Bataille's excess

To understand Bataille, it pays in any case to have read some Nietzsche, Marx, Hegel and Freud, since he draws a lot from these. Visions of Excess has a simply premise from Nietzsche, that when we are unhappy we lose all moderation and go into excess. Another Nietzschean premise is that those who a psychologically rich can afford to go into excess more than those who are psychologically impoverished. So it is that Bataille tries to appeal to a particular segment of society -- those who have been made to feel unhappy by their lack of power in relation to society's hierarchical structure, but who are nonetheless intrinsically rich enough, within themselves, to express a different kind of spirituality than those who are on top.

VISIONS OF EXCESS contains short meditations, some of them pornographic, but all of them in relation to the structure of psychology I have described. Bataille sees society as a body, with the lower parts being more important than generally assumed. He likes the idea of a body without a head. He also likes the idea of challenging oneself with greater and greater forms of evil. This is a Nietzschean conception, that incorporating more active force, that we tend to conceptualise as "evil", into the consciousness, expands existence.
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