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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A basic problem is linked to the very idea of philosophy : how to get out of the
human situation . How to shift from a reflection subordinated to necessary action ,
condemned to useful distinction , to self - consciousness as consciousness of the
The individual identifies with the victim in the sudden movement that restores it to
immanence ( to intimacy ) , but the assimilation that is linked to the return to
immanence is nonetheless based on the fact that the victim is the thing , just as
In the manipulation of objects and , generally , in relations with objects , or with
subjects regarded as objects , there appear , in forms that are implicit but linked
to the profane world , the principles of reason and morality . The sacred is itself ...