Some Thoughts on Anguish and (the Very Un-Kantian Base of) Capitalism

ANGUISH as fuel

Back in June, I read some work about Bataille in relation to defeatism.

Freedom is nothing if it is not the freedom to live at the edge of limits where all comprehension breaks down — Georges Bataille, The Impossible Pg. 40

We are backed up into a corner and it is time to stop the fetal position! Get up and fight!

ANGUISH as sovereignty

In Reading Bataille Now, Jesse Goldhammer does an analysis of Bataille, anguish, and anarchism.

ANGUISH and the Will-to-Sacrifice

Jesse Goldhammer continues to analyze the relationship between anguish and Bataille in Reading Bataille Now:


But a sort of rupture — in anguish — leaves us at the limit of tears: in such a case we lose ourselves, we forget ourselves and communicate with an elusive beyond. — Georges Bataille, Inner Experience Pg. 11

“the middle class excludes its repulsive other, the working class, but the working class is unable to expel its misery, and therefore it remains abject” (Paul Hegarty, Georges Bataille: Core Cultural Theorist Pg. 63).


Anguish is a pervading feeling in life. In our lowest points (in terms of happiness, not decency), we feel anguish. In anguish, we lose ourselves. Just like laughter, just like an orgasm, ANGUISH is another simulacra of death. And my god, are we constantly fucking dying.

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