Bataille and Solar Anus Economy/Capitalism: Note Quote

Focusing on Bataille as a pivotal point, his take on Solar Economy is a bit weird to begin with, but, then I do see its relevance to accelerationism. The take on political economy is driven by excess, rather than scarcity, a plethora of energy (like that from the sun) that would not just facilitate growth, but would be vulnerable to expenditure in a purely apathetic manner as well. That is how he differentiates the general from the restricted economy. I am keen to note how accelerationism, if guarded by the normative (I understand the term to carry a baggage of strictures) dromos (dromocracy), would shift the balance of the economic towards the general rather than the restricted. I think, if capitalism gets overridden by the belief in this economic, a probable fracture within it could be affected. Bataille, then would make his presence felt even more crucially for the ultimate eschatology of capitalism.


Bataille provides a premonitory text relating the energy of the sun, the sexual movements and excitements of the cosmos and of terrestrial life, and the anus of an eighteen-year-old girl. Operating at the intersection between his sexually explicit literary works – think here especially of Madame Edwarda, whose eponymous hero demonstrates that her labia are the copula of God: “Madame Edwarda’s old rag and ruin leered at me, hairy and pink, just as full of life as some loathsome squid. […] “You can see for yourself,” she said, “I am GOD.” – and his later development of a theory of a general economy of expenditure in La part maudite, “The Solar Anus” provides a rich but conceptually underdeveloped reading of the cosmic and terrestrial with regard to their potency, fertility, and fundamental antagonism.  Bataille writes,

Disasters, revolutions, and volcanoes do not make love with the stars. The erotic revolutionary and volcanic deflagrations antagonize the heavens. As in the case of violent love, they take place beyond fecundity. In opposition to celestial fertility there are terrestrial disasters, the image of terrestrial love without condition, erection without escape and without rule, scandal, and terror. […] The Sun exclusively loves the Night and directs its luminous violence, its ignoble shaft, toward the earth, but it finds itself incapable of reaching the gaze or the night, even though the nocturnal terrestrial expanses head continuously toward the indecency of the solar ray.

In La part maudite, Bataille goes on to develop his argument against scarcity, which contends that, from the point of view of a general economy, the key problem on the tellurian surface is not the conservation of energy, but its expenditure [depenser].  Bataille offers the following reversal of the political economy of scarcity:

I will begin with a basic fact: The living organism, in a situation determined by the play of energy on the surface of the globe, ordinarily receives more energy than is necessary for maintaining life; the excess energy (wealth) can be used for the growth of a system (e.g., an organism); if the system can no longer grow, or if the excess cannot be lost without profit; it must be spent, willingly or not, gloriously or catastrophically. (The Accursed Share)

The “curse” of the accursed share is disturbingly simple: the earth is bombarded with so much energy from the sun that it simply cannot spend it all without disaster. Over the course of millions of years of solar bombardment, the creatures enslaved to this “celestial fertility” by way of photosynthetic-reliant metabolic systems are forced to become increasingly burdensome forms of life. By the end of the Ediacaran period, we find the emergence of animals with bones, teeth, and claws, and eventually even more flamboyant expenditures like tigers and peacocks, and later still, tall buildings. Or, as Bataille suggests in his short text “Architecture,” for the surrealist Critical Dictionary: “Man would seem to represent merely an intermediate stage within the morphological development between monkey and building.” With this morphology of expenditure in mind, let us now return to the anal image of thought.


What the theory of expenditure calls into question in its most precise philosophical reading is the division between useful and wasteful (flamboyant) practices; this is because in order for any theory of use value to be coherent, it must first restrict the economy, or field of operations, within which it is operating. The restriction of this field of energy exchange is a moral action inasmuch as it sets up the conditions for any action in the field to be read as either productive or wasteful. For Bataille, the general economy permits us to evaluate the terms of restriction as a means to call into question the cultural values and forms of social organization they engender. Because of this, the “anus of her body at eighteen years old” must be intact: as a potential for pure loss, pure expenditure of energy without reserve and without reproduction, Bataille is transfixed by the analogy of glorious or catastrophic expenditure in relation to the energy of the sun and the potential for escaping this curse as much as the curse of the intact anus.



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