by Bataille, Georges (1992)
A poetic, philosophical, and political account of Nietzsches importance to Bataille, and of Batailles experience in Nazi-occupied France.Georges Bataille wrote On Nietzsche in the final months of the Nazi occupation of France in order to cleanse the German philosopher of the stain of Nazism. More than merely a treatise on Nietzsche, the book is as much a work of ethics in which thought is put to the test of experience and experience pushed to its limits. At once personal and political, it was written as an act of war, its publication contingent upon the German retreat. The result is a poetic and philosophicaland occasionally harrowingrecord of life during wartime.Following Inner Experience and Guilty, On Nietzsche is the third volume of Batailles Summa Atheologica. Haunted by the recognition that existence cannot be at once autonomous and viable, herein the author yearns for community from the depths of personal isolation and transforms Nietzsches will to power into his own will to chance.This new translation includes Memorandum, a selection of 280 passages from Nietzsches works edited and introduced by Bataille. Originally published separately, Bataille planned to include the text in future editions of On Nietzsche. This edition also features the full notes and annotations from the French edition of Batailles Oeuvres Complètes, as well as an incisive introductory essay by Stuart Kendall that situates the work historically, biographically, and philosophically.
I can't deny the inevitability of decline. The summit itself indicates it. U the summit isn't death, the necessity of descent follows thereafter. Essentially, the summit is where life is pushed to an impossible limit. I reach it, in the faint way that I do, only by recklessly expending my strength. I won't again possess a strength to waste unless, through work, I can gain back the strength lost. What am I moreover? Inscribed in a human context, I can't dispossess myself of my will to act. The possibility of giving up work forever and in some way pushing myself definitively to some goal which in the long run is illusory: This isn't conceivable. Let's even suppose (in an ideal way) that I'm considering the Caesarean option of suicide. This albeit attractive possibility arises for me as an endeavour causing me to place concerns for the future over those for the present. But I can't give up the summit! I protest (intending to put lucid, dispassionate ardor into such protests) against anything that asks of us that we stifle desire. Though I can only contentedly resign myself to the fate compelling me to work: I'd never dream of doing away with moral rules, since they spring from inevitable decline. We are always declining, and ruinous desire returns again only as strength is restored. Because powerlessness in us requires recognition,. and because we don't have unlimited strength. why not acknowledge such a necessity, giving in to it even as we deny it? We're no match for the empty sky that infinitely assaults and annihilates us down to the last human being can only morosely say, of the necessity to which I submit, that it humanizes me by giving me undeniable dominion over things. I have the option. however, of not regarding it as a sign of weakness. (p.39)
KeywordsNietzsche, Bataille, German, Political Theory, War, Nazism, National Socialism, Wartime
ThemesOn Nietzsche, Bataille Citations
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