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Susan Sonntag

I read Story of the Eye by George Bataille, accidentally the image of the cover is Marchel Duchamp's work Etant Donée: it seems the topics of my research have a sort of inner link. The interesting part of this book is the essay at the end The Pornographic Imagination by Susan Sontag. I have written here below some points that are of particular interest for my research:

Human sexuality is, quite apart from Christian repressions, a highly questionable phenomena, and belongs, at least potentially, among the extreme rather than ordinary experiences of humanity.  Tamed as it may be, sexuality remains one of the demonic forces in human consciousness –pushing us at intervals close to taboo and dangerous desires, which range from the impulse to commit sudden arbitrary violence upon another person to the voluptuous yearning for extinction of one’s consciousness, for death itself.

Religion is probably, after sex, the second oldest resource which human beings have available to themselves for blowing their minds.

Man, the sick animal, bears within him an appetite which can drive him mad.  Such is the understanding of sexuality – as something beyond good and evil, beyond love, beyond sanity; as a resource for ordeal and for breaking through the limits of consciousness.

Perhaps the deepest spiritual resonance of the career of pornography in its “modern” Western phase under consideration here is this vast frustration of human passion and seriousness since the old religious imagination, with its secure monopoly on the total imagination, began in the late eighteenth century to crumble.

The need of human beings to transcend “the personal” is no less profound than to be a person, an individual.  But this society serves that need poorly.  It provides mainly demonic vocabularies in which to situate that need and from which to initiate action and construct rites of behavior.


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