George Bataille’s The Tears of Eros unfolds, innocently enough, as a simple timeline of the history of eroticism in art. According to Bataille. The Tears of Eros is the culmination of Georges Bataille’s inquiries into the relationship between violence and the sacred. Taking up such figures as Giles de . Inspired by Georges Bataille’s essay Tears of Eros, this short hybrid film/video is about erotism and death. Through different analogue manipulations of the.

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According to Bataille, eroticism is set in opposition to Christianity, then aligns with Satanism a real career killerand is finally forced underground by battaille folk. From here on out, Bataille associates eroticism with choose any three scary adjectives … violence, sadism, and horror. My response the essay The Tears of Eros took form early in the reading of it.

I became simultaneously baraille by the content, and annoyed by the manner of the writing. The standard dictionary definition is something like the following; Eroticism is an aesthetic focused on sexual desire, especially the feelings of anticipation of sexual activity.

Sounds good to battaille. But now I have a problem… what do violence, horror, and death have to do with the anticipation of sexual activity? What is Bataille talking about? If I were to attempt a defense, I tearx say that it is NOT that images of violence, horror, and death are themselves erotic… or that actual death is erotic… but rather, that these images, in as much as they deal with the non-idealized body of vulnerable human flesh… the body of mortality… the body of sensuality, which like life is a fleeting experience… then to this extent they symbolize the nature of eroticism, but are not themselves erotic.

The Tears of Eros

Bataille provides a clue i. Hmm, what could that possibly mean? I take it to mean that sobriety is linked to reason and idealism, all of which focus on the unchanging, everlasting truth. The world of the erotic is the world of flesh, emotions, and sensations… a transient world derived from our animal nature. Bataille makes another bold assertion with the following. But why should all of humanity be open to such suffering?


I tearz this is a statement of the existentialist admonition to live in the truth, whereby we accept that the world of meaning, identity, and idealism that we create batailke order to make sense of living… is merely a diversion from the underlying truth of our lives.

That truth being that we will all die, and that there is no meaning in life other than that which we project. Living in truth is to live with the realization which seems horrible that our lives have no inherent meaning. But eroz does this have to do with ov, other than to equate the non-rational source of eroticism our animal nature with the blunt truth erks our animal nature, which is that we are finite, material, and decaying things. I suppose this last thing is exactly how it applies.

Evolving as it has in a western cultural tradition that has historically maintained a dichotomy between the mind and body, eroticism is trapped forever on the body side of that dichotomy… and though the sensual pleasures of the body are many, their summation into the concept of the erotic unites them with other bodily conceptions, such as sickness, death, and decay.

The Unreasonable Way a response based on form An alternative response to the essay is to focus on the form of the writing, rather than the content.

The essay just comes across as so poorly written, in the sense that the reader is not immediately, or even eventually able to understand many of the points being made. I was overwhelmed by seemingly obscure passages, such as the following. But such an appearance proved in the end to be deceptive. And of course, the essay does contain five exclamation points! At any rate, what accounts for these strange and to my mind difficult formal writing devices?


My initial thought was that Bataille, being a French intellectual, was predetermined by his cultures French culture, intellectual culture, and French intellectual culture to be circumspect, emotional, and smugly unconcerned that his audience might not understand him. Curious about the man, I researched a little into his background. It turns out that really is a smug intellectual.

However, a much more interesting bataikle emerged. Bataille was a philosopher, a surrealist, a novelist, and a seminary school dropout. He was fascinated with human sacrifice and founded a secret society, the symbol of which was a decapitated man. These facts shed some light on his essay. I can now imagine a seminary student rejecting the priesthood, who then becomes a philosopher who rejects the Christian attitude toward eroticism.


I can imagine someone fascinated with human sacrifice as being someone who is committed to the world of the flesh… perhaps one that would argue for the earthbound nature of Satanism.

I can see the existentialist in him demanding that humanity live truthfully in the awareness of their own meaningless bodies. Most significantly, I can imagine him as a bataklle, with the surrealist emphasis on subconscious processes… automatic writing, unedited by the rational mind.

I can imagine him not writing essays, but spewing them.

The Tears of Eros

This last point brings up a question that might explain why Bataille writing appears so confusing. Is the unconscious being non rational assigned to our animal nature… or, since it is an element of consciousness, does it have the status btaaille being mind? Is the unconscious mind, or is it body? Can words be erotic simply by being of the body, by being automatically called up from the subconscious? If this is so, then a strange thing has occurred… that an essay, whose content is eroticism, is written eroe an erotic form.

As a final thought, it occurred to me that if one had never been drunk, but wanted to understand intoxication, that should talk to a drunk. So then you yourself might become drunk, so that you can understand the drunk, and therefore understand what intoxication is all about. You have to physically enter the world of the drunk or any world to understand it.

If his prose seems circumspect and emotional, it might be that I am sober to his intoxication. Perhaps a precondition to awareness of eroticism is to enter the world of the erotic… the world of the body… the world of automatic writing where the mind must abandon consciously controlled literary sobriety.

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