The Fantasies of a Deluded Ego – Part 1

 

If I were to write an autobiography I would call it ‘The Fantasies of a Deluded Ego’. What else would I call it, after all? What else is anything I think or believe other than a painfully and grotesquely distorted ego-fantasy? I mean – let’s get real here! ‘What a world it is that this ego of mine creates,’ I marvel, ‘what an extraordinarily twisted and bizarre caricature of life it is. What kind of a connection does it have with anything real?’ I realized then that it had no connection whatsoever.

 

I wanted to find someone to share my insight with but as usual no one wanted to know. As usual, no one seemed to care. They were all too busy with their own twisted-fantasy worlds. ‘Doing what exactly, though’, I wondered. ‘What’s so very important about what they’re busy doing in their own grotesquely distorted version of reality that they don’t want to hear about my insights?’ That could have upset me a lot but I let it go. It could have upset me an awful lot.

 

No one ever gives a damn about anything I have to say, I realized. They’re too busy with whatever they mistakenly think is important – they don’t realize that actually they’re only deluded idiots. ‘What would they do if they had to come face to face with this fact so that they couldn’t actually deny it any more’, I asked myself, ‘how would that make them feel?’ I decided that it would make them feel pretty stupid and I amused myself for a while imagining just how bad they would feel then…

 

‘Am I allowed to BE?’ I wondered then. ‘Will I ever be allowed to BE? Please tell me that one day I will be allowed to BE!’ It was coffee break at work and I was queuing up by the coffee machine with a lot of other people. I was thinking about how crap my life was, which is a topic that tends to preoccupy me a lot these days. Then I realized that it was my turn and everyone was looking at me wondering what I was doing, why I was just standing there. As I pressed the button to get the machine to make me a regular Americano I found myself playing a kind of fantasy game. I often do this in order to make life more interesting for me because otherwise it can get quite dull and repetitive. It almost always gets quite dull and repetitive.

 

I was wondering in my fantasy what it would be like if what coming out of the machine, in dribs and drabs, wasn’t coffee at all but the Elixir of Eternal Life. The Elixir of Immortality, in other words, so that it would cure all my ills and fix all the various health problems that I have been having.  I threw myself into this fantasy and it became real for me. I watched the coffee dribbling into the cup in state of utter bliss. I had never been so interested in getting coffee out of a coffee machine before!

 

Every drop that came out of the nozzle of the machine meant so much to me. I was willing the machine to come out with just one more drop of the super-precious elixir and I didn’t want to walk away from the machine and move on to the counter and pay for my coffee, suddenly frightened that all the goodness might be in the last drop and that someone else might get it instead of me. I was so frightened of this happening that I didn’t want to move and the people who were behind me in the queue were getting annoyed with me. This convinced me all the more that they were trying to steal the last precious drop off me and the situation grew quite nasty. I started saying bad things to them.

 

An ugly scene developed at that point and I thought I heard someone say something about calling security. I had to make a run for it then and in the process ended up spilling most of my coffee so I guess the fantasy didn’t work out so well for me in the end! That is – I suppose – a good example of how an apparently harmless fantasy can end up turning quite unpleasant. This illustrates a kind of a ‘Fundamental Cosmic Principle’, I would say. The Fundamental Cosmic Principle I am talking about here says that whilst departing from reality can be very sweet, returning abruptly to it often tends to be painfully humiliating…

 

 

Art: Erosion Revelation by J.R. Slattum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Stink of Entropy

The stink of entropy is everywhere. The filthy dirty stink of it. Real heavy duty stuff – the air here is thickly laden with it. The reek is enough to make you gag. It’s enough to make you retch. I’ve never experienced anything like it. My breathing is laboured, painful. The stench of the entropy here is beyond belief and yet to my surprise nobody seems to notice it. People carry on their business regardless, completely oblivious.

 

I’m here right at the heart of things, right slap-bang in the beating heart of the Great Machine, and it is knee deep in entropy. High grade entropy running off in rivers everywhere I look – the pollutant par excellence. It’s the archetypal pollutant. Industrial run-off of the most toxic sort imaginable. Pure poison. Psychic neglect. How did I ever stumble into this place, I wonder? What am I doing here? This is not a place that one should be in. If ever anywhere was the wrong place to be this is it….

 

Sleepwalkers are everywhere. Somnambulists. The heaviness of their torpor is palpable. It’s more than palpable – it hits you in the face. It’s as heavy as lead. The somnambulists walk along well-worn tracks performing well-worn actions. It’s all happening as if by clock-work. The people here are ruled by the clock – their thought-processes move in well-work grooves but they don’t know it. They don’t know it because they have their eyes on the goal. They never take their eyes off the goal, not for a second, and that’s what keeps them asleep. Nothing disturbs the sleep here – nothing is allowed to. Disturbing the sleep of the sleep-walkers is the ultimate taboo in this place, the ultimate crime. The penalty would be both swift and terrible – the offender would be torn limb from limb within seconds. The somnambulists would rise up as one giant organism in their anger.

 

No one here ever takes their eyes off the goal. The goal is everything, and yet at the same time the goal is also a manifestation of entropy. Not everything that is filthy and toxic repels – sometimes it attracts instead! Sometimes it sings to us. Sometimes it sings a siren-song that the onlooker cannot resist. We see the attractive end of the stick but not the other one – not the one that is mired in oozing toxic putrescent filth…

 

The sleepwalkers would trample all over you if you got in their way. That’s because they can’t see you – they can’t see you because they only have eyes for the goal! They can only see one end of the stick and that’s why they are asleep. They’re marching to a mechanical drumbeat – a metronome. They march towards their doom, hypnotized by their goals. Time is everything, here. The sleep-walkers I see all around me are prisoners of time, prisoners of the hour-glass. They are time-captives. Chronos is the master here and none may escape his law, which is the law of entropy…

 

 

 

Shopping Trip

Only a few days ago I was looking around Currys in Galway Retail Park and as I walked up and down looking at all the products I made up a little song in my head. ‘I am buying the product I am the product, I am buying the product I am the product, I am buying the product I am the product…’ I chanted. It was my little mantra for the occasion. I liked it. It had a snappy feel to it. I like repeating things in my head anyway because doing this always makes me feel more real. I’m a bit obsessive that way.

 

This started me off on a brand new mantra, ‘I like repeating things in my head because it makes me feel more real, I like repeating things in my head because it makes me feel more real, I like repeating things in my head because it makes me feel more real…’

 

Then I realized that I had inadvertently jinxed myself. I was now feeling less real.  Carelessly, stupidly, ridiculously, I had gone and jinxed myself. ‘I have gone and jinxed myself, I have gone and jinxed myself, I have gone and jinxed myself’, I repeated, in a panic, but this didn’t help either. The bug had got into me and nothing was going to change that – you can’t reverse a jinx. Once you know a thing then you can’t un-know it.

 

Once you’re bugged then there’s no such thing as getting un-bugged! It just doesn’t work that way. I knew that only too well. Everyone knows that – we all know that, we just won’t admit it. Because we’re liars. The bug had gotten into me and now it was slowly but surely hollowing me out from the inside. Making me feel more and more unreal. Slowly and surely doing a job on me. Knowing this made me really start panicking. What was I to do?

 

I decided to go and see a therapist, even though I don’t really believe in that stuff. I had to do something, however. The therapist looked serious and told me that I had been saying bad words that I never should have said even once, never mind repeating them over and over again in the way that I did. He said that I was devalidating myself and that this was an error that needed correcting. He then gave me some new words to repeat, positive words. Words that affirmed my reality, words that affirmed my validity as a human being. I was to repeat them every day and that would get rid of the bug. I knew all along that it would never work of course but I agreed to try it anyway because I had to try something. I had to place my hope in something. Not that I really had any hope.

 

‘I am a real and valid human being, I am a real and valid human being, I am a real and valid human being…’ I repeated when I got home, feeling somewhat foolish as it did so. It didn’t work, anyway. I never expected it to – it was painfully clear to me that the only reason someone would be affirming their own reality would be because underneath it all they were convinced of their unreality. We always try to deny what we know – that’s human nature, after all.

 

I knew only too well that I was unreal and trying to kid myself that this wasn’t true when I knew perfectly well that it was only served to aggravate the problem. It made me feel worse than ever. It was a super-jinx. I knew the only reason anyone would affirm their reality would be to compensate for the deep-down knowledge that they weren’t real and I’m pretty damn sure the therapist knew it too. He was just pretending that he didn’t. He knew it was all bullshit as well I did, he just wasn’t going to admit it

 

 

 

Perplexed

In the Mystic Garden of Transcendental Tranquility

I find myself sitting

Rocking to and fro

My head held in my hands,

Perplexed

 

I cannot escape my own perplexity

It cannot be solved

It cannot be resolved

I can’t smooth it out

I can’t unravel the knot

No one can

 

 

The more I try to fix it

The worse it gets,

The more I pull at the strands

The bigger the knot grows

The bigger it grows

The more I try to fix it…

 

 

 

The knot’s bigger than ever now

I can’t see beyond it

I can’t see through it

It’s the biggest thing I know

It’s the only thing I know

It’s as big as the whole world

It’s the knot I call ‘me’

 

 

Art: Fractal Images by Stapen Dalo

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Landscape Of The Mind

Do you know that type of a thing where you suddenly realize that whatever thought you think is straightaway going to come true? And your mind of course immediately starts going into overdrive generating horrors that you would not normally be capable of imagining. And then the next thing is that you have created possibilities that you are far too frightened to ever own up to, dark possibilities that proceed to stalk you relentlessly wherever you go…

 

Of course you know it – who doesn’t? Who can honestly claim never to have had experiences of this kind? We move through a landscape that is made up of our own thoughts; we encounter scenes and situations that consist entirely of our own ideas. Things become flat and uninterested when one knows this – there’s only so many times you can feign interest when you’re confronted with yet another tired old mental projection. You’re supposed to pretend that something’s happening when it isn’t. It rather takes the romance out of life to know this. If there ever was any. It’s like pretending to find a joke funny when you’ve heard it a thousand times and you didn’t even like it very much the first time. The muscles in your face go painfully into spasm for the ten millionth time as you try out of politeness to show an appreciation that you don’t in the least bit feel. All you feel is an all-consuming inner desolation.

 

We move through a landscape that it is scripted down to the very last detail – nothing really happens but in a kind of a way it seems to. You think that something is happening but it isn’t. You’re only talking to yourself but you imagine that there’s someone else there; you’re hallucinating that you’re deep in conversation when really you’re all alone in the room – you’ve never been more alone. There’s no one else there but you and the spiders on the wall and they aren’t listening; the conversation is as sterile as the Sahara but you’re lost in the dream. I’m being pursued through the undergrowth by voracious shadow-creatures; lacking any substance of their own, they are hungry for mine. Not that I have very much of it myself, come to think of it…

 

Do you know that feeling that comes like an unwelcome guest when you start to gain awareness of the fact that your whole life up to this point has been an exercise in avoiding the truth – the truth in this case being that you’ve spent your whole life up to this point avoiding the truth? I know of course that you’re not going to say anything – I know that I’m going to be met with the stoniest of silences. Making me wish that I had kept my mouth shut. What exactly do I expect anyway? I ought to know better at this stage. I’m shunned wherever I go – no one will look me in the eye. My affliction is all too obvious. People don’t like afflictions, I remind myself. It’s important to remember that. I must learn to keep my afflictions to myself – no one wants to know.

 

My thoughts were coming home to roost and it was time to quit the scene. It was time to go somewhere else. I had to gather up all my belongings and take to the road once more. Things were no longer safe. The spectres were back on my trail, sniffing me out with their long twitchy noses. I had created them myself and now they had come back to haunt me; the more I twist and turn to avoid them the darker and more vengeful they become. They’re not real but then again neither am I.  The Smilers were back in town – their eyes glinting coldly in the sharp April sunshine. They move methodically through the streets, going through the rubbish bins as they pass. They never miss a trick. It was time for me to move on…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Offered Banality

Thought really is the vile infestation of Satan, I say sadly. Sitting there alone with my own thoughts. Only it doesn’t matter how many times you say it because no one will ever listen to you. You’re a voice crying out in the wilderness. No one will ever understand what you’re saying no matter how many times you say it. They just stare at you. It’s too big a jump. They can’t understand you because they think that thought is where it’s at – they’re afraid of not thinking. They’d rather do anything than not think. Who’s ‘they’ you might ask? The answer is that it’s everyone. It’s all of us. It’s the whole human race…

 

Maybe you don’t think that this is sad. I don’t know. I don’t know what you think, to be honest. But consider – we obsess from morning to night over the ‘offered banality’, the hideous repetitive nightmare that is thought. We can’t get enough of it, we want more and more and more of it. If we lived to be ten thousand years old do you imagine we would have had enough of our thinking? Would you say that we would by then have reached the end of thought, that we would by then have had our fill of it?

 

You know well that we wouldn’t. At the end of that time we would still be as hungry for thought as ever and the reason for this is that thought never satisfies. It only ever whets our appetite for me. It only ever drives us mad with desire. The more we think the hungrier we become because there’s no reality in thought – not even a homeopathic trace of it. There never was anything more parched and arid than our thoughts. We crave reality like a man dying from thirst craves water but the sad truth is that we wouldn’t know reality if it came right up to us and punched us in the face. How are we to know reality when all we ever have are our thoughts about it? We wander the world like ghosts, lost in our own decaying patterns of avoidance, lost in the unwholesome labyrinth of our darkly futile obsessions.

 

The sad thing is that even if reality came knocking on our door one day not only would we not recognize it, we would run panic-stricken away from it. We wouldn’t see reality, we would see our worst nightmare come to get us. We’d see a demon standing there. We would see our own worst nightmare come a-knocking boldly on our door. Reality is too rich for our blood you see – we’re just not used to it. We are too used to the appallingly arid sterility of thought and we wouldn’t be able to make the jump. Jumping would be beyond us – there’s no jumping in the thought-realm after all, only this wretched crawling, this wretched pedantic creeping. We spend our lives crawling like worms on our bellies, dotting all the ‘i’s and crossing all the ‘t’s and hoping that this will get us somewhere. Hoping that we will get our reward for all the shit we have had to eat. How sad do you call that?

 

Mythic magnificence surrounds us on all sides but we have no eyes for it. Every day we walk right by depths of profundity that the mind could not ever comprehend, and we think nothing of it. The wisdom of all the ages can be found in the little breeze that stirs the leaves on the tree in our back-garden but we pay it no heed. The poetry of life leaves us unmoved – we’re like stones. We don’t see it. We’re too caught up in the offered banality.

 

 

Art: Khaled Hafez – Realms of the Hyperreal

 

 

 

 

Living The Dream

It had stopped being fun a long time ago, I realized. Whatever ‘it’ was. It – the thing – the what-do-you-call-it thing. The thing that used to be fun. Supposedly. Then I remembered – ‘it’ was my life. Yes that was it. That thing I used to call ‘my life’! I remember that, I told myself, full to the brim of sour sardonic humour. Oh yes, it’s all coming back to me now. Of course. How could I have forgotten? There was this thing called ‘my life’ and the story was that it used to be fun, back in some dim and distant past. Way back when. In some hypothetical mythological era that didn’t really exist. Once upon a time, I began, in my best story-telling manner, there used to be this thing called – for the want of anything better or more accurate to call it – ‘my life’, and the myth was that it had been – way back in some murky conjectural period of prehistory – fun. Supposedly. So we are led to believe. So it is said. So some people have indicated. So I myself – in what was at best a vague and highly tangential fashion – had indicated. Apparently. Although I may of course may not have meant it. I might just have meant it ironically. It may just have been some sort of literary device. It might just have been a free and easy manner of speaking or conjecturing that was introduced at an early stage in the proceedings solely for the purpose of helping the narrative along. Because it was not doing so well the way things stood. Because it wasn’t really getting anywhere, as is so often the case. Because that’s simply the way of things. Things don’t always get off to a flying start, you know. More often than not there’s very little activity at all. Maybe none. The starting pistol is fired and nothing happens. Everyone just sits around, as they were, in chairs or on bar stools perhaps. Drinking pints of pale ale and nipping out to the smoking gazebo to enjoy an Embassy No 6. Or JPS Blue, my personal favourite. The match is on TV. Chelsea is playing Stoke Newington and Chelsea is very much on the back foot. Stoke are on the front foot, for most of the first half of the match, at any rate. I make my way slowly up to the bar, suddenly feeling very tired, and realize as I order another pint of brown and mild that it’s all just a dream. I can’t remember the last time I felt so tired. Probably it was in the last dream that I had had – the one before this. I have to be somewhere, I realize, but I don’t know where. I’m supposed to do something but I can’t remember what. It doesn’t matter anyway because it’s all just a waste of time really. I make up things that I have to do as a way of passing the time and then I procrastinate. I put off doing them because I don’t really want to do them. I put off doing them because I simply feel too tired. My life stopped being fun a long time ago, I realized…