Ecstasy is drab, dead, dull, Rémi says. So little to be gained from an excess of pleasantries, uselessness abounds, compounds, and all we can hope for is an influx of pain to justify our yearning for the fix.

Humans are addicts, I repeat. Slothful slumber, gluttonous feasts (Rémi licks his lips and rummages past the thesis papers in his briefcase in search of a sandwich), numbing opiates, carnal pleasures, the interminably inane, the list goes on.

The trouble, of course, Rémi says, comes when our addictions gain their own sick sentience.