‘I have become an ego, I have become a self’, I chanted viciously. I was unhappy, you see. So very, very unhappy. Not that I knew it of course – I didn’t have the necessary emotional intelligence to know something like that. Not even someone who liked me could claim that I was big on emotional intelligence – if you were actually able to find such a person, that is.
‘I have become an ego, I have become a self’, I wailed and my wailing was like the wind. My wailing took on a life of its own, you might say – it took wings and it flew, disturbing the world and those who lived in it. Some of those who lived in it, at least. Most didn’t care. Why would they, of course. Why would they? If ever you hear an unearthly wailing in the trees late at night, when you’re tucked up safely in bed, then that’s me. Spare me a thought, if you will…
All the same, I have to get on with my life, the same as anyone else. We are all the same that way. No matter what, we have to get on with it – with good grace or with bad. With good grace or with bad. I never do anything with good grace but that’s just me. I’ll do it, if I have to, but you can be sure that I’ll complain every step of the way. That’s just the kind of guy I am. By the time I’ve done whatever is I have to do all the good has gone out of it. The good has long since gone out of it.
What does glory feel like, I wonder to myself? What must it feel like, for those that get to feel it? My brain is eating itself trying to imagine what this must feel like. My brain is chewing savagely on itself. It is unendurable torment knowing I will never know. I can try to imagine of course – there’s nothing to stop me from doing that. I’m chasing phantasms when it comes down to it down though – I know well that glory is not something I can ever imagine.
In a way, it’s like trying to imagine drinking water when you are dying of thirst in the desert – your mind keeps coming back to it, but there is nothing there but pain. You keep coming back to the pain therefore, over and over again. You’re tormenting yourself. There’s no point trying to imagine it, all you are doing is reminding yourself of how you are actually dying from thirst. In the very same way, the more I grasp at the understanding of what the meaning of glory is, the more bitterness enters my soul.
I have to know, however. I cannot tear myself away from this fascination. What exactly does one have to do in order to experience glory? There are many other experiences that a human being can taste, but who cares about them? Glory is the richest draught, as everyone knows well. We know it, but we forget it because deep down, in our heart of hearts, we have already given up on this one. The price is too dear, too dear by far, and so we made a compromise. We will settle for second best and that is that.
Are we content with our choice? I think not. I would consider that we are not content. Do we acknowledge our regret, do we face up to it? Again, I think not. I would say that we don’t. Absolutely we don’t, not ever. What craven creatures we are, content to live as worms, content to live so far beneath ourselves. ‘Come now, the life of a worm is not so bad’, the voice of your own cowardice tells you. ‘You could do a lot worse than living the life of worms. Worms have their own ways of enjoying themselves, after all…’
Will we despise ourselves for the choices that we have made? Most surely we will. Without any doubt at all we will. That’s always the way, after all. It is possible to escape from many things, in my experience, but not in the contempt that one feels for oneself for the choices one has made. That’s something we will have to put up with, I’m afraid. I can tell you that with the greatest authority, reluctant as you might be to hear it.
The price for glory is high indeed. We all know that. Far higher than we are willing to pay. We would not pay one tenth of it. The price for denying ourselves glory, for cheating ourselves out of it, is higher still however. It is infinitely higher. Please trust me on that one…