Short Excerpt on work from George Bataille's Eroticism

In the domain of our life excess manifests in itself in so far as violence wins over reason. Work demands the sort of conduct where effort is in a constant ration with productive efficiency. It demands rational behaviour where the wild impulses worked out on feast days and usually in games are frowned upon. If we were unable to repress these impulses we should not be able to work, but work introduces the very reason for repressing them. These impulses confer an immediate satisfaction on those who yield to them. Work, on the other hand, promises to those who overcome them a reward late on whose value cannot be disputed except from the point of view of the present moment. From the earliest times work has produced a relaxation of tension thanks to which men cease to respond to the immediate urge impelled by the violence of desire. No doubt it is arbitrary always to construct the detachment fundamental to work with tumultuous urges whose necessity is not constant. Once began, however, work does make it impossible to respond to these immediate solicitations which could make us indifferent to the promised desirable results. Most of the time, work is the concern of men acting collectively and during the time reserved for work the collective has to oppose those contagious impulses to excess in which nothing is left but the immediate surrender to excess, to violence, that is. Hence the human collective, partly dedicated to work, is defined by taboos without which it would not have become the world of work that it essentially is. Eroticism. p. 41

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