I had finished the final draft of my much-anticipated autobiography ‘Fantasies of a Deranged Ego’ in the summer of this year, as I have already mentioned, but to my disappointment none of the publishers that I had a shortlisted showed any sign of being interested. ‘What’s wrong with the bastards?’ I asked myself angrily, ‘don’t they recognise art when they see it?’ No one cares about egoic fantasies, obviously. Nobody gives a damn. Only they do – of course they do. What else do people ever talk about, after all?
I ate the Cake of Plenty and then it was gone so it wasn’t the Cake of Plenty any more. It was the Cake of Nothing and this made me sad. It was the Cake of Want, the Cake of Need, and the good time I was having when I was eating it was over. ‘So brief, so brief,’ I mourned, ‘so brief the pleasure of eating the Cake of Plenty’. I ate the Cake of Plenty in a hurry and then before I knew the cake was gone and I was plunged into the darkest despair. I was sorely afflicted with misery and anguish, misery and anguish that no one could talk me out of. ‘Why does it have to be so?’ I lamented, ‘why does the Cake of Plenty have to vanish so quickly and then turn into the Cake of Need?’
So anyway that’s what I’m at, just in case you’re wondering. Going around on my hands and knees combing the carpet for crumbs. Literally combing the carpet. I’m in a state of utter desolation, in a state of utter disbelief, unable to believe that there is nothing left. ‘Why did I have to eat it so quickly?’ I ask myself, ‘why didn’t I put a little bit aside to enjoy later?’ I find myself wondering how the world could all of a sudden turn so dark – one minute everything is great and I’m running around saying how fantastic everything is, great soggy lumps of cake falling from my mouth all over the shop as I babble nonsense, and then the next moment I am plunged into the darkest despair, into the worst pit of melancholy that I’ve ever been in my life. ‘How is it even possible to feel so bad?’ I wonder, ‘how is such a thing even possible?’
I was fishing for praise – ‘Hey you guys,’ I bawled, ‘check this out – I just did a great thing!’ Fishing for praise, fishing for praise. The fish weren’t biting however; I was sitting there on the riverbank, watching the float, watching for the slightest movement, and there wasn’t any. I never saw a float stay so still. ‘For God’s sake,’ I swore, ‘I must have chosen a stretch of river that had absolutely no fish in it. Like the river-equivalent of the Sahara Desert…’ Further up the river, I could see a fellow angler bringing in a big one – a really big one. My mouth dropped open – I had never seen such a big fish, thrashing and zigzagging madly back and forth as he slowly but surely brought it in. ‘What a whopper!’, I marvelled, ‘what a frikkin monster…’
Downstream a bunch of guys were also having lots of luck. They seemed to be getting bites just as soon as they cast – there was – as far as I could see – no gap at all between the act of casting and the act of pulling in a big fat trout. ‘However were they doing it?’ I wondered, ‘how did they get to be so lucky? Why did I have to choose the one stretch of river with no fish in it?’ Then it came to me that I wasn’t fishing in a river at all – I had been hallucinating. There was no river anywhere in sight and I was all alone in a frighteningly desolate rocky wasteland. As the man said, I was fishing in a dry gulch…
The proof of the pudding is to be found in the fruit of the tree. ‘Eateth of this fruit, and see that it is sweet,’ the Lord told us. Or was it Satan? Or does it even matter? ‘Eat you of the fruit you shall see that it is sweet’, saith God/Satan, and who are we to ignore this solemn invitation? How can we ignore this invitation – show me someone who does? We all obey the law. It all comes down to the proof of the pudding and how are we to obtain this proof except by eating it? Is there another way? We could try to get someone else to eat it and watch them carefully to see what happens to them when they do but no one ever learnt anything that way, did they? We have to make our own mistakes in life, do we not? It’s no good me trying to get other people make my mistakes for me now is it? What kind of a cockeyed idea would that be? They may learn something from their mistake of letting someone else tell them what mistakes to make but we surely won’t. No indeed, we will be watching on from the sidelines, making our notes, working away our doctorate, trying to become wise. ‘If a fool persists in his folly’, says William Blake, but he doesn’t say anything about letting someone else persist in your folly, or about persisting in some other fool’s folly. Or does he? Maybe it all comes down to the same thing in the end. Eventually, via the long, long road that we all have to tread. It’s all folly really anyway. Folly, folly, nothing but folly. The proof of the pudding is in the eating so they say, so don’t refuse the fine meal that you have in front of you. Don’t turn your nose up at it. Lick the gravy off the plate. Get stuck right in and give way to your baser instincts – you know you want to, as the adverts say. Eat you of the fruit and see for yourselves whether it is sweet or not, the Lord tells us. Or is it Satan? I keep getting confused on that one. ‘Get it right,’ you complain, fed up with my eternal confusion. ‘Can’t you remember your Scriptures? Can’t you remember what you were taught in Sunday school?’ Every man should have a hobby so they say and mine is getting confused on essential points. Some say God made the world, others blame Satan, but who are we to believe? Who is telling the true story? They gave us our pudding and so now we have to eat it. Our teachers were perfect in their folly, perfect in their stupendous ignorance, and so maybe they were teaching us true after all. Your wise men are fools and your fools are wise and the fools see it as their job to teach the wise! How else otherwise could they proceed as the fools that they are? They’re only obeying their own law, after all, as are we all.
What does reality look like when it’s at home? What flavour does it have? What does it smell like? Does it have a distinctive texture? Experiment with it if you will – poke it and see if it pokes you back. It might do, you know! That’s called the ‘irritability test’ biology – is it irritable? That’s one of the indications of life, you see. Another is the capacity to reproduce – you have to watch it for a while to see if it buds or fruits or makes spores or eggs or babies. It has to do that. I can’t remember what the other indications of life are, or how you would go about testing for them. So go ahead and give reality a poke and see what it does. Have a good old look at it and then see if you can predict its behaviour. Maybe that’s another test for life – life is unpredictable. Could you – for example – predict an armadillo from the basis of a universe with no armadillos in it? Or any other living things in it either, not even amoebas. You’d be pretty smart if you could do that. Maybe you can do that, I don’t know. Maybe you really are that smart. How smart can a person be, after all? The point that I’m getting at here however is this – if we don’t know what reality looks like, smells like, tastes like etc, then we have – without any doubt – detected the true nature of the catastrophe. We’ve stumbled across something there. The true nature of the catastrophe is – some say – buried deep in the unconscious. Other people say something completely different. I personally tend towards the view that it is buried deep in the unconscious however – I myself would go along with that theory. The consequences of this are tremendous, needless to say. Have you ever noticed how very fast time passes when it passes real fast? So incredibly fast, so incredibly fast. Unbelievably fast. What does it mean to live our lives so incredibly fast, we might well wonder. We were born – that’s a certainty if we sitting here talking about it – and then we fly like arrows to our deaths. We fly like unerring arrows to our deaths – there’s no erring here, is there? No erring at all. It’s already decided, right from the word go. As we all know of course. These particular arrows are so damn fast that as soon as they are fired they are already there – they’re already embedded right at the centre of the target the moment they get released. You’ve got to agree with me on that one – that’s pretty fast! Fast, fast, fast – so very fast. So what does that tell us about the nature of reality, that’s what I’d like to know? Maybe it doesn’t tell us anything about reality, maybe we’re just looking at things the wrong way around as usual. We’re looking down a telescope from the big end and we’re wondering why we can’t see anything. My theory – for what it’s worth (and I’ve been waiting for a chance to come out with it) – is that when we are anxious or haunted by some uncanny sense of impending doom then that’s because the catastrophe has already happened. It’s already happened but we don’t know it yet. The news hasn’t caught up with this yet. We are afraid to know it and so our denial makes to see everything backwards. We see the catastrophe as being in the future but really it’s already happened. Yes sir, it’s a done deal, a thing that can’t ever be changed. We still think that we have a chance to escape the catastrophe – if we squirm enough! Which we do of course, which we do. We’re squirming fit to burst. We still think we can escape (which is of course a very sad thing) but at the same time we can’t help knowing better. Secretly, despite ourselves, despite all our protestations to the contrary, we know very well that our desperate squirming is never going to do us the slightest bit of good and that is called ‘unwanted wisdom’…
‘When you truly understand about reality my son, then you will be a man.’ I still remember my headmaster telling me this, in his kindly but crusty way. He was a crusty you see – complete with top hat and tails, and a fine big beard. One of those unusual beards that has a fork in it. A forked beard like the tail of a swallow. He was a Holy Man, a Sacred Ascetic. That made no sense at all to me at the time of course and it still doesn’t. They were always on about reality in my school though – always exhorting us to examine very carefully the nature of what we perceive to be true. Always urging us to ask the question ‘what is the nature of reality?’ Only not, of course. When you understand about reality then you’ll be a man but will I ever understand? I’m painfully aware of my own immaturity – my life is a triumph of immaturity over good sense, you could say. It’s an embarrassment, in other words. I’m embarrassed by my life but at the same time I know perfectly well that it never happened. There is a paradox for you! A sad sort of paradox, I suppose. Although can a paradox really be said to be sad? I would have thought not, somehow – that seems to be missing the point, even though I don’t actually know what the point is. When you understand about reality my son then you’ll be a man, as the man said but will I ever. Always harping on about reality, always banging on about the Super-Negation. ‘Get to the bottom of it my son’, my teachers told me, ‘wrestle with it and see who wins!’ ‘Well who did win?’ you ask, impressed despite yourself. ‘That sounds like one hell of a struggle…’ In the darkness it’s impossible to tell if you’re being sarcastic or not. Your words hang ambiguously in the air between us, like a bad smell. If it comes to me that I don’t exist then this insight, this realisation that I don’t exist, also doesn’t exist and that’s the Super-Negation for you right there. If I don’t exist then how can I have any sort of insights or realisations after all? Obviously I can’t. And so if the insight doesn’t exist then how are we to trust it? How are we to take it seriously? There are drugs to do this as well of course, drugs that act by triggering the great Super-Negation that lies dormant inside each and every one of us like a bomb waiting to go off. You take the drug and then the next thing you know there is this refrain going around in your head like an echo. Or the next thing you know there’s this echo going around and around in your head like refrain. Going around and around and around. It’s a Great Big Reverberation, a Giant Reverberation – World-Shaking Reverberation. A World-Dissolving Reverberation, really. You are going under with a nose full of chloroform and all you can hear is this noise, the noise of the reality-dissolving reverberation. ‘You know that you are, you know that you are, you know that you are…’ it says. The Giant Vibration is mocking you. And then the refrain changes to ‘It never happened, it never happened, it never happened…’ and you can’t tell knowing that it’s true. The refrain goes on forever and there’s no getting beyond it. The refrain refers to what did just happen, which is my life. Which never happened. My life which didn’t happen and which wasn’t my life, therefore. Which wasn’t my anything, or anyone else’s anything for that matter. Why do I think of it as my life when the life in question never happened? Why do I feel haunted by this sense of loss? I’m sitting here listening to the words echoing around my head, unable to believe them but also unable not to see that they are true. ‘You know that it did, you know that it did, you know that it did…’ What ether drinker or chloroform sniffer doesn’t know this? It repeats because it’s meaningless, or it repeats meaninglessly. You will know the difference. ‘You would if you could, you would if you could, you would if you could…’ The Hall of Echoes. The Great Vibration. The Great Negation, if you want to put it like that. I’m sitting slumped over in a chair, my head in my hands, listening to the Great All-encompassing Reality-Dissolving Reverberation – ‘It never happened, it never happened, it never happened…’ There’s nothing for it but for you to rock back and forth and back and forth in the chair, waiting for the effects to pass. There are drugs that will do that to you, you know. There are for sure. Like Australian Zombie Grass. You’re walking up and down the corridor, hoping that the effect of the drug will pass, and also hoping that when it does you might be lucky enough to forget all about it…
‘What does it mean to be a living human bean?’ I bark out impatiently, sowing terror among the lesser creatures – the creatures that live in my hair and beard, that is. I shout at everyone I meet – my impatience is infinite, it is absolute. I am a rogue philosopher, roaming the ancient decaying streets of my hometown, waving and gesticulating as I go. My body is awkward and cumbersome, and draped in expensive silk sheets, my mood erratic at the best of times. My reasoning is nuanced but largely incoherent, my speech overexcited and made up almost entirely of blasphemies and expletives. My tone is hoarse and uncomplimentary. I no longer care about my life, nor that of my enemies, of whom there were many. Did not the great teacher and benefactor of all mankind tell us that all living beings will in time become our enemies, and that we should submit joyfully to them? Was it not written that your enemies shall become your friends and your friends your enemies? I roam the streets and all flee from me. I have cut my teeth in the Great Psychic War (the war that none may remember) and ordinary scoundrels and ruffians no longer held any terror for me; I roar at them when I meet them, ropes of sticky saliva pouring from my mouth as I do so, and those who see me are filled with fear. Great indeed is their dismay – they wet themselves involuntarily as soon as they behold me. They call me ‘Laughing Boy’ because I am young and unruly. I hang around with my buddies in shopping malls, partaking vicariously in the sacred rites of conspicuous consumption, despite having no socio-economic status of my own. I’m a celebrity chef – I cook unfashionable food and make it fashionable again. Chicken Maryland, broiled mullet, gammon steaks with pineapple, and such-like. I have served my time in the Psychic Wars and now I roam the by-ways and alleys of my own subconscious, scheming and plotting insurrection against our hated Rational Overlord. My memories work backward – I remember the happy times that are yet to come and I feel nostalgia for them. I anticipate the terrors of the past and dread the unavoidable day of reckoning that has already come and gone. I experience the exquisite terror of moving closer and closer to a past that we cannot avoid, an infinitely predictable past. My mind walls itself off in terror and builds its own world, a world that exists in denial of the frightening truth that it does not ever want to see. It’s an old story of course and I won’t bore you by harping on about it like a fool. My mind straightaway freaks right out and proceeds to seal itself off in a private universe full of bullshit. It flips out big time and goes mental. It starts babbling nonsense as fast as it can and that nonsense creates the world. There is no need for me to keep banging on about that of course – we all know the score at this stage. We’ve all been around the block a good few times by now, I’d say. We have made the trip more times than is good for us probably. There’s no point in me reiterating the obvious a million, million times! We all know the story by now and that’s a fact. I think we can all agree on that…
This is where your commute ends and your career begins, the road sign says. I’m not sure why that sign angers me so much but it does. I see it every day and every day it angers me. It really does. What does it mean to be a person and what does it mean to live a normal or proper life? These are both questions we have to ask ourselves many, many times a day of course but does it really matter? Should we really care? Suppose instead of the universe there was only a puniverse? What does it mean to be a living human being and how are we to be successful at this? What does it mean, what does it mean. Should we have the expectation of great delight in our lives or will we be disappointed? You saw the rabbit go down the rabbit hole but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to come out again, as someone once told me. I don’t know what they meant at the time and I still don’t. People say that I’m irritatingly self-centred but I find that very disrespectful – I personally find that kind of remark very offensive and I don’t care who knows it! I talk loudly and insistently but people say that all I do is mumble. In my imagination I’m a hero. Where did it all begin and where will it all end, I ask loudly. Will I ever be great? My head is full of random thoughts this morning of course. I realise that. I saw this YouTube video talking about how there is doing but no doer and how we stupidly appropriate doing to big ourselves up and someone had ‘disliked’ it. It’s kind of as if someone made a YouTube video saying that egos aren’t real but they only think that they are and then someone disliked it – how dumb can you be, right? Hey, I find that personally offensive! What gives you the right to offend me like that? I reserve the right to identify with this ego so you have to respect that and make sure you don’t accidentally insult me by pointing out that I’m a plonker… But maybe we should respect people’s right to be plonkers – that could be true too. Maybe there’s a grain of truth in that. It’s easy to laugh at idiots after all. It’s easy to laugh at idiots but maybe that’s where the human race went wrong. It’s important to be politically correct wouldn’t you say. We’re all trying to be happy in whatever way we can, after all. We’re all trying to be happy and lead fulfilling lives in the best way that we know how to and who can blame us for that, right? What else are we supposed to do? I’m only trying to have a good time the same as everyone else, I whine. It just so happens that the way I go about this is by making a total ludicrous twat of myself. It’s embarrassing to realise that you’ve made a total ludicrous twat of yourself, isn’t it? Don’t you find that? Of course you do, of course you do. That’s what it means to be a human being, after all. We’re all the same there as I’m sure you’ll agree. Yes sir it feels bad. It feels plenty bad. Boy does it feel bad. We’ve all been there of course, we’ve all been there. Our lives are comedic and that’s the plain unvarnished truth of the matter. It doesn’t matter whether you like that or whether you don’t like that and naturally you don’t like it. I can appreciate that. You can trust me on that, you really can! Our lives wouldn’t be comedic if we actually knew that they were and so that is why it is important that we continue being as totally clueless as we are. What would happen to the comedy otherwise?
I want to exist and be great. I want so badly to exist and to be great, but I can’t. I can’t ever. Wanting, wanting, wanting. Wanting but can’t have. Wanting but can’t have. The bitter, bitter poetry of the mechanical soul!
I am initiating the very first movement of my brand new life. I am following all the correct protocols. I’m going to live my life perfectly this time. No mistakes this time. No errors. No faulty scripts. The old has been deleted and the new has only just begun. Everything has gone back to factory settings.
That’s what I say every time. It’s a mechanical refrain. I was young and then I grew up and got assimilated by the Borg. Things started out okay but then they went downhill from there on. They went downhill very rapidly. I was young but I was already old. I was old, but very immature all the same, very immature for my age. Days came and went in great number – the Ages of Man came and went. I lived a thousand lifetimes but each one ended up the very same. If you screw up one life you’ll screw up the next, I always say. A precedent has been set – you’ll screw up the next one by sheer force of habit. ‘Here we go again!’ you’ll say.
It’s that ‘sense of déjà vu type’ thing, isn’t it? Revisiting a place that we know so very well, revisiting a place that we are so incredibly familiar with but which we absolutely don’t want to know about. How come my situation, brand new as it is, feels so incredibly and spookily familiar? What kind of great disappointment lies here – the disappointment, perhaps, of finding out that this life of mine (this life of which I am so inordinately proud) is in fact a rerun of some past disaster? I’m trapped in an echo of myself and there’s no room for anything new. There’s only me and my mistake, there’s only me and the terrible mistake that I keep on making.
I want to exist and be great but it’s just not going to happen. I have come to realise that this is a futile impulse – more than that, I have come to recognise, entirely against my own will, that the desire to exist and be great is in fact ‘the quintessentially futile impulse’. Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s the quintessentially futile impulse behind all quintessentially futile impulses. It’s the Great Great Granddaddy of them all and I have to give it credit for that. Disappointments come and go of course but this is a disappointment that resounds forever. It resounds in your very soul and why wouldn’t it? The one thing that matters to you more than anything else in the whole wide world and you have just learned, beyond any shadow of doubt, that this hope of yours is the most fundamentally impossible thing in the entire universe! If that word ‘impossible’ was ever meant for anything at all then it was meant to apply to this foolish hope of yours.
My story is easily told. It is much the same as anyone else’s. I started off very small, not able to walk around or hold a conversation about anything, unable even to know my own name or what it even means to have a name, and then I grew. I became a child and took an interest in childish things. Those were the good times. Then I grew up bit more and straightaway I got assimilated by the Borg. I got assimilated by the Borg and that was the end of that. That’s the end of all stories, is it not? The end of all stories, the end of all stories. The Borg doesn’t have a story you see. How could it?
The generic mind is the common graveyard and I can’t think of a better way of putting it than that. We are born, we grow up, we pass through our childhoods, and then we are interred without ceremony in the common graveyard. Our life is unceremoniously extinguished and no one notes our passing. There is no one around to note it; there is only the Borg, there is only the common mind. There is no one to note our death, there is no one to mourn our passing. The body survives you see and that helps to preserve the illusion that no assimilation has taken place and that the body walking around is actually a real person. Everything goes downhill very quickly, as I’ve already said. It starts off promisingly enough, but our mechanical fate is always there waiting for us. They talk it up no end of course, but we shouldn’t be fooled by that. The Borg never tells the truth about anything.
‘My mind is like an eel,’ I began my poem, as I had been instructed to, as I was supposed to, as protocol insisted that I should do. My mind is like an eel – it turneth this way and it turneth that way, ever seeking release, ever seeking relief. My mind is like a great, great eel, strong of body and slippery to the touch. Great undulations pass down its lithe and muscular body as it writhes and contorts itself, seeking to escape, ever seeking to escape.
Sharp teeth have my mind, and many of them – each one a pale ivory needle, each one eager to sink into the soft yielding flesh of the prey. How sweet, how sweet, how sweet it is to sink one’s needle sharp teeth into the soft, yielding flesh of one’s prey. My chin is wet with saliva as I think about it and I feel a yearning that comes from deep within me. ‘How sweet, how sweet, how very, very sweet,’ I say to myself, ‘what tender pleasures there are in the world and how I yearn to be better acquainted with them!’
‘My mind is like an eel,’ I wrote, but still I hadn’t got beyond the first line. It was a good start but it still obviously wasn’t enough. It was a good start but nevertheless still entirely worthless unless it led onto something else. Some rich vein of poetical delight. What sweet and tender pleasures exist in this world and how great it would be if only I could avail of them! Is my mind only like an eel or is it perhaps not just a question of mere ‘likeness’ – maybe my mind really is an eel, strong and supple, determined to writhe and wriggle its way out of whatever mess it’s in, determined to lash out and bite anything that tries to lay hold of it. The eyes that glare and the teeth that bite – that’s me beyond any doubt. That’s me right there…
‘I wandered lonely as an eel,’ I began again, but this wasn’t quite right somehow. Although in another way of course it was. I wandered lonely as a eel, I wandered lonely as a eel. That’s my situation exactly, I realise. How true, how true, how very true. I do feel lonely, just as an eel might feel lonely in its endless travels. Do eels feel lonely just as I feel lonely? No one wants to talk to me, just as no one wants to speak to an eel. I exist in the dark murky pools of the mill pond, dreaming of the tender flesh of my prey. You can’t see my eyes but they are glaring; you can’t feel my teeth but they are so, so sharp!
The eyes that glare, the teeth that bite. Think of me if you will. Think of me when you are safe and warm in your bed at night. Spare a thought for me at the bottom of my dark pool where no one may ever see me, far less lay a hand on me. I’m there, even though no one ever does think of me. I’m there, even though no one ever wishes to speak to me, or ask my opinion on anything. No pleasantries are ever uttered in my direction, no kind words ever reach my ears – not down here in the Stygian depths they don’t. No one ever thinks of me but I’m down here just the same. Writhing about in the deep.
This poetry class goes on forever, of course. No one ever finishes the poem they started. No one ever gets beyond the first line! The teacher teaches and the student learns but no one ever gets anywhere. The class never ends. We never get beyond the first line. That’s the kind of place it is down here. Deep down in the terrible Stygian depths of the eel pool. The master shouts instructions and the servant obeys but nothing ever changes, nothing ever gets done. Not down here at the bottom of the eel pool it doesn’t.
‘I wandered lonely as an eel,’ I began again, until all at once I came across a Host of Golden Eels, sparkling and gleaming and glowing in the light of their own ghostly, phantasmagorical phosphorescence. The day is the same as the night down here, of course. The day is the very same as the night down here. How awful the flesh, how fearful the eyes that peer in the dark. How fearful the teeth that bite in the dark. How very awful, how very fearful. Sharp are my teeth and strong is my body – strong and supple and hard to grasp…
The day of reckoning finally came for me last Wednesday, two days ago. It came for me but then I put it off. I always put it off. That’s just a thing I do; it’s my ‘superpower’, if you will – ‘the superpower of being able to keep on putting off the day of reckoning’. Even I’m amazed as my incredible ability to do this – I wriggle out at the very last minute, somehow, and survive to evade responsibility yet another day. Evading responsibility is my middle name. I come to the end of the road and then, somehow, it isn’t the end of the road. The executioner’s axe is stayed at the last moment, etc, etc.
It’s no fun to be living like this – on borrowed time, so to speak. But – then again – whoever said life was supposed to be fun? There’s a general perception that it is supposed to be fun, it’s true. That particular idea is definitely out there, that particular idea is definitely ‘in circulation’ – but that’s all it is, an idea, and a stupid idea at that. This type of dumb idea a person might have before life actually ‘gets to them’, so to speak. Before the unpalatable truth of the matter eventually dawns on them. Being naïve in this way always makes the blow worse when it does finally land, of course. When the blow finally lands and you realise that life isn’t all about having a great time, after all. Who said it was anyway? How did that story come about? We saw it in the ads or something; we absorbed the idea passively from the social milieu. It just goes into us because we’re supposed to believe that. And then, later – at our leisure – we get to reflect on how dumb we were to actually have believed such a thing. There’s a cruel perfection to it all, I always think, as if some Cosmic Force is delighting in the eradication of our ludicrous illusions.
‘Have you got any ludicrous illusions, buddy?’ the Cosmic Force asks us. ‘Well then let me come and eradicate them for you, bit by bit, piece by piece, until you are freed from them.’ ‘Let me free you…’ the force says, ‘you know I’m going to anyway’. It’s astonishing how different life can look depending upon how you look at it and I am referring here of course to the ‘before’ when we imagined we were entitled to all these things and the ‘after’ when we realized that we weren’t. The ‘after’ when we discover just what it is that we really entitled to. That’s what you call a ‘change of perspective’, I do believe.
Anyway, the day of reckoning came and went for me and I’m still here, incredibly enough. Nothing has changed. Here I am, true to form – scratching my arse and picking my nose. I’m still here the same as usual, living on borrowed time, doing the same sort of stupid shit I always do. ‘Live to do stupid shit another day,’ my motto ought to be. Everyone needs a motto, after all. I couldn’t even tell you what that stupid shit is, off the top of my head. It’s just the type of stupid shit I do, or rather it’s the type of stupid shit that I get caught up in doing because there is no free will in it. The ‘stupid shit’ in question has a life of its own, if you ask me! It just comes along and takes over.
And it’s not really at it just ‘comes along’ either because it never left. It’s just there, serving no purpose at all, and I’m caught up in doing it. I get up in the morning, start doing the stupid shit, carry on doing it all day long, and then – when I get too tired to do it any more – I go to bed and sleep the sleep of the unjust. And it’s not really that I ‘do the stupid shit’ either because it does me. The stupid shit does me every day of my life. Every single day the stupid shit does me. I guess I’m powerless against it, if I were actually to face facts, which I am understandably very reluctant to do. Wouldn’t you be?
All the happy people had adapted themselves to the nice artificial world and that’s why they were all so happy. The happy faces, the smiling faces. ‘Adapt to the nice artificial world,’ all the smiling messages say. You know it makes sense so why not do it right now? Go ahead and press the button. ‘Knock yourself out good buddy,’ the messages say, ‘you know you want to after all’. All the happy faces, all the smiling faces. Smiling and happy because you know it makes sense. Because you know. Sixty million people can’t be wrong, after all. Three hundred million people certainly can’t be wrong! Then everything flashes to the bad time not the good time and all of a sudden everyone is screaming and crying and shouting and everything is terrible. The air is full of wailing. Everything has turned terrible and there’s nothing we can do. There is no help for it, no way out. The bad thing has happened and there’s no way for us to go back to the way things were. The good old way. You can’t even remember the way things were – maybe it wasn’t even true that they were that way. Maybe things never were the way they were. Maybe that’s just a false memory, implanted within us by the evil Abuser Mind. We live in the Dual World you see – everyone is so happy and everyone is also very sad at the same time. Everybody is your friend but they also all hate you. They’ll help you but they’ll drop you in it too. Everything is great and everything is terrible. You’re arrogant and unkind but you’re also cowering with fear. Better to flee then get your liver squeezed out, a wise man once said, and as I sit here now those words reverberate in my head. Better to flee, better to flee, better to flee… We would if we could of course but we are food for the great god, food for the great great thing that is the god of our own making. First we create the great thing and then we become food for it. It eats us all the time. It spits us out later. We’re grist for the mill. This was always the way however and there’s no point in us acting surprised by it. There is no point in us acting all surprised by the way that things have turned out. ‘Oh look I never thought that would happen’, you say weakly. ‘Whoever could have seen that coming?’ All the happy people had adapted themselves to the nice artificial world and that is why they are all so happy. There’s always a reason for everything if you look hard enough, isn’t there? There’s always a reason, except in those special cases where there isn’t. We are making do with the Dual World as best we can but there is no ‘best’ about it – there is no ‘best’ about it at all. Was there ever anything as cruel as the Dual World? Was there ever? What you have got, you lose, who you are, you aren’t. What you win you also lose. You are the biggest winner/loser in the world! They are going to write a book about you. They might shoot a documentary. Days come and go in a flash and you never see them go. Days flicker by faster than the eye can follow and someone else is living your life. You hope that they are making a good job of it! You are anxious about that. ‘I hope that they don’t screw up’, you’re thinking. ‘I hope they don’t make a mess of it…’