unlike anything we could have visualized headed our way. (Thirty years ago, did anyone imagine the Internet or the impact it's having?)

And if that's true, then the inescapable conclusion is: There's no use trying to plan ahead for it. It's counterproductive to hold a particular scenario in our mind as the likely development. And it's downright crazy to harbor a chronic sense of dread about an unknowable, unimaginable series of events.

The best way to prepare for a Big Shift is to cultivate mental and emotional states that ripen us to be ready for anything:

* a commitment to not getting lost inside our own heads;

* a strategy to avoid being enthralled with the hypnotic lure of painful emotions, past events, and worries about the future;

* a trust in empirical evidence over our time-worn beliefs and old habits;

* a talent for turning up our curiosity full blast and tuning in to the raw truth of every moment with our beginner's mind fully engaged;

* and an eagerness to dwell gracefully in the midst of all the interesting questions that tease and teach us.

Everything I just described also happens to be an excellent way to prime yourself for a chronic, low-grade, always-on, simmering-at-low-heat brand of ecstasy -- a state of being more-or-less permanently in the Tao, in the groove, in the zone.

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Here's praise for Pronoia:

"I have seen the future of American literature and its name is Rob Brezsny." - Tom Robbins

"With this work -- an instant pop classic -- Rob Brezsny offers a positive, participatory, proactive vision of the workings of our inner and outer universe, which will only give us as much pleasure, love, and ecstasy as we are prepared to accept." - Daniel Pinchbeck

"While it may seem naive to put your faith in optimism these days, Brezsny's new book offers up a convincing argument for leaving cynicism and despair behind. This wild, wise, and subversive book is a must read for those who want to live a more imaginative and free life. Rob Brezsny is a Culture Hero." - Utne Reader

"With Pronoia, renegade wizard Rob Brezsny presents an irreverent manifesto, mixing activism and optimism. It reads like the I Ching on Ecstasy and is as insightful and puzzling as a Zen koan. He puts the 'pro' back in 'protest.'" - Body + Soul

"I dig Rob Brezsny for his powerful yet playful insights, his poetry, and his humor . . . I salute him for his dedication to inspiration."
- Jason Mraz, singer-songwriter

"In *Pronoia,* Brezsny tenderly leads us into the practice of re-imagining the world as a compassionate miracle. He offers a bevy of ideas for tricksters to re-create the universe." - Santa Cruz Sentinel

"Brezsny's Pronoia rotates, something like a Tibetan prayer wheel, around the idea that love underpins being and that it's ours if only we have the courage to take it. If we don't go to this original and endless source, then we inherit the classical hell-on-earth of depression, decay and destruction. Around and around his theme the verbally acrobatic, mystically literate Brezsny lets fly a thousand zingers, each with the feel of having been carved with some poetic effort to express a hard reality instead of a platitude." - San Francisco Chronicle

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You can listen to and download over two hours' worth of my music and spoken word stuff: the
soundtrack for my book PRONOIA. It's all free:

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Immigrants to the U.S. are less likely to shoplift, skip work or school, hurt people or engage in other antisocial behaviors -- despite being poorer, more urbanized, and less educated than people born in the States. Find out more.

One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life by Mitch Horowitz
"Serious skeptics, true believers, and seekers of every stripe will want to read Mitch Horowitz?s vibrant, probing, and richly researched account of the impact of the positive-thinking movement on every aspect of American life today. Filled with a cast of remarkable characters and many lively tales, *One Simple Idea* is a readable, responsible examination of the limits and possibilities of mind-power as a source of constructive transformation." - Judith Viorst

Germany Says No To Weaponized Drones

(Note: I endorse these because I like them. They are not advertisements, and I get no kickbacks.)

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