chapter  17
9 Pages

Ecstasy and Annihilation: Georges Bataille

L i f e is a n excess o f energy w h i c h finally c a n o n l y be w a s t e d rather

t h a n c o n s e r v e d , a force o f ' n o n - p r o d u c t i v e e x p e n d i t u r e ' , excessive

a n d useless, a n e f f u s i o n f u n d a m e n t a l l y c o n t r a r y to e q u i l i b r i u m . T h i s ,

f o r G e o r g e s B a t a i l l e ( 1 8 9 7 - 1 9 6 2 ) , is the e x h i l a r a t i n g but terr ib le t r u t h

o f b e i n g :

I insist on the fact that there is generally no growth but only a luxurious

squandering of energy in every form! The history of life on earth is mainly

the effect of a w i l d exuberance. ( A c c u r s e d S h a r e , 1.10-11; cf. 1.12, 22, 3 3 -

4; II .84-5)

O r , as he puts i t i n E r o t i s m , ' L i f e is n o t h i n g but i n s t a b i l i t y a n d

d i s e q u i l i b r i u m . . . a s w e l l i n g t u m u l t c o n t i n u o u s l y o n the verge o f

e x p l o s i o n ' (pp. 5 9 - 6 0 ) .