Happy Paranoids

Did you ever ask yourself, why we often want and don’t want to know certain things at the same time? The postmodern writer Thomas Pynchon is an expert for quests with open ends. His protagonists desperately try to gain information about mysterious persons, organizations or incidents. But every answer just leads to new questions or the answer seems to be absolutely pointless. Sooner or later Pynchon’s heroes get lost in subplots, between dozens of weird characters – lost in a loud, funny and dirty world. A world with no deeper sense at all? A world like ours?

The main characters in Pynchon novels are often classified as paranoids. Paranoids think they would know more than others, while they do know less and (just a theory) privily don’t want to know more. Doesn’t that perfectly fit our today’s society? So is it just the never ending search for meaning, the infinite exploration of the hidden links between superficially fragmented entities, that makes us human, gives our lives a purpose or simply saves us from daily boredom? In that case we permanently play tricks on ourselves: We wish to solve the mysteries around us, but need them to remain unanswerable as well. We want to know and don’t want to know.

Perhaps we are all happy paranoids…


The novel »The Crying of Lot 49« by US-author Thomas Pynchon (an enigmatic figure himself). The heroine Oedipa Maas tries to solve the mystery about her dead ex-lover Pierce Inverarity. Soon she gets in contact with a weird counter world of the isolated and forgotten, in which an alternative communication system is used: W.A.S.T.E (»We await silent Trystero’s empire«). Its symbol: the muted post horn. But what’s all this about? The book ends with the auction of a set of rare, manipulated postage stamps that she believes representatives of Trystero are trying to acquire…

Destabilize your mind!

D.B. (and D.B.)