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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Between the animal that is eaten and the one that eats , there is no relation of
subordination like that connecting an object , a thing , to man , who refuses to be
viewed as a thing . For the animal , nothing is given through time . It is insofar as
Elements of this situation can be grasped by human intelligence , but the animal
cannot realize them . Dependence and Independence of the Animal It is true that
the animal , like the plant , has no autonomy in relation to the rest of the world .
An organism , moreover , is separated from processes that are similar to it ; each
organism is detached from other organisms : in this sense organic life , at the
same time that it accentuates the relation with the world , withdraws from the
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Where This Book Is Situated
TWO RELIGION WITHIN THE LIMITS OF REASON
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