‘Twas just beneath his gnarled old feet / where first he felt the feel / the slow and supple writhing / of the horse-based eel.’ I wrote in my notebook, and then sat back to think of the next verse. Nothing came to me. Not even a hint of something that might follow on. The connection was gone. I felt disorientated and ill at ease. I was in that place where dreams turn into reality and reality turns into dreams. Some people were happy and others were not happy, I observed. Most of the people around me were happy. One or two seemed neither one way nor the other – they seemed neutral. No one was sad. The only person who wasn’t happy was me, it occurred to me.
I wasn’t happy because all I was thinking too much and all my thoughts were bad thoughts. There were taking me to a bad place. Life is such a hard thing to get the measure of, I commented to myself. I always comment to myself – my comments are my way of measuring reality. I measure it out as I go along. ‘Here he comes, with his bloody old measuring stick’, they say when they see me coming. They don’t really say that. They don’t really say anything. It’s only me saying that – I’m commenting on myself. I’m commenting on my own habit of commenting on myself.
I was on an uncharted planet. There was no mention of it, no record of it anywhere. The ship’s drive had malfunctioned, creating a hole in the fabric of reality. I had fallen into that hole. A plume of smoke reached up far into the sky from where my spaceship had crash-landed. I salvaged as much as I could from the wreck and was making my way across the plateau on foot. I had to get away before the spaceship exploded. Soon the local inhabitants would come to enslave me. I will be taken away in chains and forced to partake of their way of life. I would have to eat their food, and become as they are.
I was trapped in the simulation and none of my thoughts were my own. The simulator later later later was simulating my thoughts, my memories, feelings. It had got so that I couldn’t tell the difference. The simulator was telling me what to dream, it was regulating my parameters. I was trapped in the simulator and I was thinking about how bad it was to be trapped in the simulator. The simulator. The simulator. They weren’t my thoughts however; the thoughts all belonged to the simulator. The simulator was making me think them. The simulator was making me think that I was thinking them; it was making me think that I was thinking about the simulation and about how bad it was to be trapped in the simulation. It was making me think that I had to find a way of escaping from the simulation. It was orchestrating all my plans.
Soon the local inhabitants would come to enslave me. They would take me away in chains. I would have to fill in their forms and register my personal details. They would take me to see the regulator and the regulator would regulate my existence. I would learn to regulate myself. I would learn to regulate my emotions and monitor my thoughts. If the wrong thoughts came along then I would spot them and immediately correct them. I would be my own jailor. I would persecute myself if any part of me failed to fit the bill. I would harshly criticise myself. I would revile myself. I would castigate myself. I would unsparingly punish myself. I would denounce myself in front of everyone else in my weekly therapy group. I would become my own jailor…