Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Spirals can also go upwards.

While in retreat at “Estero del Tomate” in Baja California, Mexico where focusing on creating new conceptual images, there is also time to read a book.
This is a privilege because when travelling in Europe and elsewhere, usually life is so complex and hectic that there is no time to even read the Herald Tribune newspaper.

But being in a peaceful place in harmony without any obligations whatsoever and time available books can be read.
In such a situation a good book can have a deep impact.
Because it is experienced without any distraction.
The reader gets completely into the story and as a consequence the emotions and feelings are highly influenced.

These days a feeling of defeatism dominates.
Responsible are two books that have been read over the last week.

“The beautiful and damned” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

F. Scott Fitzgerald.

And “Elementary particles” by Michel Houellebecq.

Michel Houellebecq.

Very interesting books but telling tragic stories making one loose hope for humanity.

“The beautiful and damned” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is the story of Anthony Patch and his wife Gloria.
Harvard-educated and an aspiring aesthete, Patch is waiting for his 30 million $ inheritance upon his grandfather’s death.
His reckless marriage to Gloria is fuelled by alcohol and is destroyed by greed.
The Patches race through a series of alcohol-induced fiascos.
First in hilarity, and then in despair.
The book “The beautiful and damned” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a devastating and shocking portrait of the nouveaux riches in New York in the 1920’s.
How materialism and wealth can result in destructive decadence, nihilism and evaporate ethical and moral values.
It is tragic to read about the downfall and destruction of the protagonists in this book.
Because it is realized that the story is exemplary for many more people.

F. Scott Fitzgerald himself to begin with.
This makes the book so strong because much of what is described comes from his own life.

“Elementary particles” by Michel Houellebecq is the story of two half-brothers.
The book covers their lives from the 1960’s on and in fact describes what has become of our society.
How we became more and more materialistic.
How we lost religion, the values of morality and century old traditions.
How we got into selfishness and narcissism ruining the fine social structures of the society that used to exist.
“Elementary particles” by Michel Houellebecq is also very much about how sexuality became for many people a way of extreme efforts to obtain satisfaction.
The conclusion is of course that all this materialism, loss of morality and practicing extreme sex make people not happy at all.
In “Elementary particles” by Michel Houellebecq too many protagonists die in tragic ways.

Both books are depressing.
Mainly because the two authors have a very negative way of looking at reality.
This is effective to have an impressive book as a result because so much drama can be offered.

But both books present a one sided view of society.
And this knowledge must be kept in mind constantly while reading those books to avoid sliding into a deep depression.
To avoid to think that we as humanity are lost and have no future.

Maybe this is so.
Maybe F. Scott Fitzgerald and Michel Houellebecq are right.
Maybe as humanity we are in a deadly downwards spiral.
But if this is so, the personal and individual life can be lived in an opposite way.
Spirals can also go upwards.


To learn more about the book "Elementary particles" by Michel Houellebecq, click on:

To learn more about the book "The beautiful and damned" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, click on:


1 comment:

RonMack said...

the personal and individual life can be lived in an opposite way.
Spirals can also go upwards.

Amen, Brother!