Study Guide

Georges Bataille - Excremental vs. Existential

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Excremental vs. Existential

Jean-Paul Sartre called Bataille a mystic and said that Bataille's "philosophical" writings lacked seriousness. Sartre viewed literature as humanity's moral imperative; he thought that language and writing help us become human and help us determine how to live authentic lives.

Georges Bataille pretty much pooped on that theoretical party. Bataille said that the idea of morality in literature was ridiculous, and that literature was best when it portrayed the disrupting and demolishing of society's status-quo morality.

In response to Sartre's analysis, Bataille mostly agreed that his own views were not serious. His thoughts were not meant to last: "So why exhaust myself with efforts toward consciousness? I can only make fun of myself as I write. In the same individual, thought must construct and destroy itself" (source).

Bataille didn't want to bother attempting to gain consciousness through existentialism, Sartre's version of philosophy. According to Bataille, we all end up as worm food, anyway, so why not act like worm food now and save ourselves the pain of losing all the fancy thoughts we tried so hard to acquire through life?

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