‘Wake up you dog,’ I order myself, ‘wake up you heedless turd, you insensate pig…’ I am my own alarm clock, you might say. An alarm clock that never works. Do you know that thing when you do something very bad and you immediately get frightened that people will you find out and turn on you? You’re not just frightened, you’re scared shitless. You are terrified of being hunted down and torn limb from limb by an angry mob, just as it always happens in your dreams. ‘Why does that always happen in my dreams’, you wonder, ‘why do all my dreams end with me being on the wrong end of an angry mob?’ ‘Wake up you dirty heedless bastard,’ I scream at myself but it does no good. It never does any good. ‘Wake up you dog,’ I cry out again but it comes out as no more than a groan – I am exhausted and not able to make any further effort. Despondent and full of negative self-talk, I collapse into a kind of waking stupor. The kind of waking stupor that is my normal state, I should add.
Last night, knee deep in research as I usually am, and working by candlelight since I distrust these newfangled electric lamps, I started reading a treatise by some obscure alchemical philosopher entitled ‘Revivifying the Decrepit and Moribund Soul’ and a great interest had taken hold of me. I considered the possibility that what I was reading might be a hoax of course – it seemed too good to be true. Nevertheless, as I read on, I became convinced what I was reading was an original document, a priceless original document at that, containing knowledge of tremendous importance. My long and wearisome search had finally borne fruit. Outside, the angry mob were roaring and bashing at my door, shouting my name, demanding that I show myself and atone for my crimes. I know that it’s only a matter of time now before they break in. That’s the way it always happens in my dreams you see, that’s the only way can happen.
I was wondering what it would be like to know reality – my perennial song, of course, my perennial song. You’re terrified of being hunted down and killed, just as you always are, but at the same time you’re fed up with this life, this life that is no life. That thing where you have done something very wrong and you’re frightened shitless that they will find you out. You are broadcasting your own guilt of course – you always broadcast your own guilt. ‘Wake up you heedless turd,’ you tell yourself but you don’t mean it. you never mean it, not really. ‘What does it mean when you’re always feeling guilty?’ you wonder. ‘Should I turn yourself in?’ You’re afraid that they’ll find out about you and hunt you down wherever you go. And all the while thoughts of reality come into your head – so strange, so evocative; so strange, so evocative.
‘What must it be like?’ you wonder, ‘what must it be like?’ The days are long and filled with tedium – you can’t bear the thought of facing another one and yet you’re terrified of change, scared shitless at the thought of letting go of this pattern that is your avoidance of life. You wish you could be a hero. ‘What must it be like to live life as a hero?’ you wonder, ‘what must it be like to live like a hero and not be consumed by guilt and fear the whole time?’ What must it be like, what must it be like. You hate and despise yourself and yet you know you could never bring yourself to let go of your avoidant ways – you cling to yourself, sad ghost that you are. All you are is clinging, there’s nothing else to you. You’re just a twisted knot of pointless clinging.
I’m listening for voices carried by the wind – angry voices, accusing voices. They’re not really people of course – it is my own consciousness that is accusing me, my own consciousness that is hunting me down so relentlessly. It’ll find me wherever I go. ‘Where can I hide,’ I wonder, just the same as I always wonder, ‘where can I hide?’ All doors are closed to me, no one will come to my aid. They know that I deserve this fate of mine – they know everything about me. I’m on the news after all. I’m always on the news. I’m beyond the pale and everyone knows it. Even the evil spirits that dwell in the unclean places of the earth will have nothing to do with me. Even they drive me forth from their company, such as it is. Even they reject me.