Saturday, January 12, 2013

12 enero 2013

I dreamed I lived as an adult in a house with my parents. I went around unplugging televisions, throwing them outside, raging at my lack of a computer, cursing my father at every opportunity, loving a child, an animal.

Cumulopuntia boliviana, copana

Spent hours identifying this cactus that grew around Don Isidro's, the place we camped the first night of our trek.

Michel Houllebecq [pic courtesy of The Enthusiast]

from Michel Houellebecq’s Whatever, tr. Paul Hammond (1998):

Véronique was “in analysis,” as they say; today I regret ever having met her. Generally speaking, there’s nothing to be had from women in analysis. A woman fallen into the hands of the psychoanalysts becomes absolutely unfit for use, as I’ve discovered time and again. This phenomenon should not be taken as a secondary effect of psychoanalysis, but rather as its principal goal. Under the pretext of reconstructing the ego psychoanalysts proceed, in reality, to a scandalous destruction of the human being. Innocence, generosity, purity . . . all such things are rapidly crushed by their uncouth hands. Handsomely remunerated, pretentious and stupid, psychoanalysts reduce to absolute zero any aptitude in their so-called patients for love, be it mental or physical; in fact they behave as true enemies of mankind. A ruthless school of egoism, psychoanalysis cynically lays into decent, slightly fucked-up young women and transforms them into vile scumbags of such delirious egocentrism as to warrant nothing but well-earned contempt. On no account must any confidence be placed in a woman who’s passed through the hands of the psychoanalysts. Pettiness, egoism, arrogant stupidity, complete lack of moral sense, a chronic inability to love: there you have an exhaustive portrait of the ‘analysed’ woman.

Véronique, it has to be said, corresponded blow by blow to this description. I loved her — to the extent that it was within my power — which represents a lot of love. This love was poured down the drain. I now realize; I’d have done better to break both her arms. Like all depressives she doubtless always had a tendency towards egoism and a lack of feeling; but her psychoanalysis transformed her once and for all into a total shit, lacking both guts and conscience — a detritus wrapped in silver paper. I remember she had a white plastic board on which she ordinarily wrote things like ‘petits pois’ or ‘dry cleaners.’ One evening, coming back from her session, she’d noted down this phrase of Lacan’s: ‘the viler you are, the better it will be.’ I’d smiled; in this I was wrong. At this stage the phrase was still only a programme; but she was going to put it into practice, point by point.

Am slowly coming back to life after the Jujuy trek. My challenge is to eat enough food to make up for the calories burned away. Early this morning I walked for an hour, slowly. Later, two naps, gentle rain.


  1. I have little faith in the value of psychoanalysis, but the sweeping generalizations of this Michel H. are staggering. He strikes me as a quite unpleasant and ignorant man. But maybe that's just me.

    Naps and gentle rain, that's the ticket.

  2. Oh, went and read the Paris Review article. My ignorance of him is notable, but I still think he's a little prick, just like his mommy said.

  3. I continue to surprise myself by not being able to resist his novels.