The Cop in My Head

All cops are bastards, especially the one in your head.

Call it conscience if you like. Or get Freudian and call it the superego. But there’s a cop living rent-free in the back of my head, and he’s a bastard. He’s always judging me, policing every stray notion that comes to mind.

Most of the time he sounds like a frightened child, sure that if I do what I want or speak from the heart I’ll be punished.

Frankly, I feel like I’ve lived a “good Christian life” despite thinking Christianity is a crock of shit. How is this fair? It isn’t, but the world is neither just nor unjust. “Fairness” is just another spook, like my conscience. But this is what I get for periodically rereading Max Stirner…

What is not supposed to be my concern! First and foremost, the good cause, then God’s cause, the cause of mankind, of truth, of freedom, of humanity, of justice; further, the cause of my people, my prince, my fatherland; finally, even the cause of Mind, and a thousand other causes. Only my cause is never to be my concern. Shame on the egoist who thinks only of himself!

Max Stirner: The Unique and Its Property (1845)

Or perhaps the elder Alexandre Dumas?

Perhaps what I am about to say will appear strange to you gentlemen, socialists, progressives, humanitarians as you are, but I never worry about my neighbor, I never try to protect society which does not protect me — indeed, I might add, which generally takes no heed of me except to do me harm — and, since I hold them low in my esteem and remain neutral towards them, I believe that society and my neighbor are in my debt.

Alexandre Dumas, père: The Count of Monte Cristo (1844)

I think I’ve had enough of people making demands on me and offering nothing in return. I feel like I don’t matter to anybody except in terms of what I can do for them, and I am sick of it. I am tired of being somebody else’s idea of a “good man”. I want to be my own man.

Your politics are boring as fuck, and your morality is of no greater interest. I don’t want to live for anybody but myself. If I could crush my conscience beneath my heel like the self-righteous, prating little cockroach that it is, then I would happily do so, even if I had to do it barefoot.

I don’t want to serve any cause but my own. I don’t give a fuck about “society”, “my country”, “the economy”, “future generations”, “the planet”, “the common good”, “humanity”, your idea of a “good cause”, or anybody who doesn’t love and value me for who I am.

I shouldn’t have to, because my life matters. Does it matter more than anybody else’s? It certainly does to me because it’s the only one I’ll ever have.

You shouldn’t have to live for others or devote yourself to their causes, either. Your life should matter more to you than anybody else’s. We all deserve better than live in fear of being shamed because we had the effrontery to be ourselves and seek the fulfillment of our desires. As long as you harm none, do what thou wilt should be the whole of the law.

thumbnail for "From The Pinnacle To The Pit" by Ghost on YouTube
YouTube: "From The Pinnacle To The Pit" by Ghost

If being myself leaves me friendless, so be it. I’ll wear my independence like a crown…

about the author

photo of a pale, blue-eyed man in a black coat with long brown hair outdoors in the winter

writes science fantasy inspired by heavy metal and has a day job as a software developer. He is currently writing a new novel called Spiral Architect. He'll use your pronouns, but doesn't care which ones you use with him. You can reach him at