Theory of Religion
Zone Books, 1989 - 126 páginas
Theory of Religion brings to philosophy what Georges Bataille's earlier book The Accursed Share brought to anthropology and history, namely, an analysis based on notions of excess and expenditure. No other work of Bataille's, and perhaps no other work anywhere since Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, has managed to draw so incisively the links between man's religious and economic activities.
"Religion," according to Bataille, "is the search for a lost intimacy." In a brilliant and tightly reasoned argument, he proceeds to develop a "general economy" of man's relation to this intimacy: from the seamless immanence of animality to the shattered world of objects and the partial, ritual recovery of the intimate order through the violence of the sacrifice. Bataille then reflects on the archaic festival, in which he sees not only the glorious affirmation of life through destructive consumption but also the seeds of another, more ominous order -- war.
Bataille then traces the rise of the modern military order, in which production ceases to be oriented toward the destruction of a surplus and violence is no longer deployed inwardly but is turned to the outside. In these twin developments one can see the origins of modern capitalism.
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Only starting from the mythical representation of autonomous spirits does the
body find itself on the side of things , insofar as it is not present in sovereign
spirits . The real world remains as a residuum of the birth of the divine world : real
This world is in fact immanent to him but this is insofar as he is no longer
characterized by intimacy , insofar as he is defined by things , and is himself a
thing , being a distinctly separate individual . Of course archaic man did not
It is the most necessary renunciation in one sense : • insofar as man ties himself
entirely to the real order , insofar as he limits himself to planning operations . But
it is not a question of showing the powerlessness of the man of works ; it is a ...