The death of God in the West was the prelude to a formidable metaphysical soap opera that continues to this day. Christianity’s masterstroke was to combine a fierce belief in the individual with the promise of eternal participation in the Absolute. When that dream evaporated, various attempts were made to offer the individual a minimum of being. The latest of these attempts is advertising, which seeks to arouse desire and transform the subject into a docile phantom doomed to follow advertising’s every whim. But, like all previous attempts, this skin-deep, superficial participation in the world fails, and unhappiness and depression continue to spread.
However, we can all produce a cold revolution in ourselves by stepping outside the flow of information and advertising. We need to take some time out, unplug the television, turn off our iPhones, stop buying stuff, stop wanting to buy stuff, temporarily detach ourselves and adopt an aesthetic attitude to the world. We just need to stay still for a few seconds.
This is one of the key themes developed by Michel Houellebecq in this collection of his texts and interviews from the last three decades. Here he explains and elaborates his point of view, discusses his novels and addresses a wide range of topics from politics, religion and literature to suicide, euthanasia and paedophilia. An indispensable book for anyone interested in the work of one of the most widely read and controversial novelists of our time.