I hate my father, I'm ambivalent about my son and I dislike myself. But I want to be cloned as soon as possible. It is the only consolation that science has to offer me against deathby Michel Houellebecq / January 20, 2003 / Leave a comment
I don’t like myself. I only feel a touch of sympathy, and even less respect, for myself; what’s more, I don’t interest myself much. As a teenager, then as a young man, I was full of myself; this is no longer the case. The mere prospect of having to recount a personal anecdote plunges me into boredom verging on catalepsy. When I absolutely have to, I just lie.
Paradoxically, however, I have never regretted reproducing. You could even say that I love my son and I love him more each time I recognise in him the trace of my own flaws. I see them displayed over time with an implacable determinism, and I rejoice. I rejoice immodestly at seeing there repeated, even made permanent, personal characteristics which have nothing particularly estimable about them; characteristics which are quite often worthy of contempt and have, in reality, the sole merit of being mine. Moreover, they are not even exactly my own; I fully realise some have been lifted straight from the personality of that vile cunt, my father. But, strangely enough, that takes nothing away from the joy I feel. This joy is more than selfishness; it is deeper, more indisputable.
On the other hand, what saddens me about my son is seeing him display (is it the influence of his mother? the different times we live in? pure individuality?) features of an autonomous personality, in which I cannot recognise myself and which remains utterly foreign to me. Far from marvelling at this, I realise that I will have left only an incomplete and faded image of myself.
Western philosophy hardly favours the expression of these sentiments. Such feelings leave no space for freedom and individuality, they aim for nothing but eternal, idiotic repetition. There is nothing original about them; they are shared by almost all mankind, and even by the majority of the animal kingdom; they are nothing but the living memory of an overwhelming biological instinct. Western philosophy is a long, patient and cruel training course whose objective is to persuade us that a few wrong ideas are right. The first idea is that we must respect our fellow man because he is different from us; the second is that we have something to gain at the moment of death.
Today, thanks to western technology, this veneer of proprieties is rapidly cracking. Of course I will have myself cloned…