Aphorisms for Michel

"The turbulence of a river flowing around the supporting pillars of a bridge is stucturally unpredictable, but no one would think to describe it as being free."
--Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles

122. His is a life in pursuit of comfort and pleasure, and a turning away from what is painful. His body has a particular feeling about his environment and he will act to avoid what hurts him and makes him insecure. The life of most men is little more than a quest for comfort and pleasure in an unpredictable world. How adventurous this life will be will depend upon the predictability of the environment in which he lives and the particular genetic demands of his body.

123. What then could the philosophers have possibly meant by freedom?

149. If we can say anything at all about it, we may say that consciousness is a reflecting upon an action that has happened or is about to happen. It is an awareness that has the effect of separating one's body from the world. The moment of consciousness objectifies the body and leads one to think he is not his body, that it is something foreign to him--a sort of container that consciousness is trapped inside. It may lead him to wrongly conclude that consciousness is the primary director of the body, or the seat of a man's essence.

151. Consciousness appears and through rationalization and justification of some action it effects a realignment of the body with the world. Consciousness often appears when a gap emerges between how a man wishes to act and what other men expect of him. Consciousness proceeds to justify a man's action in a world that he worries will find it disagreeable.

155. Consciousness appears as the separation of body, world, and action. It appears as an interruption of life. With rationalization and justification his body, his environment and the action he has taken, or will take, is reunited. He regains the confidence to act. He can live again. He need no more question his body and the world. And with that consciousness again disappears.

158. Consciousness is subject to the body, a tool in the body's pursuit of comfort and pleasure.

160. When an action cannot be justified consciousness lingers. His body, his environment and his action remain strangely suspended. He does not feel of the world. His body is a sort of familiar object, immediate yet strangely distant. He is bewildered.

161. How curious that some philosophers would see in this moment of confusion a deep truth about man and declare consciousness to be what is essential, what is most meaningful about him.

179. A man with desires that fit neatly with his environment has little use for reflection. He does not need to rationalize conduct that his environment can easily satisfy or that men around him consider acceptable. It follows that he has little need for or experience of consciousness.

184. The less a man experiences moments of consciousness the healthier and happier he is.

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