Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939 Themes

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Acephale

The term "cephalic" is defined as "of or relating to the head" and "directed toward or situated in, on or near the head." By inference then "Acephale" or "acephalic" means "headless" and is delineated on page 199 of the text stating in part, ". . . the identification with the headless man merges and melds. . . ." Unlike Fascists of the time, the Acephale group operates with no head and is leaderless. Other options expressed in Bataille's writing include monocephalic, bicephalic, and polycephalic that are all related to the number of heads whether one, two, or several. For example, governments of Hitler or Mussolini had one leader or monocephalic whereas a royal government with king, queen, and parliament may be considered bicephalic. Rome's ancient government experienced polycephalic rule when the empire was divided into geographic regions.

The Acephale group is outside the mainstream of political thought and although subversive, it is not ready to...

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