an essay/philosophical meditation on Death and
by Adrian Gargett
“Despise not the ash, for it is the diadem
of thy heart, and the ash of things that endure.”
– Morienus, Rosarium
So silent. So still. So cold. Alone with an immense vacant
and aching dread. The whole room for my thoughts. Nothing but myself and what I
think, and what I fear. I listen to the tick of an unseen clock marking the
moments of time seemingly long past. It takes me and it engages me and it moves
me and it extends me like the calculated slow swing of a pendulum, mesmerizing
and insane. Everything is contained in a second which is either consummated or
not consummated. The World has stopped. It has stopped and it is not going
forward, the same way that my life has stopped and is not going forward. It is
not going forward or backwards or anywhere. It has just stopped. Stopped …
The clock holds me nowhere. Nowhere. There is nothing else
but this Now in the flat depths of night. I sit at the table alone, attentive
and existing, drinking iced water. I should not be here or anywhere. I should
not be breathing, occupying this space. I should not have this moment. I should
not have this chance. And yet I am here, I have it. I won’t have it again,
this moment, and this chance. They are the same thing, and they are mine if I
want them. Now and for as long as I am here. They are both vital and ephemeral.
Don’t abandon them. A moment, a chance, a life, all in the veiled tick of a
clock holding me nowhere. My heart is beating. The walls are pallid and
soundless. I am existing.
Dying: the final shock of pain or nothingness that is the
price we pay for everything. Could it not be the sweetest thrill, the only
salvation we can attain, the only true moment of self-knowledge?
Struggling. Awake? The bass thump of my pulse echoing
through my skull, blotting out all other sensations. Teeth chattering anxiety.
Cold as Death. Pushing at the bed-sheets. An aching cold, interminable as
marble. My mind, frosted with drugs, iced-up. A drift of empty snowlands,
whiting-out memory. Cross-eyed, tormenting consciousness. A blinding twister,
circling spirals. Shall I? Will I? Drooling Death-wish.
Fate is strong. Fate, Fated, Fatal. I resign myself to
Fate. Blind Fate. In the hospital it is as quite as a Tomb. The nurse fights to
find a vein in my right arm. We give up after five attempts. Would you faint if
someone stuck a needle in your arm? I’m used to it, but I still shut my eyes.
The drip stings. A lump swells up my arm. Out comes the drip. An electric shock
sparks up my arm. This room is filled with the echoes of many voices. Who passed
time here? Voices unlocked from the white and green of long dried paint.
Going back over the course of my life. I see myself slowly
reaching a limit. With anguish waiting for me on all sides, walking a narrow
tightrope. The pain waits for me, no matter where I turn. Inside I’m dying. I
don’t really know how I got here or where it leads. I’m afraid of change, of
Death, of life, of beginnings and ends. I don’t know what I’m looking for or
what I want. I feel so terribly alone. There are people out there, some good,
some bad, that claim to know me, but really they know nothing of me. They only
see what I want them to see. I’m afraid that if they knew the real me, they
would also be afraid. “To thine ownself be true” means nothing. It is a
constant reminder of the things I have failed to do, the life I’ve wasted. I
can cry for help but no one hears. There seems no hope for me, no release from
this constant pain and fear. I don’t ask for pity or sympathy. I feel that
maybe sometimes I need to experience this pain so that I can properly exist. Who
am I and where does this lead?
My world is in fragments, smashed to pieces so fine I doubt
I will ever reassemble them. The God that rules over the debris is Silence; you
can hear him in the wind that chases through the ruins. In the silence I’m
impelled to speak, to remind myself of my existence, violating the God …
Oh, my black soul, “Now thou art summoned by sicknesse,”
Death’s herald and champion.
If life were a discourse Death could wait, but dreams
break-down, there is repetition. Georges Bataille’s writing does not
prophesize Death; it cracks seismically under the pressure of oblivion. Each of
its waves are splintered recollections of the essence of Death. Each beginning
again–as such and regardless of its intrinsic significance–moves under the
force of an unforeseen dying. Waves have no memory. They respond anew each time
to the incessant ebb that releases them in darkness, beating to a pulse that
evades them. The oblique single-hiss of Death is discursively obligated to a
perceptive inferiority but this does not erase the multiple beginnings again,
indicating the structure of each retreat into silence. “Something inside me
undid itself” (*Bataille IV p.342), says the anonymous narrator of a short
fragment beginning: “At the start of the degeneration…”
Bataille describes all physical and didactic progress upon
the Earth to be consequences of the advance of Death, because it is only in
Death that life turns out to be a deep resonance of the sun, appreciating its
inexorable fate, which is absolute silence. It all starts for us with the sun,
the cave; the Labyrinth has been brought into being by it. In general the source
is light. Our bodies have avidly consumed the sun before we even opened our
eyes, in that our eyes are pure set beads of the sun before merging with its
flaming discharge. The tide of addiction is utterly lucid and fatal: “The
afflux of solar energy at a critical point of its consequences is humanity”
(Bataille VII p.14). The eye is not a starting point but an expenditure. The
essential exercise of life is not to create or exist but to utilize the
inestimable torrent of resources (energy) showering down upon it. “The world
… is sick with wealth.” (Bataille VII p.15)
“I represented the eye at the summit of the skull to
myself as a horrible volcano in eruption, with exactly the murky and comic
character which attaches to the rear and its excretions. But the eye is without
doubt the symbol of the dazzling sun, and the one I imagined at the summit of my
skull was necessarily inflamed, being dedicated to the contemplation of the sun
at its maximum burst (éclat)” (Bataille II p.14).
There is no separation between desire and the sun:
sexuality is not psychological but cosmo-illogical. “Sexual activity escapes
at least during a flash from the bogging-down of energy, prolonging the movement
of the sun.” (Bataille VII p.11) A cosmological theory of desire surfaces
amidst the vestiges of physicalism. This presupposes that idealism,
spiritualism, dialectical materialism, and equivalent options have previously
been invalidated in an initial and thoroughly a-theological action. Libidinal
materialism, or the theory of unconditional–non-teleological–desire, is
nothing but a burn-mark from the interpretational opinion of physicalistic
Libidinal matter is that which opposes an association or
effect of collective transcendence counter to time, and proceeds from the deep
intransigence of physical substance without the alternative resort to dualistic,
idealistic, or theistic notions. It entails a process of metamorphosis which is
concurrently free of agency and non-divisible from the causal chain. This
process has been variously named, but following Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and
Freud it may conditionally be characterized as “drive.” Drive is that which
elucidates, rather than deducing, the cause/effect pair of classical physics. It
is the dynamic introduction of effectiveness, and is thus proto-physical. This
indicates that drives are the convulsive dynamics of matter proceeding natural
law. The “science” of drives, or “libidinal economy”, is thus primary
for physics, as Schopenhauer thoroughly explains. A libidinal energetics
is not a renovation of premeditated theories of desire, of desire realized as
want/lack, as transcendence, as dialectic. Such thinking is better left to the
theologians. It is, more accurately, a transformation of thermodynamics or a
conflict over the substance of “energy.”
The thermospasm is actuality as pure chaos. It is the place
we all originated. The Death-drive is the wish to go back there. Thermospasm is
a scream, annihilating intensity, a zenith of improbability. Energetic matter
maintains a “tendency.” This transfer is an everlasting decomposition of
energy or dissipation of difference. One-way is the accumulation of negentropy,
uneven distribution, and thermic disequilibrium. Its opposite direction
encompasses statistical disorder, indifference. The second law of thermodynamics
relates that disorder necessitates a requisite increase, that fractional
increases in neg-entropy still represent a comprehensive increase in entropy.
Life is capable of moving away from Death only because it multiplies or
reproduces it, and the reproduction of disorder is always more advantageous than
the divergence. Decomposition profits out of life. Each or any mode of sequence
is inevitably anomalous within the regular economy, a simple complication or
deviation in the relentless Death-flow, a line in the informational assemblage,
energy surging to disequilibrium, dissipation. There are no closed systems, no
secure codes, and no salvageable origins. There is only the thermospasmic
shock-wave, predispositional energy flux, decay of energy.
Life is expelled from the energy-bank and sprayed as a
coating on chaotic zero, a shaping of Death. This coating is also a maze–a
complex exit back to the energy base-line–and the intricacy of the maze is
life trying to break out from itself, being nothing but escape from itself, from
which it tries to leave: maze wandering. That is to say, life is itself the maze
of its route to Death; a mesh of webbings which outline an independent
divergence from blank.
Bataille understood all natural and cultural advances upon
the Earth to be consequences of the evolution of Death, because it is only in
Death that life becomes an echo of the sun, appreciating its manifest destiny,
which is pure loss. This basic conception founds a materialist theory of culture
free from the idealist residues of representational Marxist and psychoanalytical
traditions. Culture is directly economic, not because it is crossed by
ideological currents that a Cartesian pineal gland or dialectical miracle
decodes from lucidity into praxis, but because it is the appointment of literary
potentialities that relentlessly threaten to convert the energy expended in its
inscription into an unredeemed negative at the level of production. Poetry,
Bataille asserts is a “holocaust of words.”
The wind blows from the east bringing an acid hail that
falls from the leaden sky. The air stutters, tic tic tic, rattle of death-watch
beetle on dark roofs. They say the Ice Age is coming, the weather’s changing.
A thin yellow pus drains through the institutions, mutating malevolent
bureaucracies large as dinosaurs, which prowl the pavements of our regressive
neighborhoods. We stand mute watching children devoured in their prams. Tomorrow
the dinosaurs move on. No one ever saw them, invisible as the atom.
The old adage from George Santayana that those who don’t
learn from history are doomed to repeat it is a lie. There is no history;
everything that we are is eternally with us. Our question is therefore what can
save us from our crazy insistence on spreading the blight in ever widening
Dante’s Seventh Circle, bleeding trees waiting for
Judgment Day, where we can all hang ourselves from our own branches. We are not
sinners because we sin but we sin because we are sinners, or more prosaically we
are not evil because of the evil we do but we do evil because we are evil. But
then what choices do we have? It’s not as if we have any options. Our
addiction is evil, and the propensity for this evil lies in our weakness before
it. Kierkegaard was right: there is an awful precipice before us, but he was
wrong about the leap. There is a difference between jumping and being pushed.
You reach a point where you are forced to face your own needs and the fact that
you can’t terminate the situation settles on you with full force. It is not
“cogito ergo sum,” but “dedita ergo sum, (echo), ergo sum.” Philosophy
is propaganda; there is always an attempt to influence the object to change its
view of things. The real question is what is the philosopher’s impact on other
egos, transcendent or otherwise? If we eliminate the verb we eliminate meaning,
the predicate defines the noun’s role in being. That is why we must insist on
a discernable didacticism in the works of the philosopher, it belies his
transcendence, his independence. Essence is revealed through praxis, the
philosophers words, ideas and actions cannot be separated from his value, his
meaning, and the impact on other egos.
Nietzsche’s thought of the Death of God is sacrificial,
orgiastic, and festive. Bataille asserts the Christian belief must pass over not
into a content scientific utilitarianism, but into the ecstasies of unrestrained
wastage. The loss of God is the loss of self, the ultimate shattering of the
anthropic image, so that the perdurable ego of servile humanity is melted into
the solar energy flow. Bataille is not remotely interested in being saved; he
wants only to touch the extreme, writing that “I have wanted and found
ecstasy” (Bataille V p.264), an ecstasy that is the experienced loss of being.
This is not a matter of dying, but of surviving–momentarily–only through
excess, a chance, without assurance, and without restricting the dissipative
“Being is given to us in an intolerable surpassing of
being, no less intolerable than death. And because, in death, this is withdrawn
from us at the same time it is given, we must search for it in the feeling of
death, in those intolerable moments where it seems that we are dying, because
the being in us is only there through excess, when the plenitude of horror and
that of joy coincide.” (Nietzsche III p.11-12).
The Death of God is a religious event, a transgression, an
experiment in damnation, a stroke of anti-theistic warfare–but this is not to
say that it is ultimately a crime. Hell has no concern with our debauched moral
currency. To confuse reactive engagements with sin as true expeditions in
damnation is Christian superficiality, the Dantean error of imagining that one
could perhaps earn oneself an excursion in Hell, as if the infernal was also a
matter of justice. Our crimes are mere faltering steps on the path to ruin, just
as every projected “Hell on Earth” is a strict exemplar of idolatry.
Transgression is not a criminal action but a tragic fate; the intersection of an
economically programmed apocalypse with the religious anti-history of fiction.
It is the inevitable occurrence of impossibility, which is not the same as Death
but neither is it essentially different.
The depths have become infernal, undeniably so, quite
irrespective of the fairy-tales we are still told. “Flames surround us, the
abyss opens beneath our feet” (Bataille III p.95) reports Bataille from the
edge of the impossible, “an abyss that does not end in the satiate
contemplation of an absence” (V p.199) because its border line is the charred
ruin of even the most sublimed subjectivity. “I have nothing to do in this
world” he writes “if not to burn” (IV p.17) “I suffer from not burning
… approaching so close to death that I respire it like the breath of a
lover” (V p.246).
If Death can still bite it is not because it maintains some
splinter of potency supposedly proper to the Object, but because it remains
uncaged by the inhibition objectivity entails. Death alone is unreservedly on
the loose, screaming as the dark medium of storms and epidemics. After the
merciless abstraction of all life the blank savagery of real time remains, for
it is the reality of abstraction itself that is time: the desert, Death, and
desolator of all things. Bataille writes of “the ceaseless slippage of
everything into nothing.” (Bataille V p.137), a Nietzschean zero-becoming
which has its metaphor in a bird of prey, for which every object is a lamb.
“Being attains the blinding flash in tragic annihilation.
Laughter only assumes its fullest impact on being at the moment when, in the
fall that it unleashes, a representation of death is cynically recognized. It is
not only the composition of elements that constitutes the incandescence of
being, but its decomposition in its mortal form.” (Bataille I p.441)
Initiated by autonomous disparity, the human creature is a
cross-breed of sentience and pathology or of divided consistency with matter.
Recognizing that their kinship with nature sucks them into psychosis and Death
humans valorize their autonomy, whilst simultaneously despising the surge of
desire that draws them down towards fusional dissolution. Morality is as a
result, the refined necessity to autonomous integrity which marks as evil the
drive to skinless contact and the assimilation of bodies.
These are night thoughts formed by walking in the rain
after two thousand years of Christianity. I can’t get out of my mind what a
discrepancy there is between ideas and living. A permanent dislocation we try to
cover. Ideas cannot exist alone in the vacuum of the mind. Ideas are related to
How gentle and comforting if Death were really nothing but
the end, a ceasing to be. But is there such a thing as pure Death? If there was,
we would never be aware of it, because it is only in overextending itself that
Death bequeaths a narrative. There is possibly no greater confusion than
mistaking “our” Death with non-being. Is it because we want to believe in
the fidelity of our substance that we formulate this curious equation? If this
is the case we should be embarrassed at our deceit. The reality is unambiguous;
it is plainly not truthful that Death leaves matter satisfied. In principal it
is a momentary refreshment, a cool black wave for matter to bask in like a
reptile, a point of quiescence before we run back into the paroxysmal
dissipation of life. Perhaps we feel our deaths should be more satisfying, that
they should be important enough to satiate the most numbing thirst. It is almost
as if we still trust in the faithful resurrection of the flesh. How unbecoming
then that matter remains irritated after shaking us from it, that it is still
fervent, that even before our mourners have forgotten us it is entertaining the
maggots. Across the eons our mass of hydro-carbons enjoys a veritable harem of
We are still resolute in the belief that we have one
specific and decisive Death awaiting us, a Death customized to the dimensions of
a Soul. But if a body is a river of Death, what makes us so confident a
“Self” isn’t one? Is it likely that “We” should really stay the same?
It is the most basic common sense to believe in our existence of course, but
then, would it really be expedient for the body to admit to the ephemera in its
nerves that it has so little attachment to them?
We imagine we are different from other animals because we
can envisage our Deaths, when we know no more than they do about the condition
Death brings. Everything informs us that it represents extinction, but we hate
to consider what that means. The reality is, we are not disturbed by the
evanescence of time because we understand Death, we are alarmed by Death because
we refuse to accept the transient quality of time. If other animals do not fear
Death as we do, it is not because we have knowledge about something they do not.
It is because they are not concerned by time.
The drip ticks out the seconds, the source of a stream
along which the minutes flow, to join the river of hours, the sea of years and
the timeless ocean.
My life recommences. The light-hearted, familiar shock of
it as it hits me. Dazed drifting downstream.
The darkness comes in with the tide.
Death is not mine alone. We all die incessantly. The little
time that separates us from emptiness has the flimsiness of a dream. If you
stopped, for just a short moment, the complex, the gentle, the violent movements
of worlds will render your Death a shimmering flicker.
The word Death has the same fusion of indicative
energy and conceptual deficiency as a sign removing a speeding restriction–it
would allocate a concept only if this semiotic transition were treated as the
representation of absolute velocity rather than a stimulation to free-flow.
Dying is the departure from a traffic-system, but this exodus is not
transcendentally resolved by a pure destination. The slipping-away of an animal
into Death is no less elaborately positive than the arterial pulse pumping blood
from its heart. We are all fictional suicides, some impatient, some less so, but
all indicating by our diligence the taciturnity of Death. In effect Death is
nothing in immanence, but due to the fact that it is nothing, no being can ever
be truly separated from it.
Out of a dark, unstitched wound, a basin of abominations, a
cradle of black-thronged cities where the music of ideas is drowned in cold fat,
out of strangled utopias emerges a wraith-like presence, a being divided between
beauty and ugliness, between light and chaos, a wraith who is Satan himself and
a battered angel. When I look down into the wound I see an equation sign, the
world in balance a world reduced to zero. Not a Western mathematical zero as
such, but an original zero, Arabian zero, the sign from which springs endless
mathematical worlds, derived in a non-monotheistic culture, its character of
indivisibility without unity, its valorization of technocratic rationalism, and
its perfect coexistence with Death. Zero, derived like “cipher,” from the
Arabic “zephirum”, the non-speculative other of unity, bringing it into
affinity with the feminine and consequently at odds with the notions of unity,
solidity, and identity associated with the Judeao-Hellenic privilege of One.
Life is a scream which one unyieldingly can’t try to
change. It is rather that one would intensify it. Agony alone has the power to
seduce us, and it is at our most malevolent torments that we most passionately
clutch. We realize that a life which was not scorched into charcoal by desire
would be an intolerable monotony. Pain however remains pain. The word is easily
written. Perhaps there is no point in mentioning it. One could envisage
countless specious reasons for repeating the word “scream” for instance.
That life essentially is only tainted hurt … who could care about this being
questioned? Everyone and no one?
Death is a conclusion of sorts, one assumes. This is
reassuring enough to believe, and therefore almost certainly fallacious. How
pleasing to be finalized by one’s abolition, to be edited by Death. This is a
type of attitude comparable to that of all those who imagine they will become
improved with Death, that age will receive them tenderly with her cold arms.
This fantasy of a smooth passage is like that of principle, inheritance, and
legacy, regarding thought on a model of transmission. It is thought as if it
were essentially something received, presenting itself effectively to the
absolute realization of an interpretation–however alluring and provocative
this may be.
How much dying can a body achieve? At least one dose? Even
this estimate seems cautious except in the case of the most elementary life. A
more sophisticated organism is a true economy of Death, turning on a continual
internal disaster, detaching its cells in an ocean of affliction. It is the most
basic kind of mistake to assume the word Death for complete systemic breakdown:
for the end of dying. Human bodies do not reiterate the neuroses that reside in
them, deflecting erosion, seizing at deferral, shutting Death out, no, they
overdose on Death, brokers in destruction, turning themselves over from within.
Matter shelters in a condition of rejection from the
likelihood of essence as if from an original, valid ontology, and life is simply
the most extraordinary and virological variation upon this denial-vision; the
paroxysmal extreme of being’s resignation. Life is an exploration of Death,
whose activation is an externality from which it can never disconnect itself. It
becomes proximate to concurrence with a notion in its divergence from the
resonance of actual essence, in its function or metabolism. Life tints itself
across Death as the exodus from tangible existence—the wandering of a
progressively heightened itinerant reproducibility out of chaos.
Particles are not identical; we willingly accept this when
considering a body that is separated from itself by a few years. We attempt not
to recognize that in this way we are admitting the irrevocable desertion by
complex life of all adherences to existence. Life collapses into the possession
of Death, becoming a sad clamor of vanishing, apathetic to its pulsating core,
to its inner ruthlessness. To be part of an organism is to become expendable,
and ever more expendable. No path is more suicidal than that of the living
matter that becomes an organ.
We are even now resolute in the belief that we experience
one specific and absolute Death, a Death customized to the characteristics of a
soul. But if a body is a river of Death, what makes us so certain “a self”
isn’t one? Is it possible that “we” should really stay the same? It is the
simplest reason to believe in our existence of course, but then would it really
be expedient for the body to acknowledge to the ephemera in its nerves that it
has so slight an attachment to them?
A glance into the dark, and a fresh wound, a deep fissure
in my mind opens up, all the memories that have been carefully or distractedly
assorted, labeled, documented, filed, sealed, break-out in confusion like ants
teeming out of a crack in the pavement; the world ceases to revolve, time stops,
the very nexus of my dreams is broken and my guts spill-out in a massive
schizophrenic rush, an evacuation that leaves me face to face with the Absolute.
“Death is not the only contradiction that enters into the
edifice formed by man’s activity, but it has a kind of pre-eminence.”
(Bataille VIII p.262)
What do you want to make of your life? An ominous question,
when it is not a naïve one. What is a life if not a perfect dissolution?
Whatever the nervous obsessions of a sacrilegious man, it is not possible for us
to make anything of ourselves.
What is an end? One is disturbed perhaps? An end? Could
there be more than one? Is not the very question a form of contravention? A
merciless disposal, a kind of casting-off? Should Death be forced so ruthlessly
into my understanding? Can she not wait? Is it not acceptable to sleep?
My sight seems to have closed in. The hospital is even
quieter this morning. Hushed. I have a sinking feeling in my stomach. I feel
defeated. My mind is bright, but my body is falling apart–a naked light-bulb
in a dark and ruined room. There is Death in the air here, but we’re not
talking about it. But I know the silence might be broken by distraught visitors
screaming, “Help Sister! Help nurse!” followed by the sound of feet rushing
along the corridor. Then silence.
Somehow the recognition that there was nothing to be hoped
for had a salutary effect on me. For weeks, months, years, in fact, all of my
life I had been looking forward to something happening, some intrinsic event
that would alter my life, and now suddenly, inspired by absolute hopelessness, I
felt relieved, felt as though an immense heaviness had been lifted from me. I
decided to let myself drift, to make no resistance to Fate, no matter what form
it took. Nothing that had happened to me so far had been enough to destroy me;
nothing had destroyed me except my illusions. I was intact. The world was
intact. It seemed to me that I could be no more truly alone than at that very
moment. I decided that from now on I would hold onto nothing, that I would
More and more the world verges on an entomologist’s
dream. The world is moving out of its orbit, the axis has adjusted; from the
north the snow blows down vast razor blade drifts. A new ice-age originates, the
diagonal stitches are closing-up and everywhere all through the Corn Belt the
fetal world is dying, turning to dead mastoid. Segment by segment the deltas are
drying out and the river beds are as smooth as glass. A new day is dawning, a
metallurgical day, when the earth will clink with showers of bright yellow ore.
As the thermometer drops, the appearance of the world becomes nebulous; there is
still osmosis and occasionally articulation, but at the fringe the veins are all
varicose, at the fringe the light waves distort and the sun bleeds.
“Life will dissolve itself in death, rivers in the sea,
and the known in the unknown”. (Bataille V 119)
While we continue as dammed-up reservoirs of labor-power,
we maintain our humanity, but the rivers flowing into us are an overriding
craving to dissolution, inducing us into the inhumane. Underneath the harmonized
exchanges of words we scream and bite at our shackled limbs. An impersonality as
blank and relentless as the sun rises beneath us, a vermin-hunger for freedom.
Humanity is a calcified fiction screened from zero, a purgatorial incarceration
of dissolution, but to be shattered by sanctity is to sprawl-out in Death like a
reptile in the sun. God is Dead, but infinitely more important, God is Death.
The opening of the secret is that Death (= 0) is immense.
From birth we are programmed to conformity with the
imprisonment, inculcated to accumulation, instructed to maintain the self, to
fear madness and Death. Interned in an astringent mesh of language routines we
follow a limited circuit in the maze. We are warned that chance will not take
care of us, and that it is difficult to live. But work and seriousness are the
slums of falsehood and the garbage-heap of individuation has no worth. What is
termed life at the borders of patriarchy is a miserable box of lies, grind, and
anesthesia combined with absurd suffering. What is significant about the outside
of the box is not just that it is the outside of the box, but that it is
immense. What is significant is the abyss, the chasm.
“I have the hope of coming to the end of my health,
perhaps even to the end of a life without reason to be.” (Bataille III p.414)
Winter wind, oh my dying sister
Wolf gleam bite of hunger
Stone of frost pasted on a naked heart
Sickness is something I understand. My body shivers in an
ecstasy of antipathy each day that it hauls itself across the planes of the
world. The weather crushes me, my joints begin aching, ankylose, my lungs are
torn and scorched to the state that they barely endure any longer, my skin is
ashen and pale, and the hollows of my eyes are withdrawn into shadowy depths of
filth. As for my nervous-system–infested and three-quarters psychotic–that
is my real pathological show: no action that does not feel like the recoil of a
creature tortured to the verge of submission, no thought that is not an
illustration of damnation. Between ecstasy and pain there is no longer a space
of interruption; there is not even a variation. I exist skewered on a
traumatized energy, laughing with desire for each ratcheting of the
Death is no longer a conditional problem for me, but a
memory belonging to something else, a vestige upon zero. I can only ask myself:
“Did Bataille also cross the line and die before the end?” Crouching deeply
broken in this life, which has become the passage of an agonizing but exquisite
horror, I supplicate myself to nothing and present the sacrifice of these words
The universal sleep is embraced by black. A comfortable
warm black. This is no cold black. It is against this black that the rainbow
shines. Beyond the galaxies lies that primordial dark from which the stars
Things drift to pieces but I am tense and craving. We are
fragments of Death entangled in an array of wolf threads and ravings. Bonded on
the far side of blood, we are committed beyond sense in Hell. This enchantment
is unfathomable in its severity. Shadows embalm me. The Moon whispers its
electric plea to destruction, and I stare into the grave of my life which
shatters in its humid psychosis.
Sickness and Death my sweet schizophrenic Mother, your
child is lost to you and found on the other side in blissed-out inexistence.
Abysses of disease open-up before me. I decay, transfixed upon abolition.
*Source: Georges Bataille Oeuvres Completes
© 2004 Adrian Gargett
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