My first post on Laure and the Sacred can be found here.
The notes for “The Sacred” created by Georges Bataille and Michel Leiris attempt to more clearly define the sacred in Laure’s thought. They write:
The representation of “the sacred” expressed in this text attests to lived experience. . . . This definition would link the sacred to moments in which the isolation of life in the individual sphere is suddenly broken, moments of communication not only between men but between men and the universe in which they are ordinarily foreigners: communication should be understood here in the sense of a fusion, of a loss of oneself, the integrity of which is achieved only in death and of which erotic fusion is an image. Such a conception differs from that of the French sociological school which considers only communication between men; it tends to identify that which mystical experience apprehends with that which the rights and myths of the community bring into play. (87)
So for Laure the sacred is a moment of dissolution of the self, or maybe in more charged language, the recognition that the self is merely one object in a sea of equally existent objects. There is no inherent value of the self–in fact, individual existence seemed to be a key point of depression and anguish for her. As Laure wrote,
My illness is so profoundly linked to my life that it could not be separated from all that I have experienced. So? Perhaps it is one of those misfortunes that turn into luck: you will understand later what I mean by that… (93)
In this way, experiences of suffering are not interruptions or corruptions of singular beings or objects. Tuberculosis is not a violence being done to Laure’s body. Instead, it is another object entering into relationship with her–it is communication, and therefore, it is sacred. This is radical, especially because of the way that it envisions the self. Instead of the traditional model of the subject as a secure, insulated entity that then enters into relationships with other subjects and objects, Laure imagines a world in which the single adult subject lives a terrible life by default. Life is hollow and empty until the subject is interrupted by something else, and that violence infuses the subject with meaning.
“Life is hollow and empty until the subject is interrupted by something else, and that violence infuses the subject with meaning.”
^This could be an interesting way of thinking of “blackness” or “womanhood.”
Incidentally, you do a good job of making ostensibly dense topics very accessible. I really appreciate it, man. I talked about opacity with someone the other day (I’m going to get that book, eventually, by the way!) and it was all thanks to you. The best part is that you don’t distill it down into baby food. You just take the finished product and offer a recipe; cooking it up and serving it is left to me. Good stuff.
(This is the best “teacher evaluation” you will ever get, so cherish this shit.)
You better remember this comment if I ever need a recommendation.
On “blackness”: we enter into weird territory here. Is meaning only generated for a subject through this process? And if so, does that mean that more violence is more meaning. I lean yes.
I lean yes as well. The Civil Rights Movement was strengthened by the backlash of racists. In the “post-racial age,” because violence against black bodies has become more diluted, less potent, blackness has become less meaningful. Black people are “just people” now. Only when blacks kids are shot and rights are denied does blackness make a resurgence.
Yeah, that’s what I thought, I just wanted to force you to take the extra step. BOOM!