Thursday, October 14, 2010

Paranoia Strikes Deep ...

... into your heart it will creep.  (Golden Butter: The Best of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band).  One of my favorite refrains from one of my favorite songs.  Paranoia is one of those subconscious stressors that can actually shorten your life.  There's an abundance of reasons out there to be paranoid these days, if you're prone to that kind of thing.  Terrorism, global warming, toxic sludge, food recalls, financial meltdown, etc.  It's easy to worry excessively.  However, a new book (RISK: THE SCIENCE AND POLITICS OF FEAR) tries to put all of these threats in perspective by pointing out the mathematical probability of an adverse event affecting you personally - as well as the media's role as a prime purveyor of paranoia.  To wit: "...even if terrorists were hijacking and crashing one passenger jet a week in the United States, a person who took one flight a month for a year would only have a 1-in-135,000 chance of being killed in a hijacking - a trivial risk compared to the annual 1-in-6000 odds of being killed in a car crash."  (That's every time you get behind the wheel!  How often do you jump in the car and drive a little too fast?)  So, lighten up folks.  But also remember, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you!