I have stolen this painting and titled it “paranoia”.
At first glance everything seems fine, everyone is happily enjoying themselves… But look closer.
What about the couples dancing? The man sleeping under the tree? The couple with the basket? The small child in the hat? Look closer. What is really going on here? What exactly are they feasting on at that table? What is the cause of this celebration?
You need to look closer to find it.
Something is wrong.
But the painting is innocent. It’s such a wonderful concept, so corrupting, so self-referential. It calls us to consider something sinister, something hidden from view, from thought. If you look close enough you can find it. Right there. The paranoia. It’s everywhere. The moment you read the word the entire image became twisted, contorted as each imaginary character became suspect to your paranoia. It was not the artist’s fault, I planted the seed with that single word and you gave it life. You must share this blame with me. Together we created a new world, so cruel, so dynamic, it would be a shame to return the image to its primary banality.
Luckily this is impossible. Once seen it cannot be unseen. This is the power of your mind (whether you like it or not) and the ability of others to easily manipulate it.
It’s like being told not to think of a pink elephant, or continually asking someone what they are angry about, or fearing fear itself, or declaring war on terror. Ha! An endless smorgasbord. The eternal return of the same!
My advice is just to ignore this and carry on dancing.