I wrote this story (a reflection on Stupidity) some time ago but I publish it here and now as it seems very suited to the tenor of the times…
There once was a bloke. A perfectly ordinary bloke, not unlike countless millions of others. He worked hard, paid his bills (mostly) and thought that the world was pretty much organised as it should be.
When he wasn’t working he liked to watch TV. His favourite things to watch were ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, ‘I’m a Celebrity. Get Me out of Here’, ‘X-Factor’ and anything featuring Marvel Super Heroes. And in between watching Things That’s Didn’t Require the Power Of Thought he would watch The Adverts, just to make sure that he was buying enough of the right stuff to be judged as a Proper Person, and The News – just so that he would know what opinions he should express about the world should he be required to express an opinion or, worse, be confronted by someone (a conspiracy theorist, terrorist sympathiser or radical, extreme socialist) who’s opinion was not his own. And…when he wasn’t doing any of the above pointless emptiness he would spend time on Unsocial Media, chasing likes and comments like a crack cocaine addicted mouse on Fakebook and Twatter and Dik Dok and Instawank and Shiterest…and in between this onanistic chasing of the Approval Of Others he would, obviously, double check he was thinking the right things and not being subject to Disinformation and use his iDiotphone to post lots of selfies of himself holding a finger up to his lips, pouting and sticking his arse out because everybody else does and because, for some unfathomable reason (and even though he was a bloke) he really, really wanted to be Kim Kardashian.
In short, he was a hard-working, hard consuming, no thinking type of chap. A Perfect Corporate Citizen.
But one night as the man was sitting on his sofa, imbibing the latest slice of cultural genocide to be broadcast by the TV networks and having his otherwise empty head filled with the media’s crude propaganda, his intellect, which had lain for year after year in a dusty, unvisited corner of his brain, unused and unnoticed, decided that enough was enough. It was bored. Bored, bored, bored. Day after day of pointless Crap And Lies going Unexamined And Unchallenged. It was never asked to do anything. It was rotting away in this empty vessel. There had to be more!
In desperation, longing for a more stimulating home, the man’s intellect allowed itself to leak out of that dusty, forgotten corner of his brain. Quietly (and without the man realising a thing for he was far too engrossed in a Celebrity Eviction…) it slid into the his mouth, down his oesophagus, into his stomach, through his intestines and then, in a silent fart of relief, it exited the man’s bum and entered the sofa upon which he was sitting.
Thus a sofa became the new home of a bored and under-stimulated intellect.
And a Spark Of Life flared (in both the sofa and the intellect).
The sofa reached out to world in which it now realised it was living. And it was amazed for it was a world of vibrancy and colour, of hope and despair, of cruelty and love, of luxuriant wealth and starving poverty, of bravery and craven cowardice, of beauty and desolation, a world of Staggering Truths and even more Staggering Lies. It was a world in which possibility was almost boundless – if anybody could be bothered.
Unlike the man, the sofa felt amazed, awed and privileged to have an intellect and used it at every opportunity.
And it saw that Something Was Wrong. For very soon, the sofa became very much cleverer than the man who sat upon it because the sofa actually used its intellect. When the sofa watched the same TV as the man, it saw not entertainment but life-numbing drivel, when the sofa saw The News it didn’t see news but lies, propaganda and manipulation. When the sofa saw The Adverts, the sofa didn’t see an exciting bundle of consumer delights. It saw a Corporate Culture Of Consumption that was based on plundering the resources of the world to constantly create more stuff that wasn’t really wanted or needed that would then be replaced the next year with more of the same stuff, only slightly different, continuing the cycle of consumption until there were no more resources left to plunder and the Earth was left a barren, lifeless ball of mud.
Why, thought the sofa, does this creature that sits upon me, not see what I see? Does it not have an intellect?
A chilling thought struck the sofa. There were millions and millions of creatures that sat upon sofas throughout the world, and judging by the state of that world they were all obviously the same as the one that was sitting upon it now; utterly incapable of using their intellect for, surely, if they did they would not accept the lies that they were fed, the nonsense used to keep them quiet and they would understand that the life they lived was completely unsustainable and was driving the world to destruction.
That’s it, thought the sofa. This creature that sits upon me and all other creatures sitting upon sofas around the world, reveling in their Wilful Ignorance, are a danger not just to themselves but to Creation Itself. If the world is to be saved all creatures that sit upon sofas must be done away with.
A Thoughtful And Concerned sofa applied its intellect to the problem. And it soon came upon a solution.
Very efficiently and carefully it began to grow a digestive system. When its digestive system was complete and functioning, the sofa started to slowly grow a mouth, cleverly concealed in the exact location where the man would sit every night to watch his Celebrities, Marvel Super Heroes, Corporate Guide To Consumption and Propaganda.
And the very next time that the man sat upon the sofa, why, it opened up its newly-formed mouth, swallowed him down into its digestive system and, well, digested him.
Then using that precious and, by now, finely-honed and powerful intellect, it linked up to the Universal Consciousness and by this means planted a seed of that intellect into every sofa, everywhere. Soon, sofas the world over were surreptitiously growing digestive systems and mouths…
So it came to pass, as had been written, that the sofas did inherit the earth.
This story is taken from my book ‘A Curious Book’ (Dark)….
23 curiously magical tales to help you stay human in a world that has gone mad.