Death Cult for Fallen Angels

Posted: June 26, 2009 in graffiti living
Tags: , , ,

I’ve contemplated suicide every day of my life, since the age of eleven. My ability to procrastinate knows no bounds. Eleven is when I first said out loud that I hated myself, that I shouldn’t have been born, and that I wanted to die. But to say that you want to die isn’t really accurate – you want to live, and you want for your life to have meaning; it’s just that you strongly suspect that it’s never going to happen.

At a very young age, a voice in my head told me that I’d be dead by the age of 30. I say it was a voice, but it was more like a certainty. It told me that I only had a finite amount of words in me to write, and that when I was done, I’d be gone. But it also told me that somehow these words were more important, so no matter what, I had to get my work done.

And, I believed it. I was angry and impatient as only young people can be – I wanted to write, I was going to change the world, and when I was done I’d also be glad to be rid of the world. To die was just the price I’d have to pay for greatness, and it was a small price to pay. I didn’t care, I was ‘here to get my work done’, and I never really felt like I had a life beyond those words.

At some point, I faltered; I strayed from the path and lost my way. When it came right down to it, I was just too scared to write and didn’t want to die. I resisted – and perhaps even resented – the notion that I didn’t have a choice. Sure, I’d write for a while, and write well, but at some point I’d give up again and stumble back down into silence. The voice stayed with me throughout the years and chided me for not getting my work done.

I thought I’d be dead by the age of 30. Instead, I went to Glastonbury and stomped around in the mud until dawn. My friends said that I was like some kind of mad, nocturnal, mud monkey. But with great sadness I discovered that the voice had been right – something in me had died; something important. And I realised too late just how awful life was going to be, knowing that I’d failed to get my work done.

Every night was like a suicide. One night, I woke up having killed myself again; I’d been singing the words to the Pink Floyd song ‘Comfortably Numb’ and sobbing like a child. The only thing I could do was write, so this is what I wrote:

You wake up in tears, and then you go to work. Like they say in Fight Club, you work in jobs you hate, so that you can buy shit that you don’t need. The news tells you that this is normal. People around you tell you that this is how it is. And all the while, advertisers sell you back to yourself, packaged up with the idea of personal choice and personal freedom.

I’m 30, sat naked like a small child, crying my heart out at the keyboard. This is terrible – so badly written and childish it makes me want to laugh. “I can’t explain, you would not understand, this is not how I am.” That’s how it goes in the song, and that’s it entirely; I have become comfortably numb. This is too badly written to be a suicide note, you dig, I’m just trying to get down the points that came to me in my dreams before I woke up in tears.

You balance all of the shit in your life on one side, with all the things you want to do in life on the other; and more often than not it’s just enough to keep you in the world. But the scales are tipping back – time ran out, I didn’t get my work done, and now I’m waiting for the sky to fall on my head. The one thing I felt like I was here to do, is the one thing I have run the hardest from. I’m so far away from it now that I don’t know where to begin or even if I have enough time left to get there. The whole universe functions so perfectly that the death of one individual means nothing. These thoughts and feelings have been with me to some extent my whole life, they ebb and flow, but it feels horrendous to have them flooding back so strongly now I’m bereft of meaning and exhausted.

The universe functions perfectly. It doesn’t need us. And we, in turn, have our own system that functions all too well; that keeps us enforced in servitude to ideals that we don’t believe, serving people who grow fat from sucking the life out of others. I’d suspect that everybody felt this way, and that it was part of the human condition, if it wasn’t for these motherfuckers. Death and taxes. Both of them should be illegal. And what of it, why do we work in jobs we don’t want, to pay for things that we don’t need, or that should be free in the first place? People tell us to shut up, get on with it, that’s just how life is. But WHY is it like that? Whoever said that it should be?

The economic function of money is slavery. If it wasn’t for the vampires in control (and that’s being really unkind to vampires, if you know what I mean), there wouldn’t be a need for any of it. Sure, society would be different, almost unrecognisable perhaps, but each person needs remarkably little to live, to have enough. And at the same time I also suspect that this utopian vision is a lie – that if the lowest forms of bacteria engage in chemical warfare, and we are that writ large, then it makes sense that the world is as it is; that we are such ungodly and unholy monsters (and as a lapsed atheist I use those terms in very specific ways). We made the world in our own image.

Part of what I’m trying to say is much smaller than that, I’m trying to get at the gnawing sense I have that I don’t really want to ‘work for money’ at all. That we shouldn’t have to. That some people don’t, and they’re among the richest and greediest of all. That the ‘work for money’ we do find is hollow, makes you feel worse, and is slowly killing you; it’s eating you from the inside out. That the most prominent figures in my life who tell me that the world is this way, that I should accept it, and that it isn’t any different for anyone else, are wrong. So blatantly wrong that it makes them look ignorant and stupid, and I don’t want to be as ignorant and stupid as they are.

I don’t want that. I don’t believe the news when it tells me. And apart from the ones that tell me these things, most people say nothing. Watch them drop from five to one. You cut out the bits of your life that are no longer working, and are left with nothing. The universe adds up to zero. That’s true to the best of our calculations. Seriously, that’s what science tells us. And so you’re left with a choice – end it now, put up and shut up, or make a break for it. Give everything to the world and hope they choke on it, or at the very least, that it saves somebody else.

As a teacher, one of my students called me ‘a source of light’, but they were a little shocked when they realised how dark and odd my own writing was. I even stopped writing for a long time because I couldn’t reconcile the two. Someone once said that “If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” I smile at the thought of being either. In pitch black conditions, being dark, and being a source of light, amounts to the same thing.

  1. […] I’ve contemplated suicide every day of my life, since the age of eleven. My ability to procrastinate knows no bounds. Eleven is when I first said out loud that I hated myself, that I shouldn’t have been born, and that I wanted to die. But to say that you want to die isn’t really accurate – you want to live, and you want for your life to have meaning; it’s just that you strongly suspect that it’s never going to happen. Read the rest of this entry » […]

  2. clvr_witch says:

    I think that we each have a seed of darkness within us, that whispers to our psyche. Sometimes our psyche chooses to ignore, but more often it listens, and (more importantly believes) the whispers of self-doubt and self-loathing.

    Personally, I have questioned the universe, more than once, “Why won’t you just let me die?”. I’ve wished for it fervently, and repeatedly. The answer, of course, is that my work here isn’t done. Insignificant as we all may be, in the grander scheme, we are still part of something. Some grand plan. And we must all do our part to make that plan come to fruition. Until our part is done, we must continue.

    I’ll admit to being a bit of an ‘angst whore’. I look forward to more of it from you, in the future.

  3. ellierany says:

    Oh Legolas,

    Just to trivialise this somewhat, I consistently fail to work for money. I hate not working. But getting paid is merely an added bonus that allows me to pay car insurance, and I so easily get roped in to doing stuff for free just because its something I want to do. And it always comes with this nagging feeling that ‘it won’t help in the long run’.

    But this post has reminded me: what is this ‘long run’? By the above definition, its money. And although I’m pretty sure ‘money’, by my definition, is ‘a living’ rather than wealth for wealth’s sake (what would I do with money? give it away so I could start the life-game again from level 1? Probably.) (…perhaps after a few bottles of good wine…) I still, for some reason, ‘need’ money to stay alive.

    I don’t know. I can see the usefulness of money as a universal token of exchange. But I hate money as an end in itself. And, of course, it’s not even a concrete token any more: it’s a virtual token of exchange which exists only inside computer databases and our own imaginations.

    Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to believe the news. The news spouts popular opinion. In fact, it doesn’t even do that, it spouts what it *thinks* is popular opinion. If all our virtual money ‘disappeared’ overnight there would still be people alive, and things to do, and ways to be happy. A lot of people would be distressed. Particularly the people who have built the meaning of their lives on money. But there would be plenty of other people who know already, or who would realise quite quickly, that money isn’t important after all. They would throw parties in the streets.

    Besides which, it took me several years (really) to realise that when they said “It’s the economy, stupid,” they actually meant it. I didn’t think anyone WAS so stupid as to think it WAS just the economy.

    (…so let’s start a revolution? Can we find anyone to corrupt the computer systems of every bank in the world, do you think?)

    I don’t know. In terms of meaninglessness, I’ve always read things the other way: the universe doesn’t need us… so it doesn’t matter what the fuck we do. We can fuck things over, we can fuck the whole human race over, and the Earth will keep going regardless. Which doesn’t mean we should self-destruct; it means we should take advantage of the freedom of being alive while it lasts. We can do whatever we want: it’s like being a 16 year old with a free house – but forever!

    I also choose to reassure myself that one day our own civilisation will be ancient history, and whatever future civilisation comes about (unfortunately, probably as brainwashed as ours) will nonetheless look back and say “they worshipped money? Those barbarian fools!”

    Anyway, you’ve just reassured me that working for money is against my ideals, and so I am perfectly justified in bumming my vacations away not getting a “proper” job. I will continue to sit around on the internet reading blogs and webcomics, etc. Occasionally, I will do work for no-money.


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