Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Tosh's Journal - September 10 (Georges Bataille)


September 10

I have weekly meetings with the College of Sociology, which usually takes place at lunchtime at various cafes and from time-to-time, in people's homes. We had a meeting last week, which took place in my living room. The one thing we all have in common is that we strongly disagree with the theory of Surrealism. We all feel that the surrealist's focus on the unconscious privileged the individual over Society, and therefore ignores the social dynamic of experiencing the human that works in various social groupings. As a group, we're interested in "Sacred Sociology, and we study all manifestations of social existence where the active presence of the sacred is quite clear." We have studied and critiqued the army, Marquis de Sade, English monarchy, literature, sexuality, Hitler and of course Hegel. Each one of us must present an essay or a lecture every week.

Within this group, there is a secret society where we meet on a monthly basis, always late at night, in the nearby forest. Our meeting place is by an oak tree that was once struck by lightning. The "acéphale" (greek for headless) Society is devoted to performing certain practices, including nudity and eating raw meat of some sort. Using a flashlight in the pitch blackness of the forest, we read aloud passages from Sade and Nietzsche. We see these two writers as liberators of the human spirit, and therefore in great secret, we celebrate their thoughts as it is written in their books. For purity, we read the works in its original language: German and French (for Sade). We all discuss carrying out the human sacrifice, but we couldn't agree on who the executioner should be. Every one of us in the group wanted to be sacrificed, and none wanted to be the executor.

We were fascinated with the art of "slow slicing," or better known as "death by a thousand cuts." It was a type of torture and execution used in China from AD 900 until it was banned in 1905. During the execution, a knife is placed on the body, where the executors would cut pieces of the flesh, till the prisoner dies. Opium would be applied mostly to prevent fainting of the criminal. The criminal must be conscious of his or her body being stripped slowly. In general, these executions took place in the public square, where the citizens can watch the drama that is taking place in front of them.

"We have in only two certainties in this world - that we are not everything and that we will die." The ritual of death is fascinating and sharing our thoughts within this group, is something that I treasure greatly. "Sacrifice is nothing other than the production of sacred things." We tend to stay by the oak tree till the lightness of the dawn, and then we wander back to our homes, thinking it was just a dream. Alas, we know it isn't because we all shared as series of moments reflecting on death.  Therefore becoming more alive knowing that the moment will happen eventually. A good friend of mine told me once that "work is making a living out of being bored." Thinking of death somehow frees me from boredom, and knowing that, makes living way much more intense. And on top of that, I don't have a job; therefore, I'm never bored.

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