“Further on your life is not limited to that ungraspable inner streaming; it streams to the outside as well and opens itself incessantly to what flows out or surges forth towards it. The lasting vortex which constitutes you runs up against similar vortexes with which it forms a vast figure, animated by a measured agitation. Now to live signifies for you not only the flux and fleeting play of light which are united in you, but the passage of warmth or of light form one being to another, from you to your fellow being or from your fellow being to you (even at the moment which you read in me the contagion of my fever which reaches your): words, books, monuments, symbols, laughter are only so many paths of this contagion, of this passage. Individual beings matter little and enclose points of view which cannot be acknowledged, if one considers what is animated, passing form one to the other in love, in tragic scenes, in movements of fervor. Thus we are nothing, neither you nor I, beside burning words which could pass from me to you, imprinted on a page: for I would only have lived in order to write them, and, if it is true that they are addressed to you, you will live from having had the strength to hear them.”
–George Bataille “Communication,” Inner Experience
Bataille was profoundly influenced by Mauss – to the extent that he spent his whole life trying to understand the primitive gift/flow economy from the point of view of the present (which had so lost it) and to reinvent a method. First with political, artistic, and sacred communities – then erotic excess and amour fou – finally to solitary mysticism, philosophy, and poetics.
Never solitary. I am that reader, that other, that communicant who received these words from “Inner Experience” with a passion enabling me to live different against all that is stagnant.
I am attracted to Badiou’s mathematical conceptions – minimalist sharp as a rapier. And to Deleuze’s liquid flows. Though not without his idiocies (partially that’s the point) Bataille alone joins these still all-too-abstract philosophers by throwing himself into the mix.
“The human condition is an affliction resulting from the necessary compulsion to carry out a series of proofs – as demands or impossible goals – producing the deduction that topology cannot be reduced to geometry.” (P. Hill “Using Lacanian Clinical Technique”)
Rather than accepting this human neurotic condition or its psychoanalytic translation into common everyday resignation and malaise as Freud suggested, Bataille attempts to live at the level of this continual movement of jouissance. And yes that is the artist. The sovereign artist living on the margins of historical time and limited economy in the erotic time of the gift.