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Project 9 notebook - page

[Bataille op.cit. cont.]

That nauseous rank heaving matter, frightful to look upon, a ferment of life, teeming with maggots, worms, grubs, eggs and slime is at the bottom of the decisive reactions we call nausea/disgust/repugnance.

Beyond the annihilation to come that will fall with all its weight on the being that I now am, which still waits to be called into existence, which can even be said to be about to exist rather than to exist (as if I did not exist here and now but in the future in store for me) death will proclaim my return to seething life.

Hence I can anticipate and live with the expectation of that terrible putrescence that anticipates its triumph in my person. {Consider Heidegger on death}

But I only anticipate – for I shall never actually ‘experience’ it. My revulsion is an aesthetic – no post-reflection.

It is in the nature of this fear – the basis of disgust – that it is not stimulated by a real danger. The threat in question cannot be justified.

The recoiling at the sight of advanced decay is not of itself inevitable. Along with this reaction is a whole range of artificial behaviour.

The horror we feel at the thought of a corpse is akin to the feeling we have at human excreta. What makes this association more compelling is our similar disgust at aspects of sensuality we call obscene. The sexual channels are also the body’s sewers. There are unmistakeable links between excreta, decay and sexuality.

It is difficult to make tangible this sense of nausea. It is a kind of void, a sinking sensation.


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