One of my earliest BM-designs more than 10 years ago now. Perhaps a bit naive but I wanted to capture the unique BM spirit. I believe I succeeded: the rawness, its amoral and inhuman nature. Black Metal remains one of the few artistic exponents of Bataille’s base materialism.

The phrase aestheticising of the self refers to the work of the French philosopher Michel Foucault. In the last two parts of his work L’Histoire de la sexuality (The History of sexuality) Foucault develops the idea of an ethics of the self: “Through the formation of a ‘critical ontology of the self’ it is possible to formulate an alternative ethical standpoint from which individuals can begin to resist the normalizing force of the ‘government of individualization’.” (McNay 1994: 133) The ethics of the self is derived from a Greek – Roman understanding about morals as an excercise in modesty and self-control. Foucault goes against the normalizing process that has been going on since modernity.

This is a process that forces each individual to ‘fit in’, to obey the hegemonic laws. Foucault calls this “new forms of subjectivity through the refusal of this kind of individuality which has been imposed on us for several decades.” (Foucault 1984b: 216). The “refusal of this kind of individuality” started from (and actually still does) the judeo-christean morality which enforces a universal law. This understanding, secularized in today’s disciplinary power and the bio-power, requires total obedience of the human subject. The Greek-Roman notion, on the other hand, regards morality as a practice, an exercise. Foucault argues that man must create himself as ‘an individual’ instead of listening to external norms and rules. Those sets of rules that tell us how to dress, how and what to eat, how to behave and so on. The example of the new modern individual is Charles Baudelaire: Baudelaire, being a dandy, is modern because he craves for an ‘essential inner self’, but he produces or rather creates ‘a new self’ (McNay 1994: 149). This new self is able to control itself, its limits and desires, but plays freely with them and as such is truly able to transgress the limits imposed by society, the Symbolic Order. In this regard Foucault refers to the insights of Georges Bataille.

The Baudelairean individual truly stands out and creates his own self and destroys the one that is imposed on him. As such Foucault does not introduce a new ethics (thou shallt) but a new ethos, a mode de vie. This is an ethos which I see reflected in BM being an ominous, powerful and sovereign artistic movement that has created and recreated itself during the years. From Deathspell Omega onwards to Svartidaudi today the revolutionary black flame is still burning brightly. These artists are sometimes anonymous for they let their Black art speak for itself. They are Satanists, not because they boast about Satan, burn churches, not they have become vehicles, actual nexions that allow the sinister forces of the Acausal to enter. They are truly sovereign because there is no law that dictates their Art and they control them-selves, their limits and desires otherwise they would not be able to create such works of art.

The Sinister Way of the ONA can take various forms. Mine is a philosophical – mystical one, for others this means that practice of Black Magic, and so on, but something adepts of the ONA share, is the fact that they are individuals: self-control, knowing one’s limits and desires and using them to grow as an individual in order to transgress society’s limits each in his own unique way and to presence the Sinister.

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Von Sanngetall

Slave and Master and devoted to the Acephalic God. The body and mind can be a nexion for the Dark Gods. Joy before Death! 333!

7 thoughts on “Sovereignty”

  1. “For the just man is a law unto himself, having no need to fetch for himself from a distance the form of virtue” (Ambrose).

    “The just man serves neither God nor creatures, for he is free” (Eckhart).


    1. Thank your for your comments. I have been pondering whether the first quote is fitting though. I don’t know the work of Ambrose and I’ve just read about him and his work on wikipedia. But Ambrosing being a Christian theologian makes me wonder whether Ambrose had something like sovereignty in mind. He promulgated a standard of Christian ethics, which is exactly what Foucault reacted against.

      The ‘just’ man is a law unto himself, but the question is what does one comprehend by ‘just’. Just is defined by ethics and ethics are a standard which is imposed unto the crowd and one is not allowed to stand out, to “ex-sist”. A just man has become perfect, because he has “incorporated”, he “embodies” the law that is being promulgated by saints, theologians, law makers, … He does not need the form of virtue.

      I do not question the second quote for the mysticism of Eckart, the via negativa, is something I relate to from an acephalic point of view. I must add that Bataille was more radical than the mystics he was influenced by for Bataille did not believe in any form of redemption, salvation, whatsoever. There is no mystic union when the head explodes.


  2. I see your point, which has to do with ontotheology, etc. Yet I do not consider it worthwhile or at all meaningful to worry over another’s ethics, whether they are correct or acceptable or not, as that is only to reinstall sovereignty in one’s own name, to remain a critical decider of good and bad, and thus a subject of alien law. The point is to have the courage to truly have a *morality of one’s own* and thus realize the real meaning of ethics which is essentially becoming (ethos). From this perspective the celebration of transgression and anything-goes-ness is no less tyrannical than traditional morality. In fact it is more tyrannical insofar as it jettisons even practical common sense within the stupid rubric of ‘why not?’

    Would that St. Paul had written, ‘all that is written is written for *my* doctrine’, instead of ‘our’! By not doing that he proves himself the agent or tool of the self-aggrandizing religious, servile impulse, of installing the good in identitarian form. “Identity is the primal form of ideology” (Adorno). But if we hold that all that is written is written for *my* doctrine in a headless way, that is, for me, but not for me the competitive separate ego-dude who might be trying to get one up on you, then we have a properly abyssic and paradisical ground for ethics.

    From this perspective I freely cite Ambrose, against the so-and-so he supposedly is if need be. Ambrose is no one (to me).

    Indeed there is no mystic union when the head explodes. For when one becomes God, when one sees that one was, is, and forever will be God, the last thing there ever was, is, or will be, is any ‘mystic union’!

    I think there is a fundamental agreement here, whether or not, or maybe better precisely because of the contradictions in what we are saying/implying.


    1. I agree!

      Another’s ethics is indeed not worth paying attention with the intention of creating a new ethics. That would only be a secondary form. Ethics should become ethos in the sense of “becoming” the way Nietzsche saw this: an endless becoming. True sovereignty is quite hard and in a Bataillean sense the impossible for it means a groundless way of being, standing out : ex-sist, beyond the text.

      Trangression should indeed not be celebrated. Transgression for the sake of trangression is a waste of time. Trangressing the law is paradoxical for it establishes the very law. Hegel: the slave versus the master. An ethos which is trangressive, heretical should be unique, individual and goes beyond one’s identity.

      Identity is indeed the primal form of ideology because the ideologist believes his word, his law to be true compared to the other ideologies. Ideology establishes the identity. “I am X and you are Y”, therefore we (dis)agree. “Je est un autre” (Rimbaud): “I am an other”, used by Lacan, is interesting in this perspective because the text of the ideology gives the ‘I’ (being myself) meaning, reason to exist. While to be should be ‘to become’. There is a never ending flow of meaning, signifiers, yet we must have an identity. We are not allowed to ex-sist; it is forbidden to be headless, to loose one head and to become mad / schizo.


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