How immature am I really, I wondered? How long is a Baltic tapeworm? How dry is a dry gulch in the desert in the dry season? I was trying to second-guess my own thinking – what would I do if I was me? How many fleas does a flea-ridden cur have when it is covered in fleas from head to toe? How long is a weasel? Nobody will tell you more than I and no one will tell you less. For as long as I can remember I’ve had the ambition to open up a cake shop, a kind of a niche outlet for doughnuts and suchlike. I would call it ‘The Laughing Doughnut’ and I would serve mainly policeman. I’d only serve the laughing, jolly, rosy-cheeked kind however, not the other kind. Not the bad kind. I have the logo all worked out and everything. But then just the other day I changed my mind and decided that it was a fancy French patisserie that I would open up instead. I would call it ‘Le Grande Delice’. Then I changed my mind again and I decided that it would be a bric-a-brac shop, full of useless garbage that no one would ever want. The shop would have no doors and no windows and it wouldn’t exist on earth but out of sight in one of the lower dimensions. I would have no interaction with the real world at all – I just sit my pointless shop, puttering around incessantly – slowly but surely growing in myself like an ingrown toenail. My personality-shell would calcify and seal over. I know this all sounds a bit random but that’s just the kind of guy I am! A bit random, but people like me because of that, I think. It’s a bit quirky and everyone likes quirky. That isn’t to say that I’m not deeply dissatisfied with my life however because I am. ‘Certain things are true,’ I declared loudly (and not without a slight trace of pomposity and self-satisfaction either, I might add) and certain other things are not true and I hold this to be the basis of my philosophy…’ My own genius still takes me by surprise sometimes you see. Some people say that I haven’t got a pleasant personality but from my own careful thoughts on the subject I deduce that they are wrong. They belong to the evil world which was never supposed to come into existence but which did nevertheless, and this is the Cosmic Error. This is the Great Mistake which now can never be undone – at least not easily. That is our work, that is our labour – to somehow correct, and reverse the Cosmic Error. To wrestle with the forces of darkness. Not that you’d ever get any thanks for it, mind you! The abuse that I personally have to put up with is frankly unbelievable. As a child, when I was only knee-high to a centipede, I decided that I wanted to become the saviour of the universe – being a mere hero or superhero meant nothing to me. I set my sights high and this is always a good thing when one is young. It gives one something to work towards and stops one from becoming lazy, which is a curse. Later I fell into bad company and became a street hoodlum, a wide-boy, a ‘jelly head’ – jostling people rudely as they went about their business in the shopping malls, causing them to drop their shopping and use foul and distasteful words. I had fallen a long way short of my lofty aim and my grand vision was in tatters all around me. That’s when I started turning in on myself – I became morose and ill tempered. I didn’t shave and stopped taking care of my personal hygiene. The joy of life had fled, leaving what behind? Leaving me as you now see me, fumbling foolishly in the dark, scared of things that only exist in my own imagination, asking questions that can never be answered, and which don’t deserve to be answered anyway.
I call my mind The Blabberer because it keeps on blabbering the whole time. I can’t even make out what it’s saying any more – it has become incoherent, inarticulate. It is the passage of time that has done that. The passage of aeons, I might say. The long millennia have crept past in their inimitable snail-like fashion, and as a result my mind has become washed out, decrepit, inarticulate, jaded. It still goes through the motions, as I have said. It goes through the motions because it can’t do otherwise – it will continue to crank out its nonsense until the end of time I imagine. We have now reached what could be called ‘the twilight years of the decrepit mind; the twilight years in which it can do nothing else but ineffectually and pointlessly copy what it once was so very good at doing, which is ‘apparently making sense’. I say ‘apparently making sense’ advisedly since the unvarnished truth of the matter is that my mind never did make sense, not really. Such was its superlative skill at the art of story-telling. Such was its great and surpassing skill, a skill that my poor fumbling words cannot rightly do justice to.
I was watching out for my thoughts, watching them come along in their oh-so-predictable fashion, jeering at them when they made their appearance. ‘Oh it’s you again you dumb old shit-sucker,’ I call out, ‘I was wondering when I’d see your stupid face again’. I can’t tell you how fed up of my thoughts I am, although perhaps you might have got some faint sense of my loathing by now. These revolting thoughts of mine have been plaguing me for many thousands of years by now and so I don’t think that anyone can rightfully judge me for being as annoyed with them as I am. You might think that it’s fairly cold on a freezing January morning before the sun has yet pushed its way above the frigid horizon. You should taste the chill of interstellar space – then you’d know what a chill is! Then you’d truly know the meaning of ‘cold’! Can cosmetics change your life?’ the endless onboard adverts earnestly ask me. ‘I don’t know,’ I say to myself, ‘probably not. Probably not so very much.’ Probably not so very much when you’re out here in the interstellar void, I wouldn’t say. All things considered.
People forget that the natural state of the universe is to be cold, a few meagre fractions of a decimal point above Absolute Zero and that is all. There is no comfort in that, I can tell you. You can’t warm your hands in front of a tenth of a degree above Zero K, I can assure you. The universe might be a big place but it’s also very, very cold, and I’d like you to remember that. Cling to that fact, if you can – it will bring a sense of perspective to your life. Cling to that cold, comfortless fact if you will my friends; bear it in mind if you are able, faced as you are by all the delusions of the world, of which they are so many. There are precious few delusions out here in the interstellar wastes you can be sure; certainly none that you can warm your hands in front of. Comforting delusions are few and far between out here, let me assure you. All there is out here is the cold and the relentless march of the millennia and that’s it. What more is there to say than this?
All I have to amuse myself with is that very tiny margin of highly attenuated heat that exists just above Zero K, a few microscopically meagre shavings of a margin, you might say, plus the relentless (if very slow) march of the millennia which I think I have already mentioned. Can cosmetics change your life, I wonder. I’ve plenty of time on my hands to ponder such questions, and the answer I keep coming up with is ‘probably not’. Probably not, my friends. Probably not, all things considered. All I have to concern myself with out here is the soul-chilling cold and the passage of the aeons. Creeping past at the infinitesimally slow rate that they do. They’re in no hurry you see, no hurry at all. ‘What’s the rush, my friend?’ they ask me. ‘What’s the big old hurry buddy?’ they say, ‘sit down and enjoy the show.’ ‘Quit being so damn hasty,’ the relentless creeping millennia say to me. ‘You’ll get there in the end, so why worry?’ The problem with this is of course that I’ve long since come to realise that there is no ‘there’ to get to and that’s what’s disturbing me…
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I’m just an ordinary everyday sociopath so if you would kindly refrain from giving me such a hard time about it. I don’t what you expect from me, I really don’t. Muttering to myself, grumbling away to myself. Blowing sticky saliva bubbles without meaning to. I’m panicking and there’s this voice in my head telling me not to panic. It’s the voice of the panic speaking to me – it’s the panicky voice, the panicky old voice of that old, old panic. ‘Stay calm now’, the voice tells me, ‘stay calm now.’ It’s not a very calm voice, I can tell you that for nothing. It’s loaded with stress. Muttering and rumbling, muttering and grumbling. ‘What’s the mutter with you, for God’s sake?’ you ask me, pissing yourself laughing at your own cleverness. I am full of anger. What you expect from me? What you want from me? Why are you hounding me like this? Free from rust and decay, free from the unsightly blemishes that disfigure us in the eyes of our peers. Free from rust and decay – I’m shining and clean. My face is made of steel and I polish it every day. My elbows are made of vanadium – light but durable. My nostril hairs are made of filaments of the purest most exquisite magnesium. In my own mind I’m a hero of course; my actions are legendary. My eyebrows are legendary. My eyebrows made out of tungsten filament – they can cut through anything. My voice is resonant, melodic, and startlingly pleasant to listen to. I could charm the apples straight down from the tree if I wanted to. I wouldn’t need to shake the tree at all. I could charm the wool off a sheep. My eyebrows are made of frozen light – one of the rarest substances in the entire universe. ‘Stop looking at me like that,’ I whine, ‘can’t you see I’ve got stuff on my mind?’ I’m being eaten alive by guilt of course – guilt about all the things that I didn’t do. I never did anything, you see. Free from rust and decay, free from rust and decay. We all need to learn to mask the evil that is within us do we not, my pretties? Mask it and hide it, mask it and hide it. Mask the evil – until the day comes when we can no longer mask it. And that day always comes does it not, my pretty ones? Of course it does, of course it does. That day comes around before you know it. ‘Mask the evil, mask the evil, mask the evil’. Mask the terrible evil. This is refrain I know so well. A mantra that is always on our lips. And then eventually, through sheer perseverance, we forget about the evil. We clean forget that it’s there and we will swear blind to whoever will listen to us that we are as pure as the driven snow. We will believe it completely, unshakeably, until the day of the revealing draws nigh.
Transform your world with new World Transformer™. Upgrade your lifestyle with new Lifestyle Upgrader™. Turbocharge your career with new Career Turbocharger™. These are the supreme words by which I live my life. Was there any doubt of this, this which I hold to be most self-evidently true? My eyes behold wonders – I look through the electronic portal onto a world that beckons me onwards. It’s a world that beckons us all onwards. ‘Come, venture forth,’ a silvery voice tells us, ‘seek you the treasures that lie within my domain’. My eyes are tired from looking through the portal. My sight has grown dim and weariness writes deep furrows upon my brow. All around the Treasurescape lie the glittering skulls of those who had been tempted and had failed. All who are tempted fail – they can’t help from failing. They always fail. The skulls are gaudy and inconsequential and I walk by them without a second glance. They are cheap and tawdry trinkets, they vanish as I passed by. My eyes behold wonders but these are not them. These are the glitzy, gaudy skulls of the terminally unwary. Children understand but we adults rave and froth at the mouth. We are sad useless creatures. We seek fulfilment in fantasies and delusions; we seek fulfilment in the unspeakable drivel of the master mind-manipulators. We vomit out our loneliness and despair into the darkness. There never was any hope for us and I think we all know that. That knowledge adds to our delirium. We cough dryly and make ironic sophisticated comments. We buy the latest kitchen appliances. Our souls are black; our souls are always black. Our foolishness defies description. Our foolishness defies the limits of the physical universe; molecules creak and groan under the strain. ‘The experiment has failed,’ the voice in my ear tells me, ‘the experiment always fails. It was in bad taste anyway…’ The voice belongs to a robot fly. It’s a drone operated by the Faceless Ones, an ancient order of mutant mantids. There are predators but very ineffective ones; they are cruel but also incompetent. All they can do is eat away very slowly at the periphery of our attention, fraying the edges, unpicking the threads one by one, turning everything into a bleary, inconsequential mess. My life is a bleary, inconsequential mess. I shout angrily at the skulls of my enemies. I speak the forbidden words. Shadows dance frivolously on the very periphery of my vision. I have to do the thing and yet I don’t know what the thing is. I don’t want to know. I am afraid to know…
Enlightenment’s a great thing of course. It’s a very great thing indeed. It’s a great thing needless to say and we all know that. No doubt about that, no doubt about that at all. Truly it’s a very great thing – as we all know. Not all of us are destined to be enlightened in this lifetime – needless to say – but that’s just the way it is. That can’t be helped. That’s just the way things go. That doesn’t mean that we can’t give it our best shot though! Keeping up with the jolly old meditation practice, doing a bit of yoga here and there, signing up to a few online spiritual seminars and all that kind of stuff. Doing a bit of the old mindful walking when you can remember. It all helps, you know. Doing a bit here and there. Tipping away at it. Trying not to be discouraged. Keeping your spirits up. Not falling into the old bad ways. Not falling into distraction and all that rubbish. Not being a lazy slob. Enlightenment is not always what you expect it to be either – no sir it isn’t. You think it’s going to be one thing and it turns out to be another. It blindsides you – ‘I didn’t see that coming,’ says you. Boy oh boy oh boy. No sir, you surely didn’t see that coming. Bit of an old curve-ball, you might say. Catching you unawares, kind of. It’s no good planning for it either, so it isn’t. You just can’t do that. Enlightenment is a funny old thing for sure. It’s important not to be distracting yourself with the thinking mind, that’s the thing to remember. We all love talking shyte to ourselves in our own heads of course. There’s no use in denying it! The bloody old thinking process – thinking about this, thinking about that, thinking about the other. Going over and over it in your mind. Getting excited about nonsense. That’s the kind of crappy stuff that makes sure you never get enlightened. Discursive mental activity – that’s the killer! We’re all bastards for that, I’m afraid. We are addicted to it, not to beat about the bush too much. We’re yapping like maniacs in the privacy of our own skulls and that’s not helping our case any. So as you can see there are lots of problems there to be sorted out. That’s the name of the game however – that’s what it’s all about. Getting rid of the distracting thoughts, getting rid of the delusions. Getting rid of all those delusions. They’re everywhere, needless to say. That’s the force of samsara and you’ve got to be on the lookout for it. That’s very important you see. Looking out for the jolly old samsaric delusions. Looking out for the illusory self and all its perennial grasping. The way it keeps trying to grab hold of everything for itself. That’s what it’s all about – not identifying with the illusory self. Not falling into the trap. We all know that of course. That’s the name of the game isn’t it? Not establishing an illusory or samsaric identity. It’s all very tricky stuff and it’s easy to get put off. It’s certainly not easy and that’s for sure. Damn right it isn’t…
I’m having a happy time in my happy place. Having a happy time, having a happy time, in my happy place, my happy place, I tell myself, trying my best to believe it. I’m having a happy time in my happy place only not really. I’m having a happy time only that’s a lie. That’s a big lie. Everything is always a lie with me. That guy is a bit of a liar, people always say of me, a bit of a charlatan, a bit of a phony. A bit of an old fake. I spend a lot of time pretending to be great but everyone knows I’m not. It’s written all over my face. We all like to dream of better things of course; we’re all alike in that respect. We like to dream, we like to dream. Reality can be an awful strange place to hang out in when you’re totally unfamiliar with it – that’s one thing I’ve come to learn. It can freak the shit right out of you. You might think you’ll like it but I’ve a feeling you won’t! We all have these romantic notions about reality, so many romantic notions, but they are all fantasies that we’re running in our heads. Quaint really, isn’t it? It’s so quaint the romantic notions we have about reality – how wide of the mark we are, how very wide. Fantasies about reality, huh? But I thought it was this, I say. But I thought it was that. I thought it was yellow with purple spots, I thought it was pink with wavy green lines all over it! It’s all such shit, isn’t it? In my own mind I’m a really nice guy – you’ll never meet a nicer fella. Charming, urbane, well-informed. I’m well-intentioned too. No bad thoughts. I’ve got it all going for me – in my mind, that is. Such a treacherous beast, the mind. You can’t rely on the bugger. Reality can be a very cruel place when it comes down to it. It can be diabolically cruel. Cruel and strange. Strangely cruel. I’m nice, but I’m also ruthless when it comes to my enemies; when someone crosses me then that’s it – I won’t rest until I’ve evened the score. That doesn’t mean that I’ll say something straightaway though – I’ll wait for years for my chance if necessary, my chance to get even. Don’t get mad get even, that’s my motto. There’s no point in me getting mad because I don’t have the physical strength to back it up. I’m very weak, physically speaking and I’m also something of a coward. I’m afraid of being hit. I’m terrified of being hit. I’m not afraid of everything mind you, only some things. A lot of things it’s true, but not all things. I’m not afraid of the things I make up myself in the safety of my own mind, which I call the ‘safe things’. The safe things are okay. I know that they’re not going to harm me because I created them myself and I didn’t endow them with the property of being harmful. That’s not a capacity they have. I created my very own private universe according to my own highly specific specifications and then I booted it up in ‘safe mode’. That’s a little joke of mine, by the way – I’m not totally without a sense of humour, you see. I do like to have my little joke, from time to time. People don’t think I’m funny but I am. I’m funny when you get to know me. I’m funny, but I’m also totally ruthless when it comes to anyone who might make the mistake of crossing me.
There are two totally different worlds that I live in – I know that much but I know no more. One world is joyous, happy, overflowing with benediction. It smiles at me fondly and that makes me feel happy – all is good with me when I am in this world. There is an all-pervasive feeling of acceptance, belonging – approval even. I know I’m good. Everyone knows my name and everyone likes me. That’s the nice world. The other world is glowering and mean and withholding of any type of approval. It’s a savage and cruel and malignant world – it scowls angrily at me as I shuffle apologetically around the place and I feel unwanted, rejected, demonized, terrorized. I know that I don’t belong, I know I shouldn’t be there. I also know that I am hated and despised by this world. It resents me being there, it finds fault in me no matter what I do. This is the evil world.
It might seem strange to you that there are two worlds (and not just the one world) but I’m only just reporting on the evidence of my senses. I don’t like it any more than you do. When I’m in the good world, the nice world, the benedictory world then I’m happy and when I’m in the rotten world then I’m going through hell, not to put too fine a point on it. Everything about my existence is painful then. There is no joy, no happiness, no subtlety, only endless sullen endurance. Endurance for the sake of endurance.
‘People call me the Demon Lord and they have lots of good things to say about me,’ I blurted out loudly at random, to no one in particular. It doesn’t really matter that I don’t ever speak to anyone in particular because no one can hear me anyway – I exist only in my own mind, as the troubled, incoherent product of my own thoughts. Sometimes I think that I do exist and sometimes I think that I don’t, but it doesn’t actually matter which way round I think it because the truth is that I exist either way. Either way I know damn well that I exist because here I am thinking the thought – if a person didn’t exist then they would hardly be going around telling themselves that they didn’t – they wouldn’t need to bother themselves doing that, obviously enough! It would be unnecessary. So I know very well that I exist, even though it’s only my own thoughts that tell me so.
My thoughts tell me that I exist because otherwise what would I be doing going around the whole time wondering like an idiot whether I exist or not? The logic is indisputable. So my thoughts tell me, anyway. My thoughts tell me everything – they tell me whether I exist or whether I don’t exist. whether I’m good or whether I’m bad, whether I’m great or whether I am a sad freak who doesn’t deserve to exist. My thoughts tell me all these things. It’s some roller coaster, I can tell you! One minute my thoughts are telling me that I am supreme and that all other people are losers and then the next moment they’re telling me that the lowliest worm that ever crawled across a footpath has more dignity and sense of purpose than I ever will. How do you figure that one, huh? One minute I’m a demigod resplendent in all his glory, the next I’m cringing, cowering shell of a creature, afraid of everything that moves, constantly apologising for its own wretched existence….
I don’t really exist though, and thought is a lie. That’s my solace in these sad and troubled times. I still go along with the old rigmarole of what my mind is telling me to do. I couldn’t actually tell you why, though. Is it a sense of duty, or loyalty perhaps? Am I superstitious that bad will happen if I break with tradition? Something awful? I suppose the answer that would be closest to the truth would be to say that I’m going through with the rigmarole of believing what my thoughts tell me because I haven’t got what it takes not to. I don’t actually have a lot of willpower of my own – I’m too used to being told what to do, what to think, what to believe. I’m just wandering around looking for someone to tell me how I should behave and what I should think. ‘Tell me what I should believe,’ I cry out piteously – ‘I don’t care what it is, just tell me…’
I’m making a right ejit out of myself here I know. I’m not really like that, in fact I’m just a regular guy – as regular as you please, as regular a guy as you might ever hope to meet. Not a sad abnormal freak at all. I’m not some spook who exists only in his own crappy little mind. His own crappy little mind that doesn’t even exist anyway. Sure I’m not. I was only spoofing you when I said that. Maybe you fell for it, huh? Maybe you did because I’m pretty good at spoofing. Pretty damn good altogether. I wouldn’t blame you if you did fall for my little trick, my little manoeuvre. I know I can be quite convincing. No sir I’m just a regular guy – I wear trousers and shoes and socks and a shirt and I like to drink lots of beer just like any other guy. I drink it until it comes out of my ears and then I fall over into the ditch and piss myself. Then I wake up the next day and go to work. It’s a mad crazy merry-go-round. They call me ‘the Demon Lord’ and they say lots of good things about me…
How do you operate your body – [I] via an encapsulated ego-mind unit, [II] via randomly distributed muscle memory, [IV] via non-local networks or [IV] via the wind and the clouds and the gravitational pull of the moon? These are just some of the many and varied questions that I like to ask people when I’m doing my research. I’m a very keen researcher you see – I’m collating some very important information. The endeavour that we are engaged in is the endeavour of engaging in the endeavour of engaging for the sake of engaging. Those are some questions from one of the questionnaires I give out in order to obtain the valuable information that I require. It has to do with people’s relationship with their bodies.
I had moved on from considering the first thing that I had been considering and now I was considering the second thing. The first thing had been infinitely tiresome and the second was worse again. Time dragged as I considered the thing that I was considering and I felt half faint with weariness. ‘How slow the weary millennia creep’, I moaned to myself, ‘how very slow’. The first age of man had come and gone, as had the second, the third and the fourth, and things were worse now than they had ever been. I wouldn’t have thought it possible but there you are. Life is full of surprises. How very slow the weary millennia creep by, and how full of rubbish is my head…
This gave me is something new to consider – I could (if I wanted to) consider the rubbish that was filling up my head. Not only could I consider the particular type of rubbish that was passing through my head, I could also consider the fact that there was and is all this rubbish! That constitutes the existential fact of the matter to me. This existential fact is a very interesting thing to consider to be sure, absolutely it is. Why is there so very much rubbish passing through my brain all the time – what’s that all about? What’s the essential significance of that fact? Here is my head, like a pumpkin blown up out of all proportion – and it’s rotten to the core with garbage filthy rotten stinking pestilential garbage. My head is a planetoid, vast and bloated, and it is infested with the vilest garbage known to man. Bad thoughts swarm all around my brain like flies swarm about a pile of gone-off meat and I’m wondering why this always has to be happening to me. Why do these thoughts target me like this? Did I do something wrong?
That’s the old guilt trip coming on, of course. What crime have I committed? Am I being punished? Was it a very bad crime? I arrived on earth on a comet. The comet carried me across the silent cosmic vastnesses and then dumped me unceremoniously here. On the planet Urath. Was that because I was a criminal? For a long time I believe myself to be a hero, sent to protect the human race from all the foes that are ranged against it. The vampires, the undead, the psychic parasites, the bad aliens, and so on. The false gods and the false messiahs. The workers of evil. Although physically weak, I could fool my enemies by pretending to be stupider that I really was, and this almost always worked. No one ever saw through my disguise.
And then the next thing was that I realised to my horror that it wasn’t a disguise after all. I hadn’t been fooling anyone; or rather I had only been fooling myself. I was up for being fooled and so I was the right candidate for the job. My skull was vast, like an ancient dilapidated music hall or amphitheatre, and it was full of ghosts. I had crash-landed from space under unfortunate circumstances, confused as to my real identity. I was a giant planetoid, crumbling slowly but surely into rubble. I came through a dimensional portal and as I tumbled through it I heard a great voice that cried out ‘This is the universe of never-ending decay – what part will you play?’ There was a joke of course, there was never any doubt on that score…