Contrary to the teachings of Buddhism, I take care of my ego. I look after it, I nurture it. I feed my ego – I give it plenty to eat. I bolster it up. ‘Be strong, my ego,’ I tell it, ‘eat as much as you can and grow strong and fearless…’
Some people will say that I’m wrong to do this of course but – then again – it is my experience that people will criticise you no matter what you do. You can’t please them when it comes down to it so you might as well just try to please yourself, if you can. Although even that might be too much to hope for, I sometimes think. Even pleasing yourself might ultimately prove to be an impossible dream.
‘Be strong, ego of mine,’ I say, ‘be strong and prosper.’ It’s all bullshit of course. It’s all bullshit but it’s my bullshit. That makes a difference, you see. It makes all the difference in the world – one’s own bullshit is pleasant and nice whilst the bullshit of others is foul and abominable, repellent and vile. That’s always the way, isn’t it?
Anger comes all too easily, all too readily, whilst the finer, more munificent emotions are few and far between. They are very few and very far between. Sometimes – and I fear this may be closer to the mark – they may not come at all. The finer emotions, that is. This is turning into a dismal tale, isn’t it? A dismal tale, and yet all too common. All too common for me at least. Very common for me. Pretty normal in fact. ‘What does it mean,’ I ask myself bitterly, ‘when the only emotion you ever get to experience is grumbling, low-grade rage?’
I am full of admiration for the finer emotions, all the same. I love to hear of them, just as one loves to hear of fine wines or exquisite internationally-renowned works of art. Those wonderful, wonderful emotions – how splendid they are! It’s possible to appreciate great works of art without oneself being an artist, after all. For a long time I was very interested in transcending the merely mechanical. It was more than just an interest to me, it was an obsession, it was a passion. I lived and breathed it. I talked incessantly about transcending the mechanical mode to anyone who would listen. I had a purpose back in those days.
The only trouble was that I never did transcend the merely mechanical. Not once did I ever manage to transcend my humdrum mechanical existence. I never even came close. Despite all my enthusiasm – and my enthusiasm was totally bona fide, totally legitimate, let me assure you – I never deviated or departed from my wretched plodding existence by so much as a millimeter. Everything about me was mechanical, every single last little thing. I was like a toy train going around and around on its little track. No transcendence at all.
Those were the days when I had some sort of purpose in life. That’s the point I’m trying to make. That those were the days when I had some sort of purpose in life. Yes indeed. That’s the point all right. That’s what I’m trying to say. These days I suppose you could say that I’ve learned to embrace the merely mechanical, to make the most of it. I just get on with it, which is of course what everyone tells you to do. I’ve lost my idealism, I suppose you could say, and now I’m just like everyone else.