theparisreview:

strandbooks:

Photo found in the book The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq.

From Houellebecq’s 2010 interview with Susannah Hunnewell:
INTERVIEWER
In 1998, you published your now famous second novel, The Elementary Particles, about the tragic love lives of a brilliant scientist and his sexually frustrated half-brother. What led you to write it?
HOUELLEBECQ
The real inspiration was the experiments of Alain Aspect in 1982. They demonstrated the EPR paradox: that when particles interact, their destinies become linked. When you act on one, the effect spreads instantly to the other, even if they are great distances apart. That really struck me, to think that if two things are connected once, they will be forever. It marks a fundamental philosophical shift. Ever since the disappearance of religious belief, the current reigning philosophy has been materialism, which says we are alone and reduces humanity to biology. Man as calculable as billiard balls and completely perishable. That worldview is undermined by the EPR paradox. So the novel was inspired by this idea of what could be the next metaphysical mutation. It has to be less depressing than materialism. Which, let’s face it, is pretty depressing.

theparisreview:

strandbooks:

Photo found in the book The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq.

From Houellebecq’s 2010 interview with Susannah Hunnewell:

INTERVIEWER

In 1998, you published your now famous second novel, The Elementary Particles, about the tragic love lives of a brilliant scientist and his sexually frustrated half-brother. What led you to write it?

HOUELLEBECQ

The real inspiration was the experiments of Alain Aspect in 1982. They demonstrated the EPR paradox: that when particles interact, their destinies become linked. When you act on one, the effect spreads instantly to the other, even if they are great distances apart. That really struck me, to think that if two things are connected once, they will be forever. It marks a fundamental philosophical shift. Ever since the disappearance of religious belief, the current reigning philosophy has been materialism, which says we are alone and reduces humanity to biology. Man as calculable as billiard balls and completely perishable. That worldview is undermined by the EPR paradox. So the novel was inspired by this idea of what could be the next metaphysical mutation. It has to be less depressing than materialism. Which, let’s face it, is pretty depressing.