By Bataille, Georges; Bataille, Georges; Stoekl, Allan
As the cost of oil climbs towards $100 a barrel, our imminent post-fossil gas destiny seems to provide choices: a bleak lifestyles outlined via shortage and sacrifice or one during which humanity areas its religion in technological options with unexpected outcomes. Are there alternative ways to visualize lifestyles in an period that would be characterised through source depletion?
The French highbrow Georges Bataille observed power because the foundation of all human activity—the essence of the human—and he anticipated a society that, rather than renouncing profligate spending, might embody a extra radical form of power expenditure: l. a. dépense, or “spending with no return.” In Bataille’s Peak, Allan Stoekl demonstrates how a detailed studying of Bataille—in the wake of Giordano Bruno and the Marquis de Sade— might help us reconsider not just power and intake, but additionally such similar subject matters because the urban, the physique, eroticism, and faith. via those circumstances, Stoekl identifies the diversities among waste, which Bataille condemned, and expenditure, which he celebrated.
The problem of residing within the twenty-first century, Stoekl argues, may be to comprehend—without recourse to austerity and self-denial—the inevitable and important shift from a civilization based on waste to 1 in keeping with Bataillean expenditure.
Allan Stoekl is professor of French and comparative literature at Penn kingdom college. he's the writer of Agonies of the highbrow: dedication, Subjectivity, and the Performative within the Twentieth-Century French Tradition and translator of Bataille’s Visions of extra: chosen Writings, 1927–1939 (Minnesota, 1985).
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Extra resources for Bataille's peak : energy, religion, and postsustainability
Bataille’s science attains not a higher knowledge but a failure point of knowledge (just as to eat is always to vomit): “a burst of laughter is the only imaginable, deﬁnitively terminal, outlet—and not the means—of philosophical speculation” (OC, 2: 64; VE, 99). A matter that is an end in itself, leading nowhere; but this matter is also always prior, an unformed, or deﬁnitively formless, “stuff,” mana, which circulates through entities and communities, which opens their possibility, but which is never reducible to them.
At each point of excretion/appropriation— the two actions are reciprocal, inseparable—at each point of recycling, in other words, there is a charge of pleasure or nausea on the part of a desiring, or dying, subject. The intellect, then—science—excretes and devours, and this process is no different from what Sade’s “libertines” do. The process of “scientiﬁc heterology” entails nothing other than the rigorous study of all forms of rejection of inassimilable elements, be they “intellectual” (monstrous theories, grotesque art works, hideous poetry) or “physical” (shit, ﬂies, big toes, spiders, spit).
It is through generosity that Bataille can elaborate a social model that recognizes excessive energy—an energy that cannot be reduced to useful and signiﬁcant tasks—at the heart of all social activity. 22 Generosity entails God’s gift of himself as dead victim ( Jesus doubting, profoundly, as he dies on the cross) and Man’s gift of himself through the sacriﬁce of the coherent consciousness, sense of purpose, and higher (scientiﬁc, religious) knowledge that he (mistakenly) assigned himself. The gift of Man as the death of Man, in other words.
Bataille's peak : energy, religion, and postsustainability by Bataille, Georges; Bataille, Georges; Stoekl, Allan