An Exuberant Nothingness in the Sacred World: Georges Bataille on Sovereignty


Author: HE Lei, Professor, School of Culture and Comunication, Capital University of  Economics and Business.


The theory of sovereignty represents the pinnacle and ultimate goal of Georges Bataille's lifelong pursuit. For him, mirroring the degeneration from a society of consumption” to a society of enterprise, contemporary capitalist society has reduced human beings to objectified slaves, devoid of sovereignty. Nevertheless, sovereignty remains the noble essence of what it means to be human, an enduring and glorious fire within the inner self. The pursuit of sovereignty entails comprehending and forsaking the enslavement imposed by the utilitarian world, seeking sacred and miraculous moments beyond rational thought, relinquishing plans so as to embrace living in the present, actively choosing a life marked by dedication and sacrifice, and finally, experiencing the supreme glory of freedom and liberty at the moment of rupture with the utilitarian world.


Georges Bataille, désœuvrer, non-savoir, the sacred, sovereignty, nothingness

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