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Bataille Summary

Page history last edited by Cristal Gonzalez 10 years, 10 months ago

Summary- “Heterology”, Georges Bataille
    Deconstruction as it’s understood is the basic stripping away of every preconception and traditional perception of the world to the very basic paradox which was begun by Jacques Derrida in the late 1960s. By focusing on the differentiation in the relations on which the Structuralists focused on, he created the idea of “differance”. (Rivkin 257) This method is based on how something was “something”-- Derrida believed that it was the differences between objects and ideas that led it to “be”. The process in which it became to “be” was the primordial process which pre-dated and toppled the accepted forms of ancient philosophies by Aristotle and Plato. Instead of accepting and taking for granted the fundamental ideas on which knowledge is based, Derrida looked at what exactly made the basic ideas-- by applying “spatial differences and temporal delays”, he stated that it was the differences between them that created them in the first place; the relations is what created them, thus toppling the foundation of the accepted “knowledge” that we are engrained with from birth. (Rivkin 258-61)Everything only exists when one relates it to everything else, which highlights the differences, thus making it unique. This can be traced to Heidegger’s idea of defining “being”- “being” itself does not exist unless you can identify all the differences that make up that “being”. One cannot define “being” by using “being”; you have to find the replacement ideas which then make it up as a whole.
    Bataille introduces a methodology to be able to begin the analysis of the “differance” by categorizing the accepted reality and the non accepted leftovers, the “waste”, which appears in cultures. Homogeneity, the “static equilibrium”, is where one creates approbation (the sacred)-- heterogeneity is what forms from the negative, the “excretion” of the accepted forms which we give meaning. (Bataille 273)
    Bataille states that only when we stop considering what we “think” we know is when the idea of “excretion” can lead to heterology, which ends up questioning the homogeneitous structure from which it was created. When one looks at philosophy, religion and poetry, Bataille believes that philosophy only imagines the waste as abstract universals, so the waste can only have negative connotations; this enables a “sufficient” identification in a never ending world, only hinting at the “unknowable” in the known. (Bataille 274) Religion, though dealing with the same “sacred” and “wasteful” facts, cannot be compared because it does not use the scientific method by which heterology determines these ideas.
    His theory of heterological knowledge bases itself on the rejection of any “homogenous representation…in other words, to any philosophical system.” (Bataille 274) The intellectual process limits itself by placing meaning of the waste-- by using the heterological method, which consciously rethinks the waste in a way completely different way than the normal prescribed homogenetic mehtod. This would open up the “sacred” to be seen in the waste by employing the principles of practical heterology.
    These basic principles are presented in six steps, which begin with the initial stripping of preconceived “sacred” in homogeneity. Instead, we should begin to consider that the “sacred” is a representation of the heterogeneity in a restricted form. We then have to consider all sacred things that do not fall within religion and magic as the excretion of the homogenous “society”, which not only includes the accepted forms of waste but also those “unconscious” processes which the latter is unable to describe or actually “be”. We then shift to the person and the effect of these hetergenous unseen forces can cause a reaction, and how opposing reactions can exist within that one person. While these things do not effect actual objects, the previous unseen forces can be applied to various fields. (Bataille 276-77)
    If we separate the idea of homogenous and heterogeinous realities, we then see that homogenous is represented in “the abstract and neutral aspect of strictly defined and identified objects.” Heterogenous is the unseen which can drive them. (Bataille 276)
    One representation of this deconstructive method can be seen in the TV show, Dexter. Initially we are presented with a character which our homogenous knowledge acknowledges as a sociopath. But as the show progresses and one sees him in relation to the other characters on the show, we begin to see him in the heterogenous view of reality. Here, his sociopath psyche is explained, which leads the viewer to begin to see him as what we would call “normal.”  The other characters, which in our initial homogenous knowledge we would consider “normal”, begin to change as we shift into a heterogenous view. We begin to question our own preconceptions of right and wrong, even though in our society, we know that his character is inherently wrong because he is a sociopath and a killer. But if we consider it in a heterogeneity reality, his world makes sense.

Bataille, Georges. “Heterology”. 1930. Rpt: Literary Theory: An     Anthology. Ed. By     Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Blackwell Publishing. 2004. Print.
Dexter. Showtime: Dexter: Season One. October 1 2006. Netflix. Recorded TV.
Rivkin, Julie; Michael Ryan. “Introduction: Introductory Deconstruction.” Printed in     Literary Theory: An Anthology. Ed. By Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Blackwell     Publishing. 2004. Print.

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