etik

Kritik av en förnuftsmässig självgodhet

Eichmanns gärningar, menade Arendt, var inte resultatet av någon demonisk natur, utan av banala dygder respektive brister som plikttrogenhet, karriärlystnad och tanklöshet. Konsekvenserna av hans gärningar var monstruösa, avsikterna banala. Poängen är att ondskan därmed hamnar i ett nytt ljus: den har egentligen ingen egen existens; ondskan är till syvende och sist inget annat än brist på tänkande.
En aspekt av det synsättet är en närmast cartesiansk föreställning om tänkandet som en essentiellt mänsklig färdighet. Idén utvecklas i inledningen till första delen av The Life of the Mind: /…/ Om människan är ett förnuftigt djur är det själva förnuftigheten som håller det onda borta: “frånvaro av tänkandet är inte dumhet; /…/ det är snarare tvärtom, att gemenhet kan orsakas av frånvaro av tänkande”. Det är något frapperande klassicistiskt över denna förnuftstro. Arendt anklagar kryptiskt de tyska idealisterna, med Hegel i spetsen, för att agera som om Kant inte hade funnits – frågan är om det inte är mer komprometterande att hennes eget resonemang ger sken av att varken Auschwitz eller Hiroshima någonsin ägt rum. Om dom bara hade tänk efter…
Peter Dews kommentar om Fichte passar därför in också på Arendt: “Fichtes tilltro till förnuftets kraft lever vidare i den samtida övertygelsen om att ifall vi bara sätter in tillräckligt mycket kunskap och politisk beslutsamhet så kan vi – i princip – organisera mänsklighetens gemensamma liv på basis av fred och rättvisa.”
Det finns anledning att “slutligen också lära sig misstro tänkandet självt”, skriver Nietzsche vid ett tillfälle i Bortom gott och ont. För kan inte just tänkandet “ha spelat oss det största sprattet? Och vilken garanti finns et för att det inte skulle fortsätta att göra vad det alltid har gjort? Allvarligt talat: tänkarens oskuld har något rörande och vördnadsbjudande över sig”. Som vanligt hos Nietzsche vetter kommentaren åt en mängd håll och möjliga tolkningar; bland annat öppnar den för en kritik av en förnuftsmässig självgodhet som är vanlig inom all humaniora – Arendts inflytelserika syn på ondska är bara ett exempel på hur tänkandet koncipierar sig självt som ondskans motståndare par excellence.
Men även om det inte alltid görs så oförblommerat som hos Arendt, är det en bild av tänkandet som är svår att ta sig ur. Ska man tro Gilles Deleuze bygger större delen av den västerländska filosofihistorien på en bild enligt vilken tänkandet som sådant står i en naturlig relation till sanningen. Tänkandets goda natur, att det är predestinerat att nå fram till det sanna och inte det falska, är så att säga en utgångspunkt för tänkandet, en grund som alltid är förutsatt innan filosofen tryggt skrider till verket. Den misstro Nietzsche efterlyser är ur den synvinkeln lika svår som nödvändig att upprätthålla.

Anders Johansson: Göra ont. Litterär metafysik (s. 41–43).

Sloterdijk om Adorno och cynism

Adorno tillhörde pionjärerna för en ny kunskapsteori som räknar med ett emotionellt apriori. Hans teori rymmer motiv i en krypto-buddhistisk anda. Den som lider utan att förhärdas kommer att förstå. Den som kan lyssna till musik kan i upplysta ögonblick se över till världens andra sida. Vissheten om att det verkliga i en handskrift nedtecknats under lidande, kyla och hårdhet präglade denna filosofis sätt att närma sig världen. Den trodde visserligen knappast på en förändring till det bättre, men gav inte efter för frestelsen att låta sig avtrubbas och vänja sig vid det givna. Att förbli känslig var så att säga ett utopiskt förhållningssätt – att hålla sinnena skärpta för en lycka som inte kommer, som som genom att vi är beredda på den skyddar oss från förråandets värsta former.
Politiskt och emotionellt har den estetiska, den “känsliga” teorin sin grund i en av sorg, förakt och vrede präglad anklagelse mot allt som innehar makt. Den stiliserar sig till en spegel av världens onda, den borgerliga kylan, herraväldets princip, det smutsiga geschäftet och des profitmotiv.

/…/

Cynismen vågar komma med nakna sanningar, men de framförs på ett sätt som gör att de behåller något osant.

Peter Sloterdijk: Ur inledningen till “Kritik av det cyniska förnuftet” (1981)

Ernst Jünger (ur Eumeswil) om historikerns värv

Jag anser det vara dålig historisk stil att göra sig lustig över förfädernas misstag, utan att respektera den eros som en gång var förbunden med dessa. Vi är inte mindre hemfallna åt tidsandan; narraktigheten gå i arv, vi tar bara på oss en ny kåpa. /…/
Det är inte själva misstagen som retar mig utan det förbrukade, detta idisslande av fraser som en gång i tiden i egenskap av mäktiga ord satte världen i gungning.
Misstag kan lyfta den politiska världen från des gångjärn; men det är med misstag som med sjukdomar: I krisen kan de uträtta en hel del och rentav bota – – – i febern prövas hjärtana. Akut är det ett vattenfall med nya energier; kroniskt en dödlig sot, ett moras. Så rä det ställt i Eumeswil; vi tvinar bort, låt vara blott av brist på idéer, i övrigt har infamin lönat sig.
Bristen på idéer, eller enklare uttryckt på gudar, frammanar en oförklarlig misstämning, nästan som en dimma som solen inte förmår genomtränga. Världen blir färglös; ordet förlorar i substans, framför allt när det uttalas med pretentioner som går utöver det rena meddelandet.

/…/

Som historiker är jag övertygad om hur ofullkomlig, ja utsiktlös, varje ansträngning är. Jag medger att en sen tids övermättnad här kan spela in. Repertoaren av möjligheter tycks vara uttömd. De stora idéerna har genom upprepning slipats ner; med dem kan man inte längre lura ut någon ur den goa värmen. Såtillvida förhåller jag mig, inom min ram, likadant som vem som helst i Eumeswil. Här går man inte ut på gatorna för några idéers skull; det skulle i så fall vara att bröd- och vinpriset har stigit något öre, eller att det har blivit något bråk med tävlingsförarna.

Som historiker är jag skeptisk, som anark är jag på min vakt. Det gynnar mitt välbefinnande, och till och med min humor. Så håller jag ihop min egendom, låt vara inte för mig själv som om jag vore den ende. Min personliga frihet är en vinst vid sidan om. Därutöver står jag i beredskap för det stora sammanträffandet, det absolutas genombrott i tiden. Där tar historien och vetenskapen slut.

/…/

Historikerns ämbete är tragiskt; i sista hand har han med döden och evigheten att skaffa. Härav hans rotande i sopor, hans kretsande kring gravar, hans outsläckliga törst efter källor, hans ängsliga lyssnande till tidens hjärtslag.
Vad kan väl dölja sig bakom den här oron – det har jag ofta frågat mig. Hur förståelig är mig inte vildens ångest när han ser solen försvinna och fruktar att hon inte ska återvända. På en återkomst hoppades den som försvarade mumien i klippan, och vi berövar den dess bindlar för att bekräfta hans – nej våra – förhoppningar. När vi förlänar liv åt det förgångna, lyckas vi med en tidsövervinnande handling, samtidigt so men dödsbetvingande handling förebådar sin ankomst. Om den senare lyckas, är det också tänkbart att en Gud blåser sin andedräkt i oss.

/…/

jag är historiker, och som sådan vet jag vad som kan erbjudas när det gäller idéer, bilder, melodier, byggnader, karaktärer.

/…/

Jag tar alltså mina göromål på allvar inom ett helt, som jag avböjer som torftigt. Härvid är att märka att denna förnekelse avser just av det hela och inte blott röjer någon konservativ, reaktionär, liberal eller ironisk inställning eller vilken annan socialt definierbar inställning som helst. Man bör hålla sig fri från skiktväxlingen i inbördeskriget med dess allt hårdare slit.
Under den förutsättningen kan jag trots allt ta det på allvar som jag här ombesörjer. Jag vet att underlaget rör sig, ungefär som vid ett bergras eller en lavin, – och just för den skull förblir relationerna i detalj orubbade. Jag ligger skevt på en skev slätt. Avstånden mellan människorna förändras inte. Jag ser den rentav skarpare på det här bedrägliga underlaget. Deras läge så nära avgrundens rand manar fram min medkänsla.
Jag betraktar dem ibland som om jag ginge genom gatorn i Pompeii före Vesuvius’ utbrott. Sådant räknas till historikerns njutningar men ännu mer till hans smärta. När vi ser någon göra något för sista gången, om han så bara åt en bit bröd, fördjupas denna handling på ett underbart vis. Vi deltar då i det efemäras förvandling till det sakramentala. Vi anar de tider då denna syn tillhörde även vardagen.

Jag har alltså kommit därhän, att jag lever som om Eumeswil vore en dröm, en lek, eller också ett experiment. Det utesluter inte inre deltagande, så som vi känner det när vi blir gripna av ett skådespel.

/…/

Jag däremot vet ju, att jag inom en skev verklighet under alla förhållanden ligger skevt, och att just denna vetskap gör tänkandet nyktert. När jag handlar, handlar jag inte skevt utan på snedden, alltefter lägets beskaffenhet och utan självmedlidande. Det är en distinktion som man i Eumeswil inte längre kan ta för given.

Bataille’s Peak. Energy, Religion, and Postsustainability (introductory chapter)

Allan Stoekl: Bataille’s Peak. Energy, Religion, and Postsustainability
University of Minnesota Press, 2007

Introduction. On Shortage, Excess, and Expenditure
At the end of the twentieth century, we were regaled with arguments concerning history: it had ended, we were told. /…/
Barely a few years into the new century, may have concluded that that “posthistorical” ideal is radically insufficient. /…/
In short, energy has been rediscovered. In the 1970s and very early 1980s, first world society was made acutely aware of energy, its limited supplies, and the consequences of energy shortages. A U.S. president (Jimmy Carter) even based his central policies on the idea that energy sources (fossil fuels) were scarce and could only grow scarcer in the coming years. /…/ He was, of course, brusquely turned out of office and replaced by a president (Ronald Reagan) who cheerfully answered that “the free market” would take care of energy supplies forever. Luckily for him, the quantities of fossil fuels available shot up in the mid to late 1980s and throughout the 1990s /…/
As I write this, in 2006, even mainstream news sources have become aware that fuel supplies are fundamentally limited. /…/
The labor of construction of civilization is not over, in other words, history is not at an end, because labor itself is not autonomous: you can’t work or produce anything if you don’t have the fuels (the sources of energy) to do it. The great myth that Man “forms himself” by forming, and transforming, brute matter is over. The idea that Nature is dead is over because fossil fuels were not made by Man, they were only extracted by “him”. They are brutally natural, and their shortage too is a natural shortage (their lack is natural). And when a profound, irremediable shortage of those fuels supervenes, history opens back up. /…/ No one yet wants to think about how History should continue in the absence of an adequate supply of fossil fuels. It is too horrible to think about. Human die-off is quite natural, but it also constitutes an incontrovertible historical event. With the finitude of cheap energy, alas, the end of history is itself finite. But how do we think the end of the end of history?
Now along with a permanent energy crisis, or rather a permanent shortage of cheap fuel supplies, we face another crisis: a permanent religion crisis. It seems as if energy and religion are inseparable issues. /…/
Marxism was the canary in the coal mine, so to speak, because its decline was due to an energy crisis, the first to shock the world since the crises of the late 1970s. Marxism collapsed because its great, worldwide patron, the Soviet Union, collapsed, and the Soviet Union collapsed because it could no longer support itself by selling its oil profitably on the world markets. It was driven into the ground by Saudi Arabia, which in the late 1980s produced so much oil that the world markets became flooded. /…/
The great irony is that religion came to the fore in the very countries whose vast production of fossil fuels had made the Soviet system untenable. The Islamic countries of the Middle East were the producers of the fuels that the West needed to continue its individualist lifestyle. /…/
Many of the regions that provide these fuels have turned to a religion that is, in principle at least, indifferent to the fossil fuel lifestyle and to the cult of the human. /…/
As fuel reveals its finitude, we come to recognize our dependence on it and our dependence on others who affirm a religious culture that survived and flourished in the profound absence of fossil fuel. /…/

This book is about Bataille’s take on these issues and my version of what Bataille’s take would be if it were extrapolated to the twenty-first century. /…/

On the other hand, an ever more counterproductive orientation will assert itself in the years ahead. Such an orientation sees energy as an adjunct of, at best, a certain humanism: we spend to establish and maintain our independent, purpose-driven selves, our freedom as consumers, spenders of certain (rather lavish, given available reserves) quantities of refined energy. This model is doubly humanistic in that not only is the benificary the “free” self of Man; the human spirit itself is incessantly invoked to get us out of the jam. We are told over and over again that the human mind alone produces energy; when reserves are short, there is always a genius who comes along and devises some technology that turns things around, makes even more energy available, and so on. Technology transcends energy, in other words, and reflects the human mind’s infinite ability to derive energy from virtually nothing. /…/
One can argue that the religion that confronts the fossil fuel-driven civilization of Man is equally grounded in the demands of a human subjectivity. People demand salvation, an ultimate purpose for which they are consuming so much fuel: I spend, or waste, so that I will ultimately be saved. Conversely, energy inputs are available because God has blessed me with them; the faithful are rewarded with a healthy, fertile, and energy-rich environment. /…/
Against this energetico-theological model is arrayed an ecoreligion, one that would defy the “comfortable” or “free” (and nonnegotiable) lifestyle of consumerist humanism, not through a recognition of the literal truth of the divine Word but through a religiously inspired truth of austerity, simplicity, and personal virtue. Such a cult refuses certain basic human urges to consume or destroy, and in the process involves the affirmation of yet another humanism (the self as virtuous in its austerity) and, after consumer profligacy, yet another model of nature as a standing reserve to be protected largely for its value to Man.
Fossile fuel civilization, then, and its antitheses, or antidotes. Man and/or God as ultimate referent: a couple we can expect to hear more from in the coming years. Bataille poses a very different model of the interrelation of energy and religion. /…/ Bataille’s energy and religion are not an alternative; they promise nothing for the future, certainly no salvation, although their aftereffect may entail a future more livable — by whom? — than that promised under the signs of God or Man.
Bataille’s energy is inseparable from that which powers cars and raises elevators, but it is different as well. It is excess energy, and in that sense it is left over when a jo is done, when the limits of growth are reached, or, in the current situation, when fossil fuels themselves reveal their profound limitations. Bataille’s energy is a transgression of the limit; it is what is left over in excess of what can be used within a fundamentally limited human field. As such, it is quite different from what can be used: it is not just left over in the sense of not being consumed; it is fundamentally unusable. At the point at which quantification reveals its finitude, energy asserts itself as the movement that cannot be stockpiled or quantified. It is the energy that by definition does not do work, that is insubordinate, that plays now rather than contributing to some effort that may mean something at some later date and that is devoted to some transcendent goal or principle. /…/ Energy is expended in social ritual that is pointless, that is tied not to the adhesion of a group or the security of the individual but to the loss of group and individual identity — sacrifice.
Bataille’s religion is thus inseparable from Bataille’s energy. /…/ If there is community, it is the unplanned aftereffect and not the essential meaning of this energy, of this mobement of the death or void of God.
Thus ethics for Bataille, the community, and its meaning and survival are aftereffects of the expenditure of the sacred. Bataille’s theory is profoundly ethical but only in the sense that the instant of preservation, of meaning, of conservation, of knowledge, is the unforeseen offshoot of another movement, that of the drive to spend without counting, without attempting to anticipate return. To deny the ethical moment, the moment, the moment in which conservation and meaning are established only the better to affirm the destruction of expenditure, is to relegate that destrection to the the simple, homogeneous movement of the animal, unaware of limit, meaning, and purposive act. Expenditure, in other words, is not the denial of the human, its repression, but instead its affirmation to the point at which it falls: the sacrifical act, the recognition of an energy that does not do “work” for the maintenance of the human, is the affirmation of a God who is not the slave of the human. It is the impossible movement in which awareness doubles the unknowable loss of energy and the virulence of a God who disbelieves in himself.
The ethics of Bataille, then, entail a vision of the future in which the “left-hand sacred”, the sacred of impurity, of eroticism, of the radically unconditioned God, spins off a community in and through which expenditure can be furthered (a community of those with nothing in common). Not nuclear war, the channeling of excess in ways that ensure survival so that more excess can be thrown off. And (one can continue along these lines) not generalized ecocide, but an affirmation of another energy, another religion, another waste, entailing not so much a steady state sustaininability (with what stable referent? Man?) but instead a postsustainable state in which we labor in order to expend, not conserve. Hence the energy, and wealth, of the body — the energy of libidinous and divine recycling, not the stockpiled, exploited, and dissipated energy of easily measured and used fossil fuels.
This book has two goals: in the first part, to sketch out Bataille’s positions on energy expenditure, religion of and against the Book, and the city; in the second, to extrapolate from those positions and consider current questions of energy use and depletion, religious literalism and fervor, and urban “life”. /…/

This book is a small effort that tries to suggest that there are other ways of thinking about how we power our lifes, with energy and with religion: these ways, these directions have been there all along. These other ways are not so much opposed to sustainability (as it is conventionally conceived) as they logically precede it and spin it off not as a goal but as an aftereffect. /…/ In a future (and imminent) era of scarcity we rethink what it means to be happy — thereby recognizing that happiness is tied not to the mere consumption and disposal of materials, but to their wise use — we will perhaps also realize that happiness means something more, or other, than a meager conservation or a placid contentment grounded in a placid sociability.

Afformative, Strike

Werner Hamacher: “Afformative, Strike: Benjamin’s ‘Critique of Violence’
In Andrew E. Benjamin & Peter Osborne (edts): Walter Benjamin’s Philosophy: Destruction and Experience

Routledge, 1994

111: “This more powerful law is the law of historical change and internal structural transformation, dictated by the ambiguity of being both means and end. In connection with this ambiguity, Benjamin speaks of a ‘dialectic’ and its ‘law of oscillation’ (Schwankungsgesetz).”

114: “‘Upon the breaking of this cycle maintained by mythical legal forms’, Benjamin now writes, ‘upon the deposing [Entsetzung] of law with all the forces on which it depends as they depend on it, finally therefore upon the abolition of state forces, a new historical age is founded’.”

115: “Pure violence does not posit, it ‘deposes’; it is not performative, but afformative.”

116: “Deposing is thus not encompassed by any negation, is not directed toward anything determinate – and therefore is not direted. Deposing could not be the means to an end, yet it would be nothing but means. It would be violence, and pure violence, but therefore entirely non-violent.”

117: [Benjamin writes that] “pure means are never those of direct, but always those of mediated, solutions. They therefore never apply directly to the arbitration of interpersonal conflict, but do so only by way of things. the sphere of pure means unfolds in the most material human realm – conflicts relating to goods. For this reason technique [Technik] in the broadest sense of the word is its most proper domain.”

117: “Language in its mediality is pre-positional, preperformative – and, in this sense, afformative. Even before and even during its performative effects, language does not initially lay the foundation for anything outside itself”.

118: “Language is not a medium that can be measured against ‘an objective state of affairs’ – a standard verifiable independently of this medium and already available outside itself. Rather, language is the articulation of a mediacy prior to any distinction between ‘true’ and ‘false’ and is therefore not subject to that distinction. /…/ Mediacy is the field of afformation. Whoever speaks is afformed and afforms.”

119: “On Benjamin’s account, the technique of language as pure means (and thereby as pure violence), which enables peaceful agreements and ‘mutual understanding’ independently of any legal order, has its contemporary political ‘analogue’ in the strike, specifically in the proletarian general strike. /…/
Benjamin explicitly refers only to George Sorel’s /…/ distinction between the political and the proletarian general strike.”

120: “For whereas the political general strike is only concerne with inverting the relation of domination, and is still based on the preservation and strenghtening of state violence, the proletarian general strike aims at nothing less than the abolition of the state apparatus and the legal order maintained by it. /…/
the proletarian general strike is pure means, not means to an extortion that would affect modifications in the working conditions, in the distribution of power or the power structure and as such would be violent. Rather, it is a non-violent means of annihilation of legal as well as state violence. /…/
This strike, directed toward the annihilation of state violence by way of suspension of all positing violence – in other words, directed toward nothing – can be described as being without intention.”
120-121: “For Benjamin, the strike is the social, economic, and political event in which nothing happens, no work is done, nothing is produced, and nothing is planned or projected.”

125-126: “Unlike historical-transcendental pragmatics, which are oriented toward historical forms of linguistic and social action, Benjamin’s sketch of a politics of pure means is a theory not of positing, producing and presenting, not of forming and transforming action, but a theory of the abstention from action”.

128n12: “the use of afformative event is to contrast with the use of performative act – implying that afformatives are not a subcategory of performatives. Rather, afformative, or pure, violence is a ‘condition’ for any instrumental, performative violence and, at the same time, a condition which suspends its fulfilment in principle. /…/
The afformative is the allipsis which silently accompanies any act and which may silently interrupt any speech act.”

Georges Bataille: Method of meditation

The servile intelligence serves folly, but folly is sovereign: I can change nothing without it.

/…/

The idea of silence (the inaccessible) is disarming!
I am unable to speak of an absence of meaning without giving it a meaning it doesn’t have. /…/
In the end, being is offered to us as impossible!

/../

Every problem is in a certain sense a problem of the use of time.

/…/

Scientific work is more than servile, crippled. The needs to which it responds are foreign to knowledge. They are:
1. The curiosity of those who do crossword puzzles /…/
2. The needs of the collector (to accumulate and organize curiosities);
3. Love of work, intense output;
4. The taste for a rigorous honesty;
5. The worries of an academic (career, honour, money).
At its origin, often enough, a desire for sovereign knowledge, to go as far as one can go, a desire so quickly born, nullifies itself, by accepting subordinate tasks. /…/ Science is practiced by men in whom the desire to know is dead.

/…/

One must choose: one is unable to subordinate oneself to some ulterior result and “to be sovereignly” at the same time. (Because “to be sovereignly” means “not being able to wait”.)

/…/

If I lead being to the extreme limit of reflection, to its misunderstanding of itself, like the infinite, starry expanse of the night, I FALL ASLEEP.

/…/

Often enough, sufficient leisure is left for me to order my thought, in obedience to the rules. But today I express this movement: “Sleep invades me…”: It is more difficult! In other words, I arrive at the sovereign operation, wherein thought accepts no subordinate object and losing itself in a sovereign object, annihilates the demand for thought within itself.

/…/

When I am laughing or having an orgasm, the impossible is before me. I am happy but every thing is impossible.

The simple truth:
Servile activity is possible (on the condition of remaining enslaved, subordinate – to other men, to principles, or even to the necessity of production – human existence has a possibility in front of itself).

But sovereign existence is in no way, for even an instant, separated from the impossible; I will live sovereignly only at the heights of the impossible and what does this book mean if not:

LEAVE THE POSSIBLE TO THOSE WHO LOVE IT.

/…/

Part II
Decisive Position

Principles
1. If I wish it, to laugh is to think, but this is a sovereign moment.

/…/

Not only does the sovereign operation not subordinate itself to anything, it is indifferent to the effects that might result;

/…/

knowledge relating objects to the sovereign moment in the end risks being confounded with this moment itself.
This knowledge that one could call free (but that I prefer to call neutral) is the use of a function detached (free) from the servitude that is its principle: the function related the unknown to the known (to the solid), whereas dating it from the moment when it detaches itself, it relates the known to the unknown.

13. What I’ve just said seems to oppose itself to the fact that without a sketch, at least, of neutral knowledge, a sovereign operation could not be represented. /…/
The sovereign operation engages these developments: they are the residue of a trace left in the memory and of the subsistence of these functions, but, insofar as it takes place, it is indifferent to and mocks this residue.

/…/

16. In order to describe it better, I would like to situate it in an ensemble of apparently sovereign behaviors. Other than ecstacy, these are:
* intoxication;
* erotic effusion;
* laughter;
* sacrificial effusion;
* poetic effusion.

/…/

18. The behaviors I have just listed are effusive in that they demand muscular movements of little importance and consume energy without any other effect than a kind of interior illumination /…/

19. Previously, I designated the sovereign operation under the names of inner experience or the extreme of the possible. And now I designate it under the name meditation. Changing words signifies the boredom of using whatever word it should be (sovereign operation is, of all the names, the most fastidious: comic operation, in a sense, would be less misleading). I like meditation better despite its pioous appearence.

20. In laughter, sacrifice, or poetry, even partly in eroticism, effusion is obtained through a modification, willing or not, in the order of objects: poetry makes use of changes on the level of images; sacrifice, in general, destroys beings; laughter results from diverse changes.
In drunkenness, on the contrary, and willingly, the subject himself is modified: it is the same in meditation.

/…/

22. In meditation, the overwrought subject looks for himself.
He refuses himself the right to remain enclosed in the sphere of activity.
Still, he refuses exterior means: toxins, erotic partners, or alterations in objects (comic, sacrificial, poetic).

/…/

35. I am writing in order to nullify a game of subordinate operations (it is, when all is said and done, superflous).

36. The sovereign operation, whose authority results only from itself – expiates this authority at the same time. If it atoned for it, it would have some point of application, it would look for an empire, for duration. But authenticity refuses this: it is only powerlessness, absence of duration, hateful (or gay) destruction of itself, dissatisfaction.

/…/

In the end everyting puts me at risk, I remain suspended, stripped, in a definitive solitude: before the impenetrable simplicity of what is; and the depths of the world opened, what I see and what I know no longer has any meaning, any limits, and I will stop myself only after having advanced the furthest that I can.

/…/

But the smallest activity or the least project puts an end to the game – and I am, lacking play, brought back into the prison of useful objects, loaded with meaning.

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. this is still, the instant .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . . . . . . . . . . this, presently, neither my absence nor me, neither death nor light – and my absence and me, death and light – a light laugh rises in me like the sea, fills the absence immensely. All that is – IS TOO MUCH.

Georges Bataille on the summit and the decline (March 5, 1944)

I. (Fundamental proposition). It is a question of opposing not good to evil but the “moral summit”, which is different from the good, to the “decline”, which has nothing to do with evil and whose necessity determines, on the contrary, the modalities of the good.
The summit responds to excess, to the exuberance of forces. It takes tragic intensity to its limit. It relates to measureless expenditures of energy, to the violation of the integrity of beings. It is therefore closer to evil than to good.
Decline – responding to moments of exhaustion, of fatigue – grants all value to concerns for preserving and enriching the being. Rules of morality result from decline.

/…/

‘communication cannot take place from one full and intact being to another: communication wants being twith their being at stake, places at the limit of death, of nothingness; the moral summit is a moment of risk taking, of the suspension of being beyond itself, at the limit of nothingness.

II. In “communication”, in love, desire has nothingness as its object. It is like this with any “sacrifice”.

/…/

IV. Humans only “communicate” – live – outside of themselves and since they must “communicate”, they must want this evil, this deseceation which, putting the being within themselves at risk, renders them penetrable to one another . . . Thus: all “communication” partakes of suicide and crime . . . In this light, evil appears as a life source!

/…/

Communication, essentialy, wanting being to be overstepped: essentially, what is rejected in evil is concern for the future. /…/

In common judgment, the essence of a moral act is being servile to some utility, to return to the good of some being a movement in which the being aspires to surpass being. In this way, morality is no more than a negation or morality.

If i suppress consideration of the future, I am unable to resist temptation . . . To tell the truth, this state of happy openness is not humanly imaginable. Human nature as such cannot reject its concern for the future /…/

As long as we are animated by a youthful effervescence, we consent to dangerous squandering. But when these forces begin to fail us, . . . when we begin to decline, we become preoccupied . . . with accumulation . . . with enriching ourselves for difficulties yet to come. We act. And action, effort can only have an aquisition of forces as its goal.

/…/

X. We must go further. To formulate such criticism is already to decline. The act of “speaking” of a morality of the summit itself arises from a morality of decline.

/…/

XI. Like Kafka’s Castle, in the end, the summit is nothing but the inaccessible. It slips away from us, at least insofar as we don’t stop being human, speaking. Besides, we cannot oppose the summit to the decline like evil to good. The summit is not “what one must reach”, decline not “what one must abolish”. Just as the summit is, in the end, nothing but the inaccessible, decline is from the very beginning inevitable.
(“The summit is, in essence, the place at the limit where life is impossible.”)

XII. Through history the reasons that a human being might have for going to the summit (the good for the nation, justice, salvation, etc.) have developed. “But the difficulty is to go to the summit without a reason, without a pretext.”
“. . . Every gamle, every ascent, every sacrifice being, like sensual excess, a loss of strength, an expenditure, we must justify our expenditures every time with a promise of gain, be it illusory or not.
” Even though a revolutionary action would establish the classless society – beyond which a historical action could no longer arise – it seems that, humanly speaking, the amount of energy produced is always greater than the amount necessary for its production. Hence this perpetual overfull seething og energy – which continually leads us to the summit – constituting the malefic share.

/…/

XIV. (Conclusion). Within hostile and silent nature, what becomes of human autonomy? “Maybe the desire to know has only one meaning: to serve as motive for the desire to question. No doubt knowledge is necessary for the autonomy of that action – by which it transformed the world – procures for humanity. But beyond the conditions of doing, knowledge finally appears as a decoy, when faced with the interrogation that commands it. When this interrogation fails, we laugh. The raptures of exstasy and the fires of Eros are so many questions – without responses – to which we submit nature and our nature. /…/ It is by leaving the interrogation open as an inner wound that I maintain chance, a possible access toward the summit . . .”