Plague rats in a casserole, plague rats in a casserole. I know it’s supposed to be bad form to be obsessively fixated upon your own image, I’m perfectly aware of that, thank you very much. Have you actually given it any thought though – if all you have is your image of yourself then else are you supposed to do? It’s all very well being smug and judgemental and full of all this enlightened crap, about how you shouldn’t be in love with the mind-created image of who you are, but that’s facile nonsense. Dimwits only need apply, dimwits and new-age dip-heads, right? They’ll go along with anything, that’s how mentally vacuous they are. Boy do I loathe them and all they stand for. Dippy dippy dip-heads. Flaky flaky flake-heads. With their self-preening stupid talk, ‘We’re all so self-aware!’ They are in my hole. Words can’t express the contempt I feel for them. ‘Look at me I’m so non-dual,’ they say, all full of themselves. They’re spiritual narcissists really of course, overflowing with toxicity. They’re everywhere. What am I supposed to do after all, when my image of myself is all I have, all I can ever have? What in the name of God would they have me do? Rats in a salad, rats in a stew, rats with dumplings, rats covered in goo. Happy days are here again right? We broke the evil spell of the spiritual narcissists and so now we can have some good wholehearted rip-roaring fun again, doing the kind of stuff we all love to do. Letting rip with all that good stuff; going for it like there’s no tomorrow. Breaking loose. Hollering like a complete dumbhead, bawling like a fool. Roaring like the complete jackass you are. Pissing yourself with abandon. Craving a big salad like you used to get in your local diner? Why, all you need to do is stick your finger up your bum and repeat after me: “I am a total fuckwit and I don’t know my arse from a hole in the ground.” Repeat this formula three times and you’ll be free from the evil magic that had us all banjaxed. Craving to be a complete knob-head like all of your friends? Of course you are, of course you are. It’s only natural after all. Roaring like a complete knob-head, as stupid as you please. Try shoving a live eel up your arse to see if that makes any difference. Those little guys are full of juice, you know; if that doesn’t revamp your jaded personality nothing will! They’re sparky little lads they are, full of beans every last one of them. They are full of beans and so will you be! ‘What’s the meaning of living a completely meaningless life?’ – that’s the question folk don’t ask themselves very often. What function does a purely meaningless life serve? This happens to be something I think about it rather a lot you see and although I haven’t come up with an answer yet I think I’m getting somewhere. We are all very busy trying to make out that our lives are super-meaningful of course. Every Tom Dick and Sally is busy grasping for some meaning in their lives by trying to transcend the self but that’s clearly bullshit. The self can’t transcend the self after all. That’s just plain stupid. The self can’t do nothing only be the self. So that’s clearly what we’re supposed to do…
I was trying to breed the swarm – that’s what I always do when I get into a tight spot. A squeaky little voice had spoken up in my head, an autonomic emergency voice. ‘You are in a high-risk situation,’ it had told me, ‘you must breed the swarm’. That was just in case I forgot, you see, just in case I allowed myself to be overwhelmed by feelings of panic and as a consequence didn’t act so as to safeguard myself properly.
The when I hear this little robot voice from deep inside my own mind then this reminds me of what I have to do and I start making preparations for cultivating the swarm. I take scrapings from my skin with a special implement and then I cultivate the epidermal cells that I obtain in this way in a special apparatus that is concealed within the ornate teak cane that I carry around with me wherever I go. Inside the cane there are tens of thousands of microtubules which have the function of incubating the skin cells after they have been genetically modified and allowing them to grow into the Necro-spores, ready to be released into the world, millions and millions of them. These Necro-spores, when released and dispersed by the wind, will in time give rise to the Swarm. It is important to carry out this part of the procedure on a windy day, therefore. It won’t work otherwise.
Again it had happened, therefore. Again I found myself in peril, as I had many times before; again the dusty little robot voice had warned me; again I had heeded the warning and had taken the necessary steps to cultivate the Necro-spores. I was gathering my powers, I was summoning the dark forces which were at my disposal, I was calling the Swarm to do my bidding. This is of course always an epic moment – some moments in life are epic whilst others are not. Summoning the Swarm is always epic.
I generally stand in a large boulder or grassy hillock or on a park bench and hold my arms out in a dramatic fashion. I am of course wearing my cloak and all the gear. I stand there solemnly for a few moments, then I cry out – ‘I summon the Swarm’. And then that’s it – that’s all I need to do. Then after I’ve done this I settled down to wait. ‘Well done,’ said the raspy little robot voice in my head, ‘you have summoned the Swarm.’ All that remained was for me to wait for it to arrive, which in my experience can take rather a long time.
At last, at long last, they came. They came with a scurrying, a pattering, a rustling, a flapping, a shuffling, a sliding and a slithering. Little creatures, medium-sized creatures, and some big creatures too. Mainly little creatures, though. Bats and dragonflies and horseflies and fleas and ladybirds and badgers and stoats and weasels and foxes and centipedes and spiders and pigeons and squirrels and a few assorted human beings too – all heavily infected with the Necro-spores, all come to serve my will. It’s moments like this – I reflected – that make life worth living.
There’s no escaping the future, is there? You might think that there is but there isn’t. Even if we were to go to the extent of taking the extreme step of killing ourselves rather than face it we’d still only be reanimated straightaway and plugged right in again, to carry on where we left off. We’d be plugged right back into the matrix and so there’s no escape there. That’s a grim thought isn’t it? And it’s more than a thought – that’s the whole point of what I’m telling you here. It’s not a thought, it’s a reality. Nobody likes it but there you go…
There’s no escaping it, not really. You may think that there is but the point is that there isn’t. Your whole life might be predicated upon the idea that there is always an escape but afraid I’m here to put you straight on that one. Let’s be clear about that much, at least…
Gentle, predictable relief, huh? That’s what we are all looking for, of course. Some gentle, predictable relief. Especially when the future is knocking on the door. Rap-rap-rapping away, smartish-like. A-knocking and a-rapping. I know you’re there, says the future. I know you’re there so you might as well come out. You chicken-shit bastard you. Show yourself or I’ll come in and pull you out by the scruff of your neck.
None of us are that happy with our lives are we? If we didn’t get a good deal then we’re unhappy about that because we are always imagining that we would be happy if only life had dealt us a better hand and if we did get a good deal then we’re secretly disappointed because we think we should be happier than we actually are, because the truth is that we are sour, morose, resentful and vindictive. We pretend to be happy of course because we don’t want to give anyone the satisfaction of thinking that we aren’t.
There’s no escaping the old negative karma is there? By Jingo there isn’t. For sure there isn’t, the matter how much we might twist and turn like a worm on the hook, no matter how we might protest. We are all very good at protesting after all. We protest to the hilt, we protest like there’s no tomorrow. ‘Excuse me there’s been a mistake here,’ we’ll say, ‘I don’t deserve that. That was obviously meant for someone else. Some right bastard who deserves everything they get…’ That’s what we’ll say. None of that works with negative karma though, you know. Damn right it doesn’t.
Gentle predictable relief is the thing though, isn’t it? Can’t you just feel that relief? I know I can. It’s heaven. Just sit back and enjoy it. The future is knocking on your front door but you couldn’t give a shit! You really couldn’t. You couldn’t give a damn how much he knocks. You’re giving him the finger. You’re giving him the royal salute, so you are!
There’s no escaping your own personality, that’s what I always say. Damn straight there isn’t! You can’t escape yourself. Never mind escaping anything else, you certainly can’t escape your own personality. No matter how much you may like to. Oh to be sure you can behave yourself for a while – you can be on your best behaviour, you can be as smarmy as you please, so you can. You can be goody-goody-two-shoes, as they say. Excuse me while I polish my halo. But I tell you this for nothing, you won’t be able to keep that old personality of yours at bay for very long. You will soil your pants before the end of the day, you mark my words. It’s only a matter of time…
I was playing a game with the truth. I was making the truth into a toy of my will, manipulating it as I saw fit. The same as we all do, the same as we all do. I won’t say that I was happy playing the game because I wasn’t, but I was okay. I was getting by; I wasn’t having what you’d call a bad time – not as far as I knew, anyway. Not as far as I knew.
I was getting by, living my life, playing the game, and that was that. Playing a kind of avoidance game with the truth but getting away with it well enough. Nothing major going wrong, nothing too tough to deal with. Just playing the game, playing the game. Doing what I normally do, whatever that is. Can’t think what it is at the moment. Something or other. Some kind of a thing. You know – the usual. The same all story, same as usual. The same old ding dong. Playing the game, as you do.
‘What are you doing buddy?’ asked my friend, poking his head unexpectedly through the kitchen window. ‘I’m playing the game,’ says I cheerfully. ‘Playing the jolly old game…’ ‘Same as meself,’ replies my friend, with a wink of his eye. ‘Same as meself!’ We both had a laugh about that and then my friend went off on his way, humming a tune as he went. ‘It’s good to have friends,’ I told myself, ‘it’s good to have buddies when you’re playing the game. It makes life easier.’
I’m lucky like that, I guess. I’ve got lots of buddies who are all playing the game. We encourage each other – when any one of us is feeling a little bit down and despondent – as can easily happen – the rest of us all muster around to provide some good old positive vibes. In no time at all they’ll be feeling chipper again and ready for whatever life has to throw at them. As long it is as it isn’t the truth, that is! That’s just my little joke you see – no offence intended.
Same old story, the same old ding dong. That’s what it’s like when you’re playing a game with the truth. Always the same old bloody palaver. You get used to it however. You certainly do get used to it. It just gets to be normal after a while, if you know what I mean. Nothing to raise an eyebrow at, nothing to get particularly upset about. It’s perfectly normal and it’s not too bad, all things considered, and so what’s so very wrong with that? It could always be hell of a lot worse, you know. Don’t ever forget that.
I’ve always had this hope at the back of my mind that someone might make one of my novels into a movie. I was mulling about this the other day, as I often do, when it came to me that I’ve never actually written a novel. I’d always meant to you see but somehow I’d never got round to it. The impetus is gone now of course – I don’t even know what I’d write about, even if I did get round to it. Which I probably won’t do anyway – I’m too good at putting things on the long finger.
I was trying to decide what should be true today. ‘What will be true today?’ I asked myself. Life’s full of decisions, isn’t it? That’s what they call ‘the burden of responsibility’, I guess. Which is where you always have to be the one figuring out how to bend reality this time round. Which way to bend it, what sort of a spin to put on it, how to dress it up and so on. I’m getting pretty worn out by it at this stage, to be honest. I’ve had enough.
‘He flew through the air on a thunderbolt,’ I recited to myself. ‘He did not travel as other men travel, on foot, or on roller skates, or on a bicycle, or on a Lambretta or Vespa or perhaps some other make of scooter, or on a motorbike of some description or in a regular old estate car, but by thunderbolt. Thus may his worth be measured…’ I always say this to myself when I’m at a bit of a loss. It didn’t mean anything but I said it all the same. There was a time when reciting this meaningless formula made me feel better, but not anymore. I come out with it just for the sake of it these days. It’s an old habit of mine…
There is a principle at work here and this principle might be stated as follows: the content of our consciousness is exclusively that content that is allowed and sanctified by the planet-wide advertising agencies. That’s the modern way. Or as we could also say, the content of the adverts that we are subjected to on a daily basis is the same as the consciousness that has been conditioned by this all-pervading advertising. It works the same both ways, obviously. Our consciousness itself is no more than an advert. You think that it’s your life you’re living but no – it’s a commercial! It’s a commercial break. It’s not ‘your life’ (as you may fondly imagine), it’s an advert for society, it’s an advert for our way of life. You’re an advert for society, so you’d better step up! If you somehow get it into your head that you are not an advert for society, and that you are something else and not a walking talking commercial – then you will be marginalised, you will be effectively written off as a person. You’ll lose all credibility. How can you be granted any credibility if you are refusing to play the role that you have been allocated, if you refuse to do your job properly? You’re letting us all down, obviously. And in this case you don’t deserve to be treated as if you have any worth; you’ve gone rogue, after all. Your actions are not serving the common cause, which is the cause of widely promoting the society that we are involuntarily part of. You are in fact a betrayer of the common values, a traitor to the cause. You’ve let the side down big time so how can you expect to be taken seriously anymore? Your crime will be evident to all who meet you. You’re not doing what all will call your duty. Why will you not do your duty? This is a question no one can answer – not even you. Not that anyone really cares what the answer might be; no one has any interest in the question as to why you won’t do the responsible thing. It’s enough to know that you don’t, that you will not. Your crime is evident and that is all anyone cares about. If you really wanted to be taken seriously, if you really wanted to earn respect, then you would play your part. You are required to promote the product. If you won’t promote the product then what part do you have in all this? If you not with us then you must be against us, isn’t that what they say? You’re not ‘living the dream,’ you’re living the commercial only this doesn’t sound quite so good so we won’t put it that way. It’s a commercial for something that’s not really that great – it’s a commercial for a way of life only this way of life isn’t any good when it comes down to it. It’s only a commercial, after all! How could it be any good? It’s only an ad – it’s an ad for a way of life that is in fact only an ad for itself. We’re all promoting the product and the product is us promoting the product because that’s all we ever do, because that’s what we’re all about. How can we do anything that isn’t promoting the product when anything we do that isn’t ‘promoting the product’ will get us marginalised, will result in us being sent off-stage in disgrace? No one wants to be sent off stage – all we care about is being part of what’s going on. We don’t care what’s going on, we just want to be part of it. We don’t care that ‘what is going on’ is only a crappy commercial for a way of life which is in itself only a commercial. Do you think we care about that?
Am I to be punished, I wanted to know. I was full of fear, as you might imagine. So full of fear. I was very afraid indeed. ‘Am I to be punished?’, I asked, in a thin quavery voice. ‘You most assuredly are to be punished’, the spirits at once told me. ‘Absolutely you are…’
When you make very big mistakes in life and you stubbornly refuse to give up on these mistakes, these grievous errors of judgement, even though deep down you realise that they are mistakes, that they are errors, then you are heading as fast as you can to a very nasty situation. It is if you are a heat-seeking missile and you’re locked onto your target and its absolutely inevitable right from the very onset, from the very first moment, that you are going to get there. Nothing and no one can stop you. It’s already happened, in fact…
You want to get there, you are absolutely determined to get there – your arrogant ego will settle for nothing less. Failure is not an option you tell yourself bravely and you’re right – it isn’t. It never was an option. Deep down you know what’s happening though and you’re frightened. You know that you are being controlled by the mechanical mind. You know that in your bones but it doesn’t do any good because your arms and legs are walking all by themselves and you can’t do anything about it. They are walking you towards your doom and you know it.
Suppose you’ve made a very bad error in judgement – does that mean you’re a bad person? Does that mean that you’re evil? Suppose you are a very bad person, an evil person even – does this mean that it’s wrong for people to judge you? Or are they right to judge you? These are all the thoughts that were going through my head. Some people say that it’s wrong to feel guilty, they say that it means you’re a bad person. They say that if you feel like a bad person then you have to be punished. These are the thoughts that were going through my head. Was I wrong to be having these thoughts, though? Did I deserve to be punished for them? Am I wrong to think that I deserved to be punished for having these bad thoughts, when I’m not? If so, does this mean that I deserve to be punished after all, for being so wrong?
I was letting the ego-robot run. ‘Let the old ego-robot play out,’ I advised myself. Let it play out as it will. You can’t stop it, after all. No one can stop it. Let the robot run as it will, I told myself. Run robot run! Run like the robot you are.’ But supposing I am that robot?’ was my next thought. Suppose I am letting the robot run as it will but I myself am that robot. I’d be trapped in the loop again in that case – I’d trapped in the loop that never ends. Everything I do to fix the problem will create that same problem all over again; everything I do to win my freedom will be another chain to add to all those chains that are already holding me… ‘Run robot run’, I told myself. But you can’t though, can you?
Suppose you do something that’s really, really, really wrong. Suppose that it’s very wrong indeed. Is it very wrong to be so very wrong? Is that an error in judgement? Suppose you make an error in judgement that is itself a very bad error, does that then constitute a compounded error, an even worse error? Does that mean that you are now doubly wrong? Are you now doubly wrong because it’s wrong to be wrong? And if so this opens up the question ‘How wrong can you be?’ Is there any limit there, or can you go on being wrong forever? Is it possible to be terribly, terribly, terribly wrong – infinitely wrong, if you know what I mean? Can you go on being more and more wrong forever, and if so, how wrong is that?
‘The Distracto-Gen,’ blared the voice on the radio amidst the cacophony of martial music, ‘Weapon of the future! No longer will we have to fear our enemies…’
How great that would be, we all thought. How great it would be no longer to have to fear our enemies – our great and terrible enemies. Our savage and ruthless enemies, our cruel and clever enemies. A great resounding cry went up from all those assembled – ‘No longer will we have to fear our enemies!” The cheers were deafening.
Our enemies wear our own faces, that’s how clever they are! They wear our own faces and they ape our ways, hoping thereby to confuse us. They speak just like we do; they say the very same things – even their jokes are the same. If we didn’t know better we’d think they were us. If we didn’t know better, they’d fool us every time…
‘The Distracto-Gen,’ blared the voice on the radio, ‘the ultimate weapon of mass distraction’. All those assembled clapped their hands and cheered loudly. We were a pitiful bunch – narcissists and snowflakes to a man, to a woman. We had already been subjected to many lesser weapons of mass destruction and the results were clear for all to see. It was no wonder we were losing the war so badly.
We were being soundly beaten at every single engagement – our snowflake troops were dropping like flies even before the enemy launched his attack. Our snowflake soldiers were dropping like flies in anticipation of the attack, which often didn’t come at all. Whole battalions were wiped out with no effort at all on the part of the enemy. Every engagement was a disaster, every battle was a rout. Morale amongst our narcissist troops was at an all-time low.
We were being badly beaten on all sides by our foes but we were also winning – our boys were fighting hard, when they weren’t taking selfies. We were losing the war and yet we were winning it; we had been crushed in battle and yet we were the victors. The glory was ours – we had invented the Distracto-Gen, the ultimate super-weapon of the future. Bemused and befuddled, the enemy were running away screaming in all directions. We had unleashed the dogs of war and now we had to do was sit back and watch them do their work.
Giant fluorescent poodles with the heads of income tax inspectors stalked the streets, striking terror into the hearts of all who beheld them. Jack Russells with the heads of savage crocodiles darted this way and that amongst the crowd, sowing confusion, nipping the ankles of the enemy, ripping great holes in their trousers… Dachshunds with the faces of laughing demons wove their way between the legs of the foot-soldiers, laughing with glee, full of the joy of battle. Battalions of long extinct Talbot Hounds barked and barked with gruesome irrepressible excitement; they howled with savage exaltation once again as they gathered in impossible numbers on the horizon….
And that was only the beginning of it! That was nothing but a mere foretaste – a mere foretaste of horrors yet to come. The Distracto-Gen was humming and throbbing in the background and all who heard it trembled with fear; all who heard it shook with terror. ‘Our scientists have invented the Distracto-Gen!’ roared the triumphant voice on the radio, but we knew it was all lies. Everything was all lies. Truth itself was a lie at this stage…
What does it mean to be living this life? By golly yes – that’s the question! By jingo that surely is the question.
Human beings, huh? What are we to make of them? With their huge domed heads and their ridiculous spindly arms? No, wait – that’s not human beings is it? That’s aliens.
Craving a Big Salad from your local diner? Why not try this? Try shoving a live electric catfish up your arse (‘live’, get it?) and see if that takes your mind off it. Chances are it will…
Each day follows the preceding day as if by some unspoken rule, as if by some tacitly agreed-upon convention, and we follow them as we must. We proceed from one day to the next gamely enough, and credit must be given to us for this. Where will it all end however? Is it true that our egos will either go to heaven or hell, or is that just a story told to us by the Puppet-Masters? Is past life regression true?
The Distracto-gen – a uniquely human experiment that was designed to fail. It fails every time but that’s all part of the plan. We freely agreed to worship the Lord of Illusion, through no fault of our own, and we pledged to believe all of his lies, of which there are many. In return, the Lord of Illusion promised to save us from all evil things, and give us lots of treasure.
I have grown very tired from all foodstuffs and I yearn for something different, something fresh and exciting. I need a change, in other words – I have grown so very tired of mutton bone soup with toasted grizzards and fried polyps and reconstituted protein pellets. Pickled eels no longer excite me, and neither does broiled catfish served on a bed of crispy halibut skin. I have no more appetite for delicacies such as fermented sardines on a bed of straw, or freshly caught plague rats in a casserole. There’s got to be something new out there, I tell myself, something exotic, something I have never heard of before. There’s got to be something that will restore my lust for life.
I’m a jaded old thing, you see. I have tiny watery eyes set deep in a grey wrinkly old face and I have great yellow tusks that curl out of my ears. I sleep in a vat of slime and I’m covered in giant sentient scabs. There used to be a time when what life had to offer still meant something to me but that was a long, long time ago now. These days existence merely irritates me – I’m stuck in a rut and there’s no more satisfaction in anything anymore.
One thing they never teach you at school is the phenomenon known to many as ‘Phantom Fulfilment World’. Why that is I don’t know – the educational system has always been under a cloud of suspicion as far as I’m concerned. Who controls it and why? Certainly they ought to warn us about the Phantom Fulfilment World – this is a very grave omission indeed. It’s almost as if they deliberately didn’t tell us about it just out of spite – because it suits their purposes for us to fall into the trap.
It seems like such a great thing at first of course – as soon as you can conceive of something then – in your head – it comes true! Desires you never knew you had are mysteriously and instantaneously fulfilled (in a purely mental way) and you’re having the best time imaginable. You are in a state of rapture. Then the bad thoughts come and you are at their mercy – you’re inventing lot and lots of evil realities for yourself to live in and you can’t stop it. You don’t know how to stop it…
He was an ego and he couldn’t do anything about it. He was an ego and he couldn’t do a damn thing about it. He wasn’t a happy bunny then of course. He wasn’t a happy camper. Only the thing was that he couldn’t really understand what was going on and why he felt so downright crappy. That’s because he didn’t know he was an ego. He was an ego and he didn’t know it.
He was an ego and that was unfortunate, The wind had changed direction without any warning and so he was stuck like that. ‘There will be a wailing and gnashing of teeth’, so it was written. There shall be a great lamentation, the like of which has never heard before. Only not really – it was more of a great complaining and moaning.
There shall be a great complaining and moaning, to say nothing of the whinging and backbiting, to say nothing, to say nothing, to say nothing. To say nothing would be a blessing, a great blessing. Such as us do not deserve that blessing however. We deserve what we have got – it is our just deserts.
So it was that we were cast out of Paradise and caused to be egos, compelled to endure the wretchedness and misery that is our daily fare. ‘What will it be today?’ you ask, your serving ladle ready in your hand. ‘I’ll have the usual,’ says the first ego in the queue, ‘I’ll have a double helping of wretchedness and misery please…’
He was just another ego, the same as any other; a decent enough sort of ego but at the same time deeply flawed. Very deeply flawed – you could drive a double-decker bus through that flaw. You could drive an oil tanker through it. He was deeply flawed and yet decent enough for all that – a decent enough sort of chap. Polite and well intentioned, in a kind of a way. Just another ego like an egg in an egg-carton – An egg-like ego – fragile, yet at the same time complacent! A run-of-the-mill type ego with identity problems. The same as us all, in other words. No different from you or me.
A great wind had sprung up – the kind of wind that once it starts will never let up, will never blow out. The type of wind that drives all before it. No one likes this sort of wind. No ego likes this sort of wind, at any rate – it’s the end-game, that’s why. There’s no getting around it and there’s no getting away from it. That sort of wind gets right into your very bones that’s why it’s so frightening – it’ll blow you away and there’s nothing you or I or anyone else can do about it.
That’s the wind every ego fears, of course. We are all alike on that score, you see. We are all exactly alike on that score, no matter how tough we might like to think we are. What good is ‘tough’ when the wind of dissolution is blowing up your ass? How does ‘tough’ measure up when it’s the wind of dissolution you’re looking at? It gets under your skin and into your bones; picks you up as if you are no more than a tattered sheet of crumpled up newspaper that is being blown by a storm. It picks you up and it carries you off. It gets into your very sinews and blasts you apart.
We don’t like that wind, we egos. We have no fondness for it. It’s no joking matter, you might say. Not for us egos. That’s where all the jokes end. The joke stops here, as the saying goes. The joke stops when the old wind of dissolution gets us into its sights. When this wind starts up then it won’t ever stop you know – it won’t stop until we’re completely gone.
A sad story, don’t you think? A bit of an old emotional downer? Just a tad on the negative side, perhaps? Could do with being a bit more upbeat? Not really though. Not really, my friend. You see, the poor old ego never wanted to be an ego at all, not really. He was just kind of stuck like that. The wind suddenly changed direction on him, so to speak. First there was no wind, or maybe just a little bit of wind, or maybe a fair amount of wind, and then the next thing the wind abruptly changes direction on you and – bang! Bang and you’re stuck with the stupid face you were pulling, like some kind of dumb ejit, like some kind of jackass. You don’t half look like a plonker… The kids in the street are laughing at you. Some are frightened…
Then you’re stuck like that for a very long time, perhaps. For many years. For a life-time. Wondering the earth. Wandering here and wandering there in a perplexed and listless fashion. Not really knowing what you’re at. ‘I wandered lonely as an ego,’ as the man said. ‘I wandered lonely as a jackass…’ And then at last – at long last – up springs the wind of dissolution. Up springs the wind of dissolution at last and who’s to say that this isn’t a good thing?
Intelligent people doing intelligent things – that’s something I love to see. What could be greater than that? Resourceful people being highly resourceful. I’m in captivity you see but I can still think about lots of things, albeit in a limited sort of a way since I’m wearing one of those brain-damping helmets that stops you from being too intelligent. I was trying to work out a whole new type of universe that could be run as a game in one of those new advanced quantum super computers that they’re all talking about. It occurred to me that the reason we do things in life is to obtain ego validation, so for example I might excel in performing my civic duties so as to receive a mention in the New Year’s Honour’s List, or I might invent a new thing so as to go down in the history books as a great inventor. I might perform daring actions in the field of military conflict so as to be decorated and declared a hero. I might successfully market a product so as to win the ‘Young Businessman of the Year’ award and also make lots of money. All these things and more I might do. What I’m saying here is commonly understood of course – there’s nothing new here. But where my particular stroke of genius lies is in what comes next however: suppose – I thought to myself – it were possible to build a virtual world in which the ego could accumulate all of these validations and more without any real effort on its part? Suppose that instead of having to do lots and lots of difficult stuff with the odds being very much against you anyway, no matter how hard you try (for example if you perform highly daring acts in a military conflict scenario the chances are that you will simply be killed immediately, as everyone knows) all you need to do is plug yourself into the game and straight away you’ve attained it all, you’ve attained everything that it is possible to attain in one fell swoop. Just imagine how great that would feel! This would go far beyond our normal understanding of ego validation, as you might imagine. The sky’s the limit when you’re setting the parameters yourself. The sky literally is the limit. Suppose for example – just off the top of my head – you single-handedly save the human race from alien multi dimensional beings which attack us in our dreams and influence us so as to become obsessed with something incredibly stupid so that the aliens can just waltz in and take over without anyone so much as lifting a finger because we’re all far too preoccupied with whatever mind-junk it is that the aliens have provided us with to obsess over and then you come along and start a war of rebellion against our cruel alien overlords and you utterly defeat them, after many battles, many defeats that you nevertheless recover from with incredible tenacity and heroism. How much will people admire you for that, do you think? You’ll never have to buy yourself another pint as long as you live! Just imagine how good you’d feel. That warm ego-glow within you – so rich, so satisfying, so vindicating. All the people that said you were a useless tosser and that you would never amount to anything – how wrong they were! How very wrong they were. All the teachers that mocked and derided you and poked fun at you in front of your classmates, how bad they will feel about that now! And you’ll be riding high, so very high… I knew I was onto a winner with this idea, I knew it in my bones. Then I realised that I had been thinking on too small scale, a puny scale, an insignificant scale. I’d missed the obvious development of this idea. How could I have been so stupid, I asked myself? I’d missed the idea that was right there staring me in the face – the biggest of them all. Not just the idea of a lifetime, the idea of ten thousand lifetimes, the idea of a million lifetimes. I had invented the Game of the Demiurge…