INTERVIEWER: You are a fan of the nineteenth-century social reformers, especially Auguste Comte, the founder of Positivism.
HOUELLEBECQ: Most people find Comte unreadable because he repeats himself to the point of madness. And medically speaking, he certainly wasn’t far from insanity. As far as I know, he is the only philosopher who tried to commit suicide. He threw himself into the Seine because of a broken heart. They pulled him out and he spent six months in a sanitorium. And this was the father of Positivism, which is considered to be the height of rationalism.