I read Dostoevsky, Nietzsche and Bertrand Russell. I listen to ragas. Kraftwerk. Rachmaninov. Watch Casablanca. I see giant skyscrapers that appear to defy physics. The space program, the men who boldly went and the closely cropped ones with broad rimmed glasses who got them there and back again. The pyramids. Angkor Wat. Ford and Gates and that blonde fellow. Sir Walter Raleigh, the superman. Da Vinci the clever poof. Socrates who dared to think. Galileo who dared to look. Einstein, who saw behind the curtains of our deceptive reality. Napoleon and Caesar who conquered, loved and slaughtered.
And who am I? Bloody Martin Smith from Croydon. What have I done? I cut my fingernails so short I can’t even pick my nose. I’m impressed with myself if I have clean underwear in the drawer, which is not all of the time. I have travelled no further west than India. My career is not quite as cool as accounting. I can do a standing overhead press of all of 10kg. I always get headaches and would not be a functional human being without Ibuprofen. Good ol’ vitamin I. I am sick a third of the time and ungrateful the rest.
Invent a new form of transportation? I can’t even parallel park or change a tire. No musical talent. I make others uncomfortable at karaoke. The business sense of an infant wildebeeste. I look like a bearded woman with a big, crooked nose. I dress like I’m hiking even when I’m not. My greatest achievement in the working world so far is only getting fired once or twice. Oh I mean, ‘not getting my contract renewed’. I wish the bastards would just come out and say it. Let’s hate each other honestly.
I finished writing a book but the structure is weak. Don’t know whether to revise it or incinerate it on the back burner. I’ve almost finished another one. I like parts of it but I don’t know if anyone else will. Who shares my tastes and interests? I’ve never met anyone similar to myself and if I did I’d avoid them because they’d be a nutter.
Money gives greatness but I only have a moderate amount. It would give me a small measure of glory in a third world country so that’s where I will go. Enough to be comfortable? ‘Comfortable’ to me means to have a thousand virgins parade naked before me, auditioning to join my stable of consorts like I’m the king of Swaziland.
How many women have I slept with? Thirty-something, I suppose. Wish it were a hundred. If it were a hundred I’d wish it were a thousand. And so on. This is natural.
I dream of glory. Of feeling that my life is significant. That I am not just one of those other, ordinary people. Of achieving something so great that it will be remembered long after I am dead. Something that will make people gape, like I gape at the behemoths inscribed above. Like I swoon to their music or become disturbed by their thoughts; inspired by their courage or their evil. But why does it matter? Some people swoon at stupid shit. There are people on this planet who think that Atlas Shrugged is a literary masterpiece. Some people are even impressed by popular music. There are plenty of critics who are overwhelmed by the genius of Ta-Nehisi Coates. Clearly impressing people is not a sure sign of greatness because people are mostly cockheads.
Anyway, one day me and Zuckerberg and the guy who invented the Sumerian alphabet are going to be equally dead. What difference will any of it make then? Some of our works will be remembered but will that stop the worms from crawling up our decomposing arses? Even if something is remembered, it will eventually be forgotten. The human race and the universe itself will come to an end, just as though they had never existed.
Why does greatness matter when, no matter how brilliant our achievements, we will never stray far from this tiny planet in our entire lives? When we will never understand why the universe itself exists, or seems to exist, or why it is the way that it appears to be. Imagine a tiny blob of pond scum dreaming of becoming the biggest, greenest, slimiest blob of scum on the whole pond. To spread its genes further than its neighbours. What does it matter? It will never leave the thin, two-dimensional plane of the pond’s surface nor will it ever have any comprehension of anything significant. It might as well not exist at all, regardless of its metabolic and reproductive exploits. That’s us. Scum stuck to the surface of our tiny rock. Not going anywhere and not knowing anything. Only just clever enough to wonder and most of us don’t even do that. And the next level of consciousness up, whatever that might be, looking down at us – are they any better? Does their freedom and knowledge make them significant? Or are they just pond scum to even greater beings, and so on? What exactly could any being achieve that would make it significant in any respect whatsoever? Where in the multiverse is glory?
It is not written in the fabric of the universe. It is not properly found in the whims of society. Glory is a subjective state within one’s own mind. For one man, glory may be found in laying down a mighty, steaming turd of magnificent texture and proportion. Happy is he. Another may find greatness in clearing rainforests or in mending his own jeans. And who do we wish to impress with our greatness? Whoever we admire. And who is that? It’s one big, subjective circle that only fools try to escape.
So where is my glory? Looking inwards, there are many areas of achievement that might give me pride but only a few are realistically obtainable. They are these:
- To make love with young, beautiful women. I cannot express how deeply this impresses myself.
- To learn more, especially about history, philosophy and economics.
- To create something that others who I admire will appreciate. If it impresses retards then that would be a disutility.
- To buff up a bit more. I’d say I’m 70% of the way there.
- To continue having adventures. A particularly silly one is planned for the near future and I might let you know how it goes.
- Bonus: to perceive something that others have not seen, and to show it to them.
Modest goals but challenging enough for me.
I have a date with a cute twenty-five year old tonight. Glory is within my grasp.
Further reading: Abnormal Life