The Bataille Reader
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Since the publication in France of his Oeuvres Completes in the mid-1970s, the breadth of Bataille's writing and influence has become increasingly apparent across the disciplines in, for example, the fields of literature, art, art history, philosophy, critical theory, sociology, economics, and anthropology.
critique of instrumental reason', October, 36 ( 1 986), pp. 1 1 1-27, and Jiirgen Habermas, 'The French path to postmodernity: Bataille between eroticism and general economics', tr. Frederic Lawrence, New German Critique, 33 ( 1 984), pp. 79-102. Reprinted in Bataille: a critical reader, eds Botting and Wilson. 14 Denis HolIier, Introduction, p. ix, in The College of Sociology, ed. D. Hollier, tr. Betsy Wing (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, 1 988). 15 Georges Bataille and Roger
and it is in this that they satisfy me. I have doubts: I no longer see in me anything but cracks, impotence, useless agitation. I feel corrupt; everything that I touch is corrupt. A singular courage is necessary in order not to succumb to depression and to continue - in the name of what ? Nevertheless I continue, in my darkness: man continues in me, goes through this. When I utter within myself: WHAT IS IT? When I am there without a conceivable reply, I believe that within me, at last, this man
term heterogeneous indicates that it concerns elements which are impossible to assimilate; this impossibility which has a fundamental impact 1 26 Heterology on social assimilation, likewise has an impact on scientific assimilation. These two types of assimilation have a single structure: the object of science is to establish the homogeneity of phenomena; that is, in a sense, one of the eminent functions of homogeneity. Thus, the heterogeneous elements ex cluded from the latter are excluded
purely theoreti cal interest, since one can only attain it on the condition that one envisage waste products in the total form of the infinite obtained by negation (in other words, objective heterogeneity's shortcoming is that it can only be envis aged in an abstract form, whereas the subjective heterogeneity of particular elements is, in practice, alone concrete) . 1 1 Scientific data - in other words, the result of appropriation alone retains an immediate and appreciable objective character,
which is linked to it, relates the non-manufactured, unknown elements, one after the other, to the known. But desire, poetry, laughter, unceasingly cause life to slip in the opposite direction, moving from the known to the unknown. Existence in the end dis closes the blind spot of understanding and right away becomes com pletely absorbed in it. It could not be otherwise unless a possibility for rest were to present itself at a certain point. But nothing of the kind takes place: what alone