There is a barrier to going deeper, unless perhaps you are willing to experiment with your own body.
Social righteousness is negatively defined, and I mean that it how it turns out to be in practice.
There’s a measure of dark matter – of guilt and sin and dispossession – in the world. Nobody wants to own it and it gets passed downward or passed beyond. But it never really disappears.
To actually be able to SEE this dark material and to acknowledge that it exists is one of the fundamental insights one can have as a shaman.
For once one sees it for what it is, one can deflect it from oneself and often even redirect it.
That is, one is free to do so or not to do so as one wishes.
The superficial nature of moral normality maintains that those who suffer deeply must have committed a grave sin. They must have brought their suffering on themselves through some immense wickedness.
Shamanism says, “Actually, NO. That is not the case.”
But there are still those particles to be accounted for, relating to humanity’s meta-PHYSICS.
The ability to stop some kinds of guilt in its path is not so easy. It has all the force of some kind of flying object, descending on you from history (history being a place where many things are still permitted to be imperfect, unlike the present).
So, sometimes, the higher and the better thing is just to accept the guilt – even if it was not one’s own to begin with and is unrelated to one’s specific acts.
That’s the way the shamanic world goes ‘round. You accept some of my guilt and I will accept some of yours.
An academic who introduces one of Bataille’s books – “On Nietzsche” – states that Bataille fundamentally misunderstands Nietzsche and is just being Nietzsche’s fool
This academic’s idea assumedly is that Nietzsche was in hot pursuit of some kind of ideal state of being, where one would live quite innocently and naturally, without any concern for “guilt”.
Bataille seems to have got the whole thing back to front, according to this view.
And yet to live without concern for guilt is exactly what the bourgeois culture does. It’s nothing new and certainly not esoteric. “Let’s just imagine there was no dark matter and live as if there weren’t any!”
This is the “correction” this academic would like to make against Bataille’s conceptions of the human state.
That kind of endeavor, to explore the states of anguish one might feel, seems too close to Christianity, to religiosity. Bataille must be in error, unlike ordinary academics.
What do ordinary academics do with their “dark matter”, their negativity? In order for them to shine so radiantly and gloriously in the lamp of the contemporary bourgeois, who has to become darkened and invisible?
More to the point who has to suffer being dispossessed and made an outlaw?
Isn’t it precisely the shamanic types who are concerned about the movements and processing systems of this matter?
This is, of course, the sacrifice one makes when one accepts a certain ignominy, so as to continue to do the work that has to be done, in redirecting and reorganizing these invisible transactions.
Let me quote this academic quoting Bataille:
“There is in Christianity,” Bataille argues, “a will NOT to be guilty, a will to locate the guilt outside theChurch, to find a transcendence to man in relation to guilt.” This accounted for the Church’s inability to deal with Evil, except as a threat coming from outside. Doing the Church justice, “in total hostility,” Bataille assumed guilt and anguish as his own, daring Christianity to experience Christ’s sacrifice as an unequivocal expression of Evil.” (XII INTRODUCTION)
This is Bataille’s attempt to replace a false Christian orthodoxy with a true religion – one that could be all encompassing, because it acknowledges the dark matter that we keep sending into each other, to destabilise and demoralize the other. If we don’t acknowledge the inevitability of guilt, which comes down to us from history and does not simply accrue as a result of our personal actions, or narrow individualism, we will continue to play the game – unconsciously and blindly of course – of passing off our own guilt onto others, so that they are darkened and displaced and we can continue to shine.
The academic game is all about this, and Sylvere Lotringer plays this typical academic’s game well, even whilst handling the very material that addresses what he is going to do.
There is a certain way in which the rational academician looks right and Bataille looks wrong. After all, Bataille was infected with gloominess and may have been on a rampant track to self-promotion. He seemed to be interested mostly in “intense experiences that tore beings apart” (XI)
Perhaps these “intense experiences” are unusual and contrived, after all, and normal churchgoing endeavors are extremely natural, rather than being theological formulations.
The academic acknowledges Bataille’s view that every “society is founded on a crime committed collectively, but the deed (the anguish and revulsion it provokes) is subsequently denied by those who benefited from it. Complicity and denial are constitutive of morality…” (XII).
Having come close to acknowledging the reality of dark forces, this academic then sweeps into another mode of criticism. Bataille was simply suffering from ressentiment and enjoyed being unhappy. It was his ‘THING’ – the means by which he hoped to triumph.
So, what do we have left, AFTER this devastating critique on Bataille?
Well, we have academia – which is in the armpits of the bourgeois and therefore never needs to sufferpangs of hunger or feel resentful. After all, it’s paid its dues – and this attack on Bataille was one of them.
So, Bataille is darkened – and perhaps he wished to be, or had merely discovered the principle of darkening, which he had been wanting to bring to light.