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The world's longest suicide note: ONE MILLION words.

I write about life with bipolar disorder (a.k.a. manic depression).

All opinions are my own.


Insignificant Speck

5 min read

This is a story about sonder...


Is it useful to have a realistic appreciation of your own insignificance? Is it useful to correctly perceive that you're not significantly different from any of the 7.6 billion other people on the planet, or the 108 billion humans who lived and died since homo sapiens first appeared as a new species? Is it useful to be conscious of your cosmological insignificance, where the entire human race will be obliterated so completely that it will be as if we never existed? Is it useful to understand the fundmental laws of physics well enough to know that there isn't going to be a technological breakthrough which might allow us to travel to another star when our sun dies? Is it good to know that in the long run, nothing matters, because we live in a godless universe with no afterlife, and we are destined to be forgotten?

Just as we might become aware that every other person has a rich and complex life of their own, we can equally become aware of humanity's wider insignificance.

Warp drives, wormholes, time travel, cryogenics and hypersleep are all lovely sci-fi fantasies, but we can't even solve the basics, such as the fair distribution of wealth so that we can all have clean drinking water and enough to eat. There isn't going to be a colony on Mars. We're as likely to kill ourselves in nuclear armageddon as we are to die because of runaway man-made climate change. Yes, we've made great strides in science and technology in recent years. All those advancements are being used for killing each other in increasingly nasty ways.

The population growth trends are easy to extrapolate, along with predictions about our ability to use the available land to produce food, leading to the unavoidably obvious conclusion that we're going to have mass-starvation of billions of people, in barely a couple of decades. If you like to trot out the tired old lines about what a monster Stalin was, you ain't seen nothing until you've seen what capitalism can do to billions. It's already easy to see what industrial capitalist society has done to the environment, causing all manner of extreme weather events and natural disasters, which are anything but natural, because things are exacerbated by man-made climate change.

It's easy for me to write about the need to show some restraint and forego some luxuries, because I've been lucky enough to have enjoyed those luxuries for quite a long time. What about all those people who haven't yet had a taste of Western imperialist decadence? Isn't it unfair that those who've only ever known poverty and deprivation will never get to live a decadent lifestyle?

Many in the guardian class would prefer it if you just damn well knew your place, and stopped trying to improve your standard of living. How else are the guardian class going to snobbily believe they're a cut above the rest of the society, if every man and his dog is able to have a nice lifestyle? Get back in your place, you proletariat scum.

Thus, we arrive at the new class warfare. We ALL think that we should be at the front of the queue, and we ALL know how to get there, thanks to the internet.

The internet is a humbling place. Where else can you face such an enormous deluge of individual people who all think they're special, unique and different? Everybody's going what they think is an important opinion to share; that they have a voice that needs to be heard. Everybody thinks they're good looking, talented, intelligent. Everybody thinks they're capable of original thoughts and ideas; that they're creative.

It's hard to maintain your own sanity when you see all those social media accounts controlled by all those individuals, who've carefully chosen their name, bio, profile picture, and then carefully creates and curates their own content, according to their personality and the image they wish to project. It's hard to be a homo sapiens with the same hardware that evolved 350,000 years ago, when the population was 99.999% smaller and we didn't have any technology except fire and pointy sticks. Our brains really aren't built to cope with constant reminders that we're an insignificant speck.

We might hope to build up our social media following - our celebrity status - and begin to broadcast ourselves to big audiences, hoping to make ourselves feel somewhat less insignificant, but it's delusional. A judge and jury might convict a person of a serious crime, locking them up for life, but all 14 of those people will die at more-or-less the same time, be cremated or buried. In 4 or 5 generations, those 14 people will be completely forgotten - the criminal will be indistinguishable from those who sat in judgement. For a psychiatrist to diagnose a patient as having delusions of grandeur, is also a delusion of grandeur - both are suffering from the delusion that they have any importance at all, when clearly they are both equally insignificant.

Significance is an invention of the human mind, as a coping mechanism for the increasingly inescapable realisation that nobody matters, nothing matters, we're all dead in the long-run and every piece of evidence that we ever existed is destined to be obliterated some completely, that even alien archeologists with futuristic gadgetry, would never know anything about our entire race; our whole history.

It's pure vanity to think that you're important; that you'll be remembered.





10 min read

This is a story about faith...


I have far too much of a skeptical inquiring mind to foolishly believe that religions are anything other than a terrestrial invention, born in the minds of mortal men who were afraid of death, during unenlightened pre-scientific times. I've had access to far too much knowledge and information to ever believe in fairy tales about omnipotent sky monsters. However, it does mean that my existence is pretty absurd and meaningless. Religion gives a sense of community and belonging - those who have chosen to follow a particular faith are able to identify others who believe the same weird things, because of their weird customs, their weird traditions, their weird buildings and the weird books they read. It must be nice to have that sense of belonging, and to strongly believe that there is order, purpose, meaning and easy-to-grasp comforting explanations for everything that happens in our otherwise hostile and chaotic universe... it's all part of God's plan.

I used to pity those who have religious faith as deluded simpletons. I used to want them to wake up and consider the evidence - or lack thereof - and to have a scientific awakening; to become atheists. However, I think it's those who don't subscribe to any kind of philosophical or theological framework, who should be pitied. What do you believe in if you know - from the overwhelming weight of empirical evidence - that the universe is nothing more that a cosmic accident; the byproduct of the universal laws of physics and nothing more. Why are we here? What meaning and purpose is there? Humanity will be wiped off the face of the Earth and everything that we ever thought was important will be erased; as if it never existed. We're not even a microscopic speck in the unimaginably huge - and ever-expanding - universe.

The author Douglas Adams wrote in one work of fiction, about the worst torture being to be shown the entire universe all at once such that you fully perceive your own insignificance, which would blow your mind and destroy you. So many good novelists are more imaginative than our best scientists, and they foresee the cultural and social problems which the inventors of new technology don't, because the inventors are too in love with their creations. Our thirst for knowledge, and the invention of the biggest and most complicated machine ever built, which connects most of humanity in a world wide web - the internet - has not brought with it any comfort, unlike religion. Having this incredible information vault accessible anytime, anywhere, along with the ability to communicate and connect with anybody, is something which no engineer who built the internet thought might lead to incredibly awful social and cultural problems. Engineers are utopians, but they invent things not ideas, philosophies and belief systems. Engineers created the internet and they left it up to others to decide what to do with it; they've left it to us to make sense of things.

Google and Wikipedia appear to be unopinionated. In theory, you can use Google and Wikipedia to simply discover the information which you're looking for, and consume it. In theory, Google and Wikipedia will not tell you that certain ideas are heretical, or ascribe a sinfulness to the pursuit of certain knowledge. You're free to search "anal fissures" out of pure morbid fascination with the disgusting and depraved, and you won't be judged - it's all just between you and the computer. You can ask Google the questions that you would have asked your priest 100 years ago, and Google will give you the information so that you can make up your own mind. In fact Google is giving you the information that the most people clicked on, and some information which has been growth hacked by people with a commercial objective. Wikipedia presents the prevailing consensus of opinion in academia, with some degree of peer-review process, however it's just the opinion of the handful of people who wrote the particular page you're reading.

None of the stuff you read online is informed by an over-arching unified goal of shepherding the flock towards a state of existence deemed better than pure anarchy. Perhaps certain online news sources have editorial leanings which border on the paternalistic, but the vast majority of what's published online is done so to satisfy the particular individual's personal goals, and not as part of any master plan.

You might think it's the role of the government to think about the future of society and civilisation, and the government will be strongly opinionated about the purpose and meaning of our lives, but in fact governments are simply the victors in a commercial popularity contest, driven by individual egos and the survival needs of the massive party-political organisations. As such, governments simply parrot back whatever the people are demanding.

Progressive policies which have advanced our society have not come about because people demanded that we drag ourselves out of the dark ages, but in fact as a result of opinionated elites pushing through changes in the law which were not at all popular with the public. The death sentence is not something the public wanted to see repealed. The public are barbaric baboons and the idea that true democracy would lead us towards a progressive liberal utopia is completely wrong - instead we'd legalise xenophobia, racism and the persecution of minorities, if we left it up to the masses; mob rule.

It's wrong to assume that we have within us a moral compass; a strong sense of right and wrong and social justice. It's wrong to assume that people are basically good; they're not. People are selfish assholes. People are only interested in them and theirs, at the expense of anybody who's not like them. People are just dirty beasts with fancy clothes.

Yes, I'm pro paternalistic elitism. I'm pro social engineering. I'm pro giving people what's good for them, even though they don't like it and it's not what they want. Any move towards greater democracy is a move towards barbarism and the collapse of civilised society.

In my experience, people want simple fables; they want to believe in goodies and baddies; they want to believe in a black and white world, where everything can be simplified into easy to digest nonsense, which strips away all the complexity of reality and replaces it with comforting falsehoods. In my experience, people want to believe in lies, because lies are easier than hard truths. In short, people want religion.

Nobody much cares about the universal laws of physics and the optical illusion which makes solid objects appear to be solid, when in actual fact they're made of mostly nothing; a scattering of particles with indeterminate positions. People don't want to know about the deeply unsettling subatomic world, where things behave in non-intuitive ways. People want to believe that the world is a magical, mysterious and unknowable place, invented by a sky monster, because it's easier than grasping quantum mechanics.

Nobody much cares about the complex history of humanity and all the inter-breeding that's gone on, such that there are no 'pure blood' races. People just want to separate into "us" and "them". People want to belong to clubs, clans, tribes, nations, parties, teams, dynasties and every other conceivable way of slicing and dicing ourselves, such that we feel part of something. People want to hate. People want war and they want to dominate.

Nobody much cares that there are perfectly viable ways to divide our wealth and peacefully co-exist. Nobody much cares that billions of people could have their standard of living dramatically improved, at the expense of greed and selfishness. People want to live under hierarchies; they want to worship prophets and elevate ordinary mortal men to positions and status which are obscene and unjustifiable. Do you really think that a TV pastor deserves to live in a huge mansion while there are people starving on the streets? That's what people want - they want the haves and the have-nots.

Our terrestrial mortal destiny is in our own hands, and we know - in our heart of hearts - that when we die it's all over. There is no afterlife. There is no promised land. It's all bullshit that was invented to lessen the fear of death and make our lives of suffering appear to have some meaning in an otherwise ludicrously absurd existence. In the end you. just. die.

If our destiny is in our own hands, why aren't we making our existence on Earth into a more pleasant experience? Why aren't we bothered about making the most of the short time we're alive? Why are we content to have so much struggle, pain and suffering? We're quite capable of alleviating that suffering, but there's no will to change. We busy ourselves with absurdities, like getting jobs as bakers so that we can earn money to afford to be able to buy a slice of bread, from one of the loaves which we baked. We've constructed ludicrous inefficient systems which only serve to enslave us and make us desperately unhappy.

Of course none of this is God's plan. If there is a God - which there isn't - then why would He have us punching made-up numbers into a spreadsheet, at a desk, in an office, in the middle of a concrete jungle? Why would He have us exchanging pieces of paper with each other until the day we die? Why would He have made the money lenders into the richest and most powerful people on the planet, when His son was evidently not a big fan of usury when he drove those money lenders out of Herod's Temple?

Those who are afflicted with the madness that is religious faith might in fact be onto something, because at least their lives have meaning and they're looking forward to something, as opposed to enduring awful suffering until the day they die. We end our lives afraid and in pain and we know we're not going to see our children and grandchildren again. It might be insane to believe in an immortal and everlasting afterlife, but it's a damnsight better than anything on offer in a world run for the sole benefit of the mega-rich, which we have willingly allowed to come into existence.

In a godless universe with no afterlife, what's the meaning and purpose of anything? Nothing has any meaning. You might as well go and commit whatever crimes you want, because we all die anyway. You might as well indulge hedonistic pursuits to the maximum, because none of us are getting out of this alive.

In a world without religion, what fills that void? It can't be the pursuit of wealth, because that's even more insane.





11 min read

This is a story about strict routine...

Washing machine

I don't feel like writing today. I saw something in the news which I wanted to write about and I even started a blog post, but then I kinda lost my way when doing a bit of research. I had selected a photo - different from the one above - and I started to feel that it was unwise to use it because it shows my face without my cunning and infallible disguise. I'm starting to think more and more about how people perceive me and the damage I could do to my own reputation if my blog was read by my work colleagues.

There are certain things that will cause people to look at you in a completely different light. There are prejudices that are so powerful that they can warp reality and turn good people into twisted grotesque imaginary monsters. To write about addiction is to bracket myself with baby-eating, granny-mugging, child-raping, ethnic-minority-murdering, every-other-bad-thing-you-can-think-of, demonised people who are blamed for all the ills in society. Your average injecting crack and heroin addict is going to commit a hundred or maybe even two hundred crimes every year to feed their habit. However, it's a non-sequitur to think that everybody who's experienced a period of drug addiction in the past is an immoral murderous criminal. "Death's too good for 'em! String 'em up!" cries the tabloid press and the public lap it up, even though the vast majority have never been a victim of crime, nor are they aware that the so-called character flaws which potentiate addiction live inside all of us.

I was going to write about that oft-used song lyric: "there's a monkey on my back". I can't say that I ever felt like I had a monkey on my back when I was a drug addict. "I'm waiting for my man" is another famous addiction-inspired song lyric, which again is something I can't relate to at all. In fact I can't relate to any of the addiction references in popular culture. I've never 'scored' drugs from a dealer. I've never been part of a drugs 'scene'. I never adopted a drug as part of my identity - I never wore clothing with a cannabis leaf or some other drug reference advertising my addiction.

There's a lot I don't understand about drug addicts even though I was one myself. I don't understand why many addicts buy crack cocaine when they could easily make it themselves with baking soda. I don't understand why addicts buy their drugs in small quantities. I don't understand why addicts buy impure and weak products at hugely inflated prices. I don't understand why there are heroin addicts when they could easily bulk-buy fentanyl, which is much more powerful. I don't know why addicts don't just stop being addicts and get rich - like me - whenever life gets tough.

Of course, I do understand all those things. I understand that the only difference between me and an injecting crack and heroin user, is that they were exposed to a drug 'scene' which brought them into contact with dealers, street drugs, needles and other drug paraphernalia. Addicts are caught in the never-ending cycle of scoring drugs, turning tricks, petty crime and everything else that's part of the chaotic life of an injecting drugs user, and the only difference between them and me is that I know that there's some hope that I can escape a miserable life of poverty. What hope does your average crack and heroin addict have of earning a 6-figure salary a month after they quit drugs? What hope do they have of ever earning a decent wage?

I've been able to use my wealth, intellect and other privileges - such as my science and technology skills - to research and obtain high purity drugs of the maximum potency at rock-bottom prices. Instead of messing around with £10 bags of crappy cut heroin, I'd do the research and find out what the chemical with the biggest bang for my buck would be, and then buy it in bulk.

What happens when you have access to a practically unlimited amount of drugs and a practically unlimited amount of time to use them, is that you discover the meaning of the word: practically. It's practically impossible to satisfy a desire for addictive drugs. Given enough drugs and enough time, you just die. Eating, drinking, sleeping, personal hygiene, bathroom breaks and other bodily functions are put on hold for as long as possible. There are some addicts who are perfectly functional - they go about their daily business under the influence of drugs and they can carry on like that for years. That's not really addiction though. Addiction specifically means harmful drug use. Smoking, for example, harms the health of the smoker and the health of those who have to breathe their second-hand smoke. Arguably a pill-popper isn't an addict at all, if the pills are not causing health damage. My own addiction took the form of the very worst kind: the insatiable appetite for a drug to the exclusion of everything else, including the basic necessities for human survival.

At some point drug-taking either becomes a chore - it's something which has to be done to stave off the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms - or it becomes so destructive that destitution and death become certainties. I'm sure there are a handful of homeless people who could see that their addiction was making them unable to work and unable pay their rent or mortgage, and they would be evicted eventually, but they didn't want to stop the drugs: they'd rather be homeless, living in a tent or otherwise sleeping rough, and able to carry on with their addictions. Most homeless addicts probably couldn't see any hope of avoiding homelessness if they quit - there was no incentive. The drug-taking becomes a chore and there's no hope of escaping the dreadful circumstances when you fall too far; the health damage is too severe and the behaviour patterns are too entrenched... rehabilitation would take years, and the best possible hope for those people who dropped out of mainstream society for a long time, is that they could become burger flippers, shelf stackers, toilet cleaners and street sweepers. I have nothing against the untouchables on the bottom rung of civilised society, who do the worst jobs for the worst pay, but it's hardly an enthralling prospect to be shackled to a dreadful job which doesn't pay enough to cover rent and bills, and robs a person of their time and freedom. Given the choice, I'd rather be begging on the streets.

My life is a chore. I'm doing things which I've done a million times before - so there's no doubt that I'm extremely capable of doing my job - and I'm working on projects which are exactly the same as every other project I ever worked on. It doesn't matter if it's Space Invaders, torpedo guidance, stockbroker share prices, computers for schools, public transport, investment banking, government... whatever. Same shit different day. I make systems which are just like the old systems. It's like painting a white wall with white paint, over and over and over again.

Life's a stupid pathetic pointless game. Money is the 'score' and the more you have of it the better player you are, supposedly, but everybody starts with a different amount and the ones with the most are cheating the most. There are other ways to score points, such as academic qualifications, but again, those who start with the most money have the most leisure time to pursue academic interests and surround themselves with people who'll help them obtain those qualification. Winning a game of chess doesn't mean you're smarter than your opponent if the game wasn't on the clock. Winning a game of chess doesn't mean you're smarter than your opponent if you were raised by chess grandmasters and your entire childhood was structured around a single purpose: to make you into a brilliant chess player.

As we scurry around desperately trying to comply with the rules of the game, which mostly means being exploited by capitalists and living in constant fear of losing our job, our home and our children, we surely must stop and think that this is insanity. Why would mortal creatures waste their precious time playing a rigged game, for the benefit of the rentier class who oppress them and profit from their labour?

It must surely be due to drugs and drug addiction that the present situation is allowed to continue. How else are people able to buy alcohol, cigarettes, tea and coffee if they don't have miserable exploitative jobs? How else could we tolerate the intolerable except with massive amounts of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, tranquillisers, sedatives and sleeping pills? Why would we bother with the miserable commute and the horrible work, unless there was the promise of some artificial and chemically induced bliss during our breaks and at the end of the working day?

You can have as many slaves as you want, but they won't work without coca leaves, khat, betel leaves, areca nut, tobacco, tea and coffee. Fear, intimidation, pain and torture will only get you so far. There needs to be carrot as well as stick.

If you watch enough X-Factor and Pop Idol on TV then you'll see that all anybody has ever wanted for their whole entire life - more than anything else - is to be a singer. Why then are those who succeed against the odds in becoming a rich and famous pop singer, are very often afflicted with addiction problems and many die young?

Consider how hard it is to escape from the poverty trap. Consider how hard it is to escape the rat race. Consider how hard it is to accumulate enough wealth to be truly free. Consider the effort and exertion necessary to break the chains and liberate yourself from the shackles of capitalism and bullshit jobs.

Unfortunately, most people's idea of freedom is flawed. Are you looking forward to your retirement? Why? You'll be old and your health will be declining... why didn't you retire when you were young and fit? Are you looking forward to fame? Why? You'll be working for your sponsors; you'll be working for your fans. Are you looking forward to being rich? Why? What are you going to do when you are? If you spend your money you'll be poor again, and you'll be just as much of a slave as you ever were, except you'll have developed expensive tastes.

Drugs strip away all of capitalism's artificial constructs. A £10 bag of heroin will get a billionaire just as high as a homeless penniless person. Drugs can - in a way - become a way of life which has much more meaning than the pursuit of wealth. However, the insatiability of a drug addiction; its intrinsic destructiveness and lack of meaning beyond the internal experience of the drug addict, leads inexorably to the desire to use drugs as a form of protracted suicide.

Art is the only known antidote, but art is denied to the vast majority of humanity. Only wealthy spoiled trust-fund brats are truly free enough from the tyranny of capitalism to be artists. Of course many of the spoiled brat offspring of the ultra-rich will become drug addicts, because they're too stupid to appreciate the incredible privilege it is to be able to be an artist.

Perhaps the other choice is to bury ourselves in bestial behaviour. If you're blessed with enough stupidity and ignorance to be happily consumed by your reproductive efforts, all the best to you - enjoy yourself. Sadly, this isn't an option for those who've read too many books and newspapers, and have become aware of the absurdity of existence - ignorance is bliss, and there's no returning to those blissfully ignorant times once your eyes have been opened to the stark reality of human life.

In a godless world with no afterlife, free from magic, spiritual and otherwise ethereal non-existent mumbo-jumbo, there's little which is comforting and inviting in a hostile universe which obeys strict mathematical laws. Just a few hundred kilometres away there's the vacuum of space, where you'd just turn into a frozen corpse and float around weightlessly for billions of years. And you're worried about losing your minimum wage zero-hours contract McJob cleaning toilets just so that you can give every penny you earn to a capitalist, even though you already give every waking hour of your life to a different capitalist? Don't you feel conned; cheated?

I don't feel like doing much, but is that really surprising? Is it so surprising that life feels like such a chore?




How to be a Philosopher

8 min read

This is a story about thinking...

Thought bubble

There's a bit of a monopoly on thinking. I mean, you're allowed to think and stuff, but you're not allowed to share those thoughts. Well, you can share your thoughts but nobody's going to care, because you're a nobody. People want to know the opinions of a rich spoiled heiress who's famous for having her sex tape plastered all over the internet, but not your opinions. People want to know the opinions of those whose opinions are already well publicised, and those who already have a platform and a group of devout followers. Nobody wants to hear any new thoughts, ideas or have their cherished philosophies challenged.

Thus, we arrive in the quagmire of modern day living. We are heavily weighed down by our attachment to notions of what we consider to be virtuous, conferring greater social status and conforming to acceptable social behaviour - norms, if you like.

If you wish to conduct a real-world philosophical experiment, try asking a person on a crowded bus or a train if you can sit where they're sitting. There's nothing written into law to say that you're not allowed to ask if you can sit down without a socially accepted reason, such as being old or pregnant, and I very much doubt you were taught by your parents or in school that you shouldn't ask for somebody to give up their seat for you, so where did the protocol come from? How did it become enshrined that we accept "they had it first" as validity for possession of something we desire?

One might argue that thieves are an example of an antisocial behavioural pattern that, nevertheless, allows a person to get the things that they need in life, just as any one of us might steal the milk from a cow, or the seeds from a plant - we see numerous examples of behaviour that is criminalised and stigmatised in some forms, but accepted and even revered in others. Why is it that we call welfare claimants "scroungers" and "parasites" but we don't we criticise bosses, managers, slave-owners and similarly idle people who profit from the labour of others?

I feel compelled to caveat what I'm writing, and say that there's a kind of absolute morality which decrees that any action which has a victim - rape and murder, for example - is always wrong, while theft and fraud could arguably be said to be victimless, because wealth always needs to be redistributed. In actual fact, in a godless world with no afterlife, there is no place for morality - when you're dead you're dead, so you might as well do whatever the hell you want, provided the profit to you is greater than the potential societally-imposed consequences.

If you were asked to say what the prevailing philosophy of the present day is, what would you reply? Would you say that we are still religious and subscribe to the ancient belief systems of the major religions? Would you say that we have adopted the philosophy of the Ancient Greeks? Would you say that we have adopted modern politico-economic philosophies, which could broadly be described as socialist or conservative? How would you react if I suggested that we are like a rudderless ship at the moment - we have no guiding philosophy and we are led by vapid celebrities who are incapable of imagining a culture beyond wealth worship and superficial bullshit.

The terrifying truth is that atheism and capitalism have won, ushering in an era of scientific progress, technological advancement and incredibly efficient industry, but without a guiding philosophy. Nobody seems to care that we've forgotten to ask a fundamental question: Why?

Why are we here? Why are we doing what we're doing? Why are we even alive?

Ultimately, we may come to realise that we might as well live completely hedonistic reckless irresponsible lives, because it's immediately rewarding and death is inevitable. In a godless world with no afterlife, what possible reason is there to consider anything other than maximising our pleasure, right now? There is nothing after this - we just die.

Because it's deeply disturbing to see your family and friends dying, and to know that we are mortal too, we arrive back at the need for religion: Comforting bullshit to allow us to cope with the fact that we're soon going to die. Religion offers an answer where there is none to be found. Science needs no opinion on what existed before time itself, because the question is nonsensical. Science needs no opinion on where our consciousness goes when we die, because it seems self-evident that it doesn't go anywhere at all - you just cease to exist.

Taking the thought experiment - life without any guiding philosophy - to its ultimate conclusion, we can see that we might as well perpetrate rapes and murders and leave the surface of the planet scorched and barren, as we wring every ounce of pleasure out of the present instant. Who cares about tomorrow when we're all going to die? This seems to have a ring of truth about it, when we consider the direction the human race is travelling in. Our laws are nothing versus the power of global capitalism, celebrity, wealth worship, drugs, slavery and the general abandonment of philosophies that sought to make the world a fairer place, where human excesses were curtailed and greed was considered sinful.

There is a vacuum at the moment, left behind when we rejected religion as superstitious bullshit, which of course it is, but religion is also the glue between the pooh - religion at least gave us a kind of consensus of opinion about right and wrong, and why it's better to live life with some view to improving the world for future generations. Governments, politicians and civil servants are not the right people to become a new church. We cannot rely on power-hungry busybodies to provide us with any kind of societal structure, because rules and regulations are nothing if there's no guiding philosophy that people subscribe to. It's a bit like speeding: we all know what the speed limit is, but very rarely do we feel like it applies to us, because rules are there to be broken.

We have created a generation who believe in nothing and want to commit suicide. We have created a generation who are smarter than ever before, but who have nothing to look forward to, and we don't have an answer for them when they ask: Why was I even born?

If you're looking to me for an answer to the big question - why are we here? - then I can give it to you but you're not going to like it. In fact, it rather deserves a blog post of its own, although I've hinted at my answer when I mentioned the scorched earth, created by raping and pillaging all the planet's resources, and the death of consciousness. I've written before about quantum immortality. You really don't want to hear all that stuff again - it's not very nice, even if there's a pretty decent chance it could be correct and it'd be really easy to prove.

Are you still looking for an answer to the big question? If you are then I have good news [sic]. The argument for not being hedonistic and short-termist is that one person can make a difference. Of course, one person on their own is just a blithering idiot who can rant and rave in isolation. We might see that those who live their lives as an example to others are often taken advantage of and lose out because they don't cheat, steal and otherwise conduct themselves without a shred of moral decency. What's the point in voicing an opinion in a world that doesn't care who you are or and whether you live or die? Well, there's a slim chance that your tiny contribution might become part of a bigger movement - a billion whispers become a deafening roar. In a world where no almighty church is going to impose itself on you and declare any wayward views heretical, we have both collective and individual responsibility to formulate our own life philosophies, that are hopefully capable of improving the world, rather than continuing to perpetuate patterns of behaviour that will destroy everything.

Our current thought leaders have provided nothing except the perpetuation of the status quo, the nihilistic vacuum left behind by the decline of religion, and the boom of free-market capitalism. The free market believes in nothing. Politicians believe in nothing. We can no longer survive in a world where we are led by leaders who simply tell us what we want to hear. We can no longer survive as a species when we worship those who exhibit the least capability for free-thinking, the highest preference for elitism and the concentration of the monopoly on thinking in a few powerful hands.

To call myself a writer, a thinker, an intellectual - these things are laughable, of course. However, why do you think that?





9 min read

This is a story about depression and burnout...

Lime cordial

If there's one thing I hate, it's a long drawn out journey to the grave. I really don't want to be on my deathbed, remembering the past, but unable to distinguish one day from any other. So many of us are in a routine of waking up, pressing the "snooze" button, having a shower, getting dressed, going to boring bullshit jobs, coming home, watching TV, preparing some food, loading the dishwasher, doing washing & ironing, and having joyless sex or masturbating to pornography - all purely to relieve the animal urges to copulate, eat, drink, piss, shit and sleep.

Life offers very few opportunities for memorable experiences, especially if you have made the ethical decision not to clone your genes through the impregnation of yourself or somebody else. This does not automatically mean that I consider myself morally superior or in a position to hand down judgements from my high horse. To write emotively on one topic does not logically confer that I hold negative views on those who have embarked up the one-way street that is motherhood or fatherhood. Please; do not send me your protestations that being a parent is both tough and rewarding. I KNOW that parenthood is something that I have no first-hand experience of. I DO respect everyone's unique set of life decisions - everyone's gotta live their own life as best as they see fit, and are able to do, playing the cards that have been randomly dealt to them.

My approach to life remains very much the same as it's always been: high risk, high reward.

I joked with a girl - mocking her - that I had fathered a string of illegitimate bastard children, and was being mercilessly pursued by the Child Support Agency (CSA) for money to pay for the upkeep of these offspring that I had carelessly brought into the world. She thought I was being serious.

So, where is all my wealth hidden? I've been a top-bracket taxpayer for most of my working life. Surely I can't have squandered so much disposable income on drink & drugs, and also been able to have a successful career. This is either unthinkable, or grossly unfair that I've had such a surplus, but yet still managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

I've paid for convenience whenever I've been able to. Why would I clean my toilet, when I could pay somebody less than I earn per hour? While the cleaner has the close encounter with the porcelain throne, I could be working on a more glamourous project that pays very handsomely. It's a false economy to clean your own toilet, just as it is to do all of the many household chores, which can be done by a professional housekeeper.

When you apply this cost:benefit analysis to your entire life, you end up spending 37.5 hours a week reading news websites and planning your next holiday; enjoying a lifestyle that is approaching the much vaunted "age of leisure".

If you think I'm lazy, you're wrong. Only a crazy person would do the same repetitive tasks that they could easily automate, or train somebody who's prepared to do the work - subcontracted or outsourced - for less money, which leaves you with a net profit AND you don't have to do the shitty job. Repeat this process, because it is scalable, and you're on the right path... assuming you want to be rich and have lots of spare time. Perhaps you LIKE punching meaningless numbers into spreadsheets. Perhaps you WANT to clean toilets.

I looked at a list of the seven deadly sins, and realised that I could be a poster boy for Christian immorality.

If you've ever taken an interest in astrology and the signs of the zodiac, then you're easily fooled by writing that is deliberately ambiguous, leaving the interpretation to the reader, to apply to his or her own life. Religion has made a healthy living out of contrived platitudes that are completely meaningless in the context of the realities of human existence. The Bible, the Qu'ran, the Torah and all the other religious texts are so written as to be [mis]interepreted by the faithful flock.

One might as well say that if you breathe air, drink water, consume fats, proteins, carbohydrates, salts, amino acids and other vitamins and minerals, as well as trace amounts of every element & chemical compound, then you're a doomed sinner. If you urinate, defecate, ejaculate and perspirate, you're going straight to Hell. The demons that walk amongst us, corrupting our innocence and threatening to plunge society into chaos and destruction, are those who fornicate, copulate and enjoy fellatio or cunnilingus. The fact that all of these things are encoded into the very fabric of our corporeal vessels - the DNA of almost every cell in our body - is a fact that seems to have escaped the notice of those who are so easily conned by priests, vicars, preachers, witch doctors, shaman, tarot card readers, astrologers and other snake-oil salesmen and women.

I imagine I'd be pretty bummed if I found out I had an incurable terminal illness that was going to cut my life short, versus my expected lifespan. What would I do about it though? Which god should I pray to?

As a wise friend of mine said, you can be tricked by your genes into believing that love and hormonal bonding are real and tangible. If you think that parents, grandparents, great grandparents - and so on - are somehow going to end up 'less dead' than the people who didn't try to clone themselves, you're wrong. Even in the most anthropocentric & egocentric of interpretations of theoretical physics, you will have to witness the death of everybody you know, as well as the destruction of the planet, the solar system and the galaxies. Eventually entropy will be victorious over the entire universe, with time itself ceasing to be a meaningful concept and nowhere for you - or indeed anything - to exist.

If you believe in god(s) capable of making man and a world fit for human habitation, then you must also accept that this power is equally capable of destruction. He taketh away as much as He giveth - you can surely see this with your own eyes. This is the other side of the same coin that says that an infinitely small point, with infinite density and infinite energy, suddenly exploded into a universe. Following the same reasoning, either the universe will eventually collapse back into itself, by the force of its own gravitational pull, or it will expand until it is so uniformly cool and sparse that it is indistinguishable from the most perfect of vacuums - absolute nothingness.

I look at the world through a madman's eyes - I've read so much and delved so deep into the realm of the theoretical, proven in physical experiments as well as experiments that one can conduct through logical thought alone. I've seen, in my mind's eye, things that cannot be unseen. As Douglas Adams joked, if you see too much of the universe all at once it will destroy you - it's the ultimate torment; the ultimate death.

In an uncaring universe, I can see why people would seek comfort in the fairytale worlds of sky monsters and star signs, but it's pure childishness and immaturity. However, I envy the blissfully ignorant; I envy the blindly faithful, unshakable in their wilful stupidity.

I've worked very hard to master the machines of pure logic and reason - the computers - as well as spending most of my hard-earned wealth on lengthy periods, where I have absented myself from the demands of menial day-to-day existence. I told you that you were wrong about me having squandered my money on drink and drugs. The vast bulk of my conscious waking hours have been spent in startling sobriety; completely crystal clear thinking.

I carved three deep gashes the length of my forearm, with blood gushing out aplenty, before the arrival of two Metropolitan Police officers interrupted me. I can give you the long and exact chain of decisions that led me to do this, which were robustly defended by a logical thesis. That the police arrived was not a surprising outcome for me; in fact I had already anticipated everything that happened that day. The only thing that surprised me was that I was able to bandage my self-inflicted injuries using an actual first aid kit, which I discovered by chance, rather than having to resort to sanitary towels, kitchen roll and sellotape.

You would think that I would be completely insane, completely alcoholic, completely drug addicted or perfectly healthy, contented and conspicuously rich. Scratch the surface, and every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

If you think the world's gonna end, why hasn't it already? If you think everything's held in stable equilibrium, you simply haven't looked outside your front door: it's fucking war out there and nothing is stable at all. Civilisations destroy themselves and species go extinct - there's evidence of it everywhere.

Thus, you discover me - a distilled and concentrated form of sinner; completely unrepentant and embodying everything you were told in church to fear and shun; the very epitome of evil. Yet, I'm made of the same stuff as you.

I invite you to judge me; to critiqué me. I invite this criticism, because how can good exist, without evil?




What Would Jesus Do?

7 min read

This is a story about seeing the light...

Sign from above

Nobody preaches louder than the convert. I've been accused of speaking like a sanctimonious prick on several occasions, but let's just have a little think about a book I've never read, shall we? I had the good fortune of avoiding almost all religious indoctrination, despite attending Church of England schools, the occasional event at Easter, Christmas and observing a few other antiquated religious customs.

So, let's start with revenge.

I'm pretty sure that Jesus wasn't a "never forget" and "make those bastards pay for what they did to us" grudge holding kind of guy. In fact, despite my lack of bible study, I'm pretty sure there was something he said about turning the other cheek and forgiveness. Yes, now I think about it, all that "eye for an eye" stuff definitely wasn't attributable to Big J and his disciples. You could say that bloodthirsty acts of revenge and 'pre-emptive' strikes are definitely not Christian at all.

What kind of dude was Jesus anyway? Like I say, I never read the bible, went to Sunday school, went to church or got taught much about his life, but I know this: he didn't think being disgustingly wealthy was a great idea.

I probably can't name all 12 disciples, but if I had to guess I'd say: John, Paul, George, Ringo, Sleepy, Dopey, Dasher, Dancer, Thomas, Henry, Edward and Gordon. For some reason I think that Matthew and Luke should be on that list, but those names don't exactly sound like fishermen and farmers from the Middle East.

What I can tell you about Matthew and Luke, is that they both reckoned that Jesus used to say that we should stop building piles of treasure on Earth. Both those dudes said that Jesus was all about giving up your worldly possessions so you could donate to the poor. The upshot being, Jesus wasn't intent on being a billionaire, building big tower blocks with his name on and decorating everything with blinging gold.

The Bible - although I've never read it - comes in two parts and is translated from Aramaic. Basically, it's a Syrian book... you know, the place where Saint George the patron saint of England came from. The most popular English translation runs to some 750,000+ words. It's not all the disciples' account of Jesus' ramblings and crazy shit that happened to him. There are also some fairly simple commandments in there.

The first three of the famous ten commandments are all about God being a really jealous imaginary dude who demands your undivided attention. If the commandments were in order of importance, numero uno is that you're not allowed to so much as think about another God. In fact, it's not until commandment number 6 that we get onto trivial things like not killing other people. In fact, so many commandments are given over to not saying God is a stinky pooh-pooh head and other weird rules, that rape didn't even make the list. No to murder. No to adultery. No to theft. Rape... well, it's not as big of a deal as worshiping an idol is it?

In fact, most of The Bible is full of absolute garbage. Exodus 23:19 forbids us from eating cheeseburgers. Leviticus tells us we can't get tattoos, cut the hair on the side of our head, trim our beards and most bizarrely of all, you can't mix cotton and wool clothing.

"a garment mingled of linen and woollen [shall not] come upon thee"

So, basically, we know that to study The Bible is to study a laughably backwards culture and a book written by many authors, with many agendas, over several ancient periods of time. You simply can't use it as an instruction manual for modern life.

Now, back to the original question: what would Jesus do?

It's a fairly serious question. If the dude was alive today - walking around in his sandals and his dusty robes - what kind of shit would piss him off and how would he act?

I'm pretty sure he'd be straight into the temples of the money lenders, turning their tables over and kicking their arses for the sin of usury. We can be certain that Jesus was no fan of banks and financial services.

On the pro-life debate, Jesus seemed pretty sympathetic towards mothers and the choices they want to make with their own bodies. Basically, the bible's pretty clear that other people's unborn foetuses and fertilised eggs are none of your goddam business, as explained in this passage from the bible:

"As you do not know how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything" -- Ecclesiastes 11:5

Most telling of all, the bible contains this passage:

"[an aborted foetus] does not enjoy life's good things, and also has no burial, I say that an [abortion] is better than [an unwanted child]... [that] has not seen the sun or known anything" -- Ecclesiastes 6:3-5

Jesus would have one thing to say to those pro-life people who harass poor women who are trying to get into abortion clinics: "he who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her". In other words, who the fuck are you to judge? Who the fuck are you to intimidate a poor frightened woman who's faced with an incredibly difficult decision? Jesus would be pretty mad about supposedly Christian people, acting with so little compassion and forgiveness.

All this Islamophobia and anti-refugee sentiment would certainly piss Jesus right off. He would be angry as fuck about the way that the wealthy West is slamming the door in the face of refugees they created, through bombing and drone strikes. What part of "thou shalt not kill" didn't you understand? What part of "love your neighbour as you love yourself" got mangled into "look after your own"?

How dare Theresa May - an alleged Christian - and Donald Trump, leader of "God's own country" carry on in such an unchristian manner. There isn't an ounce of Christianity in these greedy megalomaniacs, who care nothing for the poor and needy.

I'm an atheist by default, because my scientific studies have answered questions and provided truth that makes all religious faith look like a mental illness, but the sentiment - the morality - of Jesus Christ is perfectly relevant, and a useful guide for us all when thinking about how we should treat one another.

I'm never going to become some born-again Christian, repent my sins and start banging on about The Bible, but when I weep at the cruel, callous, greedy, selfish and inhumane leadership demonstrated by British and US politicians and business leaders, I do sometimes think we need a decent human being as a moral beacon for us all. Aspiring to be like the fanny-grabbing billionaire bigot Donald Trump is going to be a rocket ride straight to a metaphorical hell.

Religion has been perverted by a clergy who've lined their own pockets and committed atrocious acts of paedophilia, as well as other abuses of power. We can reject religion, while also saying that Jesus Christ sounded like a pretty cool dude. The world would be a better place if we all tried to be a bit more like Jesus: a bit more Christian.

I really don't give a fuck what fictitious character we decide we love and want to emulate - perhaps Robin Hood? - but reality TV idols and wealth worship has taken us to a terrible, terrible place.

This is obviously written from my hospital bed, where I'm a bit loopy from kidney failure and painkillers, but I hope my writing is still reasonably cogent. All I can tell you is how I cry and cry and cry when I read the news right now, because the action of our leaders doesn't match their rhetoric about peace, compassion and care for the poor and vulnerable.




Indoctrinated & Institutionalised

5 min read

This is a story about brainwashing...

Psychiatric hospital

How do you think that somebody who has worked for the best part of 20 years in the investment banking technology sector, mostly as an IT consultant, would re-adjust to being under lock and key in a psychiatric hospital? The answer is: very easily.

Hospitals and the NHS are a home from home for anybody who's worked for an organisation with hundreds of thousands of employees. The ways that large organisations function are largely the same. The way that systems and processes are supposed to control large numbers of people, are nearly identical.

Being in the loony bin was welcome relief from the bullshit day job, but it's not like I had absented myself from all responsibilities. I still had to have my wits about me to avoid being medicated against my will and put under a 'section' - involuntary commitment to a secure facility, by rule of law - which could have seen my 2 week voluntary stay extended anywhere from 28 days to 6 months.

How did I manage it so easily? Perhaps it's because I knew I could leave any time I wanted to, but perhaps it could be because nearly 20 years of going to a shit office to do a shit job, has kinda prepared me for the monotony, rhythm and routine of spending weeks on end trapped somewhere I don't want to be.

There was a danger that just the very act of asking to leave could have triggered the doctors to decide to force me to stay longer. I knew that I had to remain calm, and give the medical team  enough of a peek at my psyche to be able to make a judgement that I was safe to release back into the wilderness.

The psychiatrist who took me under his care was in two minds, after 6 days, whether he was going to insist on 'committing' me, so that he'd get 28 or so days to poke around inside my head. Naturally, most people would freak out, if they found out that their liberty was about to be taken away from them. It's a game of brinksmanship: who's going to blink first.

Obviously, we don't 'commit' people any more to asylums. Instead we detain them under a section of the Mental Health Act, and put them in secure psychiatric facilities. You're no longer a loony in the loony bin. You're a "service user" in a "care facility". Of course, I'm not saying that the function is not useful or should not be trusted. I'm just pointing out that the names of things have been changed.

Bizarrely, if you say "I'm going to kill myself, I need to be locked up" you are very unlikely to be locked up. If you walk up to the hospital reception desk and use their phone to contact the switchboard, ask to be connected to the bleep holder for Psychiatric Liaison, and explain frankly your situation, you will have an amusing conversation with the poor Psychiatrist who has to follow official channels, but you're not going to get anywhere. The times that I have been admitted as an inpatient to a psychiatric facility, it has just taken time & patience. Only the truly desperate will sit in Accident & Emergency for 13 hours just patiently waiting for help.

Conversely, if you say "I'm not mad, I'm fine" once you're in the system, or in any way try to rush the process along, you're going to end up held down on the floor with somebody injecting Risperidone and Haloperidol in you, and you might wake up 40 years later, shuffling around the corridors of some institution, with the marked side effects of powerful psychiatric drugs causing you to make involuntary facial movements.

You can't fight the system. You can't fight the frustrating fact that you'll never get ahead in life and must instead sit at a desk keeping a seat warm, just so that your boss can appoint somebody from outside the company to come in and be incompetent at the job you were hoping to be promoted into, even though you were experienced and qualified to do it. You can't fight the frustrating fact that your miserable boring existence, helping the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, is making you pretty depressed, and you really want to fuck everything off and watch everything burn down.

Who is mad and who is sane? That doctor who just declared you to be mentally ill probably talks to their imaginary friend called Dob or Gob or Dog or Dod (or is it God?) who really knows? There's no proof that their imaginary friend exists, just like the doctor has no proof that the voices you hear aren't real and you aren't actually the Son of Dob, resurrected on Earth.

The invisible line between sane and insane is very blurry, when billions of people genuinely believe in magic, invisible entities that don't exist, and have absolute faith that some children's fairy tales are actually instructions that should be devoutly and literally followed to the letter as some kind of prescription for life.

It seems highly irreverent to say it, but people need to speak up, because the loonies are actually in charge of the asylum, when we elect and hand over power to people who believe in their invisible friends, fairy tales and magic.

By the way, for the record, I don't hear voices and I don't think I'm Jesus. But then, saying that kinda makes me sound a bit mad, doesn't it?