A Note on a new Understanding of Matter as Evil

05/28/2021

In “Base Materialism and Gnosticism,” Georges Bataille says that the Gnostic conception of matter was “matter as an active principle having its own eternal autonomous existence as darkness … and as evil”.[1] This is to say that matter, for the Gnostics, is matter as evil because darkness is nothing more than a principle of evil, as is mud.[2] Thus, we have opened up the term ‘matter’ that is within Bataille’s economy of epistemic expenditure to many conceptual parallels. Eroticism, transgression, sovereignty, etc. all represent evil — thus they exist as distinctly materialist.

Bibliography

Bataille, Georges. Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927–1939. Edited by Allan Stoekl. Translated by Allan Stoekl, Carl R. Lovitt, and Donald M. Leslie Jr.. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1985.

References

[1]: Georges Bataille, Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927–1939, ed. Allan Stoekl, trans. Allan Stoekl, Carl R. Lovitt, and Donald M. Leslie Jr. (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1985), 47.

[2]: Ibid., 20.

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Evan Jack

How sweet terror is, not a single line, or a ray of morning sunlight fails to contain the sweetness of anguish. - Georges Bataille