Fear City

I found myself back in South London again after an interval of many years but this time I was being hunted. That made things different. It made things very different because I was no longer part of the world that I was passing through. I saw it, but I was not in it. I was on the outside, looking in. I was in my own private capsule of fear. Being hunted changes everything – it alters your perspective on the world in the most radical of ways. When you’re being hunted in the way that I was (i.e. hunted by telepaths) you no longer have any attention left over for anything that is unconnected with the crucial business of staying alive, or ‘staying one step ahead in the game’. I wished very much that I didn’t have to play this game but it was compulsory – it was not permitted for me to simply opt out, much as I would have liked to. It was a game I had to play. The only way I was ever going to get out of this game would either be by winning or losing. Winning seemed pretty impossible and so – realistically – that only left losing.

 

The game was all about not being visible – to be visible was to lose. To be visible was to lose in a very bad way. I don’t really want to go into it any more than that. But how was I to remain invisible to an adversary that could read my mind? The terms of the game were rather unfair, one might say. The only way to survive was to learn a new skill and learn it very quickly – the skill of not ever thinking, the skill of not making a mental footprint. One thing that worked in my favour was the fear that I was experiencing on an unrelenting basis – fear is a great teacher, a great incentive. We’re all so very lazy in our everyday lives, aren’t we? We’re sluggish in the extreme – it’s as if we’ve got all the time in the world. We aren’t pushing ourselves at all – why should we, after all? Why would anyone push themselves unless they had to? Pushing yourself is hard work, after all…

 

But you’d be surprised at what you can do if you really have to. I was surprised – not in a nice way, but I think you could say that I was definitely surprised. I was surprised but I never had any time to actually dwell on the fact because all my attention was taken up with something else – all my attention was taken up with staying invisible, and staying one step ahead of whoever or whatever it was that was hunting me. I was absolutely stretched to the limit and I didn’t have any time to reflect on what was actually happening to me, or how strange it was. My attention was stretched too taut. I moved from place to place, location to location, street to street without ever thinking anything of it, without ever making any comments to myself about anything. I moved constantly, and I thought about nothing – I kept my mind so very, very still that it was as if I wasn’t actually there.

 

Fear taught me well and I discovered that if the incentivization was there then things could be done that could not normally be done. My laziness had been chased away – I had been as lazy as the day was long but the Fear had changed all that. I had been lazy without even knowing that I had been lazy – it had been too normal for me to be able to spot it. I used to go around in a state of what seems now to me to be a state of practically zero alertness – sleep, I suppose you would call it. These days however I am so alert that it hurts. It is a nightmare world for me really – I am constantly having to do impossible things. To carry on walking is an impossible thing. To push myself when I have gone beyond all limits of fatigue is an impossible thing. Before all of this happened to me I would simply have refused, I would simply have given up. Not any more however, now I find what it takes to do whatever I have to do. I am now adequately incentivized – that’s what fear has done for me. Not just any old fear you understand, but this very great fear. Fear like no fear I had ever experienced before. A type of fear that no one ever talks about. There is an actual conspiracy against the very mentioning of this most singular and world-defining type of Fear. No one will ever admit that it exists. Or maybe it’s just that no one apart from me knows…

 

Now that I look back on that time I realized that there was a lot of consciousness in that fear, the only thing being that I didn’t have the luxury of appreciating that at the time. I was aware of freedom, you might say, but only in the sense that I knew I didn’t have any. I see freedom all around me – the freedom of life – but I am sharply aware of the fact that I don’t have it myself. Not even a tiny little bit of freedom do I have. I envy those who are not in my situation. I envy everyone I see when it comes down to it – there isn’t anyone who isn’t in an incalculably better situation than me. No matter what human being I would come across, I would envy them – I would envy them their freedom, even though they themselves may not appreciate that they have it. people might think that they have worried, or difficulties, but I know that they do not. They would know that too, if only they could see themselves through my eyes. They would rejoice.

 

The acute appreciation of what freedom is, when you do not possess it, is the most painful of all things. I have come to understand that. No razor is sharper than this awareness. I suppose that if I were feeling philosophical I might make the point that this is one of life’s great ironies – that the only time we can truly appreciate the immense blessing of freedom is when we don’t have it. I am not feeling philosophical however so we will let that go. For me this is more a question of pain than philosophy – I am acutely aware of the world from which I am excluded. I am acutely aware of what it is that I can have no part of. I am acutely aware of how lucky people are. I think this of every single person I pass by in the street. I can see just how incredibly lucky they are – every single one of them – and I am at the same time acutely aware that they don’t know it…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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