But is that really true? Does absolutely everything have to follow a logical pattern? Could there be another dimension, a grey area of uncertainty if you will, that juts ever so slightly out of the realm of result and consequence and into the uncertain or never-to-be-known?
I’ll give you an example of one thing that I think defies causality. When you buy a pack of socks, you are clearly told how many pairs you are getting. It says so on the packaging and you can even count them to make sure. But as soon as the socks are brought anywhere near a washing machine, the numbers begin to change. They can increase or decrease; not only that, the socks even change shape, pattern and colour. It makes absolutely no sense. I have yet to come across a law of science or logic that can provide an explanation.
And socks are not the only things that fly in the face of logic. There are other anomolies too, pushing against the boundaries of reason, stretching the strictures by which this world is set up. Socks are by no means the only fissures in our safe little world of result and causality.
Take a look at your car keys. They certainly are not subject to normal laws of existence. There is no question in my mind that car keys are of a realm way beyond our comprehension.
As long as they’re ensconced safely in your pocket, car keys, I’ll admit, are unwilling to stray too far. Put them down on a surface, however, and you’re asking for trouble. It’s no wonder that they come in sets of two. The manufacturers have factored in their propensity for self-navigation around the house.
But the greatest rule-breaker of all has got to be the computer screen. It poses little threat when it’s unplugged, but as soon as you’ve turned it on, it begins its dastardly work, doing what it does best.
The screen sucks in time; it vacuums it up like a backlit black hole. It does it with ruthless efficiency. Minutes, hours, even days are no match for the voracious appetite of a well-connected monitor.
We assume that time is a constant, ticking by efficiently, regularly, one second at a time. But the computer screen disrupts the flow of time. It butchers it, pulling out huge chunks of day and stuffing it down its gaping maw. Before you know it the morning has gone. The afternoon has all but disappeared.
Look at your watch again. Look at it now. See how the time has flown by and you didn’t even notice it. These screens are crafty, I tell you!
The sensation you get when you do these crazy things is, they say, truly incredible. When you stare death in the face - that’s when you feel alive. All of a sudden you are acutely aware that you exist; you feel it with every fibre of your body, you know it with a cold clarity that is impossible to describe to someone who has not experienced it themselves. At that moment of truth, nothing else matters.
But if I’m honest about it, I wouldn’t really know. Bungee jumping, extreme sports, living on the edge – it doesn’t interest me. That’s not because I’m already living life to the fullest and don’t need a reminder. More likely it’s because I’m a bit of a wimp.
Sure, it would be nice to experience that moment of truth for myself, but does it only have to come at the moment when, rope tied to ankle, one’s nose brushes the gravel?
There must be other ways of feeling alive, ways that the rest of us - those who haven’t been blessed with nerves of steel - can enjoy. It must be possible, surely, to get that same exhilaration from the comfort and safety of one’s armchair. But how?
When you think about the allure of thrill-seeking, perhaps what it really boils down to is a kind of affirmation that I exist. That I am important. The adrenaline junkie is after an epiphany of self-validation – a realisation that his existence matters, that being alive feels somewhat worthwhile.
As far as I’m concerned, however, there must be safer and more comfortable ways of getting this done.
Another way of feeling alive and ‘worth it’ is, in my experience, to become a martyr. Not the kind of martyr that is actually killed of course – that would make you dead. No, become the martyr of the household shopping or the martyr of the washing-up or the martyr of the late nights spent at work to provide for the ungrateful so-and-so’s who don’t even notice what you’re doing for them. That’s what makes you feel alive and worthwhile.
Indeed, it’s the fact that the ungrateful people don’t notice your sacrifice that makes it feel so sweet - that beautiful, beautiful frisson of self-righteousness.
There is hardly a feeling in the world that can begin to compare with the exquisite pleasure of being wronged. You can’t help but feel terribly special. And so very alive.
Martyrdom is really the passive-aggressive’s version of extreme sports, except it’s cheaper, you can do it more often and it has the added advantage of making other people upset. In fact, it's quite ironic that the people you end up upsetting with your antics are actually the real martyrs. After all, they are the ones being sacrificed in order to make you feel good.
Let’s just hope the poor souls don’t find out about our little secret. I really don’t want to have to go bungee jumping.