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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That intimate life , which had lost the ability to fully reach me , which I regarded
primarily as a thing , is fully restored to my sensibility through its absence . Death
reveals life in its plenitude and dissolves V the real order . Henceforth it matters ...
... violence , of the scream , of being in eruption , blind and unintelligible , of the
dark and malefic sacred ) ; if it was transcendent , this was in a provisional way ,
for man who acted in the real order but was ritually restored to the intimate order .
What . is sacrificed is what serves , and as soon as sovereignty is reduced to
serving the order of things , it can be restored to the divine order only through its
destruction , as a thing . This assumes the positing of the divine in a being
capable of ...