The Fly In The Ointment

I had the best facial recognition software on the market and all the time in the world to use it but there were no faces, and that was the fly in the ointment. I had the finest and the most expensive top hat in the world but had no head to wear it on, and that was the fly in the ointment. Everything was right but nothing was right, and that was the big fat fly in the ointment. I had no choice but to radically redesign reality – I had no choice but to go back to the drawing board and start all over again.

 

All the world loves a genius but only when they are safely dead and have been turned into a statue in the town square. All the world loves the herald of the new age but only in retrospect, only when the new age has already become tawdry and old and the time is ripe for it to be dispensed with. All the world loves the iconoclast, the breaker of the rules and conventions that imprison us, but only when, but only when…

 

What a wretched thing is this great beast called humanity! What a poor sorrowful thing it is. It unfailingly denounces and persecutes all that is best in it, and celebrates the pointless and the mediocre. It rewards the dull-witted social climber and punishes the visionary. It empowers the malignant and the stupid, and ridicules all dare to speak the truth about this sad situation. And when ridicule doesn’t work, it throws them in prison. Or has them executed.

 

How wretchedly low and base is this collective entity we call humanity! How dismal is its history! Are we taught its true history in school, in college or university? Indeed we are not, indeed we are not. We are taught a tissue of ludicrous lies, and when we parrot these lies back faithfully we are given certificates of education, we are given honours aplenty. When we agree with fools then we are told that we are wise. When we say that all that is filthy and scurrilous is good then we are awarded with certificates of merit! When we say that foul is fair we are rewarded with titles and property.

 

Is there any station in life more appallingly ignominious than that of the craven conformist, the one who knows better in his or her heart but is too cowardly to act on it? Is there any state of being more odious, more repugnant? Could there ever be a type of life that is more frighteningly pointless and empty than this? And yet this is the very type of life that we are pleased to assent to. This is the unhappy state of that insincere blind monster called ‘society’. And who can deny it? Who can deny it? Each of us, in our hearts, know it to be true…

 

How wretched we are! How lamentable our situation! How grotesque and loathsome! How fearful is this fate that we have created for ourselves! No enemy – however cruel – would ever come up with something like this! No enemy – however sly and cunning – would ever conceive of a plan such as that which we have instigated, and for which we daily congratulate ourselves. No enemy – however malign – would ever stoop so low…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meaningless Questions

‘Are you a true hero or are you just a stupid bollocks?’ my inner voice demanded of me, in a voice I couldn’t ignore. I was dangerously elated but not at all happy. I was hugely elated but not in very good form. I was spectacularly elated and yet at the same time savagely angry with the whole damn world. So very elated, but in such bad form! Are you a true hero or just a bollocks, are you a true hero or are you just a bollocks. Well we all know what the answer to that one is don’t we? We all know, we all know. So very elated, so very elated. I was trying to think of any good advice that people might have given me during the course of my life so that I could follow it, but I can’t remember anything. I can’t remember a damn thing. What to do, what to do. How to cope, how to cope. There is a roaring in my ears. Nothing makes any sense any more. So how would you describe your situation, the existential therapist was asking me. How would you describe your situation? What makes you happy and what makes you sad. Are you a man or a mouse? Are you a hero or are you a cheap excuse for a human being? That’s what it all comes down to, isn’t it? That’s the bottom line. The memory just came back to me – I was walking through the car park at the Headford Road Shopping Centre and it was very early in the morning – maybe five o’clock, maybe six. I don’t know what I was doing there so early but there I was. An older-looking man, somewhat dishevelled (quite a bit dishevelled, actually), the only other person on the scene apart from me, was walking through the car park too, taking a shortcut. He veers over suddenly to me. “What’s the most popular thing to kick?” He asks me with a manic grin. “A bucket – everyone kicks it!” he answers himself immediately, his grin becoming even more manic than it was before. Everyone kicks it, everyone kicks it. He told me two other jokes in rapid succession and then disappeared again into the early morning gloom. I don’t remember the last two jokes – it was a long time ago. It could have been fifteen or even twenty years ago. The jokes themselves were secondary to the delivery however – the delivery was the thing that counted. The delivery was the key. You just can’t stage a thing like that, you can’t do it on purpose – it just had to happen. Anyway, now that I remember that long forgotten incident I think I can begin to see a point to it; the point being that is a metaphor for life itself. You’re moving through the darkness not expecting anything to happen (and why would you?) when all of a sudden a stranger rushes up to you and lands a number of quick-fire jokes on you in rapid succession, and then they rush off again into the darkness leaving you struggling to process what had just happened. ‘WTF!’ you are saying to yourself on the one level, whilst on another level you are thinking about the jokes themselves, which are still ringing loud in your ears. And on another level again it’s not about the content of what happened – just the fact that it happened at all. On the deepest level of all it doesn’t matter WHAT happened because there are no terms of reference for it anyway (if you know what I mean). That very normal question “What just happened there?” is perfectly and immaculately meaningless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comfort Zone

I’ve been using ‘the Idea’ as a kind of comfort zone recently. I’ve been using a rather a lot. ‘The Idea’ being the idea that the universe isn’t actually a real thing but that it’s just a kind of fiction. I don’t like to talk about ‘the Idea’ very much – that’s why I usually just refer to it in such vague terms. When things get tough, too tough to handle, then I just think “Well sure, the universe isn’t a real thing anyway” and then I feel better. That’s my coping strategy and everyone has to have a coping strategy – or preferably a few of them. I’ve only the one but it’s a good one! When things get tough then I edge my way into my comfort zone and then I start to feel better. Start to feel better, start to feel better. When things get tough. When things get too tough to handle then I. Reality is only a kind of plausible fiction anyway – a made-up thing. Fake news, etc, etc. I was in the comfort zone one day – the same as I usually was – when all of a sudden a voice spoke in my head. It was my own voice but it was also the Alien’s voice. It was my Inner Alien. The voice told me to make myself comfortable in my comfort zone and to strap myself into the nearest recliner and prepare myself for a journey into infinite space. My comfort zone then began to transform into the cockpit of some kind of high-tech spaceship and straightaway it started to vibrate. The recliner was vibrating, the instrument panels all around me were vibrating, the walls were vibrating, the roof was vibrating – my very teeth were vibrating. My fillings were starting to come loose. The reverberation gradually intensified until it was as if I was seeing everything six times instead of just what usual one time. It was actually hurting my head to try to focus on things. Was this normal, I wondered, or had something gone wrong? After a while it dawned on me that this was a ridiculously stupid question to be asking myself – what was normal about having your comfort zone suddenly transformed into the nose cone of a rocket that is about to launch off into the infinite depths of space? This was hardly what you’d call an everyday occurrence! The shaking continued to increase until after another ten minutes of it I began to fear for my very life. All light at this stage had been refracted into abstract geometrical shapes, prismatic patterns of primary colours that seemed to float around in the interior space of the cabin, slowly slowly cycling through various complex permutations, feeding information directly into my unconscious mind as they did so. My whole environment had been turned into information – I now existed within the information universe where matter or materiality was no more than a particular style of coding, just another way for presenting information and nothing more. Nothing more than that, nothing more than that. How very much hangs on those few words? How very much… The weird thing about all this is that when I started out on this process I was human, I was a human being and I had a life to lead. A sort of a life anyway. Some sort of a life. Some people might say it wasn’t much of a life but it was mine, it was my life and what more can anyone say than that? Now I was simply information existing in the Information Stream. Information in the Information Stream – nothing more and nothing less. I was in the Flux and I was the Flux. Information isn’t what we think it is; everyone thinks that information is about things but no – things are made up of information and information isn’t ‘about’ anything. It is the other way around, you see. Things are made of information and so there is no such thing as things. They are just ordinary people leading ordinary lives. Ordinary people, ordinary lives, but no. They were just ordinary people leading ordinary lives only nothing was ordinary – not really…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Return of the Entropy Lords

“Question EVERYTHING”.  That’s the first rule of the game. Only It isn’t the first rule of the game – the first rule of the game is actually ‘Question NOTHING’! We pretend that the first rule of the game is to question everything because that sounds more empowering. Once you know the rules of the game then nothing can stop you. That’s what I’ve learned anyway! That’s so empowering isn’t it? Only it’s not true, obviously. Nothing actually needs to stop you because you’ve already stopped yourself. Again – obviously! Once you know the rules of the game – and we all do know the rules of the game – then that is where the Great Adventure really begins. Training starts early doesn’t it? Training starts early and then after that it’s what they call continuous education.  After that it’s a case of what they call continuous education and continuous assessment – you are always being assessed just to make sure you’re not questioning anything! You’re never too old to learn not to learn, isn’t that it? “Challenge everything”, they say. “Challenge everything and transcend the boundaries that are holding you back” – only not really. Only not really. Only not really. Only not really. Only not really. Only not really. Only not really…

 

What’s it like when the higher consciousness closes down and you join the stumbling ranks of the Hiletics?’ I wondered. What must that feel like? What’s it like when the darkness closes in on you, obliterating all light? What’s it like to be an ego, I asked myself? What’s it like to be a self? What’s it like? What’s it like? What’s it like? What’s it like? What’s it like? What’s it like? No answer was forthcoming, however.

 

Outside the cracked and grimy windows of the Survival Dome another desperate and demented day has dawned. The sun, bloated beyond recognition and dark red like congealed blood, is edging its way uneasily up over the horizon, sending tendrils of fiery rope this way and that as it does so. To my mind, it resembles nothing so much as a giant poached egg. A badly poached egg at that – all soggy and misshapen around its watery circumference. It is a shapeless-looking sun, a sorry-looking sun. Ropes of dark fire shoot out in all directions; they reach up into the sky to create a great tangled web. The Earth itself seems to groan as it beholds that great misshapen miscoloured sun. The Earth itself appears to tremble in dread of the day that is about to dawn.

 

The Lords of Entropy have returned to the world after their long, long exile. They ride horses with the faces of snarling jackals; they laugh with delight as they ride because the world is theirs once again. “What is true is false and what is false is true”, shout the Entropy Lords in their irrepressible manic excitement. They occupy the places of power and make constant incomprehensible proclamations relating to the fate of mankind. And high above us all the sky is a bubbling cauldron of madness – when we look up at this sky fear and horror immediately arise in equal portion and we experience the frightening and disorientating hallucination of falling upwards, falling upwards into the Cauldron of Terror. These are of course all signs, signs that the Final Days are at last approaching…

 

 

Image: ‘Lords of Waterdeep’, from entropymag.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking That You’re Timothy Leary

Do you know that sensation where you are trying to maintain some kind of control over your vehicle but it feels as if you’ve got a hyperactive monkey on the end of a very long piece of elastic and nothing you do has the result that you wanted or anticipated? Naturally enough, you start to panic, you start to react in an irrational way and even though you know that you’re making matters worse you just can’t stop what you’re doing. You’re powerless to stop. And the ‘vehicle’ in question is you, in other words it’s your actual life that we talking about here, your way of being in the world. That’s what you might call a ‘sticky situation’, right? It’s good to talk. It’s good to talk and I’m glad of the opportunity to share this with you. Very glad. I feel better already. And do you know do you know do you also know that feeling when you’re trying to guess what it means to be a human being and you’re shooting in the dark and everything you say just sounds so wrong and everyone is just looking at you but you persevere anyway and before very long it’s not just that you’re coming across as being very weird indeed but that you are actually frightening and people are backing away from you on all sides? I’d say we all know that one! Ultimately though it’s life that’s the problem – or rather, it’s not life but our (or my) inability to understand it or know what to do about it. Or perhaps it’s my inability to pretend to know what life is all about. Like everyone else does. It’s hard to know really isn’t it? I must confess to not really knowing. I must confess to not really being able to make a call on that one. I have made mental images of things and then I inhabit those mental images. That’s one of my problems. I don’t know if it’s the biggest problem I have but it is one of them. I automatically create thought-forms that are like the blank, sterile, generic suburbs of reality, and then I dwell in them. I become what you might call ‘a wretched insipid creature of that sad suburbia’ and then I lost all track of the actual sense of my existence. I lost complete track. I didn’t know whether there was any sense or whether there wasn’t, in other words. I spend a lot of time these days doing what I like to call ‘managing the robot’. I am ‘the robot’ in question, in case you’re wondering, or rather, you could just say you could just say that we’re talking here about the mechanical aspect of my identity, which is made up of reflex-routines linked up in series and in parallel. That is the robot and it has to be kept on track in some way. It has to be coaxed to behave, without directly telling it (or rather me) what to do because it’ll get angry then and start sabotaging everything. The biggest stumbling block is to actually form a relationship with it – at the moment I have to say that there is a huge gulf between us, an absolutely insurmountable gulf, or so it seems. The damn thing is just out there, all on its own, spinning out of control, behaving in the most frighteningly surreal fashion. It functions as a nexus of stupidity and short-sightedness, as far as I’m concerned. It has the mark of evil on it too. Definitely the mark of evil. Probably it has been corrupted and contaminated by evil spirits and this makes me very wary of it. It is a doomed vehicle; it’s teetering on the edge. Maybe it will be okay though, I don’t know. Maybe I’m just habitually pessimistic in nature – always looking on the dark side of things, me. Always looking on the dark side. I used to fantasise about what it would be like to be to be Timothy Leary when he was taking a mega-dose of LSD and going on retreat for a week. You would be telling everyone not to disturb you because you’re embarking upon an experiment, because you’re pushing the boundaries of tripping further than they’d ever been pushed before. I really used to get into that, imagining how cool that would feel. I used to wonder what it would feel like to be Timmy Leary taking all that laboratory-grade Sandoz acid; I used to wonder how far out that must have felt. That was a long time ago now though. When I was in my late fifties. I’ve kind of grown out of it now, I suppose you could say. It was just a phase I was going through, I suppose you could say. I never think about being Timothy Leary anymore these days however. Not much anyway. Just the odd time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Prince of This World

Suppose what some people say is true really is true and what we call ‘reality’ is only a programme running on a quantum supercomputer in a parallel universe and suppose whoever is supposed to be the admin for this hyper-dimensional simulation is not on the ball and that they have failed to renew their antivirus subscription to McAfee (or whatever the equivalent is) and suppose that – as a result of this – some particularly nasty malware has gained entry into the system. Suppose, furthermore, that the human race has, over time, cottoned on to this malware – which is for the most part ticking away quietly in the background – and we have referred to it, really not really knowing what we talking about of course – as Satan. It says in the Bible (John 14:30) that Satan is the Prince of this world, as you probably know, and I think this fact rather tends to support my hypothesis. It’s not Prince Harry or Prince Andrew it’s Prince Satan in other words, and you don’t read about him in Hello! Magazine. This particular Prince ISN’T going to come up with utter dismal predictability on your social media feeds! No way José! No way my good buddies. This is an undercover job after all. Satan’s game-plan isn’t to make us sin so that God will send us to hell to reap the eternal damnation that is our just reward. Only a fundamentalist Christian would be dumb enough to believe that! I mean, just think about it – do you really think that God is going to fly into a rage when we have the temerity to disobey his commands and sentence us straightaway to Eternal Damnation? Come on! That’s not it at all. Satan’s game-plan is to make us monstrously stupid, and monstrously self-important, both at the same time, so he can have a right good laugh at us for being the ridiculous twats that we are! That’s fuel for Satan you see, that’s his energy source. Satan is after all the Great Mocker, the great Piss-Taker… If we were able to hang onto our dignity then he would shrivel up into nothing and die, but the whole point is that we can’t hang onto our dignity. That’s the one thing we can’t do! The whole point of modern society is that we compulsively handover every last little shred of dignity that we have at every possible opportunity and I’d like to see someone try to deny that! How after all can we believe in the preposterous tissue of nonsense that we do believe in and yet somehow retain our dignity? No one who compulsively swallows every lie going (when they don’t have to) can at the same time have actual ‘dignity’. We can take ourselves seriously as we like but this isn’t the same thing as dignity. Obviously enough, this is the exact opposite of dignity – this is what makes us into a complete laughing stock! Every one of us, every day of our lives, runs around begging some spurious authority figure to tell us ‘what reality is’. We don’t know we’re doing it but we’re running around asking – pleading even – to have our reality manipulated. It’s as if we are wandering around in the toughest meanest most deprived inner-city area after midnight holding our wallet at arm’s length, which is stuffed with money and high-end credit cards, whilst shouting at the top of our voice “Please would somebody come and take my money!” What’s going to happen if we do that, huh? What exactly do you think is going to happen then? What happens when you feed raw meat to hungry piranhas? What happens when you jump naked and bleeding into the sea in the midst of a whole big bunch of starving sharks in a full-on feeding frenzy? Well anyway, that’s what we’re like. We’re just a pack of fools! It’s all grist for Satan’s Mill though. It’s all grist for Satan’s Mill. You can’t actually blame Satan though, and I think it’s important to point this out. That would be very immature. It’s all too easy to blame Satan. What a ridiculous deflection that is – blaming the devil! You can’t blame a virus programme for doing what it’s supposed to do and going viral. You can’t blame a virus for viralizing! Personally I blame the admin. What in God’s name is he bloody playing at?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refuting The Critics

There was a roaring in my ears. It was the tigers of course. It was the tigers of wrath, roaring like great fearsome demons in my ears. The first thing was that I had been viciously kicked in the head by the horses of instruction and then the next thing was the tigers. As usual it was the tigers but when I opened my eyes the tigers had gone. I still had a lump on my head from the vicious unprovoked attack by the horses however. I have proven in my writings that all those people who have said that my ideas are wrong are themselves wrong. I have irrefutably shown that this is not the case but still they heckle and harass me. They harass me in my dreams and I have no protection. Folk around here are very helpful. ‘If you come to a fork in the road take it’ a man told me, with a twinkle in his eye and gravy strains on his shirt. I felled him with a single blow, the same way a logger would fell a tree. I felled him without a word and then continued on my journey. He went down and stayed down and that was the end of that. I was on the road to nowhere as usual. ‘If you come to a bend in the road take it’ the man told me again. He was heckling me in my dreams. He had gravy in his eye and a twinkle in his beard. I went to give him a punch but overreached myself and fell headfirst into the ditch. There was no one there anyway – my mind was playing tricks on me. My mind was always playing tricks on me. There was something on the tip of my tongue that I wanted to say but I couldn’t remember what it was. I knew that something was supposed to be happening but I didn’t know what. It was on the tip of my tongue. My head was sore and my legs were tired but I kept on walking all the same. My knuckles were red and raw. The constant rain was getting me down and I had no choice but to continue on my way. I was on the road to nowhere, as usual. ‘If you come to a fork in the road take it’ the man said unhelpfully, before hitting me viciously across the side of the head with a fence post. Folk around here were downright unhelpful, I complained bitterly to myself. They’ll put you wrong as soon as look at you. Something told me that they didn’t like strangers around here and I was as strange they come! I had refuted my critics in my latest paper but that didn’t stop them following me down the road jeering and calling out insults from a safe distance. The world wasn’t ready for my ideas, I realised – I was ahead of my time, obviously. I’d fallen asleep for too long I decided. I’d fallen asleep for too long and now I was Rip van Twinkle! I had dried porridge in my beard and woodlice in my underpants. I’d been asleep most of my life. I’d fallen into a long doze. I had been sleeping at the wheel. I had conclusively proved that all of the people who’d said that my ideas were wrong were themselves mistaken. I’d refuted my critics once and for all. I had a lump on the side of my head the size of a chicken egg where one of my critics had tried to brain me with a fence post. I would refute him too in due course I promised myself – I would refute him too…