Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In Defense of Hesitation

So you’ve waited and waited and waited, putting off the delicious consummation of your desires, precisely because you wanted something to look forward to. Isn’t that the predicament that Kierkegaard lays out so eloquently in Diary of a Seducer, in which dispossession becomes nine tenths of the law? Zen, in both its serious and watered-down forms, teaches us to live in the now, emphasizing that we only have today, to the extent that the past is over and the future is yet to be. But who wants to live this way? Is the reality of Paris and all the things associated with it, as delineated, say, by Henry Miller in Quiet Days in Clichy, really that arresting? What is better: great sex, a great meal, a great passion, or the imagination of it? Yes, if we wait too long the woman with the enchanting cleavage sitting one carrel over in the stacks of the library is going to vanish, and you will probably never see her again. But let’s hypothesize that you get lucky, and you lock eyes with a beauty reminiscent of Mariangela Melato in Swept Away. That movie was  released in l974, before the onset of the AIDS epidemic, and in homage to those carefree times, what if you suggest a fling in the Thomas Hardy section, right next to Tess? You make your own bargain with Mephistopheles, choosing gratification with little regard for the consequences. Lo and behold, it’s not a disease you end up with, but the infection of obsession. You have opened Pandora’s box and made yourself vulnerable. Particularly if the sex is good, you will want more. You are now powerless, where before you were at no one’s mercy, living in a world of blissful anticipation. The Buddhists have one other thing right: desire is the beginning of suffering.


  1. Hi Francis. I just finished my first novel 'foutre la merde, dans' and i had never heard of you before until subscribing to 2 Dollar Radios' facebook page and reading yr interview and now finding this blog! But now i feel totally redundant as my book explore notions of Jewish masculinity, failure, sexuality, psychology, cravings and aversions and their role in a process driven computerised world. Shit!

  2. Mon chere Goldblog, Erotomania was originaly titled La Baise Sauvage so we have much in common. Plainly, you are a Houellebecquian boxer from some awrongdisement. A toot a l'her


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