Pronoia is the suspicion that the universe is a conspiracy on your behalf, the opposite of the popular sense of paranoia. It seems to have been invented by the sociologist Fred Goldner in an article in Social Problems in 1982, in which he defined it as “the delusion that others think well of one”, the unreasoning belief that your superiors think you are indispensable, that your colleagues adore you, and that you are doing brilliantly in your work. He was warning against the dangers of the rose-tinted view, in which an over-positive view of oneself and the world around one can lead to fatal mistakes. It was later taken up by the short-lived group called the ZIPPies (the Zen Inspired Pronoia Pagans) invented by a London club promoter named Fraser Clark. The word has a small continuing niche, though its adjective pronoid is less common.
Looking at these kids, it doesn’t require my usual pronoia to think that I’m glimpsing the future of this place.
Wired, Jan. 1999
She introduced the CEOs to the flip side of paranoia: “pronoia” — the idea that everyone is not out to get you, but that they are out to love you, or at least to appreciate you, if you reciprocate. According to the new Darwinism, only the pronoid survive — in fact, only the pronoid endure and flourish.
Fast Company, Nov. 1999
Search World Wide Words
Recently added or updated
Latrinalia; Charon; True blue; Nakation; Hands off?; Who coined forecast?; Vigintillion; Hingle; Bookaneer; Pig sick; Adimpleate; Deodand; Ilk; Fowler’s Modern English Usage; Skint; Vellichor; Galoot; Crizzling; Caparisoned; Volleyballene; Trove; Smithereens; Worry wart.
Support World Wide Words!
Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.
Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select your preferred site and click Go!