Classic hits, classic hits – I was listening to the good old classic hits. You can’t beat them, can you? There’s nothing like the classic hits. That goes without saying really doesn’t it – they wouldn’t call them ‘classic hits’ if that wasn’t true, would they? It’s self-evidently the case. Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to say. I was going off on a bit of a tangent there. What I wanted to talk about is consciousness and how it can creep up on you in different ways. It can creep up on you as a friend and fill you with the most exquisite feelings of peace, serenity and well-being, or it can creep up on you as an enemy, all edgy and harsh, full of all the sharp angles of paranoia. The intensity is the same but there is a world of difference between the two, as I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you! Needless to say, it was the second type of accentuated awareness that I was experiencing – the uncomfortably-edgy type, the sharp-angled type. I was under the magnifying glass of ultra-harsh awareness and I didn’t know who was looking through it. In one way I suppose it was me looking through that that magnifying glass – that’s what logic would tell me, anyway – but in another way it was as if I was the subject of consciousness rather than the object. I was being looked at, rather than being the one who was in control and doing the looking. I was being pitilessly exposed before that merciless awareness. I didn’t know who it belonged to – it was a thing in itself, a force quite independent of me. I didn’t know anything about it – it appeared out of nowhere like a mountain that had suddenly sprouted out of a pebble or small stone on the edge of the path you are walking down. I was just like a bug on a microscope slide, squirming away in unbearable discomfort like some kind of burrowing, subterranean creature suddenly pulled out of its hole and exposed to the searing bright sunlight of midday. When consciousness itself rises up as an implacable enemy than where can one turn? What direction can one escape in? What friendly nooks and crannies can one access to gratefully hide within? I only say that to emphasize that they are no directions to turn to, no directions to run in; I only say that to emphasize that there are no nooks and crannies to hide in. ‘Are you a bad person, though?’ You ask, keen to point out that the fault cannot be anyone else’s. ‘Are you perhaps a bad or wicked person? Have you considered that? Is that the problem, do you think? How else is the universe itself your enemy? How would that happen otherwise? How would consciousness itself turn against you?’ I don’t know what to say to that, apart from pointing out that it isn’t particularly helpful for me to hear this. I can’t say that I feel any better for considering that possibility. Not really much better. Not much improved. Not noticeably, anyway. ‘But what is it that causes consciousness to rise up as a friend one day, and as an implacable enemy on the next?’ you persist, unwilling to let it go. You’ve got a point to make. You’re like a dog with a bone. ‘Why would that happen? Why would things switch around like this?’ But I don’t know the answer to that. How would I be expected to know? What am I supposed to say to that, anyway?