”It won’t be long before they find a way inside our heads,” started Harry in a special podcast broadcast after a massive school-shooting took place in Pennsylvania the previous day, ”and you might be thinking that they have already infested our heads, that our reality has already been shaped by them. But I’m talking about the next step. I’m talking about invasive commercials in our dreams. I’m talking about forbidden thoughts being suppressed by hostile memes. I’m talking about a world where there is no safe place to go. Where every thought is monitored. Where you would walk the streets and if you happen to think something outside the agenda of our current administration, the mind-scanner on the streets would raise alarm, a voice would call out your name: ‘seize such creative thoughts right now! Continue the appropriate means of thought or you will be arrested and reprogrammed…”
In the sound-stage Stone was on the phone to someone important, making notes. Dale, his sound-assistant, was smoking a joint, listening intently.
”…Every new election, the newest president would endorse more creative thoughts. One would ban these thoughts, the other would ban other thoughts. The newest Ap would warn us whenever we are getting close to forbidden thought. We would teach our children to conform to the appropriate perception of reality. Our TV-shows would change. None of that edgy stuff anymore. Nothing that would endorse forbidden thought. Maybe the world will be less violent this way…”
The regular despondency of Harry was getting to him, the violent protest a few days ago, the school-shooting yesterday and there was this creeping feeling that something bad was going to happen. ”The solution to the constant epidemic of violence is the loss of our freedom. The suppression of our humanity, is the only way to keep our world safe. It’s not the world I would want to live in, but you have to wonder if all this freedom is doing us any good.”
Harry pulled a deep drag, moved in to the final thought, ”all we want is to be safe. Most of us aren’t revolutionaries or artists anyway. We just want to be left alone and do our own thing. Make some money. Go on vacations. Feed our children. They can do what they want. Just leave us alone. Whatever grand scheme the intellectuals will think of next, we will end like we always do. On a loop, creating hell out of another paradise. The human animal will reject a rational world. We are seduced by the madness because it gives us more comfortable answers. After everything we know, so many people still believe in ghosts or Gods, after all this time, the most failed political policies are still being fought over as if they are going to save us. I’m frankly tired. So fucking tired. Fifteen kids dead. It was just some guy nobody paid attention to. He wasn’t a some lonely geek, some inconspicuous sociopath. And I know what you are thinking. The madness was already there, stewing and getting stronger. And you’re probably right. But even so. We have all the means to communicate with one and other, to express ourselves. Why didn’t he find a way to express it before it went to such a dark place.”
A deep drag, ”maybe that’s a pointless question. The question we all asked after such a news. But all I hear from the people who knew him is: ‘nobody saw it coming.’ Besides his final cryptic message on Youtube the night before…”
The Bug is in my brain….
”it’s like mental illness sprung on his mind just like that, a thirty-three year old healthy, sane man, suddenly without verging on a psychopathic breakdown… ”
The bug is telling me things. I’m not supposed to listen to it.
”…talking about the bug in his head, how it keeps coming back to the places where he’s supposed to be safe…”
It seems to go on forever.
”…and that’s what will happen to us all. Our safest place, our mind, will be hijacked. More men like him will lose their minds…”
You think there’s an escape but there is none.
”…and it will be a bloodbath. It will be one pointless bloodbath after another. They will talk of alienation, the loss of community. But we have all the means to be closer to each other than we were ever before. We are closer to an era where we can enter each other’s mind. But in the end, despite being able to come so close, we just can’t do it…
Reality is the prison.
”We prefer to dream…”
A pause. Harry took a deep drag and wished them goodnight.
Art by Edward Hopper