Human life is exasperated by having served as the head and reason of the universe. Insofar as it becomes this head and this reason, insofar as it becomes necessary to the universe, it accepts serfdom.
Has the human being ever, for a single second, been able to discover an expression of liberty which rises above misery? In an eloquent world where logic reduces each thing to a certain order, William Blake spoke, on his own, the language of the Bible or the Vedas. By so doing he managed to restore life to original energy. So the truth of Evil which is essentially a rejection of subservience, is his truth. He is one of us, singing in the tavern and laughing with the children. He is never a ‘sad sire’, moralising and rational, who looks after himself and his money and slowly yields to the sadness of logic, without energy.
The moralist condemns the energy which he lacks. There is no doubt that humanity had to go through this phase. How could it survive if it had not denounced an excess of energy, if the very number of those who lacked energy had not brought those who had too much of it to their senses? But the necessity of adapting oneself ultimately demands a return to innocence. The marvellous indifference and childishness of William Blake, his feeling of ease when confronted with the impossible, his anguish which left boldness intact, all his defects and qualities were the expression of a simpler age and marked a return to lost innocence. Even a paradoxical form of Christianity can serve to indicate this; he is the only man to have seized with both hands, from two extremes, the roundabout of all times. Everything within him came to a halt before the necessity which entails laborious activity in a factory. He could not reply to the cold face animated by the pleasure of discipline. This sage, whose wisdom was close to folly, who was never disheartened by the work on which his liberty depended, did not have the self-effacement of those who ‘understand’, who surrender, renouncing victory. His energy rejected concessions to the spirit of work. His writings have a festive turbulence which gives the feelings he expressed a sense of laughter and liberty run loose. He never pursed his lips. The horror of his mythological poems is there to liberate us, not to flatten us: it reveals the great momentum of the universe. It calls for energy, never for depression.
The connection between Bataille and fascism should by now be obvious: the same withdrawal from secularized modernity into a blood cult, the same ‘alphabet of unreason’ (Ballard). Naturally, it’s too quick, too crass, to say that Bataille was a fascist. But Ginzburg did more than enough to establish that it wasn’t for nothing that the Acephale group were accused of being ‘Surfascists’ (a name they themselves happily appropriated). The group had praised Hitler’s virile forthrightness and Bataille, Ginzburg said, had been bewitched by the phallic power of the Nazis. He sought, impossibly, tragically, to attain the ‘innocence of animals’, to sink into the porcine ignorance-bliss of a creature consciousness unburdened by intellect and reason.