Houellebecq’s “Sérotonine”, Or When Schizophrenia Causes Globalization. And Reciprocally.

Houellebecq’s “Sérotonine”, or when an anti-hero dies of sadness induced by globalization and lack of moral compass (of which globalization is a consequence)…

To my surprise, I read (among other things) a new book, Houellebecq’s “Sérotonine”. I don’t usually read novels because most novel authors and the resulting works they give birth to, are neither smart nor interesting enough (whereas a crocodile, although not too smart, is quite interesting, while being much more direct: the croc wants food, or, if tame, scratching of the neck, while not claiming to have higher pursuits such as wealth, fame and respect). 

I bought and I have tried to read Houellebecq several times in the past, and failed miserably within a few pages. I was put off by the sort of universe Houellebecquian heroes evolve in, a sort of universe I always avoided studiously, carefully, exhaustively, successfully, on various continents. (I remember some sort of cults trying to incorporate me at Columbia U, and another at Stanford U… For decades all my environment was academic, and an eminently stern academia …) So there I was in a bookstore, waiting for family, and I got intrigued as I sampled pages within Sérotonine. I was stunned. Was the famous author from the little Paris pseudo-intellectual scene, really attacking globalization, with an intensity similar to what presidents Trump or Cristina Fernández de Kirchner exhibited in the past?

When I say I cautiously always avoided Houellebecq’s style universes, I am not just talking about the chain smoking, and also the general aura of frantic sex with strangers, depression, etc., a perpetual fog with Houellebecq. I cordially despise serial sexers. Moreover I hate smokers, because not only are they drug addicts (a general indication of an unworthy brain, unworthy of my social skills, just there), but smokers aggressively direct their gases to poison others. They truly hate humanity, they are symbolic portable Auschwitz (I won’t tweet that one…) So smokers are actually lethal aggressors, differently from those who pump heroine, who are just idiots (this one I tweeted).

For me, the only positive side of smoking, definitively attractive, is that it gives me all the moral superiority to experimentally deploy my aggressive skills in retaliation, and study how creeps do to justify their creepiness (a science which can be put to good use in other domains). In the last few days I had US family visiting and that meant restaurants, hence the occasion of personally enforcing French law on smoking, beyond what timid French restaurateurs do. In one notable situation, a smoker held her cigarette as far from her lungs as she could, while her smoke went straight to my nine year old daughter’s innocent lungs fifteen feet away, thanks to a pernicious and persistent mountain breeze… The situation attracted my own counter strike (of the verbal type, but it was a scorcher designed to inflict maximal psychological pain).

We used to have pot types, with useless brains, just good enough to step in front of garbage trucks. It happened to a professional pothead friend of mine, a famous cover-of-magazine US climber. Ruined by pot, he confessed to me:”Patrice, my brain doesn’t work anymore.” (Pay attention, dedicated pot heads!) The next day, my pot head friend stepped in front of a garbage truck. Pot glues up synapses (yes, thus it may work for chronic pains, though)…

Now we also have the very worst, vaping. Vaping has been presented as an enormous progress: plenty of nicotine, for the nicotine addicts, no more smoke for their victims. Instead, the victims get dispatched with poisonous gases. Indeed. Killing from smoking kills in decades (although it degenerates people faster than that)… Whereas vaping can kill in hours (accordingly the WHO/OMS came out last week with a scathing, amply justified attack against vaping). It does that through innovative organic chemistry, generating deadly poisons such as formaldehyde.  [1]

Houellebecq observes the disaster, the self-immolation of Europe, its destruction by globalization. And Houellebecq thinks about it, but does he think enough? Baboons also think, but they are incapable of producing civilization, they don’t think enough for that… Or even survival: the baboon species now lives, just depending upon our good will, our human good will… which is not that good, much of the time. Dies Houellebecq think enough? No (as his idiotic opinions on Europe amply demonstrate, especially with someone living in Ireland!) Egyptian baboon, 4,000 years old, Museo delle Antichità Egizie, Egyptian Museum, Turin, Piedmont

Vapers are out of their drug riddled minds. I saw a (French) mom vape in her toddler’s face… At a climbing area. The toddler was coughing without stopping. I came upon the scene, and could smell the formaldehyde from ten feet away. I chewed her head off about killing her child in public. She replied that, if it bothered me, as it did, she would stop. But I was still bothered by her little plan to vape her own child to death behind closed doors.

Houellebecq’s “Sérotonine” theme is all-too real and important. The hero is an expert agricultural engineer employed as a private consultant by the French government. His task? Helping to dismantle European indigenous agriculture and food production, by providing a flow of reassuring and mitigating reports, as the Titanic of European food production sinks under the assault of treaties with distant countries such as Argentina.   

Serotonin mediates an animal’s perceptions of resources; In less complex animals, such as some invertebrates, resources simply mean food availability. In plants serotonin synthesis seems to be associated with stress signals. In more complex animals, such as arthropods and vertebrates, resources also can mean social dominance. That’s when “Will to Power” appears, endowing social groups with a well-ordered structure (in the mathematical sense).  In response to the perceived abundance or scarcity of resources, an animal’s growth, reproduction or mood, may be elevated or lowered. This may somewhat depend on how much serotonin the organism has at its disposal.

Houellebecq does not explain why such treaties, those treaties destroying Europe, have been signed, and are still signed (his livelihood depends a lot upon not explaining it). But I can explain it, and I have (however, my explanations are no explanation Houellebecq wants to read). On the face of it, it  may sound strange that Europe would waste so much energy, destroying itself. Why? Why signing treaties which ensure the eradication of European agriculture? Houellebecq does not explain that, not at all. He just implies over and over again, that this is the general mood of despair and destruction, from lack of solidarity now rampant in Europe, itself tied to glittering, flittering, fluctuating, chaotic activities which lead to irreversible disasters (as when the hero holds hands with a British black lawyer he just slept with, in  a train station, and they come across the hero’s real love, Camille… who is shattered irreversibly). 

The (anti) hero, this French engineer, is delivered to the deepest despair, as his job, his worth, consists into killing the means Europe has to feed itself. A subsequent girlfriend of his, a Japanese princess (of sorts; with government employ and connections, that’s why such a princess: governmental types rule the world, just below the Pluto class). The Japanese princes is all into Appearances, and secret, wild promiscuous sex with the multitudes, just like French agricultural policy is all into Appearances (and probably wild sex too, with undefined multitudes). In truth there is nothing there in European policies, and in the anti-hero’s muddled mind, below those Appearances: the core is fully empty. Houellebecq explains that human beings are made to live in small groups the size of a hamlet, a theme I have harped on for many years. Thus, living in cities guarantees solitude… And even worse one guesses from the mood of the book, it fosters not caring about humanity at all.

Taking medical drugs does not  solve the problem at all, it just destroys the hero hormonally and neurobiologically.  

So why is Houellebecq, so good at describing Europe’s self-destructive madness, yet incapable of suggesting its causes (besides anti-smoking regulations, speed limits on freeways, etc.)? It’s just because the novelist lives, admittedly on a small scale, off what is at the origin of what he decries.

More on this interesting contradiction… or is it feeding at two throughs (that’s always better than just one)? Latter…

Meanwhile, what we have now is not just dictatorship. It’s much less than that, we are even more deprived. Globalization has become annihilation, nihilism of realism. Minds in conflicting pieces. Serotonin has been implicated in cognition, mood, anxiety and psychosis. There is increasing evidence for a role of serotonin, as well as dopaminergic mechanisms, in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia means minds in pieces.

How did the European psyche get into pieces? Ever since World War Two, the European (pseudo) intellectual mainstream has claimed we had to save all of humanity from European rage and destruction… Not noticing that the courageous and high minded powers who declared war to Nazism, France and the UK, were European powers… while the USSR and the USA helped Hitler, on an enormous scale (Hey, let me remind indignant cackling turkeys, that I am talking about 1933-1941, here. Not that such turkeys would know what happened in those eight years, which have been misinformed not to say deformed as convenient “isolationism“). Indeed it’s France (first) and Britain (belatedly following France as a contrite proverbial French poodle) which forced Hitler in a world war he wasn’t yet ready for… and thus that he could only lose.

So, instead of thanking France (especially) and Britain, for their good and heroic service, against Nazism, against mass-extinction fascist racism, the pseudo-intellectual European class embarked on a campaign of denigration of Europe, and its highest ideals, the mission civilisatrice, fostered by, and profiting (who were by then) Europe’s masters, Stalin and the US Deep State. Percolating down, this hatred of Europe’s best masked by highest principles, brought up a deep, murderous contradiction, the desire to serve distant masters, while murdering one’s neighbours (in “Serotonin”, death occurs). Despair is the only hope out of it.

Thus Europe is being destroyed in guise of saving it (for the greater profit of global plutocrats). No wonder we swim in an ocean of serotonin.

Patrice Ayme

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[1] I consider likely that my own mom got Inflammatory Pulmonary Disease (IPD) from a close relative who vaped in her face (makes for vigorous family dynamics). IPD kills in a median 5 years. There is no cure. It’s becoming the most frequent disease. My mom took more than a year to die. Once a 28 year old died in the US, within hours of being exposed to vaping…

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6 Responses to “Houellebecq’s “Sérotonine”, Or When Schizophrenia Causes Globalization. And Reciprocally.”

  1. brodix Says:

    Patrice,

    It’s just not that complicated; Desire, versus judgement. Energy versus form. Heart versus head. Youth versus age. Liberal versus conservative.
    We are driven by our desires, but steered by judgement.
    The problem is that in our linear, goal oriented, ideal seeking culture, both sides see themselves on the road to nirvana, so those going the other way must be ignorant fools.
    The liberals driven to expansive, desire driven universality, versus the conservatives; judgmental, local, culturally based, that when they lack dynamic levity, collapse into absolutism.
    The reality is that while potential is nearly infinite, the actual can only be a small fraction of that, while the residual, of memory and history, is an even tinier fraction of that.
    So there will always be this tension between nearly infinite and often conflicting desires, versus the very real need to sort and judge them.
    Not every acorn gats to be an oak tree.
    It is just that we still have this primordial, narrative driven culture, seeking its final denouement/ revelation/idealization/singularity/Armageddon, controlled by the loudest, as only mere energy can rise above the clamor.
    The result is that we are racing across the petri dish, in a game of one dimensional chess, as any direction other than forward is for losers and weenies.
    As I keep pointing out, this even applies to cosmology, as galaxies are cosmic convection cycles, of energy radiating out, as mass/form coalesces in. And back out again.
    Yet we still have this creation to dissolution/birth to death narrative/myth. With lots of gaps that are filled in by whatever numbers patch the holes.
    Suffice to say, even you are caught up in this swirl, driven by desire and defined by judgement.
    It’s the friction and tension that makes reality real. We just want to control it, not be controlled by it.
    Best always.

    Like

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      I want better desires so I can steer myself into a wealthier petri dish, longing for control? Thus I judge the judgements, indeed… Whatever we humans do, even death, it’s a brainfest…

      Like

      • brodix Says:

        Brainfest?
        Does consciousness come from the brain?
        Consciousness, like energy, goes past to future. Thoughts go future to past.
        Maybe the brain is just the mouth of the consciousness, where the information is consumed and chewed on.

        Like

  2. Gmax Says:

    Depressive and depressing author, full of smoky sex obsessed characters what is there not to like?
    So you say Houllebecq improved because he cares about globalization now? Is that following Trump? You seem rather pessimistic for Europe all of a sudden. Why? Not happy China is going to attack Hong Kong?

    Like

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