I could have told myself: value, authority — this is ecstasy; inner experience is ecstasy; ecstasy is, it seems, communication, which is opposed to the ‘turning in on oneself’ of which I have spoken. I would have in this way known and found (there was a time when I thought myself to know, to have found). But we reach ecstasy by a contestation of knowledge. Were I to stop at ecstasy and grasp it, in the end I would define it. But nothing resists the contestation of knowledge and I have seen at the end that the idea of communication itself leaves naked — not knowing anything. Whatever it may be — failing a positive revelation within me, present at the extreme — I can provide it with neither a justification nor an end. I remain in intolerable non-knowledge, which has no other way out than ecstasy itself.
— Bataille, Inner Experience (trans. L.A. Boldt)
X tells me he wants his words to open and swallow him, that’s why he talks to me, he says. No, not open and swallow him, he says, spit him out, out into nothingness, into not-X. That’s why he talks to me, so he won’t have to, so he can bombard his words with words, no, let them bombard him, no, be bombarded, no, become a bombardment of words, no, become a bombardment of words that bombards itself, blows itself into a million, ten million pieces, an endless cloud of answers, questions, denials, pronouncements, lies, resolutions, evasions, contestations, supplications, sentences, syllables, letters, an endless cloud, he says, endless and silent.
He had the most wonderful thought in his head and no matter how much filth and grime he for some reason would cover himself in he could always think of this wonderful thought, and how pure he would then think himself or at least try and think himself. But for some malicious reason its power faded, who knows — perhaps through overuse — which left a quandary. Should he, to remain in bliss rather than in grime, try and keep this thought ever in mind — to ward off the grime — or should it be kept treasured in the dark, so to speak, purposely not thinking of it, not dirtying it with this overuse, but, and yet, ever dimly aware of its existence, its glowing secretly and gloriously in the dark; and then when most needed, when feeling I suppose most grimy, to produce it and vanquish all foes, however falsely great and powerful they had appeared!
But in time does even the idea, great and lofty, rather than glow triumphantly, sink into the muck also? And if it does, who knows, perhaps all the better. The muck is truth! Why try and overcome it? And maybe that’s all the idea was all along — the muck and a lure into the muck.
— In Abstentia Out
A culprit is indispensible, X tells me, one must have a culprit, and the safest culprit is himself, he says, after all he’s always around. He wants to get himself right where he wants himself, really lay into himself, he says, then maybe the others will fall in line too, then maybe everyone will listen to him. Will I help him? he asks. No, of course I won’t.
He’s found out what his life’s like, X tells me. It’s going headlong into a cul-de-sac and coming back out only to realise he’s in another cul-de-sac. Isn’t that brilliant? he says. He’s very pleased, he says, now he can move on.
What tipped me over the edge? X asks me. What made me decide not to speak to him, not to listen to him? Was it his stupidity? His sentimentality? Out with it, he says, clear the air. Fine, he says, I’ll just start over. How do I start over? he asks me.
If these were someone else’s words, X tells me, if this were someone else’s speech he might nod solemnly, but it isn’t, is it, he says, it’s all lies, incomplete lies at that, so all he can do is carry on, hope for the best, fear the worst, wade through this morass of clichés, towards what? he asks. A personal language? Absurd, he says. Clearly the enterprise was doomed from the start, he says. Yet he carries on, he says, must carry on, even though I’m not listening.