INTRODUCTIONYou are doing something wrong. By now that should be obvious.
You have failed at love (see LOVE).
You have failed at your work (see WORK).
You have failed to acquire enough power (see POWER) even over your own life to be able to control your future. You are still, after all this time, "on your way."
Or, conversely, you have succeeded. You have made it to the top. But there is something you have neglected to do that would permit you to enjoy your life there. Something you don't have. Some lack in you. You are at the top of the wrong profession. You are admired by the wrong people. You have married the wrong person. You have the wrong children.
And you are getting older (see AGE). It is a time, for you and for the culture, of sexual withdrawal. You are divided as by a glass wall from everything you want. You have made the wrong choices. The moments of decision, botched, or fled unnoticed. There is nothing now but celibacy, darkness, age and death (see DEATH).
Am I close?
You may not even exist. The greater part of the East and a substantial number of western intellectuals--Buddhists, Hindus, linguists, logical positivists, behavioral psychologists and webmail employees--are prepared to argue that your existence is an inconvenient mirage. A non-thing.
You would not survive as you at all if you did not irrationally and shrilly insist on so doing more times a day than you care to recall. Your sense of yourself in the world, over and against the world--as opposed to the world, let us say--is maintained by a series of fictions not of your own authorship frantically shuffled by your imagination at a rate of several per second and so hysterically contradictory that the sorting process never quite stops. You are impressionable almost beyond reclaim. Some slow-witted c and w lyric can have you lurching around moodily for days. Your opinions, your feelings, your memories, quite possibly even your "self" are not things of your own (see SELF-IMAGE, YOUR).
Only your suffering verifies you. You suffer, therefore you are. Of this you are almost certain. It may be fleeting. You may be no more than the tip of a brief flare of suffering but you do have your pain. You may even need it.
With what thoughts shall we comfort ourselves?
You have put aside the old commandments, the old theories. The various therapies are no longer persuasive. You are not even sure any more what it is you want.
Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, in Whose eyes we are but scuttling insects busy beyond our own deciphering, grant we beseech Thee enough light to sin by and know what we're doing.
But prayer no longer works. It has been castrated by the contradictions (see GOD), is nothing now but an arbitrary attitude, a pose before the mirror, an act of futile self-encounter.
You are, when you think about it, desperate. You are not what you want to be. You are not where you want to be. Or how. And you have not the courage to face your own death.
Little can be done for you at this stage. You need time. You need language that will put some distance between you and What Is. You need someone to sort things out for you, a dispassionate figure in a lab coat to interpret the X-rays and guide you in your struggle to become more truly yourself, sort of thing. You may not be able to stand it.
Are you sure you want to do this?
It won't be easy.
And of course, you can't breathe this air indefinitely. Sooner or later you will dive back into life and forget everything again. Which is more or less how it all happened in the first place.
But for the moment at least, the Doctor is here.
Get on the table.
Also by Robert MacLean:
Mortal Coil: A Comedy of Corpses at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon DE, AmazonIT, AmazonES;
The President's Palm Reader: A Washington Comedy at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon DE, AmazonIT, AmazonES;
Greek Island Murder at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon DE, Amazon IT, Amazon ES;
and the Toby books:
Foreign Matter at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon DE, AmazonIT, AmazonES and Smashwords;
Total Moisture at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon DE, AmazonIT, AmazonES and Smashwords;
The Cad at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon DE, AmazonIT, AmazonES and Smashwords; and
Will You Please Fuck Off? at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon DE, AmazonIT, AmazonES and Smashwords.