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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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 .
subject has a part in the elements it distinguishes , where it has a part in the
world and remains " like water in water . ” The element in which the subject has a
part – the world , an animal , a plant – is not subordinated to it ( likewise , the
OU appeared ( as if they were comparable to the digging stick , or the chipped
stone ) elements that were and nonetheless remained continuous with the world ,
such as animals , plants , other men , and finally , the subject determining itself .