It is limited, depletable, transgressed in and through another energy. Heterogeneous energy, like cursed matter, can never be depended on to guarantee an autonomous and free self. The consequences of the necessary Bataillean revision of Heidegger (or the Heideggerian revision of Bataille) are extremely important, and in my opinion were never fully recognized by Bataille himself. If the economy of stable and closedsubjectivity is tied to quantification and mechanization—“anthropology” in Heidegger’s terminology—then the economy of the “communicating” self does not entail the products, or the quantified excess,of a modern economy. It certainly entails energy, but the fate of energy is very different. What is expended is cursed matter, heterogeneous, charged “filth” and not the useful/fun products marketed in an autonomist, subject-centered postindustrial paradise. Thus Bataillehimself was off the markwhen he proposed the Marshall Plan as an exampleof twentieth-century potlatch: the problem was not so much that the Americans were “giving”out of self-interest—ultimately the self always reappears as a limit, as an interdiction, to the continuity of blind communication — but that the gift-giving itself was inseparable from the maintenance of an energy regime based on stockpiling and quantification(a fossil fuel energy regime, in short). Americans were giving away money and finished products, not, say, objects carrying a powerful ritual or sacrificial charge, the “power of points” resulting from the exuberance of muscle power, the anguished “experience” of time, and ecstatic participation in frenetic and death-bound activity.The main thrust of Bataille’s argument counters a simplistic affirmation of the Marshall Plan or fossil fuel consumption.Stoekl 7(Allan, professor of French and comparative literature at Penn State University, Bataille’s Peak: Energy, Religion, and Postsustainability, p. 57-58)Bataille, then, should have distinguished more clearly between intimate and impersonal varieties of useless squandries when it came to his discussion of the Marshall Plan.29 (In the same way, he should have distinguished between energy that is stockpiled and put to use and energy that is fundamentally “cursed” not only in and through bodily excess but in its ability to do “work.”)30 It is not merely a question of our attitude toward expenditure, our “self-consciousness”: also fundamental is how it is carried out. Waste based on the consumption of fossilor inanimate (nuclear) fuels cannot entail intimacy because it is dependenton the thing as thing, it is dependent on the energy reserve, on the stockpiled, planned, and protected self: “[This is] what we know from the outside, which is given to us as physical reality (at the limit of the commodity, available without reserve). We cannot penetrate the thing and its only meaning is its material qualities, appropriated or not for some use [utilité], understood in the productive sense of the term. (OC, 7: 126; AS, 132; italics Bataille’s) The
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