There has to be some way of making peace with it. But there doesn’t – and we know that. Some people never find peace. They die, I suppose – but that’s a bit like curing a headache by chopping your head off. They die and know nothing but pain. I know not everybody does. I know a lot of people lead lives of unalloyed happiness which go out with a little exhalation of quiet, terminal bless after decades of healthful contentment – but not round these parts. Round these parts they go out fucking screaming like they’re being ripped apart by lions. Round here they lead lives of spiralling, oscillating desperation. Booze and drugs and delusion and the bitter tit of the welfare state. A small black market economy based on benefits money and things that kill you. The fog that shrouds the island like a damp, shitty jumper of cold, grey wool. Skidmarks of dogshit down the trouser pavements. One morning on my way to work I saw a crow and a seagull fighting over a nappy in the middle of the road. When I came out later on that day the crow was smeared down the white line in a slew of jammy feathers and guts. The odd murder. Small time operations. Bedsits and pubs. No peace. They never find peace unless through death or ignorance. Why should they? We find comfort in symmetry, in repetition and recurrence – we are soothed by routine and predictability and in a linear narrative with an explanatory conclusion, but the life of animals is a work of chaos and blind alleys, of sudden stops and missing chapters. You’re lucky if you never think about it – if you just have your sudden moment of horror in the jaws of the lion and have done with it. Some of us spend every available inch of mental and emotional processing capacity examining those jaws from every angle. To us, life is a thing of jaws, of teeth, of constant devouring. We’re born in the endlessly grinding jaws of the world and we die there shortly after, torn to shreds, one way or another. And it’s hard to find meaning, when all you are is meat.

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