guilty / incubation

A being can only be touched where it yields. – Georges Bataille

(Will you get naked with me Will you yield Will you shed your completeness in order to reveal your innocence Is there innocence or is that only for a cyborg What is a cyborg beside a lustful being that has turned beyond monster When do we yield to our inner monster and break free There are no question marks here for there is no here… we are just )

Bataille writes that the woman is complete with her clothes on, but reveals her incompleteness when she offers her nakedness, revealing her wound. His words are interesting, ones that cause me to hold my breath as if breathing prevents expansion of thought. I wrote in the margins of Guilty - ‘where is man’s wound- his point of entry for communication.’

The non-satisfaction implicit in the turmoil of history, the movement of knowledge that destroys every possibility of rest, the image of God that ends up only as torment, the desperately sick whore who lifts up her dress – so many means of “communication experienced as nakedness, ” without which everything is empty. – Bataille, “Guilty” p.27

We must communicate, or we risk a life on non-existence. Is this writing to you communication? Do we enter into this realm, reader/writer, with our wound showing? Bhanu Kapil address this very thing in her book, Incubation (or was it Bataille – this is the problem when you ping-pong read in one sitting) Does she not question the role of reader/writer – who has more influence over the other. Her words overlay in my mind the writings of Bataille. Both ‘mystics’, painting a world with words in which we can escape – no, not escape, but explore, perhaps become even closer to what is ‘truth’.

1.  “A monster hallucinates; a cyborg has a more sexual agenda. It is sexual to mate with surfaces. It is sexual to write in the cafe like an émigré.”

4. I am writing to you because it is private and separate, like thinking.

-Bhanu Kapil, Incubation: A Space For Monsters

Kapil’s use of cyborg, however, is never definitive (to this reader) if she is addressing the typical cyborg for her cyborg, Laloo, does not represent the machine. Laloo, however, may be monster. Is Bhanu the cyborg? (In my defense, Bhanu Kapil, a professor at Naropa, is an experimental writer who is a pleasure to read, but much like reading a surrealist – one never knows where one is, so to speak). 

Bataille intersperses sexuality within his ruminations on God. His line is very fine between the two ecstasies. Should this be termed ecstasy? Bataille sees a communion with both through the same process – to become naked, to sacrifice. I cannot explain it now, but hope to with more time. Ecstasy should not be confused with sexuality unless we goes as far as to infer that it is that state that is found when there is no division with the universe when experienced.

The point of ecstasy is bared if inside myself I shatter individuality that confines me to myself. – Bataille, p. 35

(I cannot define this being I cannot say whether this is monster or cyborg or a child of God writing because I finger the fracture when writing these lines Fractures within the confines of a universe never ending Nietzche found the answer in not knowing Bataille tells me to breathe and concentrate further on breathing to locate that place of ecstasy I think I understand the idea of the wound I think I desire the ability to communicate with the Other Who is the Other Is it You Is it the fracture Is it the silence that remains in that state when we fall from dreaming)


No greater desire exists than a wounded person’s need for another wound. – Bataille

(This rather disjoined blog post is the product of reading several chapters from “Guilty” and “Incubation” today, one after the other – back and forth. I intended to compose the email I shall send to BK in regards to a question she posits in her book – complete with an email address to respond. There is not enough time – besides, it makes this too long. I wish to thank MK’s blog for introducing me to Bataille. I just happened to find “Guilty” last weekend at the used book shop – highly recommended. Ironically, Bhanu Kapil blogged this week about reading a book about Bataille – I’d like to think this is a sign that I’m on the right path in this incomplete universe as we know it. ~ a)


not cyborg not monster not… just

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  1. Love the pic of you, Angela.

    • thanks, Andra, I figured it would be nice to confirm a robot isn’t writing all this…~ a

  2. Clothes give the illusion of completeness. Take them off and (for either sex) the “wound” has the potential to be revealed. Bataille’s word “wound” is very beautiful (in this most beautiful of books). A more conventional writer (one who offers the illusion of completeness) might say the “wound” is the ‘human condition’. Bataille’s word is more beautiful. I think one sense of the wound is when we realize our incompleteness, our separateness, and when two people come together, each recognizing their wound in the other, then a moment of ecstasy is possible…. Putting all of this in language gets very problematical, and that’s where ‘Guilty’ gets really deep. Can a reader come to a similar crossroads while reading someone else’s words? Yes, I think so!

    Bataille was also a librarian. What a strange coincidence that in the photos of him in the context of the library I see a similar posture or visage as in yours: a poise, an easy but intelligent smile, and perhaps something enigmatic. For I look at those photos of Bataille and am amazed – this is the man who wrote those books! I’m sure that in your line of work one must be methodical, organized and have a head for order and system. Yet Bataille never “finished” anything, was philosophically opposed to the very idea of it, and you too, after long hours in the library, slip into your extemporaneous writing mode….

    • Mark ~ appreciate these comments on so many levels. I know your insight into Bataille is so much deeper than my own, I do hope you offer more on your blog at a later date. I hoped to post more thoughts tonight, but have run out of time. As you know, there is nothing quick about trying to place Bataille’s comments into context. “Guilty” is indeed beautiful. Today’s readings had me reaching for Kierkegaard’s writings on “Sin and Dread”. Words between them seem to swirl together. Then, I read a bit of Bhanu to come up for air (understanding), yet she too seems to play off of these too on a Post-mod level…

      I had no idea that he was a librarian. Hmm… Borges, Bataille – any others that come to mind? It makes me less of an apologist for how I earn my keep (thou, I’m not the academically certified kind). I Googled that picture – you’ve a keen eye. Perhaps we are reflecting our discomfort of being subject. Orgainization within the rules of libraryland can be done even for those of us who do not believe in completion.

      I do believe I am becoming more and more of a fan of Bataille based on my readings and your valuable insight. ~ a

  3. Thank-you so much for sharing what you read. You write well that I can follow such complex ideas. I am not familiar with any of this but I gain understanding about honesty with self/others and gift of intimacy. Will think today about how to shatter (gently) the confinement of my individuality.

    • Happyflower – you’ve offered me a fine compliment…more so the fact that you’ve taken the time to say hello and offer your thoughts – many ‘thank yous’. I love your last sentence, btw, beautifully put ~ a

  4. angela: I’m struck by so many things here, from the first marvelous Bataille quotation to the last wonderful photograph “. . . just.” How interesting that both Borges and Bataille were librarians. There is indeed something wild about libraries. I can well imagine going into the stacks, immersing oneself in something (or many things, engaging in an ecstatic ping-pong to use your perfect word for it) and never coming out.


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