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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Nothing breaks a continuity in which fear itself does not announce anything that
might be distinguished before being dead . Even the fighting between rivals is
another convulsion where insubstantial shadows emerge from the inevitable ...
As if the operation had taken place at a time when the sense of continuity was too
strong , as if the animal or divine continuity of living beings with the world had at
first seemed limited , impoverished by a first clumsy attempt at a reduction to an ...
... a tool , an implement , or of a domain of objects ( where the various coequals of
the subject itself assume an objective value ) , the world in which men move
about is still , in a fundamental way , a continuity from the subject ' s point of view .