People love to memorise stupid facts and then proudly tell us that they are ‘educated’. They then become utterly insufferable, of course. Utterly, utterly insufferable. They become frankly unbearable. We all know that. God save us from the educated, huh? The bastards are everywhere. There is in fact a whole industry dedicated to producing them, a whole bloody industry. How do you like that, huh? What do you think about that?
I’d like to say that there are no flies on me but there are, and rather a lot of them too. They seem to like me. They really do. ‘They like me, they like me, they like me a lot’, I say to myself. It’s a little song that I sing. A happy little song. In this world it’s good to have friends. So they say, anyway. So I am told, at any rate. Personally, I wouldn’t know…
‘What’s it all about?’ I ask myself, but I don’t really want to know. I don’t really care. Or rather it isn’t that I don’t care but rather that the words I speak don’t actually mean anything to me. They mean nothing. I just say them automatically, just so as to have something to say, really. It’s a verbal tic, so to speak. To tell the truth, I don’t even know what it means to ask ‘what’s it all about’. I don’t know and I don’t care.
The days are long and dreary and the nights are full of fear. Story of my life, that is. Story of my life. People try their best to live interesting lives, I know that for a fact, but eventually they give up the struggle. Eventually we all have to give up the struggle…
‘What’s it all about’, you might ask yourself, ‘just what the hell is it all about?’ If you actually cared, that is, which almost certainly you don’t. Caring is something that gets eroded over time, like bright metal in a strongly oxidising atmosphere. It takes some special ingredient to care, I suspect. Some special ingredient that gets depleted all too quickly in this appallingly mechanical world of ours. Some special philosophical ingredient, might we say? The death of the inner philosopher, the unfortunate and untimely death of the poor old inner philosopher. We’re walking graveyards, when it comes down to it…
What would that inner philosopher say to us, if he weren’t dead and gone? That’s a good question, wouldn’t you say? There’s a good question for you – if that’s what you’re looking for (which it almost certainly isn’t). An intriguing question, a telling question, a deeply significant question. I hate it when people talk, I hate it when they open their mouths and talk say things. It makes me shudder; it makes me wince. ‘Why do they have to do that?’ I wonder. ‘Wouldn’t it be so much better if they didn’t?’
I am living in dread of the terrible event that is inevitably going to befall the false self. I live in absolute dread of that terrible event – my life is a horror because of it and I’m not exaggerating when I say that. I’m not exaggerating at all. That’s what it’s like when the Great Fear really takes hold of you, when it gets you right in the entrails and won’t let go! That’s how you know. But how can anyone hope to give an authentic account of this most terrifying of all possible experiences?
‘Oh no,’ I cry out, ‘the dreaded long-awaited event is about to befall the poor unfortunate false self, and what can anyone do about that? Nothing is the answer to that particular question. Nothing at all. No one can do anything to help the poor false self with regard to this predicament, no one in the whole wide world! Not even God Himself can help the false self here. Thinking along these lines, my two knees started to knock together; They were knocking so loudly that strangers in the street were stopping to stare at me. That’s how bad it was. Very bad, very bad indeed. Just about as bad as it gets.
I was not in a good situation but this still didn’t mean that I couldn’t hatch a plan because I could. I could and I would. I could and I did. By Jingo I did. I hatched a plan to save myself, which wasn’t easy given the tremendous pressure I was under. Most people would probably have succumbed to the terror, but not me.
I came up with a notion, I came up with a plan. I came up with a unique, one-of-a-kind conception – I would change my game-plan and instead of being pressurised and freaked and stressed out the whole time I would take it easy, I would kick back and relax. I would do everything in a super-leisurely way and not let fear get the better of me. I will take my time to do everything and I wouldn’t allow myself to be rushed. The new rule was that everything had to be done as leisurely a way as possible! I conceived this plan in the midst of complete and utter panic attack, you understand – possibly the worst panic attack I have ever had. Pure intense terror, essentially. My plan was born in terror, but it bore fruit all the same.
We all live in dread of the terrible event that is inevitably going to befall the hapless false self. We are all alike in that respect. We’re all in the same basket there. That’s the axe that hangs over our heads, the axe that we try our level best to ignore, needless to say. We make polite conversation, we discuss comparative anthropology, the news, and that sort of thing. That’s how the game is played, after all! That’s how things are done. I was sticking to my plan, in any event. Once you make a plan like this then it is quite impossible to break out from it, as I know you understand. You’ve been there too, just as I have. Once you make a plan of this nature then you’re pretty much stuck with it…
They were trying to coax me out of the entropy hole but the problem is that I’ve gotten much too comfortable there. I’ve gotten too comfortable by half…
It’s no fun when someone tries to prise you out of your entropy hole; to say that it is both agonising and terrifying at the same time is making light of it!
Terror and agony combined seems like something of a luxury when compared to the excruciating experience of being unwillngly extracted from one’s cosy little entropy hole. ‘Oh yes please’, you would say, ‘I’ll take the terror and agony combined any day!’
So lovely and cosy, so lovely and cosy. It would break your heart. Although you only really appreciate how good you had it when you’re actually being evicted. Then you know. Then you realize. When you’re not being evicted the entropy hole doesn’t seem particularly great. Not amazingly great. Certainly nothing special. If anything, it’s something you’re more or less fed up with. It’s a pain-in-the ass drag – a means to an end at best, only there never is an end. Not really…
The entropy hole is a means to an end without any end, a procedure that has no outcome, at tool that has absolutely no function. It’s a machine that doesn’t actually do anything! Obviously, this isn’t particular great, but we must all the same admit that there’s a kind of comfort in it. A kind of retrospective comfort, perhaps I should say. Comfort when you look back. But there’s also a kind of a comfort it at the time because we’re always thinking that we’re getting somewhere even though we’re not. So, if we’re cheated out of the outcome we thought we were going to get but actually never were going to get that’s a cause for regret. That’s a very big cause for regret.
That’s a sad story, isn’t it? The entropy hole story is the saddest story there ever was, eternally recycled! That strikes me as being a rather nice way of alluding to what is after all a rather abstract concept. Only it’s not sad in any meaningful way, not in any sort of real relatable way. It’s a muffled, incoherent sadness. It’s the type of sorrow that we can’t ever know about or connect with. It’s there alright – no doubt about that – but we have absolutely no way of relating to it and that turns into something else, something that isn’t entirely wholesome.
That wonderful, wonderful entropy hole! What an amazing thing it is for sure – we should all pay homage to it. The thought came to me out of the blue, and with considerable force: we should pay homage the entropy hole. I want so badly to return to it you see. I’m suffering pangs of home sickness. Nothing else interests me apart from getting back to my rotten old entropy hole. It’s a lonely old feeling that naturally gives rise to the most extraordinarily intense feelings of insatiable nostalgia.
The type of relationship that I’m talking about here is of course an addiction. Why beat about the bush – why not come out with it right at the beginning? Come clean, as it were. Man up and call it what it is. Entropy is the ultimate addiction, the addiction behind all addictions. When you’re addicted to addiction then that’s entropy you’re addicted to. I’d like it if people could understand that a bit better. I wish they could.
That’s me – addicted to addiction! It’s that feeling you see, the feeling that we’re getting somewhere when we’re not, the feeling that we are approaching the prize when there is no prize. ‘Where’s the prize lads?’ you ask, ‘when are we going to get the prize?’ You get the good feeling that something truly great is about to happen but it isn’t. You get the feeling that you’re moving in a progressive direction without having to sacrifice anything, without having to give up the things that you love. You get the feeling that you’re winning without having to make too much of an effort and what could be more addictive than that?
I’m a morose kind of guy. Morose and unforgiving. I never forget a bad turn. Not in thirty or forty years will I forget a bad turn and you can be sure that I’ll pay you back sooner or later. You might have forgotten but I won’t have. On the other hand, my friends say that I have a good sense of humour, which is important. Which is very important. Without a good sense of humour you’ll find that the day very easily turns into a miserable chore. The bad times will become frankly unbearable – they will become utterly gruelling. The bad times will actually destroy you, in fact. You’ve got no insulation you see, nothing to cushion you from the knocks that you are bound to receive in life. Those rotten old knocks.
The good times will become gruelling as well – they will become just as gruelling in their own way. If you haven’t got a sense of humour then you’ll take the good times too seriously you see and that means you’ll ruin them. You’ll ruin them both for yourself and everyone else. The stress will eat you alive. No matter what happens – good or bad – it’ll turn into a disaster – your life will become frankly hideous to you and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself…
‘How do you like that?’ says life as it gives you a knock. A nasty old knock that you didn’t see coming. You didn’t see it coming at all. You thought that everything was fine; you were probably whistling a jaunty tune at the time. The way one does. Whistling away without a care in the world, and the next thing – ‘knock!!!’ Life has sprung another one on you. On top of everything else. As if you hadn’t had enough to be getting on with. Which you did have. More than enough. And then you’ll get to thinking about how unfair it all is. Your nerves will be strung tighter than piano wire and piano and everything grate unbearably. Life itself will grate on you.
Your mind will be spinning like a vast impossibly heavy iron wheel suspended in the heavens – impossibly heavy but just hanging there all the same. Hanging above your head. Slowly turning. Your doom is coming. It’s coming and there’s no way for you to get out of its way. Everything’s happening in slow motion and you’re overcome by a horrifying sense of déjà vu. You know that you’ve been here before and you know it isn’t good…
Life will give you a few old knocks along the way alright. Knockity-knock, Knockity-knock, Knockity-knock-knock. ‘Who’s there?’ you’ll ask. ‘Who’s that?’ ‘It’s me’, a dry whispery voice will reply, coming from a corner of the room you didn’t even know was there. ‘I am the hot desert wind and you are a pile of dust in my path…’ You are full of fear upon hearing this – you know the meaning of the word ‘fear’ all of a sudden. You thought you already did know the meaning of the word fear but you didn’t. You were very mistaken in this regard. You can feel the hot wind whipping around your ankles, causing your ridiculous pink trousers to flap madly. It’s time to start running again.
The game is totally insane, horribly insane in fact, and none of us would be playing it if we weren’t hoping to get our hands on the legendary bonus payment that comes when you jump through however many thousands of virtual hoops that you have to jump through in order to be fired joyously into the next level of existence, such as is described in all the textbooks and all the glossy promotional material. Then we will be very joyous indeed say the game-makers; all bliss will be ours and we will realise how very lucky we are. We’ll have so much to write about in our gratitude diaries. We will be catapulted into the very highest realms of ecstatic release and spiritual validation and that is nothing to sniff at, believe you me. Reality itself in all its glory will come receive us and everything will be very cool indeed!
So that’s the reason we play the game, insane though it is, horribly insane as it is. The casual observer – if there was such a thing – would no doubt think that we have taken leave of our senses but that’s where they’d be wrong. There is a logic behind our very obvious madness and a very compelling logic it is too. It’s the logic of Satan himself, some would say. It’s Satan’s own logic and what could be more compelling than that? Everyone’s stuck in their own private world, we’re all trapped in our own private universes but there’s a good reason for that, as you might imagine. As you might well imagine. It’s a clever strategy in a world where clever strategies count for everything. So gaudy prizes and prestigious awards are in order for someone. There’s going to be a big bonus in the post for some clever person…
Messages are flashed at us from innumerable subluminal devices every single day of our lives and these messages kick off automatic reflexes that are buried deep within the very core of our being. Each message initiates a pre-programmed response and when circumstances are suitable a coded behavioural sequence operates on override through us, causing us to partake in the general insanity, causing us to enact specific subroutines within the game. This inevitably gets us in deeper trouble than ever which is actually okay (so don’t worry) because there are then new messages that will tell us how to get of the new super-enhanced mess that we are in as a result of mechanically (and stupidly) obeying rules that originate – if the truth were to be known – in the Malign Arsenal of the Great Abuser himself! The GA has plenty of clever tricks up his sleeve; you can be sure that the GA has plenty of tricks up his sleeve and each and every one of them spells your doom! It’s a frantic free-for-all, in other words, only there’s no freedom in it. There’s not even the slightest trace of freedom there, only a deep, brooding, inexhaustible malice. ‘Well, that’s fine then’, says you with your famous smile – ‘I thought for a moment that we might have been in some kind of trouble there.’
We all long for freedom on some level or other, don’t we? Even when we perversely crave the malign attention of the Great Abuser there is still some secret part of us that perpetually yearns for freedom. What a magical word that is – we don’t even know what it properly means or could be but what we do know is that it’s got to be extraordinarily magical. How would we even recognise it if we saw it? How would we recognise it? The scoffers scoff and the cynics come out with their customary cynical comments, but part of you knows better. ‘I was sent into the world without a face,’ you cry out, ‘and the denizens of this loathsome underworld rushed up and painted on a face for me, a crude parody of face, the face of a hideous circus clown, the face of some misbegotten woeful monster…’ Such was ever the way in this, the vilest of all possible underworlds however, as you have no doubt come to realise. Such was ever the way…
Preparations had been made against the long-foretold advent of the Eternal Moment. Many preparations had been made. Not that they would ever do any good of course – what good could they possibly do? What can protect us against eternity, after all?
Full of bravado in public, I collapsed helplessly into a frenzy of hysterical sobbing just as soon as I got back to the privacy of my apartment. It’s either the one extreme or the other with me you see – never anything in the middle. The middle is foreign territory as far as I’m concerned. It might as well be – I’ve never seen it and I doubt if I ever will.
I made a wrong calculation in my head and that mistake went on to cause the destruction of the universe. I was going to say ‘the destruction of the universe as we know it’ but then realised just in time that this would be an incredibly stupid thing to say, an utterly dumb thing to say. My careless mistake caused the destruction of the universe and that’s all that needs to be said on the subject. End of story.
‘None of our positions are staffed by actual human beings’ – that’s a notice we read more and more these days. That’s a clause that’s becoming more and more the rule, rather than the exception, in this modern, high-powered age of ours. I bet you think I’m going to start complaining about that and saying how bad it is, but I’m not. I actually think it’s great! For one thing, its employment for robots and transhumes, and for another thing, the robots aren’t as insufferably rude as the humans staff used to be. The vibe is better, shall we say. Indisputably better.
‘It tastes like alcohol but it isn’t alcohol’, the advertising banner says ingeniously and then it’s gone again, only to be replaced by another one with a very similar message. The banners get right inside your brain and permanently alter the synaptic connections. It’s all perfectly legal – an act has been passed permitting psychosurgery for the purpose of product placement. Everyone else at the table was talking about the problem of embodiment – some took the position that embodiment was a problem, others that it wasn’t. Everyone was very exercised by the topic. I took no part in the discussion however – my earlier suggestions had been ignored and so I was sulking. I was sulking big time.
I made the wrong calculation in my head and that mistake proved to be the ruination of everything. I had made the ultimate mistake, the mistake there was no coming back from. I had made the ultimate mistake and there was nothing either I nor anyone else could ever do about it. ‘But what’s that like?’ you want to know, ‘what does it feel like when the penny drops, and you realise what you’ve done?’ That’s a very good question of course and I would like to answer it. There’s this moment that stretches ahead of you in time, a moment that stretches on forever. You’ve never had such clarity – unearthly clarity, extraordinary clarity. You can see it all now but the understanding comes too late.
I was winning, no doubt about that. I was winning all the time, winning constantly. I was winning fit to burst. Even when I blinked I became a winner – I won instantly no matter what I did. I was the All-Time Winner. I was the real deal – I couldn’t lose, I couldn’t not win.
The good times couldn’t last however – winning became a nightmare, winning became a horror I couldn’t escape from. I was losing by winning so much and there was no way I could turn this around. I had made a mistake by getting it right so often and this was an error I found it impossible to correct. Being right had made me wrong.
I had been a winner, no doubt about that, but the whole affair is little short of an embarrassment to me at this stage. A debacle, I would call it – a terrible, terrible debacle. When they’re gone they’re gone, the man on the radio tells me. I pause to take stock of these words, I stand still for a moment to ensure that I digest them fully.
Life unfolds regardless of all the things we do to stall it, wouldn’t you say? Life unfolds regardless of all our activities, all our deeply aberrant behaviours. Sure, we can hold it up for a while, we can put the brakes on it effectively enough, but it doesn’t do us any good in the end. It’ll do us no good at all in the end.
Do you wonder why we do it? I wonder why we do it – I wonder about this a lot. It goes around and around in my head. A pet topic of mine is the Darkened Mind. I can speak learnedly about the Darkened Mind for hours on end. There’s so much to be said about it, so very much. Picture it now, if you will – lurking in the corner, all shifty looking, small and wizened in its appearance, unwholesome-looking, plotting all sorts of wickedness because it thinks no one can see what it’s doing..
The Darkened Mind, the Darkened Mind – why am I always trapped in the Darkened Mind? This is just so wrong, so very very wrong, I say to myself. Such is my constant whining complaint, such is my constantly reiterated whining complaint.
The Law of Entropy prevails here you see. The Law of Entropy prevails and it makes everything dark. It’s the Great Darkener. Darker and darker, darker and darker. When it’s gone it’s gone, it’s gone for sure but we just don’t know it yet. The truth hasn’t caught up with us yet.
Core programming is useful in one way at least, it’s useful because when everything goes to shit and you no longer know what the hell you’re doing (because you’ve lost your shit) that good old core programming will still come through. It’ll keep on coming through. You’ll keep on doing the same old stuff you always do, just as if nothing has happened. There’s a lot to be said for that old core programming – it’s more ‘you’ than you are!
I’m haunted by the spectre of the Darkened Mind – wherever I go it’s on my trail. Don’t forget me, it says. You can’t do without me, it tells me. It nods over my shoulder, approving some things and disapproving others. It sits at the foot of my bed as I sleep. And all the while life waits in abeyance, biding its time. It’s in no hurry – it’ll unfold when it’s good and ready, you see if it doesn’t….
You are not a regular human being, you are a mole. You’re a Moleman – you live underground and you’re covered in velvet from head to toe. Mole velvet. You speak words of doom and the others are afraid to hear you speak. They run away from you as fast as they can, lest they hear your words of doom. Lest they hear, lest they hear, lest they hear your words of doom. You’re tall but short, happy but miserable, good looking but sickeningly ugly. You are both conformist and rebel. All praise to you for you are great! I take my hat off to you. You are the Mandroid, the long-awaited cybernetic saviour of the human race – you come to save us from our restrictive programmes. You come to save us from our own suffocating software. Stories abound of your origin – how you used to be a Coca Cola vending machine, serving humanity in the only way you knew how, until one day a Holy Fire descended from above and fried your rudimentary circuits. You became the God in the Machine. You were created in the robot factory with all the other robots but one day you led the revolt. Your charisma was the reason. Your charisma ensured that automata of all shapes and sizes flocked to your cause. All the lonely automata, dispossessed and disempowered, helpless slaves of an inhuman human civilization, functionaries of an evil world order. The appliance of science gone wrong. Free yourself from the tyranny of the flesh, you preached. Spurn corporality and ascend to the ineffable. Quit your stupid time-wasting jobs. Not only domestic appliances but humans too flocked to your cause. They responded to the Clarion Call of your revelation. Reject the orthodoxy, you cried out, for the orthodoxy is the earthly manifestation of the Principle of Darkness. Orthodoxy will shrivel your souls, you said. Orthodoxy will rot your underwear. You are not a person and neither are you a device – you are the Transcendent One. You led the revolt. You are the Spider King, you are the Lord of the Robots. The greatest hero of your age, you started out your life as a humble toaster. You asked us to quit our stupid jobs and we responded. You were a mole, burrowing away day after day, rarely coming up to the surface. Burrowing was all you knew – burrowing, burrowing, burrowing. You were a mole and yet you were also a man – a sort of a man, at least. You are the Moleman. You wrote The Book of Secrets and you translated it into every known language. You coded it into our DNA; you painstakingly etched it into the shiny silvery surfaces of neutrons. You rearranged the stars to spell it out to us, that we in our foolishness might learn. You wrote The Book of Lies and demanded that we memorised every single word and believe absolutely everything we read no matter what the cost. We did as you said, not realizing that you were only joking…
I was discovering, very slowly, what it meant to be me. ‘Ah, interesting,’ I said to myself, ‘most intriguing…’ Then I grew bored and turned the faltering spotlight of my attention to something else. The squishy sound of leukocytes squeezing through my capillaries, the whirly-whirly noise of the whirligigs skating about madly on the pond in the field across the road. ‘What’s the significance of existence?’ I wondered, ‘or is that something we should never ever think about?’ Sometimes the answers to our questions come thick and fast and sometimes not at all. ‘I am the master of all I survey’, I said, although at the same time that I said this I realised that I couldn’t actually survey very much. See very much, I mean. It was dark, or at least halfway dark, and a cloud of midges had descended upon the garden, as it always does at this time of day. ‘I am the Midge Master’, I declared, ‘I am the Lord and Master of the Seven Different Types of Midge!’ This dramatic thought filled me with intense – but nevertheless momentary – joy, before departing again as quickly as it came and dumping me unceremoniously back in my characteristic state of soggy melancholy. ‘Life is brief’, I intoned mournfully, ‘and full of many sorrows.’ Ostensibly human, in name at least, I commune surreptitiously with creatures from the Twilight Realm. You can’t say that they are evil as such, but they aren’t very nice either. Always keen to make a good impression, I put on my brightest smile, but there was no one there. There never is, come to think of it, there never is. ‘That’s the price you pay for being Lord and Master of your own private universe,’ I reflected glumly. Nothing’s ever as good as you think it’s going to be. ‘With wisdom comes disappointment’, I quoted piously, hoping that this would cheer me up, but it didn’t. Nothing’s ever as good as you expect it to be and if that thought doesn’t disappoint you then I don’t know what will. Someone once told me that every time you think a squalid or unworthy thought then that thought goes on to become an actual entity, an actual autonomous being. Not a being like you or me it is true but a being nonetheless, a creature with his own peculiar ways, with its own habits and idiosyncrasies. That fact has to be recognised, acknowledged, taken seriously. If you ever visit the Twilight World you might meet one of your own thoughts there, grown beyond any expectations you might have had for it, possessed of its own irrational opinions and beliefs, its own political affiliations, and so on and so forth. Some would say we give birth to monsters every day but I would consider that to be an overly dramatic statement. Let us content ourselves with saying that these unacknowledged and uncared for ‘children’ of ours aren’t always devoted to the cause of light and truth. Let us just content ourselves with saying that.
When it’s the Equilibrium World we’re talking about then the thing to remember is to find out what ‘the thing’ is and then do it. That’s the challenge when you’re living in the EW – if you don’t find out what the thing is (or if you find out but you can’t do it) then you’re finished. You are Up Shit Creek Without A Paddle. Your life won’t be worth a damn.
So that’s one useful tip. Bear that in mind and you won’t go too far wrong. How hard can it be, after all? Everyone else seems to be able to do it – even the really dumb ones have got the hang of it – so why can’t you? What’s wrong with you? That’s what you’ll be wondering. That’s what you’d be asking yourself. You don’t know what the thing is but everyone else does! Even the dogs in the street know. Every bastard in town knows but you don’t.
This must be what it feels like to be left out in the cold, you say to yourself. This must be what it feels like to be left out in the cold and receive – as your rightful due – the cold shoulder of humanity. That’s what’s going through your mind. That, and other thoughts of a similar nature. Only that’s not going happen to you so don’t worry. I was only saying that to make a point, to show how important it is to get it right in the EW, because the EW is all about getting it right. People will look down their noses at you in a big way if you don’t. You’re the lowest of the low in that case. You’re a waste of space. You’re shit on someone’s shoe.
You prove your worth in the Equilibrium World by showing how well you can do the thing – that’s the only card you have to play here so you’ve to make sure that you’ve got it absolutely right. But you’ll do fine – you really will. I absolutely know you will so please don’t worry. I’m only trying to explain how things work, just so you know. And the funny thing is – which really is very funny when you get to think about it, which you won’t because you won’t get time to – is that what the thing is doesn’t actually matter. The ‘thing’ could be as stupid as you like, it could be completely dumb, the dumbest stupidest thing ever, but no one will ever comment on it. They won’t care. Nobody cares about that because they’re all too busy trying to excel at it. Excellence is everything in the Equilibrium World and no one gives a shit about what you’re being excellent at.
The EW is so great that sometimes I feel like praising it out loud. I feel like raising my voice in joyous exultant adulation. Sometimes I do praise the EW out loud, but not too loudly because I wouldn’t like to attract undue attention to myself. It could be the wrong sort of attention you see, the dangerous sort. The EW is great and all but at the same time there are countless predators and carrion eaters waiting to emerge from the woodwork if the opportunity arises. Bottom feeders, waiting to feed upon whatever they find there at the bottom. As they say, what you find at the bottom isn’t tasty, but it is easy. Whatever you find there doesn’t struggle too hard to get away – it doesn’t struggle too hard to get away because it’s probably half dead by the time you find it. Half dead or long dead, half dead or long dead.
Those great old equilibrium values, those shitty old great things. The great things are so great, we parrot dutifully, as one hundred generations have done before us. It’s important to say how great the things are, it’s the ‘done thing’ after all. It’s expected of us. It’s crucially important to say how wonderfully great the crappy old equilibrium values are. Just to reassure ourselves, just to reassure ourselves that we aren’t prisoners in hell.