巴岱伊论尼采 30

Bataille 30

Bataille on Nietzsche
Summit and Decline

Like Kafka’s castle, in the final analysis the summit is simply whatever is inaccessible. It slips away from us, at least until we stop being human, that is, until we stop speaking.


The summit can, though, be opposed to decline as evil to good.
The summit isn’t “what we ought to reach”; nor is decline “what ought to be done away with.”
Just as in the last analysis the summit is simply inaccessible, from the start, decline is inevitable.

PUTTING ASIDE popular confusions, though, I haven’t done away with the necessity for a summit (I haven’t done away with the desire for it). Admitting its inaccessible nature (I approach it only by not setting out for it), I’m not on that score compelled to accept the undisputed sovereignty of the decline (speaking commits me to this stance). I can’t deny the inevitability of decline. The summit itself indicates it. If 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 endeavor 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. I 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.



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