Georges Bataille
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Ed's Favorite Quotations'. Emphasis added. References below.

GEORGES BATAILLE

Inner Experience.

"The self-acknowledged suffering of the disintoxicated is the subject of this book."1a*

"We have in fact only two certainties in this world ' that we are not everything and that we will die. To be conscious of not being everything, as one is of being mortal, is nothing. But if we are without a narcotic, an unbreathable void reveals itself. . . The mind moves in a strange world where anguish and ecstasy coexist."1b*

"By inner experience I understand that which one usually calls mystical experience: the states of ecstasy, of rapture, at least of meditated emotion. . .
"
. . . Inner experience responds to the necessity in which I find myself -- human existence with me -- of challenging everything (of putting everything into question) without permissible rest."
1c* SANTAYANA

"The development of intelligence leads to a drying up of life which, in return, has narrowed intelligence. It is only if I state this principle: 'inner experience itself is authority', that I emerge from this impotence. Intelligence has destroyed the authority necessary for experience: by deciding the issue in this way, man has once again at his disposal his 'possible' and what is no longer the old, the limited, but the extreme limit of the possible.
" . . . 'One must grasp the meaning from the inside.' . . . One must live experience."
1d KIERKEGAARD SANTAYANA

" . . . [T]he essence of my self arises from this ' that nothing will be able to replace it: the feeling of my fundamental improbability situates me in the world where I remain as though foreign to it, absolutely foreign."1e

"Among the rights which man claims for himself, he forgets that of being stupid; he is necessarily stupid, but without the right to be so, and sees himself forced to dissimulate."1f*

"Knowledge is in no way distinct from me: I am it, it is the existence which I am."1g HEIDEGGER

"There is in understanding a blind spot: which is reminiscent of the structure of the eye."1h

"Man can find himself only on the condition of escaping, without rest, from the avarice which grips him."1i*

"Often the unknown gives us anguish, but it is the condition for ecstasy. Anguish is the fear of losing, expression of the desire to possess."1j KIERKEGAARD


     

Georges Bataille (1897-1962). Inner Experience. Translated, with an Introduction, by Leslie Anne Boldt. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988. (Originally published as L'Experience Interieure, Editions Gallimard, 1954.)
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The Absence of Myth: Writings on Surrealism.

" . . . [T]he absence of myth is also a myth: the coldest, the purest, the only true myth."2a

"[Surrealism] is genuinely virile opposition ' nothing conciliatory, nothing divine ' to all accepted limits, a vigorous will to insubordination."2b

"Liberty is no longer the liberty to choose, but the choice renders a liberty, a free activity, possible, requiring that once decision is fixed upon it I do not allow a new choice to intervene, for a choice between the diverse possibilities of the activity unleashed would be made with a view to some ulterior result (this is the significance of automatism). . ."2c

" . . . [T]oday's man defines himself by his avidity for myth, and if we add that he defines himself also by the consciousness of not having the power to gain access to the possibility of creating a true myth, we have defined a sort of myth which is the absence of myth."2d

"Omophagia, that form of sacrifice in which the victim is devoured alive by the unrestrained participants, is doubtless the most complete image of the sacred, implying as it always does an element of horror and criminality. . . The sacred demands the violation of what is normally the object of terrified respect. Its domain is that of destruction and death."2e

"Without the sacred, the totality of the plenitude of being escapes man; he would no longer be anything but incomplete."2f

"Liberty is nothing if it is not fully making use of the present moment (am I free, in that I have something to do?). I am free as I live in immediacy, for a now and not for a later."2g

"The horse is taken out of the stable to the abattoir . . . For the butcher it becomes a quantity of meat worth so much a kilo . . . in the butcher's eyes a horse is already dead (has become meat, an object). In the world of the instant nothing is dead, absolutely nothing . . . No more difference, no calculation to make: the stillness of the lake . . . where happiness thinks about nothing . . . "2h

"Normally, the only thing apparent in the life of the great and of kings is crime . . . at the very least, abuse of power and exploitation of the weak to the advantage of vested interests."2i

" . . . [S]urrealism . . . does not mean 'language beyond words' but rather, 'language beyond things' . . . Things are what they are only because of the meaning words give them."2j


Georges Bataille. The Absence of Myth: Writings on Surrealism. Edited, translated and introduced by Michael Richardson. Translation and Introduction, Michael Richardson, 1994. London, UK: Verso, 2006. (From Georges Bataille, Oeuvres compl'tes, Editions Gallimard, 1976-1988.)
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Erotism: Death and Sensuality.
 

   
The Tears of Eros.
 

   
Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939.
 

   
On Nietzsche.
 

   
The Impossible.
 

   
Theory of Religion.
 

   
Story of the Eye.
 

   
My Mother, Madame Edwarda and The Dead Man.
 

   
Trial of Gilles De Rais.
 

   
Blue of Noon.
 

   
Divine Filth: Lost Writings by Georges Bataille.
 

   
The Collected Poems of Georges Bataille.
 

   
Encyclopaedia Acephalica.
 

   

* Italics in the original.

1 Georges Bataille (1897-1962). Inner Experience. Translated, with an Introduction, by Leslie Anne Boldt. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988. (Originally published as L'Experience Interieure, Editions Gallimard, 1954.)
PREFACE
a Preface, at xxxii.
b
Ibid., at xxxii.
PART ONE: Sketch of an Introduction to Inner Experience
c
I. Critique of dogmatic servitude (and of mysticism), at 3.
d
II. Experience, sole authority, sole value, at 8.
PART THREE: Antecedents to the Torment (or the Comedy)
e
Death is in a sense an imposture, at 69.
f
The labyrinth (or the constitution of beings), at 81.
PART FOUR: Post-Scriptum to the Torment (or the New Mystical Theology)
g
III. Hegel, at 110.
h
Ibid., at 110.
i
VI. Nietzsche, at 134.
j
Ibid., at 146.

2 Georges Bataille. The Absence of Myth: Writings on Surrealism. Edited, translated and introduced by Michael Richardson. Translation and Introduction, Michael Richardson, 1994. London, UK: Verso, 2006. (From Georges Bataille, Oeuvres compl'tes, Editions Gallimard, 1976-1988.)
a
The Absence of Myth, at 48.
b
On the Subject of Slumbers, at 49.
c
Surrealism and How it Differs from Existentialism, at 66.
d
The Surrealist Religion, at 81.
e
War and the Philosophy of the Sacred, at 117.
f
Poetry and the Temptation pf the End of the World, at 122.
g
From the Stone Age to Jacques Pr'vert, at 142.
h
Ibid., at 150.
i
The Age of Revolt, at 172.
j
Surrealism and God, at 182.

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