Economic Liberalism as a Differentiation Strategy (Michel Houellebecq)

Michel Houellebecq’s basic experience in his novel Whatever (or literally: the extension of the domain of the struggle) is that we are unable to live in the domain of the rules – the uniformity of the current information society in which human relations are no longer possible – and that we have to enter the domain of the struggle in order to differentiate between the information society and ourselves. Opportunities for these differentiation strategies are found in total economic and sexual liberalism in this novel. These strategies are definitely inspired by Darwin’s  concept of a struggle for existence. The Darwinian struggle is however not inconsistent with the domain of the rules; successful differentiations end up in a new dominant design, i.e. in new rules of the game. Because the economic struggle always ends up with the reinforcement of the domain of the rules, we should reject Houellebecq’s differentiation strategies. On the contrary, if we really experience that we are unable to live in the domain of the rules, we should look for differentiation strategies which do no longer belong to the domain of the economic.

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