How Wrong Can You Be?

Am I to be punished, I wanted to know. I was full of fear, as you might imagine. So full of fear. I was very afraid indeed. ‘Am I to be punished?’, I asked, in a thin quavery voice. ‘You most assuredly are to be punished’, the spirits at once told me. ‘Absolutely you are…’


When you make very big mistakes in life and you stubbornly refuse to give up on these mistakes, these grievous errors of judgement, even though deep down you realise that they are mistakes, that they are errors, then you are heading as fast as you can to a very nasty situation. It is if you are a heat-seeking missile and you’re locked onto your target and its absolutely inevitable right from the very onset, from the very first moment, that you are going to get there. Nothing and no one can stop you. It’s already happened, in fact…


You want to get there, you are absolutely determined to get there – your arrogant ego will settle for nothing less. Failure is not an option you tell yourself bravely and you’re right – it isn’t. It never was an option. Deep down you know what’s happening though and you’re frightened. You know that you are being controlled by the mechanical mind. You know that in your bones but it doesn’t do any good because your arms and legs are walking all by themselves and you can’t do anything about it. They are walking you towards your doom and you know it.


Suppose you’ve made a very bad error in judgement – does that mean you’re a bad person? Does that mean that you’re evil? Suppose you are a very bad person, an evil person even – does this mean that it’s wrong for people to judge you? Or are they right to judge you? These are all the thoughts that were going through my head. Some people say that it’s wrong to feel guilty, they say that it means you’re a bad person. They say that if you feel like a bad person then you have to be punished. These are the thoughts that were going through my head. Was I wrong to be having these thoughts, though? Did I deserve to be punished for them? Am I wrong to think that I deserved to be punished for having these bad thoughts, when I’m not? If so, does this mean that I deserve to be punished after all, for being so wrong?


I was letting the ego-robot run. ‘Let the old ego-robot play out,’ I advised myself. Let it play out as it will. You can’t stop it, after all. No one can stop it. Let the robot run as it will, I told myself. Run robot run! Run like the robot you are.’ But supposing I am that robot?’ was my next thought. Suppose I am letting the robot run as it will but I myself am that robot. I’d be trapped in the loop again in that case – I’d trapped in the loop that never ends. Everything I do to fix the problem will create that same problem all over again; everything I do to win my freedom will be another chain to add to all those chains that are already holding me… ‘Run robot run’, I told myself. But you can’t though, can you?


Suppose you do something that’s really, really, really wrong. Suppose that it’s very wrong indeed. Is it very wrong to be so very wrong? Is that an error in judgement? Suppose you make an error in judgement that is itself a very bad error, does that then constitute a compounded error, an even worse error? Does that mean that you are now doubly wrong? Are you now doubly wrong because it’s wrong to be wrong? And if so this opens up the question ‘How wrong can you be?’ Is there any limit there, or can you go on being wrong forever? Is it possible to be terribly, terribly, terribly wrong – infinitely wrong, if you know what I mean? Can you go on being more and more wrong forever, and if so, how wrong is that?








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