You are about to experience. Sit quietly and we will control. Sit quietly and we will control. We will control the awe and mystery of the inner world. Do not attempt to. There is nothing wrong with your inner world. You are about to participate. You are about to participate. You are. Do not attempt to participate. Do not attempt to participate. Do not attempt to adjust the inner world. Do not attempt to adjust what is happening to you. You are about to participate. You are about to participate. You are about to. There is nothing wrong. Do not attempt to control. Do not attempt to control. We are controlling transmission. We are the controlling. We are controlling. You are the controlling. We are controlling. You are the controlling. Do not attempt to control. You are about to control what is happening to you. If you wish you can control the image. You you must control the image. You must attempt to control the image. You are about to experience the inner world. You are about to. You are about to. If you wish to control your inner world. Do not to adjust the inner. Do not. Do not attempt to control the inner world. We can create the image. You are about to create the image. If you wish to create the image if you wish to create the image. You can create the image. You you can create the. We can create the image. You can create the image. Do not attempt to create the image. Do not attempt to create the image. Do not. You are about to participate. We can control. The awe and mystery. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control your image. You will create your image. You are about to participate. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your inner world. Do not attempt to control it. Do not attempt to. Do not attempt. There is nothing wrong. Do not attempt. You are about to participate. Do not attempt to participate. Do not attempt to participate. You are about to adjust the inner world. Do not attempt to adjust. You are about to. You you are about to experience.
I was trying to convince myself that my life was rich and meaningful even though I knew full well that it wasn’t. I don’t know if you’ve ever found yourself in that situation? If so then you know how it goes. If so then you know what I mean. You’re locked into the lie and that’s how it is for most of us, of course. Locked into the bloody old lie that we can’t admit to be a lie. It’s all good, you tell yourself bravely, it’s all good stuff. Keep at it, you tell yourself. Keep at it because it’ll get you somewhere in the end. It will all pay off one day, you’ll see. Never doubt it.
There’s nothing more appallingly impoverished than the bloody old mass mind, is there? Indeed there isn’t, indeed there isn’t. Nothing more impoverished. It’s no wonder we’re all so keen to throw ourselves into the thick of it, to see what’s going down, to see what’s happening. What’s going down we ask. What’s happening in the jolly old mass mind? Some good stuff, no doubt. Some good, good stuff. There’s lots there for everyone and so there’s no need to push and shove, no need to trample each other to death. There’s some good shit going down into the depraved depths of the mass mind, as you might expect. Never anything but the best. The finest of the fine. There’s a sale on in the Bargain Basement of the Mass Mind and you wouldn’t want to miss out on it. You’ll be kicking yourself if you do…
Deep down in the depraved depths of the mass mind – that has a bit of a ring to it, doesn’t it? Definitely a bit of a ring to it. Down here in the sacred core of the Rubbish World where nothing is worth a damn. Existence is cheap here – cheap and nasty. Existence couldn’t be cheaper down here in the bargain basement. The rubbish looks good down here; it never looked better. You’re in a dream and you’re sifting through the garbage in a trance and I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t get any better than that! It just doesn’t. Things have never been better and also – they’ve never been worse. The more you laugh the funnier it gets only it’s not funny at all really, is it? You are a frighteningly sad caricature of who you ought to be and your life is a hideous travesty…
The jolly old mass mind, right? It’s a barrel of laughs for sure – it never says anything that’s true, it never says anything that’s original, it never says anything that’s of any interest at all, but that’s the mass mind for you! It’s crass and it’s creepy and that’s why we love it so much. That’s why we’ve got such good time for it. That’s a funny one of course, that’s always a funny one. There’s nothing as dire as the old mass mind and yet we love it so much. What’s that all about, huh? The Garbage World is a vilest, foulest thing there could ever be and yet we never stop celebrating it. We never stop telling each other how great it is. We never stop talking about how great and fantastic the Garbage World is. What’s that all about, huh? What’s that all about? The stench would knock you out down here but we’re walking on air…
We’re worshipping at the altar you see – we’re worshipping at that old, old altar. You bet we are. We’re Locked into the Lie and so we don’t have any choice of course. We never did have any choice. Not for a moment did we ever have any choice. We started and so now we have to finish – that’s how it goes in the Garbage World. We made a big, big mistake but we can never admit to it. We can’t get our heads around it. This is a mistake we simply can’t own up to – no way can we ever own up to it. It’s called ‘Embracing The Trash World’. It’s called ‘Worshipping the Wrong Thing’. It’s called ‘Making a Mistake’. It’s called ‘Making a Mistake That We Can No Longer Question’. It’s called ‘Being Locked into the Lie’.
I was listening to RTE Gold in my favourite hospital waiting room. Perhaps time was my enemy, I said to myself. Perhaps time waits behind every door; a horror story of endless time lurking spectrally down at the end of every dusty corridor. An untold weight of time waiting to rush in and crush me. No matter which way I turned it would catch up with me and run me down.
Time sometimes seems to press in on us from all sides. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed that. Time pressing in like that. It’s like standing in a vast empty plain that seems to go on forever. It’s like being in a deserted office building full of corridors that you’re frightened to go down. You’d like to run and hide yourself away in the smallest room you can find but you know that no matter how small the space time would still be waiting for you there. It will explode in your face when you least expect it, leaving you back in that vast deserted plain.
The Time-Like universe will unfold prodigiously out of nowhere and unpack itself at break-neck speed all around you. You’ll be walking down those endless corridors looking for the right waiting room, the waiting room that doesn’t exist. Eventually you’ll find it – you’ll take a ticket from the machine on the wall and you will sit down for the long wait. The room is empty apart from you – the room was meant just for you, the whole deserted building meant just for you. Time has finally caught up with you and there’s nowhere left to hide!
I’m in my favourite waiting room, listening to RTE Gold. I said to myself, without really knowing what I was saying. I was in an environment that was specifically designed to validate my idea of myself. Everything in that room said my name, said something about me. Everything in the room told me who I was, reminded me of who I was. ‘You can’t get away now’, the room told me. The room was me. The room was everything about me. It was my own dream.
Outside in the corridor, time waited patiently for me. It could wait forever. It was forever, bureaucratic and impersonal, full of forms needing to be filled in. You can keep on filling in those forms forever but you still won’t get anywhere. Your soul will be forfeit. You haven’t filled in the correct application form to be allocated a permit for a soul. I’m listening to RTE Gold of course. I’m always listening to RTE Gold. ‘Was there ever a time when I wasn’t listening to RTE Gold?’ I asked myself. If there was then I don’t remember it.
I was suffocating slowly under the oppressive weight of the bureaucracy of time. The whole building reeked of it. It was a very old smell, I noticed. Old and bad. It had been around too long and it would continue to be around too long. It could not be defeated. Minutes went by slowly – measured out precisely by the machinery of the organization’s policies and procedures. They accumulate in great dusty piles around the room. Time was stagnating all around me.
Every now and again frenetic little dreams would find their way into my head and take my consciousness away on a strange journey. Where, I cannot tell you. Perhaps to some other world, some other universe where the bureaucracy of time didn’t hold sway. Some parallel universe where life is still allowed, where life still gets to happen. Creatures live in that other world – sleek, brightly-coloured, fast-moving creatures that flit here and there when you’re not looking. You can view them out of the corner of your eye, if you’re careful. They are Fire Salamanders and they gamble ceaselessly. They are doing their dance. They spin around and around in fiery circles forever, chasing their own flaming tails. They devour themselves and give birth to themselves. They partake in Eternity.
I was trying to reanimate the dead ‘me’ and make it do all the things that it used to do. ‘Do all the great things you used to do’, I shouted at it hysterically, ‘do the things you used to do’. I was having my very own breakdown. ‘Do the things, do the things’, I howled despairingly, but it was to no avail. It never is, is it?
I wrote a book about it, which I illustrated myself. The book was called Reanimating the Dead ‘Me’. It only ever existed in my imagination, of course. And even there, it only existed in a feeble way as a flickering phantom-type appearance. Sometimes I wonder if it’s even there at all – maybe it’s not real enough even to exist in my imagination. Maybe it doesn’t exist anywhere. Perhaps I only imagined that it was in my imagination.
‘Probably I never wrote it in the first place’, I said to myself, ‘that could be it too’. This was where a lot of my thoughts ended – ‘perhaps it never happened’. Perhaps indeed? Who’s to say? All roads lead to Rome, after all. Isn’t that what they say? Perhaps it had never happened and perhaps I had never said ‘Perhaps it had never happened’, either. Perhaps none of the above. Perhaps nothing.
I went back to trying to reanimate the dead ‘me’. I lashed out verbally at it and I also went on to give it a few well-aimed kicks into the bargain – I gave it a number of well-aimed kicks. ‘Start doing the things’ I scolded it savagely, ‘get with the goddamn programme, will you…’ Anger was getting the better of me at this stage; anger – and something more than anger too. Something else. Something far more sinister.
I feel unashamedly nostalgic for the for those days, when my ego wasn’t dead. They were good days, as I’m sure you must know. Days that were redolent with good cheer and sharp, sharp wit. Good, good days. Before social media and all that bollocks. Back in the days when stuff actually meant something. You will remember those days yourself I’m sure, if you’re old enough. Of course you would.
That’s if those old days actually ever existed, of course – which I sometimes doubt. I don’t know why but my thoughts keep on bringing me back to this point. All roads lead to Rome, of course. All roads lead to Rome as we all know very well, and so it’s no good expecting anything different. That’s no good at all. You’d just be winding yourself up.
Men call him simply the Adjudicator. Men call him the Adjudicator because he adjudicates. Whenever there is conflict the Adjudicator appears as if by magic, out of nowhere, and he proceeds to adjudicate the hell out of everyone involved. We’re talking large smoking craters here – large smoking craters about the size of Lake Erie. Reality has taken on an odd frenetic character, I notice. It’s as if it’s trying to signal something strange to me. Something bizarre. Reality has turned positively feverish. It’s crazy like a crazy fever dream. But behind all this frenetic activity, nothing is happening.
If I were a gambling man I’d gamble. I’d gamble like hell, for sure I would. I’d gamble my bloody head off, I’d gamble like crazy. I’d gamble the whole day away. I’d gamble every day away. I’d gamble like an insane bastard.
I have been living very successfully recently, I can’t help noticing. Take today for example – I woke up successfully (after a few false starts, admittedly), I then walked successful from my bedroom to the toilet, and so on. I ate my breakfast perfectly successfully and then moped aimlessly around the house also very successfully. On the whole, it seems that I’m remarkably successful at whatever I turn my hand to. It’s all rather splendid, if I say so myself!
Not that this cheers me up very much, however. There’s a fault in everything if you look closely enough. That’s what I have found, anyway. I generally find that. You might say that this is very cynical of me, counterproductively cynical in fact, but once you’ve seen something then you can’t unsee it again. That’s a fact of life that we’d all have to agree on, I think. I can’t imagine anyone foolish enough to disagree with that one! No – once you see the flaw in the system then that’s it – you’ll see it wherever you go, just as I do. You’ll see it wherever you go and that’ll soon take the shine off your breezy good mood, I’d say.
The flaw in the system is the flaw in the system and that’s all that can be said on the subject. The flaw is the system and the system is the flaw and there’s simply no way around it. That’s if you see it, that is. If you don’t see it then everything’s fine – there’s no problem whatsoever. If that’s the case then just go right ahead and have yourself a great time! Get out into the world and ‘do the thing’ (as they say) and please allow me to wish you the very best possible luck. Yes – do the thing and do it with all of the wholehearted belief that this entails! Believe in the thing that you believe in and to hell with anyone who tries to tell you otherwise.
I was in the Normal World and everything was going according to plan. ‘How good is this?’ I declared grandly, I’m in the Normal World and everything is proceeding according to plan.
‘Everything always goes to plan in the Normal World’, I said to myself, ‘everything always goes to plan in the Normal World and that’s the good thing about it.’ I was happy in the Normal World you see, and I intended to keep it like that! That was the plan, at any rate…
‘The plan is always the plan’, I said to myself wisely. ‘The plan is always the plan and everything always goes to plan in the Normal World, and that is a very good thing’. I was happy in the Normal World and that was part of the plan. That was an important part of the plan. ‘The plan is very good’, I told myself piously, and that was part of the plan too. It was part of the plan that the plan should be a good one.
Making progress in the Normal World, in a regular and normal kind of a way. That was to be the title of my new book, Making Regular and Normal Progress in the Normal World. The book was an instant success – even before it got published it was an instant success. It became an instant roaring success the second I thought of it!
Everything I thought of became an immediate success just as soon as I thought of it. I was the most successful person I knew; I was successful without even trying. Even my stupidest thoughts were pure gold dust – I felt that I should be writing them all down, regardless. I had so many ideas going through my head that I didn’t know where to start or stop. Even my farts were resoundingly successful. They made the grade in a big way. And then I realised – with a sudden rush of fear – that I might have become too successful. For all I knew I might have gone past that point (the point of being too successful) already.
When fear strikes it strikes very hard. Sometimes it does, anyway. Sometimes fear strikes very hard indeed. Every now and again it does and when it does that can be very frightening. This was one of those times when fear strikes as hard as it ever can strike and I was covered all over with icy perspiration in a flash. I had realised – and it was much too late by then – that I had become much more successful than I ever ought to have been. I had gone too far. ‘How successful was the Buddha before he became the Buddha? How successful was Jesus before he became the Messiah?’ You can see where I’m going with this line of questioning, I trust? When you make the mistake of becoming too successful then warning lights start going off somewhere. Don’t ask me where because I don’t know the answer to that question. I just know that red flashing warning lights go off somewhere whenever anyone gets too successful.
That’s the big mistake we all make. We don’t know that it’s a mistake until it’s too late, until it’s already happened. Until we have already made it. We always think that it’s good to be visible but that’s only because we have forgotten what happens when we aren’t. We have conveniently forgotten that part of it. You’re cocky and sure of yourself and you think that you’re great, and all that. All that kind of stuff. And then the horror comes without any warning, and you cave in on yourself. You collapse inwards like a house of cards…
You were supposed to be getting smaller and smaller, not bigger and bigger. We forgot that we were supposed to be running away from the Big Angry Thing, not towards it. If you run towards it then you’re going to attract its attention. It’s going to know that you’re there. It’s going to see you and if the Big Angry Thing sees you then it’s going to shout and roar at you. It’s going to bellow at you. It’s going to frighten you very much. You will want to escape when that happens. You will be desperate to escape. Your insides will turn into stinking bilge water. You will want to pretend that you don’t exist. You got too close and so now you have to flee…
All the people were unhappy and miserable – the product had been compromised and what could be worse than that? The product had been seriously compromised and everyone was dismayed and distraught. It had finally happened – the negative outcome that many of us had feared but which none of us had ever dared mention. I’m sitting here drinking the product out of a can. It’s good, I tell myself. It’s very good. It’s unusual and at the same time it’s refreshing. It makes everything feel okay, just for a few moments. Just for a few precious moments. I’m drinking the product straight out of the can and I’m taking my time, savouring the moment, and yet at the same time I know that something is wrong, very wrong. So, so wrong. Everything is so right and yet at the same time it couldn’t be more wrong.
Those precious few moments are quickly gone, aren’t there? They’re gone before you know it, to be quite honest. Gone forever. There’s just you and the product – it’s an intimate moment you know and I’m not being funny when I say that. It’s important to be delicate when broaching awkward subjects but I’m just not very good at that. I’m the kind of guy who always puts his foot in it, but I do mean well at least. Only I don’t, not really. I don’t mean well at all. My heart is full of malice these days – dark, dark malice. It’s because I’m not good at taking responsibility for my own emotional shit.
I’m sitting here in the comfort of my own kitchen, eating the product straight out of the tin. I’m not one for the niceties I’m afraid. Never one for the niceties. I’m shoving great forkfuls of it down my throat and gulping it down as fast as I’m able, almost choking myself in the process. I’m blue in the face, blue with anoxia. I’m in a desperate hurry to get it into me you see. I’m the same about everything. The product doesn’t taste as good as it usually does, I notice. It has a sour, unwholesome taste and I can’t help wondering if it has become contaminated by some sort of industrial accident that no one will ever admit to. These accidents happen all the time you know. The product is not right, I say to myself, it doesn’t satisfy in the way that it usually does. The sweat is standing out of my forehead in great beads and I’m starting to feel distinctly queasy. The product is a bit of a disappointment, I reflected sadly. You can’t rely on anything these days…
I had a dream last night in which luminescent beings were trying to transmit cosmic knowledge to me but none of it made the slightest bit of sense. It was pure gobbledegook and I found it irritating more than anything else. Bellowing with rage and frustration, I thrashed around in the soupy darkness of my own deranged mind. I wanted to inflict my pain and despair on someone else but there was no one else there. There was only me. This made me more enraged and frustrated than ever of course. I had become a demon, trying to break through into the human realm. Then eventually, after what seemed like an eternity of horror, I woke up and realised with relief that I wasn’t a demon at all. I was just an ordinary guy, that’s all. Just an ordinary, average guy. I’m not evil, I told myself, I’m just an ordinary guy who had a bad dream after eating a contaminated batch of product…
We are all so very trapped in our own lives, aren’t we? We are all so terribly, terribly trapped, so hideously trapped. It’s a freaking nightmare. We mustn’t ever mention it though and that’s the important thing. The important thing is that we must never mention it. Just keep on pretending that everything is just the way it’s supposed to be. Act like you’re having fun. I’m having a great time buddy – I don’t know about you. I don’t know about you because you look like a bit of a loser to me. A bit of a goddamn loser for sure.
At least we’re all agreed on that, anyway. There’s lots of to disagree about in this world but we can’t disagree with this. No sir we can’t. No way. Lots and lots to disagree with but we can all agree on the important thing which is that, which is that. ‘At least we’re all agreed on that’, I murmur to myself distractedly, ‘at least we can all agree on that…’ I’ve lost track of what I’m saying however – I’m coasting on the momentum of my own deadly inertia and I no longer know what I’m trying to say.
What does the absence of ourselves feel like? That is the big question of course – that is ALWAYS the big, big question. What exactly does that look like? Can you draw a picture of it? Do you have any theories? We all know that this is the so-called ‘Big Question’ – that’s generally understood. That’s generally understood by me at least. We’re all so very trapped in our own lives, aren’t we? I know I am anyway. I know very well that I am and you can quote me on that. It’s a bit of a joke really when it comes down to it. It’s like one of those impossible puzzles, one of those puzzles that’s impossible to solve, I mean. Everything depends on how quickly you can get to see this. Are you a quick learner or are you a slow learner? Or a non-learner, perhaps.
The way I look at it we all have two choices – ignore the fact that we don’t know what the absence of ourselves feels like or try to find out and drive ourselves crazy in the process. Not much of a choice is it? It’s not exactly a barrel of laughs either way. If you ignore the fact that you don’t know what your own absence feels like then you just going to get sick of yourself. Sooner or later you’re going to nauseate yourself past the point of no return. You’ll be so sick of yourself that you just won’t be able to bear it anymore and you’ll start screaming and shouting and freaking out. You’ll start losing your shit big time. So that’s not a great option, obviously.
If you go down the other road then that isn’t great either – you’ll never have any peace, you’ll never be satisfied with anything. You’ll know full well that you’re being tricked wherever you go. Basically, you’re being tormented by your need to know what it’s like when you’re not there. You keep on stretching your neck and peering around corners but to no avail. You’re trying to catch yourself out but you can’t. No matter where you go you’re already there – as large as life and twice as ugly. Leering at yourself. Wherever you go you’re already there and always that same annoyingly dumb hopeful expression on your face. Maybe you did it this time, you’re thinking – like the pure idiot you are. Maybe you’re getting somewhere at last…
I wrote my iconic masterpiece Nightmares in a Damaged Ego in the summer of 21, as is well known. As is well known to me, anyway. The title of which I plagiarised from the film of a similar name. The months of that summer merged in one long glorious burst of dark creativity and after it was over I was spent, utterly spent. I had nothing else to give. I had to go to a sanatorium to recover. I had to submit to the daily routine of colonic irrigation, grated carrot and beetroot juice.
Arrogant, opinionated, conceited, narcissistic, entitled – these are just some of the things people say about me. They don’t realise you see, they don’t realise how difficult it is to be me. That’s a classical one isn’t it – ‘They don’t know how difficult it is to be me’. No, no, no – they don’t know. How could they after all? They wouldn’t have a clue. No one else can know what it feels like to be me – that stands to reason really doesn’t it? ‘So what’s it like then?’ you dutifully ask, although the truth is that you haven’t the slightest bit of interest. But that’s the whole point right there isn’t it? That’s the whole point because none of us care what it’s like to be someone else. We might pretend that we do but we don’t.
There’s no one here but us chickens, isn’t that what they say? No one here, no one here, no one here but us chickens. So you might just as well go and look somewhere else, isn’t that the message? The truth of the situation is that we are all in hiding, we’re all incognito, every last single one of us. We are hoping against hope that whoever it is will pass us by and go and look somewhere else. Please let him move on, we’re saying, please let him move on. There’s no one here, no one here but us egos. No one here but us poor old egos…
You know that thing where you suddenly discover that your thoughts have turned evil and that you’re powerless to do anything about it? I don’t know if you know that thing. There’s actual badness in you and it’s festering away, festering away. That’s an ill omen for sure as I know you will appreciate. There’s trouble brewing and there’s nothing you can do about it. Absolutely nothing. All you can do is pretend that it isn’t happening. Act all innocent, like. It’s got nothing to do with me, you shout out, I don’t know anything about it.
No one here but us chickens, I call out, just a shade too loudly. No one here, no one here. Fear is a terrible thing you know. We’re all afraid of the man here. We live in fear of the man. Let’s hope he passes by. Let’s hope that he keeps on walking. Hold your breath. Let’s pray he doesn’t stop and look in. His dark swarthy face at the window, his burning eyes piercing the darkness in which we are huddled. Huddled up in the darkness, pretending that we’re not here. Pretending as hard as we can. There’s no one here, we say. No one here but us egos.
Fear is a terrible thing of course, we all know that. A very terrible thing. One minute we are shouting and joking and having the craic, roaring like the jackass fools we are. Bellowing our stupid heads off and making ejits of ourselves. The next minute we’ve fallen under the shadow of The Fear and there isn’t the sound out of us. Not even a whisper, not even a whimper. Whatever happened to those stupid loudmouth bastards, you might ask. They were here only a minute ago but now there’s no sign of them. You never saw anything disappear so quick. ‘There’s no one here!’ we are saying with our silence. There’s no one here. There’s no one here but us poor old egos…
Sometimes we seem to ourselves to be happy and this is called having a happy time. Everybody likes having a happy time. I like having a happy time too. To have a happy time is an important thing therefore and I know this as well as anyone else. Sometimes we think about having a happy time when we’re not having a happy time and this can make us very sad. This is a poignant moment. ‘Where have all the happy times gone?’ I ask myself, and this is a purely rhetorical question. I don’t really want to know where all the happy times have gone – that’s just a figure of speech. If they’ve gone they’ve gone and what more is there to say on the subject? Let’s leave it at that my friend, let’s leave it at that…
‘I’m a person the same as anyone else,’ I say to myself defiantly but at the same time I say it I realise that it isn’t actually true. I realise that it isn’t at all true – I’m a copy made by the machine and that’s not the same thing. That’s not the same thing as being a person. The machine rules the whole world it is true and I have to respect it for that but all the same being a copy that has been made by the machine isn’t the same thing as being a person. It doesn’t feel the same and it isn’t the same. It feels hollow and spooky and echoey and there are all these sensations of unreality that are impossible to completely shake off. When you’re a copy that has been made by the machine you’re always going to be haunted by these sensations of unreality. As I am. It’s not possible to escape from them and that’s not a nice thing. There’s no way anyone can tell me that this is a nice thing. You’re trying to feel real but it doesn’t work.
I might come out with some opinion, for example. I might be sitting there with some people that I know from work – it could be a coffee break or lunch break or something like that – and as I come out with my opinion I can’t help knowing that I don’t really believe in it. I can’t help knowing that is not my opinion at all – it’s just a prop that has been provided for me by some subprogram in the machine. ‘Everyone needs a few props from time to time,’ you might point out to me. ‘There’s no shame in that…’ I know you’re only trying to be kind when you say that but I also know that comments like this only go to show the abyss of misunderstanding that lies between us. This is the abyss that lies between me and all other people. In such a situation we both pretend that this abyss isn’t there yet we know all the same that it is, even if we’re never going to address this fact. You’re sitting there and I’m sitting here and between the two of us lies the Abyss of Misunderstanding. There’s no getting away from that. All you can do is mouth banal ineffectual platitudes and all I can do is pretend that what you’re saying is somehow helpful.
Patience is a terrible thing, isn’t it? We are trapped in the Prison of Pretence – I am at least. I have to pretend because that’s all that’s left to me. I pretend that I really do believe in the hackneyed and shop-worn opinions that the machine provides for me, I pretend that I really do believe what I’m saying – even though (I’d say) it’s pretty obvious that I don’t. The conviction is totally missing from my voice you see, and when we don’t have any shred or trace of conviction in our beliefs where are we? Where does this leave us?
I pretend that the thoughts which pop so predictably into my head really are my own thoughts and I try to feel some modicum of satisfaction from thinking them. I try to feel some sort of ownership towards them. I try to feel proud of them even. ‘Yes – that’s my thought’, I say to myself, ‘for sure that’s my thought, and a very good thought it is too!’ That’s how my self-talk goes. ‘Yes, I’m thinking some good thoughts today’, I observe brightly to myself but all the time I can’t help knowing that this meta-thought (because that’s what it is) isn’t mine. The meta-thought is being conveniently provided for me by the machine, just as all my regular thoughts are.