This Year in Pronoia History

Abolitionist Donaldina Cameron was a courageous, compassionate zealot who is credited with rescuing some 3,000 people from slavery and breaking the back of the Chinese slave trade in the U.S.

Donaldina Cameron barged into brothels and uncovered hidden trap doors to find the terrified teenage girls held behind them. She stood up to threats from the gangs who made money from trafficking in Chinese slavery. She raised hundreds of girls in the mission house, wiping away tears, giving in to requests for midnight snacks, and gradually training previous enslaved young women to live on their own. She advocated in the courts on their behalf.

At Least Some of Trendy Pessimism Is Based on a Lie

Winning the War on War: The Decline of Armed Conflict Worldwide by Joshua S. Goldstein

Read the newspapers, and you’ll think that war is worse than ever. But as the book “Winning the War on War” shows, the reality is just the opposite. We are in the midst of a decline in armed conflict that is extraordinary in human history. Global peacekeeping efforts are working; large-scale looting, sexual assault, and genocidal atrocities are being stopped. 2010 had one of the lowest death rates from war.

Despite All the Delusional Propaganda You Hear, the Fact Is the Human Race Is Becoming Less Violent

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

Many people think we live in the most violent age ever. But this book shows the opposite is true: violence has been diminishing for millennia. For most of history, war, slavery, infanticide, child abuse, pogroms, gruesome punishments, and genocide were ordinary features of life. But today, these have all dwindled and are widely condemned.

What if a Lot of What They Taught You About Death Is a Lie?

No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life by Thich Nhat Hanh. Is it possible to live a life unfettered by fear?

Zen master Nhat Hanh turns his hard-earned wisdom as a survivor of war, persecution, and exile to the age-old dilemma of what happens when one dies. If the greatest fear is, as he suggests, that one becomes nothing, then how is one to live with this threat of complete annihilation? Using Buddhist parables and anecdotes, Nhat Hanh offers an alternative perspective. Buddhists see birth and death as mere concepts, not manifestations of reality. When someone dies, they are still with us, just in a different form. In this view, a continuation, a connection between people and nature persists because time is understood as being circular: nothing begins; nothing ends; it just is.

We All May Have Actual Souls

A Complete Guide to the Soul

There is an aspect to the question of what the soul is which is startling and strange, but so widespread that it cannot be avoided. It is connected to the popular idea that we all have a guardian angel. According to a US poll in the 1990s, sixty-nine per cent of Americans believe in angels. Forty-six per cent have their own guardian angels and thirty-two per cent have felt an angelic presence.

Pronoia Isn’t Just About Being Good; It’s Also About Cultivating Ecstacy

Brave New Prayers by Hunter Reynolds

Here’s the blurb that I wrote for Hunter’s fantastic book:

Hunter Reynolds’ Brave New Prayers is the single best collection of prayers I’ve ever found. And by best, I mean holiest, rowdiest, truest, and most intimately aligned with the tricky nature of the Divine Wow. I’m keeping his book beneath my pillow, sandwiched between Rumi and Hafiz, so I can soak up its tonic effervescence while I dream.

Healing Through Maniacal, Lustful Laughing

Association For The Betterment Of Sex

Shouldn’t we all be laughing more while we have sex? (May not be safe for work))

Sex has notoriously been a difficult, dare we say “touchy,” subject to discuss, so for generations there have been guidebooks about human sexuality such as the classic “Our Bodies Our Selves.” Now, from writer Mike Sacks (McSweeney’s, Vanity Fair) and his comedy-writing group “The Pleasure Syndicate”, consisting of Scott Jacobson (“The Daily Show”), Todd Levin (“The Tonight Show”), Jason Roeder (The Onion), and Ted Travelstead (Esquire) comes “Sex: Our Bodies, Our Junk,” a humorous sexual guidebook for the 21st century.