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Translated by Stefanos Geroulanos
(1) Appendix1 Critique of Heidegger (Critique of a philosophy of fascism)
(2) The Critique of Martin Heidegger (Critique of a Philosophy of Fascism) — Love. the fact of chance2 the existence of one and of the other how the being isolated by love is nevertheless rejected, at each moment in the orbit the system of the general tear [déchirement ] of being (further on, we will discuss how the various tears of being connect back to each other)
don’t talk about
* Translated from Bataille’s original manuscript, located in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF), Georges Bataille Archive, 4.XXVI–bis. Enumeration on the left (in italics) is the standard pagination by the BNF. Partial pagination on the upper right is Bataille’s, as are the cross-outs. The words in brackets are either illegible or have been added to the translation to improve its readability. Small lettering to the left is my rendition of Bataille’s marginalia. 1. It is not clear what text “Critique of Heidegger” was marked as an appendix to. 2. Bataille elaborates on chance in Sur Nietzsche (Paris: Gallimard, 1945); trans. On Nietzsche (New York: Paragon House, 1992), which was originally subtitled “Volonté de chance.” Chance is usually rendered here as “chance,” as Bataille is not treating “luck.”
OCTOBER 117, Summer 2006, pp. 25–34. © 2006 October Magazine, Ltd. and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
ed. Being and Time (New York: Harper and Row. le moi cannot be exactly translated into English as “the ego. and the second of Husserl's Cartesianische Meditationen (Husserliana I) (The Hague: M. by a betrayal of all intentionality. because it conﬂicts with itself [elle se discord ] when achieving intentional form.6 3.” It is important to understand that this term refers to an “I” that is as individualized as it is unformed—and that this is unique to each individual. Nijhoff. 165–202. “Bataille: Writings from the 1930s. but also tumult. Bad will stands in the way of the description of homogeneity. 1976). pp. 1973). Ideen I (Husserliana III) (The Hague: M. The I am there: the region of the I am there where existence takes place (in the existential sense). albeit too much—and in its development. Given that “existentiel” would be the proper spelling for an unphilosophical adjective to existence. Nijhoff.. p.” in Visions of Excess: Selected Writings. which would radically alter the picture. it is further revealed by the critique of the intentionality of the ego. 1985). 6. §§12–22. trans. See Edmund Husserl. and the impression of being torn. by the support [supportation] of improbability..” or “the self. where the ﬁrst points toward existence as a lived experience of Being and the latter toward a philosophical delineation of existence. 1970). p. Tübingen: Niemeyer. Nevertheless we will describe homogeneity later. 1960). The aspiration to something wholly other is stronger than the need to justify the will to ﬂee.3 Put it off for later. it is likely that he is thinking of Husserl’s intentionality. 1993). I have thus translated it (with all the problems carried over in this translation) as the ego. On Bataille: Critical Essays (Buffalo: State University of New York Press. 1982). ed. Nevertheless. Bataille is probably referring to Heidegger’s distinction between existenziell [in English: existentiell] and existenzial [in English: existential]. 33. As is the case with Bataille’s texts elsewhere (notably Inner Experience ). For Bataille’s 1930s conception of homogeneity. see his essays in “Dossier hétérologique. §4. “The Heterological Almanac. Nijhoff. Not only anxiety. Cartesian Meditations (The Hague: M. 1962). trans. 5. See Martin Heidegger. Yet it cannot exist without intention. “The Psychological Structure of Fascism. pp. trans. and “Fascism in France. Sein und Zeit (1927. §§84. once we have distinguished between intention and homogeneity. When Bataille refers to intention.” Oeuvres complètes II: Ecrits posthumes 1922–1940 (Paris: Gallimard. 12.26 OCTOBER — The world of homogeneity and the exit necessity of exit [sortie]. without involving in this description a Freudian scheme. 1995). 50–54.5 This region protects from a determination or an intention. pp. though his discussion hardly allows us to assume a deﬁnitive or close appropriation. It is worth noting that le moi . Allan Stoekl (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.” Alphabet City 4/5. Ideas I (The Hague: M. ed.” in Leslie Anne Boldt-Irons.” in Rebecca Comay. 146. It The ego is thus only revealed by intention. See also Rodolphe Gasché.4 — The consciousness of degradation — Effectuation of the exit What happens when life frees itself from degradation. 157–208. this fact Distinguish between intuition and homogeneity (3) distinguishes itself from intention of the. Nijhoff. 4. 1927–1939.
. Bataille accepts the signiﬁcance of an ipse prior to reduction. they measure the world.” in Cartesian Meditations. but is unwilling to accept that this is a pure ego or transcendental consciousness pure and simple. . 85–123. one more time. ? . I have wanted to escape from the corresponds to Husserl’s “pure ego” unaffected by reduction. But what is the force that They describe. but the world passes through. which Husserl was reluctant to turn into an object of inquiry until his later works. saying that it could be shown that society is torn between authority and anarchy.) Being outside: what the ego exists for. See the “Fourth Meditation. . . 1965). Disappearance of the being of societies with democracy.” in Recherches philosophiques 6 (1936–37). the a world that escapes from itself ? Still It is as with every question to which one only responds by a stroke of luck [chance]. like water liquid through one’s ﬁngers. The Transcendence of the Ego (New York: Hill and Wang. 1991). Impossibility of existing for oneself— which amounts to saying: dying (heideggerian transcendence) Critique of society Critique of God Principle of the existence of the ego for intentionality Plane of intentionality in the world of science (indifference of the limit where science represses intention) Science and its natural disarray matter little: there is the outside of me that the ego demands so as to live in the sense of dying. I have wanted the world to escape me. (4) Phrases chain themselves to one another with their feeble power. See also Jean-Paul Sartre’s use of “the me” in “La Transcendance de l'ego. and trans. Subversion. (all that is to be said on fascism and Russia must be said next. Why attempt new enchainments to summon. republished in book form (Paris: Vrin. . §§30–41. pp. .Critique of Heidegger 27 — Society write brieﬂy.
(6) I. How. to the extent that. of mud. From From the immediate [immédiate] life that presents itself is imposed on me ﬁrst of all as money. Free to love Free in the world of submission. In the moment when I write. or expended in proportion to measurable acts. 1. acquired. of the cold. . starting from shared habitual life when it appears as a prison— what cannot fail something that inevitably happens. as soon as its enjoyment ends.28 OCTOBER (5) world. thus not only to clarify but to burn. and I breathe free. my strength is only chance. to be acquired. I could not retain do not retain here more than the imprint as I can the form. scandalous chance happiness fortune that will escape me. and of hunger: this is what I’d like to express today. but how can could [being] free have here any meaning other than happy? Happiness or unhappiness? I could not be My freedom. at some point or other. I will fear it. I breathe with all my strength. not only for the other but for me. free that however demands where my submission is nevertheless required. the conditions behind whose occurrence we do not yet need to become more clearly conscious of—how the conﬁned spirit human life escapes from the series from the net of of adherences that limits its agitation under the implacable empire of misery. to the extent that I will feel I have to justify it. and the reasons for which.
Critique of Heidegger 29 (7) which is to say the equivalence. 3. (8) that retakes obscurely retakes However. without the sanction that results from the constant menace of misery. pp. See Bataille’s “La notion de dépense. material life that takes place. 1968). and signs of various things. in the region where I live). in the state where on principle the void of social existence is presupposed as conforming to (as takes place. 7. acts. pp.” in Visions of Excess.” in Oeuvres complètes I: Premiers écrits 1922–1940 (Paris: Gallimard. acts. the exigency of materal life that postulates the ego like of a dossier equivalence. established between things. physiological zoological or juridical or military equivalence. ﬁrst published in La Critique sociale 7 (1933) and translated as “The Notion of Expenditure. and various products.7 In This general form is where the ego that I am inscribes itself in between in species and genres as a juridical. The ego is no longer anything more than a function of a given system. 116–29. according to circumstances and even only temporary inclinations. but which maintaining not guards a constant ﬁxed character: its signiﬁcance it would be of little importance meaning that. they collide with the no less durable presence of the ego the obstinacy of an ego 2. in effect fact. However. the system itself would be deprived of all importance. in the region I inhabit where I dwell today But without ever being. products. in the state where the void of social existence is meant to conform to this Thus the demands and the wear of quotidian. throws itself at the sly obstinacy of the profound formless ego that does not clearly know itself as such but which in obscurely senses itself to be but in—and to be threatened by death—in the disorder of an inexplicable night. in effect. 302–20. .
this somber strange perspective. laboratories. out of the circle of banal realities immediate things. ofﬁces. has few chances of subsisting 5. entangled in each other. no longer the course of his employment and the reality arranged around him in by the sheer fact process of employment. . but instead this need to be. the guillotine. of the executioners. with the determined limited functions that each such place implies for each person. it seems Self-consciousness. teaching classrooms. linked to immediate activity. without the power of detaching himself. nature human life. the exit from human existence cannot actually have takes place necessarily on the in the order of becoming self-conscious. indeﬁnitely. troubled by numerous interferences. from judges. The exit of human existence out Thus. whether he so be or not sometimes in a clear but most often in an obscure region of his life consciousness. Unfortunately. which nothing from outside can supply. which opposes him distinguishes him (10) only scarcely more vaguely from all that is can be the world than the condemned distinguishes himself from the law that condemns him. Insofar as It is because A lusterless [atone ] employee. responds to to the exigency of life material activity by its consciousness of illusion of the illusory character of all systems constructed on originating from an exigency as narrow. In the practice of life. ateliers. follows.30 OCTOBER Of the From the bottom of this disorder. rooms. vaguely reaching consciousness. Even before wholly justifying a recourse becoming wholly and clearly (9) 4. factories.
that transform each man into a function impose themselves as the ultimate reality. The behavior of the man searching to deliver liberate himself from the world—from the sad sick world of work. It follows that this enunciation. in general all Aristocratic or religious constructions. even in a brief form that no appreciable difﬁculty will oppose It is easy to see that. of obligation of his work—of the world differs necessarily as a result of circumstances of place or time. the organized forces 7. They still encumber and even dominate the an existence that has barely been asserted. that is to say as a result of the structure of the society he ﬁnds himself in. (11) II. whether the reaction is it is out of the efﬁcacious or fugitive reaction of the most trampled of men reduced to a function that by the most existed lusterless [atone ] of men reduced to a function. but but they tie direct themselves [se bornent ] more and more to the (12) . that the human escape through which human destiny delivers itself from a from enslavement incorporation in the system of work must direct itself be elaborated. that granted themselves a meaning but did not respond directly to the principle of utility. Overall. efﬁcacious or not. are on the path to disappearing: more and more.Critique of Heidegger 31 longer than a fugitive instant being translated into whatever a manifest attitude. the old values are no longer tolerated except in the state of ruin and powerless play. It is troubled Yet. That is why the present state of this structure in civilized advanced countries as a whole must be enunciated as the premise fundamental given of all possible endeavors. 6.
who compose them. he survives as nothing more than the illusory games of the ego and. only through intention that the formless ego becomes self-consciousness. God is no more God. It is impossible to even reach . (15) In intention. the intrusion of the ego requires that one distance oneself from leftover approximations. . . Thus the ego is a transient fact. Far from being conjured up by the single voice of numerous peoples. and unhappiness: scarcely distinct from the industrial and ﬁnancial enterprises that . as a violence surging from the single voice of numerous peoples. but also because the process that determines it is also the one that exhausts it. nations themselves have ceased to be the radiant signs they used to be of glory. God is dead and His. the attempt at a remedy: science 8. (14) III. nonetheless. and have thus become before all strangely impoverished through menaces of constraint. pride. they again cover over. collective catastrophe. the pale excrescences [excroissances ] of the ego that are no more than ego.32 OCTOBER vague and fugitive formations of free individuals. It is. or bursting buoyancy. the ego progressively loses its ego individual character and ﬁnds itself carried to a universal value that makes it escape from the strictly ego form of the ego. Once it has been expressed as a new historical fact. The authority And if the nations presence and the reality of nations still imposes itself on the mass of those (13) Next. so as to attempt to accede to a Cartesian rigor. not only as a result of its chance birth and its approaching death.
a long licentious novel that I called (I took full responsibility for my ostentatiousness and bad taste) Philosophy in the Shit.8 I formed the imagined design for. undertook wanted to write. Philosophy in the Bedroom. Justine. 1990).F. de Sade. by the sheer fact of determination.A.Critique of Heidegger 33 a clear distinction between determination and exhaustion. even more so even in the eyes of for in the eyes of those who. paraphrasing Sade’s Philosophy in the Bedroom the title of a work by Sade. even out of this new fermentation that enters the world and that the world had not up to now yet imagined made possible the ﬁrst accents are the most acid that are of an almost insurmountable acidity. And of one of the most apparent most nauseating banal vulgarity. in Marquis de Sade. which may be ﬂashy fascinating but also may be of no consequence. (16) Certainly. an exhausted ego. must turn themselves away. and thus one should not be surprised that from the beginning. and Other Writings (New York: Grove Weidenfeld. this is a new form a totally other form a totally other way of being that is proposed to existence. Philosophy in the Bedroom. carries (17) a sum that with it no more than a revolt against a system of intentions according to which that in turn demands with that such a revolt does not occur. Some years ago. in my own turn. It is also of immense interest that for vulgar practical no less banal reasons of convenience this cannot become the point of departure for any new intention. even a subversive one. D. turn themselves away keep away because they lack for want of sufﬁcient physical force to face up. The determined ego is. 8. . What is happening—and it matters little whether this be in ﬁction or in the real course of things—what is happening.
(19) Every man that confounds the sentiment of his value with his If a man has a sense of his value. then by so doing he rejects himself outside of being and places himself among those who rejects his existence in the mass of squandered existence. this is only to the extent that it must be maintained in order to maintain the very phenomenon of life as this last has materially tied itself to the services of intentionality. (20) How to distinguish between a being that comprehends takes the value of an end. in cases where intention is still concrete it must there would be advantage. which he relates to another. and intentionality. the whole question concerns the meaning of the word service: is intention the means or the end? Which does not say that. in fact it would be spontan is never assigned to the service of being except through the intermediary of homogeneous formations—and thus there is only a decadence of being. established value. if he relates himself to the place he occupies on one of the miserable ladders of power. it must be assigned to just about any service.34 OCTOBER (18) If intentionality holds the meaning of life. that is brought about in fact but only as existence that has been produced in fact but has not attained the form where it ceases producing itself in relation to other things. . Moreover.
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