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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What death ' s definitive impotence and absence reveals is the very essence of
the spirit , just as the scream of the one that is killed is the supreme affirmation of
life . Conversely , man ' s corpse reveals the complete reduction of the animal ...
Georges Bataille. measureless violence is a danger to the stability of things , an
affirmation that is fully revealed only in death . ... But it cannot prevent life ' s
disappearance in death from revealing the invisible brilliance of life that is not a
Only in a world where the thing has reduced everything , where what was once
opposed to it reveals the poverty of equivocal ... Only the gigantic development of
the means of production is capable of fully revealing the meaning of production ...