Prometheus Dismembered: Bataille on Van Gogh, or The Window in the Bataille Restaurant

Karl Jaspers Society of North America

This essay will be presented at the APA Central Conference of the Karl Jaspers Society of North America in the Palmer House Hilton, Chicago.

The Karl Jaspers Society Conference will focus upon the reception of Van Gogh amongst Continental Philosophers.

‘Prometheus Dismembered: Bataille on Van Gogh’ will be given as part of Session One, Van Gogh with Jaspers, Heidegger, and Bataille, on Thursday, February 27th, 2014, 7:40-10:40PM.

Click here for more information on the American Philosophical Association Central Annual Meeting 2014

Prometheus Dismembered: Bataille on Van Gogh, or
The Window in the Bataille Restaurant
 James Luchte

I will begin my address with a minor coincidence.

The Window of the Bataille Restaurant, sketched with pencil in Paris in 1887, shows us a typical Van Gogh scenario, a table with a chair, setting in front of a window, which not only reveals the (framed) world outside, but also lets the soft light into the space of the restaurant.  We can see Van Gogh’s hat and coat hanging on the wall by the window.  We can also see two men below outside on the street. The Window in the Bataille RestaurantIn general, the painting is quite dark, except for the intensity of the window and the motes of light that it channels onto the chair and table and the one who stands where he stands, in the position of the artist.  Yet, this does not in itself disclose the coincidence.  That it is a window in namely the Bataille restaurant is where the coincidence comes into view since today I came to talk with you upon the theme of light in Bataille’s interpretation of Van Gogh – yet, at the same time, there is a painting by Van Gogh with a central motif of light, and in reference to the name of Bataille.  Of course, to give any real significance to such a coincidence, even if it is one, is, one would usually argue, merely faulty logic, fuelled by superstitious thinking, by the fatalism of synchronicity.

To read the rest of the essay, please visit Prometheus Dismembered
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Marx and the Sacred

Religious suffering is at one and the same time the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. Religion is the opium of the people.

Marx

Perhaps the most formidable obstacle in the task of retrieving a sense of the sacred in Marx consists in his repeated, and often polemical, statements against religion. Indeed, such an obstacle may in the end be one of our own making, as we are trapped within the labyrinth of our own historical understanding. Yet, assuming, for the moment, that religion and the sacred are the same phenomena, if we take his pronouncement (in the opening quotation) that religion is the opium of the people in isolation, we may be led to believe that Marx felt that at best religion—and thus the “sacred”—is a narcotic, which, while it may be utilized to alleviate pain, remains an illusory amelioration for a situation of despair.

Religion as an opiate not only implies sedation from the pain of a life of exploitation, but also suggests a systematic and strategic attempt to deaden or absorb any critical impulse to liberation. In this sense, Marx’s characterization of religion as an opiate is a forerunner to many of the most radical criticisms of religion in twentieth-century theology and philosophy—Gutierrez, Miranda, Bultmann, Heidegger, and Bataille. Each of these thinkers, in his own way, articulated a sense of the sacred in the wake of Marx and his deconstruction of religion as an ideology.

To read the rest of this essay, please visit Marx and the Sacred

The Lampeter Review #8

Jubilee

To watch more live poetry, please visit James Luchte… Poetry.

Icarus of Trafalgar Square

To watch more live poetry, please visit James Luchte… Poetry.

Of the Feral Children: A Mayan Farce

Of the Feral Children: Synopsis and Review

Of the Feral Children: A Mayan Farce: 1

‘From the re-incarnation of a Dadaist Poet fixated on an Edwardian Pornographic photo to the end of British Civilisation in an Apocalyptic Earthquake, this novel sprawls across the devastated landscape of the ‘teens of this century. The seedy underworld and the seedy overworld clash in a kaleidoscope of sex and violence leaving only the ‘feral children’ to make their own world from the wreckage.’

Watch Wasteland, a documentary by William Wright on squatting in the United Kingdom.

‘Marx and the Sacred’ – Journal of Church and State

Journal of Church and State‘Marx and the Sacred’, Journal of Church and State, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp. 413-437.

Religious suffering is at one and the same time the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions.Religion is the opium of the people.

Perhaps the most formidable obstacle in the task of retrieving a sense of the sacred in Marx consists in his repeated, and often polemical, statements against religion. Indeed, such an obstacle may in the end be one of our own making, as we are trapped within the labyrinth of our own historical understanding.

To read the entire essay, please visit Marx and the Sacred

Julian Assange – The Horror of the Open

AssangeJulian Assange amidst

the horror of the Open –

Julian Assange, the Messenger

of the abject horror of contemporary

existence – a dystopic world of

a monstrous corporate ‘personhood’ –

(as the ‘Assange Affair’ has ironically

PR-esqued, suffocated, suppressed –

nearly total erasure of the very

question, the message & the medium, lost again…)

—- what, after all, did Wikileaks leak?

Could we go over that again?

To read the rest of the poem, please visit Julian Assange – The Horror of the Open

Dawn 黎明 (Dawn with Chinese Translation)

issue_4Translated by Dr Wang Shunning of the Department of Philosophy, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.  Published in English in the Lampeter Review, Issue 4

Dawn

Where the Hesperides –

lovely nymphs of

the evening –

dance –

this

黎明

在可爱的赫斯佩里得斯——

夜之宁芙们——

跳着

To read the rest, visit Dawn 黎明

Icarus of Trafalgar Square

Protest_86451bThe sublime sun beckons

burning out the eyes

of those who

dare to gaze

into its depths

The abyss of light –

Yet, you were already

blind to the light

of Terra, of Earth,

long gazed into

this luminous event

the mere distance

of the gaze is

no longer enough

for your joy –

you seek to fly

To read the rest of the poem, please visit: Icarus of Trafalgar Square

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