Reflections of the Shadow Self


I have the thought, ‘I am living life by habit, by reflex.’ and at the same time I know that this thought itself is a habit, is a reflex. This is the irony I am caught in – I have had this particular thought many, many times – it’s far from being fresh. I have this thought all the time. It’s not an observation you see, it’s the echo of an observation that I had a long, long time ago. That echo has been resounding down through the ages so to speak; no matter what validity it may originally have had, it’s now been turned into a dead mechanical ‘bleep’. Machine talk.


So by the same token that’s true for my whole life, as it now stands. It’s an echo of the life that I used to have when I still had a life. It’s the echo of a life that has now been converted into a meaningless mechanical twitch. So that’s all the life I have now – a hollow, pointless parody of the real thing. A mere mechanical twitch; I twitch, and then – lo and behold – I react mechanically to my own mechanical twitches. This parody of a life that I lead is haunted by these habitual, reflex-type observations – like the one I’m coming out with right now!


Do they make me feel any better, these reflex observations of mine? Sometimes, I suppose. Sometimes they afford me a momentary twinge of satisfaction. But then again sometimes they don’t. Sometimes – more often than not – I don’t get any satisfaction from criticizing my own pointless life; sometimes I perform a meaningless mechanical action and then comment drily on the fact that I have just caught myself out performing a meaningless act and I know that this comment is itself entirely meaningless. The comment is just one more mechanical act so of course I don’t get any satisfaction from it. One echo is following another; one echo hot on the tail of the echo that preceded it. Or maybe both are the same echo that has been split in two. Who knows?


Am I being unduly negative here, I wonder? Am I tending towards being somewhat jaded in my outlook? That’s only a reflex reaction too, when I think that. It doesn’t actually mean anything that I think that; it doesn’t actually count for anything.


There’s no escaping the echo really, I think. Not when every thought is only an echo of another echo. I think this with a semblance of dry, ironic wit. Only a semblance, mind – it isn’t real. It’s more of a dusty echo of what might once have been dry, ironic wit. An automatic twitch that somehow passes for humour. An echo of a joke that possibly once was funny. Or possibly not. Who knows?


There’s no escaping the echo really is there I think again, and this thought itself is an attempt to escape the mechanicalness of my situation. An attempt to break free. How bizarre is that? An empty mechanical thought is itself a bid – however doomed – to escape the prison of being mechanical, the prison of being a habit, the prison of being a reflex.


For God’s sake I cry out in my own mind. For pity’s sake. Give me a break, will you? Get a life why don’t you? Why don’t you break the bloody habit of being a habit of yourself, of being a habit self? Why don’t you make the effort and snap out of it? I come out with all this but I didn’t really mean it. I was only going though the motions. It’s just a thing I do ever so often – it doesn’t actually mean anything. Nothing I say or do actually means anything…


You’re probably thinking to yourself, you miserable bloody depressing bastard why don’t you give it a rest? What makes you think we want to listen to all this depressing shit? If you haven’t anything uplifting to say then why don’t you do us all a big fat favour and shut the fuck up? That’s what you’re probably thinking.


You don’t get it though. I’m doing you a favour. You think all this ‘uplifting’ stuff everyone is so bloody fond of is going to do you any good? That’s just cover up. That’s just spiritual sentimentality. Spiritual candy-bars. You think that reading all those inspirational memes is going to save you from sharing my fate? Think again, sunshine. That’s like thinking you can get fit just from watching some guy on television run a six minute mile. Do you really think it works like that?






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