Bataille, formless, and the universe

A dictionary begins when it no longer gives the meaning of words, but their tasks. Thus formless is not only an adjective having a given meaning, but a term that serves to bring things down in the world, generally requiring that each thing have its form. What it designates has no rights in any sense and gets itself squashed everywhere, like a spider or an earthworm. In fact, for academic men to be happy, the universe would have to take shape. All of philosophy has no other goal: it is a matter of giving a frock coat to what is, a mathematical frock coat. On the other hand, affirming that the universe resembles nothing and is only formless amounts to saying that the universe is something like a spider or spit

Georges Bataille

The universe is a spit. What is problematized is not the universe but the spit that evades the endeavors to be rendered a universe, the spit that repudiates but haunts the universe, the spit that “philosophy” and “academic men” fail to catch sight of but trace; that which exceeds the universe, its dictionary, and meaning. The spit remains what the universe attempts to resemble, but what the universe cannot think; the universe is what the universe cannot be, a spit; and a dictionary begins when it never begins, when ‘beginning’ becomes the word that the dictionary lacks, a dictionary begins when it is “no longer”, when meaning becomes elsewhere, an elsewhere that is neither within nor without, an elsewhere that obscures its words, the words of the dictionary, and the word ‘dictionary’; when “formless” announces its form, which is not formless but remains formless; what is “in the world” but what the world cannot contain, what announces in the world what bypasses the world; an announcement that says nothing and everything, but remains unsaid, a spit, but not nothing and not everything. What is problematized is the spit that exceeds in its receding.

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