Metaphysical Oxygen

Enlightenment! That moment when you realise beyond a shadow of doubt that you are right and everyone else is a dumb-arse, and not just a dumb-arse either but totally deluded. They are the Lotus-Eaters; they are the sleepers who are constantly sleeping, constantly partaking in meaningless dreams. It’s hard to feel compassionate towards them because they’re so very obnoxious as well as being dumb. It’s hard for me anyway. Yes for sure enlightenment is very interesting and it’s worth trying to attain it if you can. It’s definitely worth having a bash at my humble opinion. Sure, give it a go, why don’t you? What have you got to lose? Have a go, have a go. That’s always a good way of separating the sheep from the goats you see. We’ll get to see what you’re made of then. Are you just a wannabe like all the rest? Can you make the grade? We’ll get to see whether you’ve got the old moral fibre for it. What they used to call ‘moral fibre’, back in the day, back in my formative years. That used to be a very important thing, back in my formative years – moral fibre. Not that I have ever developed any of it myself, you understand. I’m making no false claims here. I don’t want to give the impression that moral fibre is a necessary quality for enlightenment either – that’s not what I’m saying. No, enlightenment is much cooler than that and that’s why it’s so great. That’s why the most kudos you can ever get is from being enlightened; normal socially-validated accomplishments count for nothing here and that’s the kind of thing we find so hard to accept. When I was only a kid, not knowing anything about anything, I met a very wise man who pulled me aside from the crowd one day and told me something that I shall never forget. ‘Never be a dumb-shit,’ he whispered in my ear, ‘never be a dumb-shit because that will put you in the shit and you’ll come out of it smelling bad…’ That advice has stayed with me to throughout my life, as I’ve said, although that isn’t to say that I have ever been able to follow it. No, I’ve never been able to follow it, not then and not now, but that doesn’t mean that the advice wasn’t wise. It was – it was profoundly wise and I’m very grateful for having received it. Or at least I try to feel grateful, whenever I can remember to. It’s important to try to feel grateful, as we all know. We can but try and God knows it’s not easy. I don’t find it easy anyway. So – as I was saying – mere ‘moral fibre’ is no good at all when it comes to being enlightened. That won’t help you. We are all searching for kudos in life and I think it’s very important to admit that. Everyone wants kudos and it’s not easy to get it. There’s not enough to go around so we have to fight for it. That’s called capitalism. The search for kudos is the search for life itself. The riddle of how we can find kudos, in a world where there isn’t enough to go around, is the core existential conundrum of human existence. Although I could probably have put that better if I had tried a bit harder. We are all faced with this riddle anyway, and that’s what I’m basically trying to say. Kudos is metaphysical oxygen and without it we all have to learn to be anaerobes. We have to learn to live anaerobically at great depths or at the bottom of the ocean trenches and that’s what I have had to do. Life isn’t easy when you’re an anaerobe, as I’ve discovered the hard way. I don’t think there is an easy way to discover that. You absolutely have to learn it the hard way because otherwise you just won’t learn it, and I’ve met a lot of people who haven’t learned it. Lots and lots of people. It’s like being in some kind of secret club, the type of club that no one wants to be part of. Like in the joke. Everyone else doesn’t even know that this exclusive club that no one wants to be part of exists; if you told them they wouldn’t be interested anyway. If you told them they wouldn’t even hear what you’re saying, that’s how very uninterested they are. They would give you that look, that look that looks right through you. I get that look a lot. I get that look a lot because I’m always trying to do just this – I’m always trying to tell people about the secret club that you are part of when you not only have to live life with zero kudos under your belt but actually have to somehow survive from day to day with negative kudos. There’s no oxygen here so we have to evolve some other kind of metabolism instead. Instead of using oxygen we have to use sulphur, just to give one example. I could give other examples, but we’ll stick with that one for now. We produce sulphides instead of oxides as a waste product deep-down in our subterranean realm. Oxygen doesn’t come into it.








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