Monthly Archives: December 2017

Stone-Faced

A Zen master who was known to never smile received a student who came to inquire about Brexit.

“You told me Brexit means no phased negotiation,” the student said quietly. “But now we have phased negotiation.”

The Zen master was stone-faced.

“You told me Brexit means no divorce bill,” the student said. “But now we are paying between £35 and £39 billion in our divorce bill.”

The Zen master was stone-faced.

“You told me Brexit means no customs union” the student said. “But now we are staying in the customs union in the absence of agreed solutions for upwards of two years after we lose our seat at the table.”

The Zen master was stone-faced.

The student paced the dojo, becoming more and more animated with frustrated energy as he waited for a response. Finally he shouted.

“You have told me so many times what Brexit does not mean. What does Brexit mean?”

The zen master smiled.

“Brexit means Brexit”.

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On Not Being Special

I want to be special. By that I mean I want to be uniquely brilliant. A magical star-being who floats brightly through the cosmos, lighting up every face I encounter and bringing joy to the universe.

Most people are not magical star-beings. Most people are human beings made of bones and flesh and skin. Of prickly anxieties. Of uplifting smiles. Of tired, heavy heads. And so on.

Star-beings are the same, except when you encounter a star-being, you don’t just pass them by, you tingle with cosmic resonance. You vibrate, however briefly, at their frequency.

But the chances are, because so very few people are star-beings, that I am not a star-being. The chances are that you are not a star-being. And, for me, not being a star-being is unacceptable.

To want to be a star-being is a strange desire. It is the desire to be followed, monitored and remarked upon by strangers. It is the desire to be known by people you do not know. It is the desire to be a freak.

So why do I want to be this kind of aberration? Why am I not content to be a normal, human kind of person? Why do I wander my kitchen when I think nobody is watching, giving acceptance speeches to prizes I have not won to an audience that does not exist? Why, when I enter a room, do I not stand near the far corner, nor in the centre, but float up towards the ceiling? Why can I pass through solid objects as if they were vast, infinitely thin cobwebs?

The answer is that I am insane. Not insane in the sense that I am illogical or delusional, although I am, like everybody else, certainly both of those. I am insane in the sense that I have a feeling and a belief, despite all contrary evidence and knowledge, that I am special. That I am luminous. That I have some magical lesson to impart to humankind and our successors.

The problem is this; when I see a person and speak with them for an evening, conversation inevitably turns to the big questions of how and why we got here as a species, and where and how we are going as a species. These conversations are invariably filled with unverifiable generalisations, but my observations seem superficially wise. So wise is my persona’s appearance that I have come to regard myself as if I actually am wise.

So there it is. Charm leads to praise. Praise leads to self-confidence. Self-confidence leads to self-aggrandisement, and now I am talking about myself as an interdimensional elf-man. A healer of universes. A real-life Dr Who.

So how do I deal with not being special? I don’t. I can’t. I am special. I am the glimmering gold dust of a thousand worlds. Feel my yellow light billow through your tiny brain. Meet me in your dreams.