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The Extension of the Domain of Struggle
article [ Creative ]
“Rare, artificial and tardy phenomenon, love can flourish only in special mental conditions, met too seldom, totally opposite to the relaxed manners that characterize the modern epoch.”

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by [cam ]

2007-07-24  |   

Literary Translation - Translations of classic and original poetry and other materialsThis text is a follow-up  | 

As if it would be written only for withstanding to the days’ canon, for making a little bearable the hours’ burden, of no use thronged into the chest wide open like a wound, for ascertaining coherence to the nights of sleeplessness, the novel “The Extension of the Domain of Struggle” overwhelms. “We would have to invent a wording more dull, more concise and beamless”, asserts the author, Michel Houellebecq, but even this wording, already “invented” in his book, is the one that aggrieves, suggesting the irremediable and the irreversible. The multiplication of the grades of liberty, that describe the individual’s motion within the society turned into mechanical system, affects the consistency of the human relationships. Their decay brings about major problems to the novel, emphasizes the author and concomitantly the protagonist of the book, because this literary species is not destined to describe “the indifference and the nothingness”. Away from defying the reader, the book betrays, nevertheless, a certain lack of interest across the way in that its receiver will get the message, oozing of pain. It seems that Houellebecq does not write for being read. For him, the writing is an exercise of survival at the boundary between normality and lunacy. It is a therapy of but holding on the ship’s waterline, without curative chances. “The writing does not relieve. The writing describes, delimitates. It introduces a trace of coherence, a drop of realism. We wallow further into a gory mist, but we find some bench-marks. The chaos has remained at a certain distance. The victory is actually modest.”

“I’m not a beautiful person, I don’t have charisma, and I often fall into depressive crisis.” Nowadays, the lucidity endangers the human being, especially when an accentuated sensibility composes his psychic background. The character of this book knows that, for women, he is a simple substitute, accepted in default of someone better. When the cohesion between body and soul disappears, the soul makes its debut on the scene of dehumanization. The disruption between heart and its protective wrapping is irremediable. Too many false loves impoverish the man. The absence of love, of any kind, throws the human being into a mental asylum, where on practice the healing of the want of love, healing which will take place until the total annihilation of this human imperative. Then, the man is decontrolled. He does not represent a danger anymore, he does not attempt to the public quietude anymore, not even to its own vegetative existence. He contrives to live after the rules dictated by society, to pay up to date his taxes, to clear up his invoices. And, above all, he contrives to carry away his identity card, useful in case that he will sustain a loss of oneness.

The people interned into mental asylums are not lunatic, at all, observes Houellebecq. They are only deprived of affection. “Their gestures, their attitudes, were betraying a heart rending craving of bodily touches and caresses; but, naturally, it was not possible, not for them. So that they were groaning, wailing, and were rending their flesh with the fingernails; during my hospitalization, it was a successful tentative of auto castration.” Contrary to his assertion, Houellebecq does not avoid psychological fineness and does not suppress details. Rather, he possesses an exaggerated of keen eye concerning the things that, right under our sights, are leveling the humanity. “For man, the wish of love is profound, its roots touch unsuspected depths, and a lot of little ramifications get into the heart’s substance.” Unfortunately, the tempestuous desires of love, from teen age, remain, for many years, into a contradictory and transitory state, then, they are tempering slowly, as some “melancholic and soft waves”. From that moment, it starts the awareness of the own affective infirmity, and life turns into a dismal preparedness for death. Instead of an endless languor is preferable the change-over, even if into vicissitude. Because the long drawn out boredom accentuates the sufferance’s perception, irrespective of its nature: physical, mental or psychical. At one time, people cannot discern between these forms of pain, and they are interweaving into a whole that ruins the human being.

When we contrive to become the victim of a decision, taken beyond our volition and emotions, then the inner self reveals its power. But the inner self, extending much more beyond of the ego’s personality, induces it into facing problems that put it ahead of. Generally, the moral predisposition has misty bounds, as well the reason. We are living times seems predestined to lead the moral manliness unto the decisive flash in the pen. We are living times when it is impossible to harmonize yourself with this world, when the wise one is taken for insane, and the insane, which announces loudest the general craze, the overall chaos, is taken for leader. Within this welter, the identity’s landmarks are easily broken down. In these conditions, the destiny will decide in ours stead, and obviously, the decision will be averse to us. The psychoanalysts operate a scandalous devastation of the human being, “under the stalking horse of the ego’s renewal”. “Innocence, generosity, purity... all these qualities are quickly shattered into their rough hands. Well-heeled, egotist and stupid, the psychoanalysts finally destroy, to their so-called patients, any ability of mental love, as well as any ability of psychic love.”

Discouraged by nothing, beseechingly is waiting for a love sign, the human being! “In his stead, a viper would have been suicide, long ago”. There are few people aware of their incapability of love or of getting the love, as a result of a too long waiting, or of so many failures. Houellebecq finds out the new social hierarchization system: the sexuality. In such a system, for example, it is impossible to buy a single bed, even a double one, if it is not enough wide. To order a single bed means to publicly declare that you have not a sexual life, that is to say, to publicly avow that you are a looser. Nay, it means that you will never have one, because a bed is a long-period investment; it resists, averagely, more than a married life. Valueless things, marked as sentences, isolate the individual from society by an opaque wall. The frustrations ferment, the hatred invades the soul. Not only the economical liberalism but also the sexual liberalism represents the extension of the domain of struggle, its extension at the all ages and at the all social classes.

Between the absence of the happiness and the intuition of its practical possibility, the human being hangs, torn apart, within a dolorous space. If the reading of this novel accentuates the bitter aftertaste that you already has been sensed while passing through life, its final chases away the lump from the throat square into the heart:

“Everything which could be source of sharing, of pleasure, of innocent sensorial harmony, has become fountain of anguish and unhappiness. At the same time, I feel, with an exciting tempestuousness, that happiness is conceivable. From so many years, I step beside a phantom, which looks alike me, and lives inside a theoretical paradise, in intimacy with this world. Long, I thought that we have to live next to each other. Now, everything is over.

[...] I am in the middle of the abyss. I feel my skin as a limit, and the roundabout world, as a burden squashing me. The perception of separation is utterly; thenceforth, I shall be prisoner inside myself. The sublime merger will not take place; the goal of life was fizzled out. It is two a clock in the afternoon.”

Four years later, Michel Houellebecq will publish the novel “The Elementary Particles”, a book “dedicated to the man”, which begins with the same idea, of separation. Once surpassed this “mental universe of separation”, you reawake into another, dominated by “the immobile and fecund gladness” of a new law. Behold that, above the maximum quota of the iceberg of lucidity, however, hovers over the hope. The human being invents, ceaselessly, new fulcrums.

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