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Erotism, Bataille notes

P.24 eroticism opens the way to death. Death opens the way to the denial of our individual lives. Without doing violence to our inner selves, are we able to beat a negation that carries us to the farthest bounds of possibility?

P.25 poetry leads to the same place as all forms of eroticism -- to the blending and fusion of separate objects. It leads us to eternity: the sun matched with the sea.

Eroticism in inner experience

P. 39 man achieves his inner experience at the instant when bursting out of the chrysalis he feels that he is tearing himself, not tearing something outside that resists him. He goes beyond the objective awareness bounded by the walls of the chrysalis and this process, too, is linked with the turning topsy-turvy of his original mode of being.



trans·​gres·​sion | \ tran(t)s-ˈgre-shən , tranz- \

Definition of transgression

: an act, process, or instance of transgressing: such as

a : infringement or violation of a law, command, or duty

b : the spread of the sea over land areas and the consequent unconformable deposit of sediments on older rocks


prod·​i·​gal | \ ˈprä-di-gəl \

Definition of prodigal (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : characterized by profuse or wasteful expenditure : LAVISH

a prodigal feast

prodigal outlays for her clothes

2 : recklessly spendthrift

the prodigal prince

3 : yielding abundantly : LUXURIANT —often used with of

nature has been so prodigal of her bounty

— H. T. Buckle

P.62 nature demands their surrender; or rather she asks them to go crashing headlong to their own ruin. Humanity became possible at the instant when, seized by an insurmountable dizziness, man tried to answer, “no”.

P.65 concern over a rule is sometimes at its most acute when that rule is being broken, for it is harder to limit a disturbance already begun.

P.68 taboos and the divine are opposed to each other in one sense only, for the sacred aspect of the taboo is what draws men towards it and transfigures the original interdiction. The often intertwined themes of mythology spring from these factors.

P. 80 Organized war with its efficient military operations based on discipline, which when all is said and done excludes the mass of the combatants from the pleasure of transgressing the limits, has been caught up in a mechanism foreign to the impulsions which set it off in the first place; war today has only the remotest connection with war as I have described it; it is a dismal aberration geared to political ends. Primitive war itself can hardly be defended: from the outset it bore the seeds of modern warfare, but the organized form we are familiar with today, that has travelled such a long way from the original organized transgression of the taboo, is the only one that would leave humanity unsatisfied.

P.81 but primitive man saw the animals as no different from himself except that, as creatures not subject to the dictates of taboos, they were originally regarded as more sacred, more God like than man.

The most ancient gods were largely animals, immune to the taboos which set fundamental limits to man's sovereignty.

P.86 life brings forth ceaselessly, but only in order to swallow up what she has produced. The first men were confusedly aware of this. They denied death and the cycle of reproduction by means of taboos. They never contained themselves within this denial, however, or if they did so it was in order to step outside it as quickly as possible: they came out as they had gone in, with brusque determination. Anguish is what makes humankind, it seems; not anguish alone, but anguish transcended and the act of transcending it. Life is essentially extravagant, drawing on its forces and its reserves unchecked; unchecked it annihilates what it has created. The multitude of living beings is passive in this precious, yet in the end we resolutely desire that which imperils our life.

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