I am tired beyond measure, tired beyond my ability either to express or describe, and yet it is not life that I am tired of, but the terribly trivial games that I myself keep on playing. I am tired of my own games. I am tired of the games that I play in place of life, and yet I cannot stop myself from playing these games! I know this with a clarity that I cannot deny – I know that I will never be able to give up my wretched games, my wretched insincerities, my wretched self-deceptions, despite all the misery and self-loathing that they have caused me.
‘So what does that feel like?’ you question me intently, fascinated against your own will by my predicament. ‘What is that like, knowing what you know and yet at the same time knowing that you will never be able to do anything about it?’ You really want to know. You really want to know and that’s why am sitting here writing this now. That’s why am sitting here, writing away on my notebook, scribbling away sporadically, trying as best I can to come to terms with my thoughts and feelings. That’s why. That’s why am sitting here, writing away in the corner as all around me people are talking and gesticulating, drinking whatever hot beverages it is that they are drinking. There is a hum, a buzz that is going on around me – is the hum of life. It’s like bees. I can hear life going on but I’m not part of it. I am full of conflicting feelings, conflicting thoughts. But mainly what I feel is the tiredness, the deeply-rooted fatigue.
I am weary beyond all measure, weary beyond belief, weary beyond the power of words to describe. I am weary of my own incorrigible game-playing. I’m spent, I’m played out. My very eyes are finding it hard to stay open – they’re gummed up with some sticky substance. They keep adhering. I mumble as I ask for a coffee – I haven’t the energy to articulate properly. I am the gummy-eyed mumbler. I am the stumbler – stumbling through life. I am only half alive. I’m the ghost at the banquet. I am the shadow in the corner of the room that no one notices… What is it that Heraclitus says? ‘It is weariness upon the same things to labour and by them be controlled.’ It is so very wearisome and the reason for this because there is no joy left in it. No joy and no free will. I play my games because I have to play them; I play them because I don’t know how not to. I don’t know how not to because I don’t know how to stop. There’s no ‘off button’. The game is playing itself through me. It’s playing itself out. The game is playing me, not I it…
‘So how does that make you feel,’ you insist on knowing. ‘What is it like to know this about yourself, and yet not be able to do anything about it? How do you motivate yourself to carry on, and live each day as it comes? How does it feel to you, knowing as you do that the game is playing you?’ You are determined to get an answer. You really want to know. It’s a flavour you really want to taste. You cannot know it for yourself, so you want to know it through me, you want to know it through my words. But I’m too tired to make the effort, too tired to know what it feels like. ‘It is weariness upon the same task to labour, and by it be controlled,’ says Heraclitus in his wisdom. It is weariness. It is weariness. Upon the same task, upon the same task, upon the same task. Such weariness. Such weariness. Let his words suffice, not mine.
Art: Deconstructed human portrait. Justin Bower