The human spirit is prey to the most astounding impulses. Man goes constantly in fear of himself. His erotic urges terrify him. The saint turns from the voluptuary in alarm; she does not know that his unacknowledgeable passions and her own are really one. The cohesion of the human spirit whose potentialities range from the ascetic to the voluptuous may nevertheless be sought. The point of view I adopt is one that reveals the coordination of these potentialities. I do not seek to identify them with each other but I endeavour to find the point where they may converge beyond their mutual exclusiveness. I do not think that man has much chance of throwing light , on the things that terrify him before he has dominated them. Not that he should hope for a world in which there would be no cause for fear, where eroticism and death would be on the level of a mechanical process. But man can surmount the things that frighten him and face them squarely. In doing so, he can be rid of the curious misunderstanding of his own nature that has characterised him until now. All I am doing, is to follow a path where others have trodden before me.

 

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Death and Sensuality - A Study of Eroticism - Georges Bataille

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