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For Bataille, the emergence of war in both instances is intimately bound up in the category of unproductive expenditure; in fact, war is the moment and movement of unproductive expenditure, or profitless expenditure. In the energeticist ontology of Bataille, unproductive expenditure—consumptions and dissipations—are linked to the realm of the necessary; thus, so is war. In “The Practice of Joy before Death,” Bataille writes: “’I MYSELF AM WAR.’I imagine human movement and excitation, whose possibilities are limitless: this movement and excitation can only be appeased by war” (Visions of Excess, 239). War, for Bataille, is the necessary and universal response to expansive and growth-seeking being; in this sense, war as profitless expenditure is fundamental to maintaining the balance of forces on Earth.War (and thus unproductive expenditure) engender destructions of forces and energies, but what Bataille desperately wants us to understandis that although war in-itself is immanent to and necessary for life, the form it will take is not an a priori.In Volume One of The Accursed Share, Bataille clarifies the central claims of his ontological project:The living organism,in a situation determined by the play of energy on the surface of the globe, ordinarily receives more energy than is necessary for maintaining life; the excess energy(wealth) can be used for the growth of the system(e.g., an organism); if the system can no longer grow, or if the excess cannot be completely absorbed in growth, it must necessarily be lost without profit; it must be spent, willingly or not, gloriously or catastrophically(21).
We can ignore or forget the fact that the ground we live on is little other than a field of multiple destructions. Our ignorance only has this incontestable effect: It causes us to undergo what we could bring about in our own way, if we understood (23).Here we see clearly the two faces of war or unproductive expenditure: the catastrophic war that destroys life through violence turned against peoples/ war experienced as undergone; and the glorious inner experience of the mystic/ war brought about in one’s own way. In the case of actual war, unproductive expenditure is the privilege of the ruling classes; in inner experience, unproductive expenditure is a sovereign moment or movement of desiring subjects.Deleuze & Guattari’s work follows a similar structure evidenced in the concept of the war machine. In the nomadology plateau of A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Deleuze & Guattari differentiate between the war machine that takes war for its object and the war machine that draws a creative line of flight. They write:The war machine is not uniformly defined, we have tried to define the two poles of the war machine: at one pole, it takes war for its object and forms a line of destruction prolongable to the limits of the universe. But in all of the shapes it assumes here—limited war, total war, worldwide organization—war represents not at all the