We were talking about the bad people who were doing all the bad things. ‘Oh the people are so bad for doing the bad things!’ I declared forcefully. Everyone around me murmured assent, ‘Oh very bad,’ they said, ‘they are very bad indeed for doing the bad things.’ The murmur grew legs and spread rapidly through the crowd – ‘Oh they are very bad, very bad, very bad indeed…’  ‘Is it ever okay to be a jerk, is it ever okay to be a total knob head?’ I wondered out loud. ‘Are there any circumstances that would make this okay?’ ‘Is it ever right to be wrong?’ I wondered – ‘is that ever possible?’ My mind was going into overdrive thinking about the enormity of existence and how we have to cope with it, how we are in fact obliged to cope with it. Naturally, we are expected to cope, but can we?’ I asked, speaking to no one in particular. ‘What should we do if we can’t cope, despite our very best efforts to do so? What’s the right thing to do if we can’t cope?’ I was upset and confused and my mind was spinning like a top. ‘Is it ever wrong to be right?’ I wondered. My mind was going haywire as I tried to get to grips with all the different permutations inherent in my predicament. ‘Give your mind a knife and a fork and it will eventually eat itself,’ says Steven King. That’s a very good point you see – it’s a better point than most people probably realise it is. I don’t know of course but I expect most people would think that if you gave your mind the appropriate tools then it would run off and build some wonderful kind of utopia. I say I don’t know but that’s really just false modesty on my part – I know very well. I’ve got the facts and figures at my fingertips. I know as well as anyone can ever know anything that it’s not utopia that the mind is going to run away and build! Oh no indeed! Let’s not be stupid about this, let’s not be total twats! I laugh as I say this because I know that we will be stupid about it, because I know that we will be total twats. I’m shrieking with laughter like some sort of mad fool, I’m howling like an out-of-control freak. I’m laughing so much that I’m very nearly pissing myself. ‘But that’s probably because you are an immature little shit,’ you comment, in that haughty, superior tone of voice of yours. That’s probably because, that’s probably because. Let’s just think about this a minute though; let us just suppose that you give the mind not just a knife and fork but a complete toolkit containing every tool, scientific or otherwise, that you could possibly think of, and that you then stand back and let it get on with it. You kit it out and then turn it loose. Arm the damn thing – weaponize the mind and give it twenty four hour access to whatever resources it needs to do whatever it wants to do. I pause in my withering diatribe, suddenly feeling unwell, suddenly feeling nauseous. I realize that I’m thoroughly sick of myself. I haunt myself constantly, yet I’ve nothing new to say. If that’s not torture then what is? ‘Shut the fuck up you little bastard’ I want to scream at myself, ‘just shut the fuck up, just shut the fuck up, just shut the fuck up…’






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