I came home from a night on the beer, not really pissed but definitely not sober. It had been a usual night of drinking, laughing, farting and generally being working class. One great evening! But when I got home, I started thinking ‘Is this my life?’ and I answered ‘No!’… ‘So what can or shall I do about it?’ That is when I felt a presence in the room, besides me and the television set.
“You can do what ever you want to do,” said the presence.
“Who are you?” I enquired.
“What do you care?” it replied, “Perhaps I am the personification of your conscience.”
I pondered this for a while, then said, “Well if you are, you only exist in my mind.”
“Not so,” it said, “you obviously strongly believe that there is more to your life than just getting pissed every weekend!”
“Well why don’t you do something about it?”
“You know. It’s not up to me to try to direct someone’s life.”
“Yes, but if I, myself, do not actually know what direction my life is taking, surely it’s up to someone like you to tell me!”
“Bullshit! Don’t you realise that I am you?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, quite simply, that if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t exist.”
“I’ve already told you. I am the personification of your conscience.”
I tried to let this sink in. “But how?” I mumbled.
“How can,” the presence continued, “an abstract thought take on any form?”
“Simple. You know yourself that your life, even just your existence, is next to nothing. Therefore you feel that you should be getting more out of life than you are, but you don’t know how to achieve it.”
“Erm, well, yes I suppose.”
“There is no ‘suppose’ about it,” the presence exclaimed, and continued, “Your existence is the shits! All you do is live from one day to the next with absolutely no thoughts of the future.”
“Well I know that,” I replied, “but why should I plan for a future when it’s very doubtful that mankind itself might not have a future?”
“Since when have you been interested in the future of mankind?”
“You know what I mean. Let’s face it, when has anybody been interested in the future of mankind? Everybody, basically, is motivated by doing things for themselves.”
“What about the Salvation Army, or even Mother Theresa? They do good for poor and starving and ill-treated.”
“Yes, I can’t deny that. But what they do for those people makes them feel good, so really it comes down to selfishness. That is, doing something that brings some sort of enjoyment that no one else can share.”
“Are you trying to say that there is no good in the world?”
“No. There is good. The problem is the people who carry out this ‘good’. Are they really doing it for the people they help, or are they doing it because it makes them look good to other people?”
[and that’s where it ends. It looks like there might be missing page(s)]
(c) M. Robert Gibson
First written 1989-11-11