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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And the spirit is so closely linked to the body as a thing that the body never
ceases to be haunted , is never a thing except virtually , so much so that if death
reduces it to the condition of a thing , the spirit is more present than ever : the
body that ...
Duration ceases to have any value , or it is there only in order to produce the
morbid delectation of anguish . On the contrary , the objective and in a sense
transcendent ( relative to the subject ) positing of the world of things has duration
as its ...
... in particular , the behavior of sacrifice , the least clear but the most divine and
the most common , ceases to be closed to us , the whole of human experience is
restored to us . And if we raise ourselves personally to the highest degree of clear