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Negative EcstasiesGeorges Bataille and the Study of Religion$
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Jeremy Biles and Kent Brintnall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823265190

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823265190.001.0001

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Violent Silence

Violent Silence

Noise and Bataille’s “Method of Meditation”

(p.95) Violent Silence
Negative Ecstasies

Paul Hegarty

Fordham University Press

In Bataille’s notions of inner experience and meditation, he returns persistently to the seemingly very traditional goal of attaining silence. This essay reminds us of Bataille’s rejection of the idea of the project, of end-oriented practices, in order to rethink his idea of silence in the context of noise. Bataille’s silence is far from what we normally understand, but it is a stilling of the everyday utilitarian world—so what if one way to achieve this was through the expression of noise music, of noise in the place of music? Japan, too, has long-established ways of thinking of meditation as a tool, of silence as a goal. But when we look at the radicalization of avant-garde music in the form of Japanese noise music, as in the hands of Masami Akita (Merzbow), we see that the silence is violent, a process of stopping, thwarting, reaching and falling short. More than simply comparing Bataille’s thoughts with the music of Merzbow, this essay proposes noise as method—as non-end-oriented activity.

Keywords:   Meditation, Experience, Noise, Merzbow

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