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 element in which the subject has a part – the world , an animal , a plant – is
not subordinated to it ( likewise , the subject cannot be subordinated , in an
immediate sense , to the element with which it shares ) . But the tool is
subordinated to ...
The transcendence of the tool and the creative faculty connected with its use are
confusedly attributed to the animal , the plant , the meteor ; they are also
attributed to the entire world . * The Positing of Things as Subjects This first
Men and the supreme being , but also , in a first representation , animals , plants ,
meteors . . . are spirits . ... a dead man does not depend on a clear material reality
like that of a living one ; finally , the connection of the animal or plant spirit ( or ...