I am being controlled by my own need to avoid the pain. “Must avoid the pain, must avoid the pain, must avoid the pain…” I keep on saying to myself. Eventually this freakishly monotonous refrain becomes so tortuous in itself that I cannot bear it. The refrain itself becomes a source of pain and so I am duly compelled to avoid it in turn. Just like I avoid all pain. “Must avoid the pain of seeing that I am avoiding the pain, must avoid the pain of seeing that I am avoiding the pain, must avoid the pain of seeing that I am avoiding the pain…” I say to myself. I’m like a broken machine, really.
Do I need to go on? I’m sure you get the picture. I know I do go on – that’s practically all I do. I go on and on spinning my narrative. Like some kind of demented obsessive spider spinning its web and not knowing when to stop. In fact if I were to be perfectly honest about it – which I guess I am being – then I would have to come clean and admit that ‘going on about it’ (whatever ‘it’ is) is actually the ONLY thing that I ever do. I have no other possibilities – except to spin my interminable narrative. I wouldn’t know how to do anything else. I wouldn’t have the capacity to do anything else – I’d be lost. I’d be flummoxed. I’d be banjaxed. I’d be all at sea. Actually the truth is that I wouldn’t have the slightest clue as to what else there could be other than to be going on about things in the way that I always do. This constitutes the whole of reality for me. It’s the alpha and the omega. The narrative is the only reality I know.
The narrative is the only reality I know but at the same time I have to say that it is a very shitty kind of a reality. Could there ever be a shittier reality than this, could there ever be a shittier reality than the one I’m stuck in? What kind of reality could be worse than this, for God’s sake? It’s a reality (in case you’ve forgotten) in which I am continually going on and on about how shitty my reality is. That’s my meta-narrative, my commentary on my narrative. The meta-narrative is an attempted escape from the narrative, only it isn’t really. Do you get what I’m actually saying here? The whole thing’s a recursive loop. Maybe that’s simple to get. Maybe everyone gets it. Maybe every jackass in the street gets it. I don’t get it, though. Or I didn’t. It wasn’t simple for me. I’m only just starting to get it now. Very reluctantly, very slowly. I’m only just starting to get that my universe is a universe which is entirely made up of me saying how shitty my universe is. How shitty is that? Cut me some slack would you – I’m trying to be funny here.
I’m obsessing about regressions, I know. I’m talking both obsessively and regressively. I’m caught in a recursive loop that has no way out. They never do. The thing is – as I have just said – that I’m stuck in my own narrative the whole time and my narrative is always about how absolutely shitty my narrative is. About how terribly punishingly restrictive it is. I’m trapped in a second order narrative. I’m trapped in my own meta-narrative and like I say my meta-narrative is my attempt to escape the pain of the original narrative. It’s a reaction to the original narrative. An involuntary reaction, I might add. So even though I say that it is ‘my’ narrative’, ‘my’ meta-narrative that I’m trapped in, it’s nothing of the sort. It’s totally involuntary. I’m trapped in it. I’m trapped by my own need to escape the pain. I am being controlled by my need to escape the pain, and also by my need to escape the pain of knowing that I am being controlled by my involuntary need to escape the pain. I have absolutely no say in this, no say at all. I am a subsidiary function of the all-determining narrative, and the narrative is shit.
That rotten old narrative. That rotten dirty filthy old narrative. What would I do without it? I am what the narrative says I am and the pain of being controlled or determined like this necessitates a regression into a second order narrative which is even more controlling and restrictive than the first. It’s even more shitty. And so on and so forth. I can see all this very clearly now. My insight is quite excellent. This isn’t good though – having the insight into what is going on only makes it a worse. My insight into the recursive nature of my predicament simply turns into another level of the narrative. Insight always turns into narrative, doesn’t it? Isn’t that the thing?