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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If the festival is not yet , or no longer , under way , the community link to the
festival is given in operative forms , whose chief ends are the products of labor ,
the crops , and the herds . There is no clear consciousness of what the festival
... is futile , since consciousness of intimacy is possible only at a level where
consciousness is no longer an operation whose outcome implies duration , that is
, at the level where clarity , which is the effect of the operation , is no longer given
But man of the dualistic conception is opposite to archaic man in that there is no
longer any intimacy between him and this world . This world is in fact immanent to
him but this is insofar as he is no longer characterized by intimacy , insofar as ...