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Brezny on Pronoia

Astrologer's book encourages bliss


To Rob Brezny, "Evil is boring. Cynicism is stupid. Despair is lazy." In his new book, Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings, Brezny sets out on a quest to show the world how to " ignore the cult of doom and gloom" and to "laugh at the stupidity of evil and hate." The word "pronoia" was originally coined in the '70s by the Grateful Dead, but to Brezny, "It's the understanding that the universe is fundamentally friendly." It's a wild ride and anyone familiar with Rob Brezny's horoscopes will see the perpetually positive "Master of Rowdy Bliss" in finest form. Pronoia is all about recognizing that every moment is perfect and sacred and that love is the only answer.

However, keep in mind that this is not your ordinary fluffy new-age self-help book. It is an irreverent, nonreligious text that is both a workbook and a textbook to help the reader connect with the "Divine Wow." It mixes hedonism with the divine and innocence with wisdom. It is a book that encourages one to meditate naked under a waterfall and to commit "blasphemous acts of beauty." It sounds like a tall order in a world full of sarcasm and cynicism, but Brezny remains hopeful and effervescent in his promotion of lustful compassion.

In his "Dionysian Manifesto," contained in each chapter, Brezny extracts wisdom from the likes of William Blake, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and even--believe it or not--Homer Simpson. His "Pronoia News Network" sections contain enough facts and quotes to make a librarian drool. Personal anecdotes from Brezny himself are also peppered throughout the text. He tells of his wild adventures at Burning Man in 2001 and relates a heart-warming story of road rage demonstrating Pronoia in action.

There are instructions on how to read the book as well, but Brezny encourages sublime defiance and allows the reader decide how to use it. Pronoia is formatted so that you can start from the beginning and read it cover to cover or you can start in the middle and go whichever way you feel. Brezny encourages readers to keep a pen or pencil handy at all times. Be prepared to explore the outer limits of compassion and borderline goofiness. In some exercises, he suggests that you pray for your enemies while you make love, while in others, he encourages you to stand on a traffic island holding a sign that says, "I love to help; I need to give; please take some money." While not all of his suggestions are quite as scary as playing in traffic, they are all meant to broaden our minds and escape the bitterness of what he calls "pop nihilism."

Cynics can sneer all they want at Brezny's over the top exuberance, but approaching Pronoia with "emancipated surrender" may bring about changes that will lead to "orgiastic lucidity."