All around me people are playing the Spin and Win game. They’re totally engrossed, almost totally serene in their absorption! This in itself strikes me as rather funny. It definitely strikes me as being rather funny. Do you know what the big fat joke is here? The big fat joke is that no one ever wins. The big fat joke is that ‘everybody spins but nobody ever wins’.
‘So why is it such a big fat joke?’ you ask. ‘What’s so damn funny?’ Well, I’ll tell you. Now that you come to mention it, I’ll tell you. The joke is – like I say – that we’re all so damn super-serious about it, and yet at the same time no one ever wins. No one ever will win – that was never on the cards, that was never a possibility. I can tell you here and now that this is an absolute given – there is no possibility whatsoever of anyone ever winning. This being the case then why are we all so damn serious about it? Why do we keep at it as if we have got a perfectly good chance of winning, even though no one ever has and no one ever will? What the hell are we playing at here?
When you notice someone going around with a particularly serious expression plastered on their face (going around the place with that particularly serious expression on their face that we adult human beings tend to have) then ask yourself this question – ‘What the hell are they playing at?’ The next time you notice your own face in the mirror and you’ve got that serious ‘I’m playing the Spin and Win game’ expression on your face, then take a moment to ask yourself that question. Ask yourself “Just what it is that I’m playing at?’ I know you won’t of course. I’m only saying this by way of a device, by way of a literary contrivance. I know you won’t ask yourself this question because no one ever does. That would kill the game you see, and who wants to do that? The whole point of playing the Spin and Win game that we don’t want it to stop. The whole point of playing the Spin and Win game is that we desperately want to carry on thinking that we are going to win. At some point, at least…
It’s not just that we have absolutely zero chance of ever winning, it’s not just that ‘no one ever did and no one ever will’. It’s that there’s no such thing as winning! It’s a meaningless concept. Winning doesn’t exist. There’s this word ‘winning’ that we use in everyday parlance but it means absolutely nothing. It’s a hollow concept. There’s spinning are right and no one can deny this. There’s spinning for sure – no matter where you look you can see people spinning. Spinning like tops, they are. Spinning as if their lives depended upon it! What else do we ever do apart from spinning, for God’s sake? We don’t even know how not to spin, if the truth were to be known.
And it’s not as if we enjoy spinning either – it’s not as if we enjoy spinning for the sake of it. Oh no – we spin to win. That’s the long and short of it. That’s only possible justification for it. We spin because we want to win, not because of the joy of spinning! It’s like throwing dice or tossing a coin in the air to see if it comes down heads or tails – we don’t do this just for the fun of it. You bet we don’t! We’re being serious here; look at gamblers’ faces – aren’t they always serious? Gamblers are the most serious people in the world. We want to win because winning is so good, because winning is so great. It’s the greatest thing in the world! We throw our hats in the air and shout ‘whoopee!’ Everyone knows that winning is the greatest thing in the world – we all understand that. We don’t have to go up to someone and explain to them that winning is great! No no no. You don’t have to do that. You don’t have to do that because every last one of us knows it already.
And yet there is no such thing as it! That’s the crunch, that’s the rub. Do you get what I’m saying here? There’s no such thing as winning. We made it up. It’s a fiction, it’s an empty word. Never was there a word that was emptier. That’s the big fat joke, then. That’s it right there. No one can tell me that this isn’t pretty funny! Not only is it funny in a humorous way, in a big fat ‘laugh your head off’ type of way, it’s also funny in a downright weird, downright spooky kind of way. It’s freaky shit, when it comes right down to it. Not that anyone ever notices, of course. Not that any anyone ever comments on the utterly bizarre nature of our behaviour. God forbid! God forbid we should do that.
Spinning is suffering, you see. That’s the rub of the matter. Didn’t the Buddha say that? Spinning is suffering. We only spin because we think that we are going to get something for it. We only spin because we think that we can spin our way to happiness. We only spin because we think that one day we can hit the jackpot and that’ll make all of our suffering worthwhile. Make it all meaningful. But what do we think the jackpot is going to be, that’s the question isn’t it? What exactly do we think it’s going to be, this fantastic ‘reward’ for all our spinning? Just what the hell do we think that reward is going to be? But that’s the old ‘Spin and Win’ game anyway! That’s how it goes. That’s how it works. That’s it in a nutshell. It’s definitely a bit of a joke, wouldn’t you agree? For sure it’s a bit of a joke…..
I was thinking about all the things. So many things, so many things to think about! Who knows how many things there are to think about? Did anyone ever count them?
I was in the late night burger bar, tucking into a snack box meal. Two women sitting at the table next to me were talking about a person they knew and I was listening in to their conversation as I finished my chips. They were saying that this person who they both knew got very angry very quickly. I started to wonder if it was me they were talking about. ‘Is that me?’ I wondered, ‘is that me they are talking about? Do I get very angry very quickly?’ I was starting to get worried that it was me. I was worried that I might be bad.
So, I’d like to ask you a question. I’d like to ask you if you know that thing where one day you finally come back to reality and to your amazement you’re actually allowed back into reality? You’re actually allowed back into reality and nothing stops you. You think, ‘Wow! How about that! I’m allowed back into reality!’ You’re excited. And then the next thing is of course that you realise that you don’t belong in reality. You never have done, you never have done. You were only fooling yourself into thinking that you did. There’s no place for you there.
Do you know that thing, do you know that thing, I chortle away to myself. Do you know that thing? Do you? Do you know? I’m muttering incantations to myself to try to ward off the Darkness. I’m mumbling the Words of Power, trying to send the forces that had been unleashed back to the place from whence they came. ‘Get thee back, thou crocodile fiend Sui,’ I intone, ‘for I live by reason of the magical words that I have before me’.
I’d like to talk to someone and explain that I’m not normally like this. I don’t care who it is, anyone will do. I just want to explain that this isn’t actually me. This person you see, this person you see grimacing and mumbling away in front of you – that isn’t me. I don’t know who he is – there’s no connection, no relation. This guy’s just a freak – he’s a repulsive freak with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
More beef for your money, more beef for your money. Heh, heh, heh. Supersaver, supersaver, supersaver. Heh, heh, heh. More beef for your money, more beef for your money. Heh, heh, heh. Supersaver, supersaver, supersaver. Face-to-face with the Abuser Mind and what do you think he’s going to say? What’s he going to tell you? What’s his message for today?
‘Buy the products, buy the products, buy the products, you dirty rotten bastards’, shouts the Abuser Mind right in your face. ‘Buy the products, buy the products, buy the products’. The grinning, mocking Abuser Mind. Right up in your face. Drunk with power. ‘Buy the dirty filthy products, you stinking lousy bastards!’ shouts the Abuser Mind. He’s bellowing in your face like a bull. He’s laughing like a maniac. He’s bursting his guts laughing. He’s bursting his bloody guts. He’s roaring in your face. He’s telling you to buy the products. He’s doing his victory dance.
Recently – for whatever reason – I have been remembering more and more stuff from my childhood. Memories of my school days rush up at me out of nowhere and for a few brief moments I’m back there, reliving it, my adult life forgotten! I remember just the other day how we were all taken on a school trip to see one of the Five Great Emanators in the big city! He sat in a cardboard box, as I recall, and he had long matted hair. His face was covered in sores. Although he never smiled or looked in my direction I felt the benediction of his presence. Aah those schoolyard memories! I was only a little squirt back then – now I’m a three hundred ton behemoth, a savage predator of the sea! Aah those schoolyard memories – they never fail to take me by surprise. I can’t have been any more than fifty – still wet behind the ears, and yet full of innocent curiosity about the world. Life seemed so very simple back then – there was good on the one hand, and there was evil on the other. There were the Predators on the one side and they were the Children of the Light on the other side, whose job it was to defeat them. Whose heroic task it was to see to their defeat. Now I know that it is us who are the predators. Now I know that the evil is alive and well within me, and that my job is to pretend it isn’t there, to pretend that everything is okay, to pretend that we have defeated the darkness. No one ever defeats the darkness, do they? ‘Defeat the darkness’ – those words don’t make any sense. Those words don’t belong together. Those words are lies. No one ever defeats the darkness. No one ever does and no one ever will do. That’s the great myth – that we have defeated the darkness! That’s the myth that we live with, the myth that we swear by. That’s the Great Lie we tell ourselves every day. The Darkness thrives on our lies, and we lie a lot… That’s why my childhood memories hurt me so much. That’s why they bring bitterness to my heart. That’s why the memories of my long lost school days darken my mood and sour my appetite for life. I still remember that school trip to see one of the Five Great Emanators whose job it was to uphold the world. I was only a mere squirt then! I was only a mere sea squirt – only a few rungs up the evolutionary ladder from the protozoa! I had so far to go then, and yet at the same time so very far to fall…
I was trying my hand at epic space poetry. ‘Far from tragic Terra’s distant shore,’ I began, only to then run out of impetus. It was a good beginning though. ‘Far from tragic Terra’s distant shore,’ I declaimed loudly, trying to build up some motivation, but in vain. I felt sick, I realised – sick to the core. It was as if I had eaten something bad. It was no wonder that the poetry wasn’t coming to me, I concluded. I needed to get to somewhere more private where I could get sick. I would feel better then. There were there were too many prying eyes here for me to allow myself the luxury of vomiting. Far too many prying eyes. Boring in at me from all directions. I was in the Prying Eye Realm, and I had no room in which to manoeuvre. The memory – I mean world – in which I live (or do I mean memory) was cobbled together by a thousand malfunctioning machines, each trying to outdo all the others in terms of pure malevolence. ‘He took his eye off the ball’, they chorused solemnly, ‘and now look what has happened…’ The world had been remembered badly, it had been remembered incorrectly but there was now no way to go back and check it for accuracy – the errors were invisible, the errors were now part of the structure of everyday life. If you went against it then people would attack you in the street, if you went against it the authorities would detain you indefinitely on suspicion of anti-state activities. The errors had become enshrined in law; they were worshipped daily by millions; they had become a holy sacrament. To speak out against them meant instant death – the religious authorities would beat you senseless in the street in broad daylight whilst the gathered crowds cheered them on, hungry for the sight of blood, relieved and gratified that the wrongdoer had been caught and punished (and that it was not them). Relieved and gratified at the sight of the wrongdoer receiving his or her just deserts. What could be more gratifying than this, after all? What could possibly be more gratifying than this? Even as I write these words I find myself gripped by a terrible fatigue, a truly mind-numbing fatigue. You think I’m joking that I’m not. We think this is all just ‘poetic licence’ but it isn’t. My poetic licence has been revoked, after all. There’s no more poetry in me than there is in a solitary dog turd sitting there on the pavement. There is after all a base-level existence in which no poetry exists, a base-level of existence in which all the poetry of life has been leached out. Removed. Chemically extracted, you could say. We all know this ‘bargain basement’ level of existence. We hardly ever leave it, for God’s sake! We don’t know of any other world. We’re here pretty much all the time, grubbing around in the semidarkness, scrabbling around for what we perceive to be prizes of the greatest possible value but which are in reality nothing more than garish trinkets of the most distasteful nature. We viciously vie with each other for possession of this filth. We are such vulgar, graceless creatures! Such vulgar, graceless creatures. Myself included of course, myself included…
Do you know that thing where you have escaped the Abuse World but you know nonetheless that you have to go back? You know you have to go back because you belong there – you have always belonged there. It’s the only place that ever going to be right for you. The only place, the only place. What were you thinking when you thought that you could be somewhere else, what were you thinking when you thought that you could have some other life, that you deserved some other life? I see from your face that you do know what I’m talking about – I see from your face that you know very well. I need say no more, I need say no more. I realise that I am you, I realise that you are me. I realise that I’m looking in the mirror. It’s as if I’m your twin! You were dealt the same hand of cards as me, the same desperately bad hand… You know that feeling where you have escaped from the Abuse World and want to go back there, you know it only too well. You know it as well as anyone can ever know anything…
The tremendous compulsion to go back. The aching loneliness. The immense, paralysing fear. The Abuse World actually looks so very comforting – do you know that? So, so comforting. You want to go back so badly. So badly. Of course you know what I’m talking about. You know it only too well – you know that feeling as well as anyone could ever know anything. As well as anyone could ever know anything. It’s a type of homesickness really, isn’t it? You’re homesick for the Abuse World, you want so badly to go back there. To the abuse you know and understand. To the abuse that defines you.
It’s the weak part of you that wants to go back of course. The weak side of you that can’t stand on its own two feet. The dependent side, the addicted side, the undeveloped side, the side of you that never grew up. It never got a chance to grow up, in all fairness. It never got a chance, it never got a chance. You were kept like that – you were kept like that on purpose. Some are groomed for success and some are groomed for abuse, isn’t that it? Isn’t that the way? Some are groomed for success and some are groomed not just to put up with abuse, but to need it. Isn’t that true? Isn’t that the way?
It’s the weak side of you, the dependent side of you, the addicted side of you, and to be quite honest that’s the only side of you there is! The only side there is, the only side there is. That’s not a ‘side’, that’s the whole of you. It’s the whole of me, anyway! I don’t know of any other side of me, I don’t know of any other way to be. I’m frightened of any other way to be – I’m frighten more than I can say! So frightened, so very frightened. I’m so weak and dependent you see! I don’t know of any other way to be.
The Abuse World is my own mind of course. The Abuse World is my own mind. My own rotten spiteful old mind. My own dirty lousy stinking abusive old mind. It’s taught me everything I know – did I ever tell you that? My dirty old abuser mind. It’s taught me everything I know, and then some! It’s a poison factory, it’s the Abode of Evil. It’s a dank and unwholesome place at the best of times and now is not the best of times. Now is very far from the best of times! You would be embarrassed to bring your friends here. You be mortified to bring your friends here! Not that you have any friends of course. But if you did, but if you did…
When I was at school all the other kids used to call me ‘spider legs’ on account of my eight, spindly, hairy legs. I was a mutant. Don’t believe what you hear about mutants in all these stupid Hollywood films. Being a mutant isn’t all about superpowers and fancy costumes! It’s not like that at all. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. What a joke – your genome gets fucked over by ionising radiations and military mutagens, and – wow! – you’re good looking with nice teeth like a Hollywood movie star and you’ve got some supercool superpower that you can feel special about. Great, huh? But that’s just not how it works in the real world, as I’m sure you know. You get to be special all right, but not in a cool way. I left school under a cloud, I think I was depressed but I didn’t know it. It wasn’t a happy part of my life. I remember having to meet the school career guidance officer who got me to fill in the usual asinine forms. I wanted to be an astronaut because I felt the zero gravity would help me to compensate for the weakness of my very spindly legs. I remember feeling hurt when no one took any notice of what I had written in the form: first choice ‘freelance astronaut’. No second choice, no compromise. I can’t even begin to articulating the loathing I felt for school and all that it stood for. Not that I know what it stood for. I couldn’t have articulated it to you back then either. None of what I have said is in anyway true of course. It’s just my attempt to articulate something that I’m not able to put my finger on. I’m trying to get at something but I’m not quite sure what it is. Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe I’m chasing phantoms. It’s not something you can engage with directly, you see; when I try to tackle the issue head-on I just freeze up, that’s all. I just get choked up, I get frustrated and incoherent. Story of my life really – I’ve never found it easy to express myself. I suppose I should have got over all this stuff by now – it was a long time ago, after all. Personal computers hadn’t been invented yet, there was no such thing as the Internet. It was another age. I’m starting to realise that I’m a spent force. I realised that this morning. I’m a spent force and I haven’t actually done anything yet! What a bummer. What a fucking bummer. That wasn’t a great realisation, I can tell you. I’m a spent force and I have never actually done anything yet. ‘So what was my life energy spent on?’ you ask me. It must’ve been spent on something, after all. It must’ve been spent on something. ‘What have you got to show for all that life energy you spent?’ you ask. ‘Exactly what you got to show for it?’ you demand to know, looking me right in the eye, not letting me away with it. Of course no one is asking me this – no one cares. Why would they care? People have their own problems, as you know. They have other stuff on their minds. No one gives a damn – it’s just my own issue really. This is my own stuff that I’m trying to work out. We all go back over the past, I know that. We all rake over the past. We all do that. I’m travelling back to all my alternative pasts, exploring them, methodically gleaning them for clues. I’m remembering what the other kids used to call me – they used to call me ‘spider head’ on account of the fact that my head was so minute. It was little bigger than a pinhead, and covered with eight little black button-eyes. I was a chimeric life-form, a third-generation survivor of the neutron wars. Humans had interbred with scorpions and spiders to help survive the radiation. It was a high price to pay for sure but we had little enough choice in the matter.
Classic hits, classic hits – I was listening to the good old classic hits. You can’t beat them, can you? There’s nothing like the classic hits. That goes without saying really doesn’t it – they wouldn’t call them ‘classic hits’ if that wasn’t true, would they? It’s self-evidently the case. Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to say. I was going off on a bit of a tangent there. What I wanted to talk about is consciousness and how it can creep up on you in different ways. It can creep up on you as a friend and fill you with the most exquisite feelings of peace, serenity and well-being, or it can creep up on you as an enemy, all edgy and harsh, full of all the sharp angles of paranoia. The intensity is the same but there is a world of difference between the two, as I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you! Needless to say, it was the second type of accentuated awareness that I was experiencing – the uncomfortably-edgy type, the sharp-angled type. I was under the magnifying glass of ultra-harsh awareness and I didn’t know who was looking through it. In one way I suppose it was me looking through that that magnifying glass – that’s what logic would tell me, anyway – but in another way it was as if I was the subject of consciousness rather than the object. I was being looked at, rather than being the one who was in control and doing the looking. I was being pitilessly exposed before that merciless awareness. I didn’t know who it belonged to – it was a thing in itself, a force quite independent of me. I didn’t know anything about it – it appeared out of nowhere like a mountain that had suddenly sprouted out of a pebble or small stone on the edge of the path you are walking down. I was just like a bug on a microscope slide, squirming away in unbearable discomfort like some kind of burrowing, subterranean creature suddenly pulled out of its hole and exposed to the searing bright sunlight of midday. When consciousness itself rises up as an implacable enemy than where can one turn? What direction can one escape in? What friendly nooks and crannies can one access to gratefully hide within? I only say that to emphasize that they are no directions to turn to, no directions to run in; I only say that to emphasize that there are no nooks and crannies to hide in. ‘Are you a bad person, though?’ You ask, keen to point out that the fault cannot be anyone else’s. ‘Are you perhaps a bad or wicked person? Have you considered that? Is that the problem, do you think? How else is the universe itself your enemy? How would that happen otherwise? How would consciousness itself turn against you?’ I don’t know what to say to that, apart from pointing out that it isn’t particularly helpful for me to hear this. I can’t say that I feel any better for considering that possibility. Not really much better. Not much improved. Not noticeably, anyway. ‘But what is it that causes consciousness to rise up as a friend one day, and as an implacable enemy on the next?’ you persist, unwilling to let it go. You’ve got a point to make. You’re like a dog with a bone. ‘Why would that happen? Why would things switch around like this?’ But I don’t know the answer to that. How would I be expected to know? What am I supposed to say to that, anyway?