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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What a “ true end ” reintroduces is the continuous being , lost in the world like
water is lost in water : or else , if it were a being as distinct as a tool , its meaning
would have to be sought on the plane of utility , of the tool ; it would no longer be
Man is the being that has lost , and even rejected , that which he obscurely is , a
vague intimacy . Consciousness could not have become clear in the course of
time if it had not turned away from its awkward contents , but clear consciousness
looking for what it has itself lost , and what it must lose again as it draws near to it
. Of course what it has lost is not outside it ; consciousness turns away from the
obscure intimacy of consciousness itself . Religion , whose essence is the search