I was trying to work out whether I have an aversion to doing wrong or an aversion to get caught doing for doing something wrong and I eventually came to the decision that it was the latter. It’s important to be honest with oneself, after all. Whenever possible. I was getting all these panicky feelings in my head and I was starting to hyperventilate, but that was probably just all the LSD I took earlier. I expect I took too much, as usual – out of pure mindless greed. Well that greed was re-bounding me now, I figured, trying to be at least halfway philosophical about it. It was too late to do anything else at this stage anyway. Other than be philosophical. I just had to grin and bear it, as they say. Keep a stiff upper lip, if that was at all possible. Pretend nothing bad was happening. No one ever overdosed on LSD after all, so that was an important thing to remember. It’s important not to do the wrong things in life, I told myself, because if you do then you might be caught and punished, like I had been…
It’s important to try to be honest with oneself, that’s what I always say. Well – I don’t always say that but perhaps I should. Or rather, maybe I should actually practice that moral principle and not just talk about it. Practice what you preach, right? I come out with a lot of shit, if I were to be honest about it. I’m always talking shit – the only time I stop is when I pause for breath. I was going to say, ‘the only time I stop is when I pause the breath or when I’m asleep’ but that isn’t really true either – people tell me that I even talk shit when I’m asleep, only not so loudly. I talk shit in a low voice when I’m asleep, so I’m told – muttering and mumbling so you can’t quite make out what I’m saying, but talking shit nonetheless. Just incoherent shit. I guess I’ll never stop at this stage – it’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime isn’t it? The simplest thing is just to see it through to its conclusion. That’s the way it looks to me, anyway.
Do you know that thing where you look in the mirror one morning and you realise that – unbeknownst to you – you’ve turned into a sad old git? You never saw it happen but it happened nonetheless. And now of course it’s too late for you to do anything about it. You’re lumbered with it. That’s a bad old feeling isn’t it? I think you’ll agree with me on that one – that’s a bad old feeling. Have you ever felt nostalgia for the life you used to lead, even though that life never existed, even though you are remembering it completely wrong? I have, for sure. I mourn what never was, I am wracked with heartache over something that never happened, something that never could have happened. Poignant, isn’t it? What does it all mean, I wonder. This ‘attachment to illusion’ business. It all seems rather odd when you think about it, doesn’t it? Kind of bizarre. I could understand it if the illusion had something good in it – that would make sense. But of course the whole point about illusion is that there’s nothing good in it, nothing at all. If there was something good in it then it wouldn’t be illusion! Don’t tell me you don’t find that kind of weird!? Take me for example – here I am getting all maudlin over a life I never had, feeling those savage pains of loss, and I never actually lost anything. What am I, some kind of frigging moron?
Is it normal to pledge one’s allegiance to the Principle of Evil, I wondered? Is that part of the Divine Plan? Is it normal for all human beings to worship Satan and raise mighty monuments to his name, in honour of this superb greatness? And if it isn’t normal then how come this is what we always do? Is it part of the Divine Plan for us all to make ourselves into Satan’s slaves and do his loathsome bidding in all things? These are just some of the questions that come along from time to time to trouble my head. Irksome questions, you might say; questions that don’t come with any easy answers. Easy answers are of course the province of the Devil and we mustn’t forget that. It’s very important to remember to praise Satan at every available opportunity for all the wonderful suffering and disappointment that he is going to bring us. That’s what I learned at school, anyway. Everything I learned at school was wrong of course. Isn’t that what schools are for, after all – to teach us wrong things?
Have you ever felt nostalgia for the old ego-self? I rather suspect all of us have, at some time or other. We look back at the life we led as the old ego-construct through rose-tinted spectacles and we shed a few tears thinking of the good times we used to have.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, I hasten to add. Nothing wrong with it at all. It’s perfectly natural to feel the odd pang of nostalgia for the old conditioned existence. Perfectly normal. It’s all fantasy of course and I know that as well as you do but at the same time it has to be said that there’s no harm in it. There’s no harm in a little nostalgia every now and again. Indeed there isn’t.
The good times we had, the good times we had. Just me and my ego, up against the whole world! Just me and my ego, knocking around the place, having the craic. We were a team you see – we stuck together and helped each other out when times were tough. Unbeatable, we were! We were some team, I can tell you – an unbeatable team. Although we got badly beaten in the end of course. Very badly beaten, as I remember.
Those were the days and those were the days and those were the days my friend. Those were the days and those were the days. That’s a fragment of a song that keeps on going through my head. It repeats on me, so it does. Like smoked mackerel that was eaten too fast. Hey – it’s you again my friend. Nothing will ever be the same again of course and that makes me sad. Those days will never come again. Those days when it was just me and my ego up against the world. We lost very badly in the end needless to say, as I believe I have already mentioned.
You couldn’t beat the craic we had, you see. No sir you couldn’t beat it… The world has changed an awful lot since then however and I am not sure I understand it any more. I’m not really sure if I have any place in it anymore, to be honest. If I were to be even more honest then I’d have to admit to not being sure if I ever fitted in. We won’t be that honest though will we. That would spoil the mood, that would introduce the wrong tone altogether.
I was an odd child, it has to be said. I never really fitted in and that’s probably why me and my ego were such a great team, come to think of it. We had each other and that’s all that mattered. We stood up for each other you see. We had each other’s back. Not that it did us much good in the end of course, but there’s no point in dwelling on that. There is no point dwelling on stuff that’s only going to spoil the mood. Happy people doing happy things – you can’t beat it! Happy people with suntans doing happy things and looking like they’re in an ad. So content, so joyfully happy. So serene. Smug, almost. Verging on smug, anyway. You can tell by the expressions on their faces that they’re having a good time – it’s there for everybody to see.
It was never like that for me though – I can see that now. I realise that as I look back now, I realise that it wasn’t all fun and games. We made the best of it all the same though. I remember how I’d be sitting there on a bench in Saint Anne’s Park in Vauxhall, feeling a bit down in the dumps, feeling a bit lonesome, and then the next thing I’d look up in and see my ego walking towards me, out of the blue so to speak, with a big old smile on his face. And he’d be calling out to me, ‘How you doing good buddy? How’s your day going?’ Things wouldn’t seem so bad then – not when I had my old ego to keep me company.
Things are never as bad as they seem, are they? Unless they’re worse, of course. Sometimes they are worse. Many is the time I’d be sitting there thinking to myself that things are never as bad as they seem and then the very next moment I’d realise that they’re actually a hell of a lot worse! I’d realise that they are actually a hell of a lot worse than I could ever have imagined, in fact. It’s all part of conditioned existence of course – I understand that now, the same as you do. It’s all part of conditioned existence; it’s all part of the Theatre of Samsara, so it is.
I’m trying to teach myself to think in a better way. ‘Don’t think like that, think like this’. I tell myself. But that thought was wrong also you see and therein lies the problem! Therein lies the problem that won’t go away…
‘Every thought I think is wrong,’ I think frantically, working myself up into a state of flat-out panic. ‘What’s the right thing to do to fix the problem?’ ‘When there is a problem that is actually a very bad problem indeed, not like an ordinary problem, but like a really bad one, a frighteningly bad one in fact, then what’s the right thing to do?’ ‘What’s the right thing to do to fix it?’ These are just a few of the questions that are going through my head. You get the flavour, I’m sure. There’s no point in me going on and on about it like some kind of fool.
The facile remedies of this world, huh? Everyone’s an expert on everything and yet at the same time no one knows shit. They’re tripping up over themselves in their hurry to tell you what to do but at the same time they’re utterly clueless. Full of advice they are but if you were foolish enough to actually take it then you’d be in far worse trouble than you were when you started. That’s the problem with experts – you’ll soon find yourself face-to-face with new problems that make the old ones look like a walk in the park! Those old problems will seem like paradise in comparison – you’ll wish you could get back to them! You will be pure nostalgic about them…
I’m trying to teach myself a better way of existing in the world, a better way of being in the world, but somehow I don’t think I’m doing that well. A better way of existing in the world, a better way to be – what could be better than that? What could be better? Unfortunately I don’t think I’m doing particularly well in this quest however. I’m not doing very well at all.
I’m trying to teach myself a better way of teaching myself. Don’t teach yourself like that, teach yourself like this,’ I tell myself sternly, in full pedagogic mode. But this way of teaching myself – this way of teaching myself a better way of teaching myself – is also wrong, and therein lies the problem! Me finding the problem was the problem; me stating that me finding the problem is the problem is the problem. And therein lies the problem, I crow gloatingly, thereby sinking myself without a trace. Only a hole remains in the spot where only moments before I had been standing. A smoking hole in the ground. ‘And therein lies the problem,’ I say sadly, but no one hears me. No one hears me because I’m down at the bottom of the hole.
‘Do all roads lead to this place?’ I ask myself. ‘Whatever choices we make, whatever roads we take, do we always end up in this place? This place where problems gather darkly like storm clouds on the horizon, stacking up one on top of the other like layer upon layer of ominous purple cumulonimbus. ‘The place of problems,’ I tell myself, ‘that’s where I am now. I’m in the place of problems’. Fear takes root in me when I think this – a terrible, terrible fear, the type of fear that is like a revelation. I call this ‘the negative revelation’ – it would be good if it weren’t so bad. It would be right if it wasn’t so wrong…
When this fear takes hold of you it’s as if you’ve only just woken up out of some foolish kind of sleep. You’ve been fitfully dozing away the hours and days and years of your life. You didn’t know anything. You didn’t know anything and yet you thought that you did. Your somehow thought that you did. You automatically assumed it. Then comes the moment of awakening as if someone just turned the light on to show you your true situation and you wonder how you could have dozed so stupidly. Now that you’re face-to-face with the terror there will of course be no more dozing; there can never be any more dozing. You have remembered the true memory of Fear and it is as if you had never forgotten it.
‘Is it a big problem when there is a problem?’ I ask myself, my mind turning against me with a vengeance. ‘Is it wrong to be wrong?’ ‘Is it a problem if you think that something is a problem when it isn’t?’ ‘Is it a mistake to make a mistake?’ ‘Is it a mistake to think that a mistake is a mistake when it isn’t?’ ‘Is it wrong to be thinking in this way?’ These are all the thoughts I have as I hide away in my poor hole, the poor hole I absurdly call ‘my life’.
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…