A Short Critique of Existentialism and a Note on Aesthetics
In Georges Bataille: Core Cultural Theorist, Paul Hegarty gives a few comments on existentialism which we can extrapolate into a critique.
For Georges Bataille, sovereignty is outside the domain of project, of tasks. This is problematic because “[i]n existentialism … the task is for the individual to ‘make his or herself’, and this taks subordinates the individual”. Existentialism’s rejection of sovereignty is what makes it servile. In its servility, existentialism reduces the subject to a thing and in doing this alienates the subject. Existentialism is therefore also a rejection of expenditure and an endorsement of project. Existentialism is thus nothing more than, I want to say, the complete opposite of Bataille’s system(?), contra Bataille’s system.
Aesthetics is a part of the restricted economy because it is art restricted to a certain realm. The idea of a ‘Bataillean aesthetics’ then becomes questionable and problematic, but Hegarty says that if a Bataillean aesthetics does it exist, then it would be an aesthetics that “would valorize art that aspired to destruction”. In other words, a Bataillean aesthetics is an aesthetics that has art dissolve itself in inner experience.
Hegarty, Paul. Georges Bataille: Core Cultural Theorist. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc, 2000.
: Paul Hegarty, Georges Bataille: Core Cultural Theorist (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc, 2000), 71.
: Ibid., 130.
: Ibid., 131.