The obsession with this logic is always mournful (psychoanalysis) or moral (transcendental philosophy) and in both cases remains theological insofar as the concern is governed by or measured against an imaginary sense of propriety or ownership or end. The desire that binds lovers is not so much directed toward an unattainable sumnut, however, as it is itself the summit, the point "where life is impossibly at the limit."' Desire and summit can no more be separated than lightning and its flash. In this respect Bataille is unequivocal: " The summit isn't what we 'ought to reach,' " (OC 6: 57/ON 39; tni)). Rather, " It's what is. Never what should be" (OC 6: 111/ON 91 ). If desire is unsatisfied, that is because it exceeds the conservative search for satisfaction , because it is not teleological, because we are driven beyond the need of satisfaction without being driven to anything, because our unfinished character is in this very way excessive, [p. 42] not impoverished. If love is unsatisfied it is because it has perished, leaving us wasted and ruined . The lovers' love is sacred. It does not belong to the profane order of work and its accumulated labor, the profane and banal order of capital. For Bataille, the sacred designates an object that is beyond all others in value, but the sacred character of our carnal love has nothing to do with divine love . The sacrifices brought about by the love of lovers require expenditure without recuperation; we give up our careers as dancers, we speak on the phone for hours on end, we waste the day in bed, and we give ourselves over entirely to that waste and identify ourselves with it . These sacrifices have nothing to do with the sacrifice of theology. As Bataille puts it, "in divine love, the limit is given in perfection," and this limit necessarily excludes play and its risk . Certainly, one risks nothing by loving God, whose infinite perfection is expressed through an infinite and undiscriminating love , just as one risks nothing by loving the flag. And that is as good as to say that in neither case does one really love, even if there remains operative a libidinal bind that does not fail to risk those others who refuse the religious-nationalistic sublimation of carnal desire, of the lovers touch or its absence. God and nation stand before us as the ugly symptoms of efficiency that guarantee that desire not only leaves the lover intact but also yields a profi t. By contrast, carnal love and the love of lovers concerns the excess of suffering, and Bataille insists that "without this excess we could not play" (OC 6 86/ON 71).That is, it is by way of the excesses of suffering carnal desire that we are ourselves put into play, thrown like dice . And finitude is unbounded just in the sense that dice in their inevitable free fall carry an unpredictable combination that proves exhilarating or devastating , and in any case leads to ruin, even as it leads to the affirmation of what we are in love.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 341 pages?
- Winter '16
- Jeff Hannan
- organic life, Bataille