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The Elementary Particles
article [ Books ]
The Lost Kingdom

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by [cam ]

2007-02-13  |     | 

“Today we are living in an absolutely new world,
And the happenings’ web wraps our
Drowns them into a gladness halo.
Which people of yore had premonition about
We accomplish in our daily life.
Which was for them impenetrably and
for us seems to be a simple thing and well
known.” (Michel Houellebecq)

Translated into Romanian by Emanoil Marcu, the novel of present interest “The Elementary Particles” by Michel Houellebecq “predestined to become cult” (The Observer), catches the reader’s attention from the beginning. The drastic and the accelerated conversion of the contemporary vision about life and world, named by the author “metaphysical mutation”, is a phenomenon that once unfettered cannot be forbidden anymore by any human power, by any power but that one “of an another metaphysical mutation”.

The central personage, Michel Dzerjinski, a researcher in the Molecular Biology domain, senses this mutation – from a “ravishing immobility” within atmosphere, which “recalls an arid apocalypse” – and fully lives it, being one of its “artisans”, namely the most lucid one. He is the type of lonesome being, which gives significations to the states and to the events that belong to the daily habits of the others. An eccentric mother, who was a supporter of the “libidinous entertaining consumption of the masses”, of “the progressive extension of the seduction’s market concomitant with the traditional couple’s breaking-up”, let her child, Michel, at the mercy of fate. Found by his father, returned one day at home, tossing into “a puddle of urine and excrement”, he is been taken and been abandoned at his grandparents, at the age of two. Different from the other children but accepted by them, he lives, concerned in reading and learning, a childhood which “fills his lungs with the eternity’s fragrance”, without knowing at that time that the “eternity of childhood” is a short one. He intuits the possibility of a better world likewise the fish that, “getting out from time to time at the water’s surface for swallowing air, catches sight, for few seconds, of an air world, completely different than his one – paradisiacal. After that, of course, he must return to his universe of alga, in which fishes devour each other. But, for a few moments, he had the intuition of a different world, a perfect one”. He is the type of the sad person even because he has the intuition of what gladness means. He thinks that joy is “an intense and profound emotion, an inebriating feeling of plenitude, felt by the whole consciousness; we can compare it with the drunkenness, with the trance or with the ecstasy”. Michel, described like performing slow movements likewise “a prehistorically animal recently brought back to life”, or feeling like “drowning into a frozen water”, realizes since teens that the happiness and the despair are some emotions that will never touch him and will ever be none of his business. He felt himself like being “separated from world by a few centimeters of blankness, shaping around him a kind of shell or armour”.

Within the context of the “metaphysical mutation”, fore cited, Houellebecq classifies people in the following categories: symptomatic, precursors, and prophets. Those belonging to the first category live a simple and happy life; they are supporters of the “historical evolution of their epoch”. Those belonging to the second category have the role of “a historical decomposition’s ferment”, adapted to the actual way of living but who wish to rise above it. Lastly, the third category includes people being able to “imprint to the events a new direction”.

Generally, when the human being want to justify the petty things of his life, hides behind the screen with scenes belonging to the “wild nature”, on which glistens, forever written, the jungle law. For the male, the almighty one, almost everything is been allowed. He has to conquer, to seduce, to multiply his prey, whilst the woman is nothing else than a female with “stupid resignations” on her face. The protest against this “wild nature” fitted, somehow, closely to my heart. “The gazelle and the deer, the frail mammals, were living their days under terror. The lions and the panthers were living in an apathetic brutishness, traversed by short explosions of cruelty. They were killing, rending, devouring the weak animals, the old, or the sick ones; after that they were falling again within a stupid slumber, disturbed only by the parasites consuming them from the inside of their bodies.” I found here an adequate comparison between the animal universe and the human one. “Taken in its entirety, the wild nature is nothing more than a repugnant misery; taken in its entirety, the wild nature justifies a total annihilation, an universal burnt-offering – and the man’s mission on Earth was, probably, to carry out this burnt-offering.”

Living in times when normality means something that majority accepts we can enjoy discovering also the delimitation, which Houellebecq made, between the pure morality and the practiced morality: “The pure morality is unique and universal. It does not suffer, in time, any degradation, or adding. [...] It depends of nothing. Unreasoned, it reasons. Unconditioned, it conditions. Otherwise told, it is something absolute. A morality applied in practice is, always, the result of a mixture, in variable proportions, between elements of the pure morality and other elements, with origins more or less obscure”.

Another personage, a representative victim of the period of compromise, of ambiguity, and of dizziness that humankind is passing through, is Bruno, the elder brother only after – the same monstrous – mother, of Michel. Abandoned child, he also, at the age of two, grown up by his grandparents, he is witness at their death without understanding this mystery. He is been strongly affected especially by his grandmother’s death. The only one who took care of him went mad of pain before dying. After a sad childhood, he was fated to an adolescence of humilities. Victim of the bestial behavior of the “powerful fellows” of the specie, he passes through terrifying experiences, some real ones. Most of us, lost within the poetry of life, do not take account of these awful happenings, which deprive the human being of a normal life. The history of the first years of life, says Houellebecq, has an important role concerning the mechanism of starting the sexual behavior. The deprivation of the relationship with mother, inhibit to the man the instinct of courtesy. Thus, Bruno, who was sexual abused by the brawny exponents of the specie, some young people from the boarding school where his parents placed him, abandoning him once again, will have, later, an adulterated and weedy sexual behavior. He is aware that his irremediable deficiency consists in not being “quite natural”, that is to say not “quite animal”, within the actual context, when humankind replaces the “Christian anthropology” with the “materialistic anthropology”, almost devoid of ethical principles. Bruno was living inside of a “deferred universe, affected by humility, in which the creatures intersect within a sidereal vacuum, without seeming possible, ever, some relationship between them”. He was living inside of an “apathetic and wintry universe” within which, nevertheless, it existed one warm thing carried by women between their legs”, but that thing, for him, has been interdicted forever. So that, we are finding hard scenes, in which he masturbates and ejaculates in train, in bus, in front of a cat, whose calabash he will sweep away, on a handkerchief, on a file, “on his quadratics, on his insectariums”.

Passing the “hedonistic-libidinous” period of humankind, under the influence of the individual freedom’s apology, and Christian morality’s destruction, the youth are not able to recognize the “true love”. They are educated to believe that the “great love” is something that happens in extremely rare cases, which are “almost miraculous”. Nevertheless, some of them continue to believe in love like in “the happiest thing that can happen to somebody on this Earth”. Today, a girl’s beauty predicts a “tragic destiny”, and her virginity is been stolen by the most abject creatures, the only ones who dare to approach a pure, innocent beauty. This sad reality announces the beginning of the unredeemable degradation of the woman. The young girl, getting “the painful and definite awareness of her individual existence”, realizes that people’s life is an endless succession of lies.

Nevertheless, through Michel, the author emphasizes those human beings, who, “in the middle of the great debauch could create warm spaces, enlightened by love”. Those human beings were, usually, women. Women who worked hardly the whole life, who offered entirely their life to the others, without feeling like sacrificing themselves. They could not imagine another way of life. This kind of being was his grandma. Her death definitely sealed Michel’s strangeness, in fact, so justified strangeness. When his grandma died away, Michel’s face “didn’t express something similar with sadness or with another human sentiment”, moreover his face was been invaded “by a beastly, abject horror”, while his eyes were starting out of their sockets and his throat was letting out “a kind of mew or howl”.

Michel’s vision about human existence is that the events joined within it unfold inside an empty and indifferent space, their determinism being inevitable. The human behavior is “rigorously determined like any natural system”. But, like a last hope, in some circumstances are taking place, so-named, “grace’s miracles”, when a new type of “coherent wave appears and propagates inside the brain”, “a new behavior appears, temporarily or definitely” and then, the human can act free from the fore cited determinism.
Naturally, the childhood is a lost kingdom that we cannot ever recover. Nothing will ever be likewise the emotions belonging to the infancy.

“Now, when we arrived at the destination
And left behind the separation’s universe,
The mental universe of separation,
To drown us into the immobile and fertile gladness
Of a new law,
For the first time,
We are able to describe the end of the old world.” (Michel Houellebecq)

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