The Question Of Evil

People often ask me, people often ask me. I was coughing and coughing. Coughing and coughing. I was barking like a dog. I was barking like a sea lion. I farted so violently that it ripped a hole in my trousers. I was farting with rage and anger. Rage and anger, only it was all suppressed so that it was stuck inside me. Festering away. Anger and rage, rage and anger. What’s the bloody difference anyway? I frightened myself with the violence of my sudden outburst. I frightened myself with the sudden explosive violence of my unexpected outburst. The people in the café turned to look at me. They were well-dressed and perfectly at home in their own skin. I wasn’t at home in my own skin – I was full of suppressed rage. I was full of rage at myself, really. I had let myself down in public. My image was tarnished. My image is always tarnished – I tried to polish it up the other day but I just made it worse. I made a worse mess than the original – I made a complete shit of it. People are happy in the café and they’re talking on their phones. I was worried about the problem of evil, of course. I’m always worried by the problem of evil. You know that thing of course – that thing where you’re sitting there in a generic fast-food outlet gobbling a burger and chips as fast as ever you can and for some unaccountable reason you look up and catch the eye of the person sitting at the table opposite you and there’s nothing there but pure implacable hatred, naked hatred. That’s evil for you. The only question being, “In whom does the evil reside?” That’s always the question, isn’t it? My special song was playing on the radio – I wanted to hear it. Only I don’t have a special song! Who has a ‘special song’, for God’s sake? I know some people do but you have to like yourself for that, don’t you? I’ve fallen out with myself, you see. Only that isn’t true either – nothing’s as simple as it seems in this world. I was barking like a sea lion as I ran in a terrible hurry down the stairwell. ‘This is my story, this really IS my story!’ I shouted. Only that was a lie and I knew it. I knew that I didn’t really have a story! Although I know a lot of people have stories and very proud of them they are too. Some of them are anyway. Not everyone is, obviously. I couldn’t afford the luxury of having a story – which isn’t entirely true either because it isn’t a question of luxury or the lack of it. Not when it comes down to it. I just knew that I didn’t have a story and that’s all there was to it. It isn’t about stories – I can promise you that! ‘But maybe your story is that you don’t have a story,’ you suggest helpfully. But NO – not having a story is not a story.  That would be like saying that when something doesn’t happen then that is itself ‘a happening’, and that just doesn’t make any sense. If every single thing that didn’t happen has to be flagged up as a ‘not event’ then we’d be completely swamped in non-events and there wouldn’t be any space for anything to happen. How crazy would that be?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Disregarded Place

Consciousness is like a bomb, isn’t it? It’s like a bomb going off. People talk so much about consciousness these days. People say so many things about it. It is of course so very easy to blab on and on about consciousness – we don’t even know that we are blabbing. We don’t even know that we’ve been born. We are blabbing without even knowing that we are blabbing, we’re blabbing without even knowing that we’ve been born. We don’t know why we are blabbing on in the way we are and we don’t really care either. We never look into it. We’d be better off reigning ourselves in, wouldn’t we? Not saying so much. We’d still make fools of ourselves it’s true, but not quite so much. Not quite so much.

 

Consciousness is a bomb and when it goes off it’s like nothing we could ever have imagined. It’s like nothing we ever did imagine. It doesn’t kill us when it goes off, it just destroys everything we thought we knew. It comes at us from an angle we never expected, an angle we never could have expected. It comes at us from an unsuspected source. We were always looking somewhere else, we always thought that it would be somewhere else or something else, we never it would be where it is or what it is. It comes from a disregarded place; it comes from the most disregarded place of all, the most disregarded place there is. We do know this place but we never look at it – we never expected anything to come from here. We were contemptuous of this place. Our interest, our attention, our enthusiasm was always somewhere else.

 

When the bomb goes off it hurts. It hurts because it reverses everything we thought we knew. It hurts because it catches us unawares. It hurts because we’re ashamed, because we have been caught out. Ashamed is too mild a word really – we’re appalled. We have been so terribly caught out and it hurts so much. What we looked down on so much is everything that ever mattered. What we looked down on is where the whole of life lies (not that we ever knew what life was, anyway). When the bomb goes off then we know that we had got it all wrong. We realize all at once, we realize in a terrible flash. A bomb goes off in our heads. There’s nothing wrong with that terrible flash, it’s what the flash is showing us that is wrong. It’s us that there’s something wrong with. That’s what the bomb shows us so pitilessly. Never did we see anything so clearly.

 

What did we think life was all about? What did we think it was supposed to be? We never knew, we never had a clue. We thought we knew but we couldn’t have been more wrong. We never stopped to think about what it was we thought we knew – we never thought to stop to think about what it was that we thought we knew! We were in too much of a hurry for that. Always in so much of a hurry, along with everyone else. Afraid to miss the boat. We were always in so much of a hurry to look in the wrong place, so much of a hurry to put our money on the wrong horse. And ALL the horses were the wrong horces, every single last one of them. We were always so very greedy and we didn’t even know what we were greedy for

 

When the bomb goes off it doesn’t just hurt, it traumatizes – there is pain in it that we just can’t process. There is too much to process. There far too much to process. It’s the pain of our entire lives. A life misspent – and every life is a life misspent, isn’t it? We’re all in the same boat there. Our whole life was spent facing the wrong direction, after all. Our whole life was spent neglecting what really mattered. But we all like to talk about consciousness just the same though, don’t we? We love to blab happily about consciousness all day long and say how wonderful it is, how great it is, how cosmically-empowering it is. So many positive things to say about consciousness – all those spiritual channels on the Internet are full of people waxing lyrical about consciousness and spirituality and getting so excited about it. Whoever talks about the trauma of consciousness? Why does no one talk about the horror of it? What kind of conspiracy is this? What’s that all about? It’s always sweetness and light, isn’t it?  It’s always Oneness and Compassion. It’s all so marvellous and great that we just can’t stop talking about it. Our mouths are running away with us. No one says that is like a bomb that goes off one day and leaves us racked with trauma. No one ever says how terrible it is…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Maggot Men From The Corruption Realms

The elections of 2074 were in full swing and I had put myself forward as a candidate. I was the only nematode running for office, and I was also the only candidate with any actual integrity. In my view, anyway. The rest of the candidates were a mixed bag, you might say. There were Logarians, Protologarians, Atlantians, Ancient Lemurians, Silurians, Formorians, Asuras, Hylotropic Life-Forms, Lizard Men (both in and out of disguise), Pseudo-Human Transforms, Shadow People, Augmented Narcissist Demigods, Maggot Men from the Realms of Corruption, Transhumans sporting the very latest in Quantum Adaptations, Luminals and Paraluminals, Octomorphs, Heliomorphs, Quasimorphs and Xenomorphs, and finally – myself – the only life-form with any actual integrity amongst the whole lot of them.

 

I’m not blowing my own trumpet here, simply stating a fact. A nematode is a nematode – end of story. We don’t pretend to be anything we aren’t. With these characters however it’s a different story. Do you think Augmented Narcissist Demigods can be trusted? Do you imagine that the Maggot Men from the Corruption Realms play a straight game? I’m not being spiteful or judgemental here – creatures are what they are. We are all what we are! No blame, no blame. Each one of us is bound to fulfil the pattern of our destiny and it is up to us to do this with us much good grace as we can bring to the situation. When it is not within the remit of our destiny to accept our fate with good grace, then we have to countenance this situation instead. No matter what our situation might be, we are bound to countenance it on some level or other, aren’t we? Even if our situation is to turn our back upon our situation, then there still has to be an awareness of this somewhere, in some shape or form, wouldn’t you say? Or maybe not? Perhaps you disagree?

 

As you can see, we nematodes are a highly philosophical race, as well as having great natural integrity. I know what you’re thinking. ‘That’s as maybe,’ you’re probably saying to yourself, ‘but who’s going to vote for a philosopher? And since when have folk required integrity from their politicians?’ That’s a fair point, if that is indeed what you were thinking. It’s a perfectly fair point. But the thing is that I’m not running in this election in order to win it. That was never my intention. You see, in addition to having great natural integrity and being of a profoundly philosophical disposition, we nematodes also have a very great sense of irony. Our sense of irony is extraordinarily highly developed; when humans evolved they moved in the direction of becoming highly effective manipulators. We nematodes, on the other hand, have gone down the path of developing a truly exquisite sense of irony. You can probably tell that from the way I talk – everything I say is ironic! Even when I’m being ironic that’s only me being ironic. It’s an ‘ironic use of irony’, if you take my meaning. It’s an exercise in meta-irony, you might say.

 

Of course all of these Pseudo-Human Replicants, Paramorphs. Shadow People, Asuras, Demigods,  Maggot Men and all the rest of them, barely understand irony at all. As I have indicated, they are all manipulators, trying their damndest to manipulate everyone in sight – including themselves! They are lost in their own games, poor fools that they are. There’s nothing ironic about manipulators, nothing at all. These guys actually take it all totally seriously! It’s kind of sad, isn’t it? Although of course I don’t really mean that…

 

 

 

Art: Clint Langley

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turning Turtle

I was having problems because I was seeing God everywhere I looked so I eventually went – after suffering silently from this condition for a while – to see a psychiatrist. To my dismay, the psychiatrist also turned out to be God! ‘What can I do for you?’ God / the Psychiatrist asked me, in a kindly (but nevertheless professional) tone – ‘what seems to be the problem, Nick?’ As you may imagine I just sat there dumbstruck, unable (as Rumi says somewhere) to say either yes or no. ‘I want to know,’ I replied after I had got my wits back, ‘where I would have to go where I would not have to encounter God.’ God considered this for a while (or rather the psychiatrist – who was God – considered this for a while). ‘Interesting question,’ he responded warmly, ‘it’s not often that I get to hear someone asking me an interesting question like that.’

 

He paused for a while, leaning back in his chair, sucking on a biro, obviously thinking the matter over. Then all of a sudden he winked at me, ‘How can a fish escape water?’ he asked me, in what I felt to be a somewhat smug tone. I didn’t like this answer at all – it was too glib, too formulaic, in my view. I was determined to pay the psychiatrist back for this facile answer of his. ‘Well,’ I said stubbornly, ‘it could evolve stubby little prototype legs from its fins and take to the land, in addition it could give up using its gills and take up air-gulping instead.’ I glared at him defiantly. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, I was thinking.

 

A delighted smile spread over my opponent’s face – he was obviously enjoying this game. ‘I see, I see, I see,’ he replied, ‘so you would eventually become an amphibian, I take it? But even an amphibian can’t stray too far from the water, as no doubt you are well aware.’ This riposte of his irritated me no end, as I’m sure you can imagine. I found myself blustering and losing my cool, ‘Well of course that would only be an intermediate stage,’ I told him, ‘the fish would then go on (which is to say, I would then go on to) evolve into a fully-fledged reptile – I would become a turtle, I think. “See the turtle of enormous girth / On his back he carries the earth” I declaimed, quoting from the scriptures. Even the devil may quote from the scriptures, after all, I said to myself. If it suited his purposes to do so, that is.

 

My antagonist observed me expressionlessly. I had the strong feeling that I had just walked into some kind of trap. ‘Very interesting, very interesting, very interesting,’ he observed, furrowing his brow in an impressive fashion. ‘So, if I understand you correctly, in an attempt to avoid God you will become the turtle that supports the entire cosmos on his back? What does that tell us – that in order to escape God you would have to become God?’ He looked at me meaningfully at this point, raising his eyebrows in a somewhat theatrical fashion.

 

He had me there and no mistake – I had walked right into that one. ‘Okay okay okay,’ I replied with irritation, adopting his mannerisms without even realising, ‘Scratch that. I don’t even know why I said that. I won’t become a turtle at all but rather I will evolve all the way up to the proto-hominid level, and from there I will take one more short jump to evolve into a typical narcissistic Westerner living in the Twenty-first Century, a fully-fledged passive consumer of toxic generic products and – as such – hopelessly addicted to Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Snapchat and all the rest of it.’ I looked up at him. I had him now, I said to myself. Get out of that if you can…

 

The psychiatrist observed me with just the faintest suggestion of a smile about his lips. ‘Well, I guess you’ve got me there, Nick. Touché, as they say. I think you’ve just answered your own question…’ Needless to say he managed to say this in such a way that he never had to give up his superior position. He still had the upper hand and I had been beaten once again. ‘Don’t you guys ever write prescriptions for medications any more, sedatives or antipsychotics or something like that?’ I complained. He looked back at me – ‘That’s a little old-fashioned, you see. One has to move with the times and keep up with the latest research!’ He gestured at a pad of prescription sheets on his desk, ‘I could of course provide you with a prescription for ten hits of laboratory-grade mescaline, if you like?’ There was a mischievous little smile on his face as he said this. I looked at him, thoroughly disgusted at this stage, and left his office without saying another word…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entropic Breakfast Time

The baked beans were like small, pale stones and the morass of tomato sauce that they existed within was quite lacking in any discernible flavour. It was reddish in hue, it was true, but that was all. The fried eggs were no better – they looked like plastic cut-outs of the real thing and tasted much as they looked. The chips were turgid with the cheapest possible ‘bulk-buy’ generic cooking fat and they were all-but-cold by the time I got my plate to the table. In the background the most repulsive generic popular music imaginable played incessantly, drowning out all my efforts to think clearly. There was no doubt about it – I was on one of the entropic sub-worlds, a place not showing up on any star chart because it was so utterly banal, so utterly devoid of interest…

 

Why would anyone bother to record the existence of such a banal world, after all? There were so many of them and – in all essential details – they were all pretty much the same. The only point of conceivable interest that one might concern with oneself with on such a world is the all-important question of ‘how to get off it?’ Unfortunately – as I was only slowly starting to realise – this question was not going to be easy to answer as I was suffering from Type-4 amnesia and couldn’t remember how I’d actually got here. Type-4 amnesia occurs as a result of exposure to excessive amounts of mental entropy – it is the inevitable consequence of spending too much time in one of the infamous ‘sink worlds’, of which there are very many, as I have already said. There is no problem in finding an entropic sub-world – the problem is getting off it again!

 

I found myself wondering again how I could possibly have ended up here – what could have possessed me to make such a blunder? I had no way of estimating how much longer I had before my critical faculties became significantly eroded – that depends on the strength of the entropic field and I had no instruments by which to measure it. I would just have to try to work it out by ‘rule of thumb’, if that indeed proved to be possible. I imagine that there must be some practical way of gauging the level of ambient mental entropy, even if it was only by assessing the edibility of a plate of egg and chips! This thought reminded me to finish off my breakfast – which I had been staring at, in a somewhat abstracted fashion, for the last ten minutes. No sense in wasting a perfectly good breakfast, I said to myself. Or even an utterly mediocre one…

 

Entropic sink worlds are generic realities: mass produced, at virtually zero cost and ideal for the undiscerning customer! And ‘undiscerning’ customers are the only type you are ever going to encounter come down here! Discernment as such isn’t really a thing you’re ever going to come across in a sink world, and I promise you I’m not trying to be funny when I say this… Once produced, generic worlds proliferate wildly, splitting off substandard copies of themselves left, right and centre. They are like Russian dolls, only there’s no end to them. There is no beginning either – there is no beginning and there is no end. It’s no wonder that astral travellers such as myself loath entropic sub-worlds so much and consider it such a disaster to end up on one. There are dangers too – in every entropic world there is an inferior copy of yourself, waiting for its chance to ambush and then replace you. It pays to have your wits about you in a place like this. It pays to stay sharp – if you don’t then you don’t tend to last very long. You don’t last very long but the entropic copy of you does! ‘Long life and happiness to the degenerate duplicate!’ I barked out, with grim humour, as I left the cafe. At least I’ve still got my sense of humour – that’s a good thing. I’ve still got my SOH and that’s a very good sign; it means that I haven’t been replaced – yet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

All My Life I Had Been Running

The people were angry and they wanted to harm me. They wanted to harm me with their weapons. I was running, as always. I was running as fast as I could. I was running because I was so full of fear. Never had anyone been as full of fear as I was, I felt. The fear was a physical presence for me, I could smell it, touch it, taste it… It was up-close and personal. My body was full of these fear molecules. The molecules were talking to me all the time; the molecules were talking to me with many mouths and each molecule was telling me something different. As I ran I could feel sharp burning pains in my legs and on my face – they were shooting at me with their weapons. I tried to dodge them but I couldn’t. All I could do was to keep on running. The weapons were not designed to kill but to introduce their chemicals into my body; they were the delivery system for potent psychopharmacological agents and I could feel the micro-pellets releasing their chemical cargo into my circulation. Some of the molecules were friendly and some of them weren’t. Some were old friends. Some of the molecules had spirits in them and some of the spirits wanted to tell me things too. They wanted to tell me things but I had no time to listen. The world was a blur because I was running so quickly – all my life I had been running, but now it was more important than ever! Some of my life had been spent hiding and the rest of it had been spent running – whenever my hiding place had been found out then straightaway I had to start running all over again. My life was either running or hiding, running or hiding. When I was hiding I would pretend to be a human being. In the far distance I could hear the crowd roaring – they wanted to kill me because of the bad thing that I had done. They were very angry. My legs burned from where their weapons had hit me and all the time the spirits were talking to me and sending me information. They were communicating via pictures. They were explaining to me about the Integesic Universe. I couldn’t understand what they were telling me. Then I came to a hiding place and buried myself there, making myself very small and inconspicuous. I was good at doing this. It was my psychic power. I was living in a flat in Angell Park Gardens in Brixton. Some of my friends dropped over to talk to me from time to time. I wasn’t sure if they were dead or not. Some of them were very deteriorated and I couldn’t follow what they were saying. They didn’t know either because they were so deteriorated. Then all of a sudden I could smell ozone in the air and I knew that a Discarnate Being was now very close, trying to lock onto my position. Telepathic tendrils of psychic energy were feeling their way into my mind – these tendrils knew me far better than I knew myself. I knew myself through them and this terrified me more than ever! All my life I’d been running. Either running or hiding, and all the hiding places were now gone…

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Classic Gambit

I looked at my audience. “Did you ever find yourself in that particular place where all you can do is sit there in a state of baffled silence and scratch your head and wonder numbly over and over again how you could possibly have been so utterly useless for the entire course of your life? Is that perhaps a familiar place to you?” Needless to say, the front row of my audience looked back at me very sternly when I asked them this, so as to indicate in no uncertain terms that they could not in any way relate to this imaginary scenario of mine. They looked so stern, so facially immobile that they looked for all the world as if they were suffering from acute indigestion. The poor fools were positively rigid with disapproval!

 

This is of course the opening removal of a classic gambit of mine. I’ve used it many times and it invariably works in my favour. Indeed it does, indeed it does. You should try it yourself sometime! Just ask your friends or colleagues if they can relate to that particular situation where the revelation hits them one day that they are utterly stupid and that they don’t have a clue about anything at all and that any good sense that they might fondly have imagined themselves to possess had was in reality nothing more than a tawdry exercise in flagrant self-deception. Ask them that this and then have yourself a good hearty laugh at the turgid, constipated expression that you will see come over their faces. You’d be laughing on the sly of course; you wouldn’t want to go upsetting folk any more than necessary now would you? That wouldn’t be diplomatic…

 

Some of us were made evil, whilst the rest of us were just born that way, isn’t that the truth? Some of us were just born that way. That’s a joke of course, I’m not really evil, I’m just a bit cantankerous. People annoy me because they’re so damn predictable – they’re like windup clockwork toys to me. How can you bear to live from day to day like that, I often wonder? How can you bear to live in such a bloody predictable way? Where’s the joy in that? What’s the point to that even, I think to myself. And yet I know very well that many folk get a lot of satisfaction from this predictability. If things go to plan then they’re delighted. Things could be better. They’re positively rubbing their hands together with glee. ‘Yes, yes, yes,’ they’re saying to themselves, ‘everything is going exactly as I planned it…’ And when something doesn’t go to plan then you’ll never hear the end of it. The howling and gnashing of teeth you’ll hear then! The complaining and moaning you will have to put up with when that happens!

 

It’s kind of depressing when you think about things like that, isn’t it? The average gobshyte in the street thinks that it’s so wonderful when you can get your poxy half-witted goals to come true. It’s like a bloody sexual release. It’s the best thing in the world. All it really means of course is that you have somehow managed to impose your own dismally banal and terminally uninspiring ideas onto the universe. As if the universe needs that. As if that’s an improvement. When I hear that someone or other has succeeded in realising their goal that just makes me want to groan out loud – ‘You bloody boring bastard,’ I want to say…