Tripping Out

Since you are all readers, you might enjoy a chuckle at this self-reflexive moment from a novel by William Gibson (Zero History). The narrator is describing Milgrim a character who is a recovering addict.

Reading, his therapist had suggested, had likely been his first drug.

Of course there is a link, a thematic link, to Avital Ronell’s Crack Wars: Literature Addiction Mania which proposes its own set of links to the addiction to literature through the example of Emma Bovary in Flaubert’s eponymous novel. I have in mind particularly the particles on page 131 where from I have constructed the following table:

religion pharmacy
music literature
non-mimetic [ ? ]

This is drawn from the passage on p. 131 where Ronell is describing the pharmacists offer to Emma.

He [M. Homais, the pharmacist] has offered Emma the unlimited use of his library, inviting the addicted neighbor to mix pharmaceuticals and literature. […] Literature comes down on the side of pharmacy, if somewhat negatively cast. Religion, which also deals in transcendental experience, appears to opt for the non-mimetic trance, which is why music is viewed as safe text.

And in my index card inserted at this point in the book I ask, “I wonder if this is related to how Ronell deploys non-address p. 93” but the question is besides the point for the reference at page 93 is about suicide as the violence of non-address. What I am after here is the term to complete the table and somehow I don’t believe that a simple reversal of non-mimetic into mimetic will do the trick. And it is with a cheery countenance that I read many pages later (page 162) in a dialogue of the dead staged by Ronell that “Michaux speaks to Freud about psychomimetic substances and the miraculated subject.” And voilà the term: psychomimetic. It’s set up almost as a whispered aside as it is encased in parentheses and set in italic type — just like a capsule that needs to be ingested to take effect. Note that the address is not to the reader directly it passes from one character to another — some residue of that non-address that is suicide — the text would not necessarily fall apart from an awowal of psychomimetic inclinations (but we would not have the wonderful effect of Ronell’s reticence in the matter of Flaubert): tripping over the non-capusule high.

And so for day 868

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