Death As an Imposter (a text of Georges Bataille translated by Vadim Bystritski) — Before and After Francis Ponge

I exist, around me extends the void, the real world’s darkness. I exist and continue blind, anxious, because people next to me are so obviously other beings, feeling nothing of what I feel. As I imagine my arrival in this world from the union of a man and a woman, and at the very moment of that conjunction, a unique opportunity is a decision taken about this me that I am, and without which for me, ultimately, there would not be anything. Of this small difference, I am the consequence. As far as I am concerned, without that there wouldn’t be anything, the same as in case of my death.

This tiny chance of my arrival suspended over void, seems to challenge the void, this infinite painful impossibility facing the unique being that I am.

The others’ presence near me matters little, given my unsubstentiabiliity in the midst of negligence, my awareness of my loneliness. The notion of unique chance follows me in the world where I abide, and where we both, the world and myself, are total strangers to it all.

And if the world fails to grasp this consciousness of mine, trembling, I give up all hope of logical cohesion, vowing myself to immobility, first my own, then to take it to another level, of everything else, which is a situation of some staggering drunk, who mistaking his life for a candle that he has blown out, is left screaming in the dark…

J’existe — autour de moi, s’étend le vide, l’obscurité du monde réel — j’existe, je demeure aveugle, dans l’angoisse : chacun des autres est tout autre que moi, je ne sens rien de ce qu’il sent. Si j’envisage ma venue au monde liée à la naissance puis à la conjonction d’un homme et une femme, et même, à l’instant de la conjonction — une chance unique décida de la possibilité de ce moi que je suis : en dernier ressort l’impossibilité folle du seul être sans lequel, pour moi, rien ne serait. La plus petite différence dans la suite dont je suis le terme : au lieu de moi avide d’être moi, il n’y aurait quant à moi que le néant, comme si j’étais mort.

Death As an Imposter (a text of Georges Bataille translated by Vadim Bystritski) — Before and After Francis Ponge

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