The inverse-paranoia machine – and its importance for network-trust

This is wonderful:



Inverse paranoia.  That is, seeing everything that might happen to one as being a positive: an opportunity, in fact – not in the sense of being able to trample over others but rather to enrich both oneself and one’s surroundings.  To have that feeling that one might just as madly believe the vast majority of people and events are not randomly nor existentially cruel but actually, curiously, intelligently designed to make one feel/be/do better.

Not paranoid in a hurtful way, then; paranoid in a trusting way.

This brings me to the subject of today’s post.  I asked one question of big media organisations, and found another statement of fact in my timeline later on.

My question was as follows:

It’s surely an interesting challenge: how to sustain good large corporations in a world where bad corporations do their biz – either in the what they choose to action or in the how they choose to action it.

One horrific and sickening example here.

Then came along another tweet.  Stomach-punching, this one:

And I realised this was my inverse paranoia of the day: if journalists and activists – intelligent communicators of all kinds – are to survive the onslaughts on civil and human rights which are clearly on the way, we need new networks where network-trust is sky-high.

If we are looking to create networks of hyperlocal communication, for example, which usefully, interestingly and safely connect up with more traditional political and media structures, we need alongside such networks to embed what we might call inverse-paranoia machines.  Conceptual black boxes, I mean, which help to support the network-trust I mention.

I don’t have the skills to suggest what these boxes might consist of, but I think it’s a fairly useful step to say a second step should be to make them.

I imagine part of the mix will be identification of participants: if a hyperlocal site wants to generate trust, its inverse-paranoia machine will need to know, without a shadow of a doubt, who is communicating with whom; who is doing this or that.

But equally, as identification adds value for the system, support from the system in times of stress should add value for the participants.  So if the “downside” of participating publicly in democratic discourse is necessarily not to be anonymous, the “upside” should be that if court action results in moments when governments act more repressively, the system will provide the necessary legal, intellectual and emotional aid.

There has to be a quid pro quo.

That, anyway, is how I would initially sketch out the inverse-paranoia machine.  Something which made of challenging circumstances a positively connected beast.


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