People… I have seen the finale of thousands of lives. Young, old, each one was so sure of their realness. That their sensory experience constituted a unique individual. Prison’s in your mind. . . . Purpose, meaning. So certain that they were more than a biological puppet. Truth wills out, everybody sees once the strings are cut off all down; collapsing. What is called organic life is actually a kind of folding of the inorganic. But the inorganic is not the passive, inert counterpart to an allegedly self-propelling life; on the contrary, it possesses its own agency. There is a death drive, which in its most radical formulation is not a drive towards death, but a drive of death. All things chain together in causes and effects, and everything man wants to grasp dissolves before the testing thought. Time is everything, man is nothing; he is at most the empty carcass of time. The inorganic is the impersonal pilot of everything, including that which seems to be personal and organic. Soon he sees mechanics even in the so-far whole and dear, in the smile of his beloved. To realize that all your life… you know, all your love, all your hate, all your memory, all your pain, it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream. One can speak of the claustrophobia of humanity in the administered world, of a feeling of being incarcerated in a thoroughly societalized, closely woven, netlike environment. A dream that you had inside a locked room. A dream about being a person. We’re all our own prisons, we are each all our own wardens and we do our own time. And like a lot of dreams there’s a monster at the end of it. The pressure exerted by the prevailing universal upon everything particular, upon the individual people and the individual institutions, has a tendency to destroy the particular and the individual together with their power of resistance. Seen from the perspective of Thanatos, we ourselves become an exemplary case of the eerie: there is an agency at work in us (the unconscious, the death drive), but it is not where or what we expected it to be. Things don’t have purposes, as if the universe were a machine, where every part has a useful function. What’s the function of a galaxy? I don’t know if our life has a purpose and I don’t see that it matters. What does matter is that we’re a part. The denser the weave, the more one wants to escape it, whereas it is precisely its close weave that prevents any escape. Like a thread in a cloth or a grass-blade in a field. This intensifies the fury against civilization. It is and we are. What we do is like wind blowing on the grass. The revolt against it is violent and irrational. With the loss of their identity and power of resistance, people also forfeit those qualities by virtue of which they are able to pit themselves against what at some moment might lure them again to commit atrocity.
So what I did is, I went the other way. I took very straight autobiographical material, just diary material, and then I went to accounts of murderesses, ’cause I thought I’d make a list of what I wasn’t. It’s very hard to say what you are not. Are you nurturing? Are you not nurturing? Well, yes and no. But I could absolutely say I’d never murdered anyone. So I went to biographies of murderesses, very scholarly Victorian biographies, and I placed the two first persons next to each other to see what was real and what was false. That’s how I got the splintered first person, and I kept it that way. It was an experiment. I thought of writing in those days as being experimental. I wanted to see what it would do to me. I have reflected your society in yourselves, right back at yourselves.