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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Death actually discloses the imposture of reality , not only in that the absence of
duration gives the lie to it , but above all because death is the great affirmer , the
wonder - struck cry of life . The real order does not so much reject the negation of
not to kill but to relinquish and to give . Killing is only the exhibition of a deep
meaning . What is important is to ... To sacrifice is to give as one gives coal to the
furnace . But the furnace ordinarily has an undeniable utility , to which the coal is
alongside it gives the impression of a dethroned sovereign . It is clear that the
majority of mankind is right : compared to the industrial rise , the rest is
insignificant . Doubtless this majority has let itself be reduced to the order of
things . But this ...