2024 IN/OUT

IN: Poetry, thoughtfulness, nuanced and complex feelings

OUT: Chaos season, Georges Bataille-ish negativity (via negativa for post-structuralists), Mind-Body dichotomy, skepticism of language.


Sometime beginning in September, 2023, I stopped reading. I lost my journal too. I’d rather be inarticulate, I thought, living underneath language (that thing that conditions and limits). It’s like a language sacrificed, in Bataillain terms: broken down to an immediate and intimate life. It’s a gesture that gives up trying to articulate meanings (no thinky only feely). I began my movie binge instead. I wanted to be subjected to a stream of constantly changing images. Strobing undercurrents. No time to think. And in November, a fiery and short fling sparked, both of us testing and breaking boundaries and both of us thrown into ambiguity. It left me on the verge of a breakdown in Ikea. Left me standing, next to a woman taking pictures of the desk I leaned upon, with big and smudgy feelings, lost to myself. In December, I bought a new journal, immediately writing down a Jean-Luc Nancy quote, arguing against Bataille: “Existence, in its proper sence, is unsacrificable,” which means “rejoicing in a mediocre and limited life.” 

For Nancy, sacrifice, in spite of its claim towards meaningless or Nothingness, always orients itself to an Absolute Outside or an Other or a subject waiting to be restored. Sacrifice becomes (in spite of what Bataille seems to claim) a sort of renunciation, always appropriable beyond itself. If existence itself is unsacrificable, and also unappropriable beyond its own event, then sacrifice (if it opens up to appropriable meanings like, for example, intimacy) brings us no closer to true existence (authentic life?) than anything else. Which is all to say that this renunciation of language, this position of “no thoughts just vibes,” the ambiguity of a life inarticulate and hugely-felt, is blind to its own finitude and limitation. Ineffability, here, is no closer to the unconditioned life.

This is all a strange way to say that I guess I’m interested more in subtlety and articulation for 2024. That maintaining a literary filter for life, and finding ways to put language where language seems difficult, is no worse than that Bataillian gesture (to put it simply and almost inaccurately) to throw it all out for an ecstatic experience: both are conditioned and limited. It would be better, following Nancy, to rejoice in (and not sacrifice) that limited life.