: The Accursed Share: an Essay on General Economy, Vol. 1: Consumption (): Georges Bataille, Robert Hurley: Books. In George Bataille’s three volume The Accursed Share, he imagines a primitive subsistence society that gathers just a little more food or other. This essay addresses Georges Bataille as a historical thinker by concentrating on The Accursed Share (three volumes, ), the text.

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For us, that nonbeing is filled with meaning: The contrast between the acquisition of power from ostentatious destruction and contemporary power from an accumulation of wealth is of interest. Potlatch was for the purpose of humiliating, challenging, and obligating another to return a gift AC1, One participates in the global movement of energy by annihilating himself as he exists in his embedded life: But someone must do the burning, and esteem and status are be left over as a residue of that role along with, perhaps, a few items or treats snatched from the fire before they are consumed.

That is to say, totality is simultaneously the norm of procedure as well as the instrumental result of our social desires. Yet these are, fundamentally, coping strategies for a problem: Oxford University Press, That movement removes some of the pain because I risk my stable everydayness to appropriate a couple tears.

Bataille indeed says just that, in rather poetic shage Money as accurssed light is therefore pretty much an infinite resource that seems to be intuited by humans as they waste it on a grand scale.

It is quite possible to have the state own everything and still convert all gifts to capital, as Stalin demonstrated.

Touchstone Terms: The Accursed Share

The solution to the problem of surplus is a gift-giving different from practices which we have grown accustomed to: IMHO, the truth is, money is for all practical purposes infinite so the problem is creating a rate of expenditure that is sustainable and doesn’t foul the planet. Bataille is arguing for a push towards the limits of existence, of nothingness, rather than a desire to die. One can survive with a single kidney, but there is a risk involved, including several days of hospitalization and a month or so of convalescence, in addition to tremendous pain.


Bataille consciously construes an epistemic totality that aims not at the isolated particularity of individual economic events, but one that is always regulated by an idea that all organic behaviour is based upon similar principles, in this case a superabundance of energy.

Money “breeds” as Brown has said which creates the illusion of infinite surplus.

Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link. The cancer patient who has been told his end will come in a few months, an elderly woman immobile and bed-ridden, the extreme sports enthusiast parachuting from 4, meters above the earth, plunging head-first towards the ground at kilometers per hour. Gift-giving and eroticism are always dealing with death, and similarly the exuberance of life: If my lover is not wasting her energies on me, btaille I am not squandering mine on her, in my restlessness I will seek out another, one who can keep me up until sunrise frolicking between the sheets.

Contrast this account with the general economy. Because it is on a computer screen, there is also the possibility of sharing the experience and the reasoning with others. The guy flew past me and as he did he threw batailpe wad of bills as big as grapefruit. The sacrifice pulls the victim out from the real order of useful things and posits him as sacred. But there is still a hypothetical problem: But productive body parts can also be given away, Lingis observes, the most simple of which is lending a hand.

If I demand a rekindling of the kind of gift-giving that does not place productive value on objects, and ask to use them, circulate them, and even destroy them for the end of pure expenditure, I fear I may be asking too much.


A Translation of Sein und Zeit, trans. Bataille represents a very different example of problem of the use of a materialist totality.

After some time of squandering my wealth this way I decided to take my one or two dollars and purchase instant-win lottery tickets. This resulted in a sense of a limit on freedom on the part of the donor.

Hereafter cited as NE. Robert Hurley, New York: They often develop techniques for expending their growth, like potlatch gift ceremonies, monastic non-working sects, or invasion of other countries. The philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre cited The Accursed Share in his Critique of Dialectical Reasoncrediting Bataille with interesting insights into the way extravagance can become an “economic function.

Bataille’s The Accursed Share: Skip to main content. University of California Press, A wedding feast, an extravagant gift, an exhausting effort made to rescue someone lost at sea or in an avalanche, or a life spent in research that brought no profit and perhaps ended in a dead end — all these forms of potlatch get their meaning from death; they are festive and celebratory ways of dying.

Happiness consists in knowing that we live by luck and in the reckless freedom of staking our life.

Bataille’s The Accursed Share: The Implications of Excess | Troy Bordun –

Death and Sensuality, trans. When two individuals share 3 It is important to understand the use and meaning of this word. I have truly given myself in a caress.

With the restricted economy, limits are hypostatized then ignored, turning instead to an illusion of limitless expansion and utility.