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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... ( the contradiction ) of the world of things is that it imparts an unreal character to
death even though man's membership in this world is tied to the positing of the
body as a thing insofar as it is mortal . As a matter of fact , that is a superficial view
As a matter of fact , external violence is antithetical to sacrifice or the festival ,
whose violence works havoc within . Only religion ensures a consumption that
destroys the very substance of those whom it moves . Armed action destroys
others or ...
... in a sudden movement of transcendence , where tangible matter is surpassed .
The intellect or the concept , situated outside time , is defined as a sovereign
order , to which the world of things is subordinated , just as it subordinated the