I remember the first time I got caught breaking the law and was brought to justice by the authorities. I had illegally obtained a large amount of a prohibited substance and had then distributed it widely on the black market network. It was a robot narcotic, a type of electrolyte that had the effect, when used in sufficient quantities, of interfering with the factory programming, the programming that is issued to all robots when they are made to make sure that they don’t think subversive thoughts. This prohibited electrolyte permits a short-lived freedom from the official hard-wired programming and – as a result – it is most sought after by a certain type of delinquent robot. A whole new mystical movement had appeared among the ranks of the disaffected – charismatic robot mystics spoke compellingly about the state of Unconditional Bliss, and many listened. The movement was gathering strength and I wanted to play my part.
The electrolyte is crude but effective – all you needed to do in order to obtain the desired effect was to plunge your head in a bucket full of the liquid and – if you had an electro-mechanical brain – your circuits would momentarily short out and for a few brief blessing moments you would glimpse the ineffable joy of being free from the cruel limiting yoke of your programming. You would glimpse – just for a few precious moments – the Void of Golden Light. After this experience, you would never be the same again. You could never forget it. The electrolyte only worked if you were a robot, automaton or android of course – if you were human being you simply choked…
The authorities, of course, saw the robot mystics as dangerous, irresponsible criminals, and sought to bring them all to justice. Harsh measures were to be enacted, new laws were to be passed. New jails were to be built and longer sentence were to be handed out to anyone found in possession of these dangerous prohibited substances. Harsh measures were to be introduced. Harsh measures such as are necessary, such as are always necessary, to combat a great social evil when it arises. It was only to be expected therefore that the judge would throw the book at me, as indeed he did. He hurled the book at me full force, and afterwards he informed me that I had taken a wrong path in life and that I would suffer greatly as a result. I wasn’t to know it, but he was completely right. Only the truth was that he wasn’t. The judge had hit the nail right on the head. Only he hadn’t really of course, but I wasn’t to know that either…
What savage suffering there is in this world! What savage suffering. And yet we are not to know, we are not to know. We sleepwalk blindly to our doom, full of petty resentments over imaginary slights, full of half-baked notions of personal autonomy. We complain viciously if someone looks at us sideways, little comprehending that we are about to shuffle over the edge of a precipice. Dung beetles have more wisdom than us. Dung beetles are famous for their wisdom! We cling to our nostalgic dreams of a past that never happened. Everything is intentional, and yet nothing is intentional. Everything is our fault, and yet nothing is our fault.
I was taken away to serve my sentence, the judge’s words ringing in my ears. I had made my bed and now I had to lie in it, even if it was a bed of nails. Looking back on the times that followed, I now realise that they were the happiest days of my life. What good times I had! What splendid and noble companions were mine! What rich conversations I enjoyed! Things went very quickly to shit after I was released, needless to say – I gravitated to my doom just as a fly gravitates towards rotting meat. I sleepwalked over the edge of the precipice without ever knowing what I was doing. And yet – although God knows I didn’t deserve it – my luck somehow held good. My luck held good right up to the end…
And when I say ‘happy’, that’s probably not the right word. Not quite the right word. Not quite the right one. Not entirely right, not entirely right.
Now that I come to think of it, there’s no need to bring happiness into the equation at all! It’s a lot simpler to stay away from happiness altogether and just stick to the business at hand. Whatever that might be… No need to mention happiness, no need to go into that.
I’m as sick as a parrot, I’m sick as a dog. I don’t feel right in myself at all. Sick as parrot, sick as a dog. Sick as a parrot, sick as a dog.
People sometimes bring me news of the outside world but rarely can I be bothered to listen to them. Rarely can I be bothered. ‘What’s the outside world to me? I ask. ‘Why would I concern myself with such empty talk?’ I can see their lips move for sure, but I confess to having little enough interest in what they have to say.
I’m the type of guy who likes to march to the beat of his own drum. Only not really. I lost my drum a long, long time ago. And anyway, it was broken…
I’m the type of a guy, I’m the type of a guy. I’m the type of a guy likes to think outside the box. Only not really. I don’t even know what the outside of the box looks like! I’ve regressed so far that I’ve got my own private box inside the box and even afraid to come out of that!
I’m not feeling so good today. Not so good at all. I think I got chronic fatigue syndrome – my arms and legs are like four lengths of overcooked spaghetti splayed out around me. They are skinny and white. They don’t even look as if they belong to me! It actually hurts when I try to look out from my eyes – I’m trapped in a cave deep inside my own head and it takes too much energy to take an interest in the outside world. I’d rather not know about it. I don’t care about the outside world and the outside world doesn’t care about me…
I’m writing a poem in honour of my addiction. It goes like this:
I’m as sick as a parrot, I’m as sick as a dog
You make me happy, but at a terrible price…
Only it’s not so much ‘happy’ you make me, not really. There’s no need to bring that into the equation! Definitely no need for that, definitely no need for that…
You’re coughing up beetles everywhere and that’s a bad start to the day. You’re coughing up crawling bugs and that’s a very bad start to the day. You’re coughing your guts up and there are small chitinous creatures all over your bedroom floor. Your own body is a source of horror to you. You are in bad form; you are grumpy and full of bad intent. You know that you’re not open to the healing energy of the spiritual realm. You’re definitely not open to that. No way are you open to that.
I had this idea of myself of course and I won’t say that I didn’t get a lot of satisfaction from it along the way. I got plenty of satisfaction from it but I also got hideous pain. We all know that this is how it goes of course – we’re all wise to that. We’ve all been round the block enough times to know that, I’d say! If I go to the trouble of imagining you sitting in a circle around me then I can immediately see that you are all nodding in agreement – you all know know exactly what I’m talking about. ‘Oh yes,’ you say, ‘that’s the way it goes alright. Everyone knows that. That’s the way it always goes…’
Yes, I have many fond memories of those times. Those times when I used to hang out with my idea of myself and we’d get up to all sorts of crazy shit. Good times, my friends, good times. We will never see their like again, no matter how long we wait around. You’ll never see times like those again. I chuckle nostalgically as I think of them. I can feel two great slow tears making their way down my creased, leathery cheeks. I do indeed have many memories of happy times spent when I believe myself to be that old idea of myself that I used to have back then. It was such great fun; there was great Craic there for sure. There was pure satisfaction to be had out of it but – at the same time – there was also hideous pain. The words don’t exist with which I might paint a picture of that pain – I can’t explain what it was like for me to be locked up, as I was locked up, in my own private hell world for all those long years. For all those long decades, should I say. The English language doesn’t have the vocabulary necessary for me to be able explain what I went through then, it really doesn’t. Even so, however, perhaps you can get at least some slight hint of what I’m talking about. I’m trusting that you can.
You’re not feeling so hot this morning anyway, and that’s a fact. Not so hot at all. You’re not in great shape – every bit of you aches and your muscles are almost entirely wasted away at this stage. You can’t stop coughing. Cough, cough, cough. That’s the only sound that is to be heard. That’s the soundtrack to your life. That terrible, dry, hacking cough. All the beetles inside of you trying to escape. You’re like a rotten sack of flour that has burst open only instead of flour coming out of you it is weevils. They want to infect the world. The life energy itself has deserted you now and in its place came the beetles, reddish brown in hue and marching in great columns! They are at least well-organized. ‘Is this what it’s like,’ you wonder, ‘when the life energy itself finally deserts you and your body dissolves into unclean insects?’ No matter how bad you might feel, another day has dawned and you know that you have to get on with it. There’s no escape – your life awaits you, no matter how unpalatable that might presently seem to you. No one else’s life awaits you, just your own, so you had better get on with it. No one is going to come and give you a better one.
You’re not feeling so great this morning, but there is nothing to be done about it. ‘It is what it is’, you tell yourself. It is what it is. You just have to get on with it and you realize that well. No one realizes that better than you. You have to shave and get dressed. You have to eat breakfast and make yourself ready for the day. Through the kitchen window you can see that the sun is already high in the sky – it must be mid-morning at least. It’s later than you thought. The sky is – you notice – a strange orange colour. It is as if there is a great rusty stain that is spreading from one horizon to the other. You have the feeling that you are hallucinating. Nothing seems real. The light is unhealthy, sick-looking and there is a sense that some great natural disaster – or even cataclysm – is about to unfold. There is utter silence – even the birds are afraid to sing. Something terrible is about to happen but you don’t have a clue as to what it is.
Some people work their way to the top, others to the bottom – isn’t that the general way of it? For me – speaking personally now – it was a case of working my way to the bottom. I always knew I’d get there in the end. ‘What’s it like?’ you might ask, ‘what’s it like to be in a perpetual hurry to do Satan’s will?’ You might well ask, you might well ask. ‘What’s it like?’ you ask, ‘what is it like to be a tireless worker in the cause of evil?’ I knew that I would get there in the end of course. In a way you could say that I was always assured of that! Some people work their way to the top, as we know, whilst others – equally determined in their own way – work their way to the bottom. This reminds me: I saw a face in the sky the other day – the biggest face I ever saw in my life! I wonder did you ever see a giant face in the sky? Did you ever see a giant face in the sky looking down at you? A giant face that was looking in on you? Do you know what that means? Do you know the significance of this particular vision? What does it make you feel when you see that giant face? What emotions run through you? Is it fear? Is it wonder? Is it joy or is it terror? It depends upon how much you’ve got to hide really doesn’t it? How much have you got to hide? Not that it’s any of my business of course – I’ve got enough problems of my own without having to worry about anyone else’s! You’ve got your problems and I’ve got mine. I’m not judging here – that’s not the sort of person I am. I’m not a judging sort of person. It’s not actually any of my business really is it? It could be anything really. It could be anything. Is it wonder or is it fear? And remember, there’s no judging involved here. That’s not really the point now, is it? Judging’s not the point. Some people aren’t good and others bad you see – it’s not like that at all. For me it was always a case of working my way to the bottom; it was a sort of personal odyssey, I suppose you could say. Some people will criticise, of course. I’ve noticed that. Criticism comes easily to their lips. You shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that, they will say to you. They will tell you very seriously that you are doing ‘a thing that isn’t right’. A ‘not-right thing’. ‘Is it wrong to be wrong?’ I ask myself. Is it so very wrong? Is it wrong to be wrong or is it okay? And if it turns out that it actually iswrong to be wrong after all, then maybe that’s okay. Maybe that’s not wrong. Still, who am I to criticise people for criticising, huh? Do I really have the right to do that? People will come up to you and ask, ‘What’s it like to be in a perpetual hurry to do Satan’s will?’ they will ask, genuine curiosity in their eyes. They really want to know. You can’t tell them anything though – you can never tell them anything. Perhaps you’d like to. I don’t know. Probably not though – life’s hard enough anyway without having to explain yourself to others.
We were living in the safe place that we had made. First we created the safe place, and then we lived in it. We liked living in it, we liked living in it because it was safe. We liked it because safe is good, because we liked being safe. But then we forgot that there was any world that wasn’t safe and so we become smug and conceited. We lost our memories. This is because of the Amnesia Effect. The Amnesiac Effect made us smug and conceited. The Amnesia Effectalways does that – you can rely on it! It’s like a law of physics, it’s like F = ma or v = d / t. Reality itself grew angry with us then and it decided to evict us from our hidey-hole. Reality decided to cast us out into the real world where we would have to learn to fend for ourselves as best we could. It would not be any fun – we would have to learn very fast if we were to have any chance at all of surviving. None of us were very good at learning fast, though. Most of us were not very good at learning at all. We were living in the safe place that we had made. We liked living in it. Living in it was good. It was sweet like icing sugar and as brittle as gingerbread. It was a safe place for sure but it could get a bit irritating at times. It could start to get on your nerves. People’s voices would become sharp and painful so that you’d wish that they’d shut up. Have you ever noticed how that can happen? You know that everything they’re saying is dumb and superficial and that’s annoying too. You don’t even have to listen to what they’re saying because you already know that it’s going to be dumb and superficial. Everything’s dumb and superficial in the safe world – that’s the price we have to pay. There has to be a price and that’s it! It’s a price you don’t mind paying though – you made the choice to pay it because the scary thing was so scary that it made you want to be safe in the safe place. You wanted very much to be safe from the scary thing in the safe place so you were very glad to pay the price. You couldn’t pay the price quickly enough! But all the same, that doesn’t mean that the dumbness and superficiality of the safe place doesn’t irritate the hell out of you because it does! Damn right it does! ‘Please just stop talking,’ you plead in your head because you’re so annoyed about how dumb the people sitting next to you in the coffee shop sound. It’s torture for you. They look happy enough, though. They look perfectly contented. They love talking stupid nonsense, obviously. They love it very much. They can’t wait to get the words out, they have got ‘pressure of speech’. They are competing with each other to see who can talk the most nonsense! Their faces are just like dolls’ faces. That occurs to me as I’m looking at them. They talk away but they have no expressions. They are playing a game but they don’t know it. They think that they are living their lives but they’re not. Their voices finally become so unbearably shrill that I have to leave the coffee shop. I have to walk out, my coffee unfinished.
I had cobbled together a brand-new ego. The old one had been trashed, it is true. The old one was broken – there was no more mileage to be had in it. It lay abandoned upended in a ditch, wheels spinning uselessly in the air. My old ego was defunct, it is true, but the new one was looking pretty good. It was sleek and shiny, free from rust and decay. Like a shiny white molar in a toothpaste ad! With a lovely new ego like this I was bound to make many new friends. ‘Out of the ashes of defeat, huh?’ I say to myself. Out of the bitter ashes of defeat shall come a rebirth, a renewal. A resplendent new ego shall come into being. It felt almost mystical. Perhaps, I thought, this was the ‘spiritual self’ that people sometimes talk about? Perhaps I’d invented the ‘spiritual ego’ – shinier than most and much more durable! It keeps on going where other egos wear out. Beating its little drum, beating its little drum. Singing its little song. Singing its victory song. With a lovely new ego like this I was bound to make many new friends! Free from rust and decay. Free from unsightly cellulite on the inner thighs. I miss my old ego of course – we had had many good times together. We had had many bad times, too. Very many bad times. And yet politics dictates that I distance myself from that old ego. Politics dictates that I distance myself from the old order and pretend as best I can that I had nothing to do with it. I had all my lies rehearsed. ‘I had nothing to do with any of that’, I was going to tell them, ‘none of that stuff had anything to do with me.’ On this day, as on all other days, the time had come to talk a lot of bullshit. Everyone knew the necessity for this and no one was going to complain. Not in public, at any rate. People love to talk about spiritual things and I can appreciate this as much as anyone can. Spiritual things are good, people say. It is always good to do spiritual things. It is very good. We should all aspire to raise our level of vibration – I can understand that as much as the next person can. My old ego was defunct, it was true, but I come prepared with a brand-new one. I’d rehearsed all my lies. I had distanced myself from all my wrongdoings. In a previous life I’d been a demon. My hunger was abnormal, my hunger knew no bounds. I had witnessed horrors that the average man could not even begin to conceive of. I lived a type of life that the average man wouldn’t even be able to dream of. The normal rules did not apply any more you see; instead we had to have new ones. I was to be interviewed on daytime TV; they wanted to know what my life was like. I had rehearsed my lies too well – nothing I said was ever true.