The Days Of Our Decay

‘What is the correct and proper way to engage with reality?’ I asked importantly, ‘kindly provide me with the appropriate and valuable information’. I spoke briskly, being full of the easy confidence that always comes with delusion. I spoke out of turn perhaps – maybe even a tad impatiently – but all the same, I meant no harm. Or at least, not too much. I was a sincere seeker – of sorts. I should have seen my doom approaching, even then – it approached with a heavy foot, as befits such a portentious manifestation of an unfortunate destiny. One’s doom doesn’t always approach with heavy feet of course – sometimes it tiptoes lightly, as befits a fate that is due to befall one without any warning. The ways of the world are many and varied and I for one am not prepared to claim that I have all the answers. I have some of them it is true, but the ones I have tend to be red herrings – extraordinarily vivid in colour to be sure, but disappointing when it comes to flavour. ‘What is the right and correct way to approach reality?’ I ask astutely, taking my place amongst those who, like me, wish to remain anonymous. Experts run forward eagerly to offer advice – emissaries of a surreal officialdom that very few of us are prepared to question in this degenerate age of ours. They wear spangled body suits and pork pie hats and they move in unison; they sway sinuously in harmony with an unearthly music, a music that emanates mysteriously from the cracks and crevices of the sullen earth. They have their part to play, and we can all respect that. Great honour is due them for this. Murky figures can be seen moving in the half-light, writing reports and conducting audits. They are beings lost in the mists of antiquity – symbols of an orthodoxy long since vanished from this world. They are the ghosts in the hard drive, they are the undead, denied any rest. They are the joyless slaves of a cruel fate. We were all alive once, although we cannot remember it. We were not always as we are now – once, it is said, we were creatures of Light, denizens of the Real World, denizens of the True World. Lies were not always our staple – our hearts were buoyant once, our vision true. Then came the days of our long decline, of course. Then came the days of our decay, the days of our degeneracy; now we are trapped in a dark and frightful dream we cannot wake from. The past stands over us, its long bony finger held out accusingly, reminding us of our ancient guilt. ‘Will we ever learn?’ you want to know. ‘Will we ever learn?’

 

Image – wallpapersden.com
 

 

 

Secret Manoeuvres

‘I have learned a wise lesson’, I said, ‘I have learned a wise lesson and that’s important…’ Even as I spoke these wise (and yet at the same time fateful) words I knew myself to be a fool however. Lessons cannot be wise, but only – in one or two rare cases perhaps – the one who learns the lesson. And even then it’s hit and miss, of course. And even then it’s hit and miss…

 

‘Being a fool’ and ‘learning a wise lesson’ don’t exactly go together, do they? Those are two incompatible things, and so where was I to go from here? It occurred to me then that I might have learned a foolish lesson, not a wise one. I might indeed have learned a foolish lesson. I might have indeed, it occurred to me. Only time would tell – although of course it might just as easily choose not to.

 

I am standing at the gate. I am forever standing at the gate. ‘Should I open the gate?’ I ask myself.  ‘Shall I open it and go out?’ Shall I indeed and who’s to know? It occurred to me that I had learned a wise lesson here, without even intending to. Without even realising it, even. ‘I will never be the same again’, I told myself solemnly. I never was anyway. I never had been…

 

‘Eternity is a pretty long time’, the guardian at the gate told me, ‘but then again it will all be over before you know it!’ He winked at me then, his eye as vast as an age. His eye as vast as an age, rotating majestically in the cold and clammy fog of my confusion, like a beam of light from a storm-choked lighthouse. ‘Eternity’s an awful long time fella,’ he told me, ‘and the sooner you get started the sooner you’ll be finished…’

 

The wise lessons were coming thick and fast now. They came at me all at once like a mob of street pigeons erupting in a sudden panic from the grimy, urine-sodden pavement in front of me and flying straight into my face. A sudden flurry of panicked pigeons erupting straight up into my face and causing me to shout out in my fear. Then  – mere moments later – all is still. All is still and the Whisperer whispers in my ear, trying to lead me away from the path of righteousness. Not that I need much encouragement anyway, Not that I need any encouragement, now that I come to think of it…

 

 I am none the wiser now than I ever was. None the wiser and yet all the same not too wise. Not too wise to mix with common mortals. I hastened forward then, to some future time in which I was equally dumbfounded, equally at a loss. ‘Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme shows’, I quipped, full of the jocular ebullience that comes with youth. ‘And what of those lesser beings?’ you demand to know, ‘what of those lesser satanic beings that you never got to be, that you never got to be because you were insufficiently evil?’ Because you were only moderately evil. You’re thinking about all those wasted potentialities, those unused potentialities that now would never be.

 

I care nothing for those lesser beings, however. They can go to the devil for all I care. They can rot in hell. My mind is set on far finer things – thoughts of advancement, thoughts of splendid achievement, thoughts of the tremendous future glories that all honest and hardworking folk might reasonably expect to attain. The great things that that lie in store for the sincere seeker. Errors slowly and surely accumulate even in the best run households however and as they do so our dreams get progressively distorted. They get distorted beyond all recognition and as a result we become depraved and demonic, battling it out viciously for supremacy in a world in which virtue and wisdom have long since disappeared.

 

Who will take possession of the dung heap? Which faction amongst us will gain ascendancy? Who will be crowned Lord and Master of the Corrupted Realms? Who shall be made undisputed Sovereign of the Kingdom of Sorrow? We are but maggots at this stage of course – we are but maggots infesting the decaying body of their long dead parent. The days of our glory are now long since gone, and some say they never were. We are but maggots infesting. We shall receive what is our due and then that will be the end of the matter. Closure will come and that will shut us up.

 

The Whisperer whispers softly in my ear, telling me of secret manoeuvres by which I could get the better of all the other maggots and triumph over them. ‘They are only scum, but you are destined to be supreme,’ the voice told me cunningly, ‘you’re not like the rest of them. They will be forced to give way screaming out their defeat and terrified confusion in the face of your greatness…’ The Whisperer is telling me what I want to hear, of course. The Whisperer is always telling me what I want to hear…

 

Image – goodfon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deep In The Darkness

I was a greedy, grasping ego grasping after the flawless entity of life itself. If I had ever chanced to see my own face in the mirror I would have had got the shock of my life, possibly a fatal shock, but I never did. I always avoid mirrors. Whenever I do get a glimpse of myself I immediately identify the person I see as an evil wrongdoer who needs to be brought to justice and savagely punished in a way that everyone can see and gloat over, I never realise it’s actually me that I am talking about. That’s how terribly unconscious I was, firing off negative projections in all directions and then straightaway becoming deeply paranoid about them. That’s the basic story or outline of my life, but I’ll spare you any more details…

 

Deep in the darkness of my underground laboratory I brew up one thousand and one different types of dystopia, each one a thousand times worse than the other. Each one unspeakably more dismal and soul-destroying than the other. Deep in the darkness, only it’s spiritual darkness that I’m talking about here. Obviously it isn’t literal darkness – how could anyone possibly work in an underground laboratories that was literally dark? That would be a joke. No, no, no – its spiritual darkness that I’m referring to hear, not a lack of light bulbs. A lack of moral compass, perhaps, but not a lack of photonic radiation. So as I was saying, deep in the darkness of my underground laboratory I was brewing one thousand and one different dystopias, each one a thousand times worse than the other, until I finally hit upon the one, the one I’ve been looking for all this time, without knowing what it was that I had been looking for. ‘Praise be to the Lords of Darkness,’ I cried out. ‘My sacred mission has now been accomplished.’

 

I was just a greedy, grasping, grotesquely eager little ego, you see – no, wait, I said that already. I’m repetitive on top of everything else – it comes with the territory I’m afraid. The territory of being a greedy, grasping ego. Constantly trying to benefit myself to the detriment of all else. That’s pretty much how it is with us greedy grasping egos, as I’m sure you realise. Kind of how it is and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. The world is what it is and what more can we say on the subject? No point in whinging and griping about it. I selected the ‘auto-validate’ function when I paid for the package and now everything I think and say is immediately validated by the highly advanced capabilities of the system. That guarantees an enjoyable experience every time you see. It absolutely guarantees it. You pay an extra bit extra, it’s true ,but it’s well worth it in my view. This activates an advanced ‘cushioning feature’ that is hard to beat. It avoids any potential unpleasantness.

 

The makers call it the ‘Validation Cushion’ and they say it makes for a wonderful experience every time. They say it allows one to avoid any unnecessary unpleasantness. You never have to feel like a stupid twat ever again and that adds greatly to the enjoyment factor. You’ll feel like a king. You’ll pay extra of course but it’s worth it. Better safe than sorry, right? Reality itself has long since been made illegal, of course. Being found in possession of anything even resembling it brings the severest penalties. There are, needless to say, still places where you can go if that’s what you’re looking for. If that’s your kick. Shady looking guys with straw hats, dark glasses and lurid shirts stand around on street corners. They’ll catch your eye as you walk by and give you a knowing look – ‘What are you looking for, buddy?’ they’ll whisper hoarsely out of the side of their mouths, whilst being careful to look in the other direction, ‘we’ve got everything here you know – you name it, we’ve got it…’

 

Image – alphacoders.com

 

 

 

 

Bad From The Beginning

‘At home in the Garbage World, festooned from head to toe with the very filth of Satan himself, whilst imagining ourselves to be gods and goddesses, resplendent in our celestial abode…’ Thus with a mighty flourish of my pen, I launched into what was to be my latest and most penetrating exposition yet into the nature of causal existence. Unfortunately, that was as far as I got. As is so often the case, that was as far as my inspiration would take me. Thus far, but no further…

 

Inspiration is at the best a fickle and unreliable beast, you see. As you know, not just as you see. As you yourself actually know. As you yourself actually know well. Well enough perhaps, but no better. It can let you down, in other words, and it will do so when you least want it to. That’s how it is with me, anyway. ‘At home and as happy as Larry in the Garbage World’, I recited sonorously, but I was only repeating myself. I always repeat myself – it’s an old trick of mine. It’s my only trick – it’s the only thing I have left to rely on. We cling to everything that it is possible to cling to in this world, we cling like bastards…

 

I am living in the past. That is the plain and unvarnished truth of the matter. I exist entirely within the dusty burnt-out embers of my own perfectly unremarkable past. I’m not convinced that it was worth living through even the first time around. Even the first time around it wasn’t original. It was already old, you see. It was already old, and not just old but defective too. Defective right from the very beginning. Jinxed. From a bad start can come nothing but more badness, hard though it is for us to admit this. But we’ll never admit it, will we? By jingo we won’t. No way. No fear of us admitting anything like that to ourselves. We’ll believe our own bullshit right to the very end.

 

It will all come right in the end, we say. It’ll come good somehow. God works in mysterious ways, we say. This is all part of a conversation I once had in Garbage Land – a conversation I had with myself. An in-depth conversation on very superficial subjects. I was perfectly at home you see, perfectly at home in the hideous nightmare web of my own inane conversation. ‘Will he ever escape?’ you ask. Will he ever. My words were murmurous, but at the same time strangely compelling, and isn’t that always the way? Isn’t it always. Not at all we say. Not at all, it’ll all come good in the end. Don’t ever give in, we say…

 

 

Art – , nytimes.com

 

 

Unified Field Theory

‘Humans are good’, I pleaded somewhat half-heartedly, ‘whatever you do please don’t eradicate them…’ The Galactic Assembly sat silently, watching me intently, obviously imagining that I was on the point of launching into the case for the defence of humanity, so to speak, but that’s all I had. ‘That’s all I’ve got, dudes’, I added after the silence started to get uncomfortable. ‘I’d really like you to consider that fully before doing anything too hasty…’

 

It all happened so fast that I never really had a chance to fully register it. I never really got to grips with it. My life, I mean. My life – what was all that about, huh? It was all a bit of a flash in the pan really – all of a sudden there’s all this stuff happening and then, the next thing, it’s all over. I had a chance to make something of myself, I suppose, but I just never acted upon it. I never seized the initiative. In my defence I didn’t really know what was happening most of the time. And, also, I’m not very motivated. Which is another way of saying that I’m just plain lazy, I guess. Which I admit. I’m big enough to admit that. In retrospect I can see that I should have tried harder…

 

It’s a case of ‘could have done better’, which – curiously enough – I remember reading all over my end of term reports at school. Mind you, that’s a safe enough comment for anyone really, isn’t it? You could have said that about Einstein, after all – ‘Could have done better’. He could have come up the Unified Field Theory, after all. Which he didn’t. Which he failed to do. It’s a bit of a shame about that, wouldn’t you say? Well. little Albert didn’t do so well at school either, so I believe. He cheated at maths, apparently. He ended up having to take some crappy retarded job as a clerk.

 

What do teachers know anyway? What the hell would they know? That is my resentment talking there, of course. No matter what I say it is always my resentment talking. Creating a monologue, creating a narrative. Seeing everything in a bad light. Wallowing in the interminable misery of it. It’s sad, isn’t it, to be this old and yet still brooding over what my teachers said about me fifty years ago. They’re all long dead by now, you know. Long gone, every last one of them. ‘So what does it matter now?’ I hear you ask. ‘Why not let go of it? Why not move on?’ That’s all very easy to say, however. All very easy for you to say.

 

I’ve been brooding for a long time you see and brooding has an energy all of its own. Brooding has a life all of its own. When I think of all the times that I have been hurt and put down back in those days it’s like it just happened yesterday. That’s how fresh the pain is. It’s like it was only hours ago. Strange, isn’t it? Some things are downright timeless, and this is one of them. The ego’s pain is always timeless. It’s a form of immortality, I suppose you could say. Not what you’d call a very satisfactory or pleasant form of immortality, but immortality all the same. Immortality all the same.

 

Happy people are often very happy, you see. That’s a thought that comes to me sometimes. I think it’s worth making that point. Dwelling on it from time to time. I wouldn’t personally know very much about that however – happiness isn’t really my thing. It’s safe to say that happy people are often very happy, but I wouldn’t know about that. I wouldn’t have much to say on that subject. I suppose I’m just resentful of them. Resentful and jealous. And feeling bad about all the bad life-choices that I’ve made over the years. One’s own lack of fulfilment in life is always a bitter pill to swallow. It’s a bitter pill to swallow but in the end there’s nothing for it but to try to do just this. There’s nothing for it but to try to suck it up as best one can…

 

 

Tales Of The Senescent King

‘Do the happy things that you do when you want to be happy’, my mind told me. Obediently, without question, I did what it instructed me to. I thought about the happy times that I could remember, or at least that I thought I could remember, I wrote plenty of stuff down in my gratitude diary and tried my very best to feel grateful, I came out with endless droning self-affirmations, like a monk at his prayers, but all to no avail, of course. All to no avail. Nothing ever works, nothing ever could.

 

The juggler stood on the corner of the street – laughing, singing, dancing, juggling… Hour after hour he stood there, laughing away, singing away, dancing away, juggling away. He never grew tired. He is the Master of the Universe, I realised. He is the Timeless One, the Eternal One. Businessmen in drab suits passed him by on their way to work. Then they passed him by again, on the way back home again. They took no heed of his juggling, having other – more important – things on their minds. Everyone on that street ignored the juggler.

 

My mind became highly excited at what I had just witnessed – ‘I have seen the Timeless One’, I said to myself. ‘He is not of this world, but nevertheless he sustains it’. But then I looked again, and he had gone – gone as if he had never existed. I had got excited over nothing, I got all worked up for no good reason. The street was deserted – no pedestrians, no traffic, just the ever-present wind which howled around the corners of the office blocks, making eerie sounds as it did so. I stood there disconsolately, unsure of myself, pondering what to do next.

 

Fragments of newspapers, empty plastic bags, crisp wrappers and chocolate bar wrappers and so on, chased each other around and around in futile circles a few feet above the ground, captured playthings of that ceaseless wind. ‘And so it is for all of us’, I told myself sadly, ‘we fondly imagine ourselves to have life and volition, but in reality we are nameless bits of flotsam, blown hither and thither by the uncaring wind…’

 

‘Special things happen to people who buy the special products’, my mind said brightly, out of nowhere. Special things, special things, all those wonderful wonderful special things…’ It tailed off after that, obviously losing momentum. It pipes up like that from time to time, full of vigour and enthusiasm, only to fade away again, becoming little more than an incoherent mumble vying feebly for attention with all the other incoherent mumbles that fill my subconscious. As a helpful guide, it leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. Back in the olden days it had been a beacon of hope and good cheer – relating humorous stories by the dozen, coming out with all sorts of interesting facts and figures, snippets of advice and delightfully witty comments on whatever happens to be going on at the time. Nowadays however it is full of static and random incomprehensible utterances. ‘The days of his Glory are gone’, I enunciated carefully, hoping that someone of stature and consequence might overhear me, ‘and now we have entered the Days of the King’s Senescence.’

 

The part of us that wants to be free, the part of us that needs to be free, is on the end of a short leash. Feverishly rehearsing the routines and protocols of freedom. We need at least the pretence of freedom, if our lives are to be meaningful to us. Without at least the illusion of freedom, the illusion of creativity, the crop will fail. I am surrounded by figures, looming out at me from the mist of my delirium. Faces appear and disappear – some happy and some sad, some gleeful and others full of despair. There is music and people are imbibing drinks as fast as they can. In the corner, in a collapsed state, is my mind. Amidst discordant whirring and grinding sounds, it is  coming out with endless self-contradictory statements: ‘That’s right, that’s wrong’, says my mind. ‘That’s good, that’s bad, that’s correct, that’s incorrect.’ It is talking nonsense as usual and that’s how it makes the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Plight Of The Unworthy

 

The souls of heroes who perish in battle are received, with all due honour, in the Halls of Asgard, as is well known, as is very well known, but what of the souls of those who die an unworthy, cowardly death, whilst trying their best to avoid trouble? What of them? Where are their souls received?

 

No one ever seems to be particularly interested in this however. To be perfectly blunt about it – aside perhaps from the occasional twinge of morbid curiosity – no one gives a shit. No one has any sympathy for the plight of the unworthy and the cowardly. Empathy is definitely in short supply here! We only want to hear about the heroes…

 

Blame comes in here, not sympathy, as you already know only too well. Lots of blame. Mountains of blame, blotting out all your horizons, blotting out the sun even. You stand in the shadow of that monumental blame. ‘Blaming is wrong’, you shout out in that whiney, irritating voice of yours, ‘why are you all blaming me?’ But even as you come out with this question you can’t help realizing that you know the answer perfectly well. How could you not? How could you not know?

 

Mountains of blame, mountains of blame, pressing down on you from all sides! ‘It’s so unfair,’ you blurt out again, only it isn’t. It’s not unfair at all. ‘What of the other souls’, you cry out, ‘what of the unfortunate souls who died a cowardly death whilst trying to betray their comrades in exchange for their own pathetic worthless lives, but who were killed nonetheless? What of them? Where is their place in mythology? Why do they go? What have you to say about those other souls?’

 

You’re distracting, of course. You are directing the attention somewhere else, somewhere relatively harmless. You’re feeling uncomfortable – you’ve over-exposed yourself and that doesn’t feel good. If only you had had the wits to keep your big stupid mouth shut, right? If only, if only… Those two little words. This is where the old self-recrimination sets in of course. This is where the inner critic really gets going. This is where things start to get very, very dark…

 

You wanted to be a hero alright, but somehow it just never turned out that way. It just never happened. Don’t get me wrong – don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not trying to be sarcastic or anything like that – on the contrary, I’m trying to have an intelligent, sensitive and open-minded discussion about what happens to be a very genuine human experience – the experience of letting oneself down in a big way. That’s something all of us can claim experience of, after all. Being an armchair-hero, being a hero in your own imagination. Being in total denial of the reality. We’re all like that, of course. It’s very normal so don’t be ashamed. Own it. Be OK about it. Speak your truth and don’t try to hide it…

 

Image – suwalls.com

 

 

 

Fear The Stranger And His Alien Ways

Fear the stranger and his alien ways, for he has no respect for the sacred traditions of our forefathers – those sacred, sacred traditions that we love and honour so much. Fear the stranger and his ways, for his ways are not our ways. His ways are the ways of the demon folk who wish to destroy everything we hold so dear. They wish to spit on all our special things and snigger nastily. ‘Fear the alien and his strange ways’, I tell myself. ‘Fear him for all you’re worth…’

 

‘Am I really here?’ I ask myself glumly, ‘Am I alive? Is any of this actually real?’ No answer came, but – then again – I wasn’t expecting any. The question was purely rhetorical. The question is always rhetorical – that’s what it’s like when you’re living in your own super-insulated bubble of pseudo-reality. That’s what it’s like when the only world you know is the world of your own stupid half-baked ideas. Questions are always rhetorical here because there’s no point in asking them. Everything’s quite meaningless in this stagnant private world of mine, you see. The only reason you say anything is just to break the uncomfortable silence. Because that uncomfortable silence isn’t very nice.

 

So brittle, so quick to be stung to the quick by even by the mildest of criticisms, so extraordinarily vulnerable to the exquisitely unbearable embarrassment of being seen for the fool I really am, it’s always a wonder to me how I make it through the day. There’s so much potential for things to go wrong, for events to gang up on me and force me down dark and treacherous paths. So much potential for pain. ‘Do something useful’, people say to me, ‘don’t just sit there! Make a new universe, or something…’

 

I have tried that already of course and it still makes me wince to recollect it. It traumatizes me to remember it. What a terrible disaster that was. What an utter horror story. That little experiment didn’t turn out too well at all, as I’m sure you will remember if you happen to be one of the Ancient Ones, as I am. Reality itself had been injured. The authorities had to be called in to deal with it. There had been an inquiry.

 

I have always taken things far too too much to heart, you see. I have a very thin skin and as a result I brood for a long time over insults, both real and imagined. I had brooded for many long aeons and out of my prolonged toxic brooding (over insults real or imagined) monsters were spawned. Some become politicians, some lawyers, and others became the CEOs of large, successful corporations. Possibly I was misguided in my youth – I am prepared to admit that now.

 

Perhaps I could have done things differently. Perhaps I could have caused marginally less damage to the cosmos as a whole if I had had therapy, for example. Young blood is hot blood, however. It is both hot and exceedingly heedless. I was The One, no doubt about that, no doubt about that at all, but there were also others. Others who mocked and laughed at me, creatures of great and terrible evil. These were my children you see – they were my children and they had come back to torment me.

 

Image – peakpx.com

 

 

 

Awe And Mystery

You are about to experience the awe, sit quietly and we will control the awe and mystery. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with the inner world. You are about to participate. Do not attempt to adjust to adjust the inner world. You are about to about to participate. We are controlling transmission. You are about to. If we wish to make it louder, you are about to experience the. You are. If we wish to make it softer, do not to adjust the inner. We can roll the image, you are about to. You are about to participate. We can change the focus. The awe and mystery. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control the inner world. You are about to participate. We repeat: there is nothing wrong nothing wrong with the inner. You are about to participate. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches

 

 

 

 

 

Ego Realization

You’re crawling slowly and painfully, with many a slip and many a slide, up the entropic slopes to the dizzy summit of Ego Greatness. ‘Please help me get there’, you pray, to whatever god will hear you, ‘please help me get there…’

 

You are crawling out of the gutters, you are dragging yourself out of the mire and filth of your own unthinkably vile degradation, and that’s not easy. Not by a long shot it isn’t. Not many make it – very few make it, and you suspect that the ones who do are made of sterner stuff than you are.

 

You’re not made of stern stuff, and you realise that all too clearly. You know that only too well. The cold light of day does you no favours. The cold light of day does you no favours at all. In never does. You’re scrambling up a steep hillside that appears to be made out of smooth glass and your legs are folding up limply underneath you. Your legs are folding up underneath you – as if they’re made out of rice paper, it’s as if they’re not actually real. For all your frantic scrabbling you’re not moving an inch. You’re slowly slipping back into the filth.

 

You’ve turned into some stupid cartoon of yourself and you’re watching your own antics with numb incredulity. ‘That can’t be me’, you say to yourself, this can’t be me.’ You are dissociating like crazy. You’re a stupid cartoon of yourself and you’re sliding back into a state of unutterably vile subhuman degradation. That state of unutterably vile subhuman degradation which you know so very well…

 

We won’t dwell on that though. There is no point whatsoever in you getting obsessively hung up on those times of degradation, however comforting that prospect might seem. It’s time for you to be re-admitted to reality. Time for you to return to the real reality. You’d forgotten, of course. You always forget. That’s what it’s like – that’s what it’s always like, and there’s nothing any of us can do about it.

 

You had forgotten, needless to say. And anyway, none of this would have made any sense to you even if you hadn’t. You had forgotten and you’ll forget again. For sure you will. Your legs have no strength in them, no strength at all. It’s as if they’re not real. Your legs are folding up like origami underneath you. You’re struggling as hard as you possibly can to get up that glassy slope. You’re a salmon moving up upstream.

 

You’re praying to whatever god will listen to you. ‘Please let me escape from the horrors of my hideous degradation,’ you implore, ‘please let me out of this cesspit of my own making. You’ve been here before of course. You’ve been here before many times. You have no way of knowing how many times, in fact. It’s an archetypal situation, it’s a room you’re forever trying to leave.

 

‘One day I will attain to the sublime summit of Ego Realisation,’ you tell yourself. You speak these serious words in tones of quiet confidence. ‘One day I will experience the Blinding White Light of Ultimate Ego-Enlightenment,’ you say. Putting your head down and gritting your teeth, you strive hard to to ascend.