Author Topic: Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?  (Read 342 times)

Offline Vetus Ordo

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Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?
« on: April 13, 2019, 01:30:49 PM »
Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?

A review of Sérotonine (French Edition), by Michel Houellebecq. French and European Publications Inc (January 3, 2019), 352 pages.



Read the whole article here.

(...) For all the slackness of the last third of the book, and the peculiar sluggishness of the last forty pages, Sérotonine is a remarkable novel. Houellebecq has not merely described the symptoms of what seems to be wrong with Europe, and diagnosed at least part of the problem with the current European Union; he has made it clear that it cannot survive in its current form any longer. But he has no solution other than to shrug his shoulders and suggest the possibility of suicide.

Of course, suicide is not an option, even as a vague literary metaphor. Houellebecq thinks that the whole project of a European Union is based on a defective philosophy that is leading it towards disaster. He paints a picture of a continent that is drugging itself to avoid confronting the reality of a cruel, arbitrary, philistine, unaccountable bureaucratic tyranny that will destroy as much of European culture and civilisation as it can get away with before the whole system collapses under the weight of its own pointlessness. But Houllebecq flinches from his own solution to the problem, which appears to involve an armed insurrection, followed by God knows what. No wonder Florent would prefer simply to increase his dosage of the anti-depressant that makes him impotent.

Houellebecq does not ruminate about the human condition: he is trying to make sense of observable external facts that cannot be dismissed or ignored. Perhaps his chronic depression disables him from taking anything into account that would lead to another conclusion.

There is no obvious scenario in which the European Union will grow, gain power or influence, or even retain some measure of long-term stability. Will its end really look like the one that Houellebecq builds towards in Sérotonine — and then shies away from? It would take a more inventive creative imagination to do justice to such a concept, of course. Though Houellebecq simply might not realise the full implications of his own narrative. Or he might be in denial about them because he cannot foresee a pleasant future.

Houellebecq has a terrifying gift; what he says cannot be ignored, no matter how hard he tries to undermine himself by posing as a mere depressed, offensive clown.
DISPOSE OUR DAYS IN THY PEACE, AND COMMAND US TO BE DELIVERED FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION, AND TO BE NUMBERED IN THE FLOCK OF THINE ELECT.
 
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Offline John Lamb

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Re: Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2019, 02:34:10 PM »
Sounds like he doesn't have a "narrative", that he just lays out the facts as barely as he can. That has always been the peculiar gift of the cynic. But as the reviewer insinuates, the problem with cynics is that though they see the facts more clearly than anyone, they have no clue as to their real meaning.

He's right. The EU must collapse because of its decadence. The same with the US (though the US isn't in as bad a position). Why has it become so decadent? Because the Enlightenment project of secular humanism has absolutely failed. The secular elite & media are unable to give us a coherent picture of why we should accept their globalist project, their empire of materialism. They tried to replace God with humanity, and religion with science, and the result is: "I've lost my faith in humanity", people are bored and depressed without faith in anything, and turn to individual pursuits and amusements to keep them from suicide. The Left itself has lost any real faith in progress, which is why it's turning to bitter identity politics ("virtue signalling") to cover over its bankruptcy. The Enlightenment and humanism is so played out at this point, nobody really believes it with sincere faith, everybody is cynically ironic. But nature abhors a vacuum, so people will find something to turn to. Currently there are two options emerging: Neo-paganism ("Nationalism") and Islam. These are what people are gravitating towards as the EU begins its collapse, those who aren't utterly wasted by cynicism and decadence like Houellebecq. But actually, this state of affairs is an enormous opportunity for the Church to preach and lead men of good-will back to Christ, because many people realise the evil & stupid nature of both Islam and Neo-pagan Nationalism. All we need is a solid Pope to preach the failure of secularism and preach the brotherhood of man in Christ, while restoring order in the Church, and the people who want peace will hear. Europe will need a new Holy Roman Emperor to lead it out of the chaos. This is the least appropriate time for cynicism!
As many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. (John 1:12)
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2019, 08:41:21 PM »

All we need is a solid Pope to preach the failure of secularism and preach the brotherhood of man in Christ, while restoring order in the Church, and the people who want peace will hear.

Never going to happen. Wouldn't work if it did happen.


Europe will need a new Holy Roman Emperor to lead it out of the chaos.

This contradicts your first statement above. A half-way decent pope is one thing. A Holy Roman Emperor is another thing.

Like the pope suggestion - Never going to happen. Wouldn't work if it did happen.


This is the least appropriate time for cynicism!

This is the most appropriate time for cynicism.

Nothing good will come about until everything rotten is destroyed. The ground must be cleared before anything wholesome can sprout. When forest fires are suppressed in the US West, the tinder builds up until there is an even bigger fire that cannot be controlled. Only when everything old and rotten is consumed by fire can new life appear.
 
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Offline Chestertonian

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Re: Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2019, 10:53:40 PM »
closest thing we have to a pope is a recent statement from Benedict essentially saying "sexual abuse crises are bad mmmmmkay but my successor will handle it, carry on folks nothing to see here..."
"I am not much of a Crusader, that is for sure, but at least I am not a Mohamedist!"
 

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Re: Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2019, 10:57:18 PM »
I remember when Francis was elected, Ann Barnhardt said, "If we got the pope we deserved, we would have ended up with Pope Snoop Dogg." But Snoop Dogg would be much better as pope.  It's worse than even Ann could have imagined
"I am not much of a Crusader, that is for sure, but at least I am not a Mohamedist!"
 
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Offline Vetus Ordo

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Re: Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2019, 04:37:27 PM »
Nothing good will come about until everything rotten is destroyed. The ground must be cleared before anything wholesome can sprout. When forest fires are suppressed in the US West, the tinder builds up until there is an even bigger fire that cannot be controlled. Only when everything old and rotten is consumed by fire can new life appear.

A most insightful comment.
DISPOSE OUR DAYS IN THY PEACE, AND COMMAND US TO BE DELIVERED FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION, AND TO BE NUMBERED IN THE FLOCK OF THINE ELECT.
 
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Offline Prayerful

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Re: Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2019, 04:55:43 PM »
I remember when Francis was elected, Ann Barnhardt said, "If we got the pope we deserved, we would have ended up with Pope Snoop Dogg." But Snoop Dogg would be much better as pope.  It's worse than even Ann could have imagined

We have Poop Dogg, someone prone to faecal related comments, an astounding coarseness which has to have a relation to his continually daemonic stream of gibberish coming from him.
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Offline John Lamb

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Re: Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2019, 07:00:29 AM »
Nothing good will come about until everything rotten is destroyed. The ground must be cleared before anything wholesome can sprout. When forest fires are suppressed in the US West, the tinder builds up until there is an even bigger fire that cannot be controlled. Only when everything old and rotten is consumed by fire can new life appear.

I've had similar sentiments many times. I understand how reasonable such thinking seems, but I believe it's founded ultimately on despair. We only have to go to the Old Testament to see how many times the Israelites fell into utter decadence, and how God was willing to bring them back every time. Yes, this did often involve wars, persecutions, exiles, and the culling of the population, but the message God sends time and time again is that if we're willing to repent, He's willing to restore us. And I simply deny that the peoples of America and Europe are that far gone. Yes, we are sunken in corruption, and there is a widespread decadence in culture and manners, but I think if you keep your eyes open you see seeds of hope, discomfort with the present disorder, and a desire for restoration. What the younger generation lacks is a shepherd. There is plenty of good-will among them, but nobody to direct them to the good end. This is why it's so important to pray for the restoration of the Church, because if we could only have the right preachers and shepherds, in the growing sense of fear and gloom on the horizon – many would convert. The youth are being bought up again by Communist and Fascist idealists because Communist and Fascist preachers are more active and bold than our own. There is a growing sense of civil unrest, and already there are vanguards of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary thought growing among the youth who are ahead of the curve, who are ready to sweep up as many as they can when the next economic or political crisis hits. A restoration of Christian monarchy and the Holy Roman Emperor is not nearly as farfetched as it sounds, because the theories of popular sovereignty and materialism which started the revolutionary slide are more and more proving themselves to be false and incredible – people will listen to Christian religion and politics again when they realise how these last 200 years of revolution against the ancient regime has been nothing but a cycle of bloodshed: "we've been rebelling against our Christian heritage for two centuries, and where has it got us? Where is it leading us?" Do you think there's nobody willing to listen to that message, if only there were the the right preacher to preach it? Like I said, all we need is a good Pope and a restoration of the Church's hierarchy to be in place at the right time. It doesn't take a genius to work out that Europe is quickly on its way to becoming Communist/Fascist, but there's currently nobody offering a sane alternative (actually, the most sane alternative being offered at the moment would be a Muslim Caliphate in Europe, which wouldn't be as bad as widespread Communism/Fascism; the point is that the present liberal oligarchy cannot stand, and nobody is seriously preaching a return to Christendom, so where are men of peace & good-will going to turn?).

And Millennials are a lost and fatherless generation, that is all. They are not nearly as wicked as they are made out to be. They've just been abandoned to mass psychological warfare, and have the self-inflicted scars and prescription pills to prove it. They are much more ripe for conversion and salvation than the generation that finally sold out Christendom for sex, drugs, & rock n roll in the first place. Even more intolerable than a generation of arrogant youth is a generation of old pharisees who are willing to throw them in the flames after having failed to raise them.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 07:05:50 AM by John Lamb »
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Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2019, 08:28:46 AM »
Only posting to note that I am very sympathetic to both John Lamb's and Maximilian's thoughts on this matter.
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2019, 08:35:14 AM »

I understand how reasonable such thinking seems, but I believe it's founded ultimately on despair.

Not true. Not based on despair.


We only have to go to the Old Testament to see how many times the Israelites fell into utter decadence, and how God was willing to bring them back every time.

No, they were not brought back every time.
 - Show me where are the 10 tribes of Israel?
 - The Temple was destroyed, and no sacrifice has been offered for nearly 2,000 years.
 - Today's remnants of the 2 remaining tribes follow not primarily the Torah but rather the Babylonian Talmud.

They were not restored. They were crushed for all eternity.


Yes, this did often involve wars, persecutions, exiles, and the culling of the population, but the message God sends time and time again is that if we're willing to repent, He's willing to restore us.

Yes, but it involves "wars, persecutions, exiles and the culling of the population." Nothing less will do.


And I simply deny that the peoples of America and Europe are that far gone.

"What is gratuitously asserted may be gratuitously denied."


Yes, we are sunken in corruption, and there is a widespread decadence in culture and manners, but I think if you keep your eyes open you see seeds of hope, discomfort with the present disorder, and a desire for restoration.

ESPN has been promoting this fantasy for a couple decades now, but all the evidence -- both  nationwide studies and my own eyes -- shows that they are lying or deluded, probably some of both.


What the younger generation lacks is a shepherd. There is plenty of good-will among them, but nobody to direct them to the good end.

Yes, they lack a shepherd, but what they really lack is a soul. In my interactions, I notice that they lack all sense of the supernatural, both within themselves and outside themselves. Vampires and werewolves they can believe in, but death, judgment, heaven and hell -- no. That goes from the top down, starting with the pastors of Novus Ordo parishes all the way down to children.


This is why it's so important to pray for the restoration of the Church, because if we could only have the right preachers and shepherds, in the growing sense of fear and gloom on the horizon – many would convert.

"They have Moses and the prophets. If they will not listen to them, they would not convert even if a ghost were to return from the dead."


And Millennials are a lost and fatherless generation, that is all. They are not nearly as wicked as they are made out to be.

"Lost and fatherless" is a bad thing to be. It means you never had a soul to begin with. The wicked can convert, but zombies cannot.
 

Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2019, 01:45:54 AM »
Still sympathetic to both sides as I vacillate between both positions.  My larger leaning is definitely towards the bleak side though - given how man is, for us en masse to get ourselves back on the right track it seems to require us to be first ground into the dust, for centuries, before finally a generation comes along that gets it.  We kick against the goads until the goads have left us broken.

The Russians seem to be making a decent return as they never really left the faith.  By and large the Russians never left the faith, they were instead temporarily forced out of it.  And then they were dragged through the grinder.  Now they're coming back to what most of them never desired to leave.

By comparison, the West violently abandoned its faith in stages starting 500 years ago.  Its been an endless violent and hate filled rebellion against the faith ever since.  Pretty much the entire world, including many whom call themselves Catholic, absolutely hate the faith.

While the younger generations do vaguely sense that something is incredibly wrong in the modern world, barring divine intervention, it's very unlikely they will come to the Faith, which is the absolute last place on anyone's radar.  Far more likely to become druid, pagan, nationalist, or whatever, anything but Catholic.

The world has been in spiritual darkness for centuries.  Now its in cultural darkness as well.  But we're in material light.  We're so dazzled with all the things we have that almost no one even knows of the existence of a spiritual realm, or even what a culture actually looks like.  Overall we're pretty clueless and kicking extremely hard against the goads and baffled why things get worse.

I think people do seek salvation, but they seek it in physical means, like Jerusalem rather than the Heavenly Jerusalem.  Also the salvation they seek is just digging themselves deeper into the embrace of Satan.  They seek salvation from all restraint, salvation from all consequences, salvation from doing anything but their own will.  It's all about choosing the vices they like and not allowing any discussion of it as being bad.  Virtue is an unheard of word in the West.  It's all satanic.

If I had to guess the future will broadly look like the following: the Catholic Church will be left with a small remnant which will be composed of cradle Catholics and converts from the younger generations.  But society in general will become more insane, more evil, more disgusting and will eventually either fall apart after several centuries, or blow itself up with its weapons.  At this point the remnant which was the size of a mustard seed will grow again.

This is all taken from the mind of an American.  I suspect my background is extremely different from those in the Old World, such as Mr. John Lamb.  In general we Americans have absolutely zero sense of anything other than ra-ra-go-America!  We have absolutely no idea what we lost when our ancestors sailed over here.  That's all unknown-unknowns to us.  But Europeans might be quite different.
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2019, 08:20:34 AM »

In general we Americans have absolutely zero sense of anything other than ra-ra-go-America!  We have absolutely no idea what we lost when our ancestors sailed over here.  That's all unknown-unknowns to us.  But Europeans might be quite different.

In general, it's much worse in Europe. Most Americans are still Christians. Europeans are post-Christians.
 

Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: Michel Houellebecq: Prophet or Troll?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2019, 08:56:41 AM »

In general we Americans have absolutely zero sense of anything other than ra-ra-go-America!  We have absolutely no idea what we lost when our ancestors sailed over here.  That's all unknown-unknowns to us.  But Europeans might be quite different.

In general, it's much worse in Europe. Most Americans are still Christians. Europeans are post-Christians.

I get that, but there is a difference in that they are surrounded by their Catholic past, they presumably are taught some of their past (which is in varying degrees Catholic), and presumably have a variety of historical heroes (of whom some will be Catholic).  For example, an Austrian will not be unaware of the Habsburgs.  The Germans will not be unaware of the Holy Roman Empire.  The French will not be unaware of St. Louis.  These countries are soaked in Catholic history whereas Americans have close to nil.  It was a wild land we entered, the Puritans ran the Catholic Spanish & French out of town, and the latter Catholics that came were leaving their traditions to find money in the new world, and generally let their culture & faith slip away after a generation.

It seems like in Europe it would be easier to "get woke" than in America.  A young European man whom has become disgusted by the disgusting modern architecture, the endless DJ music, the open drug use, and so on so forth is more likely to get woke wandering around European cities studded with gorgeous cathedrals, more so than an American wandering around the Wal-Mart and strip malls.  Also the beheading, rapings and increasingly dangerous atmosphere in Europe is more easily going to attract men to European histories like the Reconquista, whereas Americans are endlessly mired in their melting pot theory.

But the future is the future and thus impossible to predict accurately.  I can see good reasons on either sides of things.
 
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