'Fitter Happier', track seven of Radiohead's OK Computer.

Upon hearing the lyrics to Radiohead’s ‘Fitter Happier‘—spoken in a neutral, computerised voice—I feel my duality brought into focus. On one side I see within me my base instincts. On the other I see my urge to be sanitised of them, conditioned by the society I find myself existing in.

'Fitter Happier' by Radiohead

Fitter, happier, more productive
Comfortable (not drinking too much)
Regular exercise at the gym (3 days a week)
Getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries
At ease
Eating well (no more microwave dinners and saturated fats)
A patient, better driver
A safer car (baby smiling in back seat)
Sleeping well (no bad dreams)
No paranoia
Careful to all animals (never washing spiders down the plughole)
Keep in contact with old friends (enjoy a drink now and then)
Will frequently check credit at (moral) bank (hole in wall)
Favours for favours
Fond but not in love
Charity standing orders
On Sundays ring road supermarket
(No killing moths or putting boiling water on the ants)
Car wash (also on Sundays)
No longer afraid of the dark
Or midday shadows
Nothing so ridiculously teenage and desperate
Nothing so childish
At a better pace
Slower and more calculated
No chance of escape
Now self-employed
Concerned (but powerless) An empowered and informed member of society (pragmatism not idealism)
Will not cry in public
Less chance of illness
Tires that grip in the wet (shot of baby strapped in back seat)
A good memory
Still cries at a good film
Still kisses with saliva
No longer empty and frantic
Like a cat
Tied to a stick
That's driven into
Frozen winter shit (the ability to laugh at weakness)
Fitter, healthier and more productive
A pig
In a cage
On antibiotics

Either I embark on a search for ‘true’ self or I seek safety in my friends’ approval. Frequently, I choose the former: I sacrifice comfort and simplicity for truth and freedom. I don’t want to disavow my instincts and become ‘a pig in a cage on antibiotics’.

But, chillingly, I may never be validated. External recognition requires self-sacrifice, which I don’t want. Moreover, I am unsure authenticity exists: what if I’m really no one? It’s better not to know.

Normality, passivity, and conformity beckon again.