Critique of Heidegger
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.
— The world of homogeneity and the exit necessity of exit [sortie].5 This region protects from a determination or an intention. Ideen I (Husserliana III) (The Hague: M. this fact
Distinguish between intuition and homogeneity
(3) distinguishes itself from intention of the.” in Rebecca Comay. 1960). §§84. ed. The I am there: the region of the I am there where existence takes place (in the existential sense). pp. ed. Nijhoff. by the support [supportation] of improbability.6
3. Nevertheless we will describe homogeneity later. p. 4. but also tumult. trans. pp. without involving in this description a Freudian scheme. and “Fascism in France. Allan Stoekl (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1985). “The Heterological Almanac. 1973).” Alphabet City 4/5. Bad will stands in the way of the description of homogeneity. Cartesian Meditations (The Hague: M.” 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. 1962). which would radically alter the picture. See Edmund Husserl. “Bataille: Writings from the 1930s. Nijhoff.” in Visions of Excess: Selected Writings.3 Put it off for later. see his essays in “Dossier hétérologique. 5. and the second of Husserl's Cartesianische Meditationen (Husserliana I) (The Hague: M. Tübingen: Niemeyer. 1970). it is further revealed by the critique of the intentionality of the ego. where the ﬁrst points toward existence as a lived experience of Being and the latter toward a philosophical delineation of existence. §§12–22. and the impression of being torn. 165–202. 33. pp. 1993). Nijhoff. “The Psychological Structure of Fascism. 157–208. Yet it cannot exist without intention. 12.” or “the self.. When Bataille refers to intention. I have thus translated it (with all the problems carried over in this translation) as the ego. it is likely that he is thinking of Husserl’s intentionality. though his discussion hardly allows us to assume a deﬁnitive or close appropriation. See Martin Heidegger. trans. 1995). Sein und Zeit (1927. Being and Time (New York: Harper and Row.” in Leslie Anne Boldt-Irons. Nijhoff. Given that “existentiel” would be the proper spelling for an unphilosophical adjective to existence. once we have distinguished between intention and homogeneity. ed. 1976). It is worth noting that le moi
.” Oeuvres complètes II: Ecrits posthumes 1922–1940 (Paris: Gallimard. 1927–1939. For Bataille’s 1930s conception of homogeneity. Nevertheless. §4. because it conﬂicts with itself [elle se discord] when achieving intentional form.. Not only anxiety. It The ego is thus only revealed by intention. 1982). by a betrayal of all intentionality. See also Rodolphe Gasché. On Bataille: Critical Essays (Buffalo: State University of New York Press. 50–54. le moi cannot be exactly translated into English as “the ego. As is the case with Bataille’s texts elsewhere (notably Inner Experience). trans. albeit too much—and in its development. Bataille is probably referring to Heidegger’s distinction between existenziell [in English: existentiell] and existenzial [in English: existential]. 146.4 — The consciousness of degradation — Effectuation of the exit What happens when life frees itself from degradation. The aspiration to something wholly other is stronger than the need to justify the will to ﬂee. Ideas I (The Hague: M. 6. p.
” in Recherches philosophiques 6 (1936–37). ? . See the “Fourth Meditation. one more time. Subversion. Why attempt new enchainments to summon. I have wanted the world to escape me. . Impossibility of existing for oneself— which amounts to saying: dying
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. . Disappearance of the being of societies with democracy. they measure the world.
(4) Phrases chain themselves to one another with their feeble power. (all that is to be said on fascism and Russia must be said next. but the world passes through. But what is the force that They describe. . The Transcendence of the Ego (New York: Hill and Wang. pp. §§30–41. which Husserl was reluctant to turn into an object of inquiry until his later works.) Being outside: what the ego exists for. . 1965). saying that it could be shown that society is torn between authority and anarchy. I have wanted to escape from the
corresponds to Husserl’s “pure ego” unaffected by reduction.
. . but is unwilling to accept that this is a pure ego or transcendental consciousness pure and simple.Critique of Heidegger
— Society write brieﬂy. 1991). 85–123.” in Cartesian Meditations. Bataille accepts the signiﬁcance of an ipse prior to reduction. and trans. 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. republished in book form (Paris: Vrin. See also Jean-Paul Sartre’s use of “the me” in “La Transcendance de l'ego.
to the extent that. of the cold. of mud.
. scandalous chance happiness fortune that will escape me. I will fear it. thus not only to clarify but to burn. or expended in proportion to measurable acts. and of hunger: this is what I’d like to express today.
(6) I. and I breathe free. not only for the other but for me. I could not retain do not retain here more than the imprint as I can the form. Free to love Free in the world of submission. In the moment when I write. my strength is only chance. to be acquired. but how can could [being] free have here any meaning other than happy? Happiness or unhappiness? I could not be My freedom. and the reasons for which. to the extent that I will feel I have to justify it. starting from shared habitual life when it appears as a prison— what cannot fail something that inevitably happens. acquired. as soon as its enjoyment ends.
How. I breathe with all my strength. From From the immediate [immédiate] life that presents itself is imposed on me ﬁrst of all as money. free that however demands where my submission is nevertheless required. at some point or other.28
(5) world. 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.
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. established between things. 116–29. 1968).
(8) that retakes obscurely retakes However. 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. but which maintaining not guards a constant ﬁxed character: its signiﬁcance it would be of little importance meaning that.
3. pp. without the sanction that results from the constant menace of misery.” in Oeuvres complètes I: Premiers écrits 1922–1940 (Paris: Gallimard. in the region where I live). in the state where the void of social existence is meant to conform to this Thus the demands and the wear of quotidian. in effect fact.
. in effect. However. physiological zoological or juridical or military equivalence. acts. material life that takes place. acts. the system itself would be deprived of all importance. and signs of various things. in the state where on principle the void of social existence is presupposed as conforming to (as takes place. 302–20. pp. The ego is no longer anything more than a function of a given system. they collide with the no less durable presence of the ego the obstinacy of an ego
2. products. See Bataille’s “La notion de dépense.Critique of Heidegger
(7) which is to say the equivalence. the exigency of materal life that postulates the ego like of a dossier equivalence. according to circumstances and even only temporary inclinations. in the region I inhabit where I dwell today But without ever being.” in Visions of Excess.
teaching classrooms. Even before wholly justifying a recourse becoming wholly and clearly
4. but instead this need to be. without the power of detaching himself. whether he so be or not sometimes in a clear but most often in an obscure region of his life consciousness. it seems Self-consciousness. follows. which nothing from outside can supply.30
Of the From the bottom of this disorder. from judges. 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. the guillotine. indeﬁnitely. factories. ateliers. In the practice of life. The exit of human existence out Thus. entangled in each other. Unfortunately. nature human life. vaguely reaching consciousness. with the determined limited functions that each such place implies for each person. linked to immediate activity. troubled by numerous interferences. of the executioners. laboratories. no longer the course of his employment and the reality arranged around him in by the sheer fact process of employment. has few chances of subsisting
5. 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. rooms.
. out of the circle of banal realities immediate things. Insofar as It is because A lusterless [atone] employee. ofﬁces. this somber strange perspective. the exit from human existence cannot actually have takes place necessarily on the in the order of becoming self-conscious.
Overall. It follows that this enunciation. They still encumber and even dominate the an existence that has barely been asserted.Critique of Heidegger
longer than a fugitive instant being translated into whatever a manifest attitude. that transform each man into a function impose themselves as the ultimate reality. of obligation of his work—of the world differs necessarily as a result of circumstances of place or time. the old values are no longer tolerated except in the state of ruin and powerless play.
6. It is troubled Yet. 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. in general all Aristocratic or religious constructions. but but they tie direct themselves [se bornent] more and more to the
. the organized forces
(11) II. even in a brief form that no appreciable difﬁculty will oppose It is easy to see that. 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.
The behavior of the man searching to deliver liberate himself from the world—from the sad sick world of work. that granted themselves a meaning but did not respond directly to the principle of utility. are on the path to disappearing: more and more. 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. efﬁcacious or not. that is to say as a result of the structure of the society he ﬁnds himself in.
and unhappiness: scarcely distinct from the industrial and ﬁnancial enterprises that . he survives as nothing more than the illusory games of the ego and. Far from being conjured up by the single voice of numerous peoples. but also because the process that determines it is also the one that exhausts it. . collective catastrophe. the pale excrescences [excroissances] of the ego that are no more than ego. The authority And if the nations presence and the reality of nations still imposes itself on the mass of those
Next. the intrusion of the ego requires that one distance oneself from leftover approximations. nations themselves have ceased to be the radiant signs they used to be of glory. so as to attempt to accede to a Cartesian rigor. or bursting buoyancy. the attempt at a remedy: science
(14) III. 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. Thus the ego is a transient fact. God is dead and His. It is. who compose them. not only as a result of its chance birth and its approaching death. they again cover over. as a violence surging from the single voice of numerous peoples. Once it has been expressed as a new historical fact. and have thus become before all strangely impoverished through menaces of constraint. nonetheless.
(15) In intention. God is no more God.32
vague and fugitive formations of free individuals. It is impossible to even reach
. . only through intention that the formless ego becomes self-consciousness. pride.
turn themselves away keep away because they lack for want of sufﬁcient physical force to face up. What is happening—and it matters little whether this be in ﬁction or in the real course of things—what is happening. an exhausted ego. 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. in Marquis de Sade. D. which may be ﬂashy fascinating but also may be of no consequence. must turn themselves away. Philosophy in the Bedroom.
(16) Certainly. 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. 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. Philosophy in the Bedroom. paraphrasing Sade’s Philosophy in the Bedroom the title of a work by Sade.A. even a subversive one. And of one of the most apparent most nauseating banal vulgarity. a long licentious novel that I called (I took full responsibility for my ostentatiousness and bad taste) Philosophy in the Shit. by the sheer fact of determination. Some years ago.
8. Justine.8 I formed the imagined design for. and Other Writings (New York: Grove Weidenfeld. The determined ego is. undertook wanted to write. even more so even in the eyes of for in the eyes of those who. and thus one should not be surprised that from the beginning. de Sade.Critique of Heidegger
a clear distinction between determination and exhaustion.F. this is a new form a totally other form a totally other way of being that is proposed to existence. in my own turn.
(20) How to distinguish between a being that comprehends takes the value of an end. if he relates himself to the place he occupies on one of the miserable ladders of power. 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.
. the whole question concerns the meaning of the word service: is intention the means or the end? Which does not say that. which he relates to another. Moreover.34
(18) If intentionality holds the meaning of life. established value. 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. it must be assigned to just about any service. 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. in cases where intention is still concrete it must there would be advantage. and intentionality.
(19) Every man that confounds the sentiment of his value with his If a man has a sense of his value.