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 animal situation does contain a component of the human situation ; if need
be , the animal can be regarded as a subject for which the rest of the world is an
object , but it is never given the possibility of regarding itself in this way .
The object that the tool is can itself be regarded as a subject - object . It then
receives the attributes of the subject and takes its place next to those animals ,
those plants , those meteors , or those men that the object's transcendence ,
Intimacy – salvation – is regarded as a thing characterized by individuality and
duration ( of the operation ) . Duration is given to it as a foundation originating in
the concern for enduring that is governed by the operation . At the 84 RELIGION ...