Thursday, 26 July 2012
bataille >< cavefors > eroticism and faith,,,
Bo I. Cavefors : Georges Bataille
Georges Bataille is the mystic of eroticism and faith.
Bataille never speaks of sainthood as a righteous way for those who want to preach the message of good. Instead Bataille analyses mankind’s inner silence. In Being's meaninglessness he sees an exhortation not to despair and resign; his inheritance is Laughter.
Bataille doesn’t recommend therapy, no hedonistic cock-worshipping-cult, no ars erotica; Bataille invites the initiated into a friendship with a well-preserved individual sovereignty. Ecstasy is not a means to individual liberation, according to Bataille; there is anxiety in ecstasy. Pleasure and anxiety wash over humanity when, confronted by terror, it loses its ego. Ernst Jünger's In Stahlgewittern also deals with this subject matter. The fascination for death signifies the increased potency of the Ego when man loses the ground beneath his feet and enters the horizontal world. Man is born into a world of subject and object, the continuity of the Being reaches beyond life into the kingdom of the dead. The orgasm of the transition is simultaneously an erotic and mystic-religious intoxication.
Bataille rejects all engagement literature because it leads to the abuse of the author as well as the literature by powers that betray humanity, the arts and ecstasy - the innermost being. Man who wants to preserve his intrinsic value is reduced to a mere piece in a jigsaw puzzle. Happiness and liberation are only made possible if the author, philosopher, artist or average man avows to the freedom of God, which he lodges within himself. When the author guides his readers towards politics, social, religious and scientific goals, he reduces literature to authenticity, a loss of sovereignty.
Georges Bataille – The Sacred Conspiracy: Man has escaped from his head just as the condemned man has escaped from his prison. He has found beyond himself not God, who is the prohibition against crime, but a being who is unaware of prohibition. Beyond what I am, I meet a being who makes me laugh because he is headless; this fills me with dread because he is made of innocence and of crime; he holds a steel weapon in his left hand, flames like those of a Sacred Heart in his right. He reunites in the same eruption Birth and Death. He is not a man. He is not a god either. He is not me but he is more than me: his stomach is the labyrinth in which he has lost himself, loses me with him, and in which I discover myself as him, in other words, as a monster.
Bataille, Blanchot, Jünger and André Malraux, perceive happiness in excess; even Nietzsche, Genet, Gide, Cocteau, T.E.Lawrence, Green, Pasolini, Gombrowicz, Klaus Mann and many others know how to appreciate the apocalyptic intoxication in the moment of death, when erotic and mystic ecstasy creates the experience of total isolation - the joy of death. To omit oneself, to step outside oneself is always akin to the death of the Ego, the life-giving sperm from the exploding cock’s entry into Nirvana.
For German romantics like Novalis and von Kleist, and for Nietzsche, the peak of pain are identical with the summit of pleasure when the Ego dies and the human that is against annihilation is annihilated.
To exceed oneself, to reach beyond what is referred to as the unreachable and thereby surpass oneself, to soil and to sacrifice oneself, that is what it means to be united with God, according to many mystics. Not to Bataille. Bataille finds nothing or very little beyond the here and now, and dismisses ascetic ways as non-sovereign ways to ecstasy. Transcendence can only be reached by means that demand the definite transgression of all boundaries, all inhibitions must be cast aside.
According to Bataille the eroticism is equivalent to a mysticism of the genitals during man’s preparations for death, he loves death unconditionally and ruthlessly, the Being rejoices during the transgression.
Bataille frequently takes the Nietzschean pilgrimage to Taormina. Battaile sees the holy and the sovereign and the meaningful Dionysian ego-rejection as mankind’s struggle towards the totality of the Ego, identity and perfection. Bataille is an exceptional analyst and commentator on Nietzsche. To rightfully understand Nietzsche the disciple has to be Nietzsche.
What is it like to be Nietzsche?
More than anything else it is (in the absence of the actual possibility to physically move backwards in time) to travel to the city of Taormina on the slope of Monte Tauros through the German photographer Wilhelm von Gloeden's photographs of naked Sicilian boys.
When the philosopher grows tired of the Basel bourgeois’s tittle-tattle he starts cruising for archaic, bronze-gleaming naked bodies, suckable cocks and the rounded arses of boys in Taormina. Here Nietzsche finds his Zarathustra. In a boy the masochist discovers his Superhuman. When Nietzsche speaks about the impossibility to separate the body from the soul he sets out from the experiences of being queer.
The current age’s problem with Nietzsche is that the recluse never committed himself to any concrete mission. He never joins any processions for a better world or the emancipation of women. This sovereignty implicates a non serviam, the dissociation of every profitable act or generous favour which doesn’t stand in a masochistic relation to sadism. This saves Nietzsche from becoming a slave, a servile.
The worries of the future are the foundation of every moralistic value, every discipline and every effort to tear humanity away from the insight that the individual’s sovereignty consists of knowing where it is and not where it is going.
In contrast to the opponent Sartre, Bataille rejects the social focal points of his time. The friendship with Blanchot becomes significant after his friend has urged him to live as if he was Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, the last man, who is also the most beautiful man. For Blanchot the inner experiences are the answer that awaits mankind when it finally decides to only ask questions, only to perceive the riddle’s answer. The not-knowing leads humanity into the night of emptiness and nothingness, into the erotic and mystic ecstasy of non-existents.
Bataille seeks the spiritual dissolution of the soul, the annihilation of the validity of every “truth”, the abolition of all authorised philosophies.
Being as Time. The Time is now. In the present, Nietzsche wants to rescue and heal the human being which has been fragmented and butchered by humanitarian psychoanalysts. If he survives it is only because he is able to separate his true identity from the conception of the philistine bourgeois’s utility.
Man is a fool, his own god, a lunatic, a Dostoevskyan idiot. In the reality of Nietzsche and in Bataille’s recreation of the Nietzschean reality man is the universal fool, a divine insane Dionysian and holy creature who exists to the full only after he has overcome Being. Then he is free, a slave only to himself, a Superhuman.
The essence of Nietzsche’s philosophy is ecstasy, the orgy of man’s possibilities on a road to total freedom. William Blake speaks about the marriage of heaven and hell, freedom is the practise of evil; Bataille interprets Nietzsche’s will to power as the will towards evil. Nietzsche’s eternal return doesn’t imply a constant monotonous recurrence, but is an attempt to always remain within oneself - one’s inner core. The return is in the moment of ecstasy within itself the implement to reach the goal, the power over oneself through an ecstatic orgasm; the moment when life and death connects, when good and evil melts together.
Bataille doesn’t perceive the libertine’s way as constant repetition of the trauma of the passion (which separates him from de Sade and Genet). The philosopher’s goal is not a generous annihilating ecstasy. Bataille’s mysticism is no inner meditation or reclusion but deep open communication and confrontation. Pure black energy is incarnated within the sun.
Bataille’s language is pure and clean. Bataille writes about sexuality, sadomasochism, voyeurism, exhibitionism and oral-anal games without the use of obscenity at the same time as the sharp black arrows of his heart, brain and cock discharge; the precision of language hammers down upon the cultivated bourgeois society which Bataille’s exquisite evil renounces.
Bataille writes about Lust, about Cock and Cunt. Bataille hates consumption hedonism and interest promiscuity – he speaks of a piercing, all-consuming, passion. Bataille arouses the lust for ecstasy and holy whoring within the reader’s body and soul. The language of his novels is angelic and pure but it leads the reader straight into the sovereign voluptuous obscenity of death which doesn’t have anything to do with Kierkegaard’s pale death, with Heidegger’s intellectualism or the Freudian death-wish. Bataille polishes hard marble cocks, not with words but through the Word; he allows man to enjoy the martyrdom of the orgasm through the final moment of death.
He is ten years old. One of the young men, who also travel with the same train as his stepfather every day between work and the summerhouse, hooks up with him from the station, puts his arm over his shoulder and strokes his neck. They walk a detour across the dunes, and by the pier the young man unzips his pants, he knells in front of him and takes his cock in his mouth. The procedure is repeated several times during that summer. He thinks it feels good and he feels secure when the young man grabs his buttocks with his warm hands. He becomes aware of his power over his lover, to have a grown man lying at his feet.
When the boy in the Greek masterpiece the Iliad says to his lover, a grown man: “I am the flesh, you are the knife”, he depicts the same experience I had as an eleven-year-old of being fucked for the first time. It felt as if a knife separated my body into two halves. But isn’t this just how sadomasochism matures? The pain soon transfers into pleasure and then into exhibitionism. And then one wants to share this pleasure: to give and take.
Teresa of Avila: I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it...
Teresa of Avila’s documented experience of severe penetration is similar to what I and the boy in the Iliad perceived. Sadomasochism is a way to - voluntarily or involuntarily – transcendence; to transform oneself or let oneself be transformed into an absolute and totally sexual creature - an ascendance which transgresses the limits into an experience outside of the intellectual range. This is why sadomasochism also can be a part of a religious experience.
Saint Sebastian represents the sadomasochistic culture and the continuity of the Catholic Church through the centuries. Saint Sebastian is the patriot saint of queers and soldiers, but he has also had an influence on painters and authors. The depiction of Sebastian by Guido Reni which Oscar Wild sees in Palazzo Rosso in Genua 1877, has of course been reproduced in various art books. And in his father’s library Yukio Mishima finds such a book with this one picture of Sebastian. Mishima experiences his first ejaculation while dreaming of Sebastian. He writes: ”The arrows have eaten into the tense, fragrant, youthful flesh and are about to consume his body from within with flames of supreme agony and ecstasy”. Mishima’s description of this “jerk-off”, which he experiences as an intercourse, are quiet similar to the statement from the Iliad: “I am the flesh, you are the knife”. Mishima develops into a sadomasochistic fag. In 1966 he is the subject of an arranged photo session in which he personifies the role of Saint Sebastian. And the final enactment of his death by seppuku in 1970 is by all rights the perfect sadomasochistic suicide and most brilliantly planned performance piece of all time.
Jean Genet’s severe sadomasochistic experiences from the time spent in prison are well-known, as is the continuation of his praxis outside the prison walls. But even a boy with a very different childhood, of a very different social belonging can develop according to the same sadomasochistic praxis as Genet engenders. In the book Zöglingschaft der Jean Genet the Austrian author Josef Winkler, born in 1970s, depicts how the environment of his hometown Kärnten, Austria, literally smothers him to death. How he is mentally castrated. Winkler's only way out of this hellish existence is by descending into homosexual sadomasochism. Winkler enacts the Saint Sebastian-role and becomes liberated. He leaves behind all the disgust he has felt in the past, and he focuses all his love and tenderness on the dead Genet, by trying to imitate the same sexual liberation as his hero once did. What was considered indecent and unwanted in Kärnten, Winkler insists has a worth of its own, the gay-life contains a great poetic beauty. Reality is, like William Burroughs says, not what it seems to be. Jean-Paul Sartre maintained that Genet always remained faithful to the morality of the reformatories of his childhood; because of the “crises of childhood” he learned to know himself. Winlker reaches this state of maturity when he drapes himself in the master’s cloak, when he learns to understand Genet’s morality, when he dares to touch another boy’s naked body, when he dares to caress it and whip it.
Of course sadomasochism between men doesn’t need to involve whipping or tying each other up. Pier Paolo Pasolini was a master also when it came to depict this non-violent sadomasochism (even though the accounts of the activities in the city of Salò are very physically violent). But Pasolini’s death, even if it was not as rigorously planned as Mishima’s seppuku, was in its own subtle way prepared in advance by himself (even if the murder turned out to be an inside job carried out by political enemies from the right or left). Pasolini spoke openly about his homosexuality, and especially of his love of young boys. He couldn’t be unaware that the life he led would sooner or later lead to his doom. The death of Pasolini became a sacrificial death in the catholic sense of the word, a kind of flagellation.
It is worth mentioning that in general, there are Catholics who depict queer-sadomasochism through text and image. In the world of Pasolini this praxis is carried out defencelessly; the total submission to boys’ and men’s demand for sex. In the novel Petrolio he exposes himself in all his nakedness to such degree that all aesthetic boundaries are transgressed. Lights and colours, landscapes and portraits are subordinated to the intensity of the naked main character Pier Paolo Pasolini when he sucks the sperm of his subjugators, when he kneels before twenty young men who demands that he will suck, fuck and clean twenty cocks of various length and thickness on the meadow at Casilina in the outskirts of Rome. Sandro, Sergio, Claudio, Gianfranco and the other sixteen bodies smells of flour and motor oil, of dried sperm and sweat; Pasolini’s alter ego, Carlo, “kneels in eternal tenderness, yes with delicacy, in front of their cocks”; and “hardly dares to touch them with his hands, hence he approaches them with his lips”. The grass smells of dry hay when Carlo lies with Claudius' cock in his ass this night of love when “the moon is high” and moonlight is “different, brighter, purer” than sunlight.
When I left Malmö for London and later, when I was home back in Malmö during the school holidays, and in Kungsparken and Slottsparken, behind the birdcages, offered myself to men, it was according to my own premises. The boys longing after grown men might have several reasons. I was the one seducing, not the one being seduced. This wasn’t without risk. Senior police officers with peaked caps and fast bicycles were patrolling the park. When they suspected that I or any of the other boys where hiding in the bushes, they came running and when we fled they shouted threats “I know who you are, I will call your mother and father”. But nobody ever called. I did the same thing as my poor, shabbily dressed, almost starving classmates did at the Honour of Work-statue on Möllevångstorget, but I never charged money for my services, I was free, it didn’t disgust me, I enjoyed it.
Gerard de Nerval – To Alexander Dumas: Was this young Nero, the idol of Rome, the handsome athlete, the dancer, the poet whose only wish was to please the populace? Is this what history and the conceptions of our poets have left of him? Ah, give me his fury to interpret; his power I would fear to accept. Nero! I have comprehended thee, not alas! according to Racine, but according to my own heart, torn with agony whenever I have ventured to impersonate thee! Yes, thou wast a god, thou who wouldst have burned Rome. Thou wast right, perhaps, since Rome had insulted thee!
Illustrations : William Zarate
Translation : Martin Bladh