My new body was that of a giant flatworm. I was bright pink with no head and I was flat just like a ribbon which made me not very nice to look at, but on the plus side I was very, very strong – far stronger than I had ever been before. I had actually been quite weak before. I was also very flexible, I could wriggle under a door in seconds and this made it near impossible for anyone to catch me. I decided to become a criminal as the chances were that I could become very successful at a criminal career and this would be good as I have never been successful at anything else in my life. I didn’t particularly like my new body, it unnerved me when I saw it in the mirror, but at the same time I knew I could turn it to my advantage.
I had tried my hand at being a criminal before of course but I just hadn’t been very good at it. I got caught every time I did something illegal and as a consequence I was always doing bird. ‘Do your bird, mate!’ the other guys would shout from their cells, full of camaraderie and good cheer. ‘Do your bird mate, do your bird mate, do your bird mate…’ It was a joke – just about the only joke we had. In one way you had to do your bird of course – what else were you going to do? But in another way it meant that you should just keep your head down, stay out of trouble, and get on with it. In some ways those were the happiest days of my life – things have gone seriously downhill since then. I think what it is is that I’m not very good at responsibility – give me enough responsibility and I’m bound to screw it up! Give me enough responsibility and I’ll screw it up every time…
The game had changed dramatically since then however because now I was a giant flatworm. Well, I’m still me but my body has changed. My new body is full of energy, it is vibrant with energy. It actually can’t stay still for a moment – it is ceaselessly undulating, ceaselessly ripping rippling, ceaselessly flowing. I have lost the ability to sit still; I have lost the ability to sit at all, come to think of it! I wondered what crimes I could commit now that I was a flatworm. What crimes does a flatworm commit? What are its typical offences? ‘Here you see a typical flatworm offender,’ I told myself solemnly, as if I was an investigative journalist doing a newscast, ‘observe the pink, muscular body. A flatworm can wriggle under a closed door in seconds; having no bones it is incredibly flexible. When you go to grab a flatworm it simply slips from your grasp.’
I grew restless with this game after a few minutes and left the house without bothering to open the door. I set off undulating down the road at a tremendous pace. A new life was about to begin for me. My new life was about to begin and I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me! I had no plans either – all my plans were immature fantasies. My whole life up to this point had been made up of me trying to enact one immature fantasy or another. I was going to say that ‘my whole life up to this point in time had been composed of me unsuccessfully trying to live out my various immature fantasies’, but that goes without saying really, doesn’t it?
Personalities came to inhabit me but they weren’t very nice. They were far from nice. They were famous, they were well-known. They were larger-than-life and full of talk! They came from beyond the grave, resurrected time and time again. They were the immortals. Brash and empty, they never stopped talking. They were like well-known TV personalities on a long-running soap show – they were the people we all know and love so well only we don’t love them. They were harsh and malicious and yet wonderfully glossy at the same time and we know them so very well. We know them and we hate them but we can never get rid of them. They keep coming back, you see. They keep coming back time and time again, turning up like bad pennies, turning up time and time again. We can’t get rid of them. My fingers crumble softly as I put out my cigarette; they crumble away disconcertingly into nothing. I’m reliving a faded echo of the life I once had. My fingers crumble softly as I lovingly pull out another John Player Special cigarette from its sleek new packet. I can already feel that thick luxurious smoke being pulled into my lungs; I’m tasting the enjoyment in advance and in my imagination I’m keenly enjoying every last molecule. I’m keenly anticipating the pleasure, keenly anticipating the pleasure. I sometimes wonder if the anticipation of pleasure isn’t the finest form of pleasure there is. It’s all the finer because it never truly can be experienced! We can anticipate it for sure – and how sweet that is – but we can never truly taste it. But what an edge this brings, what an edge… People talk about ‘the edge’ so much, don’t they? They talk about it but what do they know? The difference is, you see, that I really do know about the edge. I really do know about what the edge is. The edge is pure torment. The edge is pure torment and that’s what we can never allow ourselves to see – we know it but we can never allow ourselves to see it. The edge is composed of two things: one thing is the promise of what could be if only we were who we are not and the other thing is the utter stark lie that lies behind this oh-so-attractive promise! In order to believe that we truly can have the pleasure that we see in front of us we have to forget that we aren’t who we need to be in order to obtain this pressure. But even if we were successful forgetting this all-important fact we still aren’t going to get our hands on the pleasure we want so very much. We’re still not going to be able to obtain that pleasure because the one who wants to obtain it doesn’t exist. Even when we gamble everything we’ve got we don’t win, and if this isn’t torment then what is?
We are so good at adapting ourselves to our tiny little worlds, aren’t we? If someone were to ask me, ‘Hey buddy, what’s your superpower?’ I’d answer, ‘Adapting myself to tiny worlds.’ It comes so effortlessly to me, and yet the ramifications go on forever.
My own voice taunts me at times like this. ‘Adapting myself to tiny worlds, adapting myself to tiny worlds, adapting myself to tiny worlds,’ it says spitefully. It’s playing its part in my downfall, so I suppose I have to give it credit for that. I nod grudgingly in its direction, ‘I suppose I have to give you credit for that’ I tell it, and it smirks unpleasantly back at me. It’s a day like any other, I remind myself, and yet here I am as usual. Here I am as usual – trapped in my little tiny world!
I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time, it occurs to me, yet apart from that everything is okay. Apart from that things couldn’t be better. The foxes bark in the trees and the birds rustle in the hedgerows. Something uncanny is happening, but I’d be the last person to know anything about that. I’m always the last person to know.
I adapted myself to a tiny world the other day and it was so tiny that it didn’t even exist! This is a running joke for me – the joke grew legs one day and it just started running. It wasn’t even a joke to start off with. It wasn’t even what you would call a ‘proper joke’. ‘And what would you call ‘a proper joke?’’ my voice sneered at me. My voice isn’t even mine anymore – it floats around the room in its spookily disembodied way, sniping at me from unexpected directions.
I stuck to my guns. ‘I adapted myself to a tiny world the other day and it was so tiny that it didn’t even exist!’ I told my voice defiantly. My voice floated around the place like a diminutive mauve trumpet-flower, obviously trying in vain to think of its next put-down. Somehow it looked rather disconcerted; somehow it looked rather at a loss.
All aspects of my reality were subservient to the Decay Function of course, and as a result there was only one way the story could go. Life was full of inescapable conclusions and I no longer even tried to escape them. I gravitated to them just as iron filings are drawn to a magnet, just as flies are drawn to fresh excrement. My voice sniggered nastily in the background, but said nothing.
I was in the echo chamber of my own mind; I was in the hall of mirrors. I tried not to move too much because when I did it set up distorted reverberations that just kept on multiplying. The echoes grew legs and walked, like giant centipedes. They marched across the ceiling. I was afraid that one of them might drop onto me and dig its fierce claws into my flesh. Centipedes are a pet hate of mine, especially the giant variety. When they bite they pump venom into you and each claw – of which they have many – injects venom too. The pain is excruciating.
The Decay Function was racing towards its final conclusion and I didn’t even know what that was. Does anyone know what that was, I wonder? People act very smart of course. They dress up in smart clothes and come out with fancy talk and fine-sounding phrases. Anyone who admits to not understanding is mocked and derided, and driven out into the fringes of society where the unclean things wait to consume us. Professional experts appear in their droves – when they open their mouths torrents of centipedes fall out, full of savage malignant eagerness, full of the will to do harm.
We are all so good at adapting to tiny worlds, aren’t we? We’re all so very good at enabling and facilitating the Decay Function. My own words mean nothing at this stage. They grow legs and abruptly scuttle away into the undergrowth. They ricochet off the walls like so many rubber balls. I realise that I’m better off saying nothing – it’s only extra fuel for the fire, anyway. It’s like a red rag to a bull – it’s only adding insult to injury.
The seconds turn into hours and the hours turn into years and the years turn into brightly coloured rubber balls that ricochet like crazy from the walls. I’m full of eager passion to articulate the dark poetry of the Decay Function but my fingers crumble silently into dust as I pick up my pen. My fingers crumble into the very finest of dust like so many over-extended cylinders of fag-ash. I want so much to express and articulate the dark poetry of the Decay Function but I no longer know what to say.
I have a few handy tips on ‘how to be human being’ that I fully intend to gather together in a kind of handbook one day. Maybe I’ll get it published! It’s a just a thing that I have in my head. A compendium of a few little tricks that have served me well in the past, you might say. A few key strategies.
I’m happy enough to share these little tricks of mine – who knows, they might be of great help to some poor soul one day! Who knows, who knows… Life can be a very daunting thing – what we have to do about it, what are we supposed to say about it? What should our opinions on it be? This is a very basic thing as I have no doubt that you can appreciate – here I am, scratching my head, paralyzed by my own thoughts, wondering what on earth the next step is to be. How to proceed, how to play it, how to figure it out? When it comes down to it we just don’t know what the next step should be and this is the most paralysing thing on earth! It’s what philosophers call ‘the existential challenge’.
So we all know this, we’ve all been there, and it is therefore a very worthwhile and important thing to be considering some sort of solution to this most unfortunate dilemma. What should we do when we don’t know what to do? Well, the solution is actually very simple – all you need to do is to expose yourself in a public place (psychologically, that is, not physically!) so that you can be successfully inoculated (or ‘infected’ might be the better word!) with all the various toxic mind-memes that are currently in circulation. When these voracious little psychic viruses have taken hold they will straightaway give rise to addictions and it is via these addictions that the mind-memes (or psychic viruses) will control our behaviour. This is the way of the world of course, and there’s no point in fighting against it! Facts have to be faced and this is a fact like any other.
I know very well that people will be scratching their heads at this stage and wondering how on earth this is supposed to help anyone. It’s probably not quite what you were expecting; you were probably expecting a list of instructions, which is of course the usual way. People love instructions. The point is however that addiction provides us with the very best motivation there is – there’s no such thing as ‘philosophical paralysis’ when an addiction has got you well and truly in its grip, and that’s a testable fact! People do the most extraordinary things as a result of addiction; the most remarkable things can be achieved. Heaven and earth can be moved. And the beauty of it is, as I’ve already pointed out, that no philosophising is required – none at all! You get up in the morning and you just have to obey that old addiction; there’s no ‘thinking about the big questions’ or anything like that – there’s just ‘getting on with it’. You do what you have to do and you don’t whinge about it…
That’s what I admire about the life of an out-and-out addict – everything is so marvellously black-and-white. There are only two things – either you score your fix or you don’t. Nothing else means a damn to you; no other outcome is of any significance whatsoever. There’s no place for ‘hand-waving’, there’s no ‘yes but…’, there’s no bamboozling people with fancy talk or confusing them with fine phrases – either you get the hit you need or you don’t. If I send you to the shop to get rich tea biscuits and you come back with digestives or custard creams then that’s just not going to cut it! If you don’t come back with the right gear then you just have to go back and try again. I know what I’m talking about here – you can trust me on that. I really do know what I’m talking about here. There’s no confusion in the mind of a junkie when he runs out of the old brown powder, I can tell you; there’s no ‘oh I wonder what I’m going to do today?’ He knows exactly what he’s going to be today doing today – searching for some bloody skag, that’s what he’s going to be doing today! It’s as simple as that.
As I say, you can trust me on that – that’s what it’s like, no matter what these over-educated politically-correct folk might be telling you. They have their heads right up their own arses, as everyone knows. Anyway, I’m going off target here, it’s mind-memes I’m talking about here, not skag. Mind-memes are a million times worse, they are a million times more insidious than any street drug. Those dirty old psychic viruses can get a person to do anything, I’m telling you! You wouldn’t believe what they can get people to do… There’s no point in pussyfooting around here – you might as well call a spade a spade and be done with it. Take a look around you – why do you think everyone you see is running around doing this and doing that? What do you think all this frenetic socialized activity is about? What you think the economy is about? It’s all about the creating and the servicing of addictions, that’s what it’s about. You know that as well as I do, of course. We all know that, for God’s sake. Society is all about needs, and the servicing of needs..
So that’s it really. If you want to be part of it all, if you want to fit in like a good girl or a good boy, then you know what you have to do – get yourself well and truly infected with those dirty old mind-memes! That is how to be a socially-adapted human being, that is how to fit into the big happy family that is this society of ours. I can tell you one thing that’s for sure anyway; if you aren’t using the same operating system as everyone else in this world then you’re not going to get very far. There’s great companionship in shared addiction, after all. We’re all singing from the same hymn sheet in this case; everyone knows that everyone else is talking about. We’re all like peas in a pod, for God’s sake. But just see what happens to you if you’re not a slave to these dirty old mind-memes! You’re on your own then and no mistake; all of a sudden you haven’t any mates. It’s no fun is it, being a misfit, being an outcast, being a bit of a weirdo? Everyone looks at you funny. They will always suspect the worst of you then, won’t they? If you’re strange then you must be bad, isn’t that it? You must be a ‘wrong-un’. Perhaps you’re a sex pervert or something. Maybe you’re on drugs – I don’t know. So if you want to fit in you know what you have to do – just expose yourself that vulnerable little brain of yours to some good old-fashioned viral programming! The bottom line is that if you want to get on in the world then you need to catch the same disease that everyone else has!
Do you know that utterly incommunicable feeling when the Fog of Forgetting unaccountably lifts and you inexplicably remember who you are and where you came from and what your mission is? You had completely forgotten everything, you had forgotten it all. You had become mired in pestilential unconsciousness, you had been lost in the mire of compulsive self-deception. And then – when it all suddenly came back to you (as it will do from time to time) – you are left kicking yourself, you are left recriminating against yourself being such a blind self-sabotaging fool. Or maybe you don’t do that, maybe you just skip on quickly to the next bit of your life and pay no heed to that uncomfortable moment. Maybe you choose to forget again. I don’t know what you do of course, I only know what I do. I’m only talking about myself – I don’t know anything about anyone else. That’s my mantra and I’m sticking to it! I’m talking nonsense really – that’s my stock in trade. I’m talking shyte for all I’m worth. I’m yakking my head off. I’m yakking like a fool, I’m yakking like an idiot. Times are hard only they’re not. Times are hard only they’re easy – they’re too easy! I don’t do anything anymore, I just let my internal robot make all the decisions for me. I just let my acquired automatisms do their stuff, as they always do, as they always do. You can rely on the internal robot to make the decisions for you; you can rely on the acquired automatisms to always keep on doing their stuff too! If you can rely on anything in this world it is that. If you can rely on one thing in this world it is that the acquired automatisms will keep on doing whatever it is that they do. I feel happy when I say this because it’s good to have something to rely on in this uncertain world of ours, but I also feel sad. I feel sad because – well you know why I feel sad. I’ve already said it. I’ve already gone into it. I’m sad because I’m mired in the pestilential morass of unconsciousness and that’s not a good thing. What good ever came out of being mired in the filthy pestilential morass of unconsciousness? You know as well as I do that this particular morass spells nothing apart from unendurable misery, so don’t try to tell me that there’s something good about it! Don’t waste your breath. I tell myself that the misery is not so bad, of course. I try to sell myself that lie, whenever I can. ‘Come on now,’ I tell myself brightly, ‘unendurable misery is not as bad as all that.’ Only it is that bad. It is every bit as bad as that and then some! ‘Unendurable misery is not so bad’, I say with a twisted, lopsided grin, but I’m screaming on the inside. If you are telepathic you can hear me. Life is hard you see; it is hard even when it’s easy and that is at least one thing that I’ve learned! Even when life is easy it is hard. Even when life is good it’s bad, and every advantage is a secret disadvantage!
I was trying to figure out the Determinate Environment. I was trying to get the hang of it, trying as best I could to suss it out. Were people competing for space on the hard drive, I wondered? Was that it? The argument against that was obvious – the hard drive wasn’t real and so the space on it didn’t exist! So what was everyone competing for, in this case? I found myself at a loss, unable to make sense of what was going on. We were all competing for space on the hard drive and it was definitely a case of ‘the survival of the fittest’. There was no time for anything else, no time to look left or right, and the cruel thing was that there was no space there for anyone at the end of the day. We were ‘the fittest’ for sure, but what were we fit for?
I was trying to comprehend the hidden logic of the environment. I was trapped in it – it was completely opaque to me. Every person I saw was (in their own way) busily engrossed in the task and there was no time to slack off, never any time to slack off. The task was All-Important. The pressure was on in a big way and we all knew that it wasn’t ever going to let up, and yet at the same time there was a tremendous sense of slackness, the tremendous sense of utter hollow futility. We all knew that we were going nowhere and we all knew that we would never would, but we couldn’t access this awareness. We were cut off from it. The awareness was there, as stark as day, absolutely undeniable, but none of us could ever address it, none of us could see what it was that we already knew.
I am integrating the environment and the environment is integrating me. The hidden logic of the system is that Everything Is A Lie – this is the hidden logic that we can never escape. We all know the reality of The Lie; we all know that we can never escape from it. The reality of The Lie is imprinted on us on the molecular level; it is imprinted on our faces, it is imprinted in the tone of our voices. No one can ever escape The Lie, and yet at the same time we are not permitted to address or in any way articulate this awareness. No one can speak of it; no one can acknowledge the lie that determines our lives. We are bowed down by it; we are utterly crushed by it in everything we do. The Invisible Lie is the determining factor of our lives.
We are prisoners of our own tyrannical environment, we are the victims of this shockingly terrible, life-denying thing that we have created! How were we ever clever enough (and stupid enough!) to create it? So very clever and so very stupid, so very clever and so very stupid. What an awesome combination! How does a combination like this actually work anyway, I asked myself? I already know the answer to this of course – I’m just gradually working my way around to articulating it. The Determinate Environment was always out there waiting to be born, you see. There was never a time when it wasn’t there. It needed us in order to be born and so it worked through us, it worked slowly and patiently through us in order realise itself, it manipulated us so that it could fulfil its aim. It worked on is so very slowly, so very patiently that it was always bound to succeed…
The environment is hard to figure out; it’s hard to figure out because it’s so very opaque. It is as opaque as stone, and just as heavy. What else would you expect of the Determinate Environment, after all? The Determinate Environment doesn’t want us to figure it out; it doesn’t grant us the freedom to do so. It doesn’t grant us the freedom to do anything, of course. There is a fantastical paradox in all this, as I am only now starting to appreciate – a paradox that I cannot get my head around at all. The Determinate Environment was patiently waiting to be born (as now it has been born) but it wasn’t a real thing THEN any more than it is a real thing NOW. It is an outright lie that the Determinate Environment is a real thing! This is the lie that the Determinate Environment – by its very nature – never allows us to see.
Suppose there was a person you knew (and I’m only just saying this for the sake of the argument you understand, not to offend anyone) who was totally unconscious whilst making out the whole time that they knew everything and that they knew all about reality and what it was, and so on and so forth. And not only this but they even manage to convince everyone around them that they really do know what they’re talking about and that they are 100% reliable in everything they assert and that they can be completely trusted in this regard (i.e. in regard to what reality was all about, and so on). Know anyone like that? Perhaps you do, perhaps you do. I get a funny feeling that we all know someone a little bit like that! So the point I’m getting at here with all this is to ask you a question, and the question is this: “What is the best way to deal with such a person?” What should one say when meeting such a person and what should one not say? And if you happen to have a good friend who is completely unconscious in this way, would it be a good idea to try to point out their predicament to them and explain to them that whilst they are convinced that they know all about reality, and are in fact very great experts on the subject, the actual truth of the matter – in stark contrast – is that they don’t even know the slightest little thing about reality and that, moreover, if they ever came across it – ‘by accident’, so to speak – they would certainly crap themselves on the spot? Would it be your duty – as a friend – to point this out to them? You must excuse me if I take a little break at this point to grin like a complete fool. You must excuse me if I take a break whilst I cackle like a totally insane maniac! I ask you to bear with me just for a moment. All of this is just my little joke, you see. I do like to make a little joke from time to time! Humour is the best medicine after all – isn’t that what they used to say? When I was young and innocent and didn’t know anything about the ways of the world I used to leaf through old copies of the Reader’s Digest and this is what it said. It said that laughter was the best medicine. Perhaps you used to leaf through old copies of the Reader’s Digest too when you were younger? In which case you will know what I mean. Somehow I suspect that no one actually does this anymore, no matter how young and innocent they might be! No indeed they probably don’t because these are different times we live in – very different times! I feel quite nostalgic about the way things used to be – I had my whole life ahead of me that back then, which can often be the case when you are only a small child. I had my whole life ahead of me and I didn’t know what was lying in store for me. I didn’t know that one day I would be a famous nonentity. Known far and wide for being completely unknown. Fame of course can be a fickle master – we all know that. We are all famous in our own minds, naturally. Some of us are infamous. Some of us are legendary heroes, and – in stark contrast – others of us are notorious criminals and wrongdoers. Some of us are celebrated whilst others are persecuted. The joke is starting to wear a little thin at this stage and I’d be the first to admit it. It’s time to give it up. It’s time to move on to something else. Everyone is looking in me in that meaningful way, as if to say “Give it up now would you? It’s all starting to wear a little thin at this stage…” I’ve never been very good at taking a hint however. I wouldn’t know a hint if it walked up and punched me in the face! Indeed I wouldn’t. My head is filling up with thoughts now, as I sit here. It’s filling up and then it’s overflowing, like a toilet cistern that’s broken and won’t turn off. None of these thoughts mean anything of course! None of them mean a damn thing and that’s the funny thing about it!