More than anything else human beings want their lives to be significant. Just notice the fascination, the isolation from reality engendered by selfies, in the burgeoning phenomenon of social media.

The unbearable truth is that the lives of most people who ever lived are insignificant; those of many people who live today threaten to become so.

“I feel so insignificant,” said the ant with Woody Allen’s voice in the movie Antz. “That’s a breakthrough,” said the ant psychiatrist. “You are insignificant.” Paranoia inverts this horrifying sense of insignificance. To the paranoid, everything is significant. Every selfie is significant! Powerful forces conspire against him. He imagines himself to be a figure of great importance. Threaten his protective illusion and he may try to kill you. What he cannot bear is the notion that he truly is insignificant.